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HelicopterBeginners Corner › Need advice: Looking to get started in RC helis...
09-07-2003 07:22 PM  14 years agoPost 1
USC

rrNovice

Columbia, SC

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Hi all, my name is Adrian and I'm a freshman in college at the University of South Carolina in Columbia.

I've always liked helicopters but, for one reason or another, I never took the plunge into RC helis. Well, now I'm ready.

Where to start? I have no previous RC experience. Does anyone know of any RC clubs or heli pilots in the Columbia, SC area that would be willing to help out a newbie such as myself?

Can someone direct me to a Web site or some other source where I can learn about the parts of an RC heli and how they function?

Also, I started looking around at various equipment and the Hirobo SCEADU Evo .50 has caught my eye...I've read that some people recommend starting out with a .30, period, while others recommend going for something bigger and better if finances allow. So I'm a bit confused in that aspect.

I eventually want to do competitive flying. Which reminds me, can someone direct me to some pics or videos of competitive flying other than 3D?

I've been saving up for quite a while, so I'm willing/able to spend ~$1000-$1200.

Any and all suggestions, input, etc. would be greatly appreciated!

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09-07-2003 08:49 PM  14 years agoPost 2
Twobeers

rrKey Veteran

Toronto, Canada

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USC you have very high objectives, competitive 3D no less. Well a large bank account would definitely be very helpfull.

I lost my infamous tag line.

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09-07-2003 08:49 PM  14 years agoPost 3
USC

rrNovice

Columbia, SC

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Absolutely no offense meant to any here, but...

This happens on many forums, and it makes me wonder:

Why is there a beginner's section if new members with questions are simply encouraged/instructed to do a search? Furthermore, if this is the attitude of the community, why not make an archived FAQ section for new people/beginners?

Just my $.02.

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09-07-2003 09:47 PM  14 years agoPost 4
USC

rrNovice

Columbia, SC

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Thanks Mongoose, I truly appreciate it. I'll try to get in touch with someone in the listings. Unfortunately, my bankroll isn't big at all, but hopefully big enough to get myself a nice setup that I won't outgrow in a few years.

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09-08-2003 12:21 AM  14 years agoPost 5
jbiter

rrKey Veteran

Sebring, FL

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Hi Adrian,

Another way of finding local flyers in your area is to ask the local hobby shop about where the R/C clubs in your area are located. Specify that you are interested in mainly helis so they can guide you.

The Shuttle evo is a good choice. The Raptor 30/50 is another one. I personally like the 50 size helis as the cost is not that much greater but they do fly much better.

You might be wise to find out what brand others in your area are flying. Help will be much easier to come by if others in the area are familiar with your heli. This goes for radios as well.

Hope this helps.

Jeff

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09-08-2003 06:47 AM  14 years agoPost 6
RaptorPilot

rrNovice

Newbury Park, CA

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It will definitely be to your advantage top start out with something that people near you will be flying. That way, you will be able to get some help with setup issues. Raptors are probably the most common, but if people in your area fly Hirobos, they make good birds too. The advantages of a larger machine are that they are more stable. Smaller machines are cheaper to crash. I started out with a Concept 60 a few years ago, then got out of the sport and just started back up with a Raptor 30v2. A 60 size is certainly more stable in the air, but crashes and operating expenses can be a bit more. 30s are not much more difficult to learn on, and are usually the beginner's preference. A good source for kits/radios/parts is heliproz.com. I think most people have had good experiences with them.

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09-08-2003 10:13 AM  14 years agoPost 7
nheather

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Horsham, West Sussex, UK

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If your budget is a genuine limit then this will dictate what you will end up with.

A common mistake that beginners make is to look at the price of the kit and maybe the engine and a basic radio.

However, there is a lot of other bits that suck up your budget. Here is a list of primary items (I'm sure there are others) that you will need to consider.

Kit
Engine
Muffler (though there might be one in the kit)
Transmitter, Receiver, Servos (servos that come with basic radio sets are usually only good enough to get you started. You should also consider a good tail servo from the start).
Gyro
Battery (the one that comes with the radio set is not usually big enough)
Starting equipment (starter, extension, glow start, battery)
Training gear
Fuel
Setup tools (though in the beginning you can borrow from club members)
Club membership and insurance

Also consider running costs (repairs etc)

If you add this all up you will find that a basic 30 (Century Hawk Sport of TT(Ace) Raptor 30) will use up your stated budget.

A Sceudo 50 will more than exceed it.

Cheers,

Nigel

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09-08-2003 05:48 PM  14 years agoPost 8
Hughes500Pilot

rrKey Veteran

Anaheim, CA

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My two cents...

Here is a setup I would recommend to a complete beginner... Please note - this just my personal recomendation. When you look, you will see several helis listed, several radios, etc. This simply means "any of these would be a good choice."

