New Hobby Bleg

OK, so I’m starting out learning to fly very cheap and simple RC helicopters. My current one is showing here. A basic v911 fixed-pitch heli which can be flown indoors or outdoors in light wind:


I am looking to upgrade, at some point in the not so distant future, to a collective-pitch model. I am looking at the Blade mCPX v2, or debating whether I want to jump to something bigger. If I’m careful, the wind isn’t too bad, and don’t hot dog very much, I can avoid crashing.

My eventual goal is to work up to a larger bird, capable of lofting a video camera, transmitter, and possibly flying autonomously if necessary. I’m not sure how much bird I’d need to loft that much gear, but that’s more in the distant future. My sometimes co-blogger Jason (owner of the CNC and 3d Printing hardware) was working on a quad-rotor design a bit back with more advanced capabilities than typical RC helis, so at some point I might talk to him about reviving that, but for now I am just enjoying learning to operate these things and harassing the neighborhood bird population.

So any transmitter advice anyone can offer would be appreciated. I’m probably thinking a six channel, like the Spektrum DSX6i, and if anyone has any experience with the Blade mCPX as a beginner collective-pitch heli, I’d be happy to have advice or warning there too.

21 Responses to “New Hobby Bleg”

  1. Dave says:

    Sounds like you need a DJI Phantom. Easy to fly, built in gyro, built in gps, easy to assemble, and carries a gopro.

    • Sebastian says:

      I’d be looking to do more FPV flying, or autonomous flying with live streamed video, rather than recorded flying, but both are important.

  2. Kirkster says:

    Ugh… I still have two helis in my garage from my days of flying/crashing helis.

    I could fly the heck out of the heli in the simulator. I was not bad in real life also. I still managed to take my Raptor 30s to kit form at least once or twice a year. Lots of little bobbles during the summers. In real life I had a bunch of problems with nose in flying as the sticks reverse when the nose is in. I just could not get past the real life nose in jitters.

    If you can fly it nose in in real life you can go far. If you crash it and get the jitters when you are nose in you might be better off giving it up…

    The helis have come a long way since I last flew 4 years ago. Good Luck…

  3. dg1013 says:

    you can’t avoid crashing…..only postpone it.

  4. Eck! says:

    Ah yes, choppers beating the air into submission, sometimes successfully.

    I prefer my wings fix and not flapping spinning.

    Either that or practice to become a drone pilot. ;)


  5. Lawson says:

    I strongly recommend the blade 130x. The mcpx v2 is also pretty good, but you will want to upgrade the tail and eventually the main motor. After that your at the same price as a 130x and you are still stuck with an electric tail motor. The mcpx is a little small for outside.

    If you already have a good remote the 130x BNF is the way to go all day. If you don’t have a good remote… Well, I’d say buy a dx6i or dx7s and the 130x.if that’s too much $ then the mcpxv2bl in Rtf.

    I have the 130x flying on a dx7s. I went from a 120SR (fixed pitch single rotor) to it. The CP birds are ridiculously more sensitive than your FP. The computerized remote helps a lot if for no reason than to be able to tame the beast at first. Oh, I also have a nano mcpx to fly inside! Great fun!

    • Sebastian says:

      I was looking at the 130x, and wondering if that might not be a better option. I’m a bit wary of something big that could cause damage if I crashed it into something.

      I think I’d probably like the increased sensitivity. I’m pretty good with light touch, but delayed inputs kill me. I find myself over-controlling the throttle on the FP because of the time it takes to run the blades up to a higher or lower speed. The other problem I have is landing oriented nose in, or any situation nose in where I have to think fast. If I have some time to think, I can do the right thing, but it’s not instinctive yet.

  6. Andrew says:

    Two things:
    1. This is almost irrelevant to your bleg, but cool enough that I have to share. The Air Hogs Battle Tracker is abundantly worth the $40 or so bucks it costs. It’s fun for two, actually works as advertised, and if you’re any good at flying an RC heli, then it’ll be even better. Get a pizza and some beer and call it a date night.

    2. I’m glad to see that I’m not the only one pursuing another hobby these days. I found that I needed something to take my mind off the sick feeling I get when I think about shooting…and potentially not being able to shoot anymore the way I always have.

  7. Lawson says:

    A follow up:

    I would consider getting a remote first. You can then program your FP to be much more sensitive and only use the top half of the throttle… You have learned a bad habit of closing down the throttle before a wreck, but on a CP that’s going to push the bird down (negative thrust). You have to get used to only having the top half of the stick and using a throttle cutoff.

    If you think you might ever get a gas/nitro bird or somebody the higher end planes I would suggest the dx7s.

