Tuesday, January 18, 2022
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Ray’s Helitech Authoritative DVD Series

You have probably noticed that almost every article on helicopters recommends getting an expert to help check out your model and walk through your first few flights with you if you are new to the game. That is great advice, and given with the best of intentions, but what if you don’t have, or can’t find, a local expert? Fortunately there is an expert readily available to us all, and his name is Ray Hostetler. Hostetler started building and flying model helis in 1974, and has been writing about them for over three decades now. In addition over 7,000 of the 12,000 hours in his logbook have been flying full-scale helicopters as part of his day job. His countless articles and product reviews in the modeling press have him uniquely prepared to discuss the most intricate details of heli design and setup. Lucky for the rest of us, he has generously made that information available through his articles, books, and most recently, his DVD series. These DVDs thoroughly examine helicopter setup and programming step by step, and through them Hostetler gives you the knowledge needed to do it yourself and thus gain that critical experience to insure success.

Of course it isn’t possible to look at every combination of helicopter and radio. Instead, Hostetler explains how a function works and why you want to use it, allowing you to apply his analytical knowledge base to your own models and equipment. He doesn’t just tell you what to do, he also tells you why and how to do it. I have been watching his DVD volumes 1-9 throughout the last few months, repeatedly going back to them time and again to fine tune my knowledge of heli programming and setup. Volumes 1-3 feature Thunder Tiger’s Raptor 50 and the JR9303 and cover programming, set up and flight trimming. Combine these with Volumes 4 & 5 which detail how a heli flies, engine break-in, tools and building the Raptor, and you will have everything you might need to know about all the basics of transmitter setup, building and setting up your nitro heli.

 Volume 6 covers blade assembly and balance, as well as balancing the entire rotor head. Your helicopter must run as smoothly a possible to maximize performance and longevity of each component, and the precise balance of the main and tail rotor systems is the foundation of a smooth running helicopter. With the information Hostetler provides in Volume 6, there is no excuse for any imbalance in your helicopter. Volumes 7-9 cover Spektrum’s DX6 and DX7 transmitters, and the T-Rex 450S. Hostetler walks through the programming and setup of these very popular products, giving specific details on every menu option of both radios, and well as the set up of your T-Rex. As evidenced by the flying footage, his pitch and throttle curve setup give near seamless transitions between normal and stunt modes, and very smooth handling. T-REX AUTOS? For me, one of the most interesting aspects of this series was realizing that shooting autorotations with a T-Rex 450 is not only possible, but even quite practical. I have seen numerous online videos of 450 autos, and truth be told, they usually don’t look like fun. Most show the heli plummeting out of the sky like a greased anvil, with only a precisely timed pitch input standing between another flight and imminent destruction. Hostetler shows how to modify the main and tail rotor drive gears to disconnect the tail rotor during autorotations. The increase in energy retention within the rotor head is remarkable. He then convincingly demonstrates several autorotations, showing that a T-Rex is very capable of executing this challenging maneuver in a controlled manner. While I haven’t modified my helicopter yet, it is definitely on my short list.

I have no question that anyone involved with RC helicopters, beginner and expert alike, will find these DVDs worth the investment. Numerous chapter breaks allow you to easily find your way back to specific topics. These DVDs will make an invaluable addition to your club or personal library, and save you a tremendous amount of time and frustration. Several combination packages allow you to select the DVDs that best suit your preferences while saving some money at the same time.


Ray’s HeliTech
(818) 309-8091