Jim Ryan

Torque-Tube Tail Upgrade

Jun 06, 2014 1 Comment by

For several years, Align’s T-Rex 450 series has dominated the small helicopter market. Rather than resting on a proven design with excellent quality and fit, Align has gradually upgraded the heli to keep up with (or ahead of) their competitors, imitators, and outright copiers. With the release of the T-Rex 450 Pro, Align raised the [...]

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Blade 600X: a 12-cell competition beauty raises the bar

May 13, 2014 No Comments by

Over the last couple of years, Blade RC, long a major presence in mini and micro helicopters, has released a series of larger helis ranging up to 550 class. With the Blade 600X they have raised the ante with a competition-grade 12-cell flybarless 600, and I couldn’t wait to build one. The Blade 600X Pro [...]

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Light up the night! Easy add-on

Apr 23, 2014 No Comments by

RC’ers love novelty — anything to make flying a little different. Float flying, aerotow, aerial video; all these add variety, but one of my favorites is night flying. There’s something absolutely magical about flying in the dark. My efforts with night flying go back nearly 20 years, starting with spotlights, then Cyalume light sticks and [...]

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Choosing Heli Servos: Analog vs. Digital

Mar 28, 2014 No Comments by

  (Opener) Flybarless helis like this large Robinson R22 are rapidly taking over, but these impressive machines impose heavier demands on the servos. Let’s address a question that seems to cause a good deal of confusion (or at least misunderstanding) among helicopter fliers—whether digital servos are really better than analog, and whether they’re worth the [...]

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Are two rotor heads better than one?

Feb 20, 2014 3 Comments by

Ask anyone to draw a picture of a helicopter, and in nearly every case they’ll sketch the classic “conventional” configuration with a single main rotor and an anti-torque tail rotor at the end of a long tail boom. This layout hasn’t changed appreciably since Igor Sikorsky clamped down his Homburg hat and lifted his original [...]

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Check your BECs!

Jan 22, 2014 2 Comments by

I recently had the pleasure of reviewing the Blade 600X, and I have found it to be the best-engineered 600-class heli I personally have flown.  The quality of construction is outstanding, the drivetrain is extremely stout, and handling is silky-smooth.  I look forward to getting a lot more flying time on this bird.  (See my full [...]

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Gyro Programming 101

Dec 12, 2013 No Comments

Many low-time heli flyers making the step from Bind-N-Fly micros to larger helis struggle with programming heading hold gyros. The following is a general guide for programming gyros. It’s not intended to address the much more aggressive setups needed for full-on 3D, rather the goal is to program a typical gyro for sport flying. Because [...]

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LET’S GET ORGANIZED!

Nov 25, 2013 No Comments

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 [...]

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