A cool toy

While I was on vacation, I got a chance to play with one of these cool indoor radio control helicopters. I've always wanted a radio control helicopter, but I've never quite gotten past the whole "expensive, hard to fly, easy to break" thing. I can say from experience that the Blade Runner is the opposite on all points. I had a fun time playing with this, and it was pretty easy to control (I already know how to fly fixed-wing radio control airplanes). I also crashed it a number of times without damage. However, it did break at one point — one of the two gearboxes failed. I opened up the moulded plastic fuselage and fixed it. The shaft had just popped out of its press-fit hole, so I squeezed it back in with some pliers. Embarassing to break someone else's toy though...

The only thing I don't like about this toy is that the controls are set up on the "wrong" sticks to give you practice for flying a more complex chopper. It doesn't have any cyclic control, so you have throttle for climb rate, a horizontal tail rotor to control pitch (and hence forward/backward flight), and differential speed between the contra-rotating rotors to control yaw. No roll control is provided. The stick assignment on the transmitter is

stickup/down axisleft/right axis
leftthrottlenone
rightpitchyaw

It seems that in the USA, most people fly Mode 2, which has pitch and roll on the right stick, and throttle and yaw on the left stick. However, I learned Mode 1, which is more common in the UK, where we have roll and throttle on the right and yaw and pitch on the left. So for me, it might be possible to swap the two stick assemblies and have the controls correct for a Mode 1 helo, which would be cool, since I might go for a Piccolo at a later date.

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Thank you for the info!

Posted by Donny on September 15, 2005 at 08:57 PM PDT #

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