Jim Ryan

Choosing Heli Servos: Analog vs. Digital

Mar 28, 2014 No Comments

  (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

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

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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Home-brewed Quads

Nov 25, 2013 No Comments

 I’ll admit that multi-rotors haven’t really been my thing. I’m not heavily into aerial photography, and helicopters are just more interesting to me. I do get a kick out of the remarkable work some of the AP wizards have produced, particularly Gary Graf’s amazing flight videos (see Gary’s YouTube channel, FPVFlightSchool, for some examples of [...]

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Preventive Maintenance

Nov 14, 2013 1 Comment

Electric helicopters are far cleaner and smoother running than their nitro-powered brethren, meaning that they tend to require less maintenance. This, however, can be both a blessing and a curse. I’ll confess to being a bit haphazard with preventative maintenance on my helis, with an inclination to think, “It flew fine last time As my [...]

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HeliCommand HC3-SX

Sep 05, 2012 No Comments

Flybarless stabilization has exploded in recent years, and the latest units offer some amazing features.  Captron, best known for their HeliCommand stabilization systems, now has the X-series, a line of 3D-capable FBL units.  The top of the line HC3-SX not only offers outstanding 3D performance, it adds two remarkable flight modes that make it a [...]

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