A little after-flight demonstration with the
author’s Synergy E7SE took place after his feet
were firmly back on the ground.
I hopped up onto the right seat and
Harry helped me strap in. I donned a
headset, and waited patiently while
Harry did his walk around and then
hopped onto the left seat.
At this point, an irrational fear
started to build up as I looked at the
seemingly thin blade that would keep
me from a certain death. I focused on
the instrument panel to see what I could
Harry talked me through the startup
procedure, and his professional attitude
really shined through. I realized that he
knew what he was doing.
When the oil was up to temperature,
he eased the helicopter into the air.
What a curious feeling that was to be in
a vehicle and only move straight up—it
was kind of awesome. I could feel the
power that the rotor disc had above me,
and I knew I was about to have the time
of my life.
We hover-taxied over to the runway,
and Harry started talking to me through
the headset. It was at that point that he
wanted me to try out the controls, but
one at a time in the beginning. I don’t
know if I had an advantage because of
my RC heli flying, but I already knew
the principles of helicopter flight. It was
only a few minutes before I had my
feet on the tail rotor pedals. I say “on,”
but they were really just leaning against
them. It takes a surprisingly light touch
to keep the nose pointed at something
Harry had me maintain the nose
attitude for a few minutes, keeping the
helicopter pointed at the windsock.
He took back control and then let me
try the cyclic. After a few minutes of
pendulum rocking, and after I had
eased up my five-finger death grip on
the controls, I was able to keep the
helicopter stationary. I then got to try
both the pedals and the cyclic at the
same time. What a challenge that was. It
was a little rough at first, but it settled
into a respectable hover.
Harry showed me how the collective
worked, which is like a parking brake
with a twist grip on the end. The twist
grip is for rpm, and the lever changes
the pitch of the blades. Pull up on the
collective and you go up; lower it and
you go down—just like the left stick of
an RC transmitter.
He took control again, pointed the
helicopter down the runway, and we
peeled out for a few laps around the
circuit. When we were straight and level,
he gave me control of the helicopter.
I tried left and right turns. In forward
flight, it was easy to fly.
One bad habit I had to quit was using
the tail rotor in turns. Apparently, in full-scale, that practice actually bleeds off
speed. I think that the tail weathervanes
in the turns when moving forward.
I got to try a transition from forward
flight into a hover, and from hover
back into forward flight. During a turn
in forward flight, I looked out of the
open door, down into the trees, and had
Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “hail to
the chief” lyrics from the song “Fortunate
Son” playing in my head.
I was up in the air for slightly more
than an hour, but it felt like the blink
of an eye. Harry was an awesome
instructor, and I can never thank David
enough for the opportunity.
After we were back down on the
ground and I had stopped jumping up
and down in excitement, I took out my
Synergy E7SE and put on a show for
them. I think Harry enjoyed it, but he
commented that he was glad he hadn’t
seen it before he let me fly him around.
At the end of the day, I now know
that if given the opportunity, I might
be able to handle flying a full-scale
International Radio Controlled Helicopter Association
Synergy R/C Helicopters
110 Model Aviation DECEMBER2016 www.ModelAviation.com