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Oct 13, 2012, 09:40 AM
the great Gassif´er
Originally Posted by CaptJac
Commercial pilots and private pilots use a written check list before take off to assure every step is performed. I go through a 4 step mental check list before connecting the battery.

- Throttle to zero
Step-2 - BOTH throttle-hold switches to ON - this assures even if I bump one of the throttle-hold switches to OFF (which I've done more than once) it can't spin up.
Step-3 - Flt-mode to NORMAL
Step-4 - gyro mode switched to heading-hold.

Battery connect: Wait for initialization to complete.

Step-1 - Set throttle to 1 notch under center stick - this sets the collective pitch to 3 degrees.
Step-2 - Toggle gyro switch from heading-hold to rate-mode back to heading-hold. This removes any offset on the tail-rotor pitch from moving the helicopter to the heli-pad.
Step-3 - Switch first throttle-hold to OFF (the emergency OFF switch).
Step-4 - Start 6 minute timer.
Step-5 - Switch second throttle-hold to OFF (ignition enable) - this starts the spin-up. The 1 notch under center stick is full throttle (85% on the throttle curve) and spools up in 4 to 5 seconds. Both hands on sticks during spin-up in case of unexpected yawing or tipping.
Step-6 - Switch Flt-mode to ST-1 - this only changes the throttle curve not the pitch curve. The throttle curve is still 85% but it is now flat at all 5 points. Left stick now controls only the collective. The only way to shut off the throttle is with the throttle-hold switches.

By mentally going through this check list each time I'm hopefully programming myself to grab that emergency OFF switch. Hooking my finger around the switch doesn't work for me - my fingers are too busy working the collective and they need every movement they can make.
I find this slightly illogical: why spinning up by first setting the pitch in a certain position (+3 can be dangerous in windy conditions) and then spinning up by releasing the second throttle hold?

Why not keep your stick in a safe minimum position, switch off the throttle hold, and just engage the idle-up? The softstart function of the ESC will make sure you spool up gradually, but at least you are spooling up with slight negative pitch....
Outdoors that is a MUCH safer option

It's how I am doing it....

Don't see the advantage of a double throttle hold either: all modern ESC refuse to arm, if the signal is not zero at the moment of connecting the battery...

Brgds, Bert

Brgds, Bert
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Oct 22, 2012, 05:30 AM
A quick (I hope!) question from a noobie idle up pilot (heck, only 25 packs in CP normal too! - but 400+ in FP).
What is the argument against 0, 80, 80, 80, 80 in I-TH? - seems to work OK for me, but probably something basic I'm missing here.
I-PI is set to 45, 55, 65, 75, 85.
Any help appreciated!
Oct 22, 2012, 04:37 PM
Rotor Controller
CaptJac's Avatar
Originally Posted by OldOz
What is the argument against 0, 80, 80, 80, 80 in I-TH? - seems to work OK for me, but probably something basic I'm missing here.I-PI is set to 45, 55, 65, 75, 85.
Any help appreciated!
Helicopters have the glide-slope of a rock unless you are doing an auto-rotation. Maintaining constant altitude requires constant changes in the collective to compensate for transitional lift - you don't want your motor to suddenly shut down. The idea of making the throttle flat (80,80,80,80,80) is to make the collective independent of the throttle so there is no chance of shutting down the throttle unintentionally.
Oct 22, 2012, 04:39 PM
Retired Old Guy
whitehedr's Avatar
I have my TH curve set to provide as low a throttle setting as I can get. That is the purpose of TH.

My PITCH curve in TH is an entirely different animal. I have it set to provide a linear response to the PITCH system. With it set up that way I can turn TH mode on and check the aircraft for correct swash response for a given stick input before I spool it up and go flying.

If I am working on the helicopter on the bench I either back the pinion off or pull a couple of motor leads in addition toTurning on TH. Switches can get bumped while you are working on the aircraft. Ask me how I know and what it cost me to learn that valuable lesson.

When flying I can also do an autorotation using the entire pitch range of the helicopter by switching to TH.

My normal flying mode (DX6i) is in Stunt mode ( or as some radios call it, Idle-Up). in Stunt my THROTTLE CURVE is flat at 85% and my PITCH curve provides me with -3, 0, 3, 5, 8 degrees of PITCH. I got these numbers from This excellent thread. These numbers have worked VERY, VERY well for me and I would not hesitate to recommend this type of set-up to ANY rookie CP helicopter flyer. They provide a stable platform from which to learn the basics of CP flight. Once you get the basics down you can always progress to the full range of pitch that these machines are capable of or if you are like me just use this set-up and have fun.

Last edited by whitehedr; Oct 22, 2012 at 04:51 PM.
Oct 22, 2012, 11:52 PM
Many thanks to you both, input greatly appreciated.
CaptJac - No argument with the master!
The only thing I can say in my defense, is that any ex FP man KNOWS that zero throttle is going to bring the heli down fast (except when the wind/updraft dictates otherwise): but I guess I'll just have to get used to throttle hold instead. It's just hard for a (very) old dog to learn new tricks .

