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HelicopterAerobatic FAI F3C F3N Contest › Align just announced a 700E F3C heli...
08-14-2010 06:53 AM  7 years agoPost 21
saigon-heli

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Ho Chi Minh

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Hati,

What I meant was if Align can find a good & famous F3C pilot as Alan Szabo in 3D to demonstrate then it's good for their sale strategy for this new machine. By the way, I believe Alan can fly F3C schedule but he is not F3C guy so it does not impress as much as F3C guy fly F3C schedule.

About the precision of the parts, I think there is not much different between Align and others. Today, I believe they all use CNC machine to cut parts, they can setup the tolerance they want to get close to perfect. The different may be the material, Align may use "cheap" material compares to others but why they use "cheap" material? In manufacturing, the cost of material is not a big factor as labour, engineering and associated costs. When talking about labour cost, engineering...we all know it is better in Taiwan compared to Japan & US. This is another advantage for Align. So, unless they have a wrong design in geometry, gear ratio, damping otherwise I believe the Align F3C machine is going to be one of the good machine. I would love to see top pilot fly new Trex 700E for FAI and hear their comments.

In 2005, when I bough and built my Trex 450 V1, I used to tell my friends that Align precision/material is far away from Hirobo, JR...I told myself I won't buy Align product again. In fact, that was not a fair comparision. Today, when I have a look at Trex 450 Pro, Trex 500, Trex 550, Trex 600, Trex 700, they have changed the way I think about Align.

Do not get me wrong, I am not yet a fan of Align. In fact, I am a fan of Hirobo & JR but it just turned out that Align is more affordable and its quality is acceptable.

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08-14-2010 08:37 AM  7 years agoPost 22
The man

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at home

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That statement is utterly false. Several of the top FAI finishers at the US Nats, including a former F3C WC and at least one of our past world team members, flew Nick Maxwell's FAI model. ALL of them were impressed and said it flew VERY, VERY well.
I believe the design or the designer behind the ENV has a lot to do with it.

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08-14-2010 01:51 PM  7 years agoPost 23
Dr.Ben

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Richmond, VA, USA

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I believe the design or the designer behind the ENV has a lot to do with it.
THAT statement is completely true. Curtis designed a fine model.

Ben Minor

Peak Aircraft/Team Minicopter Team Futaba Team Kontronik USA

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08-14-2010 04:46 PM  7 years agoPost 24
BlueGarry1

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Romford, Essex, UK

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That he did indeed !!
I'm just waiting for the release of a 50 size Rave ENV
I'm convinced that one will really take off in a big way.

Garry

Rave ENV Electric Beast X v3 FBL, Rave Ballistic BeastX v3, T-Rex 500 Beast X FBL

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08-14-2010 11:37 PM  7 years agoPost 25
Hati

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Perth, Australia

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Gees... You guys can jump on someone hard with the best of them The respect I had for Dr. Ben is a little shaky right now

I was going to let it slip but looks like I need to qualify my first post in this thread.

I didn't make a statement. I took a GUESS. I have no basis to make a "statement". I thought this was a discussion forum, so people can discuss various things, ideas, impressions and so on.

Seeing that the ENV is just started to hit the shelves not many people had the chance to test that heli, never mind getting a long term impression. The guys I spoke to told me that it has a lot of plastic, which helps keeping costs down but may not be the best for long term slop free operation. Although if Curtis managed to source quality plastic (like Hirobo), it wouldn't be an issue.

The other side to my guess was that Curtis has spent about 2 years developing the ENV. The other manufacturers are many more years ahead with a long list of improvements under their belt to their F3C models, so I would expect the same with the Rave 90. After all you need to get the model out there, so you can start recovering the development costs as soon as possible. There is always time to improve on something that may not be perfect but passes commercial quality standards. I guess we can agree on that...

I had (and still have) no intention of putting down the ENV, I happen to like almost all the things coming out from Curtis' stable. I'm simply saying that it is a new model that is just coming to an LHS near you now, so no-one quite knows yet what long term performance is going to be like. My expectations are high, because Curtis always sets high standards, but only time will tell for sure.

