Electric helicopters are great, but one challenge is the need to stock and keep organized a wide variety of spare parts. As a scale guy and scratch builder, it’s even worse for me because obsolete or damaged parts that most flyers would toss become potential raw material for some future project.
I spend about 150 nights a year away from home, but the good part is that most of my travel is by car. Electric helis fit nicely with this nomadic lifestyle, but it does mean that I need to be able to keep commonly used spare parts on hand. Over the last few years, I’ve gradually refined the list of parts that I need to take with me on the road, and this has made me more efficient than most in packing for flying events and keeping my shop organized. Here are a few tricks that have worked for me.
This pouch holds most commonly used heli tools and rolls up for easy storage. A few minutes with the sewing machine modified it from a cheap nail pouch. Be sure to bar-tack the ends of the seams.
The compartmented organizers from hardware stores are a great way to store all the various parts for helis. These work best for smaller helis in the 250 to 450 range, but will even handle most of the smaller parts for 600 and 700-class machines. Not only do these organizers save space and clutter, it’s also a lot easier to find some odd part when you need it. I have one organizer for each class of helicopter.
My transmitter case serves double duty, holding nearly all tools required for normal maintenance. Spare tail booms and blades fit above the foam in the lid.
Not so many years ago, quality tools came in leather or fabric pouches. Because I travel a lot, I keep most of my dedicated heli tools in my transmitter case, and keeping them organized got to be more and more of a headache. One day at the local big box store, inspiration struck. I picked up a canvas nail pouch for the princely sum of 77 cents. With a few passes through the family sewing machine, I had a simple tool pouch that holds all my most common tools.
To speed up repairs, I keep a couple of rotor heads pre-assembled and mounted in a wood block. If I suffer a minor crack-up, I can be repaired and flying again in a few minutes.
ZIP IT UP
Zippered plastic baggies are worth their weight in gold. The miniature bags that come with servos and other accessories are great for sorting and grouping families of parts. I take spare parts out of their bulky retail packs and group them in these smaller resealable bags. I’ll cut a piece from the hang-card to identify the parts in each bag.
STAY WITH IT
The best organization plan is only as good as your willingness to keep it up. For this reason, I recommend you keep things simple instead of trying to make it too complex. Routine maintenance is a lot less tedious if you have everything at your fingertips.