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Asia Pacific F3C Open
American Adventure
JR Challenge 2004
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
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)
Setting up the Vigor for F3C
Simon Lockington

I get many emails asking "How much expo or dual rates should I use?" or "What's the best pitch curve for hovering?". Setup like this is very much a personal preference thing, but I decided that I would outline the setup of one of my helis to help some people with their own setups.

My Vigor CS is about 14 months old now, I brought it for the express purpose of doing competition flying and it has been very good at it winning the Sportsman class last year. This year I'm competing at the F3C with very experienced and talented pilots and the competition is much tougher.

With the competition much tougher this year, I wanted to ensure my machine was optimally setup to help me out as much as possible.

My CS is currently fitted with Futaba 9252 digital servos on the flight surfaces, a Futaba GY601 gyro, OS 91 SX-H with the 60B carb and Hyperhead, KSJ 90 muffler, Futaba GV-1 Governor, 8.4:1 gear ratio, Hirobo Freya paddles on short KSJ flybar and MS 710 FAI blades.

The engine runs on 5% nitro, 15% oil and 80% methanol.

I use the Futaba 9Z WCII transmitter.

I use Normal Mode for hovering, Idle Up 1 for loops and stall turns, Idle Up 2 for rolls and the loop with half rolls.
My Idle Up 1 and 2 pitch curves are very simple and straight forward, they're basically linear curves, however in normal mode I hover at half stick. I have spent a lot of time fine tuning my normal mode pitch curve in order to get the helicopter to feel right and not be too sensitive (ie the heli bouncing all the time) but not too dumb so I can counteract wind gusts and such.

I have only recently started to use the GV-1 so my throttle curves are still current. I have also spent a lot of time on the throttle curves getting them just right.

The graph below illustrates my Normal mode curves. 0% equals engine idling and -11 degrees pitch while 100% equals full power and 11 degress pitch.

I like the RPM to come up very early in the curve so that the headspeed is up to operating speed before the helicopter leaves the pad. The reason I do this is so that then the response of the helicopter to pitch and cyclic will be constant as the headspeed is not still increasing as the heli lifts off.
I also do not set the top end point to 100% as in my opinion, there is no need for hovering. I would rather have a very flat curve to keep the headspeed constant. The last thing I want is for the headspeed to be changing through hovering maneuvers as this WILL produce a noticeable movement to the judges.

You'll notice that I also have a lot of negative pitch in my pitch curve. While many may disagree with my setup here, I like to be able to 'pull' the machine out of the sky in windy scenarios if need be.

Now that I use the GV-1, I have it set to 1550 RPM in Normal mode. I have found at this speed, the Vigor is quite locked in (the Vigors seem to like a high headspeed) and is stable in wind gusts, but not too twitchy either.

Idle Up One:
I do not tend to run as high a headspeed in Idle Up One as some tend to do, well I didn't before I got a governor. I had someone tach the CS as I was doing aeros in Idle Up One and was surprised to see it was only turning about 1650 on the head, however it flew very nicely at this.

I tuned this curve by doing loops and ensuring that the engine didn't speed up too much on the downward side of the loop.

I added in 30% cyclic to throttle mixing (the SWP function on the 9Z) to help keep the engine constant in rolling stall turns.

I also found that in windy days when I really had to get into the negative pitch at the top of 540 stall turns to prevent the heli from 'travelling' you could hear the engine cut back as it went into the lower end of the throttle curve. To prevent this, I added a little rudder to throttle mixing (25%) so when I add rudder, the radio mixes in a little throttle which keeps the engine 'on song' in this situation. Careful not to add too much though else you will have the opposite problem of the engine speeding up. Once again, changes in headspeed will often show up in unwanted movement of the helicopter which the judges will nail you for. Doing this kept the engine at the same note throughout the maneuver.

Once again, now that I use the GV-1, all this mixing is redundant, I'm just leaving it there though for if the GV-1 throws a magnet or something.

I have the GV-1 set for a headspeed of 1750 in Idle Up One.

Idle Up Two:
I had the throttle curve in Idle Up Two set so there wasn't much change in headspeed between Idle Up One and Two. A simple 'V' curve with again some Cyclic to Throttle mixing (again 30%) to ensure the headspeed remained consistent through the roll. This becomes quite critical in the two rolls of F3C as if you bog it down during the first roll, it's just going to get worse in the second, so I like to use this mixing to minimize the chances of bogging down.