Plus, having an other F3C capable model out there is a good thing for all of us. Which brings me right back to the topic.

Saigon-heli: I see what you mean with the promotion of the 700 heli. I agree that Align will need someone well known to push the heli, but it's also likely that people not interested in 3D would buy it anyway for the toned down characteristics compared to an outright 3D model.

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08-15-2010 12:53 AM  7 years agoPost 26
Dr.Ben

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Richmond, VA, USA

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The respect I had for Dr. Ben is a little shaky right now :(
If you took offense at what I said, then I apologize. I said nothing insulting or impolite. The fact of the matter is that I have pretty sensitive spot for any statements about products which are not based on facts, especially when they concern a new release product in a tough economy, and I'll vigorously defend any manufacturer in these cases whether I fly for them, or not. You may underestimate the deleterious effect of statements like "not that precise yet" to potential buyers. I saw the model up close and personal, judged the guys flying it including my good friend Nick, and talked to the best who tested it for themselves. If you feel it was inappropriate for me to challenge your comments and present the facts as they existed here in the US in a bona fide F3C contest, then I suppose we will have to agree to disagree.

Ben Minor

Peak Aircraft/Team Minicopter Team Futaba Team Kontronik USA

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08-15-2010 01:18 AM  7 years agoPost 27
Hati

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Perth, Australia

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No real offence taken Ben, I just thought it was a little harsh, that's all. I have to admit my guess (please don't call it a statement) could be taken the same way from the "other side'.

To try to make you see where I come from (without having your experience (as mentioned above) with the model), I am having a hard time to accept that a new model (even form a stellar pedigree stable like Curtis' is the hands down equal of a Freya, Eagle or equivalent JR model with so little time under its belt.

This is not to say that Curtis is any less capable, if anything quite the opposite. But how long did it take Hirobo for instance, to be where it is now in the F3C scene? I know the ENV is far better then any other new model before it at release, but I still feel that more time will be needed to bring it to it's full potential. I could, of course, be off the mark, but time will only tell.

Like I said before, this is not a dig at all, it's more like projecting the same path onto the ENV's life cycle as the likes of Hirobo and JR have been through.

Anyway, I am taking this thread way off topic, so I better just crawl back in my corner , or better still go out flying

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08-15-2010 10:05 AM  7 years agoPost 28
RotarSoft

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St Leonards On Sea UK

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Hati/Dr Ben,

Just to help the slight "off topic-ness" of the thread direction I thought I would throw in my thoughts of the 700, ENV and F3C models in general.

I've just got back from the European F3C champs and used a Trex 700e. All I changed were the paddles, flybar, horizontal fin and dampers. This was enough to get a model that was able to compete and hold it's own on the same level as the much more expensive models. I would not for one minute claim that the 700 has the engineering prowess of an Eagle or a Sylphide, but for flight performance it can be pretty close with a small amount of work. Normally the Align models big undoing would be slop and wear coming into the machine from the lower quality materials used. However as we are finding with using electric models for F3C they just don't wear out like they did with the Nitro engines. The vibrations and so much less that despite my machines number of flights they still feel as smooth and as tight as the day they were built. If Align make the right mods to this kit then they will have a very capable machine that will get a lot more people interested in F3C that would have previously been put off by the cost of competing. This can only be a good thing no?

I am currently putting an ENV together to use for F3C and having owned Sylphides, Eagles, Freyas, Vigors, Vibes and Trex's over a 15 year F3C career I think I've got a reasonable idea of what makes a model tick the right boxes for F3C

The first thing to bear in mind is that whilst the ENV may be the second helicopter product from Curtis' helicopter stable it is not the first model he's had a hand in designing. Having been a consultant/designer for Miniature Aircraft, Robbe Schluter, JR (and probably others that we don't know of) Curtis has helped design a number of helicopters for big manufacturers so isn't coming into this "cold" as it were.

For example the Caliber 60/90 was the first serious F3C model from Kyosho and has done pretty well for itself. However the designer was the ex Hirobo man behind the Eagle and Eagle 2 series of models.. so yes it was new ground from Kyosho, but not from the designer.

