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HeliFreak General Helicopter FAQ


A. Introduction
1. FAQ Organization/Layout

This FAQ is a collaborative effort based upon the vast bank of user knowledge available in the forums. It is split into major sections, with each major section having sub-sections with more specific details and possibly links to specific resources available on the HeliFreak web-site.

2. What kind of information will I find in the FAQ?

A better question to start would be, "What WON'T I find in the FAQ?" This FAQ is for general knowledge questions that pop up repeatedly in the forums - basic stuff a quick search would provide answers for. What won't be here is product reccommendations, personal opinions etc. There may be a few product-specific questions answered with basic setup or troubleshooting answers, but this FAQ is not meant to be an all-emcompassing guide on how to build, set up and fly your particular model. What it is, is another resource to quickly find answers to common issues and problems. Just be aware that while some answers will be provided by experts who have a commercial interest in the hobby, most will be opinions or general consensus based on experience.

3. I couldn't find an answer to my question, now what?

As mentioned above, this FAQ is not all-encompassing. The answers here are culled from the thousands of threads in many different sections of the forum. Perhaps your issue is the first. Perhaps it's one of the oft-asked questions and was simply missed or not yet added. Your best bet is to use the Search feature from the menu bar and see if someone else has had a similar issue. Should you fail to find an answer, post a question in a relevant forum.

4. How do I get a question and answer added to the FAQ?

Use the Contact Us link (here or at the bottom of every page) and select the option "Add an FAQ Entry" with the question and the answer. If the question is deemed relevant and the solution deemed accurate, it will be considered for addition.

5. How do I correct an incorrect or incomplete question?

Same way as above. Fire off an E-mail and the keeper of the FAQ will update as necessary.

6. I have "X" helicopter, how do I set it up?

This FAQ is not a vehicle to address the specifics of a particular helicopter model's build, setup or tuning in much detail. There are far too many variables to consider. However, general setup information such as pitch and throttle curves, common servo setups etc. will be addressed in later sections. Known issues for specific models may be found in later sections as well. As of this writing,your best bet is to check out Finless Bob's Helifreak Tech Room to see if a video for your particular helicopter is there.



Getting Started

B. Getting Started

1. I'm interested in getting into RC Helicopters. What all do I need?

"Need" is a subjective term and the "needs" of some will be different than those of others. Below is a basic list of items to get you started. Thanks to HF user ThBrtmn for the initial items.

1. Helicopter kit - General consensus seems to point to a "400" sized kit or larger.
2. Transmitter - 6 channel minimum for an electric helicopter, 7 if you're going glow-powered (nitro) and want to use a governor.
3. Receiver. Again, 6 channel for electric, 7 for glow. (Most transmitters come with a receiver and receiver battery pack)
4. Gyro w/high speed servo. Often sold together in combos. These items will help control the tail rotor.
5. Servos. Number and size depends on the model you buy. As few as 3 but as many as 5. Check the docs that came with your helicopter kit.
6. Rotor Blades. Unless your kit came with blades, you will need to buy main and tail rotor blades. Size is dependent on the kit you buy. Again, consult your kit's docs for proper sizes. Woodies are good for complete newbies as they'll take a lot of the force of a crash and break before you'll start bending or breaking head parts.

For a Glow (Nitro) powered helicopter, you'll also need the following:

1. An engine of the appropriate size for the kit you've purchased.
1. Glow plug(s). Consult your engine docs for the recommended type.
2. Glow Driver/Ignitor.
3. Starter. Used to spin the motor during startup.
4. Starter Shaft. Type depends on helicopter brand. Consult your docs
5. Battery/Batteries to connect to/run starter. Setup depends on preference…corded or cordless.
6. Fuel. Make sure it's helicopter fuel with an appropriate oil content. (18% or higher)
7. Fuel Pump. Manual or electric.
7. Fuel Tubing. Size appropriately to the model you're building.

For an Electric helicopter:

1. Brushless motor sized according to the helicopter you've purchased.
2. ESC (Electronic Speed Control) with proper cell number and Amp ratings for the motor.
3. Batteries. Number of cells and capacity is dependent on (you guessed it!) the helicopter you've purchased.
4. Receiver battery & regulator or BEC (Battery Eliminator Circuit) of appropriate amperage.

Tools Needed for Assembly

1. Ball link pliers
2. Hex driver set (1.5mm, 2mm, 2.5mm, 3mm hardened tips)...way easier than a set of allen keys.
3. Glow plug wrench. ( can be substituted with a socket wrench with 8mm socket)
4. Pitch Gauge (unless you can borrow a buddies for the time being).
5. Blade Balancer (unless you can borrow a buddy's for the time being).
6. Thread Lock Compound like Loctite 242. Medium strength - sometimes referred to as "blue".
7. CA (Cyanoacrylate) model glue...(pretty much super glue)
8. Small metric ruler. (comes in handy)

Optional Items

1. Head Button (to slow your head speed down when retrieving the Heli or tuning the motor)
2. Fuel line clamp and plug for fueling without flooding the carb.
3. Fuel filter (This would almost be a must… very wise to have one) "T" if you use a clamp and plug system.
4. Remote glow adapter (almost a MUST unless you enjoy removing the canopy every time you want to start it).

Again, this is a basic list and by no means covers everything you may need. If you're like mosT RC modelers, you'll soon have a full toolbox and probably more than one "junk box" with RC stuff in it.

2. Sounds cool. What kinds of helicopters are available?

(contributed by OliverDots and edited for content)

There are 3 different types of helicopter available for purchase and it really comes down to your own personal circumstances and personality. Money plays a factor as well, but since your wife or significant other may be reading along with you, we won't go down that road. You also need to consider where you'll be flying as a large helicopter won't be welcome at the city park.

First up is the coaxial helicopter.

The 4 channel version like the Esky Lama V3 for example. These helicopters have no tail blades as the twin main rotors rotate is opposite directions, eliminating the need for a tail rotor. To turn, one set of rotors will either speed up or slow down and the torque differential between the two rotors turns the helicopter. The pitch of these blades are fixed and altitude is controlled by the rotors either speeding up or slowing down. The main control unit in the helicopter is called a “4 in 1”. This is the Receiver, speed controllers and gyro. The gyros in these "magic boxes" do a pretty good job holding the tail but tail inputs are still needed when hovering. These helicopter are very stable and can nearly hover hands-free without any control input. These are usually flown indoors as they really can’t handle more than a very very light wind. A lot of people learn to fly with these helicopters as they are very easy to learn on and fairly durable. They have the same control system as single rotor helicopters so you can learn the basics of flying, without the expensive crashes and repairs. Not only will it teach you rudder / aileron / elevator and throttle control, but will also teach you about orientation. This means you can learn to fly side-in and nose-in. Orientation is very important to flying helicopters and with the coaxial heli being so stable, it is not too difficult to learn.

