Wednesday, 16 November 2011

The mCPx Challenge - Not For Beginners?

Well the weather has now turned cold and it has been rather windy over here in the UK of late. Hardly ideal flying weather - and certainly not suitable for a maiden flight of the new Walkera V200 D03. I have had the chance to get the little Blade mCPx out though.This is such a lively and fun heli. Eflite made a real good job of this little RC helicopter. Yes, it is not without flaws and there is room for improvement with a few of the third party mods available but even as stock it is a great little flyer.It will always challenge you though, and none-the-more-so than when the wind is blowing. That said for such a tiny little helicopter, weighing in at 1.6oz (45.5g), the mCPx handles the wind remarkably well. This is largely due to it being a collective pitch helicopter which gives you the ability to control the lift much better and prevent it from sailing off skywards like an even much larger, heavier fixed pitch helicopter is apt to do. Then its flybarless system with a 3-axis gyro helps to keep it on track as the gyros counteract movements made by the helicopter that are not responses to inputs from the transmitter.

I have heard a number of people say that this is not an RC helicopter for beginners. Well, yes and no would be my response. It would certainly be beyond first time flyers, those absolutely new to RC helicopters, but for those with a little flying experience with a fixed pitch helicopter I would argue that this is an ideal first time collective pitch helicopter. Why do I say this? Well that is my personal experience. I had only ever flown the Blade mSR before I got my mCPx. It was the first collective pitch helicopter I had flown. OK not only had I flown the mSR but I had been prepared to put a fair few number of hours in on a flight simulator, where I was flying collective pitch helicopters of various sorts and sizes - including the Blade mCPx, which you can download from Clearview as one of the update helicopters for their flight simulator if you go to "File > Upgrade To Latest Content".

Now you are not going to fly the mCPx indoors like you can with the mSR, even if you have a fair amount of collective pitch helicopter flying experience. Even a modest sized back garden is not ideal for starting off with this lively little helicopter. It is liable to be off before you can get it under control and prevent it from finding the nearest wall, hedge or tree - and to be honest the garden pond is the biggest risk in our back garden.

Now one of the great advantages with the mCPx over larger more stable conventional starting points for entering into the collective pitch helicopter world is that you can have heavy impacts with little or no damage. You may lose a push rod, slip the main gear (or even flatten a few teeth in it if you do not cut the throttle in time - done that one too) and perhaps even damage a blade or blade grip if you have a really heavy crash. Most of the time you can just pick it up and after a quick check over, maybe push an odd part back together again and your off airborne once more. Try and do that after bringing a 450 size helicopter down. When you do break something on the mCPx you are looking at the odd pound/dollar to get a replacement and they are readily available.

So for the first time 'collective pitcher' I would recommend you do as I did and take the mCPx and find a nice wide open space, preferably on grass (of a little length for a bit of added cushioning when it comes down, as it will do to start with) and just fly it, fly it and fly it some more. You will be surprised how quickly you start to get the hang of it - I was, after being hopelessly out of control to start with. Just ensure that the helicopter is on a flat and level surface for take off, you don't stand a chance of getting it up if it isn't. You may also want to soften the controls, especially the cyclic controls, around the centre of the stick by adding exponential. This is easily achieved if you are using a quality radio unit like the Spektrum DX6i, DX7 or DX8 - I can not recommend them highly enough. With the exponential added the tendency to over-control the helicopter is reduced as larger stick movements produce smaller servo responses. Typically in the beginning we all tend to over-react, over-correct and over-control, which is the cause of a large number of  our initial crashes.

To start with just stay in normal flight mode, you definitely do not want to go trying inverted flight early on. There is a definite knack to flipping this helicopter and even pilots used to inverted flight with larger helicopters find this one challenging to get inverted. You need to give it plenty of altitude, get a bit of momentum and be very smooth with the stick movements. Once you get it there you should give it a moment to let the gyros stabilize the helicopter. In some respects it is a great trainer for inverted flying because it is more challenging than many other RC helicopters. If you do it with this helicopter you are going to find others much easier. Plus, while you are getting it wrong you aren't going to be doing much damage.

OK, so it isn't the easiest collective pitch helicopter to fly. However, the challenge it presents will make you better at flying radio controlled helicopters and without doing much damage to your pocket. People who have flown this helicopter commonly report better collective management and smoother cyclic control for having done so. So why not master these from the outset? Then above all else they are a huge, huge fun helicopter. Agile, lively and with great power for their weight they are ideal for just having an amazing time flying - and best of all they allow you the freedom to do just that, to have fun, and to try things you might not with another RC helicopter because you know that it can take the mistakes.

My recommendation then is give it a go: take on the mCPx challenge!

 Before you know it you'll be doing this!!!

1 comment:

  1. wonderful and excellent article on (The mCPx Challenge - Not For Beginners?) I really enjoyed it. The beginner must buy the mini R.C Helicopters at the first time. The mini RC helicopters are best for the inexperienced flyers.