Eco Piccolo Micro Indoor/Outdoor Helicopter

Flying

First flight outside:

Had a shock first time outside in a breeze. Made the mistake of flying away from the wind, which took the Pic way up high and far into the distance, as i was saying "oh my god... oh no..." . In a few seconds it was so far away (in the next field) i couldn't even see it, just able to hear it going crazy as it went out of radio range!!!! Tried to get it back and managed to get some reverse motion whilst tail in but the wind just whipped the tail round and that was the end of that... the Pic is DOWN! Crashing onto thick grass, the damage was moderate.

I now realize that you should initially learn to fly into the wind. As wind speed increases the ship starts to behave as if it was in forward flight, experiencing a great volume of air passing through the rotor disk, increasing efficiency resulting in lift. When the wind speed drops, additional power is required to maintain altitude. Which is why it takes less power to fly a helicopter than to hover one.

3rd flight outside:

Weather permitting, find a large open space (50m square spectator free grassy field) and get used to the Pic doing 20-40ft high, large circuits left n right (right seems easier). makes u dizzy if u don't change direction tho. when the Pic does end up nose in, i'm learning not to make the wrong move and recover in plenty of time. Get the ship up there n throw it about a bit for faster n faster forward flight (10-30mph chop chop chop Buzzz ). had lots of heavy impacts and inversions to begin with (10 per pack ) but i'm getting more confident now. when flying towards myself i noticed a pattern to the crashes, other than getting blinded by the sun, most happen when turning left and misjudging orientation to add more left resulting in a ditched Pic. The one side of my heli looks ok, the other is scratched n bent horrifically .

5th flight outside:

I'v been waiting for months to have the freedom n space to let rip the little Pic and hopefully do some real flying outside the house again.

Fantastic!!! yes, today was almost perfect, at times with no breeze at all. i managed to fly 2 packs of kokams for nearly an hour of zipping around (with breaks), fast forward flight, dives, hard banking, sloppy figure of 8's, tight head chopping circuits. Great fun. haven't quite got the hang of reducing power out of forward flight to touch down and tend to leave power on and as the ship pitches back to slow down, the ship subsequently rises (not confident with reduced/changing GE over grass in a light breeze).

Really gave the Orion on 2 Kokams some stress and have to admit that climb out was a bit poor but the ship did respond eventually (4amp limit for these 7.2v cells maybe?). I can see that in a few months i will be wanting more power, probably look into a new ship, maybe go Pro, brushless n separates. Saying that, it does fly good enough for my learning curve at the moment. Noticed some slight pitch up with Hor*** CFs without a head stiffener mod, small visible cone angle.

After previously busting a 3rd flybar, due to heavy impacts with the ground, installed a shorter ~2mm by 155mm steel flybar with stock FP paddles and reduced roll servo response over pitch (different servo link holes to reduce unwanted ship over correction roll inversions). road tested 2day with no problems. The extra rotating mass helped rotor stability a little, less twitchy.

Only one fatal crash, luckily at the end of the last pack when i didn't have enough power to climb out of a high speed dive. went a** over t*t, smashing the canopy very badly, cracked the frame in two places around the tail boom mount and managed tangle the head to force a head bearing in to a CF blade!. ok it was a bad crash. i knew i should have quit while i was ahead, instead of trying to use those last few milliamps.


FF-Cruising

6th-9th flight outside (6Mb video):

i fly in a small field, which is tree lined about 90x120m, with a rarely used public footpath running corner to corner. no idea who owns it. some times get a couple of spectators but normally i land ASAP when ever the dog walkers appear. also have to be a bit careful not to crash beyond one end of the field where there is a car park. u wouldn't think it would be that hard to find a suitable place until u try driving around searching, people every where. any kind of distraction or idle conversation is fatal when learning and still find the work load plus adrenalin involved is quite high. Yes, get out side and learn to FF, it's the most fun after that first hover buzz. u'll just luv seeing n hearing them blades whiz past ya.

Previously using the Orion Elite (10T/100T) on 2 cells without a head stiffener and pulling 1600rpm, i was achieving ~30mph. the only slight pitch up i noticed was probably from tail assemble drag and a dressy horizontal CF fin i have fitted. i want to see how much better it is now with G310 (10T/100T) on 3 cells fully charged able to briefly at full throttle pull 2100rpm with head stiffener. expecting around 35mph, estimated not measured. anyway, a nice nippy little ship.

the first time outside on current setup. using hover power (60% 1600rpm G310 10T/100T 3 cells) for FF is at a reasonable pace but push both sticks forward (80% 1800rpm) and i was surprised how fast it zipped about chopping up the sky. if only i could control the dam thing. the maths estimate 30-35mph but i estimate 50m in ~2 secs (camera to tree line) ~30-50mph? next time i have chance i want a full throttle fully charged shot. i'm so tempted to get a 2500rpm/v brushless motor. but i will not spend any more money on this thing until i can fly properly.

since my first hover was in Nov02, then March03 i flew a couple of packs outside with an Orion for slow FF. progress has been slow... a frustrating wait for favourable weather... a lot of thinking ,planning n testing... finally during May-June03 flew and filmed 4 packs outside for the latest vids. u never know when u'll get the chance to fly outside with the UK weather, so i tend to review the footage instead, learning a bit from remembering what u thought was going on and what was actually happening...

