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Monday, December 29, 2008

2 tanks on 25-Dec

2008-12-25 Thursday

It is a holiday. Early morning I already prepared my Raven for the fly. Filled up the tank at home.

8am, reached Putra Heights new field.. this place is nearer and more convenient.

I am the second person reach there.

Without wasting my time to wait for others, I started the Raven's engine. Did one tank fly, doing my normal figure 8 maneuver. Also this time I beginning to familiarize myself with a "shallow stall turn", at about 45 to 60 degree.

From Remote Control Helicopter - My Journey

From Other Photographer

Landed, filled up the tank. Then I watched the others preparing their aircraft for flying.

From Remote Control Helicopter - My Journey

From Remote Control Helicopter - My Journey

Then when my turn again, to fly, I continue to build up my confident with with my normal flying and the new maneuver "shallow stall turn".
I wondering when will I be confident enough to flip and invert the heli.. well not in this session.

Here is the you tube video of my second tank flying, captured and uploaded by warhark:

After I landed, I packed my stuffs and went back home for breakfast. That is about 930am.

I return back to the field at about 11am. Filled up the tank, ready for my third flight of the day.

HOWEVER, looks like I got the engine into hydro locked. So I flushed out the fuel in the engine by taking out the glow plug and running the starter.
After putting back the glow plug, I tried to start the engine again. This time it worse, I have broke the fan again!!

From Remote Control Helicopter - My Journey

Ok, so the Raven is grounded till I replaced the fan.

Anyway it was a satisfying day of flying.

From Remote Control Helicopter - My Journey


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Quick Flight

Did a quick flight this morning, 715 to 755.

It was really nice weather.

From Remote Control Helicopter - My Journey

I had the same problem as before, the engine won't start. After 15 minutes trying I decided to follow the troubleshooting procedure did on last Sunday by the fellow fliers:
1. Open the plug.
2. Close the HSN fully
3. Run the starter while closing the muffler (priming)
4. Make sure fuel is spraying out through the plug whole.
5. Put back the plug
6. Set the HSN to 1 turn
7. Run the starter

It works!!

Did a quick in-flight check. Landed, on idle for about 20 second. Looks like the engine is stable.

So took off again. I took this opportunity to try half-stall turn with about 45% angle.

Also at a few turn, I tried negative pitch, and the response is good.

From Remote Control Helicopter - My Journey

Landed at about 750, with half fuel left in header tank.


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Birthday Fly

2008-12-20 Saturday

Today is my birthday.. well I it is a Saturday so I will be flying my Raven!

Reached Putra Height Aircraft Flier field at about 9:15. I already have half tank of fuel loaded and ready to fly at the minutes I reached there.

After saying hi to other fliers, I started my Raven's engine. Continue with normal in-flight check hover. Everything just nice and smooth, I continue to fly familiarizing with figure 8 (still!)

Afird (the guy who came to visit sometimes ago) also was there and giving me some few valuable tips. I will need to familiarize with "stall turn" start with shallow 45% angle. Than I can build up the vertical angle and continue with flip/loop.

Err... but not on this session.

So I flew for few more minutes quickly to realize that my main fuel tank already empty. Landed the Raven and shutdown the engine. Then I refueled.

Then watch others with their aircraft.. here is Bard with his new Esky Belt-CP

From Remote Control Helicopter - My Journey

Many others who joined the flying session as well

From Remote Control Helicopter - My Journey

After a while the field was clear, I started the Raven engine, and continue with my normal flight. Now I am more confident since previously the TR3703 has flew with out any problem. In this flight I noticed that the Raven is not leaning to left side anymore, instead, it is a bit leaning to right side. This is much better, since that is what I aspact when I check the center gravity before.

When the second tank almost finished, I landed the Raven. I think this is the first time I fly the Raven for long time consecutively.

I refueled TR3703 for the third time. And started to prepare for another flight. However, this time I was not able to start the engine!!

I keep trying, doing all kind of thing to troubleshoot the problem, including took out and put back the plug, use different glow heater, checking fuel line etc. Still no luck and I was not able to start the engine.

22:00 I checked again the glow plug and fuel line and then decided to try to start the engine. Outside my house I tried, after a few try it started ok!! I wonder why it was not ok before.

And later in the afternoon, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!!
Had a moderate celebration at my elders brother's house in Selayang.

From Life is full of magic

2008-12-21 Sunday

09:30 Just found out that today PHAF team is using the alternate flying field. While it is neared to my house, this field is actually more human and flier friendly. There are many trees giving us good shades and the open space is much neared to the road where we can park our cars.

