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Miscellaneous

What field equipment do I need?

R/C Helicopters can require a lot of maintenance and can need a certain amount of support equipment to make them fly and keep them flying. While you don't have to have a massive amount of tools, a few key components can make life a lot easier on you.

The following is a list of equipment that I recommend:


Starter Motor
Most glow engine powered helicopters are not self starting (ie they don't have a pull start device onboard). They require an external device that cranks the engine for them.
These starter motors connect to your field battery for power. Different helicopters have different starting systems, but most have some kind of input shaft that drives the engine's crankshaft.
To start the helicopter you connect your glow plug device to your engine's glow plug, connect your starter motor to your helicopter's starting system and turn on the starter motor which will crank your helicopter's engine.
You'll want a relatively high torque starter so if you ever get a 60+size engine, it'll have the power to crank it.

Glow plug device
A glow plug device is something that provides electrical power to the glow plug to heat it up before the engine will start.
These devices can be battery powered (ie a C size battery), or some plug into your field battery.


Hexagonal Drivers
Most helicopters are constructed using bolts that have hexagonal heads. In order to use these bolts, you'll need either hexagonal drivers, or allen keys.


Fuel Container/Pump
Obviously you're gonna need something to contain all your fuel and you're gonna need something to transfer it to the fuel tank of your helicopter. You can get electric powered pumps, or hand powered ones. Personally I prefer turning the crank of my pump (after all, it doesn't take very long).


Pitch Gauge
Pitch gauges measure the amount of pitch your rotor blades are pulling. You need to know how measure the pitch of your blades in order to set up the pitch curve correctly.
A pitch curve isn't a one off setup tool either. You'll find yourself using it quite often to check the pitch of your blades.


Screwdrivers
Some of the fasteners on a helicopter that are not hexagonal require the use of a Phillips screwdriver.
A couple of good quality small Phillips screwdrivers are always handy.


Glow plug driver
One of the most annoying things that can happen at the field is flooding your engine and not having something to remove the glow plug so you can fix it. Believe me, I know! I didn't get round to getting a glow plug driver (a small socket wrench is fine too) for AGES and each time I flooded the engine I swore to myself "tommorrow I'm gonna get one!", but never did.
You don't have to go buy a specialised glow plug driver, just go get a socket wrench, an extension and the right socket and you're away!


Ball link pliers
These make attaching and deattaching the plastic ball links that are a part of your helicopter's control systems easy.
They're quite specialised tools, I went round my local tool shops and described them to the shop people and they didn't have a clue what I was on about. Get them from your model store.

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