Advantages of a coaxial helicopter are….

  • Stable
  • Durable
  • Capable of being flown in an average living room
  • Minimal damage to objects and people, if struck by the blades
  • Quite inexpensive to buy
  • Fairly inexpensive and easy to repair and set up
  • Comes ready to fly with all the electrics included.
  • You can let your friends have a go.

Disadvantages are….

  • Cannot be flown outdoors unless there is virtually no wind
  • If you do fly outdoors, you have to keep the heli fairly close to you. Due to their small size, it’s very easy to lose orientation.
  • Controlling the altitude will never be sharp and precise. There will always be a delay as one rotor will have to speed up or slow down, although altitude is still very controllable.
  • You may soon become bored and want to progress to a single rotor heli.
  • Although you can learn a lot from it, you will still notice a big difference when you move up to a single rotor heli.
  • The gyro is pretty good but won’t hold the tail rock steady.

Next we have the FP (Fixed Pitch) Helicopter.

The following 2 paragraphs contributed by Dusty1000
There are essentially two types of single main rotor FP helicopters, those which have the flybar at 90 degrees to the blades such as the Honey Bee FP and Walkera 4#3B, and those which have an off-set fly-bar/head such as the Blade mSR and Walkera CB100.

There are various designs of the offset flybar/head type FP helis, but the one thing they all have in common is that the flybar and blades are approximately 45 degrees apart. These helicopters will stabilize themselves into a stable hover, to various extents, in much the same way as coaxial helicopters do, when the cyclic stick is centered. They are designed to be considerably easier to fly than 'traditional' FP helicopters with 90 degree flybars, and as such the advantages and disadvantages are in-between those of coaxial helicopters and traditional FP helicopters.

These are 4 channel helicopters and the altitude is controlled by the single rotor either speeding up or slowing down. These helicopters have a motor driven tail rotor. The main control unit in the helicopter is called a “4 in 1” and like its Co-Ax cousin, contains the receiver, speed controller and gyro. Like the Co-Ax gyro, it does a pretty good job holding the tail but tail inputs will still be required when hovering. The smaller “micro” helicopters are normally flown indoors or outside with near to zero wind. The larger types, like the HoneyBee, can be flown indoors but require a larger area. Something like a double garage is fine. They can also handle a gentle wind.

Advantages of a single rotor helicopter

  • Unless you go for a micro size, you can fly these outdoors in conditions that would ground a coaxial.
  • A good helicopter to buy and learn on, before progressing to a CP helicopter.
  • Quite durable although perhaps not as durable as a coaxial.
  • Cheap and easy to repair.
  • They come already built and most come ready to fly with full electrics included.
  • They are big enough to allow you to fly further away and still keep good orientation.
  • Will keep you happy for a long time before you feel the need to progress to another heli.
  • Not very expensive to buy.

Disadvantages

  • You can’t do much more than hover if you fly indoors, unless it’s a sports hall.
  • These will hurt you or others if struck by the blades. They will draw blood!
  • Require some amount of setting up (they very seldom fly straight out of the box).
  • A lot more unstable than a coaxial so it’s a longer learning curve.
  • The gyro is pretty good but won’t hold the tail rock steady.

Lastly we have the CP (collective Pitch) helicopter.

Now we have what some call, a “real” helicopter. These helicopters are 6 or more channel, with main blades that change pitch. Throttle and pitch are automatically mixed for you in the transmitter. You don’t need 3 sticks and 3 hands. This is a single rotor helicopter but now, altitude is controlled by changing the pitch of the blades. This means a given height is easier to maintain. Climbs and descents are faster and more precise. This type of helicopter is capable of flying inverted and performing complex aerobatics and what's called "3D" flight. The tail-rotor is usually belt driven. A belt runs off a gear that is driven by the main gear (the main gear drives the main rotor) to the tail gear driving the tail rotors. The tail blades also change pitch to turn the nose of the heli. This makes the tail control very precise and responsive. The electronics in these are all separates, (no 4 in 1) and consists of a receiver, multiple servos and a gyro. The gyro typically has a heading hold feature which for best part, holds the tail very well in hovers. Little or no input is needed at all to keep the tail still but you will need control inputs to get the tail to move in a turn.

Advantages

  • A high and steady head speed which means high stability.
  • Can be flown outdoors in stronger winds.
  • Controls are much more responsive and precise.
  • Capable of aerobatic and "3D" maneuvers.
  • The bigger you go, the further away you can fly.
  • You can buy them ready to fly with all electrics included.
  • Usually have a very good gyro which holds the tail very well.

Disadvantages

  • High rotor speed means, even a small knock will break quite a few parts. If someone is struck by the blades, main or tail, they a trip to the local Emergency Room is usually the outcome. These helicopters are potentially VERY dangerous.
  • Steep learning curve and require a lot of time spent to set up or repair.
  • Again, these heli’s will need inspections, checks and adjustments before the first flight. You can’t fly straight out of the box.
  • Every knock will probably cost you money.
  • Setting up can be a frustrating experience. You will probably need to watch plenty of videos and ask lost of questions on the forums if you are a beginner.
  • Time spent on maintenance and inspections. You don’t want a malfunction if you can help it.
  • These are noisy. A neighbor won’t be happy with you flying it in the garden at 11 o’clock at night or 6 o’clock in the morning.
  • If you fly in a park, you need a large “people free” area to fly in.
  • Not recommended to fly these indoors unless it’s a large sports hall/gymnasium or similar.

Note: For the absolute beginner, a CP helicopter is probably not a good choice. They are dangerous and potentially lethal. It can be done, but you are STRONGLY encouraged to seek some hands-on help from an experienced modeler. You will probably crash very often at first. Crashes can cost you quite a bit of money and many many hours of repairing and setting up, and increase the frustration level enormously. You could soon become disheartened and your wife will be asking where all the housekeeping money has gone!

3. What's all this going to cost me?

Like any hobby, the deeper you get into it, the more it is going to cost. While there are a lot of RTF helicopters out there that can be had for a couple hundred dollars, the reality is that they're not very high in quality or performance. That's not to say you can't start with one of these helicopters and be successful, but that old adage, "you get what you pay for" certainly comes into play here.

