Assembly was completed in three evenings. When the last component was screwed in place, I connected up the battery, switched on the Tx and disaster (well, almost)! The main rotors immediately spun up and I watched in horror as the Piccolo edged off the workbench with rotor blades flailing and then fell in a heap of ball joints on the workshop floor.
Well much to my amazement nothing broke the ball links simply un-balled themselves. The main problem was finding the rotor bearings which had been flung to opposite ends of the workshop.
The cause was interference from a nearby fluorescent lamp. I learnt some useful safety lessons:
Before the first flight, take a few minutes to take stock of things and check your setup:
My living room offered a suitable space about 12 ft * 15 ft with a wooden floor, and I would not suggest anything much smaller than that. I spent the first "flights" just getting the trims and mixing right without lifting off. Gradually the model started scuttling around in ground effect, like a demented crab.
Fly, crash, re-adjust, fly etc. was the order of the day for the first several flights. However the model is remarkably tough, the main rotor just flies apart at the ball joints. Breakages are generally easily fixed with cyano. Incredible really given the amount of punishment it's received.
Gradually my flight times increased and confidence grew, and I can now fly the model quite comfortably in the living room including nose in, and slow 360-degree pirouettes in front of me.
The Piccofly simulator is a very effective training aid which I strongly recommend for rookie chopper pilots (see my review of the Piccofly sim). With the sim I was able to practice nose-in and pirouettes without risking the model.
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