Track your blades? I really didn’t know what the heck that meant. I’m certain I am not the only beginner that had this challenge.
I’m going to explain tracking based on what I have learned throughout the years. People might have different and possibly better tracking methods, but I will break it down for you from my perspective.
You might be asking yourself why your blades need to be tracked. You should track your blades because if they are misaligned, they will cause your helicopter to shake too much. The shaking will loosen parts that shouldn’t be loose.
With aligned blades, you will notice your helicopter fly smoother when you give it a command.
It will also keep the RPM of the blades at the intended speed.
A word of advice: try reading the following section twice. I’ve noticed I tend to pick things up I’ve missed in previous readings when I go over technical writing a few times.
STEP 1: Place some temporary red tape or even some grey duct tape on the tip of one blade.
This will allow you to tell the difference between each blade when they are spinning. It’s a great way to get a visual on misaligned blades
Up to this point, tracking is strictly done by eye.
If the blades are correctly tracked and you have one tagged with tape, you’ll see the tape continuously. If the blades are misaligned, you will see two blades, one on top of the other: one with tape and the other without.
When you get closer to aligning the blades, you won’t be able to see the individual blades. As this is difficult to convey with words, take a look at the picture below. Notice that the blades look like one big spinning disk holding the helicopter in mid-air. It may take you awhile to be able to recognize this.
STEP 2: With the R/C helicopter placed on flat ground, gently increase the throttle stick until you see the blades speed up.
Notice how it bunny-hops right before it starts to lift – that’s what you are aiming for.
Don’t allow it to hover. Keep your eyes on the helicopter at all times.
I mean it, at all times!
Then, get on your knees or your belly. Keep a safe distance. Inspect the blades: both blades have to follow the same straight path. In other words, when you look at the rotating blades you’ll notice only one blade that looks like a spinning disk.
If the blades look like they are following the same path, then you are good to go.
But if they are off track, the blades will appear on top of each other. If they are off by at least one quarter of an inch, you will need to adjust them.
NOTE: Notice the blade with no tape on top and the one with red tape on the bottom in this picture. This is a good example of blades that are not tracked correctly.
Where do you make the necessary corrections to ensure a good track on your R/C Helicopter?
STEP 3: The tracking is adjusted by turning the pitch rods located on the main rotor.
For the blade that’s spinning on the top path (blade with no tape), make the length of the rod longer by half a turn. For the blade that’s spinning on the bottom path (the blade with tape), shorten the length of the pitch rod. Once again, turn the pitch rods one half turn each time. Keep repeating steps two and three until you get it right.
STEP 4: Once the tracking is more closely aligned and you can fly safely, increase the throttle so that the heli starts to lift.
Bring the helicopter to eye level; keep your eyes on it and double check that the blades are perfectly tracked.
This step will let you increase the blades’ speed so you are better able to see if they are aligned. If not, make the necessary corrections as mentioned in the previous steps.
Now that you have your helicopter tracked you can go ahead and practice some hovers, flips, or whatever you enjoy doing with your heli. Once again, it might be difficult to tell if your blades are misaligned if you have never diagnosed this problem before. But trust me, you will get it!