Typical initial cost for a name brand helicopter, radio and basic tools/support equipment is $500+, a not insignificant amount of money to get into a hobby you may not enjoy or be successful at. There are other options though. The proliferation of "clone" helicopters, models that are direct copies of the name brand models, and cheap electronics have made it possible to get that number closer to $300. HF user Racer38 shows you how in his Beginners 450 Part 1 Cheap Cheap Cheap thread.

4. OK, I bought a helicopter and radio and all my basic tools. Now what?

What comes next depends on what type of helicopter you've obtained. Some helicopters come RTF (Ready To Fly) with transmitter etc. Some are ARF (Almost Ready to Fly) which means the airframe is assembled and you need to install the electronics and power system. Some are BNF (Bind 'N Fly) - the helicopter is fully assembled and set up (set up being completely subjective here) and you need to "bind" your transmitter to the models' receiver and do some programming. Some come as a box of parts - a kit - and you have to assemble it, install your electronics, set the mechanics up properly then program your radio. It sounds a bit daunting at first, but if you've got a little mechanical aptitude and a willingness to understand some basic concepts, it's not that difficult.

For RTF and BNF models, you really should double check the set up of the helicopter. While your shiny new RTF heli may say in the instructions it's been test flown at the factory, it does not necessarily mean the helicopter is properly set up. Same with the BNF. It may look good and controls may move around when you fiddle with the sticks on your transmitter, but it doesn't mean it's correct. Any intermediate pilot can probably hover a poorly set up helicopter, but that's the last thing someone just entering the hobby needs.

For an ARF or kit built helicopter, you need to do the setup regardless. Just bolting everything together and spooling up won't necessarily result in anything good. The forums are full of posts from people who assumed if they just assembled it, it would fly. Take the time to set up the helicopter properly.

One final word (ok, maybe a few dozen words) about all these types of helicopters, especially the ARF, and BNF helis (or kits with some assemblies already..um.. assembled) Check each and every screw that goes into a metal part for threadlock. Most people pull one screw out, clean it, apply threadlock and reinstall the screw regardless of whether it feels like it's got compound on it or not. Nothing sucks more than having a part fly off in mid-air and helplessly watching your helicopter crash to the ground. For a kit helicopter, remember, any screw going into a metal part needs threadlocker. Screws going into plastic do NOT get threadlocker. Some people put a dab of CA on these screws, but usually the plastic does a good job of holding the screw in place without it.

Now that you're thinking you're in way over your head, there's some good news. That news is in the form of HUNDREDS of free videos in Finless Bob's Helifreak Tech Room These videos cover dozens of models, radios, gyros and of course, basic concepts. The information available in these videos is staggering to say the least and finding what you're looking for sometimes turns into a project itself.

Thankfully, as a member of the Helifreak community, you've got a tremendous resource put together by HF user and Support member, kgfly - the Heli Skills and Setup 101 compendium. Inside you will find over 100 videos covering the absolute basics up through actual kit builds for several dozen helicopters. Most find it best to start with the basics while assembling the helicopter. Watching the build videos for your particular helicopter often sheds light on typical "gotchas" encountered during the build. Of course, as always, if you get stuck or can't figure something out, there's the forums and the HF community. Finding local help is another great alternative. Most fellow RC'ers are more than willing to help you get going and you may make a friend in the process.

5. My helicopter is assembled and set up. How do I learn to fly it?

Everyone is different in how they learn to fly. Some just dive right in, some find local help from an experienced modeler, some pay for lessons. There are a lot of web site that offer free tutorials on how to fly but one that seems to get the nod time and time again is Radd's School Of Rotary Flight. Based on responses posted in the forum, it seems to work pretty well as long as you're disciplined enough to follow the lesson plans.

Of course, a simulator can be invaluable in developing those initial skills and allow you to get your brain wrapped around the skills required to get your new model off the ground and safely back down again.

6. I hear about simulators all the time. Do I really need one?

Need? Not necessarily. Will a simulator help? Absolutely. Simulators these days are much improved over the 1st computer based RC simulators. The SkyLark RC Heli simulator of the early 1990's used a modified transmitter plugged into the game port on your PC. The graphics and physics were rudimentary at best, but it was a valuable tool for learning to hover and get into forward flight. You did have to know how to set up the transmitter so it was by no means "plug 'n play" but for what it was, it worked well. Today, you simply install the software to your PC, plug the supplied lead into your transmitter and the USB port on your PC and you are good to go. In most cases, the interface cable is the copy protection for the simulator software and they are not interchangeable between the different simulators.

Current simulators do a much better job of replicating the "feel" of the simulated model and most allow you to use your actual transmitter to control the model. There is a lot of personal opinion out there as far as what's the "best" simulator, but when it comes down to it, they all offer the same basic functions; learning to control the helicopter, learning orientations, learning new tricks, developing what some call muscle memory so that piloting our model becomes more natural. With a simulator, there is no danger of a crash destroying your model. Press the reset button and voila! You're back in business.

(Copied from a post by OliverDots and edited for content)
They are good training aids but, don’t think if you can fly on a simulator, you can fly the real thing. If you had a driving simulator with a steering wheel and pedals and you practiced for 3 months, do you think you could jump in a car for the first time and past your test? No, but you would learn more about driving a car compared to someone who hadn’t used a driving simulator. You will learn what each stick does and how to use all 4 movements at the same time. You will learn the basics of hovering, and turning etc… And when you are ready to try flying nose-in and side-in, it will help. Just don’t think, “if I can do this on the simulator, then I can do this with my heli. You won’t. It will help to prepare you. It is a great training aid but nothing beats actual stick time.

7. I've decided to buy a simulator. Which one should I get?

As stated before, there is a lot of personal opinion among which simulator is "best". Some offer free upgrades and aircraft, some charge for major updates but have huge amounts of community support. Others are popular in some parts of the world than where you may live. A lot of Hobby Shops (at least here in the States) now have demo stations where you can try out various simulators and some simulator companies offer a trial or demo download so you can see for yourself what the simulator is like.

This is by no means a recommendation nor a comprehensive list, but two of most popular simulators available are Phoenix and RealFlight. Again, some will argue the merits of one over the other, but it really comes down to what you like. Be aware that many simulators offer the ability to "fly" with friends online (i.e Multiplayer) but you cannot fly in an online session with a RealFlight owner if you have Phoenix and vice-versa.

