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Stepping into nitro helis (Shuttle)

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Stepping into nitro helis (Shuttle)

Old 11-26-2008, 06:03 PM
  #26  
mydartswinger
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Default RE: Stepping into nitro helis (Shuttle)

AARRGGHHH!!!!! [:@] 2 Weeks waiting on that tail boom, and still nothing. The people at the hobby shop seem to be getting annoyed at my now daily calling to find out if it's there. When they first ordered it, they told me the middle of last week. I gave them some time and stopped in on Friday, and nothing. They said check back Monday. I did, no dice. They said check back Tuesday, again, no dice. Again, they said check back the next day, which is today, Wed. I called today after lunch and asked if it had made it in yet, she said nope. As I started to ask if there might be a shipment coming in this afternoon, and she started telling me to have a nice day, a nice Thanksgiving, and let me go. She's a bit older, her husband is the one that opened the shop over 40 years ago, so maybe she just didn't hear me since I was on the cell phone and may have been speaking softer than usual. They usually don't just try to cut me short, talk over me, and let me go. Sorry about that, just venting a bit. It is getting frustrating waiting 2 weeks (Monday will make it 3 weeks) on a part that they sometimes have in stock, and it's the only part I need to get the heli back in the air again. Maybe it'll be in on Friday or even Saturday.

In the meantime, I did figure out my starter shaft. It is the 1 bearing version. When I removed the adapter and mount to slip the tail belt over the pulley, the shaft slid down into the bearing in the clutch. I had to remove the engine to get it back up and hold it while putting the adapter back on the shaft, and tightening the set screw over the flat spot. I have a feeling that before I step up to a bigger, newer heli, I'm going to be a pro at removing and re-installing the engine .

As for the Blade 400 repair I mentioned in my last post, the servo that I had replaced the gears in was completely shot, requiring a replacement that I had to wait until Monday to get. She's good to go now. I'll probably put her up tomorrow around the yard to get her trimmed and such.

Happy flying.
Old 11-28-2008, 03:28 PM
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Default RE: Stepping into nitro helis (Shuttle)

I haven't called the hobby shop today to find out if my tail boom is in, but in the meantime, I decided to work on setting up the pitch curves. I want to set it up to be capable of +- 10 degrees of pitch mechanically. I can only get it set to about +10 and - 3 to five mechanically. The manual is not clear as to which rod is the pitch rod (I've adjusted on the rods that go between the seesaw assembly to the blade grips and the rods between the seesaw assembly and the swashplate). I know that the manual states a pitch range of +10 to -3 for hovering, -3 to +9 for idle up 1, -5 to +9 for idle up 2, and -5 to +13 for autorotation (throttle hold). I know that the +- 10 is not required at my experience level, but I would like to know that it is there when I'm ready for it. Until then, I had planned on keeping the mechanical pitch set at around +-10, and go with the manuals pitch curves by radio set up. If what I plan on doing is just not possible, that's OK, I can get another heli or upgrade the head on this one when I'm ready for that type of pitch range. I know this heli wasn't intended for extreme 3D (which I'm far from ready for anyway). Just looking for some info at this point. Thanks again.

Happy flying.
Old 11-28-2008, 08:13 PM
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Default RE: Stepping into nitro helis (Shuttle)

Happy Late Thanksgiving Dart,

I have to take a look at my ZX and see what I did for that setup. The Quick UK head gives more travel with better clearance between the lower washout arms and the pitch links at full negative pitch.

I know if you use the stock link lengths given in the manual you'll find the mixing arms are not level at 0 pitch. Its simple to adjust the arms from the paddle bar input links to level the lower mixing arms, just make sure they are the same lenght. I always go equal turns on each link when I adjust and things stay together that way.

Level the upper mixing arm the same way and you should have a nice starting point. I think my ZX is running +10 0 -8 in idle 2 and +10 0 -4 in normal and idle 1 but I have to check. The Plus is at +12 0 -10 with the Quick UK parts and the OS .37 pulls that quite nicely.

I really dont like the fixed pitch links below the swash plate but I've been able to make things work okay with them.

T

Old 11-28-2008, 10:53 PM
  #29  
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Default RE: Stepping into nitro helis (Shuttle)

Happy belated Thanksgiving to you as well glydr.

I was finally able to get a decent pitch setup on it after I posted earlier. Everything looks to be of identical lengths (by eyeball). I've got it set up per the manual, except for idle 1 and autorotation. I have idle 1 at -3 to +10 (vs the manual's +9), and I have autorotation (hold) at the same as idle 2 (-5 to +10). If I went any higher on the positive or negative pitch, it would take about that amount out of the opposite end. I think that where I'm at will suffice for a good while and if I find myself needing more pitch, I'll either upgrade the head or buy a 50 size machine.

On a lighter note, about 4-4:30 this afternoon, I called the hobby shop and my boom was in . I've got it all back together finally. I did find a couple more problems in my post repair checks while setting up the tail. First off was the elevator servo. That wasn't a big deal as I had a JR ST47 laying around as a replacement, problem solved. Second problem is with the rudder linkage. It's very tight. I dropped some oil on the tail rotor shaft and in the tube for the linkage. That helped a little bit. At least it moves with the servo now. Unfortunately, it's still a bit on the slow side. Even though it's tight, I might be able to counter it with a stronger tail servo (it's only got a Futaba FP-S148 on it currently). I'll probably pick me up a high torque JR servo tomorrow for it. Everything else seems to be going just fine on it, even the gyro seems to be correcting the right way (adding left rudder when the heli is turning right). Once I get the tail problem solved, all that's left is to fire it up, tune it, check the blade tracking, take it to the field, put the training gear on it, trim it out, set the gyro gain, fly it until I get used to it's handling, then remove the training gear and fly some more.

