The flying monkeys got me...

Helis and fixed wing

AMA 957918
IRCHA 4345
AMA Intro Pilot Instructor

Monday, November 29, 2010

History is made!

All of my helis are flight ready! The holiday screwed up shipping, along with our mail person dropping everyone's mail off at the wrong houses (funny watching us all trade mail...).

I got the UFLYS put back together. The tail assembly was tight, and stressed out the tail servo. I loosened some of the pivot points and the links to the tail blades (damn, cracked one, but the heli doesn't seem to notice and it's still secure). We'll have to see how she flies now. I may have to try turning off the 3x gyro system, since someone mentioned that buggered up the control and turning it into an HH gyro made all the difference. I also used the stabilizer fixing set from the CB180Z instead of the fragile UFLYS one (have broken two trying to repair the boom assembly). It's much sturdier. I had to place a fixing bolt to keep it in place. I also used a bolt in the tail to the frame and the tail assembly to secure them in place. The heads of both of those screws broke off... Hopefully I won't need to remove them again. In setting the power takeoff pinion against the main gear I was careful not to push them together hard and pulled it back a scoshe to allow some flex. I think that's how I damaged the torque shaft before.

The skids are back on the errant CB180 D and she should be fun to fly! Not sure why she keeps going rogue in the distance, but I think its an antenna line-of-site issue.

Today I purchased a new tool box from PDY called Lift-n-Lok. I have a lot on my work table, and when I go off to fly I have to shuffle tools between the table and a tackle box. I also don't take my spare parts. This box makes it so I can leave everything in the box and just take it with me when I go to fly. Looking forward to getting it.

The 450 kit arrives around the 3rd!

Friday, November 26, 2010

EXI 450cf Pro Kit Build Purchases

Taking advantage of a couple of Black Friday Sales I purchased all the parts for my EXI 450cf Pro Belt Driven Heli build.

Horizon Hobby
- Spektrum Dx6i Transmitter with AR6100e DSM2 Microlite 6-Channel Receiver and 4-DSP75 Spektrum Servos
- Hitec HSG5084 Digital Tail Servo
- EXI 450Pro Carbon Fiber Belt Driven RC Heli
- Exceed RC Alpha 400 3500kv Outrunner Brushless Motor
- MKS GY-292 Professional Headl-lock Gyro

- Exceed RC Brushless 30A ESC with 3A Linear BEC
- Exceed RC Volvano Series Brushless ESC Programming Card

Hobby King
- Turnigy 2200mAh 3S 20C Lipo (x3)

It all came in, postage included, for around $448. Really the Spektrum Dx6i is a one time buy; I won't need tp buy one again, but I will need to buy servos and a receiver separately for my next build, I hope a Trex 700.

Merry Christmas to me!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

My EXI 450 Pro Carbon Fiber Kit Build

EXI 450 Receiver Ready Build  (As posted on

Here's a community project I hope you all will participate in!

I am planning to build an EXI 450 carbon fiber kit ( ) with Spektrum D6xi transmitter, with Spektrum's package receiver and servos, an MKS GY 292 gyro, Exceed Volcano 30A ESC, and the Exceed Alpha 3500kv 450 size brushless motor. This would be my first build. Pretty sweet getting a 450 size with Spektrum receiver and sevos and the D6xi for under $350.

I really would like to hear your advice, comments, and guidance. I'm reading, watching videos (been through most of Finless' basic vids) as I go along. I am in planning stages now.

I have never built a kit before and have been flying helis only for a couple months but am doing pretty well (when I can get my low end heli's in flight status). I don't have ready access to a local mentor, so have been teaching myself online.

I will be doing this through my blog at: so as not to clog up Helifreak with this. If you are interested, please visit my blog and "follow" it.

Look forward to hearing from you!
Ken Schroeter
Walkera CB100 CB180D UFLYS

Pouty face...

Got all excited when the guide set arrived from HeliDirect (Thanks, Larry!). I had removed the rotor head and was able to replace the guide, set the rotor, and get the Jesus pin in place. Leveled the swash, balanced the blades. All was good.

On spin up it was clear something was still wrong. She couldn't find her balance. before I could trouble shoot that her tail rotor stopped spinning. Again. Inspection revealed another delaminated tail rotor power takeoff pinion shaft. Crap. Right now I hate my UFLYS. I've had it for a month and I've not been able to fly it. The tail boom needed to be changed anyway (some dings, had to replaced a snapped tail mount because a screw post popped and was being held in place with zip tie). So I am going to try one more time. Ordering another shaft, another pinion, and another stabilizer holder, then rebuilding it. I already have a new boom. I had to take the entire tail assembly apart to get it off the heli. Hope I can remember where everything goes. Pisser... I hate my UFLYS. I was soooo looking forward to flying it.

