Excerpts from RC helicopter tips e-Book...
This e-book is the result of many questions I have received about how to properly set up a collective pitch RC helicopter for training purposes, general flight, and aerobatics; as well as many other specific “how to” questions in relation to collective pitch helicopters. The main focus is on electric power because of the growing popularity, but many of the setup procedures and tips are just as applicable to fuel powered machines as well.
DFC WARNING FOR BEGINNERS:
Okay, I'm really getting ahead of myself here and putting the cart well before the horse but this topic is important and I wanted to address it early on. Much of the terminology mentioned in the following couple paragraphs below such as head dampening, head speed, cyclic response, washout arms, and blade lead/lag are all covered in greater depth later on in the e-book. Please don't get flustered or feel overwhelmed if you don't understand these terms yet or they make no sense right now - by the end of the e-book, they will. The main thing is you understand what DFC is and I wanted to mentioned it now early on just in case you are all geared up to make your very first collective pitch heli purchase before digesting and understanding parts of this e-book and the bird you are thinking of getting happens to have a DFC head...
Crash Assessment & Repairs...
There is absolutely nothing fun about crashing and no matter how experienced and good you get at flying any RC model; the feeling of despair is always the same. In fact, it usually gets worse as you progress in this hobby since your models generally start costing more and you will usually know exactly what you did wrong to cause the crash in the first place. Yep - the old “that was stupid” statement is muttered under your breath or perhaps some stronger and more colorful language is used - planes or helis, it makes no difference. The good news with all RC helicopters is that repairing them is pretty straight forward and once properly repaired; a RC helicopter is 100% good as new - something that is rarely achieved when making repairs to fixed wing RC aircraft.
Micro Collective Pitch Setup Basics...
As I indicated in the opening chapter, micro collective pitch setup really doesn't differ much from the larger birds so this is going to be a short and sweet chapter (I hope). In most cases the exact same pitch curves, throttle curves, and dual rates all work equally well with the micro stuff the same way it does with the bigger stuff (I will point out the few differences).
Set up values and procedures...
The great thing about all good quality collective pitch RC helicopters is how adaptable they are. This holds true for any size collective pitch RC heli - from a tiny Blade Nano, up to an 800, or even larger. From scale to sport, trainer to 3D – one heli can do it all. The problem is most instructions are very vague in how this is achieved or simply don’t even make mention of this wonderful benefit. Worse yet, most ready to fly (RTF) models come out of the box setup for more advanced flying. If you're lucky you might get a fairly tame "normal flight" mode (that's even too aggressive in my opinion to learn basic hovering exercises on), but most will be setup for full on sport or aerobatic flight making them overly responsive to learn on.
Bottom line... There is absolutely no reason that you can’t successfully learn on a higher performance machine and have a lot of fun doing it (so many of us have) if you have it set up properly. However, if you don’t tame this high performance bird down, you will almost certainly over control it and crash; perhaps even give up all together with the costs and frustrations involved in crash repairs.
Programming Brushless ESC's...
As I said, this really surprised me because all along I had read and heard high ripple goes hand in hand with high power/acro flight, but running very low head speeds and starving the motor under high rotor loads is just as capable of producing some respectable ripple numbers. In short, tame flying can produce it as well! Once I installed the Cap Pack however on this particular bird, those numbers with the same tame throttle curve dropped to under 2V. I just wanted to point that out to illustrate that even if you fly tame/normal type flying, you may be generating substantial ripple depending on your particular heli setup, motor, gear ratios, and even the way the ESC is programmed. There are just so many variables, but post flight data logs can certainly help you see what's going on and identify potential issues just like this particular example did for me.
Heli Building Basics & Maintenance...
I get so many lubrication questions and rightfully so; if you ask 10 different people what their RC heli lubrication recommendations would be, you will likely get 40 different answers. I personally don’t feel there is a perfect lube for everything and I have tried them all (3 in 1, Tri-Flow, silicone oil, silicone grease, silicone spray, ATF, high quality bearing grease, lithium grease, synthetic oils, waxed based lubricants such as White Lightning, etc, etc, etc).
It's usually caused by dirty/worn potentiometers (pot sliders) in the servos and almost always happens more around the center neutral position because that is where most of the fine servo movement occurs. You don't see this as much with the fixed pitch flybar micros; only the flybarless ones seem to be an issue because as I just mentioned, the flybarless system is always sending constant small commands to the servos to stabilize the heli, and that tends to wear/dirty up the pot sliders faster.
