Tag Archives: Helicopter

A Day at Paul Heckles

BMAC Group at Paul Heckles

Well, after 2 cancellations due to bad weather, and me already getting my BMFA Heli ‘A’ cert, I was dubious about how much I would learn and how beneficial a Day at Paul Heckles flying school would be. I woke on Sunday morning thinking “Well, Worst case I’ll get some flying done, anyway”. The weather was fantastic, and upon arriving at the field we met our instructors and instantly fell into our usual Basingstoke club Banter mode.

Going though the pre-flight checks, it seemed most of what I do for mine are the same as what David did there, but I did pick up a few tips on checking my Gyro and actually pulling the linkages off the balls, and not just putting pressure on them, Then it was over to The flying.

I had 3 flights throughout the day, the first flight I think David wanted to work out what level I were at. The second flight was was teaching me some smoother flight and better controls, and the third flight was a bit of fun. Once Bill had taken off we were sat behind them listening to advice David was saying “Left Aileron” seemed to be the theme of the day towards Bill, and has now become his nickname but I think everyone on my group picked up some tips. When it got to my flight, we picked the Raptor 50 and David took me thought some moves (see the picture) and my flying got better as the flight continued.

David showing me 'The Moves'

Onto my second flight, and I went for the Raptor 30, toned down the agressive flying style and focussed much more on smooth flight, and this was incredible! I was doing the same things that I have been doing for months with my own helicopters and suddenly it all looked much cleaner, tidier and neater. There was so much information coming in from David that it was still going through my head on the way home. This wasn’t a bad thing atall.

My third flight I did some inverted hovering, and David took me through some flips. I still can’t do them, but they’re getting better and the advice I was given is working.

All in all, this was a fantastic day, I think I learnt more because we were in a group with people at similar levels, and so advice being given to other people I was able to benefit from, too. The flying was good fun, but even with the Heli sat on the floor and David talking us through manoeuvres I learnt alot.Very enjoyable day all-round and it was definitely money well spent. I would definitely do it again, and I would probably opt to do it in a group session again. This really did work well.

Apparently we are the first model club to do a “Club-Day” at Paul heckles, and given how well it went, I would urge other model flying clubs to do the same. I don’t think it matters what level you’re at, there’s always something to learn from them. From hovering to heavy 3D.

Thanks to the guys at Paul Heckles school of flying, and to our club Member Chris for organising such a fantastic day out.

A Great Day Flying

Today was a very good day, though the weather was somewhat cold, it was probably the most fun I’ve had at the airfield in a while (probably since the summer vanished). First of all, the Road on the way was… well… Interesting…

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getting up the slope wasn’t hard, we were in Chris’s 4×4, it didn’t even think about it… Then the airfield was somewhat snowy too, having got all my stuff out of the car, it was just a sea of white with some stuff in the middle…

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Still, we got the BBQ running, and off for a flight, my first flight was OK, but my landing wasn’t. after getting one skid on the bit we had compacted, and the other skid on the bit we hadn’t, it decided to sink into the ground at an interesting angle. I didn’t take off from here…

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My second to last flight of the day, was the first time I had flown with other aircraft in the air (I don’t yet have my A-Cert), The other helicopter was close at times, but he had to be, as this is why…

That’s right, the other helicopter was filming me hovering, despite hovering being frowned upon on the main strip, there was only us two flying, so that’s ok, and I wasn’t going to start throwing it around the air and expecting Scott to keep up with the camera (and I don’t have the confidence to, of course).

and my final flight of the day before my fingers fell off due to the cold, was short, mostly because I couldn’t quite see how much fuel I had left, I didn’t know how much battery I had left, and on top of all that, I was getting somewhat cold. However, it was also filmed (Thanks again Scott).

On the plus side, I was dressed for the weather, which is more than I could say about some people in this weather.

It's a bit cold...

After that, I decided to pack up, but before I headed of, I did have to film Chris try and do some touch-and-go’s with his FunJet. of which, it didn’t quite end how he wish, but it did give us alot of enjoyment. Here’s the footage of thos, I hope it makes you laugh as much as it did us.

First, some successful touch & go’s;

(I know it says Part 3, but actually it was first)

Then, what happened next….

and the results of it…

It has to be said, I do enjoy weekends like this, I hope yours was just as entertaining.

Problem after problem…

So far, I have not crashed my Nitro Helicopter, The Nexus, due to anything I have done. Which is good. However, there has been problem after problem with it, I’ve had the switch malfunction for the radio electrics, I’ve had the tail rotor pitch rod snap, I’ve had the servo on my elevator malfunction, I’ve had an engine problem that resulted in getting through 4 glow plugs in 2 weeks, and today I had the data cable to my Pitch servo break in flight.

Fortunately, today’s incident I had done 2 figure 8′s, an I had just come in to a hover over the ‘heli-pad’ (this is a clear ‘H’ in all the snow that I had created with the shovel) I was about to land when the wire broke, and fortunately, because the servo still had power, it went into fail-safe (moves the servo into 0 position) and it thumped to the ground. I was only a foot off the ground at the time so no further damage was caused.

Here’s a picture of the broken wire
servo wire

I guess it’s good that all the “crashes” have been due to faults, but it does take a kick out of your confidence when things like this happen. Still. It’s all fixed (replaced the servo) and ready to go again, but as there’s just over an hour of daylight remaining, I’ll just leave it until tomorrow. Hopefully these problems will become less and less, I’ve had some nice flights with this one recently, and hope I get many more in before it’s killed off.

A bad weekend for flying

Well, it was going to happen sooner or later, my first crash of a Helicopter, and this weekend, it did.