With the GV-1 now in place, I set it for a headspeed of 1850 in Idle Up Two, at this speed, the CS rolls very well.

When creating these graphs in Excel, I was surprised to see I have so much negative pitch in my Hold curve, however, after doing a tonne of autos yesterday, it doesn't seem to have adversely impacted in anyway so I'll just stick with it.

I wanted to investigate the impact of different head dampers on the feel of the machine. Even though JR recommends changing the standard head dampeners every fifty flights or so, mine had done about 180 or so and were still pretty good. The standard dampeners with the CS kit are relatively hard.
I had some softer JR grey dampeners lying around so I installed them into the CS to see what changes occurred. At this time I was also using the long Vigor flybar with Hirobo Sceadu paddles (with all the weights) and the flybar weights situated half way along.

I found that this setup hovered well, but in gusty winds did not of the precision control to counteract the wind.

I was expecting the aerobatics to suffer, but was pleasantly surprised to find they didn't. It was the lack of precision in the hovering which encouraged me to continue to research.

After discussing setups with various other Vigor pilots, I decided to install one of the 'O-ring' dampener kits from Ron Lund with hard and soft ring combination and see what the results were. The head tightened up considerably, trying to move each blade grip up and down yielded little movement compared to the grey dampeners.

As expected, I found the hovering to be quite 'twitchy' now but very precise. The aerobatics had a more precise feel to them also. Knowing that I could address the 'twitchiness' with flybar combinations I decided to stick with this dampener combination.

I have up until recently run the Hirobo Freya paddles with all their weights on the standard long Vigor flybar with the weights out halfway. I was very happy with this setup, but wanted to experiment to see what changing weights and flybars would do to the over all performance.

First of all, I moved the weights all the way out to the paddles. I found that this yielded pretty good hovering performance but it was very slow to roll. Very good if you only have to do one roll in the schedule, but doing two at this pace was just making hard work for myself. I then moved the weights all the way in and found that hovering stability was not that great in that the helicopter felt like it was always on the move. However it rolled very quick. I put the weights back to where they had been (halfway along the flybar) and found that was the best compromise.

Now that I felt I had the dampener and weight parts sorted out, I wanted to see what impact shortening the flybar would have.

I got hold of a shorter KSJ flybar and fitted that up with the weights all the way into the head but still with the Hirobo weights in the paddles.

First impressions of this combination was how well it seemed to hover in a very gusty environment. I removed all the expo and delays from the aileron and elevator controls in normal mode which made the heli a bit more responsive.
I then tried some rolls and found the cyclic rate to be very slow. This would need to be speeded up in order to get decent rolls out of the machine with this setup.

Later that afternoon I fitted the GV-1 and set the headspeed to 1850 (up from about 1680 or so) in Idle Up Two, this increased the roll rate considerably and made the heli perform as desired. I could then have a nice docile hovering setup without sacrificing roll rate in Idle Up Two.

I also make use of Dual Rates and Exponential (AFR menu on the 9Z). The following are my values for each flight mode:

Normal Mode:
I used to use Dual Rate and Expo on Aileron and Elevator when I used the long flybar as it was a very sensitive setup. Now with the shorter flybar, I have this set to zero in order to get the precision control required for hovering.

I use exponential on the rudder because I want the tail to be quite insensitive because there are no quick rudder movements in the hovering maneuvers. Piroettes are three seconds in duration so blazing pirouette rates are not required. This also means that any 'unwanted' inputs by my fingers do not show up as much.

Dual Rate

Idle Up One:
I do not use any dual rate in Idle Up One, but do make use of Exponential to 'soften' the controls up in fast forward flight.

Dual Rate

Idle Up Two:
I a little dual rate in Idle Up Two in Rudder to lessen the impact of 'insolent' thumbs and as there are no maneuvers with rudder imputs that I would do in Idle Up Two, it is no problem anyway. I do make use of Exponential to 'soften' the controls up in fast forward flight and again to lessen the impact of unwanted rudder input.

Dual Rate

I use Dual Rate in 'Hold' mode on all controls to 'soften' up the whole helicopter during the autorotation descent so that there are no 'jerky' movements transmitted to the heli. I must say when I looked back at my setup I was surprised I had it set as it is, but it works very well so I'm not changing it.

Dual Rate

This is a fairly detailed explanation of my setup, feel free to critique the setup and/or pick and choose bits of it for your own setups. Remember, setups like this are very much a personal preference type thing. Something that works well for me may not be suited for you.

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