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Looking to buy an old Nitro Heli


Mostly Harmless
Let me start by saying I have never owned a helicopter. I have flown a few quadcopters and tricopters, and my father's Blade 120 Sr, but I have never owned my own helicopter. I understand they are expensive to crash and have big spiny blades of death, and I understand that new flybarless systems fly better, and that nitro is messy and expensive and loud, but there seems to be something cool about old nitro helicopters that just draws me in. I remember my dad used to have a Hirobo Shuttle Z that he bought when he was in college. I saw him fly it, and crash it, once.
Now I want an old Heli. What do I need to know?


Junior Member
Well the first thing i would do is either buy a simulator or a smaller fixed pitched heli, such as the blade 200srx. Once you have mastered the fixed pitch heli, you can move on to a collective pitch heli. All the nitro machines will be collective pitch. I recommend that you buy a kit and build it yourself. That way you know how to fix it when you crash (and trust me, you will). Next i would find someone who has experience with the larger cp helis to double check your setup and test fly it for you.

Now here's a few tips i learned when starting in nitro helis,
1- SAFETY is the number one priority, always.
2- The larger the machine the more stable it will be, so a 700 class (60-90 size) will be able to take more wind and ultimately be easier to fly, but more expensive to build and the crash cost will be higher.
3- Skip the training gear. i found them to more of a hindrance than help.
4- Concentrate on hovering a few feet off the ground to get out of the rotor wash, this will make it easier.
5- Throttle hold is your friend in a crash. if you are about to crash and know 100% you cant save it, hit throttle hold and hopefully it will save a few parts
6 In the even you are crashing, i like to "fly it until it hits the ground", because who knows, you might be able to save it.
Be careful getting an "old" Heli. If you are going to by one do your research and make sure you can find parts for it. A simulator is a very smart way of going about learning to fly helis. You can practice with out fear of crashing your real chopper.

Fly bar-less are more stable, but learning on a fly bar will make you a better pilot in my opinion. I find less and less people use fly bars now. What ever you get, find some one to help get it set up and trim it. An experienced pilot can help get out nasty characteristics that can cause crashes for new pilots.

I have several size choppers, my Nitro is an old .30 size about the same size as a 550 for electric. It has a good balance of being big enough to see, and handle, with out being so big that it breaks the bank when it goes down. It is described as a good training heli with its wooden blades. How ever it is so old that they do not make parts for it any longer. Hence my caution about getting a heli that it too old.

Master your hover in all directions, (the hardest thing I had getting use to.) After you are able to hover well you will find that flying is not too bad, as long as you keep it slow and simple.

Good Luck and keep us up to date!
I remember my dad used to have a Hirobo Shuttle Z that he bought when he was in college. I saw him fly it, and crash it, once.
Now I want an old Heli. What do I need to know?
I often wonder what happened with the OP on these old posts. This section of the forum is not too active.

I have a Thunder Tiger Raptor 90. The heli has a 105HZ O.S in it. I've always flown it no-gyro but I haven't flown it for a couple years now. The reality with nitro engines is that flying a spoke-spewing, shaking, vibrating aircraft that sounds like a flying weed whipper and drinks $30/gallon fuel by the quart per flight gets old after awhile.

I have since gone to playing with electric helicopters. The electrics are simpler, cleaner, and sound way cooler. And lots cheaper to fly.

There are really no old nitro's that a beginning pilot can fly. Helicopters are the hardest of all RC aircraft to master. And a very powerful nitro heli that can fly at 100mph, climb at 3,500 ft/min and is capable of acceleration rates that no fixed wing can match is not really a beginner's helicopter. If you ever do get one, I would highly recommend getting 8-10 hours of hands-on flight instruction from an experienced pilot before attempting to fly one of these. A simulator just does not cut it once you're at the controls of a real piston helicopter because seeing it on a computer screen vs in real life is two different things. Having it hovering in front of you, get hit by a wind gust and go into ETL, and your first instinctive reaction is to pull the collective back. Which proceeds to slam it into the ground faster than you can blink. And your next reaction is to feed it collective, at which point it takes off like rocket and is gone out of sight before you can say "What the...........". sort of makes it hit home that the computer really didn't prepare you for this.