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Scale Helicopters

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  • Scale Helicopters

    So we've all seen what FLRC has done for planes. Detailed, affordable, good-flying models with great support. It's time to do the same for Helis. It is a shame that there are not common mass-produced choppers out there. I would love to see Hueys, Cobras, Apaches, CH-53s, and Blackhawks produced as Plug-n-play models with scale heads and torque tube drives, in a 450-550 size. Even some of the more unique configurations like Chinooks or Sea Knights would be fantastic! The current nonsense of buying a 3D heli, stripping it down, buying a raised tail unit, new fuselage, scrathbuilding skids or retracts, new motor, blades, head, and ESC, and a new FBL controller is really wearing out my time and wallet..

  • #2
    yup..probably the main reason I havent gotten into helis... I dont care for the fictitious stuff, and the scale helis available are just way too expensive.

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    • #3
      The last scale heli I bought was the Thunder Tiger Innovator MD530. It required a PC to set it up but once done properly, it was a very solid helicopter to fly. I grew tired of all its weird and proprietary traits. I haven't touched any of my helis for a very long time, about the same amount of time that I've been into planes. I also have a brand new E325 Thunder Tiger Mini Titan and a brand new Augusta fuse, both in their boxes that I've never done anything with. I just had enough of all the fiddly stuff to get it flying. And I've even done the conversion to "high tail" as previously stated. I won't do that ever again.

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      • #4
        I will continue doing conversions, but at a much less often rate than I get planes. Right now I own 5 scale helis: 500 sized AH-6 Little Bird, Blade mini Apache, 500 sized Apache, 470 AH-1W Cobra, and a 450 sized Huey. The Huey and Apache are still being built, and both the Little Bird and Cobra are waiting on parts (which are stupidly difficult to get). And the little Blade Apache is underwhelming. Can't handle hardly any wind, difficult to tune the gyros, and can't hold the tail straight. I am both a private helicopter pilot and a Bell Flight Test Engineer. I love helicopters, and would almost definitely have more if I trusted that I could get parts for them! My Little Bird is probably one of my favorite aircraft to fly in my collection, but hardly ever gets airborne due to these issues. And also, the lack of a small UH-1D/H Huey is really bizzare to me. Probably the most recognized helicopter ever, and the symbol of the Vietnam war. Yet, the only ones out there are from an extremely small (and costly!) specialty company overseas (MasterArt) or the large 800+ sized Vario machine..

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        • #5
          And the skill set that is required to fly a heli is well above that of an airplane. I can fly the snot out of any fixed wing airframe but my 300 and 500 sized FBL heli's after many hours of practice I still have things go stupid pretty quickly with a nose in position. When things get stupid the repair costs are stupid as well and thus my excitement has waned for them or maybe its just I'm a true warbird aficionado. I probably represent the majority of general modelers that try heli's and thus the lack of support from the masses and thus the lack of mass production as Delta would like to see and so they remain in like a specialty class.

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          • #6
            I'd love a Cobra and Apache, among others. I have the same reservations as you, so I'd also like to see these helicopters be manufactured properly in PNP form.

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            • #7
              Valid points OV10, but most modern FBL systems could really help alleviate that difficulty I think. Most controllers have an auto level "panic button" functionality similar to SAFE in eflite planes and blade Helis. The ikon I use on my little bird also has 3 different flight modes that are programmable by Bluetooth from an app, so I have a dumbed-down beginner mode, a middle mode, and a sport mode set up. That kind of technology should really help out people getting used to flying helis and at least reduce damage from those dumb-thumb incidents. Would almost be a necessity on a line of PNP scale helis.

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              • #8
                It does take more of a skill set in both flying, building, and setup-programming. Helicopters do not lend themselves to the open, charge,fly mentality. There is a certain amount of work and commitment involved. I consider myself to be at about an intermediate skill level. And helicopters can be a challenge. But I like the challenge.

                That being said, electronics can make them more accessible to novice fliers.

                I am hoping that the Motion RC involvement helps the almost extinct scale helicopter community.