I've only flown my ENV so far with a Trex rotor head on it as the only kits available currently are flybarless, so I am not in a position (and it would be unfair to) to give a detailed flight report on it (However it's flying better than my Trex which donated the rotor head for flight testing.!).

However I can comment on the design and build of the mechanics. The first thing that struck me was that it is the first machine I've built that really feels like it has been "engineered" rather than designed to grab attention (bling), or to a price point (cheesy screws). This shouldn't be a surprise as Curtis is himself a fully qualified engineer. Yes there is a lot of plastic in the kit, but that's because it's the best material to use in the locations it is used. Metal or carbon make look fancier.. but from an engineering point of view plastic is the best. For example the bearing blocks are plastic which gives the bearings a much easier life than being contained in a metal block. However these plastic blocks have metal studs running through them for the frames to bolt up against for rigidity and strength. The CCPM T-levers are also plastic. But what would metal bring you apart from cost? Nothing. The tail boom and boom stays are metal rather than carbon. Carbon is strong for it's weight, but not particularly rigid enough for tailbooms. A metal boom will always allow you to run a higher gyro gain.. just doesn't look as fancy. Oh yeah it's also cheaper. Lots cheaper!

Putting an Eagle 3 next to an ENV on the table.. yes the Eagle wins hands down in terms of appearance. All the carbon and blue anodised parts look amazing. However it is no more rigid and no smoother in operation than the ENV. The rotor heads on both are all metal and so long as the ratios are chosen well they will perform to a similar standard.

So don't be surprised if the ENV does some good work in less capable hands than Curtis and Nicks.. just like the Trex has been shown to compete with "the best". The Japanese F3C machines are works of art but some of these newer models have brains behind them that have a long history of F3C and know what it takes to be competitive. The ENV just hasn't been sucked into the "bling" war and and has instead been designed for performance and endurance of parts.

With the Trex offering and the ENV I hope we get to see a lot more new faces competing now that the one major barrier ($$$$) to entry has been removed.

Cheers

Mark

Midland Helicopters, Hirobo, JR Propo, Model Technics Fuel

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08-15-2010 10:47 AM  7 years agoPost 29
Hati

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Perth, Australia

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Thanks for that Mark, it was very useful and informative. Especially about the 700E. I for one certainly wasn't expecting that. I did expect the ENV to be better, but sounds like it is past that, it really hit the spot.

I don't care much for bling and fully agree with the use of plastic and metal where it's appropriate so it's good to see the the options for entry into F3C are getting much wider.

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08-15-2010 10:59 AM  7 years agoPost 30
Heliguychris

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Perth, West Australia

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Awsome post rotorsoft.

Licensed (CASA) UAV operator certificate holder 1-YFOF5-01 www.helicamaerial.com.au

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08-15-2010 12:07 PM  7 years agoPost 31
RotarSoft

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St Leonards On Sea UK

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Glad to be of (some) use

Cheers

Mark

Midland Helicopters, Hirobo, JR Propo, Model Technics Fuel

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08-15-2010 02:21 PM  7 years agoPost 32
petiteway

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Melbourne, Australia

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Align for F3C?

I don't trust Align anything about precision, from my own experience of Align products.

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08-15-2010 08:34 PM  7 years agoPost 33
synodontis

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United Kingdom

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Putting an Eagle 3 next to an ENV on the table.. yes the Eagle wins hands down in terms of appearance. All the carbon and blue anodised parts look amazing. However it is no more rigid and no smoother in operation than the ENV. The rotor heads on both are all metal and so long as the ratios are chosen well they will perform to a similar standard.
the Eagle 3 VPUS will beat ANY machine for control purity. Unfortunately in todays technological advancement there's probably going to be very little to discern from good CCPM software and pure perfect mechanical mixing.

The way I see it is that machines like the ENV were just waiting to happen. I personally don't like the looks of the machine myself, but I can see where the business is going: cheaper, simpler designs, built in bulk and sold in bulk is the only way how these manufacturer's can make a living these days. I personally think Curtis and everyone else knows that now. The formula one model is out of the window, you use to have the top machines filter down to the less costly designs. Now the less costly designs are almost just as good. But this might signal the death of further development of mechanics and head - who's going to pay for it?

