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  1. #1

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    Fixed wing > rc heli > full size heli

    I'm a fixed wing pilot. I fly a full size Cessna 185 as well as rc. (I started with a moth, and recently built a Mini-IFO and flying with a cheap non-programmable transmitter). I realize those skills may not help me in the helicopter world, but I'm game to learn. I'm interested in rc helicopters for their own sake, yet my ultimate goal may be to fly the real contraptions. So I'm wondering where to start? I assume the answer will be a simulator. Given my goals, will Real Flight or Phoenix be better? And how about for my first helicopter. Would something like an msr or msrX be appropriate? (I've read that you should start with something easier first - perhaps a mCX2?). I see that the msr and msrX are gyro stabilized. I assume that is necessary for such a small craft? But real helicopters are not gyro stabilized (I believe) so I'm wondering if the skills I learn to fly the rc models will transfer over to the full size helicopters? Are there better rc choices given my personal goals?

    Thanks for any advice you may offer.

    ~Paul

  2. #2

    RE: Fixed wing > rc heli > full size heli

    I dont have either of those SIMs, but I have heard/read that Phoenix is the better SIM for helicopters. I taught myself to fly CP helis with a cheaper SIM called Clear View.

    I advise you to skip the coaxial helis and really now that there are a few robust micro CP helis on the market...I also suggest you skip the FP helis too. They just dont fly like a CP and a CP is going to fly more like a real heli all the way around.

    While I have never flown a real helicopter nor know their design or operation...I cant comment on if they have some sort of auto stabilization (I would think it would be called Auto Pilot like some real airplanes have). But all a gyro does is keep the tail in place (given you are flying a flybar heli) and the newer flybarless gyros do the same thing...plus take up for the missing flybar or basically virtualize the flybar and control your cyclic to keep the heli stable.

    If I were you, I would invest in a SIM and a small CP heli like a Blade Nano CPX or mCPX. Walkera makes a nice micro CP heli called the Genius CP and Heli Max also has one called the 100 CP or something like that.

    You dont mention what radio you have, so that may be a factor in what you buy. Being able to buy a BNF will save you money and I am partial to the Blade helis because I use a Spektrum radio which easily works with that brand. Plus my local hobby shop sells Blade helis and stock all of the parts. Having local parts support is a big factor for me, you...maybe not so much but I at least wanted to put that out there. Afterall, who wants to break their heli today and have it sitting on the shelf for 2 weeks or longer waiting on parts. This is critical in the early stages of learning to fly. You want to "get back on that horse" as quickly as you can, ya'know?

    Spend a lot of time on the SIM before you try the real thing. And even though these micro helis can be flown inside...I suggest you take your first few flights outside and away from obstacles. These little things can get moving quickly and even though they are very durable compared to their larger counterparts...flying one into a wall at full speed is bound to do damage. So...till you get used to lifting off and hovering...do it outside in large spaces.

    Once you get the hang of things...and can fly any of these small CP helis in a circuit, there really wont be any CP out there that you wont be able to fly.

    Goodluck with it...its not something you can jump into overnight and be able to fly. It takes time and IMO is one of the hardest RC models I have tried to learn. But now I am flying all of my helis around the sky and I have pretty much done it 100% on my own since my club has no other heli flyers. And that alone made me feel a really great sense of accomplishment. Im sure you will feel the same once you get the hang of it.
    SpeedDemon
    ATVAlliance.Com

  3. #3

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    RE: Fixed wing > rc heli > full size heli

    >I taught myself to fly CP helis with a cheaper SIM called Clear View.

    I also have Clear View, but I didn't buy any of the heli models because they had so many and I didn't know which one to buy.

    Also a friend of mine said he found all the free sim's inadequate. I
    guess you found the opposite.

    Did you start with CP helis from ground zero? I had thought that was so difficult that it would be impossible.

    By the way, I don't have a programmable transmitter yet, but I'm thinking of getting the Spektrum DX6i. I'm not sure why you asked. Would that effect my choice of helli?

    Thanks for all the advice!

    ~Paul


  4. #4

    RE: Fixed wing > rc heli > full size heli


    ORIGINAL: pmennen

    >I taught myself to fly CP helis with a cheaper SIM called Clear View.

    I also have Clear View, but I didn't buy any of the heli models because they had so many and I didn't know which one to buy.

