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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!!


truemax December 9, 2008 at 4:23 PM  

Feel free to comment. I will update the information into the article accordingly.
Thank you.

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