Tips/News

Back to Main Page

This is a collection of past tips and news I have posted on the front page.
3-15-2007 Tip: governor wire. I finally got around to doing this last night. For a long time I have wanted to install a short wire from the sensor then use an extension to the governor/limiter. This allows me to take the engine out without having to undo the wire routing. You will need some small heat shrink tubing for the three wires and one larger one to secure the sensor to the mount. Plus some minor soldering skills. Just make sure you match to correct color wire to each leg.


7-10-2006 In the picture below you can see I clear coated the main frames. This makes cleaning them MUCH easier! Plus they look kewel with the glossy appearance :)


7-10-2006 Mod:: taking the clutch bell out can be difficult due to how tight the engine screws it onto the pinion gear. The pinion gear should have a tight fit in the pinion bearing so you should not be able to pull the bell out with the gear on it. You need to prevent the pinion gear from rotating while you unscrew the bell. This mod makes that easy and it would be nice if the manufacture had this already done. The hole size is just large enough for one of the link rods to go through. With the start shaft out you simply install the rod through one side of the frames then rotate the clutch bell until the rod aligns with the holes in the pinion gear then push the rod so it sticks out of the other side of the frames. Now the pinion is locked in place and you can unscrew the bell.

6-20-2006 The KSJ kinkless clunk line (1234-550) that I have been using lasted 262 flights. That is a lot more then the stuff I have been using (about 80 flights). And my Futaba gy401 gyro failed yesterday after 5 years and 1894 flights. The 9253 servo that I bought with that gyro is still going. I have changed the gearset twice but otherwise it's doing great. And an update on the Kasama rotor head, still doing great after 134 flights. The clamp design on the head block is a fantastic idea. I do not anticipate this ever developing slop.

4-19-2006 To add to the list below of lifetime of parts... I just changed the balls on the outside ring of the swashplate. I changed the inside ring balls about 80 flights ago. So it looks like the normal lifespan of the stock aluminum swashplate link balls is about 1000 flights... not bad :)

4-3-2006 As of yesterday I now have 1002 flights on my R50v2!!! Average life span of some components: Gears in the 9253 tail servo (800 flights), clutch liner (400 flights), clunk line (70 flights), rear tail control link (200 flights), glow plug extension (average 80 flights), dampers (200 flights).
Update on tail servo - replacing the gearset in my 9253 did solve the problem of the tail randomly kicking 15-20 degrees. Also there was a large difference in the feel of the tail after installing the new gear set. The tail holds much better :) Looks like about every 800 flights these gears need to be replaced.

3-28-2006 Last weekend I had a problem with the tail intermittently jumping 15-20 degrees. I substituted another servo and did not have that problem so it seems that the 9253 servo I have is in need of repair. I can feel the gears inside catching sometimes so it appears they are simply worn too much. This will be the third gearset I have installed in 4-1/2 years. I replaced the original gearset after 700 flights and this gearset has lasted 950 flights.

3-28-2006 This past weekend I helped someone that had a R50SE with a sticky collective. The problem was the ring that has the mixing base guide pins in it was not made correct. The two pins were offset to one side causing the mixing base to drag on the pins. Two choices for a fix, replace the ring or file the inside edge of the mixing base.

3-28-2006 Tip: Be careful when installing a tank in a R30/50. You need to remove one of the back landing skid screws then pull outward on the frames while you slide the tank in place. If you force it in the sharp edges of the frame will cut the tank right on the front protrusions. This will cause tuning problems. For more info go <here>.

3-23-2006 This is a safety tip I came up with last year. In the picture you see a brass eyelet that comes with a servo has been cut in half and placed between the ball link and the head of the screw. Some have installed a washer between the two but I found that limited the pivoting range of the link. This is why I used the brass servo eyelet. As you see <here> the ball is worn out yet the link cannot come off. You do need a longer 2mm screw. <Pict3>

3-14-2006 So far I really like these 3rd gen NIMH batteries I bought from hangtimes.com So far I would recommend these Sanyo 1950 HR4/5FAUP 4-cell packs.

