I have taken a small seat back to the hobby to figure some things out. I finally decided that I need to go small if I am to keep flying. At least for the next season anyways. As we all know the RC hobby is an expensive hobby. HOw expensive it can get is based on us and what we want. Its very easy to get tied up in to the hubb bubb of the hobby. Unfortunately I think I did over the last 3 years. I don’t regret it one bit I love all the stuff I have. I did not skimp on much, I did not want to have to buy it again so to speak. I hope to explain what it is that I did to come up with my final decision. My goal is to maybe educate some of you newer guys and the decision making process in what size to get.
First thing is to figure out what resources I have to my supply to my hobby. Right now funds are tight and there is a limit to my budget. So the first thing I needed to solve is how much can I afford a month? For me I am going to set a limit of $50 per month to buy parts and batteries. Regardless if I crash or not, I have to build up my supply as a little so I can crash and repair. For the new guy just starting out you have to ask yourself this question and you have to be honest about it. This little bit of information will guide you into a size aircraft that is affordable for you. If you have that fear of crashing all time then you will never progres. For me it was the fear of not being able to afford the parts. There was on time in my hoby when I did not have that fear, right after I bought the Goblin. In short ask yourself how much can you afford every month to buy parts. It will help you out in the long run.
Access to legal flying areas is getting hard now a days with the FAA and all their debauchery. For me my access is limited for sure. I live with in 5 miles of Lost Nation Airport an ATC-ed airport. It’s not a busy one but it is active for sure. Regardless I will have to drive to some location to fly. The closest RC heli field is a 45 minute drive away, that’s no good. I actually live about 45 minutes from two RC fields, what a bummer. So I am looking for a kit that can be indoors, more durable than lets say a 130X, can fly outside and still fun for learning. So field size is limited for me. I am looking at baseball fields and soccer fields. If I keep the heli small I can still fly at the HIgh school at the top of the street. For the new guy You too will have to look at these things and decide what space you have for flying. Over money this will limit your size kit. If you don’t have the field to fly it why buy it. If your in a situation like mine and you don’t mind driving then go for the bigger kit. Otherwise go with something that will get you in the air on a regular basis.
Brands, this is going to be a topic that is open to debate. Everything from Horizon hobbies to Hensilit (TDR2 sped heli) are great brands. Everyone has its pros and cons. It's up to the consumer to decide what they want to deal with. For my situation I have decided on staying small than a 360 but bigger than a 180 or sub 200mm kit. This is basically a 250 class heli at the end of the day. Which one is the question. If you look at all the brands that are out there one is limited to what brands one can go with. Not everyone makes a 250 cl/300 class heli what we are looking at is Eflight, Align OXY and SAB Goblin and that’s about it. SAB Goblin fireball is a very pricy kit for its size. One could easily spend $800 to build it with 4 flight packs. As most veterans of RCH know I have never owned a true Align heli. It's not that I don't like them I just never really considered owning one. I have always gone off the beaten path and my plan is to do the same here. Now SAB and Align are out of the question and you might as well add e-flight to that story too. So that leaves OXY as the kit. That’s how I narrowed down the brand I wanted. Size was even easier to narrow down, the sub 200 class is very cost intensive for their size. Every crash is going to be at least $30 - $50 dollars on average. Thats a no go on my budget of $50 a month. One crash and I am down for the month if I dont have the parts. So this rules out the OXY 2 as a candidate. Which leaves the OXY 3, this guy is everything from a 220ish mm kit all they way to 285mm. So that’s the best kit for me.
What are the advantages of this kit, well it’s a high quality kit that has a range of sizes for the pilot to choose, it a cost effective model that can be flown very well on a wide range of electronics. It was designed to be budget friendly and still be a high performance kit. Crash cost is no more than the average 250 kit, which there really is only one other 250 in the market and that’s the Trex 250. Over all one can expect about a $50 bill on a crash if you are not using Carbon fiber blades. CF blades start at $28 and go up to near $40 a set. Another advantage to the kit is the servo options, micro and minis are what this kit is all about. Does not matter what the servo is just as long as it fits in the frames. I am recycling my BK servos for the build but KST is every bit as good as BK’s for this kit.
Disadvantages for this size are there too, after all it is in the 250 class. In the past the 250 was more of an advanced pilot size. Beginners would jump into a 250 thinking that it would be cost effective just to find out that a 450 was a better option. I was one of those guys. If your just starting and new to flying helicopters start at the 360/380 class frames. Another disadvantage is that fact that it is small. Hard to work on, not a lot of mass and the plastic bits are small and not as robust. There are more disadvantages with this class and that’s not what I want to focus on. Just know that the pilot needs to work out what they want in their own fleet. For me I am will to take on the cons just so I can get back into flying regularly.
Batteries are a looked over part of the hobby. Once we buy them that’s it no more thought goes into it. I am here to say, we need to pay attention to the batteries. If a pilot progress to an advanced level they could be buying packs every season. This is an ongoing cost that needs to fit within the monthly budget. What I found out with the OXY 3 vs the Fireball is that for every 4 6S packs on the goblin, I can get 7.4 packs for the OXY3. It pays to look at this stuff to. OXY runs on a max of 4S and the Fireball runs on a 6S. If the pilot wants they can downgrade to a 3S pack on the OXY saving even more money on the long term costs plus saving on weight. Research packs before jumping into a kit. My Goblin 570 runs on 12S and I can run it on 6S, my issue here is a new speed controller and motor on top of packs. So plan your build early before jumping in. Just to put this out there the Goblin 570 flies just fine on 6S. An advanced pilot with great handling skills can do everybit of 3d that anyone else can and it drops almost a pound off the final all up weight. My 570 weighs in at 8 lbs with 12S 3000 mah pack in it. The same frame on 5000 6S weighs in at around 7 lbs. Big difference in flight performance, flight time and disk loading.
With this addition to the fleet my charging setup will stay the same. I will be adding bump stickers to the packs for charging so nothing new there to report. I am going to be using the NEO on the X3 to finish off the build. I may even move the UI sensor over to the OXY just for the fun of tracking the current and not having to set a flight timmer.
I think I found what’s going to work for me. I have a small heli that can be back packed and brought to just about anywhere. I can take it to work and fly on breaks, It can be flown indoors, small fields and even my backyard. All the checkboxes are checked off on this project and my decision is to actually give this kit a try. Some parts are on there way so I am ready for the new addition to my small fleet.
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- This article is part 4 of 4 in the series Reflecting on My Hobby.
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- This article is part 4 of 4 in the series Reflecting on My Hobby.