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Crashing Your Heli 27Nov07

Posted by tanker in Beginner, General Heli.
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T-Rex450No this is not a how-to article! But if you fly helis the day will come, sooner or later, when you are going to have a crash. Depending on your temperament (and possibly even financial situation) this may be a big deal or just one of those things. But one thing is for certain, you will have a crash. In fact, some argue, at least for 3D flyers, that if you do not have the occasional crash you are not pushing yourself hard enough and are actually retarding your learning curve.

While each heli crash is unique there are some common consequences to expect. The first is simply psychological. Crashes are going to happen so do not get upset about it or get jittery when you get back into the air. Crashes are simply part of the hobby. If you are lucky, or talented, they will be few. The next thing to keep in mind with a crash is that you cannot fly a broken heli. So unless you have loads of time, money, or assistance the more you crash the less you will fly. So you do not want to be reckless or foolish when flying (not to mention un-safe). If you can afford it, one way to minimize downtime is to have two (or more!) helis. If one crashes you can still fly the other while you are getting the broken one fixed.

One very important thing to remember when you crash is to immediately hit Throttle Hold. If you do not you risk ruining your speed control and/or batteries. This is especially important if you are new to flying in Idle-Up mode because of the increased head speed and also because if you are used to being in Normal Mode you might go full down on the collective and that then just sends full throttle to the heli making matters worse. Lastly, recover your heli as quickly, and safely, as possible and unplug the battery (or batteries for larger helis) as soon as possible to minimize damage to your batteries as well as minimize the risk of fire. Do not re-use a lipo that looks like it was damaged and watch closely over the first re-charging of any battery that appears ok.

The actual crash damage suffered has a lot of similarities among different crashes/helis as well. Of course the actual damage to your heli will vary depending on the heli as well as how you crashed, but typical damage you can expect from a crash is: broken main blades, bent flybar, bent tail boom, broken skids, and broken canopy. Hard crashes may also bend the main shaft and feathering shaft. Harder crashes can strip servos, gears (main or tail), tail belts, ruin batteries, wreck gyros, and even crack your frame. Obviously crashing onto tarmac/cement is going to cause more damage than hitting grass or brush. You may want to invest in some of these items upfront or at least check what their availability is for your particular heli with local stores so when you have a crash you will know what to expect in the way of downtime (and cost).

Fixing the heli can be time consuming depending on exactly what was damaged. In addition, you might discover that a part that was not broken still needs to be replaced because you may be unable to retrieve the part off of a broken/bent part. You may find yourself needing to use a Dremel tool to cutaway bent parts (the flybar being the most common). Moreover, once you have everything rebuilt you will have to go through the various setup procedures all over again.

Once you have your bird ready to fly again remember to give it a check flight before doing anything radical with it again. Always keep safety in mind.

So go fly and do not worry so much about those unplanned encounters with Terra Firma!

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