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Articles
How to setup your rotorhead
9Z for Dummies
3D Downunder
Victorian F3C Champs
Visit to Model Engines
Flying the Fury Tempest FAI
Pilot Profile - Pete (Panos) Niotis
Australian Trip 03
Introduction to the Century Predator
Building the Fury Tempest FAI
Professional Aerial Photography
Pilot Profile - Dwight Schilling
Pilot Profile - Russ Deakin
Pilot Profile - Dwight Schilling
Toolbox Essentials
Setup for F3C
Vigor Refit
Pilot Profile - Curtis Youngblood
JR Challenge 2003
Pilot Profile - Len Sabato
Helicopter Resources
Comparing the Webra 91AAR and the YS 91ST
Engine Tuning
Curtis Youngblood in New Zealand
Futaba GV-1 Governor
Pilot Profile - Malorie Zastrow
Scale: Flybarless Heads
Pilot Profile - Jason Krause
JR 10X
Pilot Profile - Mark Christy
Futaba 9Z WCII
Pilot Profile - Alan Szabo Jr
163km/h with a Vigor CS!
Raptor 60 V2
Low cost, high camera!
TSK & the Squirrel Part (V)
Follow up - Hirobo Freya
Follow up - Hirobo Shuttle RG
Sceadu 30 update
Hirobo Shuttle RG
Vigor CS - My thoughts
Bye bye little Ergo
Kyosho Caliber 30
OS 91
JR Voyager 50
Hirobo Sceadu
TSK & the Squirrel Part (III)
NZ Team Returns from Heli World Champs
Hirobo Freya
Fury-ous!
OS 50 Review
Millie vs CS (Part III)
Living with the CS
TSK & the Squirrel (Part II)
Promoting the Hobby
Ergo Z230 Gasser
Millie vs CS (Part II)
Millie vs CS (Part I)
TSK & the Squirrel
TSK & the Squirrel (Part IV)

Pilot Profile - Len Sabato

Len Sabato with his Vigor CS and custom canopy. Note the retractable landing gear!

1. Tell us about yourself, where you live, occupation, etc
Well Si, My name is Len Sabato. I am 38 years old, and I live in a small town (600 people) called Pesotum, in the state of Illinois, USA. I have been married to my wonderful and understanding wife Sandy for going on 8 years.
I have been employed by Horizon Hobby for the past 10 years, and I am the Product Manager for JR Radios and Helicopters.
I live in the middle of farm country, and our home is surrounded with hundreds of acres of farm fields. This allows me to be able to fly at my home, which has been a huge boost towards improving my flying.

2. How did you get started in RC Helis? When did you start? What equipment got you started?
Well, I have been fortunate enough to be around RC Helis practically since their inception. My father, Len Sr., was one of the early pioneers of RC Helicopters in the US in the early 1970's. My father designed what is likely the first RC model of a Jet Ranger, and it was manufactured for a short time under the name "RC Helicopters, Inc.". I can remember the first forward flights he made with the model, complete with spring loaded tricycle training gear and all! The original model is now on display at the AMA museum in Muncie.
As for myself, I actually did not get started flying Helis until around 1982. At the time, our family had a hobby store called Lenco Hobbies, and our specialty was of course RC heli's. I decided that to help our customers and promote sales, I needed to at least learn to hover so that I could test fly models for the shop.
My first model was a Schluter Miniboy, with standard 4 channel radio, and then "state of the art" Kraft (KO) Gyro. My father helped me get the model setup, and I was ready to go.
My first 2 times out were less than successful, as I managed to boom strike the model both times out! After I learned to stop hovering when the wind picked up, I was off and running!
I was hooked! I had been flying airplanes before this. I then sold all of my airplanes in the shop, and started flying Helis exclusively, and I have ever since.

3. What do you think have been some of the greatest advances in RC Helis?
The Greatest advances in my opinion are in this order:
Collective Pitch
Gyros
Computer Radios
Composite Blades
Simulators
Heading Lock Gyros

I would also say that the continued evolution in model design, performance and reliability has opened the door for many more modelers to enjoy the hobby.

From the old skool, the JetRanger Len Snr produced and marketed.

4. How many gallons would you burn in a year?
Since I returned to Contest flying back in 1998, I have consistently burned 50-60 gallons of fuel each year in our rather short 6-7 month flying season. That's almost 300 gallons of fuel, and nearly 2000 flights from 1998 until I finally earned a position on the US team this year!

5. What do you enjoy most about the hobby?
I enjoy it all! I enjoy the history, the people I have meet, the flying and designing of the models, and my career in the RC field as well!
Since I have been around RC since I was 5, I just can't imagine what my life would be like without RC! I have both enjoyed, and dedicated my life to the hobby that has given me such enjoyment.

6. What advice do you give to someone just starting out with RC Helis?
I would say that the best advice starting out would be to get help from with experience. I would also recommend buying from a shop that can offer you support. As for the type of model that you purchase, I would find out what the local shop or training person is flying, and go with that brand. Start with a 30-size model with a good gyro, and buy more radio than you think you will need, because you will really end up needing it in the long run!
I would also recommend that you purchase a simulator, and learn to hover before taking your model out for the first flights. The price you spend on a simulator will be easily recovered with the money you will save on replacement parts, and the frustrations that you will avoid.

7. Tell us about the setup of your primary machine and reasoning for it.
Although my primary discipline is F3C/Contest flying, I set up all my models with a full 3D setup (0 pitch at center stick) since I also 3D fly at fun fly events, and when I need a break from contest practice. I even hover at ¾ stick with my F3C model!
This is not typical, as most contest pilots do not fly much 3D, and they prefer to set their models up with 5 degrees pitch at ½ stick.
I also prefer to run fully symmetrical blades on all of my models. I just have never been able to get used to the feel of semi-symmetrical, they just are not a good fit for my flying style.
The nice thing about this setup method is that I can actually take my contest model out and do some mild 3D, and vise versa.
The main differences between my contest and 3D models is that the contest models are equipped with my own design Eclipse body, and retractable landing skids.
Another quirk that I have is that I am actually a "Tail" flyer, rather than the "Nose" like most people. This is how my father flew, and well, since he set up my first model, this is how I got started.

8. You're the Radio and Helicopter Product Manager for Horizon Hobby, the JR Distributor for North America. Tell us about some of the challenges of marketing this brand in what is already quite a crowded market.
Well, as with most industries, there is some serious competition from both the Radio and Heli sides. JR has always had the advantage of quality, reliability, and innovation. Although JR products are generally priced slightly higher than some of our competitors products, I feel that they are actually a better value, as value is a combination of materials, features, and price.
Horizon backing the JR line is also a big boost for these products as Horizon has always been dedicated to provide unmatched customer service and support of their products. This commitment sparked unprecedented offers like our JR 3 year warranty, a level of support unmatched in other countries.

Early magazine ad marketing the Sabato Jet Ranger

Page Two

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Curtis Youngblood's site
Curtis is perhaps the most well known helicopter flier in the world.
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