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HelicopterBeginners Corner › Which Heli & Radio Should I Start With?
12-19-2003 10:03 AM  13 years agoPost 1
StressTest

Senior Heliman

Oregon

My Posts: All  Forum  Topic

I'd like to get peoples opinion on a good Heli I should go ahead and build as my first Heli.

I have friends that already fly but I'd like to get opinions from here on what you would recommend for a new hobbiest.

I'd also like suggestions on the best cost/feature radio to go with. I'd like to go with at least an 8 channel but I'm unsure of brand and particular model that will allow me ease of use to begin with as well as something I can grow into for years to come.

Any and all suggestions would be appreciated.

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12-19-2003 11:02 AM  13 years agoPost 2
Captain

Senior Heliman

New Castle,Indiana

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Realflight G2

Rap 50 v2 OS50
JR 8103
401 gyro

I don't think you can go wrong

Captain

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12-19-2003 11:19 AM  13 years agoPost 3
Al Magaloff

rrMaster

12,199 Posts- Enough Time Wasted. See Ya!

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You can't go wrong with The Captain's recommendation. Also, "gas" heli denotes gasoline powered. You probably are referring to Nitro powered, although some do start with a gasser heli. Welcome to RunRyder!

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12-19-2003 02:21 PM  13 years agoPost 4
Scooterpilot

Key Veteran

Southern, California

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Which One

Hi,

Check with the people at your local flying field and see what they fly and ask for their opinions. If you buy the same type of model an experienced modeler will be able to help you with the set up.

First, purchase a flight simulator. Then:

IMO, I'd go with a .50 size model. As your flying skills advance you won't have to upgrade to another model. The down side to flying a .50 vs .30 is they are not as fuel efficent as a .50 and are a little more expensive to repair and you'll need better servo's on the collective etc for a .50. The expense is primarily the cost of repairing the main blades when you crash.

Most of the.50 models use the same frames, skids, head etc as the .30 size models so the cost of replacement parts in those areas will be exactly the same for each model.

Personally, I like the Hirobo .50 Evo and I'd go with that model to start with.

If you have the money buy a 9CHP Futaba radio. It will take you well beyond forward flight and way into 3D flying. I say Futaba only because it 's easier for someone new to the hobby to setup a futaba 401 gyro/ 9253 servo with a 9CHP than it is with a JR radio.

JR makes a great product and if you like JR over Futaba then buy the JR 8103. I believe the JR is a 8 channel and might even be a 9 channel but I"m not sure on that.

If you have more questions the folkS at RR are loaded with information and will assist anyone.

Wish you the best in your decesion.

Regards,

Team Thunder Tiger, Team Futaba, Two G-4's, Two X50's YS60SR,Tx12Z/14FG,YSRep,RailBlades/S

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12-20-2003 01:33 PM  13 years agoPost 5
Helimex

Senior Heliman

Oklahoma

My Posts: All  Forum  Topic

Most definitely get G2 flight sim. The learning curve is greatly reduced with this awesome training device. Thunder Tiger heli's, good choice as parts are cheaper than other brands and support is plentiful. 401/9253 gyro best deal going right now, good system.

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12-20-2003 02:38 PM  13 years agoPost 6
joey.furr

Senior Heliman

Little Rock, AR

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Scooterpilot

It's people like you who take the time to respond with a long, helpful post that make this a great board.

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12-20-2003 04:50 PM  13 years agoPost 7
Hughes500Pilot

Key Veteran

Anaheim, CA

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IMHO, you should not start with a gas helicopter to start of with. Sure, its nice to be able fly with pre-mixed gas at $1.50 a gallon instead of glow fuel at $22 a gallon. However, most of the gassers out there are just way over kill for a newbie.

I think you would be much better of with a glow helicopter such as a Raptor or a Sceadu. Here is the advice I gave to another newbie who had the same question. -Steve

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

As for what to buy, here is 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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12-20-2003 07:02 PM  13 years agoPost 8
StressTest

Senior Heliman

Oregon

My Posts: All  Forum  Topic

Thank you all for your replies, it's very helpful.