Thanks again for the advice and Happy flying.
Old 11-29-2008, 06:18 AM
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Default RE: Stepping into nitro helis (Shuttle)

Keep an eye on that ST47 as its a sport servo and I'm not sure if its rated for use in helicopters. I have a couple ST47B's with ball bearings in my 4 Star 40. My JR 537's are rated for .30 size helicopters and have worked well so far in the ZX.

The free movement of the tail rotor drive and linkage is CRITICLE to smooth tail control. You need to disconnect the tail rotor push rod and see how free each component is. I have found that the tail rotor bellcrank that sticks through the housing can drag on the slot that it passes through on the left housing. I usually take a small file and open up the slot until the lever moves freely in the slot. Make sure the bell crank pivot bushing is free from drag at the right tail housing half(I upgraded mine to use the ball bearing pivot). and make sure that your blade grips move freely and that you have greased your trust bearings in the grips. I have also seen some drag on the tail rotor drive shaft where the pitch change bearing slides. I just oiled it real well and worked it back and forth until it burnished itself and smoothed up.

The tail push rod can drag in the plastic housing if its not straight. Especially where the rod moves from the frame to the boom. I usually cut a few pieces of silicon tubing 3/4 of an inch long and slit them so they slip over the plastic housing and then use vinyl tape to hold the silicon tube to the tail boom. One between the frame and boom supports and one between the boom support and tail housing. This removes the tendency for the drive rod to flex when its being pushed aft. I've tried zip ties but its hard not to get them too tight where they bind.

I've gotten my tail rotor linkages to move so smooth that I can just push on the lever at the tail to actuate it back and forth. But remember, I'm using very fast tail servos aka JR 810G's and they dont have alot of torque but lots of speed. They also turn super easy by hand compared to a standard Futaba 148, (my original ZX came with a JR 501 on the rudder and it worked just fine.)

Don't go for a "high torque servo" to solve problems with a stiff tail linkage, instead take a little extra time to clean up the tail issues and you will be rewarded with a tight tail lock and smooth piroette rates.

Looking foward to some awesome hovering stories soon!

Old 12-12-2008, 07:52 PM
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Default RE: Stepping into nitro helis (Shuttle)

Got the tail issue sorted out. It was several things, the most of which was screws on the tail were to tight. The tail pushrod and tube were bent and kinked. Got those issues sorted out, and it's moving freely now.

Finally got to start her up and get the blades spinning this afternoon. It took a bit of adjusting on the throttle trim to get it to stay running at low stick, but I managed to get that sorted out. I was able to spin the blades up just enough to nearly get her light (come to find out she actually was light, I just couldn't tell. More on that in a minute). The blades appeared to be in track and there was little vibration. She did, however, vibrate wildly from side to side at half stick for the first couple of run ups. after that, she never did it again. The tail did have some "wag" in it, but that should be cured by properly setting up the gyro gain. Since I was only in the front yard and not at the flying field, I didn't want to attempt a hover. I wanted to "clean out" the motor a bit, since it's been sitting for about 7-8 months without being run. I was going slowly and smoothly from idle to about half collective to get a few RPM through the motor, let it run like that for about 30 seconds, and back to idle. I also set up and tested the throttle hold function a few times. I managed to make it about 3/4 of a tank doing this before it happened. I was bringing her back to idle and a gust of wind came up, causing the heli to lean to the left. I tried to counter it with right cyclic, but it wasn't enough. The blades just didn't have enough RPM to counter it, but just enough to allow a strong enough gust to push it over. Luckily, the blades didn't have enough RPM to cause a "funky chicken dance". Damage was limited to blades and flybar. I haven't, but will, pull the head apart to check the feathering shaft and main shaft before she's started again. I had a funny feeling that I should've put the training gear on, even if I wasn't going to do more than run the engine [:@]. Oh well, such is the life of an RC heli pilot. At least I have most of the parts, except the blades, so it shouldn't cost me more than $30 to fix it.


On a lighter note, the engine is running strong. She does seem to be running a bit lean on the low end, as there is no smoke at idle, but plenty once a bit of throttle is added. That can be easily remedied with a small turn of the LSN.

In the meantime, I'll be keeping my thumbs warm with my Carl Goldberg Decathlon and TWM Nemesis 52.

Happy flying.
Old 12-12-2008, 08:23 PM
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Default RE: Stepping into nitro helis (Shuttle)

Excellent job of getting her together, sorry about the mishap but I guess its just par for the course. What are your pitch settings? The only time I had a tip over was during a low auto in gusty winds. I touched down nice and easy but before I could back out of the pitch to stick it to the runway a gust caught me at around 10+ pitch (very low rpm) and it just went over easy as you please. No blade damage but the spindle was bent and I snapped a pitch link.

Oh well, its just parts!

I found that if you have a waggle in the tail that requires you to go below 50% gain values then you'll have to move the pushrod one hole inward on the servo arm from where it is at. Likewise if you put the gain full up and your not getting a good tail lock then you have to move linkage out one hole and back the gain down until any wag goes away.

