Get to Know "CURTIS YOUNGBLOOD"
Curtis Youngblood is known to be the father of modern 3D flight. In the RC world, his name is synonymous with Model Helicopter flying excellence, experience and success.
Having won the World Championships 3 times, the US Nationals 18 times and an accomplished 3D pilot who has won numerous awards in that field, he started his flying career with a “Livewire Champion” trainer airplane over 26 years ago in Bryan, Texas. He followed that with a Schluter Heliboy helicopter and has never looked back.
To this date, below are his major accomplishments:
World Championships (held every two years)
|1987||1st (Switzerland)||1997||2nd (Poland)|
|1989||3rd (USA)||1999||2nd (Turkey)|
|1991||3rd (Australia)||2001||1st (USA)|
|1993||1st (Austria)||2003||2nd (Japan)|
|1995||2nd (Japan)||2005||5th (Spain)|
U.S. Freestyle Champion (USA) (no longer held)
Gauntlet Champion (USA) (no longer held)
European Freestyle Champion (Germany)
International Freestyle Champion (IAM) (Japan) (no longer held)
2002 1st 2004 1st
2003 2nd 2005 1st
3D Masters (England)
2002 1st 2004 1st
2003 5th 2005 2nd
Tournament of Champions (Las Vegas)
R.C. AeroPageant (Japan)
1991 1995 1997 1999 2002
1993 1996 1998 2000
Levens Cup (France)
WHO IS CURTIS YOUNGBLOOD?
Curtis Youngblood is an R/C helicopter pilot, mechanical engineer, and businessman wrapped in one neat, attractive package. He is one of the few R/C helicopter pilot who has succeeded in turning his love of the R/C hobby, flying and designing helicopters, into a profession. A graduate in Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin, Curtis began working as an engineering consultant for several companies around the world in the R/C industry.
Radio Controlled helicopters (RC helicopters) are model aircraft which are distinct from RC airplanes because of the differences in construction, aerodynamics, and flight training. Several basic designs of RC helicopters exist, of which some (such as those with collective pitch) are more maneuverable than others. The more maneuverable designs are often harder to fly, but benefit from greater aerobatic capabilities.
Flying RC helicopters is fast becoming one of the major forms of Radio Control modelling hobby all over the globe since it seems to be one of the more addictive aspects of R/C, and for good reason. Once one gets started with this hobby, one often experiences a feeling of euphoria of flight and a relaxed sensation admiring the nature of flight, and for others, it’s the beginning of an addiction. After the first hover, many often do not want to stop!
One of the best thing that happened to Curtis was when he became one of the consultants with Japan Remote Control Co., Ltd. (est. 1976) as well as being sponsored by “TEAM JR” to be their lead pilot. JR as a company manufactures radio transmitter and receivers for industrial machines, radio-controlled model planes and helicopters etc. It is a technology group with a belief that the use of technological power can run ahead of the era and push forward into a new era.
Over the years, JR have caught the attention of remote control lovers all over the world as they have grown to an enterprise that is rightfully proud of its advanced technology. Steadily, JR gained a high level of trust throughout the radio control hobby industry not only in Japan but an internationally as well. Curtis has worked on the development of several helicopters as well as radio accessories specifically designed for helicopters. As a consultant, his work is to test new products and ideas for the company then give them reports on the tests. In the end it is the the company’s decisions on what is done or not done with all the information submitted. The equipment used by Curtis is in constant change because of all the testing made. Constantly trying to improve is one of the main component of the job that Curtis truly enjoys. While being a great ambassador for JR products Curtis was more than willing to concede that some JR products are in need of improvement. It was his seemingly unbiased opinions and willingness to spend as much time as it took to help anyone no matter what they flew or what their skill level were that really impressed the crowd.