There are some free sims out there as well. FMS is one and is sometimes bundled with some Co-ax or Fixed Pitch helicopters. Additionally, HeliFreak user markb has written a free sim, HeliSim and it is available for download right here: http://www.helifreak.com/showthread.php?t=53247 In either case, you will need to find an interface cable for your particular transmitter. These are usually available from your local hobby shop and/or online retailers.

Unfortunately, as of this writing, simulator software is only available for PCs running Microsoft Windows. Many Mac users have reported success in running the simulator under a Windows Emulator. There are also a few people doing the same with Linux based systems. You'll have to do a search to find specifics on what you need and how to set it up with your system.

8. I've got my helicopter and been practicing on the simulator. Where can I fly?

It's really best to join a club and fly at the club field, but many modelers fly in empty fields, parks, private land etc. Legally, you can fly just about any open area as long as there are no local codes preventing you from doing so, however, you have to remember the potential for injury and damage these models have. Most of the public has no idea of the potential danger an RC Helicopter poses and will wander into your flying area, or allow their pets/children to do the same. While you may have the skills to completely control your helicopter, things happen and the last thing you need is to hit someone or something with your model.

If you don't have a local club and your only option is to fly at a park or open space, take all precautions to ensure you don't endanger anyone or anything else. If you can, bring a buddy and have him "spot" for you - that is, keep an eye on the surroundings and keep you informed. You can't concentrate on the helicopter and the happenings around you at the same time. Don't fly over or near others, near walking or bike paths etc.. Use a little common sense. Time of day can make a big difference in how "available" your chosen flying area is. For example, early mornings a park can be full of joggers or completely empty. You will need to figure out the best times and days for your particular flying area.

Another consideration is the noise. Even electric models make noise and that noise can carry for surprisingly long distances. That noise can upset people living in close proximity to where you choose to fly and while you may think the noise is great, others won't necessarily share your enthusiasm. Time of day is another consideration here. Your local park may be deserted at 6am, but it's a good bet the people living near the part don't want to hear the high pitched whine of an electric motor at that time. Again, use some common sense and be a good "neighbor".

9. I've found a local club and want to join. How do I do that?

Easy. Fill out an application, send it in with your club fees and wait for your membership to be approved. In most cases, it really is that easy. Some clubs are private and have specific limits on the numbers of members. Some are military personnel only, some are a mix that require a specific ration of military to civilian members. Some clubs are helicopter or fixed wing only, some are a "if it flies, it's welcomed here" organization. In all cases here in the States, membership in the Academy of Model Aeronautics is required. Other countries have similar requirements with their modeling organizations.

AMA membership nets you many things, most importantly is liability insurance. Secondary to your homeowner's policy, this insurance will cover damages you may incur after an incident. As with any insurance policy, there are limits to the coverage both financially and in what things are covered. You can read how to join, membership benefits etc on the AMA Membership Services page of their website.


HeliFreak FAQ Glossary

F. Glossary

1. Defnitions and Abbreviations

You're ready to dive in and have been doing your homework, but are completely lost by the terminology, abbreviations and acronyms. You're not alone. Here's a list that will get you up to speed and minimize a lot of those, "What the heck is THAT?" questions.

A

A - Amp/Ampere
A123 - A type of Lithium Battery typically used in cordless power tools and adapted for use in RC helicopters. (See LiFe)
ABC - A type of engine construction that consists of an aluminum piston, and a chrome-plated brass cylinder liner. Commonly used on higher performance engines.
ABN - A type of engine construction that consists of an aluminum piston and a nickel-plated brass cylinder.
AC - Alternating Current.
AFR - Adjustable Function Rate, A term used in Futaba transmitters to define the range of a function. Typically the swash function in Helicopter transmitters.
Airfoil - The cross sectional profile of part or surface, such as a wing, rotor blade, propeller or rudder, whose shape and orientation control stability, direction, lift, thrust, or propulsion. The three basic types are symmetrical, asymmetrical and flat bottomed.
ALT - Altitude.
Angle of Attack - The angle measured between the chord line of an airfoil (wing or rotor) and the relative wind and relative rotational wind.
Amp Hour - A unit of electric charge. One ampere-hour is equal to the amount of electric charge transferred by a steady current of one ampere for one hour.
AM - Amplitude Modulation. Simple system which modulates the actual radio wave to provide signals to the receiver. Used only in lower-end transmitters.
AMA - Academy of Model Aeronautics - the governing body in America for model aviation. Membership is required to fly at most club fields and all AMA sanctioned events. http://www.modelaircraft.org
Anodizing - To coat a metallic surface electrolytically with a protective or decorative oxide. Seen quite often in colored metal parts on helicopter models. (See Also Bling)
AP - Aerial Photography.
AoA - See Angle of Attack
ARF - Almost Ready To Fly. A model kit in which the majority of the assembly is already completed requiring the modeler to finish final assembly and setup before flight.
ATV - Adjustable Travel Volume (Same as Servo Endpoints)
Autorotation - The state of flight where the main rotor system is turned by the action of air moving up through the rotor rather than engine/motor power driving the rotor. Autorotation is permitted mechanically because of a freewheeling unit, or one-way bearing, which allows the main rotor to continue turning even if the engine/motor is not running. An emergency procedure for "gliding" the helicopter safely to the ground in the event of a powerplant, driveline or tail rotor failure. Commonly referred to as an "Auto"
AVCS - Angular Velocity Control System. Futaba's term for their heading lock gyro technology. (See Also HH/Heading Hold)

B

Backplate - The rear cover of an engine's crankcase.
Ball Link - A control connection using a ball and a circular link which rotates on the ball. Used to connect a servo to a control linkage or lever.
BB - Ball Bearing. Used to describe features of both engines and servos.
BEC - Battery Eliminator Circuit (See also uBEC)
BL - Brushless. A type of electric motor that has no commutator brushes and runs on 3-phase AC, controlled by an Electronic Speed Control.
Bling - A term used to describe colorized, or polished upgrade parts, typically in rotor heads, tail cases or linkage arms. In short, parts that "look cool" but don't do much performance-wise.
Buddy Box - A method used to provide pilot instruction via a cabled link between the student's transmitter and the instructor's transmitter. The instructor is able to take control of the model with the flick of a switch should the student lose control or orientation of the model.

