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Gyro thoughts-

         Heading hold (HH) or not?  These days just about everyone is flying with a HH gyro.  I canít imagine too many reasons why anyone would not want to use.  It eliminates the need for revolution (tail) mixing curves and also keeps the heli from weathervaning into the wind.  Also, just about all HH gyros enable you to fly in standard mode if you wish, which can be beneficial during the learning phase to help you learn to control the tail.  The bottom line- spend your money now on a good HH gyro so you wonít have to upgrade later.  Its cheaper to spend $200 now on a good gyro now than it is to spend $60 on a cheap one now and then buy the $200 one later, isnít it?

         Brand loyalty?  Ok, so you have a JR radio, you should buy a JR gyro, right?  Wrong!  Today all manufacturers are using the same wiring pattern with slightly different connectors.  Everything is compatible or will be after some very minor trimming of connectors.  Therefore- buy the gyro that you think will be the best and easiest to get help with, regardless of what brand of equipment you already own.
        As far as I am concerned, Futaba dominates the market at this time (early 2003).  Their second generation of HH gyros is the least expensive, smallest, easiest to setup, and best flying gyro on the market.

Buy overseas or not?  This all depends how much you want to support the US distributors and if you want more convenient US warranty service.  Anything bought overseas will have to go to Japan for service.
 
FUTABA GYROS Comments
GY 401 / S9253 digital servo Superb choice for about 95% of todayís pilots.  Street price $185 WITH servo.  (up to $249 at some local vendors, you decide)  This servo represents a new way of thinking about tail control, with its low torque and ultra fast speed.  Excellent gyro, small size, great performance, a winner.
GY601 / S9251 servo Futabaís current flagship gyro.  Utilizes separate sensor and control amp with LCD display for parameter adjustment.  Servo is aluminum cased to dissipate heat and can ONLY be used with this gyro.  Expensive ($350), but supposed to be the best gyro on the market.
GY502 / S9253 servo In between the 401 and the 601, the 502 is basically a 401 with more adjustability.  Uses separate control amp and sensor compared to the 401ís single sensor/control.  Cost benefit analysis compared to 401 depends on whether you think you really need the extra adjustments.  Nice gyro
GY240 My opinion-  why not just get a 401?
Gy501/S9205 analog servo Futaba's first Heading Hold gyro.  Physically larger than the newer ones but still an excellent unit.  I am still using this gyro/servo combo on my raptor and it works well. 
Gy501/S9253 digital servo With the newer digital servo, and set on high frame rate, this combo works quite well.  I am using it on my XCell SE. 
JR GYROS
G6000T/8700G JRís brand new replacement for the botched g5000t.  I canít tell you much about this since few people have them.  Expensive- more than the GY601.  It does not give you an LCD display.  If it holds well, then it should be a nice gyro.  Conclusion- don't be a Beta tester for JR!
All other current JR's...  No locals have these, everyone has Futaba.  Supposed to be decent units, but I don't have personal experience. 
CSM Gyros
CSM 540 Back in the mid to late 90ís this was a good HH gyro.  Its predecessor was the CSM 360.  This model was supposed to fix drift problems that the 360 had.  It had an optional computer interface for those pilots lucky enough to have a laptop at the field to change settings.  Seems that some units are good, others suffer from a constant tail nodding and other problems.  Conclusion- older technology, there are much better alternatives today.
CSM 400 Newer model to compete with GY401.  Street price $170.  Larger size than most other newer gyros gives fewer mounting options.  I have not heard any flight reports.
CSM 560 I was able to try one of these in Jim's Fury Extreme.  This is the first gyro I have seen or used that will do a constant rate pirouette in forward flight.  Way to go CSM! Good servo options with this unit also.  
Telebee 701 Hot in early 2001 for its low cost and decent performance.  Modelers discovered that it really appeared to be a CSM 360 copy.  Conclusion- Had its moment in the spotlight, but not a player today.

 

email me:  jbond007 at lycos.com