So, for only $16.95 USD, you will have a tool that shaves months and maybe even years off the collective pitch learning curve, not to mention avoid many of the common frustrations involved. Like I say on my website many times, "I want people to succeed in this hobby" and sincerely hope that with the help of my little ebook here, you will not only be successful with collective pitch, but also have a lot of FUN while learning about it!
Hi John, I have been flying helis for 5 years and have many books. Since getting your ebooks yesterday I have not put them down. They are by miles the BEST instruction books on the subject I have ever read. The clear descriptions of the various setup functions have revolutionised my models. I reset three swashplate heads last night on my Trex 500, Trex 250 and blade SR and flew all of them this morning WOW what a difference. Dual and expo have never been better described and so easily understood. I had to email you to thank you and congratulate you on such fine work. My only wish is that I found your work earlier and saved a lot of heart ache and expense. These should be standard reading for ANY Heli flyer. Once again a thousand thanks.
Kind regards, Neill Drennan
John... I can't say enough about the help you have been with my endeavor to become an RC Helicopter pilot. I have a 130 X and because of your e-book on Setup & Tips for Electric Helicopters I set it up for training and it has made the adventure fun, rewarding and exciting. Your numbers hit the mark perfectly. I visit your site on a regular basis to learn more about the hobby and I tell everyone about it. Keep up the good work and THANKS.
Robert Blot - United States
Hi John, I bought your e-books and they continue to be the best thing I've spent money on in this hobby. Hard to believe last November I bought an MCX, then an MSR, a MiniTitan in February which I learned to hover on, then a Blade 400 on a whim (and your recommendation). When I set up my MiniTitan with the ultra conservative 'learn to hover' set up you had...holy cow! I swear that thing was as easy or easier to hover than an MSR, stunning really. I was completely chicken s..t to go into forward flight but one day I'd had enough, took the Blade out and followed your directions and its been full speed ahead since :). That Blade is a hell of a lot of heli for the money. My buddy had only an MCX and wanted to dive in. We went and got him a Blade 400 RTF, did the John Salt especial settings and that guy wouldn't stop talking for hours he was so jazzed when he hovered it :). Now I'm finishing up an E620 Raptor, I cant wait to fly it.
Doug Benton - Canada
I just purchased your setup tips book. Thanks you so much. I recently moved to a nano from a coaxial and was lost with what was best to get collective hovering under control. Your advice got me hovering inside immediately. The book/advice was well worth your asking price. Thanks again,
Robert Casson - United States
Dear John, I got all three of your e-books last week. They're great. The training pitch and throttle curve values are essential for any newbie to rc heli flight. So is the training gear!! I built the training gear and set throttle/pitch values as per your books. No more crashes!!
Scott Meyer - Canada
John, I bought all of your ebooks, read them each twice, bought a Trex 450 Pro and Spektrum DX8, as well as the Phoenix simulator, and I'm happy to say I finally hovered yesterday! As you predicted, it was truly exhilarating! The whole process was time-consuming and challenging (Chinese does not translate to English very well!), but I wouldn't have gotten through it without your ebooks, and in the end it was worth it. I expect to get a degree of mastery with the 450, though the full 3-D flying thing looks a bit over the top, then look to get a smaller heli for indoors and a larger one for the local flying club field, which has a fair amount of wind. No doubt that assembling and trouble-shooting has helped me understand helis better, and I anticipate the next time around will be easier (but no doubt have it's own set of challenges). Thanks for your help!
Dave Carlson - United States
Hi John, Purchased three of your ebooks about 4-5wks ago. I bought a used Blade400 that had been crashed by the previous owner. He had done a respectable job of rebuilding, especially for someone who was admittedly a beginner. Thankfully the damage was relatively minor and the swash was in good shape; However, the blade balance and pitch were way out. Your setup e-book helped me get this bird airworthy with confidence. I also built up the homemade training gear. It has been rock solid and looks store bought. I think the biggest help has come from your "tone'd down" throttle and pitch curves. I have used your settings and followed your flight school and am happy to report I have come from never having flown a cp heli to flying circuits in a matter of weeks. I have a long way to go for sure but that's part of the fun. I may not have been able to get
to this point (especially without crashing) if not for the advice provided in your books and on the website. Thanks.