With all of the equipments ready I tried to start the engined with unsuccessful result. Some how it just won't start. I changed the glow plug using a brand new one, try different glow heater and now even adjusted the High Speed Needle (HSN) setting on the engine.

After a while of unsuccessful tries, Yed, Sidi and others come over to have a look and help me. We tried different glow heater, bypassed the glow extender, checked the fuel lines, did 'priming' etc. At one time we got the engine hydro locked. Just clear that by rotating the starter shaft without the glow plug installed and closing the exhaust. Then continue to troubleshoot.

Then we decided to reset the HSN to 2 turns setting. With this setting we were able to start the engine!

Then, with a bit more of HSN tuning, turning it back to less than 1 turn position, I able to spool up the rotor and take off to hover. Landed from the hover, in idle throttle for few seconds suddenly the engine died. Sensing temperature on the back plate, it was very hot!! So we set the HSN richer and started the engine again. This it is much better. I was able to fly it as normal including figure 8.

From Remote Control Helicopter - My Journey

Finished the session at 12:00, with big smile on my face!


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Dual Battery Configuration

Fixed the Fan

I have able to get the replacement for the broken fan. Fixed the fan up, also I have tighten the screw to secure the bar at the bottom of starter shaft. Hopefully this problem will not occur again.

Added Second Battery and Switch

I also have installed another set of battery in parallel of the first one together with the harness switch. This is to have redundancy, in case of one of the battery has no power or damage another should still able to support. During the installation only I noticed that I have run out of receiver channel to plug the battery connector in. I already utilized the AUX2 socket for battery volt indicator. This means that I need a Y connector to connect both battery and the voltage indicator as well. This morning, I decided to disconnect the voltage indicator and test out the dual battery configuration.

The photo below shows that now I have 2 switches and 2 sets of batteries.

From Remote Control Helicopter - My Journey

Adjusting Center Gravity

While fixing up the battery I also looking at adjusting the Center Gravity of my TR3703. I noticed that while hovering TR3703 tend to lean to its left and tend to drop the nose to go forward. However when I check the balance by holding the flybar, looks like the opposite of that. Till now (when I writing this) I still could not understand this finding. Anyway, I still continue to offset the CG based on my test with the second battery. To balance the CG, I put the battery a bit to the left and front of the TR3703.

After the installation, I switched on the transmitter, then switched on the first battery. Checked that the controls works, then I switched on the second battery and switch off the first one. Checked the controls again and yes they also working.

Test Flight

Time for the real test, in-flight testing. This test was very quick one so I decided just to do it in front of my house.

From Remote Control Helicopter - My Journey

I switched on both batteries, I started up the engine. Then started to hover, check the control while hovering, everything works smoothly. While doing the hovering and in-flight checking, a neighbor car passing by, I have to move the Raven to hover nearer to my house gate, quite small space for a person like me to hover a helicopter. The car passed by as if I am not flying the Raven. Deep in my heart I was very afraid that something bad will happen, since I do not have the comfortable space and extra safety margin. Luckily nothing bad happened; I was able to land the Raven safely.

From the video below you can see how small the space, putting a car in the middle of the road will reduce the space a lot. Too risky, I'll need to remind my self not to repeat this.

Test result, dual battery configuration is cool!

Update on 2008-12-19

I have installed Y cable. Now I have original first battery connected as normal to the battery input to the receiver. Second battery is connected to the Y cable together with my voltage indicator, plugged into AUX2 channel on the receiver. It works!


Sunday, December 14, 2008

PHAF Flying

Today I got the chance to fly at PHAF site.

From Remote Control Helicopter - My Journey

However need to stop halfway because it started to rain suddenly. It was very light rain but I do not want to take any risk of damaging any part from the water.

We have new visitor Bad, flying his ESky Lama V4 (the heli has been modified).

From Remote Control Helicopter - My Journey

Later when I reached home, I decided want to have a quick hover. However, when I tried to start the engine, I broke the fan again (!!).

From Remote Control Helicopter - My Journey

I was quite amaze with the very good design of this Century Raven helicopter. It very easy for me to access the fan and top part of the engine. I just need to separate the top frame and bottom, which can be done very easily.

From Remote Control Helicopter - My Journey

The fan was broken because the rotater bar on the starter shaft was not centered.

From Remote Control Helicopter - My Journey

I need to get the replacement part to fix this.

Here is the air filter I had installed much earlier. I think every body should have it, to make sure that no foreign object enter the engine - number one cause of engine problem.

From Remote Control Helicopter - My Journey


Saturday, December 13, 2008

Engine still ok?