    • Sebastian says:

      Yeah, I’m pretty concerned about that habit. Just going from 3 channel to four channel, I had to unlearn a lot. I do plan to get the transmitter first.

  8. Lamont says:

    I kept flying mine into the ceiling and it would no longer lift off. I’d buy another but not for the prices they want now. It was great for keeping my aunt’s dogs quiet.

  9. fuzzy says:

    Three things: simulator, simulator, simulator. can’t stress enough just how important a stimulator is to learning. you will make mistakes and your brain will mess up. this way recovery is zero cost.

    mcpx v2 is a fun little heli and they can take some abuse. fun and can fly indoors. if you’re thinking of going bigger than that I’d recommended going into the 450 class. these will eat parts on a crash but a decent machine will last you as long as you take care of it. these are very much not living room flyers for your average pilot though.

    Oh, if you’re going to go quad/hex/octocopter later then the simulator still applies.

  10. Dannytheman says:

    I have no Radio Controlled experience at all. But, and not trying to add to your learning curve, I have a friend who uses the HAM radio bands for his copter and his video. I think the 6 meter ham band has allocations for RC and the 450 and 950 Meg band has allocation for video. That being said, you would have zero outside interference. He use to fly at Valley Forge and then at a Jersey site and NEVER couldn’t get a flag for flying.

    If I can remember his call sign I will add it and his RC link.

  11. thefirstndsecond says:

    Join a local club. You will get more info, parts, training, and a nice place to fly. Crosswinds RC in NJ and there is also a club in the northeast.

  12. Lawson says:

    The 130x is more of a yard flyer. It will handle wind with no problems but will require good and quick pitch inputs, as wind will make the blades do their job better and it will fly higher. I’ve flown in some strong wind and the 130 has never balked at flying into the wind. It is actually a lot of fun once you get the hang of it.

    You can fly inside and have room to maneuver if you have a nice sized living room. Really the mcpx is a better inside flyer. The 130x is a far better flyer.

    About simulators: I hate them. It feels like work to me. I would much rather practice things on the 130x. It’s cheep enough to fix.

    • fuzzy says:

      If you want to get better at something the thing to do is practice. If you’re using a simulator you’re at zero risk for (the cost implications of) saying “my is visible but I can’t quite tell orientation… ” followed by an crash. With a sim you can goof off, you can play, and you can push the limits of what your brain can handle. worth it.

      Sebastian – you mentioned above that “If I have some time to think, I can do the right thing”… if you have to think you’re not there yet. Doesn’t mean you can’t fly, but you’re certainly at greater risk. I’ll typically push the limits of my ability on sims and fly within what I know I can do for real. I’ll try new rifles at new distances on the benchrest range before I’ll shoot at deer at those ranges. The one is practice and can be an awful lot of fun. The other is makes for better stories. Sims don’t handle some effects like turbulence well, but if you want your brain to know what the right thing to do when looking at an inverted view of a helicopter flying straight at you is the sim is the lace to make that happen.

  13. Right Wing Wacko says:

    You used the words CHEAP and RC in the same sentence. FOUL!

    It’s a great hobby, but prepare to open your wallet :)

  14. RS says:

    RC helicopters are the secret weapon in redistribution of wealth from those who fly them to those who make and sell them.

  15. Anzel360 says:

    The 6i is a great radio. I actually went with the DX8 because I wanted telemetry. If you want to do FPV, I would highly suggest you look at fixed wings. I did exactly the same thing you are doing now. I got a fixed pitch than a mCPX.

    You will crash the mCPX A LOT! be prepared for lot of repairs. It would be cheaper in fact to get a sim. The upside is you will know how to fly when you are done with the mCPX.

    DO NOT GO BIGGER until you can fly. I tried building a 450 clone and failed horribly because I could not isolate what was issues with the heli, the transmitter programming or me. Bind and fly from an American company is always cheaper in the long run.

    I would get the 6i/7/8 then the t28 micro Trojan then the hobby king bixler 2, if I had to do it all again.

    The mQX is a lot of fun if you are thinking about quads.

    Collective Pitch Helicopters are stressful to fly. Fixed wings are just fun and mostly relaxing when things are going well. I can’t stress enough, having started with helis, how much fun planes are.

    Warning. This RC stuff is addicting. I am totally considering getting a RC truck to drive my camera around.

    I am teaching my brother to fly right now. You can email me questions, I am more than happy to help you out.

    Good Luck!

  16. HerrBGone says:

    If you really want to see some over the top RC with plenty of FPV check out these guys:

    Warning: It can be addicting…


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