Whitehedr -
The figures you give for stunt are almost exactly what my Futuba Pitch percentages translate to. Only difference is that my 45% to 85% translates to a -2 deg to 7 deg spread. I tried to model these on the earlier comments in this thread, rather than my LHS guy's advice who was one of those -10 to +10 fanatics.
Really the only significant difference between our setups (it seems to me) is that my stunt throttle has zero first step THEN 80 flat to max.
I have no wish whatsoever to mow the lawn in inverted flight - just satisfied if I don't dig divots flying normally!
Last edited by OldOz; Oct 23, 2012 at 12:25 AM.
Oct 23, 2012, 12:51 AM
the great Gassif´er
Don't worry about your 0-80-80-80-80 throttle curve.
Lots of people use it, and the risk when pulling down the lever is not that big anyway, as you are very close to zero when the power begins to fall off, and when pulling further back you will more or less get into autorotation, so you will not loose headspeed immediately.
By that time the helicopter is descending ao fast, you will most likely and by sheer instinct add some pitch/throttle again anyway....

It is more a matter of what works for you, than anything else.

Brgds, Bert
Oct 23, 2012, 01:13 AM
Many thanks for your input as well.
I'm going to try the flat 80 as CaptJac suggests - however not sure if I can overcome four months of conditioning. The 0-80-80-80-80 just SEEMS right to me.
But at least you've made me feel a whole lot better if I fail. At least I'm sticking to the bulk of the spirit of the CaptJac thread and plan: and 3D is most definitely not for me!
Cheers to all,
Oct 23, 2012, 01:44 AM
the great Gassif´er
Don't get me wrong: closing the throttle while you are in the air is always a BAD idea.
Being able to shut down power when something goes wrong is always a good Idea, be it through a throttle curve like yours or by using throttle hold.

All I am saying, is that the chances of your rotor RPM dramatically falling off due your throttle curve, is fairly small, I would even say close to zero, so it is not really an issue.

The logical thing to do here is take into account what is more likely to happen: you being able to train for the throttle hold (which is without a doubt the most technically correct option), or you NOT being able to train for it, thus going for the second best option and take the (very small) risk.

Then pick your choice. I have seen both options work well....

I stem from older times with regard to RC helicopter flying (my first CP helicopter and radio both were "da sh*t" in about 1978 ), and I have never used a throttle hold (not availlable when I started in this hobby) but I have always relied on the negative pitch to push the helicopter back on its skids.

I have to admit, my flying style (and back in the days my way of training) were adjusted to not having a throttle hold, but in 30 years of flying I cannot really recall any situation where using a throttle hold would have significantly reduced damage.

No offense to the captain, but most of what he says (and what I wholeheartedly agree with) was allready tried and proven to be true back in the seventies, things have not really changed that much when you look at it for the right perspective....

Brgds, Bert
Oct 23, 2012, 10:38 AM
Retired Old Guy
whitehedr's Avatar

On my machine I have a Throttle Curve in the NORMAL MODE that is 0, 25, 85, 85, 85. I also have my ESC set to Very Slow Start. This allows me to crack the throttle in NORMAL MODE to start the mains moving. Once they are turning I flip to Stunt Mode, lower the stick ( which is now controlling just pitch) And let the ESC do its magic of bringing the mains up to speed which is a flat 85% throttle curve. Lowering the stick to 0 position provides the -2* pitch to the blades keeping the helicopter planted firmly on the ground.

Oct 23, 2012, 04:11 PM
Again, really appreciate the input.
Perhaps I should have mentioned that I was pushing 70 (pretty hard!) when I saw a heli in a mall stand a few months ago, and thought it'd sure beat lawn bowls as a hobby. And it certainly has .
There are some problems for the 'youth challenged' though. Went out this morning and tried the flat 85, but found - as I feared - in one moment of panic, couldn't decide between throttle hold and throttle zero and froze. No damage, but could have been.
I suppose I could train a lot more on Phoenix. But I'm more inclined to stick with Brutus' suggestion and stay with what works - for me. At least I know now (thanks to Brutus 1967) I'm not the only CP flier doing this (!)
I guess - having gladly accepted CaptJac's (and John Salt's) message that stunt/idle up mode flying doesn't HAVE to be -10, 0, 10 deg, I was just looking for some reassurance that there wasn't a fundamental flaw in my variation that would inevitably lead to disaster.
Only other flier I know (IRL) outside LHS is a foamie fixed wing guy my age I meet in the park. Company, but not a lot of help there, alas.
So grateful thanks to you all.
Edit: TMI, off thread topic!
Last edited by OldOz; Oct 23, 2012 at 09:40 PM.
Oct 23, 2012, 10:19 PM
Retired Old Guy
whitehedr's Avatar
Nothing wrong with pushing 70 Oz, I will be 66 on election day. I have only been at this since late January of this year after a 35 year hiatus.

Just remember one thing, When you put the switch in idle up the stick is controlling pitch and not the throttle. IF you are in a position where you need to "save it" you probably need to get the TH switch to the ON postion which should kill the throttle.