I had to do this with my JR410 and the JR501 servo that was originally on the tail. I've forgotten which gyro you have.

Replace the rubber dampers in the head if they are cracked or worn looking. They get messed up fairly quick when you start really pushing your Shuttle.

Hope your back in the air soon!!!

T
Old 12-12-2008, 09:38 PM
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Default RE: Stepping into nitro helis (Shuttle)

I was running with -3 at low stick, about +5 at mid stick, and +10 at high stick. It tipped over when the collective was all the way down, so it was at -3. I think that it was at just the right RPM to allow for a tip over, but not enough to counter it or stick it to the ground. Like you said, it's just parts. It's not like I've got to piece and glue together a bunch of toothpicks to get her back in the air . Besides, I've got my CX2 and MCX still flyable in the meantime (the 400 suffered a crash due to loss of tail control and is still down. Too many projects, airplanes and helis alike). If all else fails, I've got a Lego police helicopter to play with and make helicopter sounds [sm=lol.gif].

I'm still not quite far enough along to worry to much about the tail wag. I'll get it before I start hovering. I don't have a mainstream gyro, it's a bit older. Probably about as old as the helicopter itself. It's an Arcamax PEG-S1 piezo gyro.

I should have her back in the air by next weekend.

Happy flying.
Old 12-20-2008, 08:36 PM
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Default RE: Stepping into nitro helis (Shuttle)

Well, I figured out that the tip over was not due to the wind and low RPM. I had the aileron servo reversed somehow, I caught it when spooling up this afternoon at the flying field.

Which brings me to the good news. Remember those hovering stories you were talking about? I've finally got one . When I got to the field, my primary goal was to get the heli airborne. Unload the heli, radio, starting equipment, and training gear. Zip tie the training gear to her. Remove blade holder. Take a couple of quick snaps to capture her while she's still in one piece, just in case I didn't get the chance later. Startup time. When I went to start her, I noticed that the blades were not perpendicular to the flybar, but at an angle. I got to looking at it, and come to find out, I didn't put the screws back in the head when I checked everything from the last mishap [:@]. Luckily, I had replacement screws on hand and had that issue fixed quickly. Fired her up, took her out to the runway (airplane field that allows helis, but does not have a designated hovering area), added collective to start the spool up. Once the blades got spinning quick enough to have some effect on her position, she started to lean left, so I counter with right cyclic. No dice. I spooled her down and gave some right trim. Spooled her up again, same problem. Did this a couple of times, then looked at which way the blades were leaning on aileron commands. They were reversed. I don't know how this happened, I checked at the swashplate when I set it up on the radio, and it was leaning in the direction that I pushed the cyclic stick. Maybe I accidentally changed it somehow. Regardless of how it happened, it happened, and I was lucky enough to catch it before additional damage was done. So a quick servo reverse, and she was acting correctly. Got her a couple of inches off the ground and started noticing the way her tail was going. It was yawing to the left, so set her down, right rudder trim, and up again. Did this a few times to get her tail straightened out, as well as working the elevator an aileron trim to keep her from drifting to far to fast. Before I had been at this for minutes, I was bringing her down, and at about 3-5 inches, the tail hit the ground, rotating the tail boom about 10-20 degrees counterclockwise. The heli was still running and there was no further damage, so I shut her down, straightened out the tail boom, double checked the tail screws on the mainframe, and waited until a couple of people were done flying (not to mention calming my nerves a bit, since this was my first hover with anything bigger than an E-Flite Blade 400). Once my nerves had calmed and the skies had cleared of traffic, it was out again for more trimming (previous session didn't even burn 1/4 tank, so I didn't bother refueling). I had nearly got her right when it happened. From about 2-3 feet up, the tail just broke loose on me and she started a pirouette. Luckily, I was not very high, and all I had to do was ease (not chop) the collective back and let her come down with no further damage. As soon as she was back in the pits, I inspected the tail controls to realize that the linkage that goes through the tail housing had snapped in flight. I've got the part here at the house, but I didn't at the field, so that ended my hovering for the day. BTW, I didn't notice the wag today at all, and the tail held pretty well, except when the linkage broke on me.

Overall impressions on the heli:
She seems to be a very stable bird. Not very twitchy, except on the fore/aft cyclic (elevator), but still not overly so (a little bit of expo should fix that, maybe about 10%). I think that once she's trimmed out and all the little "bugs" worked out and fine tuned, I should have the training gear off within a couple of tanks, and on to forward flight within a couple more. If it takes more, I'll take that time to make sure I have one skill down before moving on to the next. I was already working into forward flight on the Blade 400, until I started experiencing some tail issues (possibly the gyro, I'm working it, but I've got quite a few projects at the moment). I'm overall VERY pleased with her, and she should be a part of my hangar for a long while. I don't know why I didn't break into nitro helis sooner.

Happy flying.
Old 12-20-2008, 11:27 PM
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Default RE: Stepping into nitro helis (Shuttle)

Just a quick pic of her in one piece.

