Monday, 7 November 2011

We All Must Start Somewhere!

 I wanted to start this blog off with a little background on what started me off in this amazing hobby of RC helicopters - and right from the start I would like to invite readers to participate in this blog and leave their stories of how they first came into the hobby.

It is a hobby where it is useful to keep in mind what it is that has been our inspiration because having RC helicopters as a hobby inevitably has its low points, those moments when disaster strikes and we feel like saying "no more"!

For that reason I am going to tell you about some of the things that have been and continue to inspire me. Maybe some of them will do the same for you. Here again I invite your participation and hope that you will share your inspirational stories and ideas.

So let's make a start with an inspirational video, showing just what can be achieved if you have the will, desire and commitment.

Tareq Alsaadi vs. The Palm Tree


Ok, maybe but a few of us will achieve that kind of mastery,as this is one of the very best, but it can motivate us to consistently improve and achieve levels of skill that we only once dreamed of. It was just such videos as this that inspired me to want to fly not just toy helicopters or even co-axial or fixed pitch 4channel helis but to aim for and progress to a full 3D capable collective pitch 6 channel RC helicopter.

So, it isn't for everyone. Many people just want to fun fly - and why not, after all a hobby is essentially about one! How you want to define fun and what  fun is to you is a purely personal thing. For some it is about having a beautiful RC helicopter that you fly around within your level of capability...and just have plain simple fun. For others it is the full on adrenaline-rush seat of your pants 3D flying with all the setbacks, crashes, rebuilds and hours of sim practice that go with it. For still others, it is about the technology or the fun of building something and then seeing the completion of your project take to the air. At the end of the day there are as many different meanings to 'fun' as their are hobbyists.

So for those of you who are of the fun-flyer brigade...or should that be 'squadron' is a short video for you:

 Fun Flying the Walkera V200 D01, coutersy of

 Now I started in the RC world with cars when I was a teenager. Mad about all things car and car racing in particular, along with my closest friends we had outgrown Scalextric but weren't yet old enough to drive 'the real thing' so we were looking for something more like it. Then one of my friends reported back that he had found a hobby shop in a nearby town that had 1/8th scale nitro radio controlled cars. So we set about saving enough money to buy the cars and all the equipment we needed, then set off down to the shop to plead for the best bargain we could get. Eventually we arrived home one by one with our prizes. By this time we had also learned of a local club that raced these cars. We were I may say at this stage in for a bit of a shock. Back in those days the engines were, for us, incredibly difficult to get tuned and keep there. Plus the budget radio equipment we could afford was not the most reliable. Consequently there was a lot of frustration. Nonetheless we took it all in our stride and although we seemed to do precious little running of the cars we had loads of fun together, mishaps and all taken in great spirit.

However, as inevitably happens in late teenage years we started to fragment as some friends started working, others got their own 'real' cars, whilst I went off eventually to university. So we all were going our own different ways. Some gave up on the radio controlled models, I switched to electric off-road buggies which I found another local club for and at university I found a club racing 1/12th scale cars indoors so got myself one of those too.

After University I started my own business selling tropical and pond fish and although I continued racing the off-road buggies for a few years eventually it had to give way to committing myself fully to the business. It seemed for years that was going to be it for the RC world but somewhere down there the urge was lurking to get involved again and every so often I would see an RC car on the net or in a magazine and be tempted. But it wasn't just cars and in the run-up to one Xmas when I was struggling to find presents for my nephews my mother turned up trumps having found some toy RC helicopters on a 2 for 1 offer in a local store.Well wow, they might just have been toys but the fire was well and truly re-ignited and I was hooked again. 

I then started reading everything I could find on them on the Internet, researched, watched countless videos on YouTube and the likes. I joined forums, poured over the best websites out there selling R/C helicopters, read reviews and just generally sucked up all the information I could find. During this time I had bought a small Double Horse co-axial helicopter, found through my reading that wasn't suitable for what I wanted, as my aspirations rapidly rose - by this stage I had found videos like the one at the top of the page - and very sound advice that a 3 channel helicopter is not a great place to start if you aim to go onto bigger and better things. So I got the widely acclaimed, and for very good reasons, Esky Honey Bee V2 and sold the co-axial on Ebay. However, the Honey Bee was never to see the skies with me. At this stage I was rehabilitating from a broken thigh and was hobbling around on crutches. I realised that I needed something I could fly inside the house because of my lack of mobility. Then I found an independent website singing the praises of the Eflite Blade mSR (I would highly recommend this website to all, it is packed with information and advice from a very experienced RC helicopter enthusiast who is 100% there just to further the hobby and help ease beginners into it). 

Well I had dropped on the perfect heli for starting into the hobby and all the information on helped me get it set up and hooked up with the Spektrum DX7. Now there was no stopping me. Recuperating with a broken leg and unable to work I had countless hours to occupy flying the tiny bird. I had acquired 6 extra lipo packs to the 2 included in the BNF kit and these kept me flying long hours every day. Then when I was forced onto the ground waiting for lipos to recharge or spares to arrive after the occasional break - these mSR's are incredibly durable, they take amazing hits without 'injury' due to their light weight, just 1oz, so that they bounce rather than break. I was learning quick and really hooked on the rush of flying, something to really spice up my days of rehabilitation. Soon I had it on all the most aggressive setting to mimic a collective pitch helicopter. For all the fun it's agility and dynamic performance for such a tiny tiny heli gave it was time to move on. I had already acquired my first 450 sized helicopter and with my leg getting better by the day the time was approaching to progress onto a serious performance outdoor RC helicopter. The journey had begun....

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