Please opine if you fly both planes and helis. - RC Groups
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Jan 30, 2007, 09:10 AM
Registered User
JWilliams2's Avatar

Please opine if you fly both planes and helis.

I could post this in the heli forum, but I've only some minimal experience with planes so far. I think that flying a full-channel helicopter is a cool skill, so I'd like to do it at some point, but I can't help but wonder if it would get boring compared to planes (and I will never be doing the crazy tricks with them like flying upside down).

I don't want to start a flame war (guessing they have happened on this topic), but planes seem faster and easier to do basic tricks on, so are helis just as fun? The only one I own so far is a picco z
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Jan 30, 2007, 09:16 AM
Promoting Model Aviation...
Murocflyer's Avatar
Hello Bill O'Reily fan. I have also wondered this myslef and have watched both fly. I have never flown a heli but would also like to know what folks think. I'm thinking it's a whole different ball game.

Jan 30, 2007, 09:22 AM
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Hugequark's Avatar
Helis are harder to learn imo. But that's not to say planes are all simple. You will see people flying planes with just as much skill as a 3d heli pilot doing tic tocs and blade scrapes.

I have loads of fun with both.

Oh, and if you get bored with a full control heli such as a T-rex, there is either something wrong with you, or you're just a 100% plane guy.
Jan 30, 2007, 09:33 AM
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Hugequark's Avatar
Originally Posted by murocflyer
I'm thinking it's a whole different ball game.

That it is. A nicely trimmed plane wants to keep flying, so you can let go of the sticks or even look away for a bit, with few worries.

With a heli, you look away or let go of one of the controls momentarilly, well... let's just say heli's don't want to stay in the air. When I got my first one, I was told learning to hover would be like balancing a marble on a mirror. That's a little exagerated, but that's kinda how it is. But, once it clicks it's awesome. After you learn how to keep it in the air, it'll fly very similar to a full house plane. You just have to be ever concious of the nose, especially when doing forward flight and turns.

There's a bunch of coaxial head helis out now, that are a great way to start out. You'll learn the basics of what your thumbs need to be doing, without spending too much. And you can fly in your living room, they're that stable. Check out eflight's blade CX.
Jan 30, 2007, 09:34 AM
Sink stinks
Montag DP's Avatar
In my opinion, the difficulty level of flying a heli is what makes it fun. Sure, you might never get to the point where you can do complex aerobatics with a heli (or maybe you will), but the learning curve is much steeper and helis present a new challenge every day.

This is not to say that planes are easy. Advanced airplane aerobatics are still, well, advanced. But a heli doesn't "fly itself" like a plane does.

If anything, you will get bored with planes before you get bored with helis.

Last edited by Montag DP; Jan 30, 2007 at 01:47 PM.
Jan 30, 2007, 10:29 AM
Spin Demon's Avatar
I started off with Heli's first. I had no real intention of getting into planes to be honest.

After all the building, crashing, repairing etc.. that goes with Heli's (And I use my sim regularly as well) I got a little frustrated with only being able to hover and do some mild forward flight.

I picked up a Storm Launcher (foam hydro-flyer) and was refreshed at the ease of use and it's flying ability. I found flying a fixed wing model to be much more relaxing than my standard CP Helis.

I moved on to foam planes (Easy Star, Delta Dart, Twinstar II) then I picked up my first balsa model (Seagull Extra 300).

I still fly my T-rex and Raptor, as I enjoy the challenge and there is some gratification to be had in even the smallest of achievements in piloting a Heli.

But I have a new love for planes as well. I am able to do more and get that "instant" gratification every time I pick up a plane. Also, planes are relatively inexpensive compared to Helicopters.

One other aspect is that at times I bring a friend or family member to the field with me. I could fly planes for hours and be entertained along with them. If I am flying a Heli, it's never a long flight before batteries die, fuel runs out or gravity wins.

I am getting better at flying Helis and I suppose that when I am at the "3d" level, I will get much more out of it than I do now. I think each has it's place. When you want a challenge, fly a Heli. When you want something a bit easier, fly a plane.

For the record, I'm aware that there are easy flying Helis (coaxial blades etc..) and extremely hard to fly planes (jets, 3d planes etc..). I am just speaking in general terms.
Jan 30, 2007, 11:09 AM
Registered User
Andy W's Avatar
I put more time on my heli in my yard than I did on all of my airplanes combined. That's the beauty of heli's.

That said, I haven't flown it in months - need more room to get into full forward flight, so I got bored of just hovering around..
Jan 30, 2007, 11:15 AM
soholingo's Avatar
I got bored with with my twin blade llama... I fly to relax or get a quick rush and then relax... Heli's are a consistant drain on me...

