I’ve had about half a gallon of gas through the engine so far, which has yielded roughly 15 or so flights (I haven’t been counting) at roughly 20 minutes each (haven’t been timing either, just recalling start and stop times on some of the flights). I believe this has given me plenty of time to come to a few conclusions:
- This is not for the impatient. I can’t fly the Radikal in my back yard like I do my electrics. It takes a little bit of planning since I don’t have a field membership, some driving, a few extra supplies (gas tank, basic tools to avoid a trip home), and plenty of free time. Additionally, I’m still tuning so sometimes the engine takes a little longer to fire up as was the case this morning, resulting in about an hour delay (had to drive back home to pull spark plug out and blah blah long story).
- This is so cheap. I’m flying with a Turnigy 5800 mAh 2s pack that cost me about $27 (plus shipping). Also, a gallon of gas cost me $4.00 since I opted for Ethanol-free 90 octane. The oil came in only one gallon containers so that was about $43, which should fill the need for 32 gallons of fuel running at 1:32 ratio. Running the numbers, one tank of fuel for the helicopter (300 ml per Century specs) should cost me roughly $0.12/flight. That’s nice compared to nitro!
- This is challenging. There are so many mechanical items that are required to be in order to keep the engine and helicopter healthy. Due to its size, safety is a much bigger concern so keeping it all in good, running order becomes paramount. I also find I’m always on my toes when flying this helicopter, listening intently for engine misses or signs that I may need to execute an auto-rotation (I’ve not mastered this yet so it makes for interesting flights). All in all, it s a new, fresh challenge that I’m up for!
- You have to be observant. Keep an eye out for anything that looks, sounds, seems, feels wrong. A failure anywhere in the helicopter can put you, your investment, or someone else in danger.
- I am hooked. The sound of the gas engine as well as the blades turning is just awesome. I can’t believe I actually considered selling this helicopter!
- All in all, I’m loving this new challenge!