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Home✈️Aircraft🚁Helicoptere-BladeBlade 400 › 3D New B400 Pilot (soon-to-be) looking for advice.
04-04-2010 11:42 PM  10 years ago
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Rookie400

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Norway

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3D New B400 Pilot (soon-to-be) looking for advice.
Hello to all of you from a newcomer.

I just registered after browsing this forum for a while, looking for information on heli-flying, set-ups and tips for my recently bought Blade 400 3D (with the DX6i tx, not among the recalled ones).

Now, I am on a very tight budget, meaning any alu upgrades are right out for the time being, so are any servo/elec upgrades. I am, in short, "stuck" with my 400 as it came in the box.

I know what other more seasoned pilots say about RTF kits but before you start slamming me I have disassembled the heli to learn about it's bolts and nuts before I have had a chance to total it. I am now learning about lubrication, what and where, those sorts of things. I haven't reassembled it and need to learn correct set-up, balancing and pitching, among other things.

I also have spent about 2 months on the Phoenix simulator and I am trying to follow the gospel of Radd.

Beside practicing, I have taken the time to read up on heli aerodynamics, heli flight characteristics, hazards, hazardous conditions as well as as many dos and don'ts I have come across. Reason: Two-fold. One is I do see the heli as a flying lawnmower and know it can inflict serious injury and the other is: I can afford a few crashes but the fewer the crashes, the better

Now to the point:

What advice can you give me as I'm currently at the point where the main rotor system is about to be reassembled? Tips, tricks, tools, anything that concerns trimming and tuning, balancing and "pitching" are greatly appreciated. How about CG? The positioning of the elec components, everything will be read and appreciated.

I am looking for a Blade that is "easy" for a complete rookie, that is, I am not looking for a crisp 3D demon. Which T/P curves should I go for? Please keep in mind I will, for the time being, not upgrade any parts unless they have proven to be outright unreliable.

Last (and off-topic really): Out of curiosity, what is your view on rc pilots learning aerodynamics, flight physics, inherant limitations of helicopters as flying machines? Reason I ask is this: It is a "undisputable fact" that all pilots crash when learning to hover. This is apparently not true for real pilots learning to fly real helis. The question that bothers me is "why? How come? What do real pilots know that rc pilots don't? How does a real heli compare to an rc heli?". Any thoughts here?

Long post, hope you didn't fall asleep

PS: Glad to be aboard!
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04-05-2010 12:49 AM  10 years ago
ROGER543

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bristol ct usa

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just fly it. the blade 400 is not bad out of the box. When you crash and you strip the servos replace them with hitech hs 65 servos. I fly mine mostly stock excecp fot the gryo and servos and can't complain. get your self 2 or 3 2200 batteries and enjoy almost 9 min of flight time
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04-05-2010 12:57 AM  10 years ago
Rookie400

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Thank you, Roger, for the advice on the batteries. I have been thinking about the 2200 batteries but how much does the heli change? Are these batteries heavy enough to require large readjustments? Also, I read somewhere that it was possible to draw over 10 minutes of flight time with those batteries if the pitch/rpm was set correctly (drag vs motor power, I suppose). This too is something I want to look at.

About just flying: I'm afraid it's a bit too late for that now, as I already disassembled the heli. What I need now is advice on how to set it up during reassembly
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04-05-2010 01:44 AM  10 years ago
A.J.

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Bethlehem, GA

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Keep an eye on the ESC. They get very hot. I blew one up on the first 6 flights. I would recommend getting a different one (not made by e-flite). 30-35 amp.Stratus 90, Synergy E6, Trex 450 Pro
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04-05-2010 03:46 AM  10 years ago
Ronbo

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Puyallup, WA

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Most of your question can be answered via the blade 400 bible at http://www.slyster.com/heli/b400bible.html

As far as Rc pilots, yes, they should all learn how a plane/heli flies in order to become better modelers. that depends on the person and how interested they are. Ive been interested in aircraft for a very long time and it translates from my models to my full time job as an aircraft mechanic.

