One of the instruments we need in this hobby of ours is a pitch gauge, which is used to measure, set, and adjust the angle of the main rotor blades. Various forms of pitch gauges have been around for years, but all require a certain amount of interpretation in their reading. Wouldn’t it be nice-and easy!-to have a digital readout of the angle instead? Well, the Angle Wizard from Scratch Builder Warehouse (scratchbuilderwarehouse.com) does just that. This neat little box is only 2 inches square and gives a digital angle readout within 1/10 of a degree, allowing us to set and check more angles on our helicopter than we ever thought possible. As an example, with the flybar parallel to the tail boom, the Angel Wizard can be placed on a flat portion of the blade grip or rotor blade to provide a digital readout of its pitch angle. My technique is to place the angle wizard on the tail boom and zero the readout with the button provided. Then, holding the flybar parallel to the tail boom, the angle wizard can be used to provide a digital readout of the pitch of the rotor blade. This makes setting the blade pitch very easy and accurate either on the workbench or at the flying field.
Depending on how accurate you would like to be in setting up your helicopter, here are a few more uses for the angle wizard:
- Once the Angle Wizard is zeroed out with the tail boom, it can be placed on the flybar to ensure that the flybar is parallel to the boom. The flybar can then be held in that position while you set the blade pitch. The advantage of this method is that the tail boom does not need to be level; it’s used as a point of reference for other readings instead.
- During helicopter setup, many pilots use the technique of first leveling the swashplate; however, the question then becomes, how do we determine when the swashplate is level? And the answer is: we really don’t care if the swashplate is level or not because we only want it to be parallel with the tail boom, just like the flybar in the point above. And this is where the Angle Wizard can again be helpful. By first zeroing it out on the tail boom, it can then be used on the swashplate to determine when the two are parallel.
- And if you really have nothing to do on a rainy night, you may want to play with the angle of your servo output arms and pushrods. Most servo arms are set up so they are 90 degrees to the pushrod, which will provide the same amount of throw in each direction. By again zeroing out the Angle Wizard on the pushrod, it can then be used on the servo arm. Then, with the use of subtrim, the servo arm can be adjusted to obtain this 90-degree position.
In a similar manner the above technique can be used to adjust the bellcranks so they are also 90 degrees to the pushrods.
Although these are just a few of the uses of the Angle Wizard, I’m sure with a little time and experience we will find even more uses for this neat tool.