Some of Curtis’ greatest advances in the heli industry are the flybars, autorotation units, thrust bearings in the rotor head and tail rotor, pre-built stable wood blades, single blade axle rotor head, gyros, clutch/fan system that does not take two hours to align, pre-balanced fiberglass/carbon blades, dual tail boom braces, carbon tail blades, CCPM, heading hold gyros and larger displacement engines. Furthermore, Curtis is one of the major pioneers to successfully fly a helicopter backward and inverted as his flying routine. He accomplished it by modifying old mechanical gyros and became the the first and foremost consultant that suggested headlock gyros back in the late 80’s and early 90’s. The gyro literally takes control of the rudder servo, holding a heading (yaw direction) until the pilot gives a command. This kind of gyro really has allowed 3D style flying as we know it now to become popular. Curtis was actually able to perform some 3D maneuvers without a heading hold style gyro but using a “rate” gyro.
The general principle of a rate gyro (sometimes called a rate-of-turn gyro) consists of a spinning rotor mounted in a single gimbal. A gyro mounted in this manner has one degree of freedom; that is, it is free to tilt in only one direction. The rotor in a rate gyro is restrained from precessing by some means, usually a spring arrangement. This is done to limit precession and to return the rotor to a neutral position when there is no angular change taking place. Remember, the amount of precession of a gyro is proportional to the force that causes the precession.
In line with this, computer helicopter radios have many great features that give pilots a large number of options in their setup. Two of these features are the throttle and pitch curves. In most modern radios, these curves are presented as a graph, usually containing five to seven changeable points, with low to high on the X axis and 0 to 100% on the Y axis. The X axis represents the throttle/collective stick position (low being all the way down and high being all the way up). The Y axis represents the output to the servos or ESC (electronic speed control). There are usually separate sets of both throttle and pitch curves for all flight modes. This means that for every flight mode you have enabled on your radio, you will need to set the curves for them.
The JR PCM10X programmable heli radio can be moved through the throttle and pitch curves that give the pilot complete control over how much pitch and how much head speed the rotor should deliver. They are powerful tools that allow dramatic changes to flight characteristics without making a single mechanical adjustment to the helicopter. Curtis have encouraged JR to put in a 5pt and 7pt throttle curve & pitch curve so that the pitch and throttle curve work together to control how much ‘lifting power’ is available at any position of the collective/throttle control stick. The pitch curve controls the main rotor’s collective pitch, and the throttle curve controls the position of the throttle.
Each flight mode has its own settings for the throttle and collective pitch curves, as well as a tail rotor compensation curve (a.k.a. revolution mixing, or anti-torque system). The pitch and throttle curve settings consist of a number of points (typically 3 to 7) which can be set to any given percentage of travel. The throttle and pitch curve menus allow the user to decide how much or how little throttle and pitch the heli will have at a given stick position. In this regard, Curtis proved that the 5pt throttle curve & pitch curve is good for beginners and intermediate, while the 7pt throttle curve & pitch curve is good for beginners right until advanced flyers.
F3C vs. 3D FLYING
A lot of pilots aggressively specializes in any one of the two disciplines whether be FAI or 3D flying. What makes Curtis Youngblood unique is that he is a master of both styles. When you see him fly his heli you’ll be treated to a seamless mixture of pattern aerobatics and stationary tricks that are a marvel to watch yet the two styles complement each other so well. For the beginners who are not aware of the differences between F3C and 3D flying styles, the definitions below are as follows:
F3C is the class defined by the FAI (Fédération Aéronautique Internationale) for model helicopters. F3C is an FAI code name for radio controlled helicopters that meet FAI criteria on power, weight, etc.. F3C flying is a series of hovering and aerobatic maneuvers that are judged by a panel of judges sitting behind the pilot. Emphasis is placed on precision, position and symmetry. In order to do well, the model must fly straight, perform aerobatics accurately, be very stable in the hover and as resilient as possible to wind conditions.