As far as crashing, well, obviously crashing is bad for a full scale pilot...The obvious being said, setup is critical for a model before its even off the ground. A full scale is alread setup, its down to the pilot at that point, plus the fact being in the heli and extensive ground school vs a modeler and his experience level.

Usually, a pilots learns in a heli trainer like a R22 with an instructor, RC heli pilots are usually on thier own.

Im sure there are more variables that im forgetting, but its a start.
Vbr
Ron
Rapor 90, YS91
MA 99SE, YS80
Blade 400 Spartan, Hitec stock frame
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04-05-2010 09:22 AM  10 years ago
Rookie400

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A.J.:

Thanks a lot for the heads-up on the ESC. 6 flights and it blew up, if more people have experienced that then that's what I call unreliable! I'll see what alternatives are available over here.

Ronbo:

Thanks for that link, it's a real treasure trove of info

About that last topic: To me, this hobby is really a 2-in-1 hobby: One is the piloting bit, the other is the mechanics bit, two "jobs" in one hobby. It may be expressed differently, such as "if you don't like to fiddle with tiny parts and tools, then this hobby isn't for you" but to me it really is a 2-in-1 hobby. The ground crew (me) is making sure the pilot (me) is getting the best heli possible. A bad mechanic will not notice that obviously rotten bolt and the pilot takes an accident waiting to happen out to the airfield.
It's true that rc pilots don't go through extensive training, but that has to do with interests and approaches to this hobby. Ok, so we don't need to learn proper radio and navigation procedures, but there is still room for a better understanding, I know I need a better understanding The orientation problem still remains though
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04-05-2010 01:58 PM  10 years ago
Jgatorman

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Birmingham, AL

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Helicopter limitations? With the propper heli there are none just pilot limitations.:
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04-05-2010 09:19 PM  10 years ago
Ronbo

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Puyallup, WA

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If your esc is overheating, put a good BEC on it like from Castle. that will take the load off of it, or just get a good esc, 35plus amp. Im using the CC BEC on stock esc, with upgraded electronics and its doing just fine for 3d.Vbr
Ron
Rapor 90, YS91
MA 99SE, YS80
Blade 400 Spartan, Hitec stock frame
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04-05-2010 11:07 PM  10 years ago
tutelar-rc

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Nobleton, Ontario - Canada

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To answer one of your original questions, YES you can learn to hover without crashing. You are doing the right steps...

Follow Radd's religiously, don't cut corners and learn on the simulator first. Stay well within your capabilities, learn each new step without jumping ahead and getting outside your comfort zone. There is a reason to mastering each step before going onto the next - build a solid foundation and keep making it bigger. Get help from a local club or here on RR.

OR, just go out and whack it around. You will either learn faster, or get frustrated and quit.

I followed Radd's and learned to hover without crashing. When I got impatient and tried to do things without knowing the basics, I started to crash (and then learned how to fix my heli).

Happy Flying!
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04-05-2010 11:31 PM  10 years ago
ROGER543

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bristol ct usa

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forgot I did change the speedcontroler to an align 35 amp. Keep an eye out in the classified sections here, there are good deals to be found. Bigger batteries will have no effect on it (for me any ways). It took me a few months to learn to hover so don't give up
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04-06-2010 12:04 AM  10 years ago
Jgatorman

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Birmingham, AL

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To answer one of your original questions, YES you can learn to hover without crashing. You are doing the right steps...

Follow Radd's religiously, don't cut corners and learn on the simulator first. Stay well within your capabilities, learn each new step without jumping ahead and getting outside your comfort zone. There is a reason to mastering each step before going onto the next - build a solid foundation and keep making it bigger. Get help from a local club or here on RR.

OR, just go out and whack it around. You will either learn faster, or get frustrated and quit.