I also feel that I should spend as much money as possible to get the best equipment I can, especially on the radio because I don't want to outgrow it within a year and have to fork out another big chunk of change.

I'm also more inclined to go with a 50 size bird than a 30 only because I know I'll end up regretting I didn't go with 50 if I started with a 30.

As soon as I look over the Raptor 50 and Sceadu 50's (I'm pretty much sold on one of these two) and make a decision I'll post here and get some additional feedback.

With regards to radio's I'm still a little confused by a couple of things. What is the difference between FM and PCM? Keep in mind I want something that going to carry me through Years of use and I don't want a limitation. So which do I choose and why?

StressTest

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12-20-2003 07:26 PM  13 years agoPost 9
Hughes500Pilot

Key Veteran

Anaheim, CA

My Posts: All  Forum  Topic

Most radios now days are both PPM (FM) and PCM capable. The price differece is because a FM radio comes with a FM receiver and standard servos. The PCM versions come with a PCM receiver and usually better servos.

For example, if you were to buy a 9CHF it would come with an FM receiver. If at a later time you decided to buy another receiver for a second helicopter, you could buy the better PCM receiver. You then just hit a few buttons and your 9C radio will now transmit in PCM on the new helicopter.

-Steve

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12-20-2003 07:44 PM  13 years agoPost 10
StressTest

Senior Heliman

Oregon

My Posts: All  Forum  Topic

OK, then PCM it is.

Back to the birds.

I'd like to get feedback from those who have the following Heli's and let me know their drawbacks and the Positives. I'm trying to make a choice between these two birds and I need to make a decision.

SceaduEVO50:
LIMITED DEAL -and a GREAT deal!! Best deal anywhere - Heli, Engine, Muffler and Carbon blades!! Sceadu EVO is the newest version of the "Mini Freya" with dual pin tail lever, boom mounted TR servo and very active control system. Includes the DTSD (driven tail) and 3rd bearing upgrades, new head design that is much smoother and tolerates aggressive blades like the the awesome INCLUDED Mavrikk 600 carbon fiber main blades, has a bigger fuel tank, and other upgrades. All this PLUS an OS .50 SXH heli engine - AND a tuned muffler!! Awesome 3D powerhouse!

VelociRaptor 50 PRO package:
WHAT A PACKAGE and WHAT A DEAL!!! HOT Raptor 50 V2 kit includes metal swashplate, larger tank, Raptor 60 tail hub and grips, Hatori-style muffler, carbon frame brace, new V2 body and decals. Comes with driven tail . THIS package includes the OS 50 SXH - one of the most PERFECT heli engines ever sold! PLUS the best flying blades on the planet, the ones WE fly and the 3D guys love, Mavrikk 600mm Carbon PRO series (instead of the TT blades) , PLUS 95mm Carbon tail blades, PLUS MPV0095 CNC Stabilizer Control Arm Set AND Aluminum mixing arms with bearings, PLUS the Mavrikk Head Button WITH bearings, PLUS the MPV1002 Metal tail slider ring set with CNC yoke, bearings and slider, PLUS The SUPER MPV0096 Alum. CNC washout set - CNC base, arms, bearings & hrdw included. WHAT A PACKAGE - This kit includes over $300 of way-cool and USEFUL upgrades. BIG SAVINGS on a WAY COOL Heli Package!

Any and all opinions appreciated!

StressTest

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12-20-2003 07:51 PM  13 years agoPost 11
Hughes500Pilot

Key Veteran

Anaheim, CA

My Posts: All  Forum  Topic

You cant go wrong with either the Sceadu or Raptor. Given a choice, I would buy the Sceadu.

As for the "super combo deals" you mention above, why do you need all that? My suggestion is buy a Sceadu (or Raptor), an OS 50SX-H and a good muffler. Thats it - nothing else... Then, learn to fly. When you get good at flying you can start putting all the shinny stuff on (its called eye candy, or some of my homies call it bling bling). 99% of it does nothing more then look good. Even for the stuff that can make a difference is almost impossible for a newbie to tell the difference between the two.