So I took the CB180D out for a spin. Hovered okay, still no authority. Dead calm. It got about 30 yards away from me and rolled hard and dove. This was reminiscent of the crash that sheared the rotor head off. Is this actually a gyro issue? There was no response to the cyclic when it happened. Jeez. broke off a tail blade set and a skid. Grounded because I don't have a skid set, but I replaced the tail blades. Can't wait for those longer servo arms to come in.

I also took the Cb100 #1 outside. While its still an indoor cat, it had fun. It didn't take much for it to get pushed around. The thing can't develop a roll for a banked turn unless its got some speed on. Had to turn the gyro down a little, a bit of head seeking. It was a good girl and came home in one piece. I think it needs to have the swash leveled some more, but otherwise it was a satisfying flight. flew 2 packs with her before moving on to the CB180D in the waning light.

I hate my UFLYS.  Did I say that already?

Looking at building a heli. I am probably going to get an EXI 450 SE carbon fiber kit from xheli . ). I will pair it with a new Spektrum D6xi which comes with 4 microservos and a receiver (with remote receiver attached). I will need these servos for the EXI build. )  I will need to buy a 30 amp ESC ( ), and a Exceed Alpha 3500 kv motor ( ). I think I'll skip the BEC.  I can bring this all in for less than $350. Great bargain!

I am also still very much considering instead the Blueray ARF receiver ready kit ( ), and pairing it with the Spektrum D6xi that comes only with a receiver ( ) but that takes me up another $100 to $450.  Its essentially the same heli.

Building and setting up the EXI 450 would be easy, and that may be worth the $100. And it would have Spektrum receiver and servos. Oh, yeah...

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Fixed Pitch Blade Tracking

I noticed that my CB180Ds blades were not tracking properly. When looking at the rotor disk on edge I could see that the blades were taking two separate paths through the air. I read online that fixed pitch (FP) helis need their blades to track properly, just like CCPM helis. I also read that by putting a piece of white electrical tape on the end of one blade (small enough not to cause a gross imbalance) I could see which blade was tracking high, and which was tracking low. It really worked. I also read on this same link that placing a small piece of tape at the blade grip would change the blades pitch and bring the blades in line. I had to chose to either bring the high blade pitch down, or the low blade pitch up. I arbitrarily chose to bring the high blade down. I found I had to put a piece of tape in front of the bolt on top, and a piece behind the bolt on the bottom, tilting the blade forward reducing the pitch. This levered the blade so the leading edge pitched down. On spin up the tracking was spot on! (See this link on RC Airplane World:

Windy day, so I hovered the CB180D in the Man Cave for one pack. With the mixer set up for in flight as opposed to hover stabilty it was still easy to hover, but I couldn't take my eyes off it for second. Can't wait to see what happens when I can let her run. If it doesn't improve her handling in flight, I will bring them to the middle, balanced for hover and flight. (See this thread on the subject of bell mixer set up on HeliFreak:

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Beautiful day to fly!

Went out on this beautiful, calm day.

The CB100 loved being able to run, but just isn't an outdoor cat.

The CB180D is pokey too.  It seems to have good headspeed, but it just has no go. Even in light winds today it got pushed around. The stubby servo arms are not adjustable and I maxed out the extent on the receiver. It just isn't fun to fly as it just gets swept away. I found some longer servo arms at WowHobbies and ordered them. I don't want to do an all brushless upgrade as it makes it a direct tail drive, and costs as much as the heli did. Hopefully the longer servo arms will do the trick. I think the spline on these servo arms might fit the CB100's (wouldn't that be great)! Well, that pokieness lead to a loss of control and a broken blade. I tried just replacing one, but the vibrations were too great. Replaced both and it balanced out nicely.

Realized that I am waiting for the new guide set for the UFLYS, which DirectHeli has just mailed me (sending me the parts for free!), before I can fly it again. No flying for you!

Friday, November 19, 2010

My CB100s Seizure disorder

Video of the Seizure disorder suffered by my CB100 #2...

One of my CB100s developed a seizure disorder, where it would literally seize, fall from the sky, sometimes coming back to life in fits and starts. The issue is not the mesh, or the motor. I suspect the receiver, as the tail rotor appears to be affected at the same time, suggesting the main motor ESC and the tail ESC are not the culprits. The receiver is a stock Walkera RX2406C.

