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HelicopterRadio - Servo - Gyro - Gov - Batt › is autopilot worth it?
04-26-2004 09:17 AM  13 years agoPost 1
drsuessmn

rrVeteran

Ellendale Minnesota USA

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Can someone tell me if an autopilot on a helicopter is really that helpful I'm looking for some cool nose weight that is also useful

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04-26-2004 12:43 PM  13 years agoPost 2
davehour

rrElite Veteran

Guayama, Puerto Rico 00785

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Hi:

I've seen it in action and I can say it's nice to have. Not mandatory but does helps in the learning process.

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04-26-2004 07:35 PM  13 years agoPost 3
Fifer

rrApprentice

Fife Scotland

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Hi
I fitted one about 2 months ago and it`s great my one is switched off most of the time but it`s nice to know it is just a flick of a switch away must have saved me ££££££££££ plus 3 times for sure and payed for it`s self big time the co-pilot is set at 60% gain...................
Cheers

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04-26-2004 09:30 PM  13 years agoPost 4
sharam

rrElite Veteran

Northern California - Fly at Morgan Hill Field

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I used the co-pilot when it first came out a couple of years ago - it saved me a bundle in crash costs when I was just learning.

For me it was an invaluable tool. I highly recommend it.

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04-28-2004 10:29 AM  13 years agoPost 5
lubepaso

rrNovice

Milan, Italy

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Hi Fifer,
which autopilot did you use?
Can you please give some information?
Thanks a lot

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04-28-2004 08:24 PM  13 years agoPost 6
Fifer

rrApprentice

Fife Scotland

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Hi, I use version 2.2 this is the one you can switch auto trim on or off. Iv`e heard there is a five sensor one on/or comeing on the market but my one is the four sensor and it is great it will save you at least 4 times what it cost...............

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04-28-2004 08:26 PM  13 years agoPost 7
Fifer

rrApprentice

Fife Scotland

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ooops It is a FMA Direct auto-pilot

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04-28-2004 10:01 PM  13 years agoPost 8
Fifer

rrApprentice

Fife Scotland

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If you have one at the start of your heli days it will save you a lot of bucks. A lot of could be good heli flyers leave at the early stage due to the cost or the learning curve as we all know can get a bit out of hand at times if this can get some of them through this stage it is a great help as was the gyro or the tg it is just a tool to help us along the way

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04-28-2004 10:44 PM  13 years agoPost 9
cybershots

rrNovice

CA

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I bet the co-pilot gives you a great sense of achievement too. You came back home and proudly tell your wife… “Hey… the co-pilot did a great hover for me today!”

I learn to fly without and I had just a boom strike which the co-pilot wouldn’t have prevented anyway. If I was starting again I would do just the same. Learn to fly without one.

I have a co-pilot on my camera ship to assist with hover at high altitudes and I have all shorts of hassle with it. To start with, you have to calibrate the co-pilot every day you go out to fly; then you have to trim the heli even if it was already trimmed last time you were out. At sunny days it works great, but with a bit of cloud the heli starts to wobble. Even when it works well and trimmed to hover nice, as soon as you turn nose-in the heli will want to get away. It just does not worth the hassle!

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04-28-2004 11:03 PM  13 years agoPost 10
sharam

rrElite Veteran

Northern California - Fly at Morgan Hill Field

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I had no such trouble with the co-pilot. I used it for about three months. Calibrated it twice - if the weather is the same, you don't need to recalibrate.

Once calilbrated in an overcast day, it handled like it should. No drift except for wind drift - on a calm day it could sit there for a long time, nose-in or tail-in or whatever. To demo it, I would set my transmitter on the ground and take a sip from my coke while my skeptical fellow fliers stared in disbelief.

Gradually over three months, I turned the gain down and eventually took it off. That was over two years ago. Highly recommend it as a learning tool.

I posted on RR about this at the time - do a search if you are interested to see what I said before.

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04-29-2004 12:45 AM  13 years agoPost 11
tailrotordave

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Burbank, Ca

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If you can already hover and/or fly then NO

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04-29-2004 04:01 AM  13 years agoPost 12
Rick_H

rrKey Veteran

Boulder City, Nevada

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drsuessmn

Don't listen to nay sayers like cybershots. Heck he could not even figure out how to set it up correctly. The Co-Pilots works very well, do a search on it and you will find allot of positive responses about it. It will save you allot of money in repairs and will help you past any orientation problems you run into.

If you get one and need any help setting it up feel free to PM me.

Rick

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04-29-2004 04:32 AM  13 years agoPost 13
drsuessmn

rrVeteran

Ellendale Minnesota USA

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Thanx one question in a plane you center the sticks to activate it obviously by the time you got the sticks perfectly centered it would be to late in a chopper so is switchable?

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04-29-2004 04:57 AM  13 years agoPost 14
sharam

rrElite Veteran

Northern California - Fly at Morgan Hill Field

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You just need to let go of the cyclic stick and let it center. This happens fast. If the heli is losing altitude, you need to compensate by increasing the collective; the co-pilot will not change collective for you.

I have put one on my son's Raptor - it is activated by a switch. It funcitons as a panic switch, flip the switch and much like an instructor on a buddy box, it takes over when you lose it. Just remember to be about 40 feet high at least!

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04-29-2004 05:15 AM  13 years agoPost 15
Rick_H

rrKey Veteran

Boulder City, Nevada

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It is only activated by the right stick (mode2), to center the stick all you have to do is let go of the stick, the stick will self center. The CP gain setting will determine how quickly the heli will level itself.

I have mine on my gear switch so I can fly with it on or off and I now have my gain set at around 30%. At this setting if I get in trouble and switch the CP on it takes about 2 seconds to right itself. This has been plenty of time as I tend to fly one or two mistakes high. If I lose orientation I will try to recover, if I can’t get it recovered by 30’ or 40’ above the ground I turn on the CP and give positive pitch. One exception to this is inverted flight. The standard CP with out the vertical sensor will loop the heli out of inverted flight which takes a lot of altitude. With the new CP with the vertical sensor it will roll the heli without losing much altitude.

Rick

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04-29-2004 03:47 PM  13 years agoPost 16
lubepaso

rrNovice

Milan, Italy

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Thanks Fifer for your help.

I am from Italy, and our hobby is not common mostly due to the cost of the machine and to the high cost of repair.
I believe that the opportunity to offer an autopilot could greatly reduce the impact on newcomers, so increasing the number of rc hely fans

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04-29-2004 07:14 PM  13 years agoPost 17
Fifer

rrApprentice

Fife Scotland

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no probs you wont regret it..............

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HelicopterRadio - Servo - Gyro - Gov - Batt › is autopilot worth it?
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