3-14-2006 The glow plug extension is the highest maintenance item on my helicopter. I have repaired both ends as well as replace the wire itself at times. One good tip is to replace the glow plug end with an alligator clip. This works great but even this wears out with time. I have had the jaws of the clip wear into hole matching the stem of the glow plug. The vibration of the engine is tough on these glow plug extensions. A tip here is if you use the glow plug extension with the r/c car body clip then slide a piece of fuel tubing over it as shown <here>.

3-10-2006 I just received issue 51 of MHT Model Helicopter Technique magazine... Wow!!! I am on the front cover! It really is an honor to be featured in this high quality magazine. I have always thought of this as the best r/c helicopter magazine so when they asked me if I would do a pilot profile I was very excited!

2-6-2006 This weekend I flew with the new battery pack I bought. The cells are the new generation NIMH (Sanyo 1950 HR4/5FAUP 4-cell. So far I am impressed. On my 1700AU Nicd pack I could only use 1000ma before needing to charge. With my new pack I used 1750ma out of the rated 1950.

2-6-2006 A friend that I was helping out gave me a new OS glow plug driver (thanks Harold). It is small, easy to carry, and uses a single 'AA' battery. I like this because of the size but also because if the battery goes down I usually have a 'AA' battery in my truck (flashlight, etc.) that I can take out and use instead of waiting to charge the battery. Also if you have not seen Rayovac now sells 'AA' rechargable NIMH batteries that are 2500mah!!

2-1-2006 Check for worn links every so often. <This> animated gif image shows a very worn link. Also check the ball for a rough surface. The link can get dirt embeded in it and that will wear the ball down. You could find a new link fits just as loose as the old one. In this case change the ball and link both have to be changed.

2-1-2006 I just bought a new battery pack. I've been using HR-1700AU 4-cell Nicd packs but I wanted to try the new low impedence Nimh cells. Years ago there were issues with Nimh but it seems the technology has really increased. These Sanyo HR4/5FUAP have less resistance then the cells I have been using. The pack came from hangtimes.com and looks like it was constructed very well. The capacity is 1950mah which is a little more then the packs I have been using but this pack weighs less. I'll see how it does over the next few months. I am interested in seeing how much of the 1950 I can use and if it will maintence this over the next several months. On the 1700 pack I currently have I use 1000mah before it needs to be charged.

11-14 I just changed the clutch liner again. Seems to be they last around 450 flights. The last time I changed the liner I had noticed a characteristic that I thought could be used to know when the liner should be changed by simple observation of flight performance. This time the characteristic occured again and just as before stopped after the liner was replaced. What I notice is during maneuvers that have the collective change from positive to negative the tail will shift a few degrees. So when doing things such as a backward loop I would have to correct the tail on the top and bottom half to keep the loop straight.

10-2 How long does the sleeve in a TT50 engine last? Well in my case it seems to be consistent at 500 tanks. I did learn some new symptoms to observe with a worn sleeve. At first I noticed that to get the power I needed I would have to lean it to the point that the engine would get a little hot later in the flight. Eventually it got to the point that I could hear a rattle sound when the engine was under a load. Sounded fine otherwise. When I took the engine apart I found the ring was in good shape but when I moved the piston up/down that it would slip in the middle region. This meant the sleeve in this area was larger.

Tip: Engine getting lean after a minute or two... this is commonly caused by a bad clunk line (or other bad fuel tubing), pressure line not on good, muffler loose, etc. Last weekend I helped someone with this problem and it was an air leak problem, but I did not find any problems with the normal stuff. It turned out to be that his glow plug was loose!!! That is one I will have to keep in mind the next time I run into that problem.