I personally don't like what's being done (especially with Align), but that's where it's going. If you destroy the top end who's going to do all the high end development? And because heli design might get generic, this would mean manufacturers are less likely to take risks. It's a bit like having loads of volkwagens cars in the world and the company never bothering to consider producing a veyron.

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08-15-2010 10:27 PM  7 years agoPost 34
RotarSoft

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St Leonards On Sea UK

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Synodontis,

But what is "high end"?

Do you mean:

a) Quality machined metal parts and anodising
b) Great flight performance
c) High price
d) Complex control solutions

a != b != c != d

I know where you are coming from and the VPUS design on the Eagle is very clever and a brilliant bit of design. However it also appears to be design for design sake as an electronic system can be made to work just as well (in terms of flight performance) for a much lower price.

Hirobo and JR are as guilty as each other of making "high end" models that feature bad design. Carbon tail booms are a case in point. It may look very pretty and give the purchasing customer a feeling of "high end" but it is also detrimental to the flight performance.

There will always be the shelf queen boutique designs at the more expensive end of the market. The likes of JR and Hirobo will never not make their view of the "ultimate" machine. What the likes of the ENV are showing is that you can get the same (maybe better.. this is subjective) flight performance from a much simpler and cheaper design that is quite possibly better engineered. Just because it doesn't seem as complex or as fancy doesn't mean it's not a better solution.

Also the "high end" expensive machines never paid for their development. Hirobo could finance the Eagle designs through selling lots and lots of plastic Shuttles. If it wasn't for the cheap models selling in quantity there would never be the money to do the exotic.

As far as I see it there is plenty of room in the market for both and the Japanese F3C manufactures will continue to make the very expensive, statically brilliant, models.

However I would trade static beauty for flight performance any day of the week.

Cheers

Mark

Midland Helicopters, Hirobo, JR Propo, Model Technics Fuel

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08-16-2010 12:46 AM  7 years agoPost 35
synodontis

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United Kingdom

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a) Quality machined metal parts and anodising

>Hirobo and JR do have better quality of parts

b) Great flight performance

>again, as you say, it can be subjective. For nitro I don't think anything comes near a Sylphide, but that's just me

c) High price

> due to a)

d) Complex control solutions

> who said Hirobo and JR helis are complex? I don't. Sometimes they have enough parts that they need to have. You can get the VPUS with less, and Hirobo could probably try to but thought better of it. There might be a reason why they prefer the two stack frame designs on their machines instead of the single pair design.
However it also appears to be design for design sake as an electronic system can be made to work just as well (in terms of flight performance) for a much lower price.
yes, and I've said that. But being a normal pilot I hate playing around with CCPM, will only tolerate it on a Sylphide.
Just because it doesn't seem as complex or as fancy doesn't mean it's not a better solution.
I never said it wasn't. I was referring to the mass marketing that the hobby is now seeing on a much more widespread scale. Align dominates the market. The ENV is basically like the Align with slightly better control system, better head and maybe better cooling knowing Curtis. It's marketed to be a dominant machine, no doubt about it.
Also the "high end" expensive machines never paid for their development. Hirobo could finance the Eagle designs through selling lots and lots of plastic Shuttles. If it wasn't for the cheap models selling in quantity there would never be the money to do the exotic.
I hate Haute Couture (or however you spell it in the fashion industry), don't care for it, silly designs, outrageous and they almost definitely never make money for the designers. I'd like to accuse Align, and maybe some other companies, of making the money but doing nothing much to invest on much research, but that's just me. It's becoming like MacDonalds, that's my point. I personally think those days are gone. Helis are getting real generic in frame design and it's getting a little tiring.
There will always be the shelf queen boutique designs at the more expensive end of the market
I don't see my Sylphide or Eagle VPUS as shelf queen boutique designs. Never have, I think they're worth it for what you're getting. I don't think this of the Freya EX SWM, or Eagle 3 SWM, etc. . . My Sylphide is 7 years old and flown regularly (and crashed a few times too). Whilst other fliers have changed machines I've stuck to my favourite nitro because I feel no need to change. I've got my money's worth and then some.
However I would trade static beauty for flight performance any day of the week.
You're out to win, which is a different proposition, you also have your sponsorship arrangements. It is my view that JR and Hirobo (especially Mr Hashimoto's trainer) know much more about the subtlety of heli design than others , and I don't believe that any of their machines were made for static beauty (ignoring their fuses etc), they have a philosphy and reason for they the way they are. It's like a different school of thought. In certain way they might have better flight performance but its probably does not make much of a difference now given the level of excellence seen on the field.