Heli-
Hirobo Shuttle Plus (30)
Thunder Tiger Raptor V2 (30)
Hirobo Sceadu (50)
Thunder Tiger Raptor V2 (50)

Engine-
OS Max 32SX-H
OS Max 50SX-H

Radio-
Futaba 9C
Futaba 9Z
JR 8103 (I cant believe I really included JR in my list)
JR 10X (ugh... JR)

Gyro-
Futaba GY-240
Futaba GY-401 (with 9253 servo)
Futaba GY-601

Extras-
Heli-Max Ball Link Pliers
Pitch gauge
Training Gear
A High Capacity Receiver Battery (at least 1700m ma)
A Good Charger (like a Sirius Charge)
Quality Fuel (30% Cool Power)
One "Good Servo" for the collective (at the minium, a Futaba 9202)

As you can see, none of the stuff I listed above is "the cheap stuff." That is because I have been flyng for many years and I have learned the hard way - YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR! It has been said over and over here on RR, buy the best you can afford now. This way you will not have to "upgrade later." Spending a little extra now will end up saving you hundreds in the long run in this hobby if you stick with it. Also, if you buy good stuff and then decide the hobby is not for you, selling"good stuff" is easy. Trying to sell "the cheap stuff" is very hard to do since no one wants it...

If you want to save some money, I suggest the following:

Buy a 30 size helicopter. They are less expensive to buy and repair. The engines cost much less. The exhaust systems cost less. They use much less fuel (at $22 per gallon). You will not outgrow their performance for some time. They can do basic 3D with no problems. Howver, please note the Sceadu 30 is not on my list above. The Sceadu 30 is an excellent heli, but it is just too big/heavy for a 30. I know from personal experience. On the other hand, the Sceadu with a 50 engine kicks ass...

Consider buying used. There are some good deals out there. But beware... There is also a lot of junk. I would only suggest you buy "used" from somone you know/trust. Prefferbally somone from your local club.

Instead of buying "pre-made" training gear like a Roto-Pod (at $50), just buy two wood sticks and some wiffle balls for $3 at Wal Mart and make your own.

Consider buying an "old fashioned" mechanical gyro. You can find these all over the place for less then $10. As you are learing to hover and basic foward flight, it will work just fine for you. Plus if you do wind up having a major crash, you are only out a $10 gyro. When your skills improve, then install your good heading hold gyro.

Instead of buying an ARF (Almost Ready to Fly), buy a kit that you must build. This saves you a little money up front, but it also allows you to learn how your helicopter is built. Then if you ever crash, you know how things go back together. Please do not underestimate how helpful this can be. You will also have pride in the fact that "you built it."

Resist the urge to buy "cheap." For example, I only Suggest OS Max engines. They are know preformers. It is very, very rare to hear of an OS engine dying in flight. On the the other hand, Thunder Tiger engines are cheaper, but they can be harder to tune. And they have a much higher failure rate in flight. Now please understand - SOME guys swear by them. But EVERYBODY swears by OS. Bottom line, if you crash just one time because your Thunder Tiger engine cut out in flight, you will have just paid much more then upgrading to the high quality OS Max.

Along the same lines, I suggest you stay away from Century helicopters. Yes, they are cheap... But remember, you get what you pay for! Heli-World (A.K.A. Century) has a reputation for poor parts support and very bad customer service ( I speak from experience). Plus, if you walk into 99% of all hobby shops you will find Hirobo and Thunder Tiger parts hanging on the walls. I doubt you will find many Century parts...

I hope this helps you out. Good luck. -Steve

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09-08-2003 06:03 PM  14 years agoPost 9
Gearhead

rrMaster

Vt

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Adrian,,, when you have a 55 gallon drum filled with broken parts you can then say your good


Jim

Jim
Buzz Buzz Buzz

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09-08-2003 06:06 PM  14 years agoPost 10
diZeaZed

rrApprentice

Bunnell, Fl.

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One of the sites I learned a lot from (before I discovered RR!) is:
http://www.helifever.com
It's got some good info and some pretty funny pilots stories. See if you can hook up with an experienced pilot in your area - look around, they're out there!
Welcome aboard!
Jojo

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09-08-2003 06:13 PM  14 years agoPost 11
MooneyDriver

rrVeteran

Kent, Ohio

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Hughes500Pilot

His advice is spot on!

-Neil

Hey man, why does my lipo get bigger every time I charge it?

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09-09-2003 07:05 PM  14 years agoPost 12
idbfly

rrNovice

Houston, TX

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Adrian,

I am new to the heli world as well. Here is what I bought.

1 Raptor 30V2. The ARF kit with engine and muffler. 385.00
2.Futaba 9c pcm 550.00
3 Futaba 401/9253 Gyro. 209.00

So this goes right about at your budget. But is it isn't over. After that you need all the stuff needed to get it in the air as nheather posted. I am up to around 1700.00 into it with all the other stuff (1 minor tail boom strike).

I decided to go with the 9c because I knew I wanted to progress and this radio can do the job.

The good thing about the raptor 30 is you can upgrade it to a 50. I have seen friend do it and it rocks with the 50 in it.