    Also a friend of mine said he found all the free sim's inadequate. I
    guess you found the opposite.

    Did you start with CP helis from ground zero? I had thought that was so difficult that it would be impossible.

    By the way, I don't have a programmable transmitter yet, but I'm thinking of getting the Spektrum DX6i. I'm not sure why you asked. Would that effect my choice of helli?

    Thanks for all the advice!

    ~Paul

    I take that you have the free download of Clear View since you said you didnt know which models to buy. The free version is the same as the pay, other than with the free you only get the one airplane to try, think its the Apprentice 15e. But anyway...I would suggest you just go ahead and buy the full version as its only 40 bucks and you get all of the heli, plane and car models that the author has created, plus any upgrades that should ever come available.

    While Clear View may not be as authentic as Phoenix for helis, or Real Flight for airplanes...it definitely is good enough for someone brand new to the hobby to use to train themselves. The graphics are pretty good, especially if you are comparing it to one of the free SIMs like FMS....night and day difference, like comparing the original Doom or Castle Wolfenstein graphics to say Modern Warfare. Just no comparison. Also, the models fly very similar to the real RC models in regular flight. I dont think that either the planes or helis are depicted well enough to use this SIM to learn to 3D with. But for basic flying skills...its as good as anything. At least I think so and I did teach myself to fly CP helis with it...because like I already said...Ive had to go it alone since no one in my club flies helis.

    So...saying all of that, it would be my recommendation to start with Clear View to get your basic skills (muscle memory) honed to the point where you can at least lift off and into a hover and then fly around a basic circuit. The time it will take you to do this will be up to you. Everyone learns how to fly at different paces...soyou could be on the SIM for a month or 12 months before you feel confident you can fly a real CPheli. Some people maybe even less or even more time.

    I brought up your transmitter because it would matter as to which micro CP heli you bought. Lets say you had a DX6i...then you could buy a BNF Nano CPX or mCPX heli as they have Spektrum recievers. If you bought a Walkera...or Heli Max, you would most likely want to buy RTF versions that come with their own radios. I fly Spektrum myself so buying the Blade micro "mCPX" was a no brainer for me.

    If you are looking at buying the DX6i, I would say go for it. Its a good and well proven entry level radio that wont break the bank. And since it is made by Spektrum, you will be open to buy any of the BNF Blade helis...along with ParkZone planes and such. It will hold 10 different models and can work with helis as well as planes. I have a DX7, but have several friends that use the 6i and I have even helped them program their radios and the programming isnt that confusing once you get used to it.

    Did Istart with a CP heli? Well, not really. I actually started with a cheap toy coaxial heli that I got bored with after the first couple of days. I then bought a Trex 450 clone and started then. So really, no I didnt start out with a CP, but kind of did. I also bought a micro FP heli while I was trying to learn to fly the 450. It was a Blade mSR and I did learn a lot from it, but hindsight is always 20/20 and IFI could do over again, knowing what I know now...I would have skipped wasting my money on the coaxial and mSR (not that the mSR is a bad heli per say...its actually a fun little heli...but will leave you wanting more after you get used to it, plus I couldnt really fly it outside unless it was dead calm conditions) and bought the mCPX to learn on instead. However, at that time...the mCPX wasnt invented yet so it is what it is.

    Im not saying that you can just jump right into flying a CPheli...but unless all you care about is flying a heli around your living room and under the coffee table when you are bored...you will want to be flying a CP heli sooner, rather than later. And with the invention of these tough micro CP helis that are on the market these days...there is no reason to not just start out with the CP. I say this because a few reasons...

    1. They are cheap when compared to say a 250 or larger CPheli such as an Align
    2. They are durable...but when they do break the parts are cheap and easily available (Im talking about Blade durability and parts since this is the brand I have direct experience with)
    3. They fly almost identical to their larger brothers...250 and up helis
    4. They wont kill you or others if you get hit by one when you lose control/orientation when its close to you
    5. They can be flown inside or outside and when outside can easily handle 10MPH winds.

    I could probably think about more reasons...but those 5 are the ones that immediately come to mind.

    Pair that with a SIM and several hours of practice, there is no cheaper way to get into CPheli flying...barr someone just giving you everything for free!

