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RC Helicopter DVDs – Review 11Jan08

Posted by tanker in Beginner, General Heli, Products.

Any RC heli pilot, professional or newcomer, needs training. The best way to learn is of course to be taught by someone more knowledgeable. Unfortunately, for many, that is not always an option. Moreover, even where personal instruction is available, the more prepared you can be as a student the more you will get out of any instruction. Luckily there are a number of RC heli DVD training videos available that can be useful for the newcomer and veteran alike. Here are some of the most popular. The production values on most of these videos are not up to Hollywood standards but all are done well enough to get the job done. You should be able to find these videos at any good RC hobby shop or the better online retailers.

  • An Introduction to RC Model Helis by Dave Wilshere (40min) — Dave is an award winning flier from the UK. This video covers the very basics of RC helicopters from the UK perspective. The video is a few years old now and it is not particularly useful unless you have no knowledge of the hobby at all.
  • From the Ground Up by Dave Wilshere (40min) — Unlike the intro video, From the Ground Up is an excellent primer for RC helis. Dave does focus on nitro helis not electrics so electric fliers miss a little bit but this video provides some solid heli basics as well as the basics of hovering.
  • Beyond the Hover by Dave Wilshere (40min) — Another excellent video that takes you, well, beyond the hover stage into basic circuits and beginning aerobatics. Again, Dave does focus on nitro helis not electrics but this matters less for this video than the previous ones.
  • Towards 3D by Dave Wilshere (50min) — Dave’s latest video not only touches on electrics but does an excellent job introducing the basics of more advanced aerobatic maneuvers. It also includes a stick cam so you can see the transmitter during flight.
  • Ultimate Heli 3-D with Alan Szabo Jr. (80min) — Alan Szabo Jr is an award winning heli pilot. In this video he gives a brief intro to heli setup but then shows you how he performs some of his famous maneuvers. The camera work is very good and the video includes shots of Alan’s stick work as he flies. If you want to fly 3-D or just want to show people what 3-D flying is all about this is an excellent video.

Ray’s videos are all very useful and generally well done. He does perhaps go a bit far in his quest for perfection. There is certainly nothing wrong with this but the newcomer to the hobby should keep this in mind. Let common sense be your guide with some of Ray’s advice.

  • Ray’s Authoritative DVD Series, Vol. 1-3 by Ray Hostetler (4hrs) — This three video set focuses on the basics of RC helis and specifically on the JR 9303 radio and Thunder Tiger Raptor 50 Pro heli. It is most useful for anyone with that gear or those flying nitro in general. The basic information is useful to other heli fliers as well but Ray has better choices for that purpose.
  • Ray’s Authoritative DVD Series, Helicopters 101-1001 by Ray Hostetler (3hrs) — This two disk set also focuses on the JR 9303 radio and Thunder Tiger Raptor 50 Pro heli but also covers flight theory, building a RC heli, and engine break-in. It is a good set for the electric heli flier as well.
  • Ray’s Authoritative DVD Series, Electric Helicopters & eCCPM by Ray Hostetler (5hrs) — As the name implies, this three disk set focuses on electric helis. Ray covers building and setting up a T-Rex 450 SE as well as the Spektrum DX6 and DX7 radios but the information is also useful for other helis and radios. It is a must get for new electric heli fliers.
  • Ray’s Authoritative DVD Series, Building & Balancing Rotor Blades by Ray Hostetler (1hr 45min) — This single disk provides more than you ever wanted to know about balancing rotor blades. Most useful are Ray’s instructions on using the DuBro Tru-Spin Balancer and Miniature Aircraft’s Koll Rotor Pro.

Lastly, any discussion of RC heli videos would be incomplete without mention of free videos on the Web. A search for specific topics on YouTube or Google Video will provide you with numerous videos. Many of these homemade videos can be very helpful especially for specific topics and equipment (conversely be aware of potentially dangerous hacks or procedures from unknown sources). Perhaps the best examples of these homemade how-to videos are the Finless Bob videos and others hosted on the HeliFreak forums. All of these videos, while low in production values, are invaluable to those new to the hobby.


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