Yup – here's the funny face behind this web site taking
advantage of a windy winter day flying not an RC heli, but a traction kite - too windy to fly RC helicopters...
I have a healthy interest in anything that flies, but helicopters, both full size and RC top the list.
I didn’t think I needed a page “about me”; however, I realize that some people like to put a face with the name to see if "is this guy for real or what?!" I also personally know when I'm on a web site, it's interesting knowing a little bit about the real person/people behind the scenes to get a better idea if they even have the slightest clue about the subject they're writing about.
Hey, I never once claimed that.
There are radio controlled helicopter pilots who can fly circles around me. There are also others who simply know more about specific aspects of this hobby because they use different equipment that I'm not as familiar with.
My views on starting into the hobby may also be different from what you normally see and hear.
For instance, I firmly believe if you are truly interested in getting into this hobby; like most things in life, you will get as much out of it, as you put into it.
This generally means first spending some time researching the subject so you at least have a moderate understanding of what you are about to get yourself into (that is what I hope my little heli site can help you with).
Next comes investing into the hobby by getting decent quality equipment (name brand hobby grade) to start with and then grow with it. No, you certainly don't need to spend a fortune on top of the line gear, but it shouldn't be low quality junk either.
I also believe people can start into the hobby out of the gate with collective pitch if they do their home work and know exactly what they are getting themselves into (yep, more research).
Right or wrong (and it won't be right for
everyone), that is exactly how I approached the hobby myself all those
years back. I was totally infected by the "RC heli bug" the very first day out, and quickly became obsessed! Luckily, I had decent equipment there after to fuel my growing obsession. I talk about my first RC helicopter on my RC Helicopter History page.
A lot of advertisements & recommendations I see today (given by so called experts), are focused around cheap low quality RC helicopters that you will out grow quickly or end up spending a small fortune on in upgrades - if they even fly at all.
I want to put an end to that; or at least show you what other possible options are out there that you may not even be aware of yet, along with the complexities involved in some of this stuff.
You may for example find out after spending some time on this site, that "RC helicopters are not the hobby I'm looking for". Better to find that out now early in the game, then after dumping a large sum of money on an incompatible pastime.
The other largely popular belief I hear in this hobby and one I strongly disagree with is, "crashing & the ongoing expense involved in crashing is just part of the hobby"; not true!
Yes it certainly can be like that if you constantly fly beyond your skill level, don't understand some heli basics, your equipment is not well cared for, or you simply think that you must crash to have any fun. The simple truth is crashing does not have to be a part of the hobby if you don't want it to be.
I so rarely crash, even when I was a newbie beginner. I had no interest in pushing my limits when I first started (still don't) and that is why I and others who have this same cautious approach to piloting an RC helicopter rarely crash.
I also hear the statement all the time "if you are not crashing, you are not learning". Well, the hobby to me is about the fun and the journey - not about trying to pull off the latest mind-blowing trick I saw or read about. If I crashed nearly every time I went flying in hopes of mastering a new aerobatic maneuver, I would have given up on this hobby years ago. I could not afford it financially, nor the time involved with the ongoing repairs.
Again, these are just my view points and we are all very different in what keeps us motivated. If pushing the boundaries to learn the latest trick is what floats your boat and keeps you focused and interested in the hobby, go for it.
I only wanted to make mention of this "crash topic" for those of you that have always wanted to get into the hobby, but were put off by the "crashing is part of the hobby" nonsense.
Crashes will still happen from time to time however even if you are a cautious flier like me due to mechanical/electrical faults, disorientation, & pilot error; but they can be rare occurrences.
I have been an RC junkie since I was ten or so. I started with RC cars and then got into RC planes when I was fourteen – bless my dad for driving me to local RC flying field almost every weekend. Secretly, I know he loved it too.
My father was in the Canadian Air Force and then became an aircraft instrumentation technician. Obviously his passion for aviation, aircraft, mechanics, and electronics wore off on me. I was always getting into his test equipment and tools in the workshop.
I honestly don't know how he put up with me as I was a curious, and at times destructive little bugger; often taking things apart to see how they worked.
My parents said my first word was "wire" so it's no wonder I was such a little hellion around all that cool and interesting equipment. Looking back, dad went out of his way keeping himself sane (and me safe), while teaching me so much about all that stuff.
I personally feel to really enjoy this hobby and get the most out of it; you have to have at least a basic interest in some, if not all of those aforementioned fields.
By "basic interest", I mean you either know some of the very simple basics already, or are willing to put a bit of time into learning some of it. You certainly don't need to be a wire obsessed hooligan or have a mechanical engineering degree to be successful in the hobby in other words; just a healthy dose of curiosity and willingness to learn will go a very long way :-)
At any rate, I can’t thank my dad enough for the help, support, and wisdom in those early years when I thought I knew everything, but now realize I knew next to nothing.
If there is one thing this hobby teaches us, it's humility!
An RC helicopter at the flying field!
I saw an RC
helicopter flying once at the flying field and could not believe my
eyes. Jaw hanging open, and likely drooling a bit. Not a pretty sight, but no question I was in a state of
awe! After several more years of flying RC planes I got my first
RC helicopter, and 28 years later... guess what? I'm still in awe of
I still dabble in RC planes & cars but they just don't come close to the passion I have for RC helicopters. The challenge of building and flying a heli, learning about how & why they can even fly at all, the maintenance, and the many forms of flying styles, simply makes this hobby the most rewarding and fun I find. Crazy maybe, engaging - no question.
I suppose the other thing I really like with RC helicopters is I can fly them outside year round. Living in Canada where we have 6 months of winter and 6 months of poor skiing; this is something I can't do with planes because the take off field is covered in several feet of snow during the darker cold days of winter.
With an RC helicopter, all you need is a small packed or snow cleared area to take off/land, and the sky is your oyster. In short, I don't let my helicopters collect dust after a little snow falls on the ground like their wing bearing brethren do. As long as it's -5C or warmer, sunny, and the wind is not blowing like hell; you can often find this obsessive RC helicopter nut outside flying 12 months of the year.
I am by no means a 3D hotshot RC heli pilot. I am more of a sport flier, with my #1 main interest & passion being scale.
I have also recently gotten into FPV (first person video) flight, and turbine power. Finally getting into turbine has been so rewarding and a long time dream come true. That said, I still enjoy a relaxing flight or two indoors every now & then with a micro RC heli - yup I'm hooked for life!
I can never see getting tired of this hobby – there is simply too much I still want to learn and do. Building a web site about RC helicopters has certainly forced me to go back through the years of my own learning curves and experiences as well as learn about new aspects of this wonderful & always advancing hobby.
Writing several eBooks has also really helped me understand the hobby better as well. As the familiar saying goes, "the best way to learn about something is to explain or teach it."
What a great experience it is, and I hope you get as much enjoyment out of this site as I have.
Wishing you a lifetime of fun and success with RC helicopters...
John Salt :-)