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First Heli 1983

L Edge

Active member
#1
When helis finally became mass produced in 1983, Gorham's Cricket came on the market. Back then, with no internet, no simulator, and no instructions, and no gyro, you put it together. The engine was way underpowered, no cooling fan, you fought the rudder the minute you broke ground until you landed.

Blades were wood, fixed collective and you set blade angle with 2 adjustable wrenches and held it to learn how to track the blades.
After you learned how to hover it, next came circles and then doing transitional flight. Then came flight. All you were told by instructions is to push nose forward. What a surprise and it finally felt good to practice and land the chopper in one piece. I, as well as my son who was 12(he was a young jedi) taught me how to roll and loop it before the mechanical gyros came in. That was truly learning how to fly by the seat of your pants.

 

PsyBorg

Wake up! Time to fly!
Mentor
#4
Now that is a perfectly set up heli or one crazy guy being able to let go of the radio to hold a live heli next to his head to tweak the motor tune.

Thats is truely amazing considering there was zero electronic assistance to be able to park that heli at one point in mid air and do that.
 

L Edge

Active member
#6
Now that is a perfectly set up heli or one crazy guy being able to let go of the radio to hold a live heli next to his head to tweak the motor tune.

Thats is truely amazing considering there was zero electronic assistance to be able to park that heli at one point in mid air and do that.
That is Gorham's son. I wonder how many times he crashed in order to do this. In those days, if you needed parts, it would take about 1-2 weeks to get the part since hobby stores did not stockparts at all. Since the thrust/weight ratio was low, summer heat/moisture really screwed up on when and what you can do on maneuvers.
 

L Edge

Active member
#7
How many broken rotor blades? I never got that far before I gave up. Apparently I can't hover.
We kept the training wheels on for a long time. That way, like doing nose in hover, saved the heli from damage. To save a heli, you always punched the throttle where a plane you usually throttle back. Otherwise the heli was a 3 lb bag of sugar as soon as wt overtakes throttle position.
 

PsyBorg

Wake up! Time to fly!
Mentor
#8
My main issue was not hovering but landing. They tend to not land well when a random frog in the grass commits suicide on the tail rotor.

Two main blades, main shaft, flybar and paddles, linkages, tail boom, drive belt, tail blades shaft and gearbox, tail fin, and boom supports.

The mounted sherriff that made me set it down in the field about 30 or so yards away instead of flying it back to land didnt say a word. Just rode away like nothing happened.
 

Piotrsko

Active member
#9
I see, my throttle hand never learned to coordinate or where you flying mode 2?
I also understand flying planes screwed up my thought processes for choppers.
Back in the day you heli guys were considered super human
 

L Edge

Active member
#10
Yes, we were flying mode 2. We were told that you will crash because it will screw you all up, but we just ignored that. Here is what a early programmed radio looks like. All you could do is fiddle with the pots and switches.
What was really scary, is the gear/INVERT switch. You did a half loop and hit the switch which allow you to fly upside down.
P1010001.JPG

P1010002.JPG

If you look closely, you can see the gear/invert switch.

P1010003.JPG
 

Piotrsko

Active member
#11
What's the radio; Graupner? Back in 83, 'Muricans didn't have this available that I know of or if we did, it was ££££££. I'm even more jealous.

I do recall a scale guy rolling a hiller at an airshow then the actual hiller pilot saying hold my beer....
 
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#12
Wow! That is seriously awesome. Flying without a tail gyro takes some serious skill! With fixed pitch, I'd be worried about an engine failure all the time. Not much of a chance to recover RPM without changing pitch!
 

L Edge

Active member
#13
What's the radio; Graupner? Back in 83, 'Muricans didn't have this available that I know of or if we did, it was ££££££. I'm even more jealous.

I do recall a scale guy rolling a hiller at an airshow then the actual hiller pilot saying hold my beer....
It was a later version (JR by circus-circus) when we were sposored doing and using collective pitch as well as using mechanical gyros. Ended up using Excell choppers in competition.
 

L Edge

Active member
#14
Wow! That is seriously awesome. Flying without a tail gyro takes some serious skill! With fixed pitch, I'd be worried about an engine failure all the time. Not much of a chance to recover RPM without changing pitch!
Your right about engine failure or running out of nitro, so you very much paid attention to time element of flight.
Although complex, not to many parts you couldn't fix. Main shafts, I had a machinist drill out a junk piece of 1" steel that was shaft dia plus 2 mills and I would hammer the bent shaft thru and it would come out straight. Tail was alum so you rebent it. Gear, you made a bunch of spares.
The way I explained flying a cricket, was you have a 6" square piece of glass in your hand and someone places a marble in the center, tells you to walk and keep the marble on the glass as you walk.
By the way, I see you did an XC-142, see What I am exporing on my thread.
 

Piotrsko

Active member
#15
It was a later version (JR by circus-circus) when we were sposored doing and using collective pitch as well as using mechanical gyros. Ended up using Excell choppers in competition.
You had circus-circus the casino Hobby shop? That was the best hobby shop I ever saw for rich bored people. Bought a bunch of foamie .049 warbirds
 

L Edge

Active member
#16
You had circus-circus the casino Hobby shop? That was the best hobby shop I ever saw for rich bored people. Bought a bunch of foamie .049 warbirds
We were laughed at initially, but it was when we switched to pylon racing and Formula 1's, the equipment never failed and others began to notice it. Since my son was a joung jedi, we always had their backing in equipment from them.