                Hint...we really need a good set of reliable 500 size mechs. Not short shaft 3d bling. Something good for sport flying as well as installing into a scale bird.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by seaviper View Post
                  Hint...we really need a good set of reliable 500 size mechs. Not short shaft 3d bling. Something good for sport flying as well as installing into a scale bird.
                  It would definitely be nice to see a new set of mechs for scale helis. As great as the old Trex 500 ESP and its clones are, a dedicated set of scale mechs would be awesome! It would have to have the same reliability or better, good parts support, and a LOT of flexibility. Mount the boom low or high, belt or TT, and have a variable angle gearbox for raised tails. Preferably, it would also have similar layout to the compactor, where the electronics can be suspended above the cabin, leaving room for detailed interiors.

                  And of course, one of the most important things out there would be availability of different heads and tails. Preferably, 2-6 blade heads, and similar tails, available in different sizes. Very hard to find most multiblades out there at the moment.

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                  • #10
                    In all of RC. Helicopter Pilots are around a max total of 10% of guys flying and out of that 10% maybe 1% fly scale. Numbers have always stop the scale parts from being put out there made just for our scale. But one can always dream!!!

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by JFandL View Post
                      In all of RC. Helicopter Pilots are around a max total of 10% of guys flying and out of that 10% maybe 1% fly scale. Numbers have always stop the scale parts from being put out there made just for our scale. But one can always dream!!!
                      True, however I really wonder how much of the reason for so few scale pilots is the shortage of supply. Several of my last couple of builds have ended up more like a treasure hunt then a project. Just hunting down a 4 blade tail took several months of hunting until I found someone who had a spare lying around. On top of that, many suppliers had major quality issues (like the Align raised tail gearbox), supply issues, and you had to buy a 3D heli, then toss half the parts away almost immediately. That's just not an appealing thought to someone looking at getting into choppers.

                      Imagine if you had a set of mechanics that was customizable out of the box, and had the option to choose what head/tail were included at checkout, it would make things infinitely more simple. Especially with an option for drop down frames and raised tails.

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                      • #12
                        How true!!!!! maybe one day. With RC Helicopters the money is always in the sale of parts if your making one. That's why 3d helicopters rule our hobby, Fly crash rebuild, repeat. Scale pilots seem to not crash a lot nor once built, buy any more parts for that helicopter.

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                        • #13
                          The manufacturers all jumped in on the 3d thing back in the early 2000's. Now it's hurting their business. When I learned to fly helicopters, the majority of fliers at our field flew sport and or scale. Today the situation is no different.
                          We have one 3d guy. All the others fly sport or scale stuff. The sport and scale community tend to be older, more affluent, and buy more stuff. The industry just made a big mistake by going all in on 3d. Hopefully the market will come back.
                          It would be nice to see some good sport machines for decent prices. Remember the the Raptor and Shuttle days?

                          One major contributor to the scarcity of scale stuff is the licensing required by Bell and others. Ridiculous. The model train industry was also going down that path until the head of NS said he would not seek licenses for models of their equipment. It saved the hobby I think.

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                          • #14
                            I still have 4 Paddle Raptors, One scale, one .90 size and two .50's. When Nitro jumped to $40.00 Gal. I stopped flying them. So dust for around 6 years. Wow Shuttles bring back good and bad memories, like all the old Kits. Main Blades took around 10 days to make a set. Can't say I miss that part!

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                            • #15
                              I remember drooling over the Raptor .90 with the MD500 Defender Fuselage, I saw it on the cover of one of the RC mags when I was a little kid and the magazine sat on my shelf for years as an eventual goal. Was awesome when I finally got the Little Bird in the air to finally get there!

                              When I was in Maryland for an internship a few years ago, one of the guys at the local club had a Shuttle that he had converted to electric, and it flew fantastic! Still had a mechanical gyro, and it was glassy smooth.

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                              • #16
                                Yes the Shuttle was a fine flying airframe with the right engine, with a tuned pipe, and blades. Never ever did I see a Shuttle canopy destroyed, blades, engines, airframe, everything but that dang canopy.

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                                • #17
                                  FYI, great deal on 2 Trex 500 ESPs over on RCG. Perfect for scale conversions! https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show...th-spare-parts

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                                  • #18
                                    Were can I buy helicopter

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                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Mulligan View Post
                                      Were can I buy helicopter
                                      Are you looking for something plug and play, or scale fuselage for an existing helicopter? What size and budget?

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