I hear people regularly saying how walkera heli's are such poor quality and shouldn t be bought. I have bought several Walkera Helis among others and here is my advise to anyone interested in getting into flying heli's for the first time or advancing to something bigger.
Walkera helis have the big advantage of being fairly CHEAP to buy and spare parts are readily available from many sellers on ebay. Providing you buy the right model for you flying capability, they represent very good value for money. Buy the wrong one and at best you'll be left with a pile of bits or at worst you'll be looking for some plastic surgery. It is imortant to note that you should seek help from a flying club if you are a complete beginner and at the very least become a member of the BMFA, which will give you liability insurance. I would'nt say that Walkera helicopters break any easyer than any others (because heli's tend to break easy), but the electronics and servo's are not always the most reliable with the Walkera.
1) Buy a X rotation XRB type heli as a starting point. Something like the esky Lama2, Walkera dragonfly 5 or dragonfly 53 as they come ready to fly and are of simple construction. These little helis can be easily flown indoors with a bit of space and because they have counter rotating blades they have no tail blades and are very stable and easy to fly. However if they are flown outside it must be dead calm because they cannot cope with any wind at all.
2) Practice with these and gain experience with orientation/directional controls and maintaining a steady hover. As you will find out when the heli faces towards you the orientation of left and righ movement reverses and this can be somewhat confusing.
3) Once you can fly one of these with confidence you might like to move on to something more challenging.
INTERMEDIATE / BEGINNER
1) You might want to consider a 4 channel fixed pitch heli next. Somthing like the Ripmax Sabre or Walkera dragonfly 4 or perhaps the esky Honey bee2. These have fixed pitch on both main rotor and tail rotor and control is maintained varying the speed of the rotors. They are an excellent starting point to learn to fly.
These helis perform more like a real heli do and can be flown outdoors in calm conditions, but with one main disadvantage. In order to decend, the rotor has to be slowed down. This can cause somewhat of an instability and unless decent is carried out slowly and rotor speed maintained, control of your heli can be lost. Also the slower the rotor speed the slower the responsiveness of the controls.
2) Practice doing circuits, elevating and decending with complete control and maintaining the hover. also practice side slipping and backwards flying being careful to maintain a constant rotor speed. Try not to be tempted to pull the throttle back too rapidly as they will drop like a stone and as good as they bounce they are quite fragile.
Ok if your fairly confident of heli control but want to hone your skills some more before you buy that nice expensive T-rex that you've been saving up for the last few years. You might want to consider the Walkera 36 or 60 models. A lot of people have commented that these helis are cheap and nasty and well, they are! BUT that is good, because when you crash them(and you will) it wont feel like you've just lost your soul to the devil if you know what I mean AND the spares are readily available from many traders on ebay, PLUS are very cheap.(You will, like me become very good at repairing them and this gives you good knowledge of how these little machines work). Be careful to only fly in large open spaces, not near pets, family members or the neighbours green house as this can have a negative effect on your popularity!
Please note that collective pitch helicopters have rotor blades that spin at up to 2500 rpm. Any contact with these rotating blades can cause serious injury. It is very importand to exercise common sense when flying. Remember you should take out insurance when flying these in a public space.
This is a good all round learning machine of reasonable quality for the money and comes fully assembled (RTF) with radio gear. It has a full collective pitch rotor head, tail rotor which is belt driven(like the trex) and free spinning rotor for unpowered landings. You should however be very careful though when you buy this heli because the basic package (which can be bought for around £90) only comes with a 370 brushed motor and a 650 Ma/h 12v battery. Belive me I have tried to fly one of these with this setup with the following result :-
(1)....the motor only generates enough power just to get off the ground and do basic hovering.
(2)... the battery only lasts long enough to see the heli hurtle into next doors pond because the battery has expired (about 2-6 mins of real flight). Many people have bought this very basic model only to crash it and lose interest because of that.
My advise is to buy the upgraded version with brushless motor and 1800Ma/h Lithium battery. This setup will give you plenty of power and 15-20 mins of flying time. Because the brushless motor has more power the heli will be more stable in flight. Be aware though that the walkera 180 brushless motor can get very hot through repeated use, so it's important to let it cool in between flights or you could burn it out.
The Walkera dragonfly 60 is much the same as the 36 but has an aluminium body which is stronger and more rigid plus looks rather cool. Also the 60 has a CCPM rotor system which is a more simple and precise way that the servo's move the fly bar and blades to manipulate directional control of the heli.
Check out the Video Of my Walker 36. It shows what can be done with one in your own back garden with a little practice. Paste the link below into your address browser bar. This guide won't let me link directly to it.
If anyone wants to use this link to promote the sale of their 36, please do so.
The gyro on the 36 and 60 comes pre set and is fairly basic, it may however require slight adjustment to its sensitivity. If it's not sensitive enough it will pitch around on the throttle/collective stick, not hold the tail firm and be difficult to hover straight. Too sensitive and the tail will wag just like a dog. There is a small pot on the side of the Gyro that can be adjusted with a very small screwdriver. Also The Walkera Gyro's have a little switch that says AVCS. This is just a heading lock switch and with AVCS switch on will lock the tail more securely for hovering.
All of the walker servo's that I have seen on the 35/36 are at best just about acceptable but certainly not good and can be unreliable. It is worthwhile upgrading to tower pro 9g servo's at a fairly small cost. Nothing is worse than hovering at 30feet when a servo jams or fails.
It is possible to upgrade the 60 and 36 to full metal rotor heads, though its worth knowing that the upgrade kits for the rotor heads are different for the 60 and 36. Also the tail rotor can be upgraded to metal and are both the same for 60/36 as they both have a 12mm boom(same as T-rex). Having metal moving parts make control more stable and precise. Personally though I Think the money might be better spent towards that nice T-rex 450SE complete with shiney metal parts.(Looooovely)
Finally dont expect the 60/36 to fly perfectly out of the box. some setting up may be required especially with the rotor speed/ pitch mixing controls. It is important that the rotor speed and pitch settings are within acceptable parameters. The manual explains about how the two little twisty knobs on the transmitter alters the "pit" mixing.
One final piece of advise with the 60/36
Buy the version with brushless motor fitted and use a Lithium battery of 1800-2000Ma/h capacity if you want better performance. You can buy these packages for around £150-£200 plus postage(UK), and they are worth the extra cost. Belive me!
Happy and safe Flying, dont forget those spinning blades hurt! BE SAFE!!!