The best advise is to find that club near you and talk to them. Without someone who is good at helis it will be harder to set up and tune your own heli. It would have cost me several crashes without help from my club members.

Ian

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09-09-2003 07:26 PM  14 years agoPost 13
TroyE

rrApprentice

Orlando, FL.

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welcome Adrian
I started about 3 mo's ago. my situation is a little diff from yours in that I can throw alot of money into this pit but I also learned a couple of things.
buy a good radio first not a beginners and then buy the radio you should have bought. BIG savings. the 662 i got first I out grew reallt fast and now am using to for a 34.00 electric airplane. what a waste
Then got a JR 8103 with 5 digital servos and batt and stuff for 449.
a Century Hawk 159.
os 32 sxh max i think 98.
I got the expensive gyro 169.
what that 875. then you need starting stuff maybe another c note or so.
BUT you must get a sim... 129 for the real flight G-2 the best money you ever spent.

that 129. would have saved me 445.00 for my first heli I had no biz flying as a starter.

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09-09-2003 07:30 PM  14 years agoPost 14
TroyE

rrApprentice

Orlando, FL.

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the hawk flys great and a crash kit is only 30 bucks. ask any question you might and some one will answer you. They did me.
Thank all.

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09-09-2003 11:52 PM  14 years agoPost 15
Hotwings

rrKey Veteran

Florida, West Palm Beach.

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Don't believe all the guff you hear about century, i've been flying their heli's for a couple of years and i don't have to replace parts (like the C-raptor) unless i crash. and yes i've flown the raptors. if you do a search you'll find bitches about all the heli's and their service. buy what you want, the raven 50 is the heli for me in the 50 size and Robbe for 60 and 80 size. c-ya Ron

Please cancel my clearance, I have the field in sight. Got my RW Turbine Waiver, need lottery!

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09-10-2003 04:07 AM  14 years agoPost 16
USC

rrNovice

Columbia, SC

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Thanks for all the input. I truly appreciate it. I probably won't have a chance to sit down and figure out exactly what I'm going to buy or how I'm going to go about learning flying, joining clubs, etc., until probably Christmastime.

But in the meantime I'll be doing lots of research.

Once again, my thanks to all of you.

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09-10-2003 02:14 PM  14 years agoPost 17
cornelian

rrNovice

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Hirobo Shuttle Payload

i need a heli for a project. i'm thinkin about Shuttle Plus kit WITH Muffler PLUS OS .32SXH engine PLUS JR 662 Heli Radio with (5) servos PLUS the Futaba GY240 Heading Hold Gyro for $ 650. this package is there on http://www.heliproz.com/startcombos.html

the help i need is that i want to know if a machine with the above specs could pick a load of around 1 kilogram. if not, how much is it goin to carry without any problems ?

thx a lot.

btw, is this combination any good ? if not, wat shud i change. though i know that "wat u pay is wat u get", but still i need the cheapest stuff that's goin to do the job don need no aerobatics n stuff.

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09-10-2003 02:51 PM  14 years agoPost 18
choppengruven

rrKey Veteran

Flagler County, FL USA

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The combo should be pretty good, but you may want to change that OS32 to a TT39 if you are looking for power to lift something up. You may want to call HeliProz and see if they could create a deal with the TT engine. May be even a bit cheaper as the TT engine is less expensive than the OS.

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09-10-2003 03:57 PM  14 years agoPost 19
Rawlie

rrApprentice

JHB

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USC

The great thing about this forum is the diversity of opinions.

Remember, opinions are like assholes - everyone has one!!

Seeing as everyone has chimed in their opinion I am going to as well.

30 size heli's are cheaper to learn on.
Get a 9C radio, got all you need.
Get a sim.

Then the sky is yours my friend .....

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09-12-2003 07:01 AM  14 years agoPost 20
PatNicklas

rrNovice

Sterling, VA

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USC-

First of all, I should say I am very new to the hobby (so don't believe everything I say...hehe) Others here have already given far more valuable information. I just wanted to share my thoughts.

I did a lot of research and web-surfing before deciding what to buy. I got the overwhelming impression that the best beginner machines are the Raptor and the Shuttle. Reason being, cost and popularity. I checked out my local hobby shop and they had a wall FULL of Raptor parts.

My budget was like yours. So I decided to watch ebay for a "package" that contained all the stuff needed to get going. I eventually bought a used Raptor 30 V1 with all the electronics, a Futaba T8UHFS transmitter, an extra OS 32 engine (new), extra receiver, extra battery, 1 and a half crash kits, a field box, Real Flight Simulator G2, and a ton of various tools and extra parts. And I got it all for $1000. That's what's best about Raptors, they're cheap and there's a lot out there.

I know a lot of people here hate the Raptor because they think it's junk. Well, there's a lot of other people who love their Raptors and they work just great for the beginner or experienced pilot. I think it's best to teach yourself on something that's cheap and has plenty of replacement parts available. Later, if I decide to stick with the hobby and I get good, I'll buy somehting bigger!

Just my insignificant $.02 (0.02744 canadian)

-Pat

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