Tip: <photo1> <photo2> Use a strip cut from a plastic bag to secure the back end of the antenna wire to the helicopter. I used rubberbands before (as seen on my antenna routing page) but the problem with this is the exhaust will turn the rubber to goo. I have heard of fuel proof rubberbands but I did not have any on hand. Instead I came up with the idea about using strips cut from a plastic bag. The plastic bag is fuel proof and yet still weak enough that if you snag the antenna wire or have a crash it will break before the antenna wire will. Note: this is to be used only when you a have a zero-tension setup like on my antenna routing page.

At a fun fly this last weekend I helped a friend tune an OS 37 with a Toki 40 muffler. He had already worked the needles in various combinations and still was not able to keep the engine from either overheating or at the other extreme having very poor power. Well I adjusted the needles and also noticed there was not a good setting. This led me to believe that the muffler pressure going to the main tank was not enough. We checked for a blocked pressure nozzle but it was good. I suggested changing to a differenet muffler. He emailed me recently to say that solved the problem. The Toki 40 muffler just did not work with the OS 37.

Recently on my helicopter I noticed I was having to give a lot of aileron correction when doing tic-tocs. This was more then the usual amount to compensate for wind. The problem turned out to be that one of the bolts holding the see saw hub to the head block had become loose. I do check over the bolts from time to time but it is interesting to know what the effect feels like in the air.

Check out the Hobbico Frequency Checker <here>. I have been wanting something like this for a while but the price has always been too high. The one the AMA uses is nearly $900 and the only other one I know of is $250. This new Hobbico version is only $50.

Error in the manufactures manual for the R30/50v2: On page 12, step 13, item 8, the part number is good but the dimensions are wrong. So be aware of this if you go to order the bearings by the dimensions. This tip provided by Henry Horrocks, thanks Henry.

Here is a kewel thing to do to your blades. Buy some Prisma tape from TrimBrite at your local auto parts store. It comes in a roll that is about 3 inches wide by 5 feet. Make sure you wrap it like you do blade covering so that the air will not lift it up. The rainbow of colors really show up on a sunny day.


Check the tape from time to time that holds the servo wire on the bottom of the aileron servo. Mine was broke and this allowed the flexing to occur at the back edge of the strain relief on the servo. This is were it developed an intermittant connection on mine.

Another problem I recently fixed had to do with an 'upgrade' part. The problem was that the pitch range checked good on the bench but in flight it felt like it needed more pitch. Climbout was not good (like not enough pitch at the top of the range) and in an inverted hover the head speed would get very high (like not enough pitch at the bottom of the range). The fault was at the left pivot point on the aftermarket metal pitch arm. This pitch arm did not have a sleeve to go on the screw that holds the arm on. So over time the edges of the threads wore down and caused enough slop that you can get 3 degrees of pitch change! This screw was replaced with a new fine thread bolt and the problem was solved.

Note about the tail blade length: On the Raptor 50 with 600mm blades some have sucessfully used 95mm tail blades. However you should note that if you use the ACE/TT carbon blades then the blades are actually 606mm. This will hit the 95mm tail blades. - tip contributed by Stephen Bell UPDATE: At the IRCHA Jamboree Jason Krause used 85mm blades saying that even the 87mm blades will hit.

If you still have the 'clicks' on the throttle stick then you need to remove them. Most computer radios can control both airplanes and helicopters. If you order the airplane version then the throttle stick will have notches that you can feel as you move the stick up and down. For helicopter use this causes problems in maintaining a steady hover. To remove them click <here>.

Tip: From time to time I hear people say the pins come out in areas such as the head block, A-arms, mixing levers, and tail pitch fork. The reason is because of a tight fit on the end of the pins. For example on the A-arms the center section should hold the pin tight while the outside edges should freely pivot. I have seen people glue the pin in the holes of the A-arms! You should test fit the pins and if they do not rotate freely then use a drill bit that is smaller then the hole. Spin it around the inside of the hole and check the fit. Do a little at a time because if you grind away too much then you will add slop in the control system.