After removing and examining the damaged piece, I found that the bottom (grooved) side of the top portion of the belt was rubbing the top of the plastic link. I have the belt as tight as I can by pulling on the tail boom. When flying, I wasn't paying attention to the tail rotor (just the movement of the helicopter), but another club member was. He told me that at certain points, the tail rotor would almost stop. That is most likely the point at which the belt is rubbing the link. I noticed it doing this when spinning it up last week, and set the servo travel to stop it. Upon arrival to the field today, another thing that I forgot to mention in my earlier post that I noticed in addition to the flybar issue, was that the tail belt was a bit loose. I loosened the tail boom mounting screws on the frame, tugged on the boom as much as I could and tightened the screws to secure the boom. After this, I checked the belt tension to find that it was now nice and tight. I now realize that my fatal error was in increasing the range of the rudder servos travel to the left (where I had reduced it before to prevent the rubbing). I had increased the travel only until I saw daylight between the link and the pulley at full left rudder. What I should've done, however, was to have the blades turning just enough to keep the tail rotor spinning, then adjust the left travel until it no longer stopped or slowed down the tail rotor. As soon as the rain clears up (hopefully tomorrow afternoon), I'll take her outside and get that adjusted. If it dries up early enough, I'll take her back out to the field and finish trimming her out and move on to getting comfortable with hovering her in all orientations.

Just for a little bit of fun:
After putting up the Shuttle for the day, I took out my Great Planes 71" wingspan Tiger Moth. Well, the winds were a bit stronger than the Moth likes, but I took her up regardless. I've gotten quite comfortable with doing so, but apparently most of the club's membership has not seen this type of plane fly in the wind. I got her up high and set the throttle to idle. She dang near stayed up there at idle for 2-5 minutes. I felt like I was flying an RC kite. That gave some of the guys a bit of a shock to see a plane fly that slow without stalling. The real fun came when I decided to land it. This is the part where it can kind of tie in to helicopters. On my final approach into the wind, I cut the throttle to idle, but instead of forcing her down or attempting to keep up the airspeed, I allowed her nose to pitch up a bit (usually a big no-no when flying a plane, unless flairing for touchdown. I was about 10 feet off the ground), slowing her down even more (less than walking pace). She slowed down so much, that she was practically hovering in for a landing. I kept it that way, keeping the wings level, and allowed her to "float" straight down for a gentle 3 point landing. One member even shouted to me that "It's not a helicopter!!!". A couple of other members came up to me afterwards and told me that they thought that she was about to stall, drop a wing, and crash. I've done it before, so I knew how she would react. The first time it happened to me was on accident. It scared the pants off of me (all of the club's instructors always warn every new pilot to not let the plane get to slow, and remind us constantly). As you can tell, I've gotten used to it and am now having fun with it. Some of the pilots that saw it the first time, watched me do it again later, and they were all still amazed at how slow she was able to fly. It's one of those things that you kind of have to witness and hear the reactions to get the full effect.

Happy flying.
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Old 12-21-2008, 10:50 PM
  #36  
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Default RE: Stepping into nitro helis (Shuttle)

Went back to the field today after the repair. Checked for the tail rotor stopping (didn't seem to be doing it anymore), and attempted a couple of hovers. Didn't get her up but for maybe a couple of seconds at a time due to the wind [:@]. I'm not quite to the point where I can handle much wind, and it kept wanting to blow the helicopter around quite easily. I'll be back out there sometime this week to try it again. Hopefully there won't be as much wind.

My wife got a couple of decent shots while we were there (we were the only ones there). The first is of me checking the tail rotor with the blades spinning. The second is of one of my hover attempts. At least I got her down in one piece.

Edit:
Just realized after looking at the first picture, I was standing entirely too close to the spinning blades. Didn't seem that close when I was doing it. Got lucky there. I was also in the pits (another no-no). At least it was just my wife and I there, and she was standing in the spectator/parking area by the car. Again, got lucky that nothing happened. I'm not used to taking a nitro heli to the field, just my little electrics (biggest of those is the Blade 400). Gotta start paying more attention to what I'm doing at the field with this bird. Planes have fewer safety rules.
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Old 12-22-2008, 09:37 AM
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Default RE: Stepping into nitro helis (Shuttle)

looks good just remember to take your time and spend time on a simulator, a little bit goes a long way.
Old 12-22-2008, 07:35 PM
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Default RE: Stepping into nitro helis (Shuttle)

Believe me, I've spent many hours on a simulator over the last nearly 2 years flying both planes and helicopters.
Old 12-22-2008, 11:16 PM
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Default RE: Stepping into nitro helis (Shuttle)

Great job on your Shuttle!

Now for the issues you mentioned.

The tail boom should not rotate at all and if it does your alignment pin in the frame is snapped off.... I know this because my original frame had the same issue. I fixed it by drilling a small hole and tapping it for a 10-32 nylon screw. I then shortened the nylon screw until it just stuck through the frame and into the slot on the tail boom. Worked awesome. There is a alignment pin for the tail housing and the frame that engages those two slots in the boom. Pull the boom and you'll see where the pin snapped off, that is where you drill the hole. Some electronics stores have lots of 10-32 nylon screws. I also use them to hold the landing gear on some airplane models


Now the belt rubbing on the pitch slider is another thing. The belt is supposed to be routed UNDER the pitch lever. The manual shows the correct and incorrect routing. If you route it over the lever it breaks it exactly like you experienced.

Not sure why your radio reversed but good catch on finding the problem. Thats why flight control checks are on the pre take off checklists of most real aircraft and the gliders I fly. Good to know its right before leaving the ground. I find my self doing a flight control directional check as I taxi out my models and a quick check with the helicopter as its spooling up.

