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HomeAircraftHelicopterAerial Photography and Video › Routine AP Ship Maintenance Thread
10-24-2006 11:14 PM  11 years agoPost 1
Brett Horton

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I would like to start a thread that anyone and everyone posts a tip from experience on how they maintain there AP Ship. Could be Ship specific or not, does not matter!!!!! Please post your ideas and hopefully, collectively, our thoughts will possibly save your Hyde one day as well as help newbies with routine maintenance tips AND old farts like me that might over look the ROUTINE maintenance items.

I will Start:
You GSR owners check your lower landing strut mounts. I picked up the GSR today after a long days shooting and felt play.... I had to remove the Black insulation from the edge of the assembly to get too the pieces, but ALL of them where loose, Not in danger of falling off just loose. I have NEVER check that before.....

See that was not to painful was it??

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10-24-2006 11:41 PM  11 years agoPost 2
FLAP

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Michigan

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The most important thing, by far, is anything to do with the tail rotor. I always check the gear mesh of tail rotor (have open bergen tail gear box) and main gear between each flight. I check the ball link fit on tail control rod where links attach to balls, at least prior to first flight, they do wear after awhile.
Prior to first flight, I also check the gyro attachment, if you have ever had two sided tape (which I don't use anymore) come loose its a bit of an adventure. Pay close attention to the maintenance tips you get from the forums (like one Chris Bergen just posted).
Occasionally check all the servo leads are tight into the receiver.

Anything in the tail drive train is time well spent. A good practice is an occasional detailed wipe down. Not so much that cleanliness is important, but if gives you the opportunity to look at things you might not ordinarily check.

I also always start day with full control check, up TC stick left right, pitch, roll, etc. I also battery check between each and every flight.

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10-24-2006 11:45 PM  11 years agoPost 3
aambrose

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Pana, IL

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Good thread idea Brett.

I've seen the same situation with the landing gear on our GSR. A few things that have caused me some aggravation in the past (may or may not be specific to the GSR):

1. Inspect the tail belt for missing teeth and/or wear.
2. Inspect all servos and make sure they're mounted firmly. I had a loose tail servo that caused some drifting. While on the subject, check your gyro tape regularly too.
3. You might want to consider switching over to an aluminum carb spacer.
4. Finally, lube the crap out of it regularly!

Oh yeah, give her a pat on the back and compliment her after each successful flight! Talk to her regularly so you know just how she feels.....oops....too much info!


Tony

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10-24-2006 11:49 PM  11 years agoPost 4
Brett Horton

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10-25-2006 12:04 AM  11 years agoPost 5
TCGliderguy

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Albuquerque, New Mexico

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While I am no longer flying glow powered choppers, something that scared the bejabbers out of me (fortunately in a five foot hover) was the glow plug suddenly deciding to part company with the engine. Check the glowplug for tightness....

-TC

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10-25-2006 02:26 AM  11 years agoPost 6
Chris Bergen

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cassopolis, MI USA

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Good idea.

How about this one. Do a test flight of your bird, without any gear or spectators around, after completing any kind of maintenance.

Chris D. Bergen

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10-25-2006 02:44 AM  11 years agoPost 7
Brett Horton

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No doubt

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10-25-2006 03:13 AM  11 years agoPost 8
BigguyOz

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Forster, New South Wales, Australia

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If your receiver uses a crystal, make sure it is taped in securely, as a crystal falling out won't end well. Don't ask me how I know.

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10-25-2006 03:20 AM  11 years agoPost 9
HawkEyeMedia

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Fort Worth, Texas

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I always lift the heli and mount off the ground and cycle the retracts before the first flight of the day. Going up is important, but going back down is priceless

It saved my bacon on a post maintenance check flight. They went up, but didn't come back down.

Mark LaBoyteaux
HawkEyeMedia.com

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10-25-2006 03:36 AM  11 years agoPost 10
Rotary R/C

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Sudbury, ON Canada

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For those of you with removable camera mounts (like yours truly) and as sort of mentioned by Chris, I always do a test flight for about half a tank before I strap my gear to the skids for the first flight.

I also like to give EVERY link a nice little tug and twist them back and forth to make sure the are properly seated on the balls before the first flight of the day (and a couple more times through out the day if I have many flights in that day). Once I land from the "Test" flight I check my muffler for looseness. It's not pleasant having an engine lean out on you during a flight.

