1. Try to keep the weight of the model as low as possible.
2. Keep the wiring as short and as thick as realistically possible to reduce any voltage drop, the connectors are VERY important so don’t skimp on these, get good quality ones designed for the current range you are using.
3. Make sure all your soldering joints are done properly and the solder has flowed cleanly over the joint, it is easy to overlook this very important area. Poor joints can be harder to detect than you may think.
4. Make sure the model feels comfortable and stable in the air, as energy will be wasted if you are continually fighting the model trying to keep it under control.
5. Make use of the BEC feature on your speed controller, and eliminate the need for a separate receiver battery to save weight.
6. For better duration use asymmetrical blades, these give more lift for less power than symmetrical ones.
7. Keep the motor and other electronics as cool running as possible. Excess heat is wasted energy!
8. Experiment with gear ratios. I was surprised at the difference just one tooth difference on the motor pinion could make, at one point I gained 10% extra duration just by tweaking this.
9. Look to reduce vibration if you have any. Even though this will probably only make a small difference, it is still a difference in your favour. Excess vibration is wasted energy.
10. Fly light circuits or hover into the wind for improved duration.
11. Make sure the model and the head are properly balanced. (See 9, vibration).
12. If you don’t have a brushless motor then seriously think about getting one, these are very efficient and are well worth the money as they will improve the performance all round.
13. Make sure all of the drive chain is running smoothly and freely, and the gears are not binding or damaged to avoid wasting energy here.
14. Make sure none of your servos are binding, as this will also waste energy unnecessarily.
15. Select your battery pack carefully for the type of performance you are trying to achieve, and remember, if you use Li-Ion batteries, flight times will increase but performance could be compromised, also Li-Ion batteries need to be treated with care and respect. If you over charge them, over discharge them, discharge them with excessive currents, or allow them to get too hot you are asking for trouble! This could permanently damage your battery pack, and leave it in a dangerous state! Li-Po batteries suffer from the same issues too, and although some of the newer ‘High Current’ ones can produce quite a sparkling flight performance from your model, they will still need to treated with respect.
At the end of the day have fun, that’s what its all about, and if you use the tips above as a general guide you should be able to keep your chopper up for longer.
If anyone has any additional tips (electric helicopter related) that they would like to add, please feel free to email them to me at: email@example.com and I will post them up on the site for everyone to share.