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Radio Control Helicopter Check Lists - For Newbie And Experienced Pilots


The all important check list. Forget one thing on the list and the day could be ruined, not to mention dangerous. We have complied a check list for both newbie and experienced pilots and we hope you like it. Remember you can Print This Page and take it with you.



Going to the Field

  1. Helicopter and Canopy

  2. Flight Box

  3. Starter motor

  4. Starter battery

  5. Glow heater

  6. Transmitter

  7. Fuel and fuel pump

  8. Quick charger (if you have one)

  9. Check batteries
    ----- Optional -----

  10. Chair

  11. Pop

  12. Snack

  13. Camera

First Flight EVER

  1. Check all links secure.

  2. Check tail drive system. Belt or shaft to make sure it's secure or tight.

  3. Check blade grip tightness of main blades and tail blades. Should be firm, not loose, enough to hold the blade straight at any angle.

  4. Check fuel tube to make sure it's secure and not punctured.

  5. Check for others on your channel.

  6. Turn on transmitter before the receiver.

  7. Turn on receiver.

  8. Turn on gyro (if mechanical).

  9. Wait for gyro to initialize (if heading hold).

  10. Check switch positions on transmitter.

  11. Check throttle position to make sure it's not at full throttle.

  12. Check transmitter model to make sure you didn't leave it set for the simulator or an airplane.

  13. Check trims to see if they're where you left them.

  14. Check throttle: You can tell if the throttle is backwards by trying to start it. (Without the glow heater attached) Full throttle will be a lower pitch bawwww noise, while idle will be a higher pitch brrrr noise.

  15. Check cyclic. The swash plate should move the way you want the helicopter to move, for example, forward cyclic to make the helicopter bank forward should cause the swash plate to bank forward as well.

  16. Check collective. Adding positive collective will make the trailing edge of the blades point down towards the ground, thus blowing air down and lifting the helicopter up. The trailing edge is the sharp sleek edge, while the leading edge is more rounded and thicker. Full collective should be 11 degrees and full down should be 0 degrees. Center stick should be 6 degrees of downward thrust.

  17. Check tail rotor: Right rudder should make the trailing edge of the tail rotors point to the right side of the helicopter. (if it's facing away from you and you're looking at it from the tail).

  18. Test the gyro reversing. If you are standing behind the helicopter and pick up the tail a little, and move it quickly to YOUR right (making the helicopter turn to the left) the trailing edge of the tail rotor should point briefly to the right. If you have a heading hold gyro, the tail rotor trailing edges should STAY pointing to the right until you return the tail to it's original position.

  19. Range test transmitter.

  20. Connect glow warmer.

  21. Start engine.

    1. Hold the head of the helicopter firmly in case it tries to take off unexpectedly.

    2. Start the helicopter with your other hand. NEVER start the helicopter without holding on to the blade grips.

    3. If the engine wont start, try adding 1/8th stick throttle.

    4. If it still doesn't start, try plugging the exhaust while you run the starter for about 1 second.

    5. After it starts make sure you have one hand still on the head and the other hand on the throttle stick.

    6. At first sign of trouble immediately yank the fuel line off the carb, do not try and diagnose why the engine is at full power.

  22. Remove glow warmer.

  23. Expand transmitter antenna if not already.

  24. Ensure the tail rotor is straight.

  25. Take off.

    1. Hover low for a minute, check tracking, control sensitivities and engine performance.

    2. If it won't lift off and you're sure about your pitch range then you need to tune your engine. If there is white smoke coming out of the muffler, but it doesn't have enough power to lift off, lean the big needle screw 4 clicks and try again. If there is no white smoke richen the needle 4 clicks. Do this until you get the engine running as rich as possible while still having enough power to fly. To lean you turn the screw clockwise.

    3. If it takes off and the tail wags like a dog, your gyro sensitivity is too high. Turn it down 20% and use trial and error to make it as sensitive as possible without causing the tail to wag.

    4. If the helicopter starts to spin like a top before it lifts off, immediately cut power. Odds are your gyro is reversed. Check it again.

    5. If the helicopter starts to spin slowly odds are your rudder trim is off, or your revo mixing is off. Revo mixing should be inhibited with a heading hold gyro.

First Flight of the Day

  1. Check for others on your channel

  2. Turn on transmitter

  3. Turn on receiver

  4. Turn on gyro (if mechanical)

  5. Wait for gyro to initialize (if heading hold)

  6. Check switch positions on transmitter

  7. Check throttle position

  8. Check transmitter model

  9. Check trims to see if they're where you left them

  10. Check throttle, cyclic, collective and TR movement

  11. Range test transmitter

  12. Connect glow warmer

  13. Start engine

  14. Remove glow warmer

  15. Expand transmitter antenna if not already

  16. Ensure the tail rotor is straight

  17. Take off, check tracking and engine performance

Pre Flight

  1. Check for others on your channel

  2. Transmitter on

  3. Receiver on

  4. Gyro on (if mechanical)

  5. Wait for gyro to initalize (if heading hold)

  6. Check switch positions on transmitter

  7. Check throttle position closed

  8. Connect glow warmer

  9. Start engine

  10. Remove glow warmer

  11. Expand transmitter antenna if not already

  12. Ensure the tail rotor is straight

Post Flight

  1. Turn off receiver

  2. Turn off gyro (if mechanical)

  3. Turn off transmitter

  4. Check voltage on battery

  5. Make sure the throttle is down

  6. Switches on transmitter to default

Last Flight

  1. Land and idle, don't kill engine

  2. Remove or pinch fuel line to kill

  3. Receiver off

  4. Gyro off (if mechanical)

  5. Transmitter off and to defaults

  6. Check Voltages

  7. Empty fuel tank

  8. Clean residue

  9. Collapse blades into blade holder

Extended Storage

  1. Remove main blades

  2. Use after-run engine oil

  3. Clean thoroughly

  4. Relax belt tail drive (if belt driven)

  5. Drain batteries completely

  6. Cover with cloth for dust

  7. Store in cool dry place

Seasonal Replacements

(Or more frequent with heavy use)

  1. Both Jesus bolts, including after a crash

  2. Fuel tubing inside gas tank

  3. Glow plug

  4. High speed and stressed bearings

  5. Possibly the belt drive

  6. Any worn-down part

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