Wait! Didnt you replace a servo recently, perhaps it was going the opposite direction of the one you had originally?

You will love the Shuttle in forward flight. I learned to fly my ZX from the ground up without the simulator and she never let me down. Supper stable and forgiving! Had a few crashes along the way but that little ZX is still my favorite out of the 3 Shuttles I own. Strangely, I've found that flight time with my model helicotpers makes me a better simulator pilot when I fly the sim in the hobby shop...... go figure.

Get rid of the training gear as soon and your comfortable. I forgot mine on the third time out and never went back, it flew so much better without them!

Your on your way looking forward to more stories and photos...........and yes..........take a few steps back from the weed wacker blades there

Happy Holidays,

Tony



Old 12-23-2008, 12:40 AM
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Default RE: Stepping into nitro helis (Shuttle)

Weed whacker blades? Don't know how big ya'lls weeds are out there in Cali, but here in North Carolina and everywhere else I've been, the weeds ain't that big. More like riding lawnmower blades. LOL. Like I said, it didn't seem that close when I was there. Probably an acceptable distance for a small electric.

Anyhoo, I'll definitely have to check the alignment pin and double check the routing of the belt/pitch link. The tail boom rotated after I hit the tail on that first "hop", so maybe the way it hit just pulled it enough to pop it out of the alignment pin. It's secure to the point where I cannot rotate it by hand. I thought that I checked the controls after I replaced the servo, but it might have slipped my mind. At least it was caught before severe damage was done, and the damage from the first mishap because of it only cost me about $35 for blades and flybar (nothing else bent, and the damage on the blades was limited to the covering, but I chose to replace them instead of re-covering them with Ultracote. Better safe than sorry, as there could've been damage to them that I couldn't see, cheap insurance considering the cost of a crash from broken blades). I've had worse crashes than that on my little helis.

As for the training gear, I don't plan on using them long. Once I get her trimmed decently and get comfortable with her, I'll take them off. Should have them off in a few tanks (still haven't managed to run her for a full tank. All of my field startups have been on less than one tank of fuel. To be more precise, about 1/4 tank of fuel. Some issue rears it's ugly head before I can manage to burn through much fuel, causing me to shut down, inspect, and repair to avoid further damage.).

I'm sure I'll love her in forward flight. She'll most likely be the first I've gotten beyond slow forward circles with (I was only able to do that on one day before my 400 started acting a fool and not holding the tail). I know, it's taken me a while to build my skill in helis. I've been into helis for 2 years now. Right after getting my AXE CP (which I no longer have), and getting to where I could only keep her up for about 30 seconds (up from about 5 when I first got it), I had to deploy to Afghanistan for a year. That left me with only the simulator (which I didn't get until about March-May 2007 time frame). Got back to the states, started back "part time" with the helis (traded my AXE CP for a Blade CP Pro and picked up my Blade 400). At the time I was getting back into racing 1/10th scale electric touring cars, so that took up more time that I could've been flying. Got frustrated with the competitive atmosphere of the local parking lot racing scene, so went back to helis full time for about 3 months. Got to where I could hover the 400 decently, then got into planes in June of this year. I didn't even touch a heli again until about 2 months ago. That's when I finally got to where I could do slow forward circles with the 400, then she got the tail issue that I'm still trying to track down. I'm already very impressed with the Shuttle. She's not near as "bouncy" as my other helis, and doesn't wander around to bad (go to YouTube, look up my channel, and watch my Blade 400 vid to see what I mean). She feels a lot like flying the JR 50 that is on FSOne. I feel that if I can ever get her to where I can run her for a full tank without a red flag flying, my skills should progress much more quickly than with the 400. I'm already loving my Shuttle.

The wind isn't supposed to be so high tomorrow, so maybe I'll have another story for you then if my time permits.

Happy holidays to you as well.

Happy flying.
Old 12-23-2008, 08:29 AM
  #41  
glydrjocky
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Default RE: Stepping into nitro helis (Shuttle)

One quick thought before I head for the airport........

You can use a layer of thin 3M clear packing tape around each end of the boom which gives a little better "bite" when you tighten down the screws to clamp the boom in place. I now do that to all my Shuttles as soon as I put them together. Saves headaches down the road.

Thanks for the time you've done in Afganistan! I salute you!

and I'm gone..................


Tony
Old 12-27-2008, 07:42 PM
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Default RE: Stepping into nitro helis (Shuttle)

Hope you've had a good trip.

I'll have to give that packing tape tip a shot, as well as replace the screws since their heads are rounding out.

Well, got several decent hovers in today, and one BIG scare.

When I got to the field to pull out the heli, my airplane, and my field equipment, I realized that I didn't bring the training gear. Rather than drive the 30-45 minute 25 mile drive back to the house to go get them, I just bit the bullet and hovered without them. Much more stable in a hover, I do believe. My fist couple of flights had me very nervous, and couldn't get to far into the flight before I had to set her down to take a quick breath and go again. After about the 3rd flight, I was feeling pretty good about my tail in hovers, and wasn't quite as nervous as the other flights. I even started working into side in hovers. I was doing OK with the side in hovers, but not quite comfortable with them.