Instead of buying carbon fiber frame support plates and metal swashplates, buy a good servo for your collective control. Or spend the extra money on a good charger (like a Sirius Charge Pro). These are things you will get your moneys worth out of.

As for the blades, start with the ones included in the kit. If you crash, you are out only the cheap wood blades. Once you get good, buy some carbon blades. Or, if you just must have better blades to start with, buy some of the $28 FRP blades from Airborne Modles.

-Steve

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12-20-2003 08:32 PM  13 years agoPost 12
StressTest

Senior Heliman

Oregon

My Posts: All  Forum  Topic

You cant go wrong with either the Sceadu or Raptor. Given a choice, I would buy the Sceadu.

But Why?

As for the other comments on the equipment, that all makes perfect sense.

Where do you recommend buying this stuff? I'd like to find a good cheap source online as I do for my computer equipment. Any recommendations?

Thanks,

StressTest

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12-20-2003 09:12 PM  13 years agoPost 13
cmdiduca

Veteran

Mt. Pocono, Pa

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Buy a Fury. That way you dont fly the piss out of a raptor and then sit there afraid to fly the expensive machine. Just get it out of the way now
Chris

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12-20-2003 09:58 PM  13 years agoPost 14
greg

Key Veteran

Yorkville, IL

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Heli- Raptor 50 V2 or Evo 50
Radio- Futaba 9CHP or JR 8103 or Airtronics RD8000
These are all good starters and will take you far. I was not happy with a 30 size and quickly upgraded to a 50. Was not happy with my cheap radio with 3 point pitch and throttle curves and quickly upgraded to the 9C. Like everyone says here do it right the first time. As far as the different brands are concerned do the research and try to decide what is best for you or the support level you will have. I had no support in my area so it was up in the air.

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12-21-2003 01:21 AM  13 years agoPost 15
MJWS

Key Veteran

Airdrie, AB - Canada

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The only 30 I ever owned was an old Concept 30 I bought used from a cousin. Of course it came with an old Airtronics AM radio and mechanical gyro. Best thing I ever did was dump that junk and buy a modern 50 and decent radio.

I'm firmly in the camp of skip the 30 if you are serious about the hobby and can actually afford it. Most of the crash costs are the same. Fuel economy on the 50 is brutal, relative to a 30, when you are breaking it in. I ran mine so rich it would drain the tank in 7 minutes and it still flew nice. Once you have the engine leaned up, it'll fly forever just hoverin and flying circuits at a moderate to low headspeed (with more kick than a 30 should you need or want it). Once you can thrash it on 30%, fuel economy will be the last thing on your mind. Just one big grin.

Heliproz took good care of me when I bought a Raptor 50v2 and a 9C. If I was buying another 50 I'd likely buy the EVO just so I could have one of each.

Heliproz, Cyberheli, Heli-Kraft, and Ricks seem to be the online vendors everyone raves about. They are all competitive, usually within a few dollars on most items. If they only stock one brand locally, keep that in mind. There WILL be days you will want to stop at the LHS and pick up parts.

You can't really go wrong with the suggestions you'll get on this board. Some of these guys really know their stuff. I know they've taught me an immense amount.

Mike

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12-21-2003 02:57 AM  13 years agoPost 16
C-DOG

Veteran

SunShineState

My Posts: All  Forum  Topic

I switched to raptors 2 years ago

And they have always been excellent choppers,And easy to get parts for cheap,the raptor 50 with os50 kicks butt out of the box.good luck with what ever you choose,

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12-21-2003 03:47 AM  13 years agoPost 17
Hughes500Pilot

Key Veteran

Anaheim, CA

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Why would I pick a Sceadu 50 over a Raptor 50? A few things... First off I really like the way Hirobo helis are desigined and the materials they use. Hirobo has excellent customer support via Jeff Green. He is an excellent resource and he is there to hlep you. I really like the Sceadu's "battery compartment." It gives me peace of mind when I am doing super hard 3D flying (I've seen several people loose battery packs in flight while doing hard 3D). I have been a long time Hirobo flyer and the have earned my loyalty.