2008-12-12 Friday

Did a quick test flight, to ensure the engine can starts ok. After about one week holiday.. just to make sure it still can fly. Seems that I have to much thing at work, don't really have much time for my Raven. Hopefully I will have time on the coming weekend.

The weather is not that clear, but at least it was not raining.

From Remote Control Helicopter - My Journey

Arrived at the field:
From Remote Control Helicopter - My Journey

Started the engine, did a quick inflight check while hovering, landed back, to see if the engine still stable.

From Remote Control Helicopter - My Journey

Then took off again, did a quick figure 8. Before I land and packed.

Yep.. it flew with no problem.. ready for longer flight this weekend.

From Remote Control Helicopter - My Journey


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Flying Checklist

Let me share few important item for Remote Control Aircraft pilot. It is important to realize and pay attention to these in order to have happy ending on each of our flight.


  1. Safety is always the first – must be safe for you, for other people, for properties and for your aircraft.
  2. Extra caution when starting up the engine, double check and triple check the initial transmitter switches position and stick position.
  3. Make sure you have bigger space than you need. You will need the extra space when familiarizing with new things or new maneuver or to save it from a crash due to pilot or aircraft failure.
  4. Make sure crowds are aware that you are flying your dangerous aircraft
  5. Be extra caution on kids and pet. Make sure their parent/owner is paying attention to their behavior.
  6. Do not overfly crowds or people properties
  7. Do not fly directly overhead, you may easily loose orientation
  8. Do not let the aircraft fly between you and other people
  9. Be aware about other fliers and their aircraft. Even though it is rare, mid air collusion can happen easily.

If you are not sure any of those you should postpone your flying session or look for other place. If you are already flying, you should land quickly when it is safe.

Be sensitive to others

  1. Loud sound from a nitro engine make it not suitable to be used near houses
  2. The smoke will get neighbors irritated as well
  3. Do not fly at a public park or children playground when there are people utilizing it.

Ensure that the aircraft is fit to fly. Here are things to check for Nitro Helicopter.

Preflight Check

  1. Check all mechanical links.
    1. Screws are all tight enough
    2. All ball links able to move smoothly – link rode can be rotated easily
    3. Ball links fit do not easily come off, try gentle push as you want to take it off, it should not come out easily.
    4. Canopy is fit firmly
    5. Servo horn able to move easily and smoothly, with not click sound
  2. Put in enough Fuel for the flight
  3. Switch on the electronic
    1. Always switch on the transmitter first – Check transmitter switches and sticks movement
    2. Then switch on the aircraft power – be extra careful if it is an Electric Power!! (EP)
    3. Check electronics – Gyro, Governor, Servos, Voltage indicator. They should initialize with proper light indicator and response accordingly during control check.
  4. Check all controls – Rudder, Aileron/Roll, Elevator/Pitch, Blade Pitch, Throttle Control
  5. Start the Engine
    1. Always take extra caution, check and triple check the initial transmitter switches position and stick position.
    2. Do not forget to remove the glow heater!
    3. Make sure the engine response properly to throttle stick, no bogging. If needed retune the engine
    4. Check control movements again,
      1. refer to tail blade shaft for rudder
      2. refer to swash plate for aileron and elevator
      3. can see the movement of swash plate up and down for blade pitch
      4. refer to engine sound and smoke for throttle
  6. No funny/unexpected sound
  7. Just before the take off make sure it is safe, confirm location of other fliers, other aircraft, spectator and kids.

If any of this did not meet, need to abort the takeoff, the aircraft need to be grounded until the issue fixed. On the ground the aircraft will not able to do any harm to itself, to you or to the public.

Anyhow, you should smile even if your aircraft grounded. It can be much worse if you still try to fly it!

In-flight Check

  1. Make the first 30 second hover as a in-flight check session
    1. Hover just above head height
    2. Confirm blade tracking is ok.
    3. Try slight movement on all controls and make sure it respond as expected - Rudder, Aileron/Roll, Elevator/Pitch, Blade Pitch, Throttle Control
    4. Do the same for Normal and Idle-up mode
    5. Check battery voltage indicator level
    6. Reconfirm the fuel level - no fuel dripping
  2. Recheck fuel level and voltage indicator occasionally during your flight, can bring it to hover or a slow pass.
  3. Land immediately if
    1. Any parts dropped from the aircraft
    2. Any funny movement noticed
    3. Any funny sound
  4. Be always ready for autorotation, especially if for some reason the engine died
  5. Be always ready to flip off the throttle to kill the engine (this can save your money on parts replacement) if
    1. It is 150% sure that it is going to crash
    2. No chance of saving the situation
    3. Just before hitting the ground (less than 1 sec and less then 1 meter?)

