Promoting the hobby
One thing I do enjoy is talking to prospective heli fliers about RC helicopters.
I get a kick out of explaining how they work, what they're like to fly and all
the associated information needed.
Ofcourse, the most common questions asked are:
· How fast does it go?
· How hard is it to fly?
· Are you sure it can fly upside down? I didn't think helicopters could
· Do you crash often?
· How much does it cost?
Generally the answer to that last question often means the end of the session
as they suddenly aren't too interested.
I try to be reasonable in my estimates of the level of investment required to
get into the hobby. I often say that NZ$2000 (Currently NZ$1 = US$0.43) is a
good start which will get you going with a basic set up. I try not to dwell
on how much machines like the Z230 cost to get in the air, much less a Kyosho
Since getting into this hobby in October 2000, our club hasn't had any new
active fliers join up. In a bid to rectify this situation and promote the club
and hobby a bit, our club recently held a helicopter open night for the general
public to come along and get an insight into what this heli hobby is about.
We had simulators, videos, magazines, handouts, quizzes and 22 machines on display.
The simulators proved a big hit with people trying their hand at having a fly.
We advertised the night in the community newspaper the week before, having used
to work for the newspaper company I organised a photographer to come out and
get some shots of the heli. The reporter rung up and did a phone interview with
the resulting article printed the week before our open night.
We had a lot of good support from interested members of the public and the following
Sunday we had quite a number of people visit us at the field to see the machines
I think we've probably got about two or three people who are serious about getting
into it, with the determination to follow it up with some action. If these people
materialise into reality, then that will be great. Three learners at a time
is a good number for our club.
What I would like to see happen maybe in the summer months is for our club to
hold an 'open day' where people actually come along to the field and see the
machines in action. Looking at the machines up close in a hall is great, but
watching a heli as it howls through the sky just doesn't compare.
I would be interested to hear what other clubs have done to promote the hobby/their
Z230 goes to school
My girlfriend's five year old daughter came home from school one week and announced
that a 'big red helicopter' had landed in the school's yard during the day and
had taken one of the kids for a ride.
I thought that while the interest in helicopters was alive, it might be an idea
for me to take one of my helis along to her class for 'show and tell', knowing
that when I was young, that would have been a real highlight.
We organised it with the school, and I took the Z230 along with a video of the
Ergo 46 doing some flying around and aerobatics.
While waiting for the class to start it was a real fight to keep the little
hands off the Z230 as I sat waiting for the teacher to turn up and instil some
order into the chaos surrounding me and my expensive machine.
Finally the teacher turned up and rescued me from the younguns and we got on
with the 'show and tell'. As it was raining and I didn't know the area (ie radio
interference) I didn't offer to do a flying demonstration. The last thing I
wanted was "Rogue helicopter kills children" in the newspaper!
So I described how the helicopter worked and what controls did what. Half way
through the talk it occurred to me that five year olds probably didn't know
what 'collective pitch' and 'cyclic controls' were. However the teacher helped
me out and the kids seemed to understand.
They really enjoyed watching the video and seemed to find an Ergo 46 hovering
inverted quite hilarious.
We finished off by having the kids have their picture taken with the Z230.
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