My training diary - RC Groups
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Jan 20, 2010, 04:47 PM
I butcher foam
rballz's Avatar

My training diary

I've decided to post my beginner progress from now (tail in hovering only) to some mild 3D.

I'm 30 now and first flew fixed wing nitro models at the age of about 11-12 with my father. We stopped flying shortly after..I don't recall why.

About 2006 we got back into flying with small electric park flyers. We both always wanted to try helicopters, so my father bought him a few helis. I want to say a Blade CP Pro (junk!) and a Blade CX. I bought a HBFP V1 in 2007, and for reasons still unknown to me, a King II. I never properly setup the HB nor did I spend SIM time to learn to hover. I ended up crashing a lot in my kitchen and giving up.

Meanwhile my dad was taking a cavalier approach, could hover a little, spent most of his time crashing the following outside:

Trex 450SA
Belt CP V1
Blade CP

I went on to airplanes and learned a great deal of 3D.

I received a Blade mSR for christmas this year, which resparked my interest. I had been reading forums off and on since 2007 and learned that the little honey bee FP could have been a great trainer, and I now had a sim (AFPD, more on this later).

I decided to get a HBFP V2 due to it's upgrades. In and out of flying the mSR I took the time to balance and setup the FP. I can now hover it tail in and slide it around, still tail in, and maintain a hover where i put it. Side in hovering usually results in a crash after a minute or two, nose in I just play with on the sim and the mSR.

Current equipment and approach

1 DX7
1 JR X9303 with a broken gear switch. I plan to send this to horizon for a checkup and sell it.
1 Blade mSR with 8 batteries
1 HBFP with 5 batteries on stock tx
1 Belt CP given to me, broken main rotor hub and washout..shelved for now.
1 TRex 450 SA
1 HK540 kit, not flyable yet
1 EXI 450 Carbon - not here yet
1 King II with upgrades - probably won't play with this at all

I have 6 chargers, tons of HS65s and ESCS up to 110 amp.

I plan to use the mSR and Simulator to get what I'm working on down enough to hit with the HBFP. From there it's the Trex 450 SA outside in hopefully low wind.

Right now I can hover the SA tail in with gear in winds up to 12-15 mph (as of yesterday). I do very well at holding attitude and altitude, but not perfect. Without wind I can pretty much keep it where I want.

I'll post each day I train at all, even if it's just with the sim, and people can chime in with tips, encouragements, etc.

Maybe in the end some other beginners could find this useful.
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Jan 20, 2010, 05:27 PM
I butcher foam
rballz's Avatar

Tuesday - 1/20/2010

Tuesday - 1/20/2010

Drove to my father's mid afternoon and flew 2 2200 mah packs (about 6-8 minutes on my timer..depending on how my nerves do) out in his street with the Trex 450.

Winds were at 10+ mph with gusts into the teens. The heli performed great. I have the Telebee gyro dialed in great in rate mode..still a little creep. Need to mechanically adjust the servo to get trimmed in rate mode still. My father had never seen his Trex fly so nice and smooth. I spent hours with the Finless videos to ensure the head/servos were set and the gyro was set. I had to adjust a lot of linkages in the head - I suspect this plus his zip tie around the telebee (transferring vibration from the frame?) to be his issues.

I tested my idle up settings, things seemed great.

I hovered tail in, did some sideways flight, and even moved the heli from the street to the driveway in a solid hover so a car could pass.

Took about 2 minutes on my father's new Blade 400. His setup was a little twitchier than mine, but I was able to control the heli in the same way.

We both have 5/16" dowel rode with ping pong balls as training gear. Each piece 3 feet long. These have prevented a ton of crash landings. We're both getting to the point where we dont need them tail in.

Tried the HBFP in these winds for a frame of reference., no dice. No way to fly survived a head on with a tree though.

Normal settings:

TC: 0/23/60/70/87/90/100
PC: 40/45/45/50/75/85/100


TC: 100 across the board, probably need to lower this?
PC: 45/47.5/48/50/75/85/100

+75 gyro gain for HH
-28 gyro gain for Rate

18% expo on ail/elev, none on rudder, full travel

I have low rates programmed to 80%, but do not use them.

Swash movement set on ail/elev per Finless Bob's CCPM video..where for a beginner you adjust until it maxes out just as the swash hits the flat part of the bearing. Blade pitch set to +/- 11 degrees

Ail 40%
elev 45%
pit 80%

Need to blade track now..probably 1/4 to 1/8" off.

Still it flies great, nice and docile for now.

