Tuesday, June 27, 2006

P20 and P21

More left and right hovering. Had a panic attack when going left to right, side-on (again). I've noticed that when I was having the attack that I tend to freeze and not move the sticks at all. Fortunately, I froze for just a moment and then flew my way out of trouble.

I'm flying with the 325 pro blades. I haven't noticed anything different yet between them and the 315 pros I had previously except a slight decrease in headspeed when I increased the collective quickly to stop the helicopter from decending too quickly. I could hear the motor pitch go down, something that I hadn't heard before when using the 315s. I'll have to pay more attention the next time and try to really hear it. Also, the blade with the blue tape tracks a litle high. I must remember to adjust that before the next flight. I do like the white and red color scheme. The rotor disc is much more visable than the grey and yellow scheme of the 315s I had. I believe Align also makes 315 red and white pros. Perhaps those are the ones that will suit me the best.

I received my Hyperion balancer and have balanced charged all my packs. I like the Hyperion balancer, the instructions are quite clear and it is easy to use. I have found that my two Align packs were a little out of balance. The only thing that's a little disappointing about the Hyperion balancer is that the stock balancing harnesses that come with it are not compatable with either Thunder Power or Align. to balance my Align batteries, I have to use two adapters, a Thunder Power to Hyperion adapter and a Align to Thunderpower one. It's a little kludgy but it works.

I'm charging up my new Thunder Power Prolite 3s 2100. I'm curious to see if there is any difference between this battery and my Aligns. From what I've read on the helicopter forums, there is no need to balance charge everytime you charge the packs. I think I'll do a balance charge every 10 flights or so, once every three charges. That should keep my packs at a good level of performance.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

P18 & P19

Spent packs 18 and 19 hovering about 15 feet up, tail in and slowly sliding right and left, about 30 feet in either direction. I gradually turned the nose a bit so I was flying slowly left... stop... turn right.... fly slowly right.... stop.... turn left.... repeat.

I'm working on getting to flying figure 8s as outlined in the Little Rotors Flying lessons.

Flew pretty well for the most part, just had a couple of close calls, flying left to right where I got a little too sideways and started feeling the panic, you know when the heli starts going faster than you want it to and the first thing you do does not help. Fortunately, I was able to correct, and then set down.... calm down.... breathe......

After the two flights, while doing the post-flight inspection, I noticed that one of the main blades was cracked. You can see it here as that thin hair-line extending from the left edge of the blade to the right. The curious thing about this crack is that it goes the entire length of the blade. You can just barely see a black line at the center edge of the blade root. Actually, I think the root is where the crack orginated. As you all know, the Align Pro woods fit very tightly into the metal SE blade grips. There are many posts in the Trex forums about how to "fix" this problem, from sanding down the root to squeezing the blade root in a vise. I tried the vise trick. I didn't really help very much so much as loosening the blades in the grips but I think it did weaken the root and problably initiated the crack.

I replaced the blades with some Align Pro 325s (the grey ones here are 315s) . I am very curious to see how the Trex flys with these slightly longer blades.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


More high-hovering.... uneventful. I'm starting to do a little side-on hovering. I notice that I'm much better with the nose pointing to my left (looking at the heli) than when the nose is pointing to my right. All the helicopter training guides caution against developing "handness" for orientation so I guess it's more simulator work.

I notice that my flight times are starting to drop a little, now under 10 minutes. Perhaps it's me flying continuously now, or perhaps it's the cells getting a little out of balance. I have the Hyperion LBA6 balancer on order. Hopefully that will help improve the charge on my batteries.

I'm feeling a little torn now. I had been thinking of selling my new Triton charger as I have a Polycharge4. However, the Polycharge can't tell me how much current has been put into the battery. Perhaps I can sell the Triton for around 70 dollars and by a new Triton JR.

It's basically the same charger but with a better (safer) key layout.

However, to sell the charger does require work and there is no savings in money. I think I'll just keep the triton.