Please note - I am not slamming the Raptor 50. As noted above, I would suggest either the Raptor or Sceadu. However, my personal choice over the two is the Sceadu.

-Steve

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12-21-2003 03:54 AM  13 years agoPost 18
Scooterpilot

Key Veteran

Southern, California

My Posts: All  Forum  Topic

Which One

Stress Test,

An Evo or a Raptor:

The Evo has Push/Pull on all control surfaces except the t/r and throttle. The feel in flight is very solid.

The Raptor does not have push pull.

The Evo has the pivot bolt mounted on the leading edge of the blade holder with a negative delta; thus, providing better flying characteristics.

The Raptor's pivot bolt is mounted on the trailing edge. The Raptor flies good

Raptor parts are very accessable and cheaper.

Evo's parts are more expensive.

Having learned with a R 50 and R 60 which took me from hovering to forward flight and then into inverted flight I enjoyed the Raptor. It's a good model and will talke abuse. The only thing I did not like about the model was I consistently smoked clutches.

I've now have a bunch of flight time with the Evo and I really like the way it flies. IMO, the way the clutch mounts to the motor in the Evo is a better design than the Raptor. The Evo mounts exactly like the Freya and my Freya has 250 flights and the clutch is still strong.

Both 50's are good models. LIke the Hughes500pilot said, focus on a stock .50 model, ya don't need a lot of extra metal parts to start with. While learning to flying you won't be able to tell the difference between a stock or upgraded model because your focus will be learning to hover, forward flight, etc.

After you've master flying then speed the money on upgrades, but until then ..........spend the money on FUEL, FUEL, FUEL.

Wish the best is whatever you get.

Regards

Team Thunder Tiger, Team Futaba, Two G-4's, Two X50's YS60SR,Tx12Z/14FG,YSRep,RailBlades/S

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12-22-2003 04:37 PM  13 years agoPost 19
armageddon

Veteran

N. Y.

My Posts: All  Forum  Topic

Enter as low as possible with stability

Raptor 30 v2
Gy401 and 9253 combo ($170 on ebay)
Airtronics ag6000 Radio
(you can get the air ag600, receiver, 4 servos(bearing) for $160.

You want to keep your initial cost low. You will need the extra $$
for parts when you crash. As time goes on you will see the things
that interest you the most. You can always post you raptor 30,
Air radio, receiver up for sale and get a different setup. You can
carry over your gryo and 9253 servo to your next setup. You do
not want to spend too much $$ for the unknown. Everyone do not
like the same things, and until you figure out what it is that you
like, keep the price low.

good luck

WHAT SIGNATURE?

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12-24-2003 07:19 AM  13 years agoPost 20
rp56

Senior Heliman

Woodland, WA

My Posts: All  Forum  Topic

Stress test

Hi i am in the same spot you are with what to buy.

there is a ton of advice out there, i bought the Hummingbird about 2 months ago, i really like it a few mods and its all good. it crashed and cut my fingers and made small bents in the sheetrock. now i can fly out the battery pack.

i do not have any answers but i think that buying a big super costly heli is crazy. why? a person will not know how to fly it and you will crash and break stuff. even the best pilots crash for time to time. the cost of my flight training with the HB is less than $100. i am still in training it never stops, but i think in order to fly choppers you need to know how they work inside and out. the cost of one crash with a big chopper is going to cost a lot more to fix. the biggest question is how much do you want to spend on setup, then what is the budget you have to keep the heli in the air. as far as the mods, a person that is new at flying will not know what they are doing for you. its ablity is above a new persons head. when you break the neat trick parts, it cost more to replace them also.


i started flying planks about 15 years ago (helicopter are what i like but cost to much), they make trainer planes for a reason, they are mild in flight easier to recover in flight after messing up. its hard enough to learn to fly on trainer planes, so why buy the fast stunt plane? even seasoned pilots can have trouble with the stunt planes. i think the point that i am trying to make is do not buy something that will p*ss you off everytime you fly, because it crashes and cost lots of money

i hope that there are pilots out there that will back up what i wrote, and i hope that other people do not get upset with me for what i wrote. i am a rookie at helis but i still try to make a logical approach.

Paul

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