I had bought myself a small electric Helicopter, these tend to be harder to control than the larger petrol ones, so figured it was a good thing to use to push myself a little more. hovering it was fine, I can do that, it’s not a problem. I had a day of flying on Saturday, having bought an extra battery for the electric, so I had 2 batteries for that, and got through a tank of fuel on the Nexus. having re-charged one of the batteries for the electric, I started to push a little more, I was doing small-low circuits with it before, this time I started going a bit faster, as it came in fast, I pulled back to slow it down, and the rotors hit the tail boom and down to the floor it came… it took me a moment to work out what had just happened, I’m still not sure why exactly it did that, as it shouldn’t. but new parts are ordered, that’s only £20 – and it should be flying again by Tuesday (internet orders, have to wait for delivery – ho humm) – all I can say is, I’m damn glad it wasn’t the Nexus, because then I’d have been seriously gutted. I just have to work out why it hit itself once it’s re-built.

On Sunday, I went back up the airfield, this time only with the Nexus. Neil gave me some spacers, so I could put my nice new Carbon Fibre rotor blades on – and they look really nice! once they were on, I had a quick hover, but there was a couple of issues, the tracking of the blades was out, and the head speed was too high, well first job is to get the tracking roughly right, with a guage, next step is to get the head speed slowed down, and then to finely adjust the tracking. while sorting the head speed (we wanted this at 1750 RPM – as this is “optimum” for these rotors) we got it right, and I made a mental note of the display of my receiver so I knew exactly where to set the “max” power. – if you’re interested that was 55% throttle. job done, so move the collective stick down and…. wait… it’s not doing anything… I have no control at all. The Heli had decided to turn the electrics off! so, my toy that I really enjoy was now a sitting duck, with rotors spinning at 1750 RPM, engine running, and no control! Neil ran round telling everyone that the machine was there and has no control, and all we could do was wait for it to run out of fuel… and 30 minutes later it finally did. fortunately the pitch was still too low for it to get off the ground, but had the wind picked up, it could have gone anywhere.

The good news is that I did get the settings for the head speed – though, this will change slightly once it’s in the air, and there’s some friction on the rotors. but it’s roughly there. I have sorted the switching off problem (seems the switch was faulty – and was hard to turn on, but very easy to turn off again – just a light touch and it went off, so it most likely vibrated to the “off” position.

Next I need to sort the tracking out, and check my Gyro. the Gyro has been a hard thing to setup, but little point in messing with it until everything is set up right, otherwise you only end up changing the gyro again. though, I might replace this with a better one before long.

all in all, a bad flying weekend. however. I learnt more. I stayed calm when there were big problems (and dangerous problems) and I’ve had my first crash. I’m sure there will be many many more, I just hope not with the Nexus!

Thanks to Neil for his help. was much appreciated.

J

The First flight

well, almost a month after getting the Nexus 30 Heli, I have finally had a flight. Well, a Hover, but it’s close. Unfortunatlye because of the age of this particular heli, finding parts has been somewhat of a challenge, it’s now unbeleivably close. and here’s me setting it up ready to fly.

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So far, it has had a new rotor head, various replacement screws, a new battery, new Gyro, a complete engine rebuild, new rotor blades and a cable tidy up. after all this, it is now much better than it was, however there is still a slightly uncomfortable wobble, coming from the main rotor grips, it seems these have not been machined properly and there is around 2mm of play in them, this by the time it gets to the end of the rotors is quite alot of play (these should not move atall). so I’m now hunting around for Kyosho blade grips – this is a hard task.

Anyway, aside from the blade grips, it is able to fly, though it’s probably not a great idea to do it for very long, as it will damage the rotor head with the wobble, but here it is.

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I’m hoping over the next few weeks I will be able to source the blade grips, and get rid of the wobble so that I can actually start to fly it properly (that is, hover for 6 months, then nose-in hover for another 6…)

Yes it’s a toy, but it’s also an expensive one, it would be nice if this was done right.

Toys and Hobbys

Overtime, People go through lots of hobbys, and I’m no different. However, I rarely find a cheap hobby to do. I have done juggling and now everytime I’m in Camden I spend £100+ on things for that, though you don’t need to service them, that’s ok. I’ve taken to playing computer games, Guitar hero (mostly the drums) on the Wii and racing games and flight sims on the PC. The equipment to play games properly is also not cheap, you need a nice fast computer, plus the racing games I have a £180 steering wheel set. The Wii is pricey, the drums for the Guitar hero (with Guitar hero) was around £130 and before you know it you’ve spent a few thousand pounds on…. stuff.

Well, some years ago, I took to flying Model Helicopters, started with small ones, and sort-of worked up, I flew someone else’s helicopter, but not for very long, this one was a couple of feet long. I haven’t flown one for a while now, and I was talking about buying one again so I could go flying with it again. However the need to buy one has been shunted out. and here’s why…

DSCF1304 Yep, That’s right, I now have a Nexus 30 Helicopter, this has a petrol engine, and no, I won’t be flying this in the house. It did however need some work, This was my fathers, and he…. well…. crashed it. :-) This week has been delivery after delivery of very small parts and the rotor head has been re-built, it has new rotors, and is about ready to crash fly.

Basingstoke Model Flying Club have a field, that I will be at on Sunday, at least trying to fly this. though, it does still need some setting up, testing of the servos, the engine, and a few other checks too, it looks like I will have help in getting it through the checks, and air-born, hopefully some help trying to fly the thing too (I need a trainer).

I’m not scared of flying this. I am, however, scared of landing it, that’s the bit where it all goes wrong. This is going to A) be an expensive hobby, and B) going to take a very long time. I’m pretty sure I’m not going to get bored of this one very quickly, and even if I do, I’ll probably have a helicopter to build again.

Well, wish me luck on sunday for getting this thing off the ground, and safely back again.