UPDATE: Well... I wanted to see if it was the receiver, so I swapped the bad heli's receiver, and the motor ran the same, so it's not the receiver. When I put things back the way they were supposed to be I noticed that one of the 3 pins in the plug from the main ESC to the motor was back further than the other two, so I pulled it forward. I squished everything, and would you believe the problem is gone? Sort of. After some hard landings it returns. I squish everything, the ESC, the receiver, the plugs, and the problem is gone. Its a loose connection somewhere. Flying this heli is smooth like butter... tuned and trimmed, locked in. Very nice!  I have a soft spot for the twins.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

My Newbies Advice

I posted this in a discussion on and think it bears repeating here.


I too just started last month, and am having more fun than I could have imagined. It has not been all happiness and joy, but all in all I am wholly addicted! A couple of recommendations from my own newbie experiences, so fresh I still have that "new pilot" smell and consider it an achievement when a heli goes up, stays up, and comes down in one piece for just a few seconds.

1) Visit with those folks at (your local flying club). Just walk right up and introduce yourself. You will be welcomed and encouraged to enjoy yourself asking questions, and maybe even find that mentor you are looking for. I wish I had a mentor, and hopefully after tomorrow's local club meeting I may have one.

2) By the Esky Sim kit, download the latest version of the free FMS RC Flight Simulator (Google both, easy to find. When you buy the Esky kit, really you are buying the controller as the FMS on the included CD is a bit dated). Have fun with it. If you think this is going to stick, buy Clearview RC Flight sim. Better graphics and more realistic flight (albeit still way stable) for a very reasonable price, with great customer support from Stefan. You can use the "transmitter" that comes with the Esky kit. I LOVE this sim, rather than the ones costing several hundred buck, which I am sure are more realistic and quite nice. Like others, I cannot overly stress how important sim time has been, continues to be, to my flying success and confidence. DON'T GET DISCOURAGED! Keep practicing on the sim, and you will be surprised how quickly you learn. Work on hovering tail in, tail out, circles, orientation, etc. I do it over, and over and over again.

3) There are lots of opinions about first aircraft out there, and really, they are all good ones. It just depends on what your resources are and how you want to approach this great hobby. I wanted to start inexpensively with helis that were easy to fly, and for which replacement parts were easily available. I watched several reviews at, and many, many vids on YouTube, read reviews, and asked questions on forums like HeliFreak. I decided I liked the idea of buying a nice fixed pitch electric like the CB180Z as a starter. Any similar one is likely to be fine. (I really don't like the tail situation on the UFLYS, but it is a really nice heli). It won't hurt so much when you crash...

I knew nothing about RC helicopters, other than they fascinated me. I was afraid of flying them, breaking them, being unable to repair them. I have learned not only can I, I love doing it all! Most of all, its fun being part of a community like local flying clubs, and HeliFreak. My wife, on the other hand, never sees me anymore...


I would now also add Radd's School of Rotary Flight at

Radd's School of Rotary Flight

Wish I had known about this before...

UFLYS is ready for flight/trim testing

The UFLYS is ready for flight and trim testing. The tail shaft power take-off pinion seems to be in its happy place. I did some spin up today and it engaged well. During spin up when it got light on its feet if veered off so I know it needs trimming (I thought the 3x gyros did some of that...). It is too windy and gusty outside to hover it to check the trim, so that will have to wait until tomorrow when hopefully the weather will improve.

So here's a pic of my repaired, ready to fly (LOL) UFLYS!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

3 of 4 up!

Took the CB180D out for 2 packs, but the gusts just carried her back despite full forward pitch, so I brought her in. I am very pleased with how I controlled her, in all orientations. The flight sim has, and I say this a thousand times, made all the difference. I actually have started doing inverted flying on the sim, gearing up for the CCPM I hope to get after Christmas! Ha! Even if I do it will be a loooonnnnggg time before I do anything other than scale flying.

Got both CB100's flying today! All trimmed out and upgraded. All I need is upgraded main motors. #2 has a stock 2 gm motor, but a new fin, thicker carbon fiber. This is the one with a solid carbon fiber boom I made from the old UFLYS tail shaft. That's why the wire is wound outside. I still have a problem with #2 occasionally just stopping mid flight and falling from the sky... Bad receiver? #1 has an upgraded 2.9gm tail motor with a new fin, a new tail boom (stock).

The CB100s fly well, but remain underpowered. The trim on these bad boys goes wacky with every hard landing... I think my next upgrade is hot rod main motors. I still haven't opened them up and let the fly hard, just no room inside. Soon the weather will be calm enough to take them outside and let them run.

The Twins, my CB100's

New 2.9 gm motor and fin from WowHobbies. Nice soldering and install if I do say so myself!

New 2.9gm from the hot side

New stock 2 gm with new upgraded fin. External wires around the solid carbon fiber boom.