C

CA - Cyanoacrylate. A very strong and usually instant acting adhesive. "Super Glue" is a brand name of Cyanoacrylate.
Carb/Carburetor - a device for mixing vaporized fuel with air to produce a combustible or explosive mixture, as for an internal-combustion engine.
CC - Castle Creations or Cubic Centimeter.
CCPM - Cyclic/Collective Pitch Mixing where the swashplate tilts for cyclic pitch control and moves vertically for collective pitch control.
Center Of Gravity - used as a reference to the balance point on the lateral axis of an aircraft. Typically a helicopter is balanced so its CG lies directly at the mainshaft.
CF/Carbon Fiber - A composite of thin strands of carbon tightly woven into various weave patterns, then set in resin, it offers great looks and is exceptionally strong for its minimal weight.
CG/CoG - (See Center of Gravity)
Chord - The width of an airfoil between the leading and trailing edge.
Chord Line - The straight line drawn from the leading to trailing edges of the airfoil is called the chord line. The chord line cuts the airfoil into an upper surface and a lower surface.
Clunk - A weighted fuel pick-up used in a fuel tank to ensure the intake line remains immersed in fuel. It moves inside the tank as the aircraft maneuvers which allows it to remain submerged.
Clutch - A device by which the engine can be coupled/uncoupled to the main shaft. Usually a centrifugal unit in which metal shoes are spread into contact with a lined clutch bell via centrifugal force. Commonly found on all Glow/Nitro/Gasoline and some turbine powered helicopters.
Collective - The control on a helicopter that changes the pitch of the main blades at the same time. Primary altitude control for a helicopter. Normally mixed with the throttle channel in the transmitter's helicopter functions.
Computer Radio - A transmitter with programmable set up of control movements and mixes capable of controlling several types of models (Typically helicopters, airplanes and sailplanes) and storing each model set-up in a separate memory location.
CP - Collective Pitch (See Collective)
Crystal - A device which controls the specific radio frequency of the transmitter, defined by a channel number. The receiver requires its own matching crystal on the same channel. This technology is being rapidly being replaced by Spread Spectrum systems.
CX - Hyperion's line of 25C discharge LiPo batteries. Also can denote a coaxial helicopter model (i.e. Blade CX, mCX, Novus CX).

D

D/R - Dual Rates
dB - Decibel. A unit of sound pressure.
Delrin®: A lightweight and durable engineered polymer with low wear properties. Typically used for molded or machined gears and structural members.
DC - Direct Current
DMM - Digital Multi-Meter.
Downwash - the air driven downward through the rotor disc as the helicopter begins to produce lift. Known in the full scale world as Induced Flow.
DSM/DSM2 - Digital Spectrum Modulation. - The technology developed by Spektrum for their line of 2.4GHz transmitters.
Drag - One of the 4 forces of flight. Acts directly opposite thrust and increases with speed.
DX6/DX6i - A 6 channel transmitter produced by JR/Spektrum that operates using Spektrum's 2.4GHz technology. No crystals or other frequency is required. The DX6 is a park radio, meaning it is not a full range system and is better suited to smaller models in a park setting. The DX6i is a full range system.
DX7 - A 7 channel transmitter produced by JR/Spektrum that operates using Spektrum's 2.4GHz technology. No crystals or other frequency is required. The DeFacto standard for entry into the 2.4GHz environment.
DX9 - The European version of the JR X9303 transmitter. Operates at lower power levels than the X9303 in the States. (See also X9303)

E

eCCPM - Electronic CCPM. (See CCPM)
Endpoint - (See EPA and ATV)
EPA - End Point Adjustment (See ATV)
ESC - Electronic Speed Control. Electronic device that acts as a throttle for electric motors. Typically motors of the brushless variety. Turns the DC (Direct Current) from the battery into 3-phase AC (Alternating Current) to drive the motor.
ESD - Electrostatic Discharge. A not-so-friendly feature that is characteristic of belt-drive helicopters which is similar to a Van De Graff generator. The effect can cause radio 'hits'/glitches, but can be subdued by grounding the motor mount to the tail boom and shaft.

F

FBL - Flybarless
FF - Forward Flight.
FFF - Fast Forward Flight
FG - Fiberglass. Used to describe blade and frame construction. (See also G-10)
Flybar Lock - Tool used to hold the flybar at a 90 degree angle to the shaft while adjusting pitch on the blades.
FM - Frequency Modulation. Signal is in a modulated series of discharges. Used for both PPM and PCM systems. (See Also 72MHz)
FP - Fixed Pitch. A rotor head system where the main blades are fixed in pitch and changes in lift are made by increasing or decreasing the headspeed. Also refers to the FlightPower brand of batteries.
FRP - Fiber Reinforced Plastic. Often used in cheap rotor blades and tail blades.

G

G-10 - An extremely durable makeup of layers of fiberglass soaked in resin, then highly compressed and baked. Impervious to moisture or liquid and physically stable under climate change. Most commonly black, but is available in various colors. Used for frames and fins of some helicopters.
Gain - Term associated with gyros, it defines the sensitivity of the gyro. High gain settings can cause the tail to wag back and forth, while low gain settings won't hold the tail steady. Gain settings are made in the transmitter for most gyros, but some older units utilize a small potentiometer on the gyro itself to set the gain.
Gasser - Term used to describe helicopters powered by small gasoline engines typically burning a mix of gasoline and oil.
GF - (See FG)
GHz - Gigahertz. One billion cycles per second. (See also Megahertz)
Gimbal the device inside the transmitter that the sticks are connected to. The gimbals are typically bushing or ball bearing supported and provide the mechanical connection between the sticks and the potentiometers that provide moment signals to the transmitter.
Glitch - Intermittent malfunction due to radio interference. Can be caused by external environmental issues (power lines, building etc..) or possibly metal to metal contact or static buildup on the model itself. Also caused by folding PCM/PPM antennas back on themselves or by the frame of the model blocking the antenna(s).
Glow Plug - Similar to a spark plug, but fitted with a platinum element that ignites methanol by catalytic action.
GRP - Glass-Reinforced Plastic
Gyro - An electronic device typically used to sense and correct for changes in angular velocity about the yaw access by driving the tail rotor servo. Commonly referred to by the model number - e.g. GY401, GY611, G770, ds760 etc.

H

HH - Heading Hold.
HS - Headspeed. The Speed, in Revolutions per Minute (RPM) of the main rotor blades.

I

I1 - Idleup curve 1
I2 - Idleup curve 2
Idleup - A flight mode where the engine/motor does not cut off. Typically used for aerobatic or 3D flying.
IC - Internal Combustion. Term used to describe an engine that burns fuel internally. (See Also Nitro & Gasser)
Inverted - Flying the helicopter upside down.
IR - Infra Red. A wavelength of light not visible to the eye. Used in some flight stability systems and as a control system in low-end "toy" helicopters.
IRCHA - International Radio Controlled Helicopter Association - Special Interest Group under the AMA providing a "voice" to the AMA regarding Radio Controlled Helicopters. Also used to denote the annual IRCHA Jamboree.