Brian Baxter - United States
As a noob I came looking when I couldn't hover my Heli-max Novus CP for love or money. Initially, I was a little put off, thinking you were just hawking e-books. But then I read the site, and bought your "set-up" ebook, and the information you provide is phenomenal. Excellent stuff!! Thank you so much for the time you took to provide this material.
Robert Morse - United States
I just bought your e-book "set up & tips". I am a newbie to 450 size helis (as you can tell by my e-mail address I have been a coaxial guy for a while). WOW! what a wealth of info. You break things down much further then anyone else I have found. After reading you e-book I not only know what and how to change something, but why it needs to be changed. I think it should be Federal law that if this is your first 450 size heli you have to read this e-book LOL. Your e-book takes the frustration out of learning to fly a 450 size heli. GREAT GREAT product. Also love the website.
Dave Lunn - United States
Hi John, Just had to let you know that your opinion and guidance was spot on, I found the blade 400 with your tame beginner settings much much easier to handle than the blade SR out of the box, or my Honey Bee FP V2 for that matter. It was just so smooth, solid and calm I was amazed. In fact it was a complete revelation, here was a full 3D, powerful, agile CP heli that was controllable and docile, in the hands of a complete CP newbie.
Frankly I was over the moon, as this was the first attempt with this heli and I was able to hover, even if I didn't hover for any longer than 30 seconds at a time, it was way way better than the SR and the first enjoyable experience with a full CP heli. Thanks, very much John, as without your DX6i settings I know it would have been another crash & burn experience.
Phil Maher - Australia
Hi John. Thank you for this wonderful website and the great ebooks you produce! I have just purchased my first book and will follow with the rest once I've fully digested the first one. I was very interested in your review of the Blade MCPX V2, I have a Scout, CX2 and SR but I am not making any progress learning the SR. I went to my local Hobby Town today to purchase a MCPX but was put off by the comments made by one of the guys working there. He didn't seem to think I should buy it - I explained that I have a limited budget at the moment and thought it was the best choice for the money. I want to start learning CP in the comfort of my own home and thought this helicopter would be a great start. Once I have somewhat mastered the CP skills I plan to buy a programmable transmitter to start mastering the setup you describe in your setup and tips book. Once again John, thank you and happy flying! Best regards - Greg
I just wanted to send you some feedback after your positive mCPx recommendation. I kept the MCPX on my Christmas 'wish list' and was very happy to receive one for Christmas. I battled along with it for a few weeks and then bought myself a DX6i. Boy what a difference! I have tamed down the settings and am making very good progress (in my opinion) with the MCPX. I love this little heli and have also bought an intelligent charger so that I can charge six batteries at once. I have mastered hovering and am making good progress with nose-in hovering now. An added advantage is the thick carpet in my basement which has limited damage to no more than a few control links and a set of main blades. I have recently purchase two more of your E-Books and find the setup and tips one to be of great value at the moment. I also have the swashplate leveling book now and between the two I'll have more than enough to keep me occupied in the coming months. I really wanted to just say thank you and to ongratulate you on taking your extreme passion for this hobby to the level where you share it with guys like me! You charge a very nominal fee for your manuals and are obviously not in it for the money, but rather for the betterment of the hobby in general. I particularly like the way you take the most technical of subjects and translate it into language we can easily understand. Thanks to you thousands of RC pilots will be able to grasp the important points and progress with the sport rather than giving up due to the difficulty of mastering the techniques involved. I am rebuilding my SR and will wait to fly it until I am much more confident with the MCPX. I believe the SR will work out perfectly for me in spite of some negative opinions about it on the web. Thanks again John, I owe the satisfaction I am now getting from my helicopters to your great work! Your website is equally as helpful and I often visit the site. Kind regards,
Greg Cogill - United States
I just purchased your e-books on collective pitch setup and mSR Tips. I have e-mailed you once with questions on the Blade 400 and Spectrum DX7 transmitter. I am a beginner with helis but not fixed wing RC. Your web site and books are outstanding. I have no trouble flying the MCX or MSR. I bought into the advertising on the SR. I do not agree that it is the next step. I can hover it barely and it would not fly it in any kind of wind. Now the Blade 400, set with your instructions is a beginners dream. I'm using the DX7 Acro, your setup, and flight school. I'm going slow and fly daily. I think the SR is too small and not easy to fly as setup. Maybe in a BNF with the DX7, but why when the 400 with your setup is the perfect beginners helicopter. Many thanks for your books, out-standing articles, and web site.
