I wrote this letter to my family and friends back in the states... and realized you guys on here might enjoy reading it too. I am VERY excited to be moving into the world of gasser helicopters! Wish me luck... and thanks for all of your tips, advice and support. RunRyder is awesome!
I had wanted a remote control helicopter since I was about 12 years old, but have never been able to afford one because the average helicopter kit costs around $500... then the four servos cost about $150... the stabilization gyro costs about $200... the radio receiver costs about $100... then a quality radio costs around $300. Anyhow... obviously as a bus boy at Bonanza (which did NOT allow tipping)... it would have taken a teen age eternity for me to save up the $1,250 to buy an rc heli and radio.
While in Iraq, I saved my tax free money and bought a cheap $200 helicopter which I crashed on 100% of all of my attempted flights. Just goes to show just because you know how to fly a full size helicopter that it doesn't mean you can fly a little one. I bought Realflight G3.5 rc simulator and figured out how to fly the small helicopters. Then my buddy Chris Moss built a T-REX 450... which was the first rc heli I was able to fly without crashing.
Anyhow... since I got down here I bought a used T-REX 450... which was too small for the windy conditions. I bought two nitro methane Raptor 30's... but the NEX (Naval Exchange) manager was WRONG... about being able to special order nitro methane. So, I made payments on two T-REX 600's... which took me 5 months to pay off... making $200 and $300 payments.
Long story short... I never have been able to have nitro methane shipped down here. The T-REX 600's fly well enough in the wind... but their short 5 minute flights just aren't enough. Therefore, since November... I have been advertising and selling my helicopter fleet to finance a large (14 pound) gasoline powered helicopter by Varios outstanding German engineers.
Recently, I have successfully sold my two T-REX 600 electrics for $2,000, one ION-X for $1,000 and a T-REX 450 for $475. Now I have finally paid off in full my Vario Benzin Acrobatic, gasoline powered helicopter. Now all I have to do is sell my Raptor 30 and I can pay for the $625 Jr X9303 radio. I am VERY excited to be getting a quality German engineered helicopter like this.
It weighs 14 pounds and has heavy, wide chord 725 mm Vario rotor blades... Therefore, it is rock solid in a hover, even in windy conditions (like down here on the windward side of the island) and it autorotates extremely well. Not to mention, the Vario heli's main rotor blades spin counter clockwise like American built full sized helicopters. The Japenese rc heli's spin backwards... The Gasoline powered Vario Acrobatic can fly 25 to 30 minutes on one tank of gasoline... compared to 5 minutes of an electric heli, or 15 minutes for a nitro methane heli. Also, there is very little smoke which means there is a greasy/oily residue to clean off the fuselage like the nitro methane birds that smoke like a freight train. Not to mention, gasoline is a LOT cheaper than $30 per gallon nitro methane.
Also, with nitro methane birds you need a large field battery to connect the glow igniter to... need a large drill to start the nitro bird. Whereas with the gasser you simply pull a chord and start it like a weed eater/lawn mower. Anyway... suffice it to say, the gasser helicopters are very stable, have very little vibrations (unlike nitro birds) and are very straight forward to fly. Honestly, I would have bought a gasser a long time ago if I had known all of this.
Originally, I preferred nitro methane (despite how messy they are with the nasty residue from the smoke) because they can fly for 10 or 15 minutes, verses 5 or 6 minutes with the electrics. I paid for my fleet of rc helis down here by making payments to the sellers every two weeks. It is nice that I am able to make back the money I invested in the other helicopters that have made my room look like a helicopter hangar. LOL Ironically, now that I have people interested in buying my nitro Raptor 30's... my neighbor told me he knows a guy on the container ship (aka. "the Barge"
that comes down here with supplies every two weeks, who can buy and bring nitro methane down here with him... LOL
Anyhow, wherever or whenever I get deployed again... anywhere in the world, with the quality engineered Vario Acrobatic gasser, I will be able to fly my helicopter without any problems. Also... these things are NOT toys. There on average is at least one person per year killed by the 2000 rpm blades of rc helicopters and dozens seriously injured. They are extremely HARD to fly... to hover, you have to learn four orientations (nose facing away, facing right side, facing left side and most difficult nose (in) facing you. Whereas with a full size helicopter your left and right are always left and right. Not so with an rc bird...
If you do a tail rotor (pedal) turn and the heli is facing you, then your left and right control inputs are opposite (reversed)... because the heli is facing you... While you have stood still... the helicopter has reversed direction and the heli's left and right are the same. But now that it is facing you... you have to do the seemingly impossible... by disengaging your brain... remembering if don't want to crash the heli in less than 2 seconds that 100% of all of your cyclic inputs are reversed (ie. forward is back, back is forward, left is right, right is left).
Granted... you will probably always still have some people whom may still consider an RC heli to be an expensive toy for an adult, but for me it is a critical tool to keep my cyclic skills sharp for flying full size helicopters. There is NO denying full scale helicopters and their smaller brethren are expensive to own, maintain and fly.
I spent in excess of $15,000 to get my private helicopter license. However, it would have been even more expensive if I hadn't continued flying remote control helicopters during the 6 month hiatus I was forced to take because of my tour of duty here on Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Amazingly... I was able to chip away at the rust... and take my check ride with only about 5 hours of remedial training. The instructor was impressed... but the secret to my success was continuing to fly remote control helicopters.
I am convinced the knowledge... and experience with coping with in-flight emergencies with the small scale helicopters has undoubtedly made me a better helicopter pilot all around. I am confident I can handle any real world emergency in a large scale helicopter because I have already faced them in the smaller helicopters.
So, while I am stranded on this island in the middle of the Caribbean for another 6 months... to a year without flying, you can bet I will continue to grow, learn and hone my skills as a helicopter pilot with my new German engineered Vario gasser. People can laugh or make fun of me if they want as they drive by... but I am not just controlling a remote control helicopter... I am living my dream... and controlling my destiny as a helicopter pilot.
Charles Verax, Jr.
P.S. My friend Taylor, at Taylor Made helicopters is doing an awesome job with the build of this Vario Benzin Acrobatic gasser helicopter. He just sent me some updated pics of the helicopters progress so far... and will be sending video of the break in/test flights soon. I'll post the pics soon. I am excited like a little kid waiting for Christmas!!! ttys