Originally Posted by Keyrigger
There are some of you that remember back in the early days of helicopter flying, a little helicopter from Germany called the Heli-Baby. It was manufactured by Dieter Schluter and was part of a small line of helicopters that included names like the Heli-Boy, Mini-Boy, and Champion. These were the early days of flying helicopter models that had no gyros, sometimes cantankerous belts that were round, not toothed, and radios that were nothing more than bare bones transmitters with no reversing of the servo direction on the transmitter like we got a couple of years later. You either bought expensive and hard to find reverse servos (if they even made them for your type) or did your own home rewiring.
The Heli-Baby was my first helicopter back in the late 70's. It had a very good Webra 40 for a power plant and that worked great to the day I sold the helicopter. The blades were wood with plastic covering and some nylon doublers for the root of the blade. Balancing was sometimes a chore and in those days, there were precious few that even attempted a helicopter, but back then, I was young and foolish with money, lol. In those days, the local top store for me was TP Hobbies on Roncesvalles Ave., just above Queen St., close to St. Joseph's Hospital.
Cecil Tate was a wealth of information and there was always a good amount of banter in the store that was so packed, you had to go outside to change your mind. He, his wife, and another couple (forgive me, I can't remember their names) ran the store and kept me in parts for many projects I had over the years. I was in there nearly every three or four days for blades and other assorted parts and the day he stopped carrying the parts was a sad day for me indeed.
A number of years ago, a fellow by the name of Gerd Guzicki started to produce a line of helicopters from his company called minicopter in Germany. He bought an old Heli-Baby with the intention of restoring it and found no parts anywhere to fix it. He started to measure the original parts and looked into their reproduction. Along the way, he found Dieter and bought the rights to reproduce the kit and had made at least two batches, one being an electric conversion. In the early days, the round, heat fused belt had been replaced by a toothed conversion but I had already sold mine and was busy in the film and photocopier industry, so RC flying was left in the closet for the better part of 30 years.
I left flying in around 1979 but raced RC sailboats for a couple of years before work and the lack of interest finally took over. Somewhere in 2010, I got the bright idea that I would see if the Heli-Baby was still around the RC world and sure enough, it was. I found that Gerd had developed an entire website dedicated to the original, reproduction, and the new e-Power version. It was there I noticed that kits had been produced and that was the spark to get another one to finally master it. I tried an email to Gerd but somewhere, it was lost in the netherworld and I ended up buying an Align 550EFL V2.
Fast forward to last year at the Fall Classic in Riverview, FL, where I hooked up again with Chuck Birt from Peak Aircraft. I had met him at IRCHA 2014 at the Scale tent celebrating with Vario on the winning of the speed helicopter competition by Miles Dunkel with his minicopter Diabolo S. While we were chatting in Florida about the older helicopters in the minicopter line, the subject of the Heli-Baby came up. He informed me that Gerd was hell-bent on producing a third run of Heli-Baby's and it should be out this year. I was all over that and said that the minute he heard a whisper, he was to get a hold of me. A few weeks ago, he posted on ScaleRCHelis.com that a new Heli-Baby was on the way. I knew that it was the message I was waiting for and none of the regulars there had any idea what the message was posted there for. I said it was for me and that my wish for a Heli-Baby had been answered.
Last week, IRCHA happened for the 26th time and Peak Aircraft and Chuck arrived with great new for me. The prototype was to land at Indianapolis and would be Fed-Ex'd to the AMA site. Well, customs, being what it is, held it up a bit so it made it there Friday morning and I was there for its unveiling. I wanted that one very badly but it was already promised to another flyer so I will have to wait for the production model. However, that could prove even better as I had a look at their new Triabolo Black and commented that an all black Heli-Baby would be the bee's knees. I am hoping.
The motor is specially made by Plettenberg to match the power output of the original Webra, about 1.1Hp, and is a small 570kv motor, about the size of an average 500 size helicopter motor. The prototype was setup with a Kontronic Koby 55, but was replaced with the Koby 90, which seems a bit overkill but then, this is not exactly the same helicopter as the original. Gone is the wire tail pitch mechanism and the pitch through the shaft setup for the tail blades. Also, gone is the 90 degree swash that was held in place by a conical spring and an arm that was mounted to the side frame on the left side. The fixed pitch is also a thing of the past and the boom is a much beefier setup.
The idea was to use the majority of parts from the Diabolo 550 so that it would be easy to maintain and have the potential for much more stable flight. The blades are 480mm, which is small, yet the helicopter is still a .30 size or today's 550 class. I am not sure what is the maximum blade size it will take but with a set of Switch 473's, it flew just great. Right out of the box, the helicopter was put into a full large loop and then a really wide barrel roll. They had had a few electronic issues setting it up but the wait until Saturday evening was well worth it. I will be doing a full build thread as soon as I get the model, which might be as soon as the first full week in September. I will be in Dalton at that time and if I am there with it, I will take pictures during the build and report back as soon as I land back here. I will be taking a complete set of servos, gyro, and building bits (wire ties, etc.) so that if it does arrive, I can try and get it airborne while I am there. I look forward to this arriving and will share the experience for all. Here are a couple of pictures of the prototype Heli-Baby at IRCHA 2015. Take care.