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Old 01-16-2010, 08:54 AM
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Default RE: A good starter heli?

Anything in the 450 class (like the BlueRay), is a decent starting point. Even the B400 and AXE 400 are OK, though you'll want at least better electronics later with them. To make your learning curve easier, do yourself a favor and get a sim (any sim is better than none) and get some stick time on it before flying the actual heli. It will pay for itself in the number of crashes you'll prevent. You will hear this recommendation over and over, like a broken record on this and other heli forums, and with good reason. I didn't start learning much of anything until I got the sim, as my helis were always down for repairs. 30 seconds (at best) in the air for 2 weeks waiting for parts and repair, followed by the same process over again.

Let me put it to you this way. I went to a major heli event back in September and talked to a Castle Creations sponsored pilot while waiting in line to fly my Raptor 50 about how I learned. He was shocked when I told him what I'd been through because I learned without local help. He's only met a handful of people ever that are largely self taught and have stuck with it beyond the first or second heli. A sim will greatly improve your chances of enjoying it and sticking with it.

Even if you go RTF, you'll want to check out Finless Bob's heli setup videos over on the HF forum. His videos will teach you what you'll need to know to set your heli back up after a crash. It's not like the Savage where you can just replace the part and drive again. It's more like a competition touring car, where after you crash and repair, you have to set it up again to the point where it was before the crash. If 1 little thing is off, it can mean the difference between a super smooth, easy flight and a hair raising experience. Unlike a touring car that needs an entire setup station that usually costs over $100, the only specialty tools you will really need to ensure this in a helicopter is a pitch gauge (you can get one for about $10) and your eyeballs.