Here is a simple tool I made to lock the gears together. I use this when I need to unscrew the clutch bell. I just found a spare gear (this one came from some old Kyosho Concept parts), then cut off the outer section as seen in the picture on the right. Make sure you get the ends straight. Otherwise it will cause it to sit at an angle against the pinion gear.
Note: If you cannot unscrew the bell by hand then someone may have used loctite on the pinion gear (which is a bad idea). If you turn the bell too hard you could damage the teeth on the main gear.

Tip: (contributed by Kerry Neil) Cleaning your helicopter is a good idea but be careful what you use. A flying buddy recently had problems with the auto hub locking up solid! After a lot of effort to remove it, the problem was discovered. The cleaning fluid he used got in the auto hub and rusted the bearings to the sleeve. Cleaning the helicopter is good but try not to spray any bearings. It is best to spray the rag then wipe the helicopter.

Tip: A common problem I see when checking out a setup is overtightened bolts. The most common of these is the one that goes through the bottom of the main shaft. This causes the auto hub sleeve to warp and then it will not turn free as well as cause the auto hub to occasionally lock up. The top bolt through the main shaft is also commonly too tight. Most are thinking to themself they sure do not want the head to come off so they really get this bolt tight. The ironic thing is that they are actually increasing the chance the head does come off. The reason is the shaft of the bolt has tension from being stretched and in addition there is the normal side force from the main shaft. This together will eventually snap the bolt. So what is the right torque? For any bolt or screw as you are installing it you will feel a constant tension followed by a sudden increase in tension as it reaches the end. At this point you turn it 1/4 turn more and that is enough.

Tip: If your engine is leaning out severely and no amount of tuning will stop it then an often overlooked cause is from a loose fan. Sometimes when you try to crank the helicopter and it is fuel locked then this can slightly unscrew the prop nut and fan. When this happens it allows some in/out play in the crankshaft. Then while the engine is running, the connecting rod pin grinds against the back plate. With the engine spinning 10,000+ times per minute this quickly builds up heat from the friction and overheats the engine.

Tip: PPM/PCM? There have been many arguments as to which one to use. From my experience I have found the two deciding advantages between the two systems. 1)PPM is better if you have outside interference. 2)PCM is better if you have internal interference. So if you have someone turn on their radio that is on the same channel you are on then you will have the best chance of recovery with a PPM receiver. If the radio interference is local as in some metal or carbon vibrating against another piece of metal or carbon that is on the helicopter then PCM will be best. This local interference also includes sources like spark plugs on gasoline power helicopters as well as servos such as the JR 8700G (interfering with 72Mhz systems).

Tip: If the tail control rod has to bend to reach the ball on the tail control lever then this will add resistance and decrease the gyro performance. Take the link off then rotate the tail rod guide at the back so that the link is centered at the height of the ball.

Tip: A common question I get is what to look at on the helicopter when flying. Some people watch the rotor disk but it disappears as you get further away. I use to look at the disk too, but I have found watching the body in relation to the skids and tailboom works out much better for me. Nowadays I don't even notice the blades. I forgot about watching the rotor disk until earlier this year when I did my first night fly. I do use the disk at night but not during the day. One thing that helps is to have the body painted with contrasting colors on the top and bottom. And I have found two tone painted tail booms/support rods also help me a lot.

Tip: In your 3D flight mode if you have problems with the engine overspeeding during a descent then most likely your low speed needle is too lean. The first step is to do a descent at center stick and lower the middle throttle point to keep the head speed from increasing. However do not go any less then a max of 15% less then your 3/4 stick value. If for example your 3/4 point is 56 and you have the middle point at 41 and the rotor is still overspeeding during a descent then this should tell you that this is not a radio setup problem.

Tip: If you do not have a pitch gauge you can use the built-in gauge but you need to align it first, <here> is how.

