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HomeAircraftHelicopterBeginners Corner › Coming back to the hobby - has everything changed?
05-20-2018 08:27 AM  33 days agoPost 1
nheather

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Horsham, West Sussex, UK

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Hi,

Being flying fixed wing since a youngster and wanted to try my hand at helicopters. I bought a Raptor 50 but never got further than hovering. That was over six years ago, because of travel with work, health, location, other hobbies and responsibilities I put the hobby aside, always meaning to come back next year.

Well I really am ready to come back but not surprisingly it seems a very different world.

From what I gather Thunder Tiger are no more so whilst I can still fly my Raptor 50 after the next crash/breakage it is little more than scrap because the parts are impossible to find or very expensive.

It is obvious to me that electric is the thing now. So is nitro totally the thing of the past - I get that impression, because when I look at hobby store websites (UK Based ones) there are practically no nitro helicopters.

Is that correct, that nitro helicopter flying is practically extinct?

I was hoping to still find spares for my pristine Raptor 50.
And if that isn’t possible, transpose my engine and electronics into a current nitro helicopter.
But getting a feeling that I must dump those ideas and go electric.

Shame if that is true because I was hoping to get back into the hobby thinking I had all I need but beginning to feel that it is going to cost me a lot of money to restart with little reuse of what I have already.

Cheers,

Nigel

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05-20-2018 08:57 AM  33 days agoPost 2
datidun

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N Ireland

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Tons of spares on Ebay for your Raptor, all Nitro here.

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05-20-2018 12:11 PM  33 days agoPost 3
wjvail

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Meridian, Mississippi

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Welcome back.

The landscape has changed to be sure. Yours is a post I see about every 6 months. Folks drift away from the hobby and when they come back in 5,6,7 years, they don't recognize the place.

I think you'll find you can still do much of what you remember but it's all a little harder. You can still fly your Raptor and have every bit as much fun with it as you used to - just know, a lot of the biggest and best retailers gave up the good fight so "mishaps" require more creativity to put back together.

The alternative is to rob the components from your existing model and upload them to a model that offers more readily available parts.

The "nitro" or electric debate is endless. Glow model helicopters are still a very large part of the hobby. You don't have to go electric if that isn't your inclination.

Electric is certainly a very large part of the hobby. Its smooth, quiet power is ideal for our models. But more than that it is more easily scaled into smaller models and more easily marketed as ready to fly. While nitro models are every bit as viable as they ever were, electric is appealing to a much more broad-based group of modelers. In short, nitro is still here and still classed in 30s, 50, and 90s (and gas) but electric is here and ranges from ultra-micro through 800 class models. Nitro still brings in relatively serious modelers whereas electric appeals to everyone from rank novices and toy models through world class contest models. Nitro isn't less than what it ever was, electric has grow up around it.

I still fly my Raptors but not like I used to. If you're nostalgic about the ol' R50. Park it and start over. If you can live with a crash, fly it. It's still the helicopter you loved when life got in the way.

"Well, Nothing bad can happen now."

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05-20-2018 03:37 PM  33 days agoPost 4
nheather

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Horsham, West Sussex, UK

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wjvail
The "nitro" or electric debate is endless. Glow model helicopters are still a very large part of the hobby. You don't have to go electric if that isn't your inclination.
Many thanks for your response, slightly encouraging.

My current thoughts are

1) Fly the Raptor - if I break it, then I might be able to repair it or I might not. Spare parts seem to be limited to eBay (at least in the UK).

2) Sell my Raptor (complete or break for parts) and fit the engine and electronics in a current nitro heli. But in the UK at least I get the impression that there aren't any. When I go to the hobby store websites and select 'Glow or Fuel Helicopters' the cupboard is bare.

3) Sell my Raptor (complete or break for parts) - seems like the way to go, at least in the UK, but it would mean almost buying again as there is little that could be reused from my Raptor.

So a couple of questions

a) are there any nitro helis still sold and supported?
b) if I did go electric, what are the best makes/models to look at for the equivalent of a 30/50 nitro?

Cheers,

Nigel

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05-20-2018 10:42 PM  32 days agoPost 5
VinceY

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Newnan GA

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Check out Midland in the UK. They have nitro helis.