Jan 30, 2007, 11:40 AM
Registered User
I have been flying planes for almost 3 years now. Last year I picked up a Blade CP. It was a whole new ball game. There was nothing to bring over from flying planes that helped me with Heli's. I got better with Hovering and some nose in, So I got a TRex 450 XL. Suppose to be easier to fly because it is bigger. The belt driven tail rotor does help but these things demand 110% of your attention. With the steep learning curve and the UPS man at my door constantly bringing new parts, My TRex is the biggest money pit I have ever owned. I recently bought a Coco Lama V3 so I could hover around and be relaxed while I fly this Heli. I really like it a lot to fill that void. My Blade CP and Trex have been on a shelve for about 4 months now. The plane building and flying has been very enjoyable and relaxing for me so I see no end to my flying fixed wings. My P51 can get my addrenaline up when I fly aerobatics.
Jan 30, 2007, 11:42 AM
Registered User
Iím in my 40s and one year ago I had zero experience flying anything RC. I bought a Blade CP and RealFlight SIM and started to learn hovering. After a few crashes (some due to poor design of the heli), I could hover and turn side-in.

I met some local gas heli experts and found a nice used Raptor 50 gas heli around June. I hovered that for a few tanks with training gear, and then removed the gear. I spent a couple more months hovering in different orientations. This was definitely easier than the Blade CP. I found the heli experience to be very intense. After a 10 minute flight, I was mentally drained (insert joke here).

With heliís youíll hit a few Ďwallsí in learning progression. I was lucky that one of the experts agreed to instruct me with the Raptor on a buddy box. This really helped in flying at higher altitudes and beginning forward flight.

Then, a friend let me fly his Ikarus foamie on a buddy box. What a blast! Within a couple of packs, I could hand-launch it, fly out a pack and belly land easily. I pretty much flew planes for the rest of the season. I am looking forward to getting the heliís back in the air this spring.

With heliís youíll want some expert help on setup and flying instruction. The biggest difference that I found with planes is that you can climb to an altitude that allows for 3 mistakes and try just about anything. This is not so with a heli, because itís far more difficult to maintain orientation at high altitude. Thereís also no second and third mistake buffer with heliís. Once youíve lost it, youíre going to take a core sample.

Heli flying requires a much more structured learning program. Boredom was never an issue for me when flying heliís. I approached learning with lots of patience and have not crashed with the T-Rex or the Raptor 50. Iím fine with progressing slowly and preserving the equipment.

If you do go heli, do yourself a favor and start with a 450 class electric, or a small gas one. These fly so much better than the small electrics that Iíve seen.

So, just about a year later, hereís whatís in my hangar (wow, I was really bit hard):

T-Rex 450 SE
Raptor 50

Air Hogs Aero Ace
Bluecor Nasty
Great Planes Flatana
Great Planes Reflection with V-Pitch
Mountain Models Tantrum
Stevens Aero G-480 Groove
House of Balsa Micro AT-6 Texan
Jan 30, 2007, 11:48 AM
Registered User
I've been flying plane's for about a year now, I'm not great but I can do a few stuff. I would always have trouble using the rudder control, my mind just refused to touch the rudder, so some tricks I was unable to do because of this. My father purchased a Colco Thunderbird from E-bay and gave up on it so he gave it to me. I only fly it in the house and around my bedroom and if there is no wind I'll fly in my back yard, but thanks to the heli, I have now learned to use the rudder in my plane and have found my attempts at hovering to be more fruitful. I still enjoy plane's more then the heli but that might be cause the Colco isn't the best heli in the world either.
Jan 30, 2007, 11:49 AM
A Clinger
rclark's Avatar
Heli's are a consistant drain on me...
Heli's are a constant drain on me too.... my pocketbook . There is always 'something' that a heli needs.... I don't fly one but my 17 year old son flies a T-Rex. Seems there is always a 'better' part or something to fix or well you name it...... (He's always broke ) My son likes the Heli because it is always a challenge. You can take it as far as you want to take it. He likes to fly airplanes too, but in his words "I know how to fly, how to hover, torque roll, how to knife, how to parachute, spin, loop, ... etc..." ... The heli brings a fresh challenge to him not only in flying but the 'mechanics' of a heli (likes to tear them down and rebuild them, tweak 'em, etc) .

Planes on the other hand can go years without any significant maintenance and 'upgrades'. Just go fly....

Moral : Only one Heli in this household.... Period.... .
Jan 30, 2007, 12:00 PM
soholingo's Avatar
Originally Posted by rclark
Moral : Only one Heli in this household.... Period.... .
that's a rule I can live by...

Jan 30, 2007, 12:15 PM
characters welcome!
Mark Wood's Avatar
I picked up on helis early last year and consider it the steepest learning curve I've ever been on. I fly a metal Trex and a somewhat stock Swift and either one requires a level of attention that fixed wings just do not. I firmly believe that my heli experience has made me a better fixed wing pilot because of that. Once you get the hang of helis and can do basic forward flight and all-axis hovering, planes become considerably more tame. I still enjoy ("enjoy" being the magic word) planes more because I can relax a bit with them but for sheer challenge and adrenaline helis can't be beat. A sim is a MUST unless you have plenty of pocket change and time to repair stuff.

Jan 30, 2007, 01:52 PM
Sink stinks
Montag DP's Avatar
I do love the challenge of helicopters, both in flight and on the ground. The mechanics are really fascinating and, to a point, enjoyable to tweak and adjust. Helis need a lot more adjustment to keep in flying shape.

Basically, airplanes are much more efficient fliers (long battery life, low maintenance required), but they are also less capable in terms of freedom of movement.

I like both. Airplanes are good for relaxation or a change, and helis are good if you want to challenge yourself.


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