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General RC Heli Discussion Discuss general topics on rotary wing aircraft, including construction, Servo's, Gryo's and Stabilizer discussions. Heli Pro Shop

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Old 12-31-2006, 04:50 PM   #1
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Hi, I am just starting out and looking into what I really need to get off the ground in the hobby. First question is gas vs electric, just wondering if it's better to learn on one or the other. Personally I am leaning toward nitro, I have space to fly and understanding neighbors so neither of those are an issue. Also, how much fly time on average do you get from a tank of fuel vs a charged battery? Final question is does anyone know any reputable hobby shops in the London Ont or fly clubs that I can visit to get a better handle on the models available?
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Old 12-31-2006, 05:32 PM   #2
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Good for you for starting out with a standard size (30/50 +) heli. You will have an easier time learing to fly on a larger heli due to the increased mass.

One big difference between nitro and electric is cost. There is a premium to be paid for batteries and charging systems that makes large electric much more expensive. However, this is changing and it will likely no longer be true in a year or two.

The main advantages of electric helis are the options for power systems (if you have the $$$, you can get a far more powerful electric), low noise (also considered a negative in competitions), and no mess.

If you have space to fly and the neighbors won't hear/mind, then nitro will be the most cost effective option for power. Flight times can be similar for both electric and nitro, although electrics are typically less (again changing). Expect ~10 minutes from a nitro heli, about 5-10 minutes on an electric (more to the low end).

Mileage on batteries varies depending on your handling of them (not over discharging, overcharging, etc.). A crash with a $500 battery can be heart breaking.

Charging large batteries is pretty technical and requires expensive chargers. The typical ~1 hour charge time means that multiple packs are desireable.

Consider a 30 or 50 size heli for a first choice; something with 500 - 600mm blades. Research you choices well, particularly if going electric as you want a workable power setup.
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Old 12-31-2006, 05:45 PM   #3
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Well, as I preface all my posts here in the Rotary forum, I'm by far no Heli specialist yet. I'll simply offer my opinions based on the fact that it sounds like your going to go-on-your-own learning instead of joining a club or working with another experienced heli pilot.

First, Glow is good if you have previous glow experience. Have you flown glow RC aircraft before? Are you comfortable setting a glow engine up so that it runs 99.5% perfectly?

If not, I'd steer you away from starting out with a glow heli, as engine setup with a heli is absolutely critical, and heli's do not offer a great deal of opportunity to "putter and fiddle" with settings while learning.

You can get away with flying a fixed wing model with a poorly adjusted engine, and an engine failure in flight is not the end of the world unless your only a few feet off the deck.

Learning on a poorly tuned heli and experiencing the same will not have a pretty outcome.

Electrics can also be had for a heck of allot less right now versus *any* glow model, and they're quieter.

I know you say you have "understanding" neighbors, but trust me - after listening to a hours upon hours of a glow engine screaming at full power in one place as you learn to hover, they will not be so understanding for very long. Unless you have enough property to get well and clear so that they won't hear *anything* you may want to reconsider that thought.

Runtime on a nitro heli? Well, obviously that depends on the size of the heli, size of the engine, and size of the resulting tank. Will you fly in standard or idleup all the time...? There's lots of variables.

I don't personally fly Nitro heli's myself so I'm no authority there, but most people that I've seen that do average between 8 to 12 minutes per tank for an averaged size heli in idleup.

Electrics also have alot of variables, of course, similar to the nitro except with motor sizes and battery capacities. Most starter heli's average at least 10 minutes per flight.

My personal opinion on which way to go? Well, if money is no object, you have a close place to fly where the noise is no issue, and you've spent enough time on a simulator to ensure that your first flight won't be a $200 mistake, then go for the nitro.

If your not so sure about all of the above or are starting with zero nitro experience and nobody to mentor you, then consider an electric at least as a stepping stone. You can pickup a Honeybee King for about $300 ready to fly, or a variety of other good models for even less, again, RTF.

There are battery investments with heli's, but there's fuel and equipment investments for nitro as well - starters, pumps, glow drivers, etc.

I'm sure that others will have thoughts of suggestions as well, but those are mine.

Just my 2 Cents, your millage may vary, rinse, repeat, wipe hands on pants.
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Old 12-31-2006, 06:58 PM   #4
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London has a very good hobby shop, AVF HOBBIES on Dundas St east., who I know sell the Thunder Tiger nitro helis. Even though I fly a sceadu 30 and 50 my reccomendation would a raptor titan mainly because tne London Model Aircraft Club has members that have experiece with raptors, and when you first start i Strongly urge you have an experienced pilot do a pre-flight check and test flight just to be sure your heli is safe to fly..Good advice whether you go electric or nitro!!
While your at the hobby shop look into getting a simulator, it'll be the best $200-$300 you spend.
Not complaining but if you fill in your location, sometimes a local pilot will respond,which is always helpful.
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Old 12-31-2006, 06:58 PM   #5
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Well thanks for the prompt replies. I am definetly going to get instruction on how to fly to start off, like you said don't want to make a 200$ mistake. Kinda the reason why I am looking for club or hobby shop in my area that can help me out. Found one store near by with a limited supply of models, was wondering if you've heard of a Spy Hawk Helicopter (
I am fairly mechanically inclined but I'll take your advice with the nitro choppers.
Thanks for the info Dave definetly going to check the store out.
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Old 12-31-2006, 07:19 PM   #6
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Looks alot to me like perhaps a Honeybee FP rebranded but it's hard to tell from that little picture.

For that sort of money you cold get a Honeybee CP2 with a LiPo battery and everything else included there. Much better then that small NiMh.

For a bit more yet you can get a HB King, like I mentioned..a much better heli overall.

Visit your local hobby shop and talk with the guys there - tell then where you are, what your looking at getting started with, and see what they suggest.

If they immediately try to sell you a $2000 nitro heli then there goal is likely to extract the maximum cash from you and you may want to shop elsewhere.

If they set you up realistically and dont pressure you into anything, then they're likely there to help. Based on someone elses comments it seems like the local shop in London is a good place.

If I could suggest one thing, it's buy a mainstream model - there will be nothing more frustrating then buying a heli and then finding out that you can't get parts locally for it. Having to order a $5 part and have it shipped all the way from China would be frustrating when you could have bought a more mainstream model and find parts as close as your local hobby shop where you bought it.

And take it from someone who is only a few weeks into Rotary - you *will* need parts, even with simulator time.
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