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
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
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
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
Lesson One: Buy a flight
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
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