Towards the end of my last flight of the day, it was starting to get dark, and I had already had her hovering for longer than the earlier flights. I moved into a side hover as I had been doing, then it happened. I lost it. I don't know how it happened, but she took off and started flying out of control over the bean field opposite the runway, as well as over the runway. About this time, everyone in the pits watching ran for cover, scared senseless. Since I was not going over the pits (if she did, I would've bit the bullet and ditched her) and did not want to have to foot the repair bill of her again (not this soon after getting her back together anyway), I continued trying to regain orientation and control. There were a couple of points in the flight where I had her somewhat stabilized and began getting oriented to bring her back in by backing her up over the runway to put her in a tail in hover to set her down. The first couple of attempts at this failed, but she was still over the field and runway, not going into the pits, so I didn't give up hope. Then suddenly, I had gotten her to a point where she was stable and oriented tail-in, nearly in a hover. I krept her back in front of me, got her in a hover, and set her down gently. That incident was enough for me for the day, so I shut her down to start packing up to head home.

I don't know what caused it, maybe mental fatigue from the increased duration of the flight over what I'm used to, maybe the dimming daylight, maybe disorientation, maybe my noobness, or a combination of these. I had been doing some OK side in hovers on that flight, but as the flight drew on, their quality began to degrade each subsequent side in hover that I performed. I noticed that when doing some of those side in hovers, I was sending commands that I thought were the right ones, but were not. Not really disorientation, as the direction was correct, but I was thinking it was tipping one way, when it was actually stable. I also have a tendency to overcorrect in orientations other than tail in if I'm not right on top of it, or have kept it in that orientation longer than I'm used to before moving back to tail in to stabilize.

At least she's down safely without going over the pits and injuring anyone. I'm looking forward to giving her another shot tomorrow if the weather permits it.

Happy flying.
Old 12-27-2008, 11:58 PM
  #43  
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Default RE: Stepping into nitro helis (Shuttle)

Been there!


I know that feeling for sure. Side in hover, sure of what your doing then all of a sudden you lose the precious orientation and all bets are off. I quickly adopted something I learned from my dirt biking days, which was the "When in doubt, GAS IT" rule. I lost my orientation in a low side ways hover, went the wrong way got confused and it was sliding off sideways toward the ground and all I could think of was to grap a hand full of collective. That popped me up about 8 feet and bought me precious time that I needed to get the tail back towards me. Not gonna recommend that for everyone but it worked for me. Once a dirt biker, always a dirt biker........

Fatigue is a very very real thing when it comes to flying. Helicopters are a far greater mental drain than airplanes. My last crash was caused by severe mental fatigue caused by flying all morning at one field then going to a second field and flying all afternoon. My flying skills were heading down hill but my heli was flying so well that I didnt want to stop. Lost orientation and fluttered to the ground like a duck hit by a load of steel shot! In this game you really have to know when to say when!

BUT...........a good save is a good save no matter what, and you went home in one piece with pockets full of extra knowledge and a few more tricks to put in that bag of tricks we all keep on our belts for just such an occasion.

Besides, you now know that your fellow flying buddies have good reflexes and can get out of the way when you start those wicked 3D moves!

Well done my friend,

Tony.........Still in Dallas TX....

Old 12-28-2008, 01:57 AM
  #44  
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Default RE: Stepping into nitro helis (Shuttle)

Thanks for the props. I feel it was mostly luck and perserverance that kept her alive.

The when in doubt gas it rule is what allowed me that precious time to attempt the recovery. There were at least 3 times when she almost bit it, then I pushed up the collective to gain altitude. There was one instance during the time where she was out of my control that sticks out in my mind. She had just made an uncontrolled base leg turn into forward flight down the runway, came within a couple of feet, even inches from the ground, I hit the collective, she rocketed up to about 75 feet or so, I had managed to get her stable at this point, but I was mildly disoriented, thinking the tail was pointing at me, when in fact it was pointing away from me (lower light situation. About 20 minutes after the incident, I needed artificial light to pack up. However, I could see the blades, skids, and tail boom when she was facing the right directions.). Before I realized she was facing the other way, I had made a couple of roll corrections, which clued me in to the disorientation. I attempted a slow pirouette to get her in the right track, but lost control once again.

There were even a couple of times that I thought that I'd have to use Idle Up to pull out, but luckily, she never got that far out of shape and I was able to keep the skids down.

During the entire incident, I accidentally used the ENTIRE airspace that I would normally use intentionally when flying my planes.

The funny thing about my flying buddies is that NONE of them that were present at the time have significant heli experience. One of them is the one I bought my Shuttle from, but as mentioned before, he only "flew" it once, following behind it, and experiencing a boom strike on landing. The only one that stayed put, was a prospective member that is looking for help learning to fly his Blade 400 heli after stepping up from a CX2 (finding help learning helis is rough in this area. The only serious heli group in the area flies in a guys back yard, and you kinda have to know who to talk to and when to go out there to catch them flying.). He told me afterwards that he felt that I'd get her back under control. I honestly didn't even have that much confidence in myself. A couple of them said that they wouldn't have even attempted a recovery, and would've just cut the collective and let gravity take over if they were in my shoes. Most of them will never be in my shoes because they have no desire to step into a heli.

Heck, I was even puckered up so tight, I couldn't squeeze in a needle. My heart was racing until I was packed up and on my way out the gate. That was after taking apart my Tiger Moth biplane and loading EVERYTHING in the car, so at least 20-30 minutes after the incident was when I finally loosened up a bit. The whole thing has got me wired now just thinking about it.