New stock 2 gm motor and new upgraded fin. Another nice install!  I am getting the hang of this.

The naked UFLYS. Replaced the tail shaft inside the boom, and the stock tail shaft power take-off pinion. Took a couple of tries, but I think I may have solved the tail shaft pinion issue. I ended up using CA to secure the pinion on the shaft as it meshed well but spun on the shaft. Will find out tomorrow, don't feel like dealing with it anymore tonight so I didn't spin it up after the CA.  If she engages consistently (I am not sure yet, had to take it apart twice during this repair after it seemed to work, but then didn't) I hope to fly her soon.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Flying the Trex 700 on Clearview

It was a bad weather day, do I decided to get more rc sim time. I love this Clearview flight sim, available demo and purchase at With it my flying skills and confidence have gone from not being able to get one off the ground to this! I have had a lot of free time to dedicate to this over the past couple of weeks. This was rockin' fun!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

An Awesome Heli Day!!!

Parts arrived! I reconstructed the rotor head on the CB180D, took it out for a test spin, did some minor tweaks in trim, and damned if the little bugger didn't fly like it should have right out of the box! Still needs a bit of rudder trim, but I was so happy! It hovered, hands free even (with some drift). It was controllable in all directions, and I "walked the dog" in a low slow flight around my house with excellent stability, even in a breeze! I am back in the game, baby!

My CB100 #1 also continues to be operational. It is scheduled to receive the new 2.9g hot rod tail motor I have coming from WOWHobbies with the new tail stabilizer set ( I installed the Xtreme Harden blades and the Xtreme Skids upgrade as well. I suspect I will be updating the motor soon.

CB100#2 remains grounded because I couldn't save the tail motor... I tried soldering the wires, but the frail ones on the motor were just too short and broke easily. I ordered a regular 2g motor to replace it. I took the broken carbon fiber tailshaft from the UFLYS and cut it to make a replacement tail boom. I had to sand down the ends to fit it in the heli and in the replacement tail motor holder. I applied ca to both ends to keep it from splitting. Looks really good. When the new motor comes in later this week I will solder the wires and run them externally (its a solid carbon fiber boom). I alredy have the replacement mount, and its stabilizer is seriously better than the stock one; thicker and sturdier by far. These break so easily with a hard landing. I noticed that the wires on the replacement motor are all black, all 3 of them... I asked for some advice on HeliFreak; hope someone knows how to handle that. In the meantime I replaced the broken battery basket, installed the Xtreme Skids and replaced the cannibalized flybar links. Later I will put the Xtreme Harden blades on that one too.

I am still waiting for HeliDirect to get the UFLYS head guide set in stock; recall they are sending that to me free (see early posts). I did receive the replacement tail strut support. I found, however, that the tail shaft and the tail power-takeoff pinion still don't mesh properly and the tail rotor wasn't developing adequate headspeed. I removed the shaft and realized there was way too much flex at the junction of the pinion and the tail shaft. I removed it and found that the tail shaft connection to the pinion was delaminated; it was like a brush! So, I ordered a replacement tail shaft, and another pinion... I got another tail boom while I was at it as I am not sure this one is true. I really hate this part of this heli and will  not by another shaft driven heli with a similar power takeoff arrangement.

All in all, after todays flights and successful reconstructions, I think my serious heli issues are under control. My 3 weeks off from work is coming to an end, and I will return to work on Monday, seriously slowing down my adventure.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Well of course inkjets can't print white...

Noob mistake. I realized that anything white was going to be "clear"; I think a couple people on pointed this out as well. So I re-did the "white" and gave them a color. There are still a few I will have to print on white decal paper.

Parts came in today, got CB100 #1 flying again. Went well. Despite having the pitch out to the furthest spot on the bell crank, there is just no oomph in this bird in any breeze.  I will need to learn something about electric motors and upgrade this puppy's main motor.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Decals are us!

The weather mocks me... perfect flying weather, no helis to fly.  

