This blog post is based on our latest monthly article for a national pulp and paper publication.
The year was 2004 and I was still somewhat new to the world of radio-controlled helicopters. I spent many hours perusing websites, forums, and online articles about various flying machines. Although much of my time was centered on small consumer aircraft, I couldn’t refrain from being interested in one of the most impressive of all radio-controlled helicopters…the Yamaha RMAX.
The Yamaha RMAX was originally developed in 1997 for aerial agricultural spraying. It is powered by a water-cooled 2-stroke engine and has a flight duration of around 1 hour. The RMAX weighs just over 200lbs depending on payload configuration.
The RMAX was much larger and seemingly more sophisticated than our typical Sunday afternoon flyers. However, a closer looked revealed it had similar components…only upscaled.
Louisiana Helicam primarily used glow-fueled helicopters for the first several years. Lithium polymer technology wasn’t far enough along to be considered a viable option at that time and I was really impressed with the RMAX’s duration when teamed with gasoline powered engines. My continued research into the Yamaha RMAX eventually led me to make the switch from glow-fueled aircraft to gasoline powered aircraft, which were used until electric power became a more convenient option.
My first gas-powered helicopter had a 23cc engine. The engine utilized a pull rope rather than a 12v starter. The machine was reliable, efficient, and had an average flight duration of around 20 minutes.
As of 2015, the RMAX had conducted over 2 million combined flight hours since its first launch. The FAA added the RMAX to its list of approved UAS during that year. They are commonly used for spraying, seeding, remote sensing, precision agriculture, frost mitigation and variable rate dispersal.
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