    Im sure others here will chime in on their experience...some may second my suggestions, some may not. But I do know that once I got my mCPX my flying skills increased a great deal. Before that time alli could do with a CPheli was lift off...hover at various altitudes, maybe piro the tail around and thats it. Once I started flying the mCPX, I could fly circuits...flip to inverted and do loops and rolls and just started having a lot more fun. Also, if you go with Clear View...it comes with the mCPXmodel and it is quite realistic!

    goodluck.

    SpeedDemon
    ATVAlliance.Com

  5. #5

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    RE: Fixed wing > rc heli > full size heli

    I learned a while back with RealFlight and now I have Pheonix, I really don't find much of a difference in reality. Use the SIM to get some of the basic skills down or try new moves and then head on out to the field.

    As far as beginner Heli's go, check out the Blade 130X BNFs. It is flybarless and flies very similar to the larger more expensive helis believe it or not. It is smaller than the 450 size but is one of the few to have a torque tube tail. Most guys at my field that fly the bigger ones also have a 130X for practice. They are fairly inexpensive to recover from a crash, although you'll quickly learn to add a few aluminum parts where needed.

    The best piece of advice I can give is start out with the trainer pingpong ball + sticks on the landing gear to help with tip overs when learning to hover and land then dump them and learn to hover above ground effect (higher than 3-4'). Hovering under 4' for a beginner while comfortable and be extremely frustrating to control because you're fighting the rotor wash against the ground which will push it all over the place. At altitude heli's will hover fairly well, just don't hover to close to your head!

    My collection: Blade 130X, Trex 250, Trex 450, Gaui X5

    Good luck!

    Greg
    Find RC sites, friends and weather near you on iPhone and iPad with WhereBRC in the Apple App Store

  6. #6
    Rafael23cc's Avatar
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    RE: Fixed wing > rc heli > full size heli

    If your checkbook can swing the Phoenix or the RealFlight simulators, either one would be great for the muscle memory required to fly these things. For learning purposes either one will do. Once you get into the aerobastics and what we call 3D maneuvers, then Phoenix has a slight advantage. The downside to Phoenix, is that depending on which version you get, you might end up using your real radio and put unnecessary wear into the components. The RealFlight, and newer versions of Phoenix already come with a "radio" in the box thus limiting wear on the one you will be using in the field.

    As far as learning to fly the real thing by flying the rc one... Well, yes and no. I was already an avid RCer when I got my first chance to climb in a Cessna 172. I did have the smoothness at the control required for pleasant flight, but of course did not have the rest of the skill required pertinent to a craft carrying humans. G forces, bank angles, and a myriad of other concepts need to be learned.

    I was also able to utilize a UH-60 simulator. The UH-60 actually has a gyro-stabilized tail, very similar to our rc machines, but to a point. You have to keep torque within certain limits. The rudder pedals have switches in them that as soon as you place your feet on them, the gyro is disabled, and now you have to fly the machine. Also the UH-60 has a governor that keeps the engine power in the green while the torque on the system varies as you change collective pitch. I was able to hover, and do a couple of laps around the simulated airstrip.

    As far as I know, the UH-60 is the only helicopter that is gyro stabilized. There might be others out there, but they will be in the millions of $$$ range, doubtful that you would be learning in one of those.

    So, yes, learning in the RC world, could be applied to the real thing. But only applied with some forethought on your part.

    Rafael
    Keep your eyes on the sky but your feet on the ground!
    Team Heliproz.com / AMA # 8109

  7. #7

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    RE: Fixed wing > rc heli > full size heli

    i think so,yes, learning in the RC world, could be applied to the real thing. But only applied with some forethought on your part.[img]http://www.*****.us/imax/images/9.gif[/img]

  8. #8
    Rafael23cc's Avatar
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    RE: Fixed wing > rc heli > full size heli

    There seems to be an echo here.

    Rafael
    Keep your eyes on the sky but your feet on the ground!
    Team Heliproz.com / AMA # 8109

  9. #9

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    RE: Fixed wing > rc heli > full size heli

    Believe me, it will not transfer over. I have about 4000 hours in helicopter in the Army and it is not the same. Same thing going the other way. I soloed in 8.5 hours in the Army and I think it took me longer than that to hover a rc helicopter.I don't know about fixed wing.


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