J

Jazz/Jive - An Electronic Speed Control (ESC) line made by Kontronik.
JR - Japan Radio. A manufacturer of radio control transmitters and electronics.

K

KP - Kong Power. A brand of LiPo battery.
kV - Used to describe the no load speed of a brushless motor in revolutions per volt. 1000RPM/Volt

L

Lawn Dart - A term used to describe a hard, nose down, vertical impact (crash) with the surface.
LG - Landing Gear. The assembly consisting of skid struts and skids, or retractable/fixed wheeled gear.
LHS - Local Hobby Shop. Please support yours!
LiFe - Lithium Iron Phosphate battery
LiIon - Lithium Ion. Battery technology similar to Lithium Polymer.
LiPo - Lithium Polymer. A battery technology used to power most electric helicopter models and virtually every cell phone and notebook computer. Capable of storing large amounts of energy in a small package, but potentially very volatile.
Loctite - The brand name of a line of thread locking compounds. (See Thread Lock)
LTE - Loss of Tailrotor Effectiveness.

M

mAh - Milliamp Hours.
mCCPM - Mechanical CCPM. (See CCPM)
MG - Metal Gear. Usually used to describe a servo's drive train.
MHz - Megahertz. One million cycles per second.
Mid-Air - An airborne collision between two models.

N

n00b - (See Newbie)
Newbie - A new entrant to the hobby. Generally completely lost or confused.
NiCd - Nickel Cadmium. A battery technology that was once widely used in electric models, now used for Transmitter and Receiver batteries. Suffers from "memory" and requires proper discharge/charge cycling to provide long pack life.
NiMh - Nickel Metal Hydride - A battery technology similar to NiCd, but does not have the same "memory" issues although some "memory" issues are present. Widely used for Transmitter and Receiver packs.
Nose-In - Any maneuver that points the nose of the helicopter directly at the pilot. Usually used when describing hovering with the nose pointed towards the pilot.

O

P

Park Flyer - Small, light R/C models, usually electric powered, flown in parks, small areas and indoors.
PC - Pitch Curve
PCM - Pulse Code Modulation. A system by which the transmitter uses digitally encoded signals to minimize interference between itself and the receiver. (See Also PPM)
Pitch - A term typically used to describe collective pitch range, but is also used to describe any cyclic or tail rotor angles as well. Also the lateral axis of flight. i.e Pitch the nose up or down.
Pitch Slider - Good way to crash, sliders and knobs are generally Inhibited.
POS - Piece of S**t
PPM - Pulse Position Modulation.
Push Rod. A solid rod, usually constructed of piano wire or carbon fiber tube used to connect servos to control surfaces or linkages. (See Also Ball Link)

Q

R

Rate Mode -
RC - Radio Control or Radio Controlled
Reg - Regulator. Typically used to reduce and regulate voltage from a large flight battery to power radio gear.
Re-Kit - Crashing a model so badly it is reduced to a pile of parts resembling the kit when purchased new. Usually a total loss and less expensive to just buy a new kit versus buying repair parts.
Revo Mix - A mixing function on a computer transmitter which provides a throttle to rudder mix so that as throttle is increased the transmitter automatically adds more rudder to compensate for the increase in torque. This function should be inhibited if you're using a heading hold gyro.
Roll - Movement of the aircraft about it's longitudinal axis. Controlled by lateral (Left/Right) cyclic inputs.
RM - (See Rate Mode)
RPM - Revolutions Per Minute. The number of times a propeller, wheel, rotor system, motor shaft or other rotating part completes one full revolution in one minute.
RTF - Ready To Fly. A model that's ready to fly right out of the box. Usually only requires batteries be installed or charged before flight. Generally not of the best quality.
RTFM - Read The "Fine" Manual - Right up there with "Do a search" as one of the most worthless reponses to often asked questions.
RTV - Room Temperature Vulcanizing (as in RTV silicone) Typically used to seal mufflers and back plates in glow engines.
RX - Receiver. The small unit on the model that servos, gyros and other flight electronics are connected to. Receives commands from the Transmitter which cause servos etc to move.

S

Scale Model - An accurate reproduction of a specific full sized aircraft.
Semi scale - A scale type model very similar to, but lacking the detail of a full scale aircraft.
Settling With Power - (See Vortex Ring State)
Servo - An electro-mechanical device connected to the receiver and used to turn transmitter signals into mechanical motion. Typically connected to control surfaces or linkages.
Shot down - A term used to describe a model crashing due to radio interference. Most often caused by another pilot switching-on a transmitter which is on your frequency. Can be caused by outside interference as well.
Slimer - Derogatory or humorous term used to describe Glow/Nitro fueled helicopters due to their propensity to cover themselves with oil from the engine's exhaust.
Slop - Term used to describe the imprecision of a control system, meaning the mechanics can be "wiggled" without any servo movement. Slop can make the helicopter more unpredictable and less responsive to control inputs
SMM - Silicone Micro Machine. The technology behind modern gyros.
Spartan - Manufacturer of the DS-760 and Quark gyros and the AP2000i stability system. Often used to describe the DS-760 gyro - "I'm running a Spartan on my tail."
SRV or SX - Abbreviations generally used in ads to denote the inclusion of servos. (See SERVO)
Sub-Trim - A feature of most modern transmitters that allows you to adjust the trim of control surfaces while still having the trim control on the Tx centered. Especially useful for getting servo arms "leveled" during initial mechanical setup.
Swash/Swash Plate - The device in a helicopter's head that translates the pilot's commands via the servo linkages into pitch changes of the main rotor blades. It consists of a non-rotating ring that is connected to the servos, and a rotating ring that is connected to the pitch change links/arms that change the pitch of the main blades.

T

TC - Throttle Curve
TP - Thunder Power. A brand of LiPo battery.
TR - Tail Rotor.
TH - (See Throttle Hold)
Thread Lock - Type of adhesive which helps prevents nuts and bolts from vibrating loose. Should be used for all metal/metal connections and available in different formulas for different application. Medium strength (similar to Loctite 242) is the most commonly used type.
Throttle Cut - A feature in a transmitter that when set, will shut down the engine on a glow (nitro), gas or turbine helicopter. Not to be confused with Throttle Hold
Throttle Hold - A feature on most modern helicopter transmitters, this switch will keep the throttle at a specified setting (usually idle in the case of internal combustion engines and off for electric motors) while allowing collective changes. Commonly used as a "safety" switch while you carry your heli to the flight line or just before a crash to help minimize damage, but is more commonly used to practice or execute emergency autorotations.
TT - Torque Tube. A Tail Rotor (TR) drive mechanism utilizing a shaft drive in the tail boom and right angle gears at the block and tail case ends. Very efficient and precise, but not as robust as a belt drive unit.
TX - Transmitter. The "box" that houses the controls and switches used to pilot the model. Major Brands are Airtronics, Futaba, JR and Spektrum
Tri-Flo - Name brand of a PTFE (Teflon) lubricant that become sort of a "standard" for lubrication of RC Helicopters.