I'm going to set my dual rates up like this for my next outdoors flight:

high - expo, 100% travel
low - no expo, 100% travel

And see how I do with no expo, and perhaps see if I like that better.
Jan 21, 2010, 12:28 AM
All flight is 3D.
Let us know how things go with that HBFP V2. I just acquired a HBFP V2. I've spun it up a few times but I haven't tried to fly it yet. I am pretty good with a coax except I still get somewhat disoriented when the nose is pointing directly at me...and I wind up landing very fast or turning it around quickly when that happens. Yes, i am aware of the differences between the behavior of a coax versus a single rotor FP. The FB is a much trickier balancing act. Let go of the controls on the coax when its moving and it stops dead, let go on the FP and it keeps on going till you make it stop. Nonethless, I'm going to have to start practicing on the HBFP. I'm sure I'll get the hang of it but I'm going to go slow, take my time, and be ready to order some replacement parts. LOL
Jan 21, 2010, 07:38 PM
I butcher foam
rballz's Avatar

what I did was put the cheap training gear you can get (with the orange balls) on and popped it up into a hover. I took the time to make sure the swash was level, blades were tracking as good as they can get, and the prop/gain on the 4-in-1 was set. First hover I trimmed it out.

I would check out Nuttcaze's video on setup for the HBFP

I had been flying the mSR quite a bit and did a few minutes of hovering with my father's Blade 400 (with training gear) before I flew my HBFP - so I knew I could pop it up and control it somewhat.

On to the diary

1/20/2010 - Evening

Winds were calm here around 4 pm CST. I took the HBFP and the SA out in the front yard for some flying.


I was flying the HBFP way beyond my abilities..trying FF, banked coordinated turns, etc. Ended up having to chop the throttle or hit my roof - the crash from about 30' up split the frame in half! New frame ordered and on the way.

I should have took this as a sign, but did not.

Pack 1 on the SA was 7 minutes of tail in hovering and scooting around. I'm sliding left and right to give myself some pre-side in orientation training. I also did some very high hovering.

I'm typically around head level. This pack I did some pumps up to 2-3 stories high and held the hover up there. It's quite a bit different, but manageable.

Pack 2. It's darker now and without the help of the street lights, I can't see. I had forgot the street light closest to me is having issues and goes on and off every 10-15 minutes. Tail in about 30-40 feet above me and about 20 feet in front of me the light dies and I quickly loose orientation..can't tell anything about what the bird is doing.

Since I'm close to houses and neighbor's cars I decide to chop the throttle some and try to put it in my yard. I THOUGHT I was level but neigh, apparently I was tail down.


right before impact (in normal mode) i cut the throttle. SA smacks the ground and parts go flying..I hear a whirr that sounds like what you might expect after killing Robocop.


Tail boom
1x Blade Grip
Feathering Shaft (noticed the dampers are worn)
tail linkage
horizontal fin
boom supports
main gear
main blades
tail belt (no visible damage but this thing is a few years old and isn't looking great)
blade holder bolt/nutx1
1x canopy mounting post

Servos seem ok..and the head SEEMS ok. I plan to tear the head down just to be sure

Now I'm assembling my HK450 while I wait on parts for the SA.

I have the cyclic servos in, ds480 tail servo, boom with belt set the right way and right tension, Used an align tail linkage as the stock one sucks, replaced the frame hardware with Align hardware.

I just need to set the cyclic servos up, put the arms on, setup the head, solder bullets on the motor/esc, put a spare rx in, continue radio setup, set the tail and tail gyro up. Should be flying this weekend

EXI 450 comes in tomorrow and my Honey Bee FP / SA replacement parts come in between Monday->Wednesday.

I'm going to be busy.

Crashing the HBFP resulted in a busted frame, which is rare. Nothing else on the heli broke!

Crashing the Trex resulted in a lot of misc broken things (and I'm sure I'll find more things broken as I tear it down). FP training definitely is quicker and cheaper. I also find the Trex easier to fly than the FP. I get the feeling that if a person can fly a FP heli to it's limits, a CP is butter.
Jan 22, 2010, 06:26 AM
All flight is 3D.
Wow, that HBFP must have taken a very hard hit to break the frame. meanwhile it sounds like you have a sodium vapor street light that's cycling. Sometimes those bulbs do that when they are at the end of their life. Definitely call your public utilities department and ask them to change that bulb before you try flying at night again.