THE VIGOR CS
It was on the late 1990’s that Curtis, in conjunction with JR, came up with the original Vigor helicopter. The Vigor CS is said to be the kit a lot of people have waited patiently for. Its price is very competitive with other machines of it’s caliber, and, in some respects, it is a much better value. It comes with CCPM, carbon frames, carbon fins, aluminum horizontal fin mount and a fiberglass canopy.
The Vigor’s kit comes all nicely packed with the components in separate bags so you build the components in each bag separately then combine them all together. The instruction manual is clear and easy to understand. The first impressive thing about this machine was the enclosed drive pinion. The pinion is supported top and bottom by bearing mounts which makes a great change from both the Ergo 46 and Z230 who only support their pinions at the top. The rigidity of the frame assembly also stood out, you could just feel it as you put it together.
From the time that the original Vigor design was finalized until the time that it was actually manufactured and available, Curtis continued experimenting with changes to the basic Vigor design. JR’s latest version of the Vigor is a carbon copy of what Curtis is flying and is the culmination of all of his tweaking and experimentation on the stock Vigor. Introducing the new “Vigor CS CCPM”. It is known to be “The Machine Curtis flies” because it is at this time that Curtis have won most of the competitions that he joined in.
JR Vigor CS is the only CCPM helicopter with the option of 140° CCPM and the only radio that features 140° CCPM mixing in the early days was the JR PCM10X programmable heli radio. The 140° CCPM mixing configuration for the Vigor CS takes the 120° CCPM concept one step further. That is, instead of placing the ball links at equal 120° intervals, 140° CCPM places the three ball links at the same fore-to-aft distance from the center of the main shaft, thus eliminating any collective to elevator interaction during quick collective inputs. Developed by Curtis, 140° CCPM provides optimum control with equal throws from each servo, eliminating timing differences.
The 140° ccpm swashplate is one of the best CCPM implementations there are. It is faster than the 120° ccpm swashplate because of longer swashplate that can easily flip and can make faster manuevres. The CS can also be configured with 120° CCPM so that non-PCM10x users can fly the CS. Other manufacturers are soon expected to recognize the value of 140° CCPM, and it wouldn’t be surprising if they started offering this option in future versions of their helis and radios too.
Another heli part to which Curtis became known is the torque tube. A torque tube system is like an automobile driveshaft technology, used in cars with a front engine and rear drive. However, when used in a RC heli, the torque tube is found inside the tail boom instead of a rubberized belt to make the tension with the heli stronger. The drive gear that is connected with the rotor blade also causes the end tail rotor blade to move.
Overall, people are awed with this machine. Most of the comments given is that it flies very smooth and it’s amazing. If you try it with the OS 91 combo, it’s very smooth and has enormous amounts of power though it does like to gussel gas (4 litres = 6 flights of about 15-20 mins of flying depending on what you do). According to a heli flyer, burning 4 litres used to be quite a big deal with a little heli, but it’s nothing with this machine!
You can’t get much better than this Curtis Youngblood inspiration if you’re looking for the ultimate in helicopters. Flying another machine just do not have the same appeal, it’s just not that exciting.
CY IN NEW ZEALAND
At one time, a group of six helicopter pilots have worked on bringing Curtis Youngblood to New Zealand. These pilots worked together to share costs to bring Curtis down their part of the world. Having never met Curtis in person before, people were pleased to see that he tells it like it is.
John Knox, one of New Zealand’s top fliers, shared his thoughts regarding the CS. According to Knox, the model was clearly designed from a highly practical perspective. It is certainly the easiest, and most simple, model he has assembled. Key highlights were: a)CCPM was a very simple set up; b)all radio forward of the mast are tidy and no need for extension leads; c)tube drive with constant auto is simple; d)great big fuel tank, excellent clutch and drive mechanism is most robust ever seen, and the simple, practical, main frame layout.
