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HomeAircraftHelicopterAerial Photography and Video › maintenance schedule?
03-13-2010 08:35 AM  8 years agoPost 1
erick420

rrNovice

Bangkok Thailand

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do you guys us a schedule for maintenance on your helis? ie. replace main bearings every 200 flights, replace links every 100,ect. If so can you give me some specifics of what and how often?

And on the dark side, how often are you guys crashing? Certainly none of us doing AP are begginer RC pilots (I hope) and not doing 3D with cameras strapped on. lol. But as we know (5h1t happens). I dont want a "swimming TRex 700N" ,without being ready for it.

I am working on a cost analysis spreadsheet for these things and need some input to see if my numbers are at least close.

Beating the air into submission, because we can!

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03-14-2010 08:03 AM  8 years agoPost 2
gill4321

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Honaunau, Hawaii - USA

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If it aint broke dont fix it. but on the other hand if you smell your electric motor windings burning replace it. If you batteries are not holding up replace them. just do a really good pre flight check before you go up every time and just use your judgement.

dont usually change things until i need to or if i could see it comming loose or pop off or quiting in flight. I have a lot of money in my bird that i dont want to waist.

Gill P

Gill P

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03-14-2010 01:23 PM  8 years agoPost 3
erick420

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Bangkok Thailand

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???
Never been a believer in the "if it ain't broke, dont fix it theory"! It can also be read: "Wait till it crashes to fix it", after all when it breaks it crashes. After all you put oil in the car well before the engine siezes up!
If the military went by that moto and did not perform routine maintanence there would be alot more ships sinking!!
Full size planes and helis have routine work done (ie, oil changes, instrument calibrations, engine overhauls, annual inspections, ect.) I think we should follow their example.

Beating the air into submission, because we can!

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03-14-2010 06:40 PM  8 years agoPost 4
gill4321

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Honaunau, Hawaii - USA

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sorry i didnt mean it to come across like that. Im just saying that when you check something on your pre flight and its ok then your good to go. Im mainly talking about changing parts that dont need to be changed because they still fly good and well and wont cause a crash. some people upgrade for no reason and just because.

Im all for a good pre flight because i know that i dont want my birds to go down with all thier equipment on them.

sorry if i confused you.

Gill P

Gill P

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03-24-2010 10:49 AM  8 years agoPost 5
ActionAP

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Brisbane, Queensland

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A serious AP operation NEEDS a preventative maintenence routine just like ALL other aircraft. To not have one for your flying 10k + investment is asking for trouble.

I have a flybarless 700 12s electric AP/AV ship.

Fo my operation:

every 10 flights
I will lube all bearings
Check the gears
check the ball links
if anything is wearing abnormally it is replaced

every 100 flights
Replace all bearings
Replace plastic gears
replace ball links

Quick pre flight check at location
Extensive post flight check after every shoot.

Rigid monitoring of battery cycles and ballance voltages

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03-24-2010 10:00 PM  8 years agoPost 6
ehx

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Northern Minnesota

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Maintenance is going to depend a fair amount on just what, where, when, and how you fly.

About a dozen years ago I started flying electric helis (gassers before that) and for the last decade it's been electric exclusively for AP. They require less maintenance than gasoline or nitro powered birds. It's simple physics as there's much less airframe vibration and no exhaust oil residue to attract dirt.

After you fly long enough you get a good idea of just what really needs to be done for your particular situation. I generally don't replace parts unless they show signs of needing to be. That said I do get a completely new heli every ~3 years and the old one is sold or becomes a backup. I also will change components on occasion just to try something new.

What's the most common first thing to wear? Bearings associated with the mainshaft. At about 500 flights it's not uncommon for one to need to be replaced though most last longer. A belt might also need to be replaced at about the same interval. Again I've had many belts last much longer. I don't ever remember replacing a ball link. Never had a quality servo (JR/Futaba) fail. An electric AP ship doesn't come close to taxing quality rc components unless you are really pushing the payload limit of your heli.

Buying quality also helps in reliability and lower maintenance costs. You can "Pay me now, or pay me later".

How often do I crash? With camera equipment on board never. Flying around AP-style just for fun? Never. Pushing a (non-AP) heli around the sky aggressively for fun? About a half dozen times though acrobatics/3D doesn't really interest me. Now I could end up crashing tomorrow. For budgeting purposes I consider a total loss of my AP heli once every ~3 years to be a possibility, but so far it hasn't happened.

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03-25-2010 06:20 AM  8 years agoPost 7
gill4321

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Honaunau, Hawaii - USA

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I like where this topic is heading. I do agree with ehx on everything he said. I like to keep a close eye on everything so nothing gets over looked. also I like taking things apart to see if there is anything out of the ordinary.

Gill P

Gill P

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03-26-2010 10:50 PM  8 years agoPost 8
andyman_sf

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San Francisco, CA - USA

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One would think that maintenance schedules would be based on hours flown via a hobbs or tach time on the airframe itself. That would be the real and only way your gonna do reliable maintanence without over doing the maintanence.

I don't have any guidlines.. In my real airplane I do 50 and 100hr maintanence inspections. Perhaps on tiny little model planes/helis we could do a 5 and 10 hr inspection where the 10hrs would be more stuff.

I think for any schedule first thing one needs to start with is adding a meter based on time on the heli and also an aircraft log book.

An

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03-27-2010 12:57 AM  8 years agoPost 9
Coolrunnin

rrVeteran

Manchester U.K.

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Added to the hours-based maintenance schedule, the concept of the 'rag-spanner' is also a very good one. This meaning, essentially, most problems are noticed when checking over the machine and cleaning/relubing before packing it away, ready for the next day. I personally have found more potentially serious issues in this way than any other routine inspection interval.

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03-27-2010 01:58 AM  8 years agoPost 10
ActionAP

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Brisbane, Queensland

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A method of logging flight time is important to a maintenence schedual. I do mine by packs. 1 pack = 1 flight = 14 minutes.
I log every pack cycle so I have a pretty good idea of airframe time. As mentioned I will do checks at 10 and 100 flights as well as a good post flight inspection. I think the success of a preventative maintenence routine can be measured by Never finding anything wrong in your post flight checks. Everything is replaced or maintained at intervals never allowing anything to fail. I would rather "over do" the maintenence than lose over 10k because I didn't change a ball link. I don't think the idea of "waiting till I find something wrong before I replace it" is a smart way of doing this business and I wouldn't imagine a full size operation would do it that way either. I treat it more like a business and less like a hobby. My 450 doesn't get anywhere near the same attention

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03-27-2010 02:30 AM  8 years agoPost 11
ehx

rrApprentice

Northern Minnesota

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I wouldn't go too far down the full-size analogy as while the little unmanned models may look similar to the manned ones they are really used in different ways.

How many manned aircraft are taken on 5 minutes flights? With an rc heli this is pretty common. With a manned heli it very rarely pays. With a manned plane? Pretty much unhear of. To take some rc extremes would you expect the same wear and tear on a heli with 1000 2 minutes flights as one with 100 20 minute flights? When flights can be of such short duration the number of flights could be more meaningful then hours of airtime. Of course knowing both is best. Just something to think about.

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03-29-2010 05:24 AM  8 years agoPost 12
erick420

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Bangkok Thailand

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Great stuff,
I think instead of a Hobbs meter just tracking the number of tanks/flights is enough to keep up with a maintenance schedule. And i have logbooks for both my AP helis with this info already, and no extra weght for the bird to carry.
Action: do you keep a log for your battery packs also? and i like were you are thinking. that is the kind of info was thinking of.

Beating the air into submission, because we can!

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