RC Helicopters

People say that if you get a boat it’s like throwing money into a hole in the water. Others point out that if you have a pool it’s like having a concrete pond into which you throw all of your money.

RC modelers basically throw their money into the air and it never comes back.

My RC Heli Collection

My RC Heli Collection

What Goes Up…

So it all started when I was about 5… Well, my dad bought a MiniBoy RC helicopter when I was a kid. I remember it being awesome. It actually looks surprising a lot like this one:

Mini-Boy RC Heli

A nicely restored Mini-Boy helicopter with Barbie as the pilot

Years later I got him a cheap RC toy which lead to a Blade-120 SR RC helicopter. Not only did this refresh the RC bug for my dad it bit into me pretty hard.

Eventually It Ends Up Being a Divot in the Ground

I could talk endless tech about RC helicopters but this isn’t that kind of post. I started in the RC heli world with what I thought, or what was marketed to me, as the best beginner helicopter for those who want to start and progress in the hobby, the Blade SR. Starting with that helicopter should have made me instantly stop any interest in the hobby. In my opinion it is the worst piece of garbage you can buy.

List of crappy things regarding the Blade SR:

  • Electric driven tail motor
  • Cheap mechanical parts
  • Cheap electrical parts
  • Unpredictable flight behavior

Someone may be thinking, “this guy probably can’t fly crap and is hating on a good product.” Sure, that’s a plausible conclusion. Go to YouTube and watch all the young kids hovering and flying this helicopter and that will reinforce your opinion.  However, let me tell you this. I saw those same videos and thought that if a 12 year old can stand there and hold the radio and provide no stick input and just hover it then I should be able to achieve something very similar. I ran out and bought it our local hobby shop.

That piece of garbage never flew right from the first flight. After numerous crashes and rebuilds I thought it had to be me. I finally was told by another employee that it is a worthless helicopter he actually steers customers away from. I wish he would’ve been there the day I was buying mine!

Perseverance is a Good Trait, Right?

I ended up investing in a better transmitter and finally purchased some nicer helicopters that are clones of a very reputable brand. I thought I finally had it all figured out. I could do basic flight maneuvers  I was actually learning how to fly. Still, I was learning. I crashed. I crashed enough that it soon became apparent that the cost of rebuilding the clones was becoming more than they were worth. They were right there for what should have been a transition from learning everything dumb about flying to beginner basics. I was on the threshold of actually getting ready to purchase a real bird to fly.

Unfortunately, I did pretty well at math. I also got both of my degrees through a business college at a major university. Here’s a little cost breakdown of what it would cost me to put a new 700 sized bird in the air:

  • Airframe with blades: $800
  • Motor: $300
  • ESC: $275
  • 3 Main Servos: $125/each (need 3)
  • Tail Servo: $125
  • Batteries: $250/each (2 to put it in the air)
  • Receiver/Gyro: $200

That’s $2K, not including a respectable TX, charger, and other miscellaneous items. Possibly I could skimp on the quality items such as the servos and batteries, but I’ve seen the problems with those things just going to heck.

I have my AMA license (lol, Academy of Modeling Aeronautics, not the other AMA) which gets me their wonderful quarterly magazine. Reading this magazine I’ve come to understand that modeling just seems like it’s a hobby for retired people or people with too much time and little more money to burn.

Hopefully I can get back into the hobby. It’s really fun. I guess I’m just going to have to start buying more PowerBall tickets…

About Mike

I'm a software engineer. Look into the about page for more information about me.
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