Ron Heinz - United States
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! I purchased a Blade SR as an impulse buy with absolutely no research. MISTAKE #1! Then I found your web site. I am the proud new owner of a Blade 400 now. I was just starting to get close to having controlled hovering when I finally broke down and purchased your e-book on trainer set up settings. As it turns out I CAN fly a RC heli. I must say it took me a while to get used to moving the controls around more aggressively (I was getting used to factory settings) but I sure am impressed with my new found ability to control the heli, not to mention the soft landings (my tail boom thanks you too!). I have had 6 batteries worth of non damaging flights. I guess it took an empty wallet to realize your e-book is cheaper than rotor blades. I'll send more reports as I progress through your course. Thanks,
Bill VanDerworp - United States
John, I purchased your "Setup & Tips for 400 Size RC Helicopters" and have to say it has been the best purchase I have ever made. I got a Blade 400 for Christmas and since then, have never been able to keep it in the air. I have spent over $400 fixing it. Today, after I bought your book, I took my heli out to the field and went through and entire battery IN THE AIR!!! I thank you so much for your help and this book.
Robert Parks - United States
Hi John, I just purchased your ebook "Setup & Tips for 400 Size RC Heli" and have read through most of it. Prior to reading, the jump from a FP trainer to a CP machine seemed daunting due to the complexity. Having read your book, I feel that I now have a solid foundation of knowledge and an excellent reference for setup and repairs.
I appreciate your presentation style and acknowledgment that some things are subjective. Where you do present your opinions, you provide some explanation behind them as well. I was originally leaning towards the Trex 450 Sport since it seems to be "the" thing in class, but the eFlite 400 had some appeal since it's well supported by the local hobbyshop (and only hobbyshop within 25 miles). Your ebook made me a lot more comfortable with the eFlite as being a good entry-level CP heli, but one capable of advanced flight as well.
Anyway, thanks for the great website and the excellent ebook; it was well worth the $12.95 purchase price!
Dave Regis - United States
John, I purchased your 400 Tips e-book a couple of days ago and must say, I have never learned so much in a little amount of time in my life. I have been flying for a couple of months and finally decided to go with a 400 (first a cx2 than cx3 than cp pro than sr). I was very intimidated at first until I was able to "set it up" for beginners. It was like a light bulb went off in my head. From using a pitch gauge to pitch and throttle curves to dual rates, it all made sense. Just wanted to thank you for the info and the countless hours it probably took to create and put these e-books together. You have definitely made this hobby much more enjoyable for me. Have a great one...
Bryan Trautman .MD. - United States
John, I found your website last night and it didn't take me long to order two of your e-books. I was a bit skeptical that I might be wasting my money on the e-books, but I felt that at the very least that money would be well spent if for no other reason than to give you some payback for the INCREDIBLE information you have put together on your site. I'm happy to report that my money clearly wasn't wasted. Your e-books are just as good, if not better than your website. I started my interest with the micro E-Blade MCX. Your terrific guidance has given me the courage to take the next step and I've ordered a Blade 400. Thank you for giving me the tools necessary to begin this journey.
Additionally, I'd like to commend you for linking to Red Rocket Hobbies. I had a rather unfortunate experience when I ordered the MCX from another vendor. I was very impressed with the speed and professionalism that RedRocket has demonstrated as they handled my subsequent orders. They are now my go-to source.
Cheers, David Rodgers - United States
John, I just had to let you know how much your e-book helped me. I bought a Blade 400, but as you know it is a bit much for a beginner. The new settings made my Blade the perfect trainer. I am flying it all the time and enjoying every minute. Your e-book was EXACTLY what I was looking for. THANKS AGAIN!!
Rick Harris - United States
John, I'd thought I'd give you an update of my progress, since I used your website and ebook to take my first steps into this hobby. I'm on week 4 now, and I've run about 70 batteries at this point on my Blade 400. I'm well into FF flight, nose in hovering, figure eights, and stall turns. Oh, and the training gear came off earlier this week. I've cranked my head speed up a bit in anticipation of moving to idle up in the next week or two, and I hope to attempt my first roll.
