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HomeContestAircraftHelicopterAerobatic FAI F3C F3N Contest › Initial Setup for FAI/F3C Style Flying (FBL)
06-12-2013 04:53 PM  5 years agoPost 1


Burlington Cnty, NJ

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I'm interesting in setting up my Align 500 for FAI/F3C style flying. Late 50s so don't think I will ever compete in a competition but I'd like to help pass information to others about this style of flying. Except for RunRyder here, everything is 3D setup related when you look for information and with various forum polls I have read, I'd say half of the average flyers aren't interest in 3D at all.

Since the trend is toward FBL, I was looking for ideas AND WHYs for "initial" starting points for a beginning flyer (hovering, circuits, etc).

Some information I am looking for:

Flight modes
What might be suggested endpoints for Normal, IU1 and IU2? Is IU2 even used for say competition flying and if used, what might be some reasons.

For Normal I have seen 0, 10 or -2, 9
For IU1, I have seen -5, 10 or -9, 12

Pitch Curves
I know to go for constant headspeed so it not using a governor, then throttle curve should be setup to get close to a constant speed.

Is the pitch linear for both Normal and IU1? It seems linear 'feel' is what is important so for radio setup, does that mean a linear curve also?

Mechanical setup
All advise I've seen on the Internet says to mechanically set the pitch to 0 Degrees for the stick at mid point. Same for manufacturer suggestions. Yet an older book I am reading said to mechanically set the pitch to hover point (so about 5 degrees) to get the most resolution (accuracy) for hovering. I would assume the same point applies for IU1. Haven't gotten far in the book Is this what is done for F3C competitions?

Cyclic Pitch
I have seen cyclic pitch recommends of 6 to 8 degrees or high for 3D but not sure for this type of flying. Would you have one pitch hovering and a more responsive one for maneuvers? If so, what might be some starting numbers?

I never see anyone mentioning using rates. Do they serve a purpose now a days and is so, what? If you do use rates, lower one for hovering and higher for maneuvers? Or maybe use for specific pyro rates?

I know this is personal setting but looking for ideas what one is trying to accomplish for "feel". Going from Normal to Idle Up 1, headspeed increases, not sure if cycle pitch is increasing but helicopter if more responsive so increase expo to keep same feel as Normal?

I did read through the old 2008 postings for setups but it seems like the required maneuvers have changed some since the point and as I will be using the latest set of published maneuvers for flight training purposes. And with FBL helicopters, maybe some of the setup changes also.

Thank you in advance for any responses.

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06-12-2013 07:19 PM  5 years agoPost 2


Thuerigen germany

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Hi again

constant headspeed - on electric no problem, use the governor.

pitch - i have two general curves, one for hover, one for the figures, and one for throttle hold, but identical to the figures one.

I read that FBL will be allowed in the US championship so you might skip all the flybar stuff but i am not sure it will be allowed international.

The hovering curve

i setup the normal curve +/-10 (or 9) and hover and find a RPM which is good from the feeling. Telemetrie helps a little there to know the rpm.

The hovering point is then somewhere a little above mid.

The decending and climbing is different so i put the lower end on a poti and hover climbing and decending until i have a good feeling.
If it is too "jumpy" i lower the upper end (have that on a poti in that phase also).

Then i put the numbers each time so, that the poti is in mid again and so i near my "nice point".

It is - from my point - useless to talk on real pich numbers because the chopper has to fit your feeling.

Just try little negative for the beginning and 2-3 more than hover on the upper curve.
The midpoint where the curve bends is approx at the hover point.

The cyclic is used only in FB setup.
In FBL you adjust the rotation rate.

Hope that helps you.

Have fun

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06-14-2013 09:35 PM  5 years agoPost 3


Thuerigen germany

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Looked the numbers up

The hovering point for the fai machine 1.8 m. Is at 3.2 degree.
Blade rpm is 1480
That is the point which is fixed at the same horizontal curvepoint as in the other idles.
The maximum is 7 degrees and the minimum is -1
The ail and roll is 50% d/r with a 25% expo

I have a poti mixer on the two endpoints so i can adjust the hover curve that the heli barely climbs and only slowly decends.

Hopefully that helps you for a first idea.

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06-17-2013 05:31 PM  5 years agoPost 4


Burlington Cnty, NJ

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Hi Roger,

Thanks for the replies and taking time to get some starting measurements.

Never heard of a poti mixer. I think you're the first person I read who uses something like that to help with hovering setup.

And it looks like I need reread my FBL manual about rotation rate for the cyclic.

Lots to learn with helicopter setup but I like to tinker and this will get me started on the simulator, then move over to the real deal.

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06-17-2013 07:19 PM  5 years agoPost 5
Santiago P


South West, Ohio

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Never heard of a poti mixer.
I think he means the variable rate trims like the ones many radios have on the side of the transmitter or the variable knobs on the front. I heard other folks that use that approach
You can write program mixes (if your radio allows it) to make any of these variable switches control the bottom, mid, or top of your pitch curves.
There are many ways to skin the cat

Myself, I just settle for a top end and bottom end pitch that will cover a most of the hovering tied to one RPM for light wind to a condition/mode switch,

and a second hover mode for windy conditions with slightly higher rpm, rates and collective,

and one mode for the aerobatics,

then fly the hell out of the sticks.

The reason for the 2 RPMS is that I use the lowest RPM possible to hover. It helps the helicopter sit in hover but makes for a control liability in wind, thus the need for a second hover mode. This is applicble to my FB setup.
For FBL, you may find 1 RPM and several rate modes and pitch ends may be more appropiate.


Team Minicopter -
bavarianDEMON- Team Kontronik - Scorpion Motors-

06-17-2013 09:38 PM  5 years agoPost 6


Thuerigen germany

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Yes, a poti mixer is a term from the old FUTABA FC28 times

Look at the 4 potentiometers on the left top.

on the T18MZ i use now i use one of the free assignable givers at the side.
You can adjust the curvetrim or a single point with those in flight.

About the hover rpm i try to have it low also but i find that there is a point which fits.
I can adjust to different rpms but it feels a little less comfortable at that chopper.

My FAI machine was technical down today so i used the 3d machine and programmed a setup.
The hovering RPM is lower but the machine is lighter and the disk loading is different and there are far too light paddles on it for fai, so it was just to do some flying.

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