The Helilog - Part 1Thursday, April 30, 2009
Since I have a few new contacts (mostly on Twitter) interested in the subject I thought that now and then I’ll post a few words about my flights. It’ll also be interesting for me too to re-read later on, to see how I progressed. It was the same with the snowboarding experience…
Yesterday after work I went directly to the so called flying field - which is only about a kilometer away from where I waste my precious life 8 to 5 (lunchbreak included) - but found nobody from the gang. The problem was that the moment I placed my heli’s case on the grass the wind started blowing or I started feeling it blowing… I was quite frustrated because I checked my weather widget of choice all day, and it was showing winds alternating between 3 and 10 km/h but I’m guessing that there were 15 km/h or more there as it’s an open field. So I made a longer preflight check, called a few people and then when I felt the wind calming down a bit I set up and lifted the heli into the air. It was awkward at first because my collective management seems to have vanished during the winter. But after calming down and with a bit of self control I managed to keep it in the air without any major effort. Unfortunately the wind gusts started again and I was feeling them but it was all for the good because I realized an important thing.
The wind was coming from behind me and implicitly the heli and I noticed that when I tilt the machine forward it was rising in the air quite fast. After giving in to the wind, settling down and doing a little bit of thinking I suddenly realized why. The main rotor acts as a wing and when I tilt it and the wind blows underneath it, it works exactly like the wing of an airplane. Also this is the reason why back in the autumn when I was doing the dumb type of forward flights my heli rised strongly at the end of the forward lines. I was going forward with a certain speed and then tilted the helicopter back to slow down but this also meant that I was getting “wind” underneath the rotor so naturally the heli rose. Awesome eureka moment.
The next hour or so went by with me alternating between laying on my back, chilling and watching the sky, getting the helicopter in the air when the wind gusts calmed down, then chilling some more when the wind resumed annoying me. I also checked out something else: I placed the heli on its case and went away in different directions to see how good I’m seeing it in different orientations. And I was seeing it quite well although the backround was the greyish green of the field so I’m guessing that I can see it even better while it’s up in the air. After a while the wind calmed down for good but I was through with my new Flight Power packs which I purchased during the winter / early spring. Never fear, I still had two Kong Power packs which I got together with the heli (actually, a few months before actually getting the heli). So I installed one of these older batteries. And what a difference! Even if they have a higher C rating they somehow felt drained of power and I even felt as if my ESC was pulsating so I quickly settled my heli and checked the pack but it was only lukewarm. Weird. I replaced the pack and set off again. This wasn’t as bad but I noticed something else. While with the Flight Power packs I could raise my hands off the sticks and the heli remained in pretty much stable hover with these packs it was strongly nose and right heavy. So I tried trimming it as best as I could but this way I was having problems lifting off and landing.
Unfortunately the precious minutes of battery power ended quickly and I packed up and went home, full of conclusions and some self confidence restored. Actually the plan for the day was to try flying side-in as per Radd’s School of Rotary Flight, but that goal somehow vanished while I was playing rodeo with the wind and realized how heavy my Kong Powers were. That’s the exact reason why I brought my heli and the charger to work today. Can’t wait till 5… :-)