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The following information is for introductory purposes.  Please seek professional assistance if you plan to undertake this venture.  This is a dangerous activity and every safety precaution and procedure must be followed and taken seriously.




When I was young I've always dreamt of flying remote control aircrafts; both planes and helicopters.   But back in those days it was all a dream as the cost of the hobby was not practical for a young child.


Thirty somethin' years later, while searching through the web, I found some aerial images and wondered how they were taken.  Initially I thought the images were taken from a full size aircraft.  As I read through the article I discovered the images were taken from a remote controlled helicopter. 


So I thought to myself I think I'll try that...  I'll fulfill two goals...  Remote Control (RC) flying and aerial photography (AP)...



Now comes the hard part...  How do I begin? 


The following pages are a breakdown of how I got into building my first heli. 


I've been flying for several years now and still doing lots of test flights, constant modifications and have taken both aerial photos and videos.  Hopefully these pages will help someone out there that is in the same position that I was.


Previous to this I have never built any RC models.   I searched through the web and found several sites on the subject.  My first impression was intimidating.  It was like learning a new language.  The terms and equipment used were all new to me.  Just like anything, I've ever got myself into, the only way was diving right into it.


And so the journey began... 


I went to a local hobby store, back in 2006, and told them of my plans;  AP with an RC helicopter.  I told them I have no experience and asked how and where I should begin.  The person looked at me as if I was crazy.  I knew then he was not going to cooperate.  He probably already knew the complications involved and probably didn't want to support it.  I don't blame him.  I went to another hobby shop; told them the same thing and right away the person was familiar with the idea.  He suggested to first learn how to fly with an RC Flight Simulator (FS).  He explained how they use to learn to fly in the old days and how he wished FS was available back then.  It would have saved a fortune on repairs.  He recommended FS ONE to start off with.  I bought the FS and installed it on my computer. 


I had a friend of mine start off the FS with me.  We pretended that it was the real thing and that we just spent $5000 on an RC helicopter.   We were so confident that we could fly this thing.  We were able to take off...  but that was about it.  Within seconds we crashed and burned.   The reset button became our best friend.  That's when I remembered what the gentleman, at the hobby store, mentioned about the cost of repairs.  I was thankful that I had followed his advice.  About ten hours later I figured out how to fly "nose in" while inverted.  Not bad but my eyes were burning.  LOL


Lesson One:  Buy a flight simulator.  If you have never flown before I HIGHLY recommended this.  I have spoken to many people and I hear the same thing over and over again.  Many would start right away purchasing an aircraft and immediately fly without prior training.  Of course they'll crash and end up training on a flight simulator.  So do yourself a favor and start the smart way.  The military, commercial pilots and operators of heavy equipment all use simulators.  It's a proven tool.  But remember it's only meant as a training tool to teach you how to fly, how to recognize various aircraft orientation and how to move the "sticks" to correct an unwanted aircraft's position. 


FS ONE RC Flight Simulator


The gentleman at the store recommended about thirty hours on the FS.  He was right.  At about the thirty hour mark I was confident to start flying the real thing.  But I decided to go further.  I ended up flying well over three hundred hours before I purchased the heli kit.  That was just a personal goal I wanted to do for myself.  I spent 400 hours before flying my first heli by the second week of September 2007.  It was a success.  I would have to say the simulator worked.  BUT what it didn't prepare me for was the heightened heart rate, shaky hands and exposure to the environment.  No reset button...


FS One flight simulator



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