RC Helicopter History - 1978

January 78

HB Stamo 61 engines

Advert notes the new engine that had been brought out a few months earlier in 1977 for the Graupner Bell 212 (original on the right, new model in the centre); this was the first upgrade in the five years the model had been in production which shows how good the initial design had been.

February 78

First indication in the UK of the range of American RC Inc Revolution models; additionally noted in the "second hand" area of the Dave Nieman advert a Hirobo Gazelle though no mention of any other of the Hirobo range which had grown at this point to quite a few models.

March 78


Though originally brought out in the USA in 1976 it took two years before they were imported into the UK; mind you it took the fact that they produced the first Flybarless helicopter to give them an appeal.   

April 78

UK model shops.  Statement of intent for the new British helicopter association.

Kavan advert and NOTE - Alouette II available as an ARF with Irvine 40 engine......  The first helicopter ARF???

Morley Bell 47G upgraded to 1/7th scale for 60 size engines.

Schlüter Bell_222 review  -  Building and flying review by Tony Bray of the 'trainer' version; soon to be remarketed as the Heli-Boy.

May 78

General Schlüter advert noting the Bell_222 buying option.

USA first west coast championship 

Mike Mas winner of this first event and note the line up with lots of Revolution helicopters.   

June 78

 Sandown and Sywell report

MFA Hughes 500D presented but only information was that it was for 40 size engines and jointly developed by MFA and Jim Morley, unfortunately it was to be nearly a year before production would begin.

 Agusta A109 Hirundo

A Dave Nieman scale fuselage kit on sale at Sandown; most mechanics of the time for 60 engines would fit as most of them were roughly the same size.

Graupner still with their limited range however, that was to change in the new year.

Roy Sturman on building and flying his OD 'Wallis' Autogyro, Micro-Mold showed an interest and were discussing completion of development and possible kit.

Chopper flying instructions  -  Maurice Tait cover the how's on flying helicopters; again the old 'chestnut' of progressing from hovering to full circuits and approaches without any intermediate steps...

July 78

UK Nationals    

Very little info on the UK nationals though comment would suggest it was not well attended by Helicopter fliers.

August 78

Advert for the revolution range however still no firm date for availability; price for Dave Nieman scale fuselage kit of the Agusta A109 Hirundo as noted at Sywell/Sandown..    

September 78

Advert for newly released MM Lark 2-25, the Mk2 version of the original Lark. 

European helicopter championships   

Interesting to note that with the introduction of the collective pitch Heli-Boy and its aerobatic capability, loops and rolls were being considered the norm and the 'k' difficulty factor had to be reduced during the competition because everybody could do it.  In fact, the Heli-Boy took six out of the eight top places.

November 78

Sea King fuselage designed by Chris Garside for 60 size mechanics and could be fitted with retracting undercarriage, etc.

Slough advert indicating that the Revolution 60 "Rigid Rotor" helicopters was then available; quite an expensive machine when compared to the priced of the Schlüter Bell_222.  Another interesting note is the MM Lark "Linnet" fuselage pack and a 40 conversion; not sure if it was an 'official' conversion as the upgrade kit Lark 2-40 did not come out until the following year.  Slough had also introduced a range of fuselages though no indication of model suitability but suspect that they would be of sixty size in order to suit the majority of the available mechanics of the time, all priced the same at £25.

Radio frequencies  -  Information on proposals for new frequency allocations.

  Piasecki YH-16a of Les Holland and Don Perrert; interesting model but no future mention, so what happened.  

December 78

Hirobo JetRanger models for film work.

Dave Nieman advert indicating the imminent arrival of the Lark 2-40 kits and also despite only being in the country a few months he had a second hand revolution 'Rigid Rotor'; perhaps his test machine or just someone who had found that they were difficult to live with?  Also two Hirobo JetRanger model's for film work, though as yet the Hirobo range was not being officially imported in the UK however, Dave had been to Japan and was impressed with the range so had started 'talks'.

Hovering About  -  New regular Bi-monthly helicopter column in RCM&E by the UK helicopter manufacturer Jim Morley, general introduction and nothing too contentious; as yet...

Introduced in 1978

Morley Bell 47G (60)     Micro Mold Lark 2-25    Schlüter Heli-Boy   

Hirobo JetRanger(60)   American RCH Inc Revolution II - Hughes 500D - JetRanger


Overview 78

Another year for model updates with special note being the re-introduction of the 'Flybarless' head mistakenly called 'rigid rotor' and fitted to the Revolution model by American RCH Inc.  I say re-introduced as it had been tried many times in the early years of helicopter development but had been given up as too fast and unpredictable for human control.  The trick had been to fit blades with lead weights in the end which provided the dampening effect required for the system to be controllable but, despite the claims it needed expert setting up if successful flight was to be achieved.  Though noted in the UK just as the Revolution model, it was actually the Revolution II for sixty engines and NOT the original Revolution which was the Heli-Baby clone for forty engines; they also brought out a Hughes 500D based on their Revolution 40 mechanics and a JetRanger based on the Revolution II 60 mechanics.  The Schlüter Bell_222/Heli-Boy pod and boom machine proved the 'must have' model and wins nearly everything at competition level.  After market fuselage bodies now being provided from a number of sources for helicopter versions that manufacturer's have not yet covered such as Westland Lynx, Agusta 109, Sea King, etc