Paul's Model Helicopter page.
I've been quite keen to have a model helicopter for a few years now but the cost has stopped me buying one. However the prices have been coming down and it's now possible to get yourself in the air for a total of around £450. I decided on the Nexus 30 as it's a nice looking model, a good price and bits are easy to aquire.
This is fairly straightforward and the instructions supplied were good. The kit has all you need except for the engine, radio gear and gyro and it took me 4 evenings to get it all together. Clamping it to my Black and Decker work bench in the garden allowed my to run it up and check the tracking of the bladed without the risk of it taking to the air. Then it was off to the flying club....
First Flight - 29.4.2000
There are quite a few good heli pilots at my local club and one of them agreed to check my setup and give it a test flight. This is a must if you are new to helis as a good setup is a must. Everything checked out and a quick flight around the field indicated that the model was OK but the engine mixture was a bit out.
Crash 1 - 29.4.2000
The second flight (after adjusting the mixture) was quite short as during the initial hover the tail rotor suddenly stopped and the spinning model crashed to the ground. Slightly confused as to why this had happened I put it in the car and went home. A strip down showed that all the drive screws were tight and it took me quite a while to figure out that the location of the tail rotor into the boom was incorrect allowing the drive wire to move 0.5 inch. This was enough to allow it to disconnect from the tail rotor gears. The only damage was the main rotors, the main shaft and the rotor blade shaft.
Cost : £50
I managed a few hovering flights after the repairs and was starting to get confident. Then I had some problems getting the model to start. The clutch didn't want to operate correctly causing the engine and main rotors to remain connected together. Another strip down showed that the bearing on the starter shaft had broken up and dropped bit's into the clutch. A new shaft and bearings were required.
Cost : £15
Back in the air everything was OK for a while then the exhaust manifold cracked. Possibly this was caused by shock from the first crash. Anyway, I have access to a TIG welder so it was easily fixed - or so I thought. The next flight it broke again and I was told it was a common problem. Rather than buying another one I made a new manifold from stainless steel, this should be stronger than anything I could buy.
Cost : £0
Crash 2 - 14.5.2000
OK, OK so it was my own fault. My hovering was getting pretty good, I could do a reasonable tail - in circle and I'd spent the whole afternoon without a problem. Time for one last flight - BIG mistake. I decided to try a few short flights, starting from the hover, moving to forward flight, back to hover and land. It worked quite well for the first few. Then I made the mistake of going a bit to fast in forward flight, I had to pull the nose up quite hard to slow it down and I didn't get it level enough to hover before it slowed down. The model stalled (if helis can do that) and it fell about 5 feet to the ground with the tail downwards at an angle of about 45 degrees. The tail boom hit the ground with enough force to bend it up into the main rotor blades and POW - game over man.
As you can see it makes rather an expensive mess. This is basically a write off, with the parts to repair it costing more than a new model. (£135 +)
Lesson 1. Don't try and fly circuits before learning to hover properly.
Click to see larger image.
Choices, Choices. A new model or a simulator.
The simulator won. Having reasoned that the cost would be similar to buying a new heli I decided that I would at least be able to crash the simulator several times while saving for a new heli. This wouldn't be the case the other way round.
Cost : £110
I've finally started to build a new Nexus, it's taken a while due to work and the other stuff I like to do.... so much to do so little time ! Anyway it looks like this at the moment.
I've been flying the simulator on and off of a couple of years so hopefully I can at least get back to a decent hover onthe real thing quite quickly. On the sim I can do almost everything quite well except inverted flight so only time will tell if the sim is anything like the real thing - it's been so long I can't remember !
Further installments to follow.
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