Monday, June 19, 2006


Started hovering "high" this evening. Went up to approximately 20 to 30 feet and played around with a little forward flight. It is definately a lot harder to figure out the helicopter's orientation the further away it is. I had a couple of close calls where I couldn't tell whether it was flying away from me or towards me.

The pack lasted about 10 minutes and this time it was only warm.

Curious, need more data, found this gadget to get:


A micro data logger, only 17 grams. Records current used in amps and volts, can be set to record rpm or temperatures as well. Downloads to a PC or can be set to display realtime data.

Very cool.


Hovered in the front yard again this morning. It's an enclosed space, only 15 by 20 feet or so surrounded by a 4 foot concrete wall. I was a little concerened in flying there as the night before I flew my Lama2 into one of the trees there. The Trex flight was uneventful, with the exception of a "glitch" which I believe was caused by the tail-belt slipping briefly again. What happens is that the tail twitches sharply to the right (counter-clockwise) and the TRex dips down about 6 inches or so.

Pack came back a much hotter than normal. I can't think of the reason for it to be so warm.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Packs 13 and 14

It's been so windy here for the past two weeks that the only time I can fly is early morning (not going to happen) or late evening, just before the sun sets down.

I managed 1 and 1/2 flights today before it got too dark. (yes, still listening to that inner voice, "You can't really see the helicopter very well, you almost lost it in front of that dark window")

Hovering is slowly improving. I'm working on controlled side-to-side motions in preparations for figure-8 circuits.


I found this site a little more helpful than the Beginner's guide to flying helicopters. It seems much more systematic.

I've been reading more about balancers, I think I will get one to check my lipos.




Yes, more accessories.... :-)

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Transmitter mods

OK, as we all know, there are two schools when it comes to how to manipulate the control sticks of a R/C transmitter:

  • Thumbs (where the sticks are moved by the thumbs sitting on top of the sticks
  • Pinch (where the sticks are moved by the thumb and index finger gripping the stick sides
Personally, I've made the switch from "thumbs" (from my R/C car days in the 80's), to "pinch". I started pinching when I started flying my Lama2. I just find that it allows me to be more precise in my stick movements, especially on the left stick controlling the throtte/pitch and the rudder.

Now, Pinch method requires me to use a neck strap to support the transmitter as I can't comfortably hold up the TX with my remaining 3 fingers on each hand. (Yes, I do have small hands)

However, I've noticed that the location strap eyelet causes the TX to want to tip back (point the antenna straight up) when ever the strap is used. This requires me to hold onto the TX tightly so it doesn't do that , which makes my hands cramp up again.

So, as you can see, here is my solution. I've attached some non-slip matting to the bottom of the TX using double-sided tape. The matting rests against my shirt when I'm flying and prevents the transmitter from tipping back. My hands are therefore relieved from having to hold the TX tightly. It actually makes a big difference as now I can fly 2 packs straight without feeling any discomfort in my hands.

Packs 11 & 12: More simulator work needed

For packs 11 and 12, I wanted to practice side in hovering (left and right) as a prelude to practicing nose-in hovering. From my flight experience with the Lama2, I thought this would be relatively simple. I was wrong.

I couldn't maintain a stable over in either left or right side-in. And to make matters worse, sometimes my corrections were made to the wrong side. Fortunately, no crashes. Just some disappointment. Back to AFPD for some more practice.

One thing that has come up in my flying is the "fear factor".

  • I fear crashing my expensive SE, and having to shell out more $$$ for parts.
  • I fear of having to rebuild my SE because I didn't build in the first place.
I think that is the larger obstacle. I'm not confident that I could repair and rebulid the Trex.

At the time I was contemplating purchasing the Trex, I thought that it would be a good idea to have it bulit. This way no mistakes would be made in the assembly (which so far has been true) and I would get a bird that was flight-tested and trimmed. However, after much, much reading of the Heili forums at RCgroups, HeliFreak, and Run-Ryder and seening all the building resources available (especially Finless's videos), I feel that I should have set up the Trex myself, then take it to LHS for an expert review of the setup and trim.

Ahh well, live and learn. As I mentioned in the previous post, sooner or later, my first crash will come and I guess I'll have to do the rebuild then.