So I made decals!  I was wandering around the internet when I came across a vid on You Tube about printing water slide decals on decal inkjet paper, letting them dry, spraying a bonding agent over the them 3 times, then using them like regular old water slide decals. You know, the kind you cut out, soak in water, and slide off onto your model! It was that simple. At Hobby Lobby I found the decal paper and the bonding spray (the paper is not cheap, $11 for 6 8.5 x 5.5 in sheets, and the spray was a bit less than $5). I searched the internet for the logos I wanted.  I created a PowerPoint (ppt) slide that was the size of the decal sheet (8.5 in x 5.5 in), and took logos from my favorite heli websites ( just couldn't be read when made so small, so I excluded it. Sorry, John), some rescue arrows, etc (you can see what I found on the photo). I made them various sizes by manipulating the photos on the ppt slide, and crammed them in. I made a few text boxes with the names of my pilots, my helis, and crammed them in there as well. I had decided I only wanted to buy transparent decals (the Testors ones also come in white background), so any decal that needed a white background (like the Heli Freak logo) I made sure had a white background in the photo (I manipulated them using freeware called Ultimate Paint).  With the first batch, the printer couldn't hold on to the paper at the end so it cut off the last decals. I made a second sheet but taped the back to a sheet of 8x10 paper and it made a complete sheet. I had to center it by hand as my inkjet printer accepts regular letter paper or two sizes of photo paper only. Worked fine).  Tomorrow I will put them on my helis!  Very nice!  Ill post photos after I get them on the helis.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Good day!

Calm this evening, so I took the CB100 #1 out front and flew it. Hovered great! Flew good, just still no pitch authority, so sometimes it was hard to move it forward or backwards. I broke a blade when it struck the street trying to keep it from going backwards. I realized this one has an unbroken servo bell crank on the pitch servo, so I just moved it from inner most to the middle (may need outermost). Looking forward to flying it again with more pitch authority. The boys came out with their Syma and Micro-micro mini coaxials and loved it, until they realized that their IR transmitters were controlling both helicopters and they flailed about. That was actually funny! Good day!

Waiting for CB100 parts, including Harden blades, battery try replacement, better skids, and a better tail assembly and tail motor. I need to order a more powerful main motor too, if I want to fly these outdoors. I'll hot rod one of them, and if it works out, I'll do the other one. Nice to have one bird doing what it is supposed to!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

My name is Job...

This morning, coffee in hand, I fired up the computer and started my Clearview flight sim. It decided that my trial period was over and locked me out, inviting me to register. This being my bought, paid for and registered Clearview. I tried to reactivate it, couldn't. I removed it, cleaned the registry, it persisted to demand I register. I emailed the programmer who promptly got back to me. We have tried a couple of things, finally getting me back to demo, but it now thinks I am already activated, it won't let me deactivate so I can reactivate because it considers me activated, but won't let me fly because it considers me unregistered and in need of activation. Such is my world...

CB100 #2 made it clear today it is an indoor heli. Once again finding itself on the wrong side of another neighbors fence, ignoring any and all control inputs as it disappeared despite what really was a dead calm morning. On recovery, inspection revealed that the tail fin snapped off and disappeared. The tail motor would not develop headspeed when it did spin. Further inspection revealed the thin wires had separated. I spent the morning doing microsurgery and soldered the tiny wires back together, restoring the tail motor function. I thought I would take the tail fin off #1 And put it on #2. I found out that to get the fin off you have to cut the wires, remove the motor, remove the fin, replace the motor, resolder the wires. This just after I spent the morning working the other helis wires. I thought I could just barely clear the motor, and pulled on the tail fin, only to snap the outrunner off the brushless motor. This sucked... I decided I didn't want to run the risk of doing that to #2 in fixing it's tail fin, so put everything back the way I found it. The outrunner flys off in a crash, but I managed to get it to spin and develop the needed headspeed (after I super glued the blade base to the out runner as it would nit stay seated) and it works pretty well. I'll replace it someday. I decided to cannibalize #2 it and fly #1. Had to trim it, but it flew, indoors, fair. It has this occasional gyroscopic wobble, during which I cannot control it as it ignores control inputs. This became less of an issue the longer it flew. It still responds variably to inputs, but I could hover it and recover it when it got a mind of it's own. I had fun with it, but it's instability makes it not ready to fly around a crowded room.

So today I learned I can trouble shoot a broken motor and it's mount, wire and solder microscopically small (and way too short) wires, tune and fly a broken bird.

Still trying to get my Clearview flight sim to work...

And today I realized that my name is Job. I figure the kingdom of heli heaven is my reward if I prevail!

Monday, November 8, 2010

It's the lucky guys that make me want to spit...

It's YouTube vids like this one, over and over again, showing the insane stability of these helis, that makes me so frustrated. Search YouTube for UFLYS, and there are dozens of them. I purposefully bought simple, extra stable helis so I could learn to fly, enjoy it, then crash them trying to do more. So far I really haven't done anything except try to get them to fly, and fix them when they don't. Many of these vids talk about how stable these are right out of the box... Mine can't even hover with the training gear still on the ground and my hand off the cyclic without skewing off quicker than a skittish bunny.

Watch this... He can do this because he doesn't need any cyclic to stabilize it, as it does so on it's own LIKE ITS SUPPOSED TO, otherwise he'd have to have both hands on the controls.

Click the post title above or

Keeping the faith, one day at a time!