That way you are no longer under power and possibly you can save it with pitch or at least minimaize damage by having the power to the mains OFF. It is a hard lesson to learn. Ask me how I know. And I still occasionally give in to the urge to save it by pulling back hard on the stick which just forces the heli down.

Care to elaborate on what position you were in when you froze up.

I had one the other day where I just flat lost concentration because of a car going by on the street (i do most of my hover practice in my driveway) and ended up chopping it rather than going into TH, resulting in a pretty hard thump onto my driveway and a narrow miss on a blade strike.

Oct 24, 2012, 03:09 AM
the great Gassif´er

Nothing wrong with your age: I am currently instructing a retired person, that is doing well: progress is noticeably slower, but steady, and after all, it is all about the fun of flying, isn't it?

Two years ago I instructed a fellow that was 74, and even he managed to learn a hover, with a 450 and in a confined area no less. Unfortunately I will never find out how far that guy would have progressed, he died early this year of a brain infarct, and that is a real shame....

Personally, I have a great dislike for the nowadays general concensus that ALL RC helicopters should be adjusted at -12 to +12, a gazillion RPM, and headlock and FBL electronics. It all clouds up the real flying, and makes people really depending on electronics (I have once called it "slaves of technology" but got a load of sh*t dumped on me for saying that).
It also takes away the logic from flying.

OldOz: just continue with your 0-80-80-80-80curve if you feel that works for you. There's nothing wrong with that, and you will not get into trouble with that, not ever, unless you decide to start performing aerobatics or 3D.... that's where the continuous RPM throughout the range starts to come in handy
But please try to supress the urge to slam the throttle shut, because THAT will eventually (when your skills improve) create more damage than you prevent with it. As long as you cannot prevent damage by flying skills, it will reduce the damage, but at a certain point, you will be able to save more by adding throttle and going up, than by slamming the throttle shut and making sure you contact Mother Earth in a rough fashion....
And the key to succesful flying RC helicopters the way I see it, is not to reduce damage (which seems to be one of the key points of the nowadays "-12 to +12" philosophy), but to prevent it altogether....

@ Whitehedr:

maybe it is a little bit obvious remark from my side, but it is highly reccomendable to fly somewhere, where you are least likely to be distracted, as flying helicopters does seriously claim your undiluted attention....

Brgds, Bert
Last edited by Brutus1967; Oct 24, 2012 at 03:18 AM.
Oct 24, 2012, 07:20 AM
Whitehedr -
Basically, a confined field, some steel posts, a sudden strong gust of wind, and an old dog trying new tricks. No harm done, but as Brutus1967 says, you've gotta keep your eye on the ball with a 450 size CP heli.
Like you, do a lot of hover practice in a little courtyard at home (20' x 20' say) - or the carport. There were often distractions! Never mattered with my 300 FP, could land it instantly on a dinnerplate. But a different ballgame with 450CP, so sympathize with your forced landing. Had similar with mine, but we've now got a firmly established family 'no go' area during training sessions.

And Brutus -
There's little fear of my branching out into 3D (or any fancy aerobatics, unless inadvertently!). And very seldom 'slam' the throttle shut anyway these days, but - as you say - mostly power out of adverse situations. So taking all your points on board, and think I may come to the full CaptJac standard in my own time.
Assuming I have it. Sobering stuff about your 74yo pupil: but I kinda think you were helping him gain a real feeling of accomplishment in his twilight years.
Good for him: good for you.
Regards to you both -
Oct 24, 2012, 03:19 PM
Brutus1967 -
Just realize I missed your comment on FBL.
Totally concur. Rank heresy these days, I know, but I'm really glad I got the Align 450 FB as a present, instead of the 130X preordered.
Am certain our kids kids will end up with total fly by wire, onboard computer r/c helis, program in your waypoints and read a book (or watch the FPV) while it does ITS thing.
But something will be lost.
Oct 24, 2012, 03:58 PM
the great Gassif´er
I am flying most of my heli's (5 out of 8) without flybar, but also without FBL systems, and I am having a blast doing so.

That doesn't mean you have to fly like that to have fun, but for me, there is a very distinct difference to the feel of a FB, compared to electronic FBL. The latter feels "dead", no feedback, something's missing.

Flybarred feels a lot more comfortable and "real", and non-E-stab is just unbelieveable.... Not really comfortable, but absolutely completely absorbing and absolutely, totally, hardcore "real"....

I tried electronics, noticed I could do more than with my other heli's (nose in, hands off inthe living room) but got bored with it very quickly. I felt, it was more a matter of just learning new tricks instead of improving my flying.
Could have fenced off boredom temporary by trying to get inverted and stuff, but decided to get back to the oldfashioned way, because I would most likely get bored anyway as soon as inverted would become second nature.

A conventional helicopter (especially a multiblade) stays fun even if you are just only hovering.

But this is getting far removed from "beginner issues"....
The only link is that Captain Jack's method is very likely to get somebody at the level needed to start with unstabilized multiblades, the more common "3D-style set-up and training" will get you nowhere near and is likely to confine you to 3D....

Brgds, Bert

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