Tip: teaching - I have helped many new pilots over the years and found the best technique to start them out hovering is for me to work the collective/rudder stick and let them do the cyclic. This splits the task in half for them. I keep the helicopter about one foot or lower from the ground so if they get wild I just lower the collective and the training gear will level the helicopter out. With me controlling the collective/rudder it is not possible for them to crash the helicopter. After they get the cyclic under control then they can work on controlling both sticks. This also works great for teaching nose-in hover. Even though by this stage they can control both sticks when tail-in the concept still applies that it is less for them to have to concentrate on. It is easy for someone just learning nose-in to have the helicopter get too high and then get in trouble.

Tip: If all was fine then you notice the tail start behaving weird or sometimes letting go the problem maybe your battery is too low. The tail is usually the first to go when the power gets low. I have seen it before but just yesterday this happened with one of my flying buddies. He flew 5 flights without checking the battery and was going for a 6th flight when he noticed the tail stopped working. The servo would not move but the light on the gyro (gy401) would indicate the rudder was receiving the command. I did not know how many flights he had but looked over the helicopter and my conclusion was the battery was too low. When we checked it he was at 3.6 volts! He could have easily lost the helicopter!

Tip: Check the battery immediately after each flight. If you wait and check it just before you fly then the battery has had time to build up the voltage. This higher voltage is a false indicator since it will drop back down after a minute of use. Also by checking it at the end of the flight you will know if you need to put the helicopter on charge now instead of finding out right when you are ready to fly. If you use an onboard battery monitor like the Gem2000 then at the end of the flight before you turn the power off just move the cyclic stick in a circle while watching for the LED to stop blinking.

Tip: I just recently went through a month of radio problems with my new heli. Actually it would not have taken all that long but between helping everyone else at the field I did not have much time to spend on it. Anyway to get to the point it was a little tricky because it would only occur when the head speed would get a little high. When it did I would get a cyclic wobble (not to be confused with the wobble at low head speeds when running tight dampers). In the end I found it was due to a very notchy pinion gear bearing.

Tip: If you have an air leak around the o-rings on the high or low speed needle and you do not have an o-ring kit, you can use plumbers tape to wrap around the thread of the needle. This is teflon tape plumbers use to wrap around the threads of a pipe. Make sure you wrap the tape the correct direction so that it does not unwind when you screw the needle back in.

Tip: Servo horns come in several types: round and 2/4/5 arms. We only use one or two sides of each horn and the extra can get in the way. Recently I helped someone with a gryo problem that was caused by one of the extra arms hitting the link at full throw. The simple solution is to cut off the interfering arm.

Tip: One of the tips I have in my R30/50v2 assembly manual is to drill a hole in the pitch arm for easy access to the set screws in the start coupler. The beefed up pitch arm on the v2's makes it difficult to get a straight handled hex driver to the coupler. <Here> is the page that has a couple of pictures of this.

Tip: Just because something is called an 'upgrade' part does not mean it is better. A recent fan I was asked to check out turned out this way. You can read about it in the Product Reviews section. I'm going to try to work on adding more to that section this year.

Tip: When painting your helicopter always keep in mind how it will appear in the air. Some paint jobs look great on the bench but cause orientation problems in the air. One of my flying buddys just experienced this. When you are deciding how to paint it, consider contrasting colors for the top and bottom and front to back. Also use bright colors. Here is a picture I took last weekend of my friends new paint job.<pict1><pict2><pict3>. Ben Beebe from Kilgore, Texas did a great job painting Roberts helicopter.

Tip: If you are not getting the pitch range you want then the first step is to figure out if the problem is in the head or the servo setup. It is real simple to find out, disconnect the collective link from the pitch arm. Now push the front end of the pitch arm all the way down and measure the pitch of the blade. Next pull the pitch arm all the way up and measure the pitch. The difference should be 21 degrees or more. If you have less then the problem is in the links on the head. If you do have 21 degrees or more of pitch then the next step is to pull the pitch arm all the way up (in stock setup, opposite if you did the grip flip) and adjust the long link from the swashplate to the head so you get -9 degrees. That is all you have to do for this end. This has the helicopter setup and capable of the full pitch range so what is left is the collective servo setup. Click <here> for servo setup.