I followed Radd's and learned to hover without crashing. When I got impatient and tried to do things without knowing the basics, I started to crash (and then learned how to fix my heli).
Excellent advise. I can do all sorts of things in fff but it cost me a fortune to get there due to not learning the basics. I can even do some 3D but once again I paid a steep price. If you truly learn the basics in all orientations upright and inverted this hobby will be much much less expensive. I am relearning all my basics and spend half of my time just hovering in all orientations upright and inverted or doing very slow hovering almost figure eights since going back to the basics my funnels and hurricanes are much more consistant and so are my piros, tic tocs and fff. So be patient young jedi and rember the force is with you.
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04-06-2010 03:25 PM  10 years ago
Rookie400

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Thank you guys, for all your advice, this is enormously appreciated!

I will keep a close eye (and thermometre) on the ESC. Right now I will probably not change it but will ground myself if necessary if the ESC heats up too much, until I find a good solution. The BEC is noted!

Tutelar: I only have 2-3 months of practice on the sim, following Radd's but I must admit I find some of his lessons hard when what he tells me to look for is not modelled in Phoenix (tilting swash and main shaft). I am now at the point where I am learning proper take-off with the Blade (not yet at hovering) but I believe the real world holds a few surprises for me still. One question that troubles me after watching a boom strike video linked here at RR, is how to avoid it or reduce the possibility. I am reluctant to hit idle-up yet and I have disabled the governor in Phoenix (soft spool-up now) for the T/O, and I wonder about the balance between enough rpm/pitch to create enough lift on the blades to prevent a boom strike and too much lift so a "maveric" gust will send my heli up, up and away. I suppose the real heli is eager to tell me when the day comes but I'm a rhino, I hate surprises About impatience, I know what you're talking about. I've already crashed my CX2 a couple of times due to a complete breakdown of good judgement and I'd probably smack myself silly if I let it happen to the 400 as well.

There is an rc club nearby but the heli pilots (for some reason) have chosen independency (a farmer lets these guys use his field). I am invited to join them out there and will be there but whether or not I chose to join them, well, it depends on their own approach to flying (I'm not ready to join a stunt circus just yet).

Roger: Giving up? Are you mad? I hope to have at least a decade of fun here! (yes, I started out rather late).

Thanks again, to all of you and thank you for your good wishes!

Last: I am trying to work out a different "visualisation" to see if that will help me fight the disorientation demon. I'm trying to think of the 3 circles of rotation and not so much in terms of left/right/forward/back (too easy for me still to put myself at the centre of the Universe if I do that). Let's see if this is a dead end or if it'll pay off.
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04-06-2010 09:03 PM  10 years ago
fast400

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shelby twp. michigan

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the best thing you can do before ever trying to fly the blade400 is watching sokal11`s blade400 setup video`s on youtube.
get the heli setup properlly and it will make the learning curve so much straighter.
crash`s come easy patience`s doesnt
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04-07-2010 04:24 AM  10 years ago
tutelar-rc

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Nobleton, Ontario - Canada

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You do not need idle-up to learn to hover and forward flight. In fact, I discourage it -- just another thing to remember when you are about to crash and the higher rpm definitely has a higher pucker factor (relating to higher frequency of "dumb thumbs" while learning).

The stock throttle/pitch curves will ensure against a boom strike, if you are following Radd's and not doing something extreme.

I learned without the simulator, just with Radd's. You are probably ready to try it with the B400. Just take it slow and don't get in a rush... you will be hovering your heli quite quickly, without any damage. If you become uncomfortable, take the challenge back to the simulator -- it will make more sense with some B400 experience.

Best wishes!!! This stage of learning is probably the most exciting of the entire journey! (IMO)

Happy Flying!
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04-07-2010 03:10 PM  10 years ago
Rookie400

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Norway

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While learning proper T/O, I am concerned about a few hazards, like ground resonnance. I am aware that g.r. is associated with F.A. rotor systems but I am still concerned since the B400 does have a pseudo drag hinge. Perhaps I am a bit overly cautious but to me it just makes sound sense to at least give it a thought. Are the bolts that hold the blades to the grips supposed to be tight enough to prevent g.r. or is this a real risk with the 400 and hard landings?