Since I approached my training systematically with the help of your website, the simulator, and proper setup on my Blade 400, I haven't had a single crash yet! (knocking on wood). It will happen as I push myself harder and harder, or have a mechanical failure, or just do something stupid).
Thanks again for all the help. You successfully launched this student into the hobby!
Alex - United States
John, Thank you for writing such a great informative book on the Blade 400. I have been flying it indoors in the large gym of the school where I work. I have learned more creative ways to crash than I care to think about. The manual that comes with the kit does not give enough information to be useful to me and I have searched all the local hobby shops looking for a book like yours.
Today a co-worker showed me his copy of your book and it was exactly what I had been looking for. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience for all us frustrated beginners. I will be sure to pass on your address and information on how to get your book to all my frustrated fellow flyers. At 12.95 you are charging one third of what all the "how to" books cost and yours has all the information that they do not have. Again, Thank you.
Jerome D. Pickard - United States
John, I have read and re-read a lot of information on the net. I love to read and have read everything I could find on the net and ordered books and video's, read and watched them also. Your site and the Blade 400 booklet have been more help to me than all the other information put together.
There's a lot of stuff out there, some of it not too good and some just pure junk, not worth the time it takes to read it, but I've put the flying lessons and Blade booklet into page protectors in notebooks and read and refer to it every day. I've highlighted section and memorized a lot of it, now if my brain and fingers would just do what my eyes want them to do. BIG learning curve. Thanks a million for all the information.
Gregg Miller - United States
I've purchased the e-guide some 10 days ago. The process was fast and easy.
I must say that it was money very well spent. The pitch and throttle curves are extremely helpful. I managed to tame my heli (3D Storm by JP Perkins - English make size 450) considerably using your settings. Also I was flying exponential and switched to dual rate.
We had fantastic flying weather and managed to fly several packs a day. The progress is enormous. Before these settings converting my flying skills from the simulator onto my heli was difficult (and frustrating). Now this is no longer the case. I am amazed of the stability.
Regards, Philip - Belgium
I purchased you guide yesterday and wish I had known about this information ten months ago. I am 54 years of age and relatively new to rc heli flying - been flying for almost a year now. I have been going through a very slow progression, both in "Realflight" simulator skills acquisition and actual rc heli models flown to this date: Blade CX2, lipo powered Falcon 40's, Blade CP+, and now assembling servos for my newly acquired Cypher 3D to be flown with a DX6i Tx and 6200 Rx.
I have enjoyed reading your "Setups & Tips ...." and found the beginner Pitch and Throttle settings especially useful - as I am not the most skillful heli pilot out there and want my first flights with the Cypher to be calm and relaxed as possible. I know that the Cypher is a hot bird and I just wanted some general guidelines to set it up for relaxed hovering and gentle sport flying. I now realize that I could have probably skipped the CP+ and gone with a gently tuned Blade 400 instead. My local LHS tried to get me to buy the Blade 400 (as he commented that the CP+ could be twitchy and just plain unforgiving) but I did not consider that it could be detuned enough for novice pilots and felt that I should progress with a cheaper option.
You are right. The Blade 400 could be marketed to a wider spectrum of lower skilled heli pilots - like myself - if the performance parameters are set correctly. In closing, I would just like to say "many thanks!" for putting this great publication together and making it so easy to acquire over the internet. I highly recommend this publication to anyone thinking about or just getting into RC heli flight.
Sincerely, Victor H. Parks - United States
I just wanted to say thank you for all your help to me in this hobby. I have purchased your e-guide for the Blade 400 and it has helped me out tremendously and my B-400 is a much tamer ship with your suggested settings. Oh! I also went ahead and installed new servos the HS-65HB's (x3) with the Karbonite Gears, still need to do the rotor servo, but in no big rush since I'm still learning this bird. Again, thank you John for your web-site and for
sharing your knowledge in this great hobby. Please keep up the great work.
Sincerly, Scott Maney (Ret. USN) - United States
Hi John, i have just purchased your "little book" on the Blade 400 & found it to be an excellent beginners guide - so much so that i have lent it to my brother-in- law to read because he got one of these little beasties for Christmas. Just for the fun of it I also bought an E-flight mCX for inside practice.
Peter - Australia
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