Update: Helicopter

I left my helicopter alone for over a month recently because I had become frustrated. It seemed that all of a sudden, my ability to fly had eroded. I could no longer keep the heli stable. Other times, the heli would be twitchy and erratic and unflyable, while even just sitting on the ground with no input from the control sticks.

After the internet provided no clues about the twitching, I took it to a local shop. The shop tech guessed I had a bad crystal in the receiver. As soon as he popped in a new set (in the transmitter too, of course) the heli was as good as new.

Since then I've bought a new Lithium-Polymer battery that allows nearly 20 minutes of flying time, compared to the 5-7 from the included Nickel-Metal Hydride battery. I also bought a different motor which the helicopter manufacturer recommends for maximum flight time. The old battery still works, but it is not as satisfying as the new one.

Below is a video of me taking the heli up to about eye level, (well out of ground effect) hovering for a few seconds, and bringing it back down safely. I think the heli looks far more stable that it did in my last post on this topic.

Since I made the above movie a few weeks ago, my helicopter is again on the fritz. This time, it's the tail motor which no longer works. The tail blades very easily strike the ground, and this causes the tail rotor to slow down (obviously). In order to speed the tail rotor back up, a quick burst of current is required, which repeated enough times eventually burns out the motor. The symptom is a nearly uncontrollable heli. I have burnt out two tail motors.

Since I don't want to continually buy new tail motors ($10 a pop), I went ahead and bought myself the RC simulator I yearned for only two weeks ago. As you can see in the movie below, crashes in the virtual world are much less devastating:

In this movie I'm flying using the night mode, which puts lights at the tips of the rotors so you can see the orientation of the heli. Red and blue on the main rotors; yellow on the tail rotor. Please excuse the poor quality of the video as I made it with my (relatively) antiquated digicam. I would have used a software video capture program, but they're (very) not free and cause the computer to slow down so much that the aircraft is uncontrollable. Below is a video showing a bit more flying skill and no crashes:

My goal with the simulator is to improve my instincts and reflexes, so when I return to the real world, I'll have mastered all the basic skills. It's also fun to fly and not have to worry about real world consequences.