Heli Setup 101 - RC Groups
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Apr 13, 2008, 01:54 PM
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Heli Setup 101

After flying planes for two years, I decided that it was time to try a heli and see what I've been missing. I got a good deal on a used upgraded Honey Bee King 2, so after doing a lot of reading about setting up a CCPM helicopter, I decided to see if I can get it going. What I didn't realize is that despite everything I read, it would still take me about 10 hours of work to get to the point where I can even think about getting it off the ground.

Some points:

Despite carefully reading the DX7 manual about which servos to plug into which channel, I still managed to screw it up and reverse the aileron and elevator channels. The problem is that by that time I had already went through the process, so I had to start everything all over, from servo subtrim, to leveling the swash, to zeroing the blades.

Setting the servo arms to 90 degrees, leveling the swash, zeroing the blades, adjusting total the pitch range should all be done in idle up flight mode with the motor disconnected and the throttle stick at half. That took me a while to figure out because most sites don't mention that you should switch to idle up. It's probably obvious to anyone who has been doing this for a while, but not to a heli newbie.

There are not that many sites that really talk about how to check the swash for proper movement. Here is one, although I think he has the elevator reversed. When I put the elevator stick down I expect the swash to tilt aft, which will cause the helicopter to pitch back, just like an airplane.

There are not many sites that really cover in a lot of detail the complete heli setup process. Here is one that covers just about everything I wanted to know.

Here is a site that talks about blade tracking. Blade tracking can be done in normal flight mode.

I also had to get a couple extra tools: ball link pliers, which make it much easier to disconnect ball links, and a pitch gauge, which is essential for setup. Plus the requisite training hear for the heli.

I built a heli training stand like the one I saw on YouTube, it works great. Definitely recommended for learning how to keep the heli level and checking out control sensitivity.

So I finally managed to "hover" the heli on the training stand, and it gave me a lot of confidence to put on the training gear and see if I can fly it. I am now most of the way through RADD's flight school. So far I've been confined to my basement, but as soon as I can I will take it outside for actual hover practice.

Electric Heli Training Stand-Part 1
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