I did some great outdoor flying on the coax heli today and then I practiced with the HBFP V2 for a while. My training gear hasn;t arrived yet so I practiced on the regular skids.I started with "floor excersizes"...spinning up the blades and keeping the heli in one spot, keeping the tail straight, wagging the tail, then moving it around on the floor. Moving to the left is wants to go that way. Moving to the right is like a balancing act on one skid...just enough to get it to move but not enough to tip it over. I did well and never tipped it. After I got a feel for the heli's response and controls I decided to try and hover a bit. I was doing this indoors in very limited space so it was tricky. In any event I did manage to get it in the air...both skids off the ground and hold it in position for a bit. But being in limited space I couldn't bring it up too high and I had to land it as soon as it seemed that it might be drifting too far or getting out of control

Well, it wasn't much but at least I got a feel for the attitude of this heli. I am confident that with some more practice I'll be flying it well. It is quite different than flying the coax but, I don't think the coax spoiled me. If anything the coax helped me in many ways. The single rotor FP is different and a new learning experience. I'm looking forward to learning it and gradually making my way into the world of CP heli's.
Jan 26, 2010, 06:38 PM
I butcher foam
rballz's Avatar

Not much to say, tons of trouble in heli land.

1) Crashed my Trex SA last week, still waiting on a few parts
2) Crashed the Honey Bee II last week, parts arrive this Thursday
3) X9303 stopped transmitting, sent it to Horizon today for warranty work
4) Backup DX7 has a broken switch and is destroying batteries. Seems to be draining the tx pack even with the power off.
5) Crashed the msr into my salt water aquarium mixing bucket and hosed it.

Replaced the mSR with a RTF today and have flown 6 packs through it so far..even got some packs outside with FFF and aileron bank turns.

Tail is blowing out on me some, but all in all it's a ton of fun.

Been getting 30 minutes or more on the simulator since last week. I have hovering in all orientations nearly down, and can slow piro in a hover and maintain position for quite awhile.

Tried some tic-tocs and other 3D stuff I wouldn't dream of doing in real life and can no fly quite a bit on the sim without crashing. The sim time really gave me a huge command on my replacement mSR..really flying the crap out of the little guy now.

Sim time is paying off.

HK450 is half built..with both my tx's dead I can't do much more.

When my 9303 gets back (could be quite awhile!) I will build my CPs back up and start training with them again.

For now it's mSR, Sim, and HBFP when I get it back up this weekend..tons of practice to do on those 3 things.
Jan 26, 2010, 08:59 PM
Registered User
This is very fun for me to read! Thank you so much!
Jan 27, 2010, 01:40 PM
I butcher foam
rballz's Avatar

Bad weather (snow storm) on it's way.

Indoor flying only, and who knows who long.

I can hover the mSR in all orientations now for as long as I want.

I'm finding with a properly setup and trimmed heli that over controlling is my main problem. Anytime I lay off the cyclic and make tiny corrections to the cyclic, let the stick go to center before making additional corrections, and just let the heli fly..the more stable my hovering is.

An out of trim or poorly setup heli have to make more corrections, and it's easier to over control the hover.

It's almost as if the helicopter wants to hover stable, and we come along and feed it inputs that back it away from the stability..inputs could be our failure to setup and trim the model, over or under controlling, etc. Then it clicks as noobs and we let the heli fly and just feed the tiny inputs to correct what the atmosphere does to the heli.

I know my first hovers I felt the need to constantly feed the heli my's drifting left, right cyclic..whoops too much, left i give left i notice it's now drifting forward..give it some back movement..oh no I have TBE going on!

Then I calm down and the TBE goes away and I can get back into a stable hover...just be not overthinking, feeding tiny inputs, and letting my cyclic go back to neutral before feeding another input..this paves the way for multi-axis cyclic corrections imo.

I may be wrong, but the above thought process has transitioned me from semi-decent hovers to pretty good hovers on the sim, the mSR, the HBFP, and the CP helis I have swinging 325 mm blades.
Jan 29, 2010, 09:57 PM
I butcher foam
rballz's Avatar
Two GIFTS arrived in the mail today:

1) MSH Protos 500 kit. Plastic, no esc/motor/blades. This thing i beautiful! Readyheli got it here overnight even though I ordered 2 day shipping. Shipped 10 minutes after I ordered! 425 mm blades on 6s!

2) Phoenix flight sim (which has the Protos!) Night and day difference from Clearview. I love it so far. Using my DX7 with it until my 9303 gets back from Horizon services in a few weeks/months/or years. I love the physics, interface, and looks - it's perfect. Even the fixed wing 3D feels great.

HK450 is nearly ready to fly. I need to spend more time setting the gyro/tail and mounting my sat receiver on the AR7000. I spooled it up and it had a ton of power with the Turnigy.

