I always wanted to get into 3D RC helicopter flying -- after I master just flying right side up in normal flightpaths, that is. I just didn't know where to start. Sure, there are a plethora of videos and sites out there on the Internet. I just couldn't grasp what they were talking about. Until now. I got this book called 3-D Helicopter Flying by Russ Deakin. It's part of The Modeller's World Series from Traplet Publications.
Real 3D Flying
At first I was a little unsure of what this book had to offer me -- would it help me understand 3D flying any better than everything else I'd read and rejected -- but as I kept reading I finally started to grasp the concept of this fascinating RC sport. After just a few chapters I started taking notes as to how the control sticks were used in a way that defined the art of the 3D flying style.
Now don't get confused about what I'm discussing here. There are toy grade RC helicopters out there such as the "Blaze 3D RC helicopter" that claim to be 3D but really aren't. In truth it is a toy grade 3-channel coaxial type RC helicopter. What I'm trying to learn is that of a hobby grade RC helicopter that can do inverted (upside down) flight and other daring maneuvers. The hobby grade RC helicopters don't usually have just three channels they have six that are used to control the flight characteristics of the RC model.
Helicopters for 3D Flight
After a brief introduction on the concept of 3D aerobatics and how Deakin got into the sport, the first chapter moves into how to go about selecting a model that is right for you. After all you don't want to spend a pretty penny on something that is just too intimidating to fly. What size of model do you want for 3D flying? There are different size classes such as 30, 46, 50, 60,and 90. Other discussion covers more questions you might ask yourself including what gear ratio to use and what type of engine is best. Chapter 2 takes you right into what type of transmitter to use -- from what level of transmitter to what type of gyro is best suited for this unique RC sport.
Tinkering With a 3D RC Helicopter
Chapter 3 of 3-D Helicopter Flying gets right down to the nuts and bolts (no pun intended) about the construction and how to go about getting the right tools for the job. This is the part that really got my attention because, as my wife knows and I've said it around the RC community, what I missed most about the RC hobby was the construction and tinkering part. Everything today is geared toward "ready to run." A few different tools are used rather than just a set of wrenches and pliers like the hobby-grade RC trucks and cars with which I'm most used to working. From front to back, RC helicopter building is covered in great detail.
In Chapters 4-9, Deakin covers maintenance and repair, basic maneuvers, setting your RC helicopter up for 3D aerobatics, and inverted flight (my favorite). This is where you learn how to actually control your RC helicopter so you can make those fun and daring moves -- and fix your heli back up when things to go wrong.
There are plenty of pictures and illustrations showing how certain maneuvers are performed. Drawings show not only the movements of the helicopter but show you which way the sticks on your controller should be moving in order to send your helicopter off in those circles, backflips, and looping moves.
I have to say 3-D Helicopter Flying by Russ Deakin helped me get a better understanding on what it takes to do real 3D aerobatics with an RC helicopter. Overall I think this is a must read for anyone looking to get into the sport of 3D RC helicopter flying.
3-D Helicopter Flying
by Russ Deakin
Disclosure: Review copy of book was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.