For the last several months I've been trying to find a new hobby that is totally different than anything else I've been interested in. Like any geek I always find myself dinking around on my laptop at night so it makes me wonder what I'm doing with my brain looking at a computer screen all day. Thankfully I do enjoy another hobby with music and playing my trumpet in a local jazz band. It fills a specific kind of a void but I wanted to have something new to try.

My dad recently told me he decided to get radio controlled flying and had gotten a couple of helicopters and a simple plane from a hobby store in Topeka, Kansas. After talking to him it suddenly triggered childhood memories of going to RC airplane shows and wanting to get into the hobby at some point. After being so involved with band and computers for so long I had forgotten that dream ... *until now*.

A few weeks ago I decided to buy a coaxial helicopter from a local hobby store Trump Hobbies. Its a Blade mCX2 and cost around $135 which includes a controller and batteries. It's a really easy micro-helicopter to fly around the apartment and was the catalyst for me getting re-interested in RC. I eventually bought a new carbon fiber tail fin to make it perform better but I knew I could have more fun.

About two weeks later I decided to "upgrade" to a single-rotor helicopter and get something bigger as well. I ended up getting the Blade 120 SR ($150) which is twice the size as the Blade mCX2. I took it out for a spin and soon discovered how more difficult a single-rotor heli can be. Since the heli was a little too big for me to fly around the apartment (at the time) I decided to get the Blade mSR ($99) the next day which is the same size as the mCX2 but a single-rotor design.

The nice thing about getting the mSR is that it came with a 4-port battery charger with an AC adapter so now I could charge more than one battery at a time. I have enough spare batteries that I can fly the mSR almost definitely (which may or may not be a good thing). I have four 500mAh batteries for the 120 SR which gives me about 45 minutes of fly time.

Blade mCX2, Blade 120 SR, Blade mSR

My heli fleet thus far. (left to right: Blade mCX2, Blade 120 SR, Blade mSR)

That brought my "fleet" up to three aircraft. I've been flying the mSR around the apartment and really starting to get the hang of it. It's also been helping me train for flying the larger 120 SR. I've been trying to make it to a local park after work to get an hour or so of fly time with the 120 SR and mSR. I'm lucky that Oregon is blessed with low winds in the valley generally so I can enjoy these helicopters more. So far I haven't crashed them to the point of having to do major repair on them (knock on wood). I'm really impressed with the durability of the helis, especially the mSR. I'm also impressed with their performance capability. The only problem I've had is losing rotor linkages on the 120 SR but thankfully I have enough spares to make it through a session.

So far Miles (my cat) has enjoyed watching me fly the helis around the apartment but he doesn't like it when I try flying closely around him. Imagine that! Anyways, I'll try blogging about this new found hobby of mine when I can. I've already made a wish list which includes several airplanes and a better transmitter. This new hobby is certainly a nice escape from work.


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