The fatigue kinda caught me by surprise. I was feeling good flying her, finally getting a good feel for how she handles and getting comfortable with her. I guess I just need to work up my endurance a little more slowly. That was the most heli flying (other than co-axial and sim) that I've gotten in in a day. Next time I fly her, I'll try to keep a better eye on my flying and shut her down for a break at the first sign of trouble.

BTW, enjoy Dallas. I wish I could be there, as I'm from about a 2 hours drive east of Dallas, and still have family there.
Old 01-02-2009, 11:37 PM
  #45  
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Default RE: Stepping into nitro helis (Shuttle)

Its the New Year, time to get that thing out and fly it!

Lets burn some Nitro!!!
Old 01-03-2009, 01:36 AM
  #46  
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Default RE: Stepping into nitro helis (Shuttle)

You know it!!!!

New Years day was not my day for flying anything, however. Out of about 5 "flights", I really only had 2 good ones.

My first flight of the day was on my Blade 400. That was good flight #1.

Second flight was with the Shuttle. Still a bit shaken from Saturday's experience, I took her up, this turned into good flight #2, despite some hard starting (cold weather here that day, spinning the motor for a few minutes warmed it up enough to start), no tail control, finding the problem (tail rotor set screw missing, robbed another one from a Traxxas T-Maxx 2.5 monster truck's throttle rod ), fixing it, and getting airborne once more. I just wish I didn't have those problems when I did, as there were spectators that have never flown eagerly waiting to watch my Shuttle's flight. They left after it died before I could get her out to the runway (other pilots were flying fixed wing at the time, so I was waiting for them to land since we don't have a "hovering area" for helicopters and I try to give the fixed wing guys the right of way since they are the majority at the field. Helicopters are the redheaded stepchild at my field, tolerated, but not enjoyed by many other than the pilot and other heli pilots . Heck, helis scare the crap out of most of the pilots at the field. I'm trying to remedy those situations at my field in the most tactful ways that I can, however. That is, getting more heli pilots interested in our club, flying my helis more, being respectful of fixed wing planes flying at the time, and keeping my flying as safe as possible by not advancing to far to fast.) and they never got to see her hover.

3rd flight was with my TWM Nemesis Reno Racer. this started my "bad" flights. Well, this flight could have been much, much worse, as the flight was good, but on taxiing back to the pits, I noticed the rudder was sticking. After inspection, looks like a bad servo (only $10 for a replacement and it'll be ready to fly again).

4th flight was with the Blade 400. This was where my day hit rock bottom. The tail was wagging a bit, so I turned the remote gyro gain down by 5%. On takeoff, she was flying merely OK. Almost like flying with the gyro in rate mode. I was able to control the tail OK for a minute or so, but she let loose and started to roll. No wild ride like what happened before with the Shuttle (thankfully), but this one didn't end as well. She rolled over and landed main rotor first on the runway. Damage was limited to shafts, canopy, and skids. No damage was done to the blades. After analyzing the problem, it started at the charge after the last flight when I had grounded out the charge lead (connected to the battery, but not the charger. My stupidity for not being more careful when handling a LiPO battery). Problems continued when I mounted the battery too close to the motor, causing it to rub. That possibly caused some interference, thus the lack of control. She'll be back in the air repaired and with a new battery soon enough. This one was totally my fault for lack of awareness while charging and installing the battery.

5th flight was with the Shuttle. Before starting, I checked the Voltwatch to ensure proper battery voltage before the flight. A little low, but still in the green. Turn on the TX, then the RX, waited for the "bind" process to take place, and checked the swash. It seemed to be moving a bit slower than usual, but I chose to go ahead and fire her up anyway. On takeoff, I noticed the engine was "surging" a bit, but not getting the full power that it should. It would get the power to lift a few feet off of the runway, the seem to fall off on power. I would add more collective, and the engine would slowly make it's way back into power. Then she would want to start climbing higher than I wanted due to the collective being nearly full just to get her up (full positive pitch, almost), so I'd bring the collective back to hover pitch. The engine would begin to loose power again. After doing this a couple of times, I decided to call it quits before I risked an even bigger problem. The battery has been holding a decent charge for a while, so it hadn't been charged in about a week. I think my problems were due to lower than anticipated voltage. I'll be sure to give it a good charge before I take her out again. This should confirm or bust my theory of the problem. BTW, this was also going to be a filmed flight.

I'll blame my overall lack of attention to detail on my New Year's Day flights to my late night/early morning while ringing in the new year right [sm=bananahead.gif] .

I'll be going back for more punishment tomorrow, weather permitting.

I hope your trip to Dallas went well (if you're back home now, if not, I hope it's going well).

Happy new year to you and yours.

Happy flying.
Old 01-03-2009, 11:46 PM
  #47  
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Default RE: Stepping into nitro helis (Shuttle)

Got to burn about 3-4 more tanks of fuel through the Shuttle this afternoon.

My theory on the battery being undercharged was partially correct. After over 12 hours of trickle charging, all servos were back up to full speed. Upon initial startup at the field, I noticed that the engine was falling out of the power band at just over half throttle. Tuned up both the HSN and the LSN and she was running great.