Mixed day

I got CB100 #2 up, trimmed and flying. Needed to move the pitch servo linkage out to the farthest attachment to get the control I wanted. I wanted to do that to the roll servo, but the end of it is broken off, so it stays where it is. I'll be buying another one of those...  But it hovered nicely in the Man Cave and gave me some satisfaction. Still waiting on parts for CB100 #1 which continues to be grounded.

Took the UFLYS out to hover, still a little breezy. The damn thing remains very unstable, not at all like others enjoy, even in dead calm. As it gets light on it skids it starts to get ziggy, and as it lifts, it is off an running in some odd attitude. It runs off in different directions each time, so its hard to figure out what is wrong.

I will never buy another shaft driven tail rotor heli unless it has its own motor at the end of the shaft as this UFLYS has been one problem after another. Despite my repairs, the slightest blade of grass causes the shaft pinion to grind unmoving on the main gear. The rotor shaft remains snug, so that's not the problem. Took the tail off and the pinion looks good. I did break the bolt connection to the tail "stabilizer", so I may have to buy a whole new tail assembly.  In removing the tail boom the connector piece that hold the horizontal "stabilizer" and the boom supports, as well as the rudder linkage broke. This thing is so fragile... I will need to replace that as well.

So far it seems these Walkeras, in my experience, are those "money pits" that John Salt warns us about.  I haven't gotten one to fly normally, except the single CB100.  Not sure I will buy another one.

Addiction is in coming back again and again despite the pain... I am addicted.

UPDATE: Hmmm... I wonder if the broken H guide of the rotor linkages is allowing the swash follower too much play? I thought about this looking over the a/c. This would be nice, because it means I could soon have that balanced heli. - John Salt's exceptional contribution to the sport/hobby

An incredible resource from John Salt. Exceptionally comprehensive and easy to read, the go-to source for all things r/c heli. I visit nearly daily.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Geez, it's a little depressing...

Watching YouTube vids of other people flying there CB100, CB180D, and UFLYS put of the box with excellent stability. Exceptional stability. Mine were crazy out of the box... It's depressing.

CB100 is pokey outdoors, zippy indoors

I bought the CB100's because I thought they would be as zippy as the Blade mSR but wanted the Walkeras. The vids for the mSR show them very, very zippy. The CB100 is fine indoors, but outdoors it blew around a lot with the breezes. I couldn't get it into a banked turn. Tonight it was in full forward pitch floating backward over my backyard fence into my neighbor's yard, the little heli that couldn't. I think these will be my last small helis as they need more space than indoors of a house allows, but can't handle the outdoors well. I say this, but I recognize there are vids of Cb100s doing well in breezes, so it could just be my #2. More to follow!

"Trying is the first step towards failure!"

OH, YEAH, BABY, Homer Simpson was right!

Frustrated with helos that just aren't flying right out of the box, I took my CB180D, the one with the least issues, out to a large field. I just couldn't deal with trying to hover in the breeze within the confines of my yard, and wanted to let the bird run and see how I could do. I really felt like I was ready to fly.  I needed to see I could control the bird, and to get over my fear of failing, I mean, flying.

And boy, did I!  The soccer field was large, no one around. The wind was calm according to my wind vane, but with intermittent quick brisk gusts. I was going to fly, damn it.  During a calm I took off, and I had excellent control in hover, and then in flight. I let her run high and fast, great turns, tail flips, pirouettes, dive and recover! Gusts would take it on occasion, but I was on fire! Fly, baby, fly!  Giving up the fear of running into things in a narrow confine made a difference. I got skills, man!

Coming back in near the end of a run I turned left to bring her back, flying from right to left then making a left hand turn to final. A gust coming from the right caught her in the descending turn, and before I knew what happened she went to ground in a big hurry... Rotor blades went flying, knocked a ball off the training gear. "OH! The humanity!"

The pics show the damage. Looks like the rotor shaft is still unbent, but I'll find out.  I knew it was bad, but I was grinning from ear to ear!  These past lessons trying to trim and fix my aircraft had taught me I can fix it, and the parts are cheap. I also had learned my time on the sim paid off: I was flying patterns I had practiced on the Clearview and FMS and I had complete control, right up until I didn't. R/C FLIGHT SIM TIME WORKS!

So, the CB180D is grounded big time, the boys at Helidirect will get more of my money, I flew in conditions I knew I shouldn't and paid for it, I get to figure out how to get the rotor head off, and I couldn't be happier!!! I am no longer afraid of failure! I'm free!  I'm free!