Team Synergy/ Rail Blades

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05-21-2018 01:58 AM  32 days agoPost 6
Gamb

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Belle Mead, NJ USA

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Nitro Heli
Welcome back to the hobby! I was out for a while, and came back, and went electric, when it was still maturing. If you really want a nitro heli, Align still makes them, and parts should be plentiful, even in the UK. It is a well established brand. If you want to fly your existing nitro heli, you may be able to find people selling them for parts on these forums. You could probably pick them up fairly cheap and use them for parts till you want to move on.

When you do decided to move on, I would recommend electric heli's strongly now, because of the lower maintenance, and cost. Fuel costs have gone up, and if they don't stock it at your local hobby shop, you may not be able to get it. Here in the US, it is difficult and expensive to get it shipped, because of the risk. On the other hand, LiPo batteries capacities have gone up, and the prices have gone down. There is a full range of sizes of helicopters, and the power and durations are now on par with nitros.

So, enjoy the hobby, there has been a rapid progress in the mechanics (flybarless) and associated electronics, which makes the hobby easier to manage, but still retain the challenges that make it interesting.

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05-23-2018 04:14 PM  30 days agoPost 7
nheather

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Horsham, West Sussex, UK

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Gamb
When you do decided to move on, I would recommend electric heli's strongly now, because of the lower maintenance, and cost. Fuel costs have gone up, and if they don't stock it at your local hobby shop, you may not be able to get it. Here in the US, it is difficult and expensive to get it shipped, because of the risk. On the other hand, LiPo batteries capacities have gone up, and the prices have gone down.
Certainly my plan is to continue as far as I can with the Raptor. After that I'll decide whether to stay with nitro or move to electric.

I do like the noise and smell of nitro and the convenience of being able to fly all day if I wanted. But agree I don't like the mess, the tinkering and worries about reliability.

With electric I really like the simplicity, cleanliness and reliability. I don't like having to buy all over again though to be fair if I were to move to another nitro about the only thing I would get to keep is the engine and the exhaust so maybe it is not so different. The biggest turn-off is the batteries, that whilst they have got cheaper and capacities have increased they are still expensive. I reckon you need at least three sets and even then after an hour I can imagine being down the field saying "may as well go home then" - I haven't looked into how realistic field charging from my car battery is.

Nitro has become more expensive and the range of brands and products has shrunk (although, less choice is good for me). Price-wise in the UK we are looking around £30 ($42) for 5 litres. We have the same problems with shipping so have to travel to a store, although the UK a tiny country by comparison so while we may moan about having to travel 20 or 30 miles that must sound like peanuts to you guys.

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05-25-2018 03:38 AM  28 days agoPost 8
Gamb

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Belle Mead, NJ USA

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Even here in the US, a lot of the local hobby stores have closed. Most products end up being purchased on line. Unfortunately, nitro fuel is not that easy to obtain, and you may have to travel long distances to get it. As you mentioned, there is a lot of tweaking that has to be done with Nitros. My electric heli's comeout in spring, and after a quick "service", and a battery charge, I'm flying. Most clubs now have set up charging stations at the flying fields, and some have even gone solar! If you know your type of flying, and how long a battery will last, you just need to invest in the number of batteries you would need that is equivalent to the charging time for one battery. That way, one battery is always charging, and by the time you run through the others, the charging battery would be ready; if you follow what I mean.

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05-25-2018 08:43 AM  28 days agoPost 9
nheather

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Horsham, West Sussex, UK

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Gamb
Most clubs now have set up charging stations at the flying fields, and some have even gone solar!
Question for UK flyers. I've been out of the hobby for many years, but back then, the clubs that I saw were generally a mown patch in the middle of a farmer's field. No facilities - maybe a small shed to store the mower and the peg board.

Has that changed - do most clubs in the UK have charging facilities these days?

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05-25-2018 10:46 AM  28 days agoPost 10
Gamb

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Belle Mead, NJ USA

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Some of the magazines, such as Model Airplane News, has articles about field charging options. Here is a thread about a club project:
https://rc.runryder.com/t699355p1/

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