I did, however, notice that her tail does not want to hold very well. I get it trimmed to maintain straight with minimal adjustments on the left stick, but after a couple of minutes, the tail starts drifting in the direction that I just trimmed it to. Get it trimmed back to center, a couple of minutes later, it does it again. I have to do this 3-4 times per flight. It's not flight stopping, as it is controllable, but is annoying nevertheless. Maybe it's time for a better gyro/rudder servo. This same problem also occurs on my 2 coaxial helis, but is less of a problem due to their vastly easier flight characteristics and virtually hands off hover.

Despite all the little "quirks" that I'm experiencing and trying to work out, I'm still loving this heli. So much so, in fact, that despite bringing an airplane to fly as well, I didn't even break out the plane. I just flew the shuttle. Besides, I need more stick time on the Shuttle to get at least good enough to comfortably break into forward flight. Especially if I want the EVO 50 EX in a year or so.

Happy flying.
Old 01-04-2009, 03:16 AM
  #48  
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Default RE: Stepping into nitro helis (Shuttle)

One more thing while it's still on my mind. Every time I start her up, the main blades turn at idle. If I bring the idle down, the engine dies. It's not a huge issue at the moment, since I can still keep the heli under control until I go to walk away from her to fly. I have just modified my prep to accomodate the issue. Instead of grabbing the rotor by the blade grip at the front of the canopy to see where the tail is going, I grab the rear blade grip to allow the tail boom to rest against my leg while walking to the runway. Once she's on the ground, I maintain a grip on the rotor while ensuring that the blades somewhat straight instead of on cocked off to the side and throwing her way off balance on spool up.

Also, if I hold the rotor head for to long at idle (sometimes just the time it takes to get from the pits to the runway or less), she dies. To temporarily remedy this, I allow her to warm up for a minute or to before going to the runway, then keep the throttle just above idle while carrying her, bringing the throttle back to idle when I release the rotor, then back to just above idle while walking backwards (to keep an eye on her) back to my flying spot.

At hover and above, she has plenty of nice thick smoke coming from the exhaust. At idle, there is no smoke, but she's spitting plenty of oil onto my finger when I hold it a few CM away from the exhaust outlet for a couple of seconds. I haven't performed the "pinch test" to verify the low idle setting.

Once on the runway and just above idle, she runs great now until I shut her off by plugging the exhaust with a covered (for protection from the hot muffler) finger (method I've used successfully for cars and planes that won't shut off by a radio kill switch).

Thanks for sticking with me and helping this poor glutton for punishment out.

Happy flying.
Old 01-04-2009, 03:54 AM
  #49  
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Default RE: Stepping into nitro helis (Shuttle)

Glad to hear you were able to fly today, I was able to get a few flights in on my Shuttle Plus as well today, got the governor dialed in at 1800 rpm and she's flying sweet!

Your gyro drifting might be caused by any number of things. Do you have the manual on the gyro your using? I've had real good luck with my JR gyro manuals and they've performed quite well once set up. I've had drift issues when the gain was set too low or if I moved the helicoter before it was able to properly initialize its neutral setting. Heat and vibration will have dramtic effects on gyro hold as well. I did a dial indicator check on my Shuttle ZX with an OS .32 and found alot of runout on the fan hub. After realigning everthing the engine was smoother and the gyro held better. Most heading lock gyros dont like to have any trim on the rudder channel. Mine is always in the neutral positoin on the radio but once again, my experience is mostly with JR. What kind of gyro are you using again? I'd like to see the manual if its available online. Its sounding like your gyro is acting more like a rate gyro rather than a heading lock.

As for the idle issues, I have the same problem to some extent with my OS .37. It just seems cold blooded when you first start it and when the idle is low enough to keep the clutch from dragging it tends to quit easily. I'm now using an Enya #3 plug that seems to be a bit warmer than the OS #8 I had in it. I found that once its warmed up after a flight there are no further issues. How does your engine idle down once its up to operating temperture? If the problem still exists you might have an airleak somewhere that's causing you problems or the mixture might not be quite right at idle. You just dont want to have to run the engine so high that it really starts to wear on the clutch lining and over heat the clutch shoes. What % nitro are you using?

Hope tomorrow is good flying weather,

Tony

Old 01-04-2009, 11:33 AM
  #50  
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Default RE: Stepping into nitro helis (Shuttle)

The gyro is an old Arcamax PEG-S1. These were being used in the 2002-2003 time frame, if not earlier. The company is now out of business. Their website is gone. I don't have the manual, and it seems that no one else has one posted on the internet to view/download. That's one reason I'm thinking about getting a new gyro. If I can get this one to work well, I might hold off until I get into more advanced flight, such as acrobatics (not 3D, not for a long while).

As for the engine, after a flight and I go out to shut it down and bring it back in, I can put the throttle hold on (brings the engine to a lower idle than low throttle stick) and the blades still want to spin again if I release them after stopping them by hand (reaching over the blades, being careful not to get caught in them, and using my palm to stop them, then grabbing one blade grip to hold it from spinning again). Like I said before, I still need to do the "pinch test" for the low end to try to get it better dialed in if possible. I'm running 30% Cool Power Heli fuel (pink in color).

I'll try the pinch test to try to tune it better than by ear/sight, then look through the fuel system for possible air leaks.

Not looking like good flying weather here today, quite a bit of rain in the forecast.

Thanks again.

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