UPDATE: Unfortunately Helidirect was out of stock of most of the parts I needed, so ended up ordering them from xheli. The rotor shaft is good. The main drive gear has a flat spot. Getting the rotor head off was a cinch. Pulled the pin (it was loose after the crash) at the linkage guide, disconnect linkages and remove the blade grips, then the whole thing lifted right off.  Not sure yet how to get to the main gear...

Saturday, November 6, 2010

CB100 #2 is Flight Ready!

This morning, after taking my 15 yo out for his first drive ever (there's a stress reducer for you), I fired up CB100 #2, recalling that it rolled left and yawed left and pitched forward. Confirming this, I removed the swashplate linkages and lengthened them to level the swashplate by moving it aft and right. 3 turns each on the upper ball links. Fired it up, and there it hung, like a fruit to be picked from the sky! Hovered well with some active stick. There was a bit of rudder twitch I took for gyro sensitivity, took that down a half turn, and it resolved as well. Was comfortable hovering tail in in the confined space of our man cave where my work desk is, but don't have the skills to hover nose in in such a confined space.  Did manage to break yet another blade. Very happy overall!

CB100 #1 is down for now. I cannibalized a flybar linkage that broke on #2, and am waiting for the replacement grips and their micro screws before I spin her up again. I suspect once I get her flying again I will eventually put the tiny brite lights back on. I should have waited before... impatience.

Cannot stress how useful (and fun) the Clearview flight sim time has been. Plan to practice more nose in hover. Flying around has become much more enjoyable, but hovering is definitely the trick, especially in mis-oriented flight positions, like nose in.

Too windy these past few days to take the bigger helis out. Can hardly wait!  Buy stock in Helidirect, Lord knows they are making big bucks off me with daily orders for parts! Next time I am back up in Boston I will have to drop by Malden and say hello.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Difficult evening...

It took me some time to fly the first CB100 because despite a flight test at the seller, this thing was way out of trim. It took me most of the night trying to set the trim on the Tx, then finally leveling the swashplate. Unfortunately this was the heli I put the tiny bright lights on. They looked magnificent and worked exactly as advertised. Wow. But with all these control issues I decided to remove them for now, as I couldn't tell if they were messing up the receiver whose battery line I had tapped into (I balanced it, it wasn't a CG issue). Turns out it wasn't. Hours after I removed them, I finally got the helo trimmed and it flew great with one exception. At launch it will get this hairy high frequency oscillation going, After a few moments it will balance out. Occasionally it will return to oscillating. I took the gyro gain to both ends of the spectrum without change. I wonder if I did damage the gyro in the receiver. I suspect its a blade harmonics issue with poor tracking due to the replaced grip bolt. I'm going to ground it until I can replace the screw with a proper one. Waiting to fly the other one, but it too was way out of trim and I don't have the energy to tackle it tonight. Time to take a break!

CB100's are here! Damn skittish...

Hey, my CB100's arrived (as did Luke's Micro coaxial, and Aidan's Syma S107). These little guys rock, but boy are they skittish! I broke a rotor blade on the first one, and in replacing the blade the world's tiniest screw popped from my forceps, binked off the tool box over my shoulder and is never to be seen again... Took a while, but I found a similar screw on my S107, cannibalized it from a non-flying part and got it flying again with a replacement blade. 15 minutes later, while flying the other one, I broke the same rotor blade on it... I have replacement blades for the Syma that might work, otherwise its grounded until I can get replacements. Unfortunately there is no Airy Harden II blade for this heli, to my knowledge.  If you look closely you can see the borken blade on the left one, the forward blade.

My new hobby isn't flying heli's, its fixing them...  I will say that sim time made tail in hovering a lot easier, but I am nervous about much more than that as these things are fast.

Helipal Works!

I was worried about buying stuff from Helipal in Hong Kong, but everything I ordered just arrived, in excellent condition, in 7 days. It was well packaged, undamaged, and everything was there. Very nice! This widens the sources for parts. Thanks, Helipal!

Nice Guys at Helidirect!

Thanks, Larry, Customer Service Guy at Helidirect, for helping me out when you could have told me caveat emptor.  Larry has offered to send me the replacement guide set gratis. I really appreciate that support!

I am hoping there is a Jesus nut under the flybar and a simple way to remove the rotor cap so I can replace the guide from the top. If it requires removing the shaft, I think I will have to let it be.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Walkera Quality? But I love this heli... :-(

My Walkera UFLYS arrived today, and right out of the box it had issues. During spin up tests it spun alright, hard to the left. No amount of right rudder compensated for it. Checked the rudder motion, trim and servos, fine. Could not make this work. On further inspection I found that one of the balls and both linkages had separated from the flybar collar. The H guide bar had sheared off one of the guides, making the H an h. I'll need to replace that... I replaced the ball linkage using some loctite, and replaced the linkages. All fixed except the guide, but there is no vibration or instability. Need to figure out how to replace the guide. xheli and Helidirect are both out of the guide sets. But this doesn't account for the spin issue...

