Cost: > $5
Time: ~ 5 mins.
Tools Required: CA (superglue), hex driver, loctite, scale (optional)
Parts Needed: Nuts or wheel collets
Difficulty Level: Super easy
Many RC helicopters, especially the smaller micro, mini and 450 sized ones can be a little sensitive and hard to control, especially in windy conditions.
Enter flybar weights.
Adding flybar weights to your RC heli helps to create a heavier rotating mass on the flybar which slows down cyclic response and the sensitivity of your helicopter.
Flybar weights also help keep your heli more stable and can make hovering a lot less difficult, especially if there’s a breeze and you’re in the learning stages of flight.
Flybar weights are generally attached to the flybar on the outermost edge right next to the paddle, though they can be anywhere along its axis. The farther out they are, the more they slow cyclic response. The more you move them in (closer to the center) the less of an effect they’ll have and the more responsive your heli will be.
Obviously, slow cyclic response and hard core 3D flying don’t go together well, so if you’re in to 3D you probably don’t want to use flybar weights at all – you want your heli as fast and responsive as possible and slower cyclic response and 3D style moves can = crash.
How much weight should you add?
It depends on the size of your helicopter and your personal preferences, but here are some guidelines.
On my Trex 450, I like the way 2g per side feels, though if you’re just learning to hover, you may want to bump that up to 4g’s per side. On heli’s smaller than a 450, they usually come with some kind of flybar weights in the kit, but incase they don’t anywhere from 1 to 4 grams could suffice.
On a larger 500 or 600 sized helicopter, you really need to get up to the 5g or 6g range to really make much of a difference – though most people that fly this size of heli don’t use flybar weights as the helicopters are inherently more stable than their smaller predecessors. (It helps if you have a scale available to adjust the weight.)
However, that being said, the larger the RC helicopter is, the easier it is to learn on, so adding some flybar weights will help to shorten the learning curve especially when learning hovering orientations.
The goal you want to achieve is to keep up a reasonable level of responsiveness but also dramatically increase stability.
If you want to experiment a little, you can slid them inwards or add less / more weight. If it’s too sensitive when you reduce the weight to more them in, you might want to try adding a little expo to soften the sticks around the center. Start with 25% or 30% and adjust from there until you get the feel you like.
Also, it’s common sense, but make sure you add the same amount of weight to each side of the flybar and place it the same distance from the paddle. If the weight or position is off balance, it can casue the head to be unbalanced and will cause a sever vibration that can make flying very difficult and cause a crash – not to mention it’s bad for your RC helicopter.
How Do You Make Your Own Flybar Weights?
It’s not really that difficult. Actually it is one of the easiest modifications you can do to your heli…
When I went looking for flybar weights, there were a couple of choices:
1. You can buy them online at a cost of $15 – $25 (including shipping) or…
2. You can make your own.
Since I wasn’t even sure if I would like the way they made my heli feel and I enjoy ‘do it yourself’ projects, I opted to make my own. Plus, I didn’t really want to shell ~$20 and wait a couple of weeks to get them, especially when I could make them in under 5 minutes with things I had around the house.
So how do you make flybar weights?
Since flybar weights by definition are weights that are on the flybar, anything that’s got a round hole in it and weighs something could be used as a flybar weight. Here’s what I used:
The first time around, I simply used a bunch of nuts I had in the garage, super glued them together and stuck them on the flybar near the paddle. All that was needed was a dab of CA to hold them in place and I had myself a pair of flybar weights.
It looked a bit rough around the edges, but served the purpose well enough. It also gave me the opportunity to try them out and see if I liked them.
- OR -
If you’re near a hobby store, you can simply pick up a pack of wheel collets. Wheel collets are simply round brass collars used to hold under carriage wheels on planes in place. They’ll run you $2 – $5 and come with a set screw you can use to attach the collets to the flybar so they can easily be removed at a later date. Just make sure you buy the right size and that they’re on tight – if there’s any play, add a drop of CA to secure them in place. Also be sure to loctite the set screws.
That’s it! I told you it was easy
If your RC helicopter is too sensitive and jumping all over the place, or you’re learning to hover but can’t hold your heli still, you may want to consider using flybar weights. They’re easy to make and will dramatically increase the stability of your RC heli.
By the way, if after making your own flybar weights you find you like them, then you may want to consider purchasing a commercially available set. They’ll look a little nicer and are generally more streamlined for smoother flight characteristics.Have a question about this article or anything else RC Heli related? Ask it in our brand new RC Helicopter Forum and you'll get expert answers quick.
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