My latest hobby RC Helicopters

mCP-X_3522

It wasn’t long ago( about 1 month ) that I got the RC Helicopter bug. It all started when a friend of mine got a small indoor helicopter and it just sounded like fun. Of course I never can  seem to do anything half way, so I contacted Jeff Prosise an RC Jet Flyer and pretty good developer I’m told;) He introduced me to RC flight and my first real RC, an old Aerostar nitro plane. Of course he immediately knew who to refer me to in the local Helicopter community and the adventure started.

I was not a great fan of gas powered RC’s. The glow plugs, fuel, noise etc… didn’t appeal to me.  Luckily  electric RC’s are really coming into their own these days. Witness this electric helicopter video. This video is just amazing and seems to defy physics. Maybe some day I’ll be able to do some of that…

It was strongly recommended that I spend some time learning to fly with a simulator. So I started with the ClearView RC Flight simulator and started to learn the basics of helicopter orientation and flight. The ClearView simulator had a large number of Helis to try.  I was initially using an XBox usb controller,  however the controller wasn’t very precise. Still it gave me some good experience.

Then I got a Blade mCP-X BNF( Bind and Fly ) heli with transmitter. I also got a  USB adapter for my transmitter so I could use a more realistic interface with my RC simulator.  There was a downloadable model for my mCP-X which is pretty accurate although I enjoyed flying the larger heli’s more.

The supplied “cheap” transmitter was not cutting it and although  it is small this is an advanced helicopter and I was having trouble controlling it with the DX4e that came with it.  So I moved up to a more elaborate fully computerized transmitter, the Spectrum DX8. Then I was able to download presets for the mCP-X with exponential curves for the swatchplate, and tweaked settings for throttle etc..  Wow! What a huge difference that made.

There is a religious fanaticism surrounding transmitters. There is a strong Futaba camp, and a strong JR/Spektrum camp. There are a number of other manufacturers, but those are the big ones. All BNF helis which are completely built and ready to fly out of the box can only bind  to JR/Spektrum transmitters which pushed me in that direction at least for now.

Now I was really having fun. The transmitter really made a huge difference and I was flying outdoors and learning to hover indoors. There is a difference between the simulator and the real thing, BUT the simulator time was very important.

The Blade mCP-X is the first of a new breed of inexpensive  flybarless 3D acrobatic helicopters. It has gyroscopes and can actually be flown in the wind outdoors which is amazing for a heli its size. It is also very durable. And while I have gone through some parts, I’ve also dropped it two stories to concrete more than once. (It is currently out of stock after being introduce a couple months ago, and parts are getting scarce, I’m cleaning out the local Hobby Town tonight to make sure that I can keep flying)

I would have to say that this is a great time to start in this hobby as helis are getting ready to go flybarless in mass and there are new technologies like those by Skookum who sells a gyro with panic switch that will take your heli from the worst of positions and bring it to a hover very quickly. This could be extremely important to you if you are learning acrobatics on a much larger and more expensive helicopter. Electrics are also really maturing with much more powerful motors and LIPO battery packs that don’t weigh a ton.

I am really looking forward to the journey as I progress in this hobby. This is very challenging and the technology is very interesting as well.  Just too much fun!

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