(Thanks for the tip on Sokal11's videos!)
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04-20-2010 11:40 AM  10 years ago
Digger1973

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Amherst, NS, Canada

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I am just learning aswell. The only things I did to my heli was order hs65hb servo's for the cyclic since I had a stock one fail about 30 feet up. I did purchase a TP610C charger and 2 of their 2250 packs with 5c charge capabilities.

If you fly with the stock servo's on the cyclic just watch them, mine only lasted 4 flights before one gave out and they do tend to strip if you look at them wrong.

Best of luck
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04-25-2010 06:25 AM  10 years ago
helibro

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hamilton, ohio

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just fly it, if you crash thats part of the learning, that way you learn how to set them up and what to check. i think the b400 is the best 400 450 size heli for the money i just sold a trex 450 pro to go back the the b400 you will love it.hey! were is the reset button!
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04-25-2010 07:56 AM  10 years ago
Rookie400

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Digger1973: Thanks for your wishes. About upgrades: I'm still learning about the components and when I asked in the hobby store about upgrading the servos, the reply was stick with stock servos or upgrade the ESC to match the new servos. HS65MG's draw more current than the stock ESC is designed to handle and it will overheat quickly. When I read about upgraded Blades and overheating ESC's, I now wonder if that's related to this piece of information. I can't guaranty that it's true but it's well worth taking a good look at.

Helibro: About "just fly and learn from your crashes" is in my eyes the wrong approach. If you were to learn to fly a real heli, would you trust an instructor saying "Welcome, the heli is over there, fiddle around with the knobs and controls, take off and learn from your crashes"? Of course not. Ok, fair enough, there will be much more at stake with a real heli but the approach is unsound for rc helis as well, the way I see it. My approach has been and will be "ground school first, theory, then Radd's "one control at the time" before even lifting off. I'm counting on about 100 minutes of ground time for the live heli before attempting a lift-off and that's the bare minimum.

I do believe it IS possible to eliminate crashes caused by an ill prepared pilot as well as most crashes caused by mechanical failures. I do believe, however, that electronic failures will cause crashes from time to time but in total I believe it is very much possible to avoid a large number of crashes. All this while still learning more maneuvers! In theory anyway

Anyway, in my book, a good pilot is one who is not only good with the sticks but also well mentally prepared, one who has a good understanding of the machine, the air it moves through, the technicalities, risk assessment, and one very important thing here: "when to fly and when not to fly". Heaps of more than mere stick technique. A lot here to learn on the ground
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04-25-2010 01:52 PM  10 years ago
helibro

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hamilton, ohio

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well i hate to bust your bubble but this is a lil diff from real helis, ya there are risk factors, i didnt say go out and go wide open and fly wild and crazy and trust me you can do all the "ground training" you want you will still crash trust me you wont get the true feel for a rc heli till you fly one its not the same a sim, unless you are very new and dont know much at all about helis but most know a lil about rc helis when they get started, first thing would be to know HOW to set a heli up the correct way, after knowing how to set one up and know all the imputs, the only true way to learn is to do it, good luckhey! were is the reset button!
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04-25-2010 02:08 PM  10 years ago
Gamb

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Belle Mead, NJ USA

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Real vs. RC Heli
Orientation! In a real helicopter, you are in the cockpit always looking out. Forward cyclic is alway forward, etc. When you go up, you feel it in the seat of your pants! In an RC helicopter as it turns, or flies away from you, it is very easy to get disoriented. Same with RC plane vs. real plane, and even RC ground vehicles. All of my crashes were due to loss of orientation, and especially when the model got too far away from me.
You need to put the thing back together and fly, that is now the only way to move forward. Learn according to a standard schedule, and not try and do fancy stuff till you master the basics.
Cheers and fun flying!
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