U

uBEC - Ultimate Battery Eliminator Circuit
µf - Microfarad. A unit of capacitance.

V

V - Volt.
Vbar - Virtual Flybar. An electronic stabilization system used when running a flybarless head. Usually referring to the "V-Stabi" virtual flybar system by Mikado.
Vortex Ring State - A condition where the helicopter sinks into its own downwash and application of more power accelerates the rate of sink. The proper procedure to recover is lateral cyclic to move the helicopter from the downwash, then enter a positive rate of climb.
VX - Hyperion's line of 35C discharge LiPo batteries.

W

X

X9303 - A 9-channel transmiter manufactured by JR. Utilizes Spektrum's DSM2 2.4Ghz technology.

Y

Yaw - Movement of the aircraft about its vertical axis. Controlled by the Tail Rotor in Pod and Boom helicopters and differential cyclic in tandem helicopters.

Z

Z-Bend - A Z-shaped bend in the end of a wire pushrod, which is used to attach the pushrod to a servo output arm. Develops slop over a relatively short period of time. Many RTF helicopters utilize Z-Bends in their servo linkages.

1

2

3

3D - A style of highly technical, high performance flying, usually combining multiple maneuvers utilizing all 3 axis of flight simultaneously. This is the typical style of flight one would see from the top pilots.

4

450 - Typically used to define the Align Trex 450 series of helicopters, but also used to define a size class as well.

5

500 - Typically used to define the Align Trex 500 helicopter, but also used to define a size class as well. Equivalent to a .30 sized nitro powered helicopter.

6

600 - Typically used to define the Align Trex 600 series of helicopters, but also used to define a size class as well. Equivalent to a .50 sized nitro powered helicopter.

7

700 - Typically used to define the Align Trex 700 helicopter, but also used to define a size class as well. Equivalent to a .90 sized nitro powered helicopter.
72 MHz - A frequency band reserved for aerial models in the USA. Used in radio controlled models with a dedicated receiver and transmitter with interchangeable crystals. Channels 11 (72.010MHz) to 59 (72.970MHz) are available in this band. Rapidly being replaced by Spread Spectrum systems.

8

9


HeliFreak Contest Flying FAQ

What is Contest Flying?
This is basically an essay on “contest flying”, also known as “FAI” style helicopter flying. The purpose of this essay is to educate people on the existence and scope of precision helicopter aerobatics. Here, you will learn what constitutes precision aerobatics, classes of maneuver schedules, how contests are run, and a general FAQ of contest flying.

What is Precision Helicopter Aerobatics?
Before the advent of the “3D” style of flying became popular in the US (and around the world), helicopter competition focused around precision maneuvering over points marked on the ground as well as centered in an aerobatic “Box”. These maneuvers consisted of basic elements, by today’s standards, basically because helicopters of the era had limited capability. In many cases, pilots competed with basic airplane radios, engines, and without gyros. As electronics and machines advanced, these maneuvers also advanced to keep up with the state of the art. Modern precision aerobatics involve accurately hovering over points of reference (cones or flags on the ground) and flying maneuvers at altitude that are both centered and wind corrected. Such maneuvers include, but are not limited to, loops, rolls, stalls, Cuban 8s, flips, tumbles, and all variations and combinations of these. Precision flying is presented with high speed, large maneuvers with high verticals and defined transitions between components. While there are no points officially awarded for smoothness and grace, such presentation is generally awarded with higher scores. Maneuvers flown with tight radiuses, jerky transitions, or appear to be rushed, generally score lower in the end.

In the US today, precision helicopter aerobatics competition consists of four classes of maneuvers, also known as “schedules”. The first three classes 1-3 are governed by the AMA Rules for Competition. The fourth is the internationally flown class, designated as F3C by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale, or FAI. Maneuver schedules gradually increase in difficulty and complexity was you advance in classes. All hovering maneuvers currently flown in helicopter contests are vertical in perspective. In other words, the helicopter is never hovered away from or towards the pilot station. All maneuvers are performed on a 2D plane in front of the pilot, as if the helicopter was a brush on canvas. The hovering maneuvers are situated over the hovering central landing pad and two flags spaced 5m from both sides of the center pad. The segments of the hovering maneuvers are spaced among the central pad and the two flags on each side. Hovering segments can be diagonal, vertical, lateral, or circular. Aerobatics “upstairs” are typically centered within the aerobatic “box” directly in front of the pilot. Turn-around maneuvers are not judged, and performed at the discretion of the pilot. All take-offs and landings are judged, with the exception of the final landing in Class I. In the US, the AMA classes 1 through 3 were developed to help pilots along a path to the internationally flown FAI F3C maneuvers. These classes allow pilots of various skills the ability to fly against similarly skilled peers. As pilots gain experience and skill, they advance into higher level of competition until they reach the coveted F3C class.

AMA Class I consists of mostly tail-in hovering maneuvers, followed by simplistic, single component aerobatics. The Class I hovering maneuvers are mostly tail-in, with some side-on hovering, and 90 and 180° pirouettes, but never any nose-in segments. Pilots competent with rolls and stall turns, and hovering accuracy of about 1 meter would be comfortable with the typical maneuvers found in Class I.

AMA Class II ups the technicality of Class I, by introducing mostly side-on hovering with more 90 and 180° pirouettes. “Upstairs” aerobatics are slightly more complex, with vertical segments and more complex stall turns. Pilots competent with multiple rolls, loops, 540 stall turns, and vertical lines would be comfortable in Class II. Class II pilots should also be competent hovering over a point within half a meter.

AMA Class III is the highest of the US sportsman classes, with mostly side-on hovering, including takeoffs and landings. The hovering maneuvers typically consist of backwards travelling segments punctuated by 180 and 360° pirouettes at the stop points. Upstairs aerobatics consist of multi-component maneuvers with sustained inverted segments. Such segments may be diagonal, vertical or lateral. Multiple stall turns of 180°+ pirouettes are common. Recently, traveling flips or tumbles have been introduced to this class. Pilots in this class should be competent in all upright hovering orientations, remaining within 1 foot laterally of the point of reference. These pilots should also be competent in sustained inverted flight, rolls, and flips.