HBFP is airborne again. I got 5 packs of hovering in on it today and 8 packs on the mSR. I did tail in mostly on the honey bee..a little side in and off side in (45 degree angle). Many crashes due to a linkage popping off that I didn't notice. About 1 hour sim time in today so far. I plan on working Phoenix at hard over this snowy weekend.
Jan 30, 2010, 09:34 PM
Registered User


Just got my Furion 450, still in the box waiting for ordered tools to arrive. Got the phoenix sim and the MSR not flown yet. the only helis I have flown are the MCX & Lama 2-1 both toys. I spent the entire month of January fixated on this hobby and deciding what,when & how to fly a CP heli I have been addictied to many nasty chemical substances but this heli hobby has got me by the balls, strongest addiction to date I have slept little this whole month. I will start building the Furion on Monday 2/1 I'm going to take my time with this but plan for the maiden flight in May/June.... I'll be reading your post thanks for sharing your experience....good luck.
Jan 31, 2010, 12:25 AM
I butcher foam
rballz's Avatar

From what I've read on the Furion it's really nice. Take a lot of time sorting out the head setup and learning how it all works. Fly the piss out of the mCX and Lama..listen to death metal while you do.

Take your time building the Furion, flying the sim, and wringing out your coaxials. I use 1/8" wooden dowel rods cut to 3 feet per side for training gear with ping pong balls. Seems I can't tip a 450 over in this configuration easily. I spend a lot more time hovering than crashing with this. My below crash report was sans training gear, fresh off a new build, in cramped space..a recipe for disaster.

I just crashed my HK450 into a trash bag full of paper. Tore the entire head off from the seesaw up.

Something funky with the ESC, with zero subtrim it took half stick to get the motor to spool (Turnigy). I dialed in max subtrim of 125 and it still took about 1/8" or more.

This made for a ton of stick to hover..and I should've cleared my space in the garage better.

Even with my head setup per the Finless videos this guy was out of trim..I had to really fight to hover it in one spot. I should have landed and put it back on the bench but eh..we all get a little stupid.

I'm going to build the EXI 450 (same thing but carbon fiber/metal) with the HK components and sort this ESC out.

Protos build still on hold for better outside weather and the cash for electronics as it seems you really need cyclic servos to even start the build.
Jan 31, 2010, 02:16 AM
Rocket Programmer
jasmine2501's Avatar
That is a very tricky thing for a beginner, and why I always recommend people to get an experienced pilot to check out the bird before flying it. In order to get them properly set up, you really need to hover it and watch for drift, do forward flight at various speeds, do sideways, backwards, and inverted flight and hovering. Only when it performs well in all those tasks will you know it's set up completely right. High performance machines like the Furion make this even more important.
Jan 31, 2010, 09:10 AM
Registered User
rballz it sounds like you are fearless of crashing! I guess in this hobby that is a good thing?

jasmine2501 I'll have to join r/c club see if someone can take me under their
"wings " or should I say "rotors" I have a lot of energy around this but does not mean this could all be over my head!

This site helps there are lots of experience pilots here. I'll be taking it real slow step by step but I do plan in mastering 3d flight..

the furion 450 was a tough call but I feel more comfortable putting something together from the ground up, If I did not put it together, fixing it will take longer since you will have to learn at that time. Probably creating more frustration and fear of a crash.

I could have bought the Blade 400 and ran it to the ground but the site listed initializing gyro issues and it's hard enough as it is but when parts start malfunctioning it makes it impossible probably. thank you guys take care! hope to keep in touch...
Jan 31, 2010, 09:25 AM
Registered User

an Idea ?

rballz... I just thought of something! I think I will get the EXI450 like you to practice on at least 'till hover? the plastic version is less than $ 40.00 that is amazing! I'll use all my electronics just add a low RPM motor and maybe faom
blades so less load transfer during a crash! I'm checking it out...
Jan 31, 2010, 11:14 PM
I butcher foam
rballz's Avatar
Maybe - dont know about foam blades even at tame head speeds on the EXI.

Mine is metal/carbon. Just spent the day setting it up and popping it into a hover for a pack. Silky smooth.

Jasmine: Not a ton of heli pilots around here to set it up for me. I'm looking into that though.

My EXI with the ds480 on the tail lets me get 90% gain in HH mode with no wag in hover. I suspect wag in forward flight.

I'm setup for -2 pitch in normal until 0 at midstick..then linear up to +10

Idle up is linear pitch

Throttle I'm at 0,50,80,90,100 at normal
Idle 1 is 95,90,85,90,95 - need to measure HS to see where I'm at and adjust when I'm ready.

20% exp on ail/elev, 0% on rudder - no dual rates.

I have tail in hovering on this bird on pack 1 really locked in. I suspect I actually set it up right this time.

My above throttle issue on the HK450 that crashed was me failing to set min/max throttle.

Tritone: I would really look into training on a FP single rotor if you can afford it. Something like a honey bee FP for $100. They don't damage much, if at all, in crashes. If you do need to replace something you're at $1/$2 per part usually. Learn on it and your coaxials / sim. Once you get some good hovering skills and the Furion is built up find a person to maiden the furion to make sure it's good - then slap the gear on and train on it.

That's what I would do.

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