most of the time spent fighting the weather and crashing. now i live with the crashing (6 impacts per 20 min flight) and just go for it, have some fun and throwing it about. i want to concentrate on the usual and tidy figure of 8s n fast small circles where i'm outside rather than flying around myself. FFF to smooth touch downs, loops n rolls and all previous nose in. then i think i'll be happy that i'd mastered and taken this FP about as far as u can.
i'm into about the 8th pack learning to fly outside since i started this obsession. learned to live with the crashing (3-10 impacts per 20 min flight) and just go for it, have some fun and throwing it about rookie style. my flying skills are still pretty basic and scruffy, have problems during transition to 'nose in' flight, with no real 'nose in' at all indoors and no successfully 'nose in' take offs yet. and a bad habit of trying to steer with the cyclic rather than pointing the nose (working on it).

When you find your FP heli way up high out in front and you want to bring the heli back. (when your able to) it's far safer to fly off to one side and bring her round, rather than risk reducing rotor RPM whilst in hover, this can often cause the heli to tumble out of the sky suddenly. By the time you notice what's happening, your inverted and going down hard. it's a bad habit i have. the situation occurs when u want try to loose a height gradually... reduce power... the heli suddenly falls out of the sky. by the time u have noticed what's happening it's too late. When this happens vertically u can normally catch it and increase power to stop the heli from falling through it's own downward moving air mass. When the heli moves off at an angle, i find that where i'v dropped the power off so cyclic response to inputs disappear... happens so quick... crash nose first or upside down. A classic disadvantage with these fixed pitch machines.

some days can be very tedious and it's best to just go chuck the heli about or at least make u'r manoeuvres deliberate. although i find that other days i just ain't in a flying mood and no matter how hard i try i just haven't got it. crash crash crash.... particularly the next day out after a thrilling flight.

crashing is part of learning to fly these things.

luckily the wind was very light 1-5mph without much gusting. this can be a de-motivating problem as u'r left without any excuses for crashing. no pitch up with those blades and head stiffener combo. also had a very tight fitting rotor head (strategic CA drops) with very little teeter, which does increase twitchiness some what.

i'v been thinking about trying a loop or a roll... may be when i get a brushless motor for that extra power margin.

After the buzz of a first hover, letting rip FFF has to be the most fun!!!
Shaky hands from adrenalin overdose always catches me by surprise. fly some, smoke some, fly some...

FF-Cruising

best FP outdoor flight since... well, since the last time anyway ;) months ago.

flew a whole pack without trashing the heli once, not even a paddle twisted out of position. now this may be normal for some of you but i always have at least one major crash leaving me reaching for the CA glue at some stage. started steady.. left then right, slow piro nose in left then right, take a break. warmed up with vision adjusted to the bright sky and feeling nice n calm. next get some FF to FFF on, couple of stall turns n some circles out front. 5 min break again to let the motor cool etc. the air was 22 degrees so my hot 10T gearing wasn't helpful.

i was rinsing around that sky this afternoon, blasting at low altitude with plenty of speed, there were a couple of close encounters with the long grass. flat out FFF straight towards myself, dropping down to chest height, ahhhh nearly took my head off. slammed the cyclic back n right as a super 'brurrrzzz' screamed right past my ear when the heli climbed and banked over violently. close one but luv it!

Check: http://pgoelz.com/piccolo_flight_tips.html


Outdoor Setup:

To be honest, i found outdoor flying pretty pointless in anything but near still air, until i tried H**net MS E080 CF blades and moved to 3 cells (12v-9v operational). Perhaps that's a bit unfair :o. as using an Orion on 2 cells (8.4v-7v operational) with HCF blades was OK for reasonable FF circuits and moderate FFF. the problem was that the first half of the pack flew ok but after that, there just wasn't enough reserve power to climbout/recover when u required.


How to learn to fly a micro heli outdoors:

Read the Flight School info etc.

After hovering tail-in with some side-in hover capability, move on to left FF stop, turn, right FF stop etc. to lazy fig of 8's etc.

Simulator!: practice nose-in and circuits on a simulator until it doesn't phase u out so much. so that most of the time u'r reactions are the correct action. some times it's better to do nothing until your orientation is secure. (RealFlight G2 setup)

Outdoors: fly and crash over long soft grass for less damage (expect to crash hard). first few times, don't bother trying to fly if it's too windy. 5mph max. always fly into the wind or the tail may spin round on you. Setup with a fair amount of climb out power over and above hover power.

Make sure u'r cyclic n radio can have a high degree of action and responsiveness when required. for hovering in the house, u tend to only need small corrections but out side in the wind u may need much more. particularly when trying to descend under low RPM conditions etc.

Outdoor circuits: try flying FF (10-15mph) around your self in circles whilst feeding the tail round (in lots of space to start, 15ft up). occasionally u will end up nose-in, try not to panic and control / recover through the manoeuvre. keep the heli moving forward.

after a few successful missions...
try circuits out in front, same FF whilst feeding the tail and continue through nose-in without freaking. by this time you should be able to deal with nose-in situations (recover or continue). outdoor short nose-in hovers will not be a problem any more.

go for it!


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