FAI F3C is the top level of helicopter precision aerobatics competition. All F3C pilots the world over fly the same schedule of maneuvers as voted and put forth by the FAI. As expected, these maneuvers are highly complex with numerous components and technical attributes. Hovering maneuvers involve travelling pirouettes, climbing and descending pirouettes, side-ways travelling nose-in segments, and all combinations thereof. Aerobatics upstairs are equally complex, with sustained inverted segments, negative G components, tumbles, and multiple stall turns. Also, F3C pilots vying for the World Championships need to practice two schedules, which is a total of 22 maneuvers. Pilots in this class should be competent in all upright and inverted forward orientations of helicopter flight and maintain hovering accuracy over the point of reference to within 6 inches laterally and vertically.

What's in a contest?
A typical helicopter precision aerobatics contest is a two-day event with maybe a third day at the beginning slated for practice and tuning. Prior to the event, the contest director and/or volunteers sets up the hovering box as detailed in the AMA and FAI rules. This consists of the 1m central landing pad, 2m pilot station, and the two flags 5m on each side of the central pad. The judge’s stations are then setup, 15m behind the landing pad. The rules dictate 3 or 5 judges for each round. Using 5 judges allows dropping of high and low scores, but is harder to field when relying on contestants to judge in a small contest. Seated judges are desirable, but very difficult to field. It can be a rather tiring, thankless job. If you can get one, offer them free lunch and drinks, and whatever else to make them comfortable.

The first morning of the contest, the CD will pull a flight order during the pilot’s meeting. This is a random drawing of names from each class, or from the entire field of contestants. Larger contests have separate orders drawn for each class. CDs will make some allowances for judging slots and callers for pilots. From this point on, the contest essentially runs itself. The CD will be on your back to maintain readiness in order to keep the contest moving along to maximize flying. In some cases, you may be penalized points if you cause a delay in the event because you weren’t paying attention to the flight order. Typical 2 day contests have five rounds of flying, three on day one, and two on day two. The lowest round is dropped, and the final round scores are normalized. Scoring is usually done by a standardized computer scoring system, such as CD Pro by Dan Monroe. This system is automated and provides for printing of score sheets, call sheets, and flight orders. Contest standings are a button press away at any given time. While computer scoring is typical, some contests have been decided on tabulations on a memo pad.

Contest Flying FAQs

Do I have to join IRCHA or AMA to fly in a contest?
Generally, helicopter contests are sanctioned events by the AMA, flown on an AMA sanctioned club field, therefore AMA membership is required. IRCHA membership is not required in any case.

What helicopters are legal for competition?
Nearly all helicopters typically flown by the average pilot are allowed. Restricted helicopters are those powered by turbines, nitro engines greater than 15cc (.91ci), and electric power systems over 42V fully charged. Gasoline powered helicopters need to have engines at or below 25cc. Maximum weight for all types is 6Kg (13.22lbs). There is no minimum displacement or size criteria. Technically, any of the classes can be flown with a 450-size electric. Furthermore, the use of a gyro is limited only to the yaw axis, so virtual flybars or electronic stabilization systems are not allowed.

Do I have to start in Class I?
No, you may begin competing in any of the four classes you feel competent and comfortable. However, once you have officially competed in a specific class, you are bound to remain at or above that class. You can advance either voluntarily or mandatorily through points advancement. A contestant will be mandatorily advanced through all AMA classes by the accumulation of points. In each class, a contestant will receive points according to the finishing place in every contest in which he competes. Contestants finishing third or lower will receive one (1) point for each contestant they beat. The second place winner will receive two (2) points for each contestant they beat. The first place winner will receive three (3) points for every contestant they beat. No more than 40 points shall be earned from any single contest. The points received will be determined from the Contest Director’s report and recorded in the contestant’s cumulative record. Contestants will automatically advance to the next class when they have accumulated the following points: Class I and II - 90 points; Class III - 150 points. The advancement will occur at the end of that calendar year.

Do I have to have a Caller/Spotter?
While flying, you are required to have a spotter caller to help you with the schedule and to help avoid mid-airs. The Caller is usually responsible for calling out the name of each maneuver, and the maneuvers start and end to the judges; however the ultimate responsibility remains the pilot’s. If you don’t have a regular caller, don’t worry. Ask someone from your class or another class to call for you, just bring a calling sheet with you so that they can call the correct maneuvers for you.

When it’s my turn to fly… what do I do?
You always want to be prepared prior to your flight time. When your class or slot is called, make sure your helicopter is fueled and ready to go, and move your aircraft down to the start circle (usually 20m behind and to the side of the central pad).
Depending on the event, you may be asked to start your engine as soon as the pilot before you finishes his/her flight to help minimize time between flights (this is the CDs discretion and is covered in the pilots meeting). Once told to start your engine, you officially have five minutes to hover trim your model in the start circle. If you are in Class I, you will do this in the central pad. Once you leave the start circle, your time allotment for your class begins. For Class I, your time starts when you call the beginning of the first maneuver. This is rarely enforced at a local level, but at National events it is strictly enforced.
When ready, with your model sitting in the center of the landing pad spooled up, have your caller announce the first maneuver and “beginning now” and begin flying your schedule. When you have completed the schedule, have your spotter call “flight complete.” After finishing, shut down your helicopter. Ask the judges for feedback on your flight if they have time or wait till the round is done. They are there to help you! They will let you know what you did well, and what you need to work on for the next flight. After completing your flight, go refuel your model and get it ready for the next round.

Will I be asked to Judge?
You may be asked to judge at an event. If you feel that you are not qualified to judge, do not be afraid to decline, and let them know that you are new to helicopter competition, and don’t feel qualified at this point. If the judge’s panel consists of five members, feel free to try your hand at judging. You will learn just as much watching others with a critical eye, as you do flying yourself. With a panel of 5, there is no pressure for a new pilot/judge to be accurate, as the lowest and highest scores are dropped for each maneuver.

Is there are landing fee to attend a helicopter contest?
In most cases, yes, there are landing fees that can vary from $10 to $50. These fees are there to pay for the awards given out at the event, as well as to provide a donation to the hosting club so that there is an incentive for them to host our events. Contact the CD of the event to find out what the landing fee is for that specific event.

Contributed by Erich Freymann



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