Once I strap my mount on and fire up the Rx for the camera mount I always do a new range check (this has saved my a$$ once before ).

All in all you should be as an@l as possible and check every thing moveable on your pre-flight and on your post-flight at the end of the day it doesn't hurt to check all your bolts and screws for tightness and give the heli a good wipe down.

Think of it this way 1/2hr of your time to check the heli or a lot of grief and money 'cause you didn't check that one "so and so" and had a crash.


Marc

Love my life, love my wife but my heli is my mistress! :D

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10-25-2006 03:45 AM  11 years agoPost 11
c130pilot

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Windsor, CO

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One thing I have always done is "laced" the servo/battery/switch leads. Even the ones on the receiver. I use string (floss works) to tie them so they can't back out.

Tim
.

Help! I'm umop apisdn

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10-25-2006 04:04 AM  11 years agoPost 12
fitenfyr

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Port Orchard, Washington

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Brett,
Good thread.

I would like to know any and all things you guys suggest for maintennce, new airframe flight testing, replacement cycles, etc...

I have been tasked with writing a draft standard for F38 that addresses our level of aircraft.

It is important that we show the FAA how we are providing the most reliable aircraft we can for commercial use.

If anybody has any kind of checklists, documents, flight manuals and such please post a link or e-mail them directly to me.

I want to write something that is as close as possible to what we do everyday and there are so many differences between each pilot.

Jason Stiffey
Fly Fast....Live Slow...

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10-25-2006 04:10 AM  11 years agoPost 13
Flyingeye

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San Diego, CA, USA

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While I fly PCM day to day, I install an FM receiver a couple of times a year and do a few test flights to see if there are any new sources of RF interference from the airframe. I believe it's better to see a couple of little glitches in a controlled situation than to experience a PCM lockout on a job. The biggest contributor I've seen to increased glitches is bearing wear in the motor of an electric ship so I just replace them periodically.

Another thing I do is put a small label on each servo with the installation date and periodically replace all the servos (and the power switch).

Once a month, I cycle the Tx and Rx batteries to make sure they are still holding full capacity.

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10-25-2006 05:30 AM  11 years agoPost 14
CRJBenny

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Pocatello, ID

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One thing I do is move each servo by hand before I turn on the radio. One time on my own heli and one time on someone elses helicopter a bad servo was found because they were difficult to turn by hand.
I just start on one side of the heli and check ever connection and bearing/gear and work my way around to the point I started from. Start it and do a control check.

Ben Cardon

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10-25-2006 05:38 AM  11 years agoPost 15
Wayne Mann

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United States of America

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Here are some of the things that I do.

Everybody that flys a G26 or 23 needs a safty strap of some kind on the choke lever on the carb if they have the stock air cleaner assembly. The rubber washer that applies pressure to the choke plate to keep it locked in the open position will possibly fail at some point or get soft and when it does the choke lever will close due to engine vibration. When this happens the engine will come to an abrupt halt. Don't ask me how I know this. For this reason my G26 no longer has a choke. If your wondering how I get this thing started without a choke I will tell you. I use my electric starter that I use on my YS 91s. The G26 is much easier to turn over with a starter than my 91s are, plus this eliminates the pull starter which has it's own potiental for failure. Once you prime up the carb with the primer bulb it fires right up.

The next biggest failure that I worry about is the tail rotor servo. When you have a constant drive tail rotor a servo failure can and most likely will be catastropic as most servos run to one side or the other when they fail. For this reason I use two tail rotor servos. The servos on the Caliber ZG are mounted underneath the tail boom. I have one servo sitting in front of the other and they are connected together via push pull linkage. This combined with the tail rotor control on the Caliber ZG being push pull makes the tail rotor system fairly bullet proof.

If your landing gear is attached to the mechanics via rubber mounts aka lords mounts I recommend using tie raps as an insurance divice in case the mounts break for some reason. If you are using rubber mounts on the landing gear and your landing gear is lifting a HSC Broadcast 360 type mount or equivelant I would definately use tie raps.

Once the camera is mounted into the mount I also use at least two tie raps to secure the camera to the mount for insurance.

Receiver battery failure and switch failures are a couple real possibilities as well. I use two Futaba 1500 Mah standard NiCad packs and two Futaba small switch harnesses. The second battery is pluged into the second switch and that switch is pluged into a spare channel in the receiver. With a 14MZ there are a lot of empty slots with which to do this. Outside of running your batteries dead the most likely failure will be having a cell go dead or open. This will save your butt. However if a cell shorts out, I'm not quite sure if my system will help much.

