How to become a better pilot and have fun at the same time.

Simple. Work on the things that make your guts tighten up. 

When I observe fliers at funfly events and at home, it's clear that most people do their favorite maneuvers going the same direction. I'm guilty too. I don't like flying with the wind in my face and I don't like flying when the wind is coming from my right side. I can auto to a coin laying on the ground if the wind is coming from the left, but if it's coming from the right, I can't hit the broad side of a barn.

I'm going to change that in 2009. I'm going to do a couple thousand autos from left to right. I'm also going to work on flying backwards from right to left. I'll use the simulator and burn fuel, but I AM going to fix those two things in 2009. If you want to get better, pick a couple things to work on and stick to it until you can do them without thinking about it.

Not all pilots are cut out to be world ranked "3D" pilots, but I think we'd all like to be able to feel comfortable no matter what orientation the model is in. There's only one way to fix that...practice.

What to do on New Years Day (if the weather isn't good enough to fly)

The holiday season is often a time when you might have some spare time and can't fly for one reason or another. That makes it a great time to bring your favorite model down to the workbench and give it a little TLC. Give it a really good cleaning and check all the linkages for wear. Start your next flying day with a clean, well lubricated machine. It feels so good.

On a DX-7, do you know what your 401 gyros' gain is?

I'm going to tell you why I use Gear Travel Adjust with the 401and NOT the Gyro function.

With the Gyro function the values are goofy and don't mean much. I mean values of 23 and 75 aren't very intuitive at all.  With the Input Select Gear function set to Gear the Travel Adjust value is equal to the gain. Positive values are Heading Hold and Negative Values are Rate Mode. It doesn't get much simpler than that. I always start at +45 and -45 and make small adjustments from there. There will be those who want to use two gains, one for hovering and one for 3D. Those people will have to use the Gyro function. I alway use the Gear function and just set mine up so it doesn't hunt at the highest head speed I'm going to run. So far, that has worked just fine. Have I got you convinced?

To change from one to the other you hold down the Scroll Down and Select buttons while you turn on the transmitter. Then use the Scroll Up button until the Input Select screen appears. If your screen looks exactly like this one, you are good to go. If it says Gyro in the bottom right, select Gear and use the Adjust button to change it to Gear. Turn the radio off and back on.

Press the Access keys and go to Travel Adjust. Select Gear. Change the values in both switch positions to 45. One will be +45 and one will be -45. It is possible to flip the switch position by reversing the gear channel. I like Heading Hold to be on when the switch is in the "default" position, 0. To verify, power on the receiver with the switch in position 0 and look at the LED on top of the gyro. It should be solid, not blinking. Be careful not to move the helicopter until you see the tail blades twitch.

Now if you want to increase the gain, simply increase the number value. I do like to keep it simple.

Throttle setup...again

I harp on throttle setup all the time because a proper throttle setup is critical to performance, even if you run a governor. Correction, especially if you run a governor! About a third of the guys that come to me for help have the throttle so screwed up that it's a wonder the model will even lift off the ground! That sounds harsh, but it's true.

There are some basic things that you have to pay attention to when you're setting up your throttle.

  1. When the throttle servo is centered (in the middle of it's travel), the servo arm must be square to the control rod AND the throttle must be open half way. You can get it very close if you use an arm like the one in the picture below just by sighting down the arm that points at the throttle barrel. As you can see, the throttle arm in this picture needs to be adjusted also.

O.S makes this easy on the Hyper 50. With your radio on and set to 50% OUTPUT on the throttle, just slightly loosen the bolt that hold the throttle arm on. Use a small allen wrench to hold the throttle barrel so it lines up with the center mark (see below).


Adjust the throttle arm so it is square to the rod and tighten up the bolt. Now adjust your rod so the two arms stay in their proper positions. Pop one link off and test the high and low throttle with the trim down or the throttle cut on. You can make minor changes to the ATV on the throttle, but keep them within a couple points of each other.  This might not result in a perfect setup, but it'll be real close. Keep tweeking on it until it's perfect. It's worth the time.

I've come up with a little tool that will make it a little easier to get those servo arms square to the rod. It doesn't work on all rods, but it's sure handy to have. It works great on the rudder servo too! I only had a small number of these made, mainly because they take a lot of time on the CNC machine. You can find them in the online store here.

Read more about throttle setup 

Part Finders

I've tried to make finding the right part or upgrade as easy as possible. You can just click on the part and it will show you that item in the online store. Many items have "related parts". These are upgrades, substitutes or parts that are associated with the part. This washout block is a good example. The upgraded washout is shown directly below the original part.

Nathan, John and AJ use the part finders all day long when they're taking orders. My next Part Finder project is going to be for the Raptor 30/50. I hope to have it done by the end of January. Each model takes many hours of work, so I hope you enjoy using them!

The very best way to use the part finders is to download the PDF version. You don't have to wait for your internet connection to refresh the drawings and the links work extremely fast. I urge you to download the PDF Part Finder for your model, explore it thoroughly and send me some feedback.

The Newsletter Special

You get the first shot at this deal and we have less than a dozen to sell.

Order a T-rex 700 kit and your choice of either 3 JR8717 servos or a YS91SR engine, or both.


Q. How do I order?
A. Click on this image and choose which items you want to buy, then add it to your basket. Be sure to check the box that says "CHECK THIS BOX THEN LOOK IN YOUR BASKET". That's your $40 discount on the kit. Look in your basket to see the price.  To save you the trouble, I'll list the combos below.

Kit alone - $670
Kit with 3 JR 8717 servos - $1000
Kit with YS91SR engine - $946
Kit with servos and engine - $1276

Q. Does the kit include blades?
A. No it does not. But, if you buy the HN7061 blades on the same order, we will price them at $99.

Q. I need more stuff, like a gyro and receiver. Will you make me a better deal on those items?
A. If you place the items you need on the same order, we will try our best to give you the lowest price  we possibly can. For example, let's say you want a Spartan gyro. We will price that at $185 as long as you put it on the same order.


That's all for now. I hope you got some good out of this newsletter. Hopefully I'll have another one out sometime in late January or early February. If you like it, tell your friends or even forward a copy to them.

Hopefully we'll see you at our 2009 funfly.. It starts on February 20th, 2009. You are invited. Come early and enjoy the South Texas weather...we hope.

Ron Lund and the crew at Ron's Heliproz South

Please have a Happy New Year!