Tip: Here is a great tip that Lenny Nimmerrichter sent me. Instead of measuring the 4.5mm gap on the tail to center it, just align the tail control lever so that it is parallel with the tail shaft. Click <here> for a picture.

Tip: Do not get caught up in the upgrade syndrome. Most (not all) upgrade parts do not provide any benefit. They may look pretty, but they will not make you a better pilot. There can also be a downside to upgrades, here are just a few examples. In a crash the metal tail pitch arm will not break, that is good right... well the energy has to go somewhere so it ends up busting your gear set in the tail servo. It is more logical to replace a $1 plastic tail pitch arm then to do a repair on your servo. Also earlier in the year I helped someone at a fun fly that had a metal head. No telling what he spent on all the parts and it had a lot of slop compared to my stock plastic setup. I didn't point this out to him because he was proud of all the pretty stuff and that is fine. To add to this, a local pilot I fly with installed a lot of upgrades on a new heli that he was about to begin learning to fly on despite my suggestion to keep it stock... guess what, now he is scared to tear that helicopter up because he has so much invested in it! He ended up buying a used stock Raptor 30 to learn on. I did about the same thing myself years ago with an Xcell 60, push/pull this, shiny part that... then I could not advance past hovering because I was worried about busting it up.

Tip: I have found a lot of poor gyro performance problems are due to poor mechnical setups. Heading hold gyros are great, however if you don't know any better then they can fool you into thinking everything is ok. By this I mean that in heading hold the gyro will tell the servo to move to whatever location it takes to keep the tail in place. This is what it is suppose to do, however if you did not mechanically center the servo and linkage then you will run out of travel in times you need it. You will notice the tail gives up and let's go. To set it right, the gyro must be placed in non-heading hold mode and you set the linkage to achieve 4.5mm as shown <here> with the servo arm centered up.

Tip: If you are using the Thunder Tiger glow plug extension and the helicopter will not crank using it but will when you connect direct to the glow plug then you may have a problem with the ground connection. I have seen more then once where the painted black engine bolts did not conduct. For these I used a metal brush on my dremel to remove the paint from the bolt to fix the problem.

Tip: When mounting the antenna wire make sure it is not stretched tight. This will cause a break in the wire. <This> is how I mount mine with zero tension.

Tip: Cold weather does have an effect on our hobby. For belt driven tail helicopters (like the R30/50) you will need to have the tension readjusted due to the aluminum tail boom shrinking. Be careful about getting it too tight, remember that when you carry the helicopter back into the house that the tailboom will expand again and could put a stretch spot in the belt. Also in very cold weather like in Canada and Alaska you need to look at the specification on your electronic equipment. Some gyros don't have a very low operating range. Another thing that helps flying in the cold is a radio glove.

Tip: A lot of visible smoke does not always mean the engine is rich. If you have trash in the carb you will get lots of smoke but the engine still gets hot. Recently I fixed a local guys carb. What I was experiencing was the engine ran lean if you open the throttle above half but at the same time there was a ton of smoke. That told me something was interfering with the atomization effect in the carb. The fuel and air were not mixing well to form a mist which is needed for a good combustion. So that left a lot of unburnt fuel that came out the exhaust. I took the carb apart and found the problem. There was a few thin strings of some material. Don't know where he picked it up from, but I removed them and that fixed the problem.

Tip: Oil the main shaft and tail shaft. It only takes a drop on each once a weekend. Sticky tail shafts cause gyro problems. A good oil to use is Tri-Flow. You can find this in most bicycle departments.

Tip: If you have a Futaba gyro and are using the tape that comes with it, then check it from time to time for seperation. The layers with the glue on it will seperate from the foam layer. I had mine last over 500 flights but if you are using 30% nitro fuel and/or running this in a 60/90 then you will find you won't get this many flights out of the foam tape.

