|RC helicopter starter guide and Frequently Asked Questions
The following are my opinions only. If you ask ten different people these questions, youll get fifty different answers! J
Q: Whats the best helicopter to start with?
A: There are several good choices. First, Id recommend getting acquainted with heli fliers in your local area. Find out what theyre flying and start with what they are familiar with. If you are totally on your own, and on a budget, Id go with a Raptor 30.
Q: Whats the best radio to get?
A: This is the Ford/Chevy thing. Most guys fly either JR or Futaba. Again, find out what the locals use. Theyll be able to help you out easier with their own brand. I fly JR equipment and have been very happy with it over the years.
Q: Do I need a simulator for my PC?
A: I would strongly recommend it. Although rather expensive ($185 US), the CSM simulator can save countless hundreds of dollars in crash parts. The typical 'gentle' crash will cost you about $100, and you will crash many times if you just go out and try to fly your new helicopter.
Q: What else will I need to get started?
A: In addition to the bare heli kit and radio, youll need an engine, gyro, fuel, starter, glow plug battery and a few incidentals. I recommend the Telebee heading hold gyro. It costs a little more than the non-heading hold gyros, but you wont have to upgrade later on.
Q: How much does all this cost?
A: For all new equipment, you can expect to pay around $1,300 US. You can find used helis and radios out there, but I strongly recommend that you have an experienced heli pilot look it over carefully prior to purchasing it.
Q: Where can I buy all this stuff?
A: I order almost all my helicopters, radios and accessories from Rick's Heli in Corpus Christi, Texas (1-877-783-4321). They have good prices, excellent service, great stock and are more than willing to answer all your questions. No, I'm not affiliated with them in any way - they're just a good shop to deal with. If you're lucky, your local hobby shop will deal in helicopters and you can support them.
Q: Where can I get help?
Well, youve already made it to the Internet in order to be reading this page. There is a rec.models.rc.helicopter newsgroup this is quite helpful a bunch a guys more than willing to help. Use the Internet search engines to locate web sites with info on various helicopters, radios and support equipment. Dont forget to find local fliers who can guide you in the right direction as you begin this exciting hobby.
Advanced Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What percentage of nitro should I use?
A: I burn only 20% nitro in my 60 size helis and 30% in the smaller ones. For almost all kinds of flying, the 20% in a 60 produces more than enough power - unless you are flying off a high-altitude field of over 4,000' elevation.
Q: How should I manage my receiver battery when flying?
A: I use a BC6 Glitch Counter/Battery Monitor from YNT ($54 US). This excellent device records the LOWEST voltage your battery pack saw during its last flight. Most other monitors just show you the idling voltage which tells you almost nothing. This monitor also indicates the number of glitches you encountered (if any) during the flight.