I examined the gearing closely, and found the main shaft rotor had 2mm of play because the fixing ring was not properly positioned. This prevented the tail rotor pinion from fully engaging the main gear, preventing the tail rotor from developing adequate headspeed. I removed the securing screw, snugged up the collar, and resecured the fixing screw along with some loctite. Retested the heli and the problem was gone! Until a pin securing one of the tail rotor blade linkages flew off somewhere and the affected blade went rogue, causing the spin to return. I replaced the pin with a piece of paper clip trimmed to fit, and voilĂ , problem solved again. Tomorrow we try to hover it.

I noticed that at rest the blades fall below the boom. I wonder if during the spinnups if the blades momentarily got stuck below the boom and the horizontal fin, shearing the linkages? Not sure how that would happen. No boom or blade marks.

I hovered the CB180D successfully today in the garage! Time on the simulator is paying off.

Hopefully my UFLYS won't fling itself to pieces. Looking forward to first flight tomorrow if weather permits. Busy first day with the UFLYS...

First Flight

Sort of... The advice is to charge the Lipo fully but to only fly about 3 min, about 5 times, before flying it to full discharge. Well, that 3 minutes was about all it took for me to end up in the bushes and create some minor damage. It was a bit gusty. I had the training gear on. I took it out back just to spin up and run the motors and discharge the battery. It got light on it's feet and skittered off into the vines, while I continued to apply collective, effectively shaving down some of the teeth on the main rotor pinion, so I have a distinct clicking sound as the rotor goes around. Later went in and ordered a couple new ones, but this will work for now. I knew better; when things go to ground let off the collective as fast as you can to prevent such damage. The canopy was difficult to get off the back pegs and the darn thing cracked second time I tried to remove it, about an inch forward of the connection point. I've CA'd it and supported it with a piece of Scotch tape, looks fine and is strong. Not bad for a first days work, eh?

Had downloaded and have been practicing on the FMS free flight simulator; the one that came on the CD with the Esky Tx was an older version, but its available free on line ( I could not get it to run beyond 4 gps on my son's supercomputer, but it works fine on the XP and my notebook. I found Clearview's sim for $40( It is amazing, using real 360 pics as the backgound, and it works well on my son's computer. It is proving very useful. I'm using the Esky simulator Tx, which suits it's purpose fine. My CB180D did not come with the expected flt sim cable, and I've asked xheli to send me one. It would be nice to get used to my controller.

Anxious, but really want to get flying!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

My Walkera CB180D arrived!

My Walkera CB180D arrived today from! Its beautiful, so much so that it scares me to fly it...  It came set up for Mode 2 (Collective/Throttle left, Cyclic right); I was worried I would have to manually change it. It didn't come with a USB interface cable that would have allowed me to use it on the Esky Flight Simulator (see below), thought I though it did.

The Esky RC Flight Simulator also came, and if my first flights are any indication, it will be a few days before I venture out with the Walkera. Practice, practice, practice. Getting used to the 4 channels is the trick. Set up wasn't too much trouble, but I think it was easier because I had seen a set up video from one of the online sellers that helped a lot.

Flight sim time.

Homemade Helipads

I wanted a helipad to protect my rotors, so went online and saw a variety of them, quite expensive. I decided to make some of my own out of some interlocking 2ft x 2 ft foam mat I bought at Lowe's (a pack of 4 2ft x 2 ft sections was $20). Its the kind you find on the floor under gym equipment. I took one and divided it into 4-1 ft x 1 ft sections and made 4 small pads. I took the remaining 3 and made big pads. The one I saw online was a full 4x4, and I suppose I will make one someday, but I can see why they are expensive; they were labor intensive. Once I got a pattern down I could mask a small one in 15 minutes, and the big ones in about 20 minutes. I think the online ones are silk-screened, I masked mine by hand and painted them with a good quality paint for plastic. One of the small ones has some significant bleed over; it was the first one I made. The mat material has a diamond like cross cut in it that allowed some bleed, which I learned to compensate for: several thin coats instead of a couple thicker ones. I made a stencil for the white squares, a small one for the small pads, a big one for the big pads. They look really good! Realize I am a lousy painter, but somehow I managed.  Here are a few close-ups of the helipads.

2 ft x 2 ft

1 ft x 1 ft

The ones with some bleed through I plan to pen in a black border around to cover it up. If it comes out okay, I'll post some photos.  I'm pretty happy with how these turned out!