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scrottie (4167)

scrottie
  scott@slowass.net
http://slowass.net/

My email address is scott@slowass.net. Spam me harder! *moan*

Journal of scrottie (4167)

Thursday December 06, 2007
05:05 PM

Mini-helicopoter, bleah

[ #35055 ]

There are a lot of these. This is the same that ThinkGeek seems to be selling. It has only one rotor but has a stabilizer that's slightly offset from the rotor and connected to it. For the past few days, I've been trying to learn how to fly this thing. Here's what I've learned.

Trim is essential. But don't bother with the trim. As the battery drains, which happens extremely rapidly, the trim completely changes. It'll start trying hard to spin to the right and then wind up spinning to the left. When it has juice, the main rotor has an abundance of power, but as it starts to get low, the tail rotor overpowers it. Keeping constant balance between the main rotor and tail rotor is essential to avoiding a spin. Control changes must be made slowly and gently and control made at all time or else, if it's moving, it'll start sliding back and forth or side to side on on a cousin of air, like an unstable parachutist. For about twenty seconds, it has juice and can lift off with ease (or very delicately if you want to avoid a spin), but for the entire twenty seconds, the controls and basic situation changes radically as the main rotor loses power and you move from pushing all the way right on the tail rotor to all the way left. After twenty seconds, it barely slides along the ground, not enough power left for the rotor to right it no matter how hard you push on the stick, tripping over any slight bump in the floor (forget having any rugs or the like on the ground), falling over, and gnashing its blades. So, it has enough juice for a two minute flight, as advertised, if you consider trashing around on the ground a flight.

Your heart might be glowing as you think, "wow, that must be just like a real helicopter! I want one! I want to learn how to fly a real helicopter!". No. Real helicopters do also require slow, gradual control changes, slightly disbalancing controls to affect an attitude change, then correcting them. They also have the power to do so. This thing does not. Real helicopters are capable of hovering. This thing is not. As far as pitch adjustments of the main rotors to maneuver any direction or stay in place, I don't expect that from a $30 toy, but a small amount of logic to either emit pulses to drive A/C motors or else regulate power to control the D/C motors so that the torque of the main blade and the tail rotor are balanced at all times would go far. Also, it needs more battery power, but regulated battery power. It burns like a roman candle, crazy for a brief, glorious few moments, then fizzles out. The problems of the toy so badly make it want to rotate one way or the other oblivious to control that for a while, I thought the thing was broken and the control didn't even do anything. It's own problems far outweigh the real problems of flying a helicopter. It's annoying the crap out of me. I *really* *really* want to learn to fly it. Grr! Guess I need to get a better one... oh, and it's insanely cute.

-scott

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