I feel that I am most at risk when filming a golf course as I am usually between 75 and 130 feet high flying no more than 15 mph. My cut off point (where Charles clears me to turn around) is 300 yards or 900 feet which means by the time I get the model half way through the 180 turn I'm probably 330 yards away, moving at very slow speeds. I am also trapped a lot of times with trees bordering both sides of the fairway which makes the turn around even more nerve racking. Then comes another part I hate...flying straight back to me with very little to guage the speed of the helicopter because it is coming straight at you. Doing this type of video work is very risky because most of the time your flying the fairway you can't judge the wind very well, you have a slow forward speed, low altitude and the model gets a long way away from you. With an engine failure it is going to be nearly impossible to land an auto due to the circumstances. Aerial photography on the other hand is much safer. I love the challange of shooting video, but I would much rather shoot pictures.

Speaking of insurance...for your equipment. How many of you guys know that if you buy you cameras and lenses from a Ritz Camera retailer you can purchase their insurance for the equipment which will replace the equipment if it gets destroyed. As long as you have the serial number plate off the camera they will hand you a new camera?

I hope this helps

Wayne Mann

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10-25-2006 06:11 AM  11 years agoPost 16
Kona Chopper

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Kailua-Kona, Hawaii USA

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a few others:
-I always make sure the servo arm screws are secure. I hear too many horror stories of them coming undone. Particularly the ones with metal output gears like mines. JR8311's.
-I also make sure the whip antenna connectors are mated securely. I use clear packing tape to tape the connectors together. Easy to see if the connectors are secure.



Why buy?? when you can borrow and no return

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10-25-2006 06:11 AM  11 years agoPost 17
FCM

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Surrey, England

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I have read some good stuff here and want to contribute so here goes....

My preparations start one day before I fly/shoot. I go over all the normal issue areas of the heli with special attention to everything associated with the tail. I do not however keep tightening up all the screws on my helis. This is something I would not recommend as it will gradually break down the effectiveness of the thread lock and also run the risk of damaging the threads. Apart from after rebuild test flights, I do a visual inspection and just 'feel' the critical bolts with hex wrench or whatever. Even just doing this will eventually wear out the hex drives on the bolts so be prepared to change them out as required.

The other important thing for me is to check all servo and power leads for chafing and antenna for external damage/routing.

Waynne, unlike you I love to fly golf courses, mainly due to the good hospitality they provide but I also worry about those long-range 180 deg. flat turns where you just have to trust your engine 100%!

Paul.

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10-25-2006 06:43 AM  11 years agoPost 18
Wayne Mann

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United States of America

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Hi Paul,

I'm sorry I should have been more specific. It's not the engine that worries me when I'm that far away. Its my eyes. It is so hard to see the model when it's that far away. If anything goes wrong or something gets in you eye (like a bug) your in serious trouble.


Wayne

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10-25-2006 06:47 AM  11 years agoPost 19
FCM

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Surrey, England

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Its my eyes. It is so hard to see the model when it's that far away. If anything goes wrong or something
That too

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10-25-2006 07:47 AM  11 years agoPost 20
Torsten

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Germany

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good thread !

I use Schulze MC 4 Blinki´s on my rx battery and check them after every flight. they show the minimum voltage during the flight and also the rest voltage after each flight.

a higher than usuall draw would indicate that at least one servo needs more "juice" and that is a sign for a higher workload.

i´ve made it part of each post flight check just like the resetting of the flight timers on the TX.

also i dont use a rx switch but use 4mm gold plugs instead. one less thing to fail.

as already mentioned i too fly 3 test flights after each component change or mechanical maintenace work on the helis.

also dont forget the pilot check over all the fancy equipment.

sunnglasses, cap, mobile phone turned off, proper footwear, insect repellant if nessesary, pilot position clear of rocks-weeds-etc. so you dont stumble over something. enough rest/sleep, not too much coffee, etc. etc. get my idea. best equipment does not help if the pilot is not in good shape.

ps

unload all batteries at the days end and check remaining energy

only use batteries directly of the charger declared full. store used batteries apart from the pre loaded ones.

use safety caps on all open battery leads

store your helis in a clean dry cool and dark location

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