Tip: The instructions for most gyros often tell you to install the ball on the tail servo at 18mm or so. By geometry that does give a faster movement, but the side effect is that it amplifies the slop in the gear train and decreases the resolution of the servo. In other words it is more difficult for the servo to obtain an exact position. If you have some tail wag problems during certain maneuvers and you notice your gain is lower then normal then you need to move the ball closer to the center.

Tip: Use the appropiate tape for the gyro. Some of the new gyros have internal dampening (gy401, jr550, etc) and if you use the thick foam tape you could encounter a resonance problem. Gyros with no internal dampening (Telebee, CSM) require the thicker foam tape. BTW: Don't get carried away with dampening, I helped a guy one time with CSM tape on top of Zeal tape. The resonance was so bad the tail pitch was all over the place, I didn't even chance lifting the helicopter off!

Tip: This is for the TT glow plug extension. How many times have you had the remote glow extension break? I have had this happen several times in the 1200 flights I have on Raptor #1. You could just replace it but I prefer to fix it. I bought some insulated wire connectors, then cut the insulation down to the metal on one end (as in <this> picture) then crimp it onto the bad end (the glow plug driver end or the r/c body clip end. BTW: If the r/c body pin breaks you can get another at any shop that sells r/c cars. If the stem on the glow plug driver end breaks then it's time for a whole new extension.

Tip: When learning to hover, most people over compensate on the controls. An example is the helicopter is drifting left then you give too much right, now you have to give left to correct for too much right. You will end up working hard to keep the helicopter in one place. Helicopters only require slight corrections to maintain a steady hover.

Tip: If the blade bolts are too loose and you do a maneuver that causes the head speed to greatly decrease then there is a chance you could have an in-air boom strike. Get the blade bolts tight enough so that if you hold the helicopter on its side and give it a bump, the blades will stay in place. Note: too tight and the blades won't be able to lead/lag which can result in a vibration.

Tip: When learning flips, you tend to use full up collective and down. It's natural to react that way because you are thinking the helicopter is going to fall out of the sky. The downside to doing this is that it bogs the engine. As with most tricks, the flip is more about timing then forcing your way through the maneuver. Listen to the head speed at each step of the flip so you can tell when you are using too much collective. After you perfect the flip you won't use more then +3 to -3 degrees collective. Another thing that greatly helps is to have cyclic mixing setup on your radio.

Tip: secure the crystal on your receiver with some tape. I know, Ron Lund has mentioned this several times, but it's worth mentioning again.

Tip: Your pitch curve defines the flying characteristic. It is important to make this linear. Often times I have helped many that adjusted their middle or low pitch point but did not go back and average the 1/4 and 3/4 points. Anytime you adjust a pitch point you need to average the other points. As an example lets say you made some adjustments to the low/mid/high and now have 29, 49, 57, 76, 86. So what is wrong with this picture. It is no longer linear, what you would notice is that as you are descending it would jump downward as you lower the stick gradually past the 1/4 stick point. If you have a radio like the RD6000 you can inhibit the 1/4 and 3/4 points and let the radio do the work. However if your radio does not do this (like the Futaba 8U) then you will have to find the value yourself. In the example above lets fix the 1/4 point first. Take 57-29, that is 28, now divide that by 2 which is 14, then add that to 29. This gives a 1/4 point value of 43. Now for the 3/4 point: (86-57)/2 + 57 = 71. So the curve will be 29,43,57,71,86.

Problem: Blades going out of track. One of my flying buddys had this problem last weekend. The problem turned out to be one of the thrust bearings. One ball would not stay in the cage. He had accidently damaged this bearing when he assembled it balls/race/race instead of having race/balls/race. It worked fine after he put the bearing back together right, but it just now started showing problems.