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08-16-2010 03:20 AM  7 years agoPost 36
GauchoVolador

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Tx

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F3C competition was losing interest amongst heli pilots during the last say...5-7 years to the point where many of us could think that in few years from now it will be a dead category. If you ask most of the actual heli enthusiast about F3C they will go "F3..what??". It seems that 3D ate everyones brains and the precision style of flying was too boring, expensive and few people interested.
Being ALIGN such a popular monster coming out with an F3C heli to the market will bring fresh air to the category, i think we must all celebrate this fact, putting F3C in the mouth of the people again.
Our national team pilots economically struggled for staying active, now the future seems more optimistic.
I hope new pilots to jump in to the category after this release, lets hope marketing power do its job!

We followed Mark achievements with his 700Es during the Europeans very closely, congratulations Mark!

Victor
Team Manager
Argentine F3C Team
http://www.f3c-argentina.com.ar

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08-16-2010 07:50 AM  7 years agoPost 37
RotarSoft

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St Leonards On Sea UK

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Synodontis,

Comparing the Eagle and Sylphide to the Trex I used this year and the ENV I'm currently assembling, then yes, they are more complex and have a much higher parts count.

JR and Hirobo don't always get it right either. Look at the SSR rotor head on the Eagle range. Way back to the first Eagles that head suffered from horrible trim changes in the wind. It's only now they've given up on the rotor head and gone with the new SSZ design.. who's basic architecture owes a lot to the original Xcell.. which itself was a copy of the early Schluter heads. That's progress! Hirobo had their philosophy and the only person who could get on with it with any real success was Hashimoto.. everybody else threw the head in the bin and put some kind of SSZ variant on instead. Not what you want from a $3000 helicopter. On the other hand the plastic rotor head on the original Vigor, a much cheaper machine, worked brilliantly for pretty much everyone.

I'm in the fortunate position of having my sponsorship arranged through a shop who has no real allegiances to any one product so I can fly whatever it is I choose. As I said earlier I've flown and owned pretty much every F3C model out there over a 15 year career. I've suffered the Sylphide auto hub failures, the Eagle SSR head traits and the Align cheesy screws. I can say with some safety that new Align F3C model and the ENV will do well and dispel this myth about needing an overly expensive model to compete and do well and hopefully we will see competitor numbers rising again because of this.

Cheers

Mark

Midland Helicopters, Hirobo, JR Propo, Model Technics Fuel

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08-16-2010 07:52 AM  7 years agoPost 38
RotarSoft

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St Leonards On Sea UK

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Victor,

Thank you for the kind words. I was pleasantly surprised with how well the Trex actually flew after I made my mods.. better than I was expecting!

I let another pilot fly it and compare it to their much much more expensive model and their words were "That is annoyingly good".

Cheers

Mark

Midland Helicopters, Hirobo, JR Propo, Model Technics Fuel

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08-16-2010 08:01 AM  7 years agoPost 39
bhoff

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houston texas

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im honestly not that new to the hobby been flyin collective for almost a year now i own a 600 and a 450 have owned several helis i just buy and sell i have been flyin in general for about 2 years but WHAT IS F3C lol? i guess i am new to the hobby

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08-16-2010 08:43 AM  7 years agoPost 40
RotarSoft

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St Leonards On Sea UK

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bhoff,

This has been covered numerous times on this forum and others

Two links I can recommend that may help you out:

http://www.rcprecisionheli.com/
http://www.aha-online.org.uk

Cheers

Mark

Midland Helicopters, Hirobo, JR Propo, Model Technics Fuel

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HelicopterAerobatic FAI F3C F3N Contest › Align just announced a 700E F3C heli...
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