Do not take any risk!!


Sunday, December 7, 2008

Night Flying

5 Dec 2008 Friday

This is my first time trying night flying with TR3707.
I have been looking for a good place for me to fly at night near to my house.

This weekend I will be taking long 8 hours or more journey to my home town in Kelantan for Hari Raya Aidiladha holiday, will only be back to Selangor on Wednesday. So before I leave my Raven alone, I need to fly it!

From Remote Control Helicopter - My Journey

I decided that my ragular place is best place, while it is very near to my house, it also should have enough lighting which come from big spotlight provided by telco company for the nearby Surau BaitulrRahman.

At 2200, I brought all the equipment. Filled up the tank and started the engine and fly it.

From Remote Control Helicopter - My Journey

Here are the quick summary:
  1. Filled up the tank, quite hard to see the fuel level since it was actually quite dark.
  2. Started the engined without any problem. Looks like the glow heater is quite loose, need to ensure that it plugged properly to the glow plug extender.
  3. Started the engine, took off to hover. The head speed seems to be much faster now with the Funky blade compared to previously used Wooden Blade. This blade is much thinner, that could be the reason for the higher heads peed. I adjusted the throttle curve a bit, but found that I can't get better than what I already have.
  4. I can't really see the bladed when it is rotating, so I don't dare to fly higher than the heights of my. Probably if I put some florescent stickers I will be able to see the rotating blades... yes probably.
  5. After a few hover and touch down, suddenly the engine died when I just about to take off again. Looks like the tank is already empty!! I was not able to see the fuel level while hovering or even when I landed. This is very risky to continue to fly. I'll need to find a brighter place if I am going to fly at night some more.
From Remote Control Helicopter - My Journey

At about 2300, finished the flying session. Next flying session will be on Wednesday night (?) or Thursday (11-Dec) morning.


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Hurricane Main Blade – Test Flight

Ok. So the root cause for the limited negative pitch during looping is due to the binding of one of the blade grip with the rotor head.

Last night I have taken out the spindle bar, replaced it with a new one.

However even after I replaced the spindle bar, it seems that the binding issue is still there. Hmm.. looks like the head itself is not quite symmetry and the blade grip screw holder is thicker. I used 'file' to remove some thickness and remove a bit on the rotor head surface. Now it has smooth movement, no binding any more.

Fix up the new (old?) Hurricane Main Blade, it is a Fiber Reinforced blade. This blade came standard with Century Raven 50 ( It looks superb.

From Remote Control Helicopter - My Journey

Using some remaining fuel (about 1/8 of main tank) I started up the engine, for a test flight. This is the reason for the test flight:

  1. Need to make sure engine is running ok. I have not started the engine since last Saturday, which is 4 days ago!
  2. I need to make sure the blade tracking is ok
  3. Need to have the feeling with the new blade – it wider and I think lighter as well.
From RC Helicopter - My Journey

Starting up the engine is the story by itself. Cranking the starter, but the sound of the rotation is indicating either glow heater connected or blown glow plug. I took out the glow plug, connect the glow heater directly, not light. I open up my brand new spare glow plug and tried on that. Still the same, even the new plug also not the glowing. Then I tried to connect back to the old glow plug, play with the connection a bit, then only it started to glow. So it is because the connection is not firm enough.

Ok, so I put back the glow plug in. I tried to start the engine again. It works!

Let the engine warm for about 30 seconds. Then started to take off, hovering. Then, I checked the blade tracking, accent and descent rate.

Here is the result:

  1. Engine started ok, using the remaining fuel which was in the tank since 4 days ago and it is ok.
  2. Blade tracking is almost perfect.
  3. With this new blade, the response is much faster.
  4. The head speed seems to be faster as well.

After about 5 minutes (or less), noticed that it started to utilize fuel from the header tank. Landed safely with header tank almost empty.


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Found the Root Cause for the Loop Issue

Last night I spent some time to check.. still my mind can't rest from thinking what went wrong during the loop.

I started to check my pitch curve and throttle curve. The pitch curve is ok, the throttle cure, even though it is quite slow (65% at point 3, and 95% at H), that should not be the reason.

Then I started to inspect the linkage, rotating the main rotor slowing while I moved the sticks to far extremes. Then I noticed something, at a certain position, the flybar cannot be titled without buzzing the servo.

This part is binding, one side of the blade grip is pressing against the main mast head at very high negative pitch:

From RC Helicopter - My Journey

From RC Helicopter - My Journey

Compared to the other side which have more gaps and able to move freely.

From RC Helicopter - My Journey

Main suspect: bended spindle bar


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