Tip: A lot of times when sliding the antenna wire through the protective tube, it will get stuck just before the end of the tube. To make it easy, spray rubbing alcohol on the antenna wire as you slide it through the tube. I also run the wire through fuel tubing from the receiver down to the tube and use the same method to get the wire through it also.

Tip: If your tail blades contact a hard surface then examine the hub/set screw. This can cause a delayed tail failure. I recently had the extended section of a Raptor 60 hub break off. I suspect it was cracked a month or two before when the tail blades contacted the runway. It eventually snapped the remainder of that section of the hub and the set screw that goes through it. This was on the R60 hub but this could easily happen on the R30 type hub too.

Tip: Regularly check the throttle and tail links. They are close to the ground and more exposed to the dirt. The dirt gets embedded in the plastic link and causes it to act like a grinding pad on the ball.
Tip: Anytime you have two servo plugs connected together (like rudder servo to gyro, battery to switch, extension cable, etc.) then thread fishing line or dental floss or thread around it to keep it from unplugging itself.



Problem(R30/50): If you hear a hard kicking sound intermittantly when you are at idle then check the clutch bell bearing. I have recently fixed this on two helis. The one I fixed at the Hirobo fun fly had been bad for a long time and the inside race and balls fell out when the start shaft was removed.

Tip: Don't crank down on the two clutch bolts, or the two main shaft bolts. If you really torque them down then the bolt is trying to be pulled about from head to thread, when sideways force is applied it can snap at that point.

Tip: Do not use any loctite on the pinion gear threads!!!!!!

Tip: If you are having tail control problems, check the control rod guides. I helped someone that had the front guide slide forward enough to hit the drive rod coupler when the servo would give a left command. Also make sure the couplers are aligned so the control rod is straight. The concept is to have least resistance. Any extra drag in the system and the servo loses it's ability to quickly respond so you will get tail wag.

Tip: If you can wiggle the tail blade grips then either the set screws going into the hub have backed out, the nyloc nut is not tightened, or the blade grips are not squeezing the bearing tight (some sandpaper will fix that easily). Take off one half to the tail blade grip and lay the inside half on some sandpaper on a flat table. After you get some of the grip sanded, check the fit on the bearings. If it's still loose then sand a little more.

Tip: To help reduce the chance of breaking the front frame forks in a crash, take out the screws that hold the front struts to the forks and run a zip tie through it. Then place a zip tie on the first one and pull it tight. Now cut off the excess. Another alternative is to buy some nylon screws.

Common problem: I have found a lot of pilots never aligned the flat spots in the flybar so the set screws will engage them.

Common problem: Flybars paddles not aligned... or they were aligned to each other, but not to the control arms.

Tip: If you have a ball wear out, then change the link too. Most likely the link has some dirt embedded in it causing it to act like a grinding pad on the ball.

Tip: When you break a frame or landing skid in a crash you can often times repair the parts instead of replacing them. Check my Crash repair page.

Tip: A straight edge ruler is great to use for checking the flybar. Aside from using it to make sure the flybar is centered, it can be used when straightening a bent flybar. Just place the ruler against the top of the flybar hub and check that the flybar is parallel up/down and sideways.

Tip: When working on the helicopter and you need to take off the aileron control levers on the side of the collective pitch arm or you need to take out the screws in the collective pitch arm pivot, then use a small piece of fuel tubing on the tip of the screw to keep the sleeves and washers from falling off.

Problem: Blades going out of track (aka. Flutter/Woof). I'm no expert on this since there has only been one helicopter at my field that has done this, but here is what fixed it: Lube the hole of the head block pivot that the spindle shaft goes through. I tried all the other fixes plus some that I came up with and none of them worked. However I had an idea that maybe this pivot point might cause the problem and so far <knock on wood> it works. I did a heavy stress test with no more problems. Before I could get the heli to mess up within a 1/2 tank. I tried high head speeds and extreme rocking back and forth on the elevator/aileron and high g collective bounces. Before you could usually cause the problem by quickly rocking the elevator.