THE JR VIBE
Model helicopter aerobatic maneuvers have evolved over the years to include breathtaking stunts and moves that seemingly defy gravity, known as 3D flying. Curtis is one of the pioneers of the 3D style of flying, and is widely regarded as one of the best helicopter pilots in the world. His quest for perfection, attention to detail, engineering skills and jedi-like control over model copters have lead him and other JR helicopter team members (Scott Grey, Len Sabato and Marty Kuhns) to develop and refine the fantastic JR Vigor CS, culminating in the new JR Vibe.
The new Vibe 90 3D is based on the popular Vigor CS. The Vibe 90 3D kit parts have been redesigned and upgraded along with the redesigned carbon frames and carbon fins. The all-important drive system has received a total upgrade beginning with a larger diameter start shaft that uses a heavy-duty, one-way bearing. The new hardened main shaft, with its heavy-duty auto-rotation assembly and newly supported bevel gear hub has also been modified. The revised control system have an upgraded High Cyclic Swashplate, one-piece CNC 3D center hub with O-ring dampeners, composite blade holders, control arms and a brand new adjustable flybar/blade ratio system.
On the tail, the rotor hub design, hub case, pitch lever, and control lever have all been upgraded, complete with a new carbon tail control rod for improved actuation. Even the new prepainted canopy has been sculpted to reduce drag in all axes, so the model flows through flips, rolls, tumbles and pirouettes easier than ever before.
Curtis himself, have been trying to find the Vibe’s limit and so far, he has not found it. He even tried to fly it as many as 10-12 times a day without having performed much maintenance to keep it flying, therefore proving that the heli is really tough. The Vibe has totally reinvigorated his flying, which is why he love flying it so much.
When ask from a hobby shop regarding the said heli, they said that most of the parts are easy to install. The mechanics and engine are for manual installation, while the gear mesh can be adjusted to suit the performance of the heli.
The successive 3D and precision winnings made by Curtis with this particular heli made all the efforts worthwhile for Curtis and the other JR team in bringing this once-in-a-lifetime toy out in the open because the more you look into the Vibe, the more you’re going to want one. This heli can take an advanced pilot’s best shot and come back for more. (FYI: Many of the drive train parts are directly from the Vibe 90, resulting in an incredibly strong Vibe 50 model that is destined to be JR´s most popular heli ever. The Vibe 50 has been designed to provide outrageous 3D flip rate, yet retain the solid, locked-in flight qualities that have made the Vibe 90 a winner the world over.)
Curtis Youngblood Vibe 90 - Southern Rotary Classic 2008
Great auto-rotation by Curtis Youngblood
Curtis Youngblood Stop Blade - VIBE 90
3DMasters2004FreestyleFinals Curtis Youngblood - VIBE 90
Curtis Youngblood Music 3d Master - VIBE 90
CJ Youngblood Enterprises, Inc.
Having gained enough experience in the field of radio control, Curtis, the world renowned heli flyer opened CJ Youngblood Enterprises, Inc. located in College Station (& Hearne), Texas shortly after 2007, Curtis together with his Dad, Dave Youngblood, began designing and building special hardware and electronics for the helicopter industry. Today, the company is one of the most recognized suppliers of high end RC Heli products and accessories for the RC helicopter industry. The underlying thrust of the company is based on keeping a keen eye on the needs of the industry by designing equipments to fit the needs and to fix the current problems of the heli hobby industry.
Just like when there is a need in the new larger size engines for a more powerful muffler than what was being offered, Curtis came up with the Muscle Pipe muffler which increases the power of the heli engine. Muscle Pipe II is unmistakable in design and innovation where Curtis came up with a design that gave the power boost of the more traditional looking MP1, but would not have the coupler and mounting issues of the MP1 and some of the soft mount mufflers with “O”-rings. He also designed smaller MP2 pipes for the 30, 50 and 60/70 size engines. Along with these was a “soft-mount” version of the MP2 80/90 pipe for people who really prefer a soft mounted muffler. Whatever he designed, Curtis likes to look at what is needed and what is already out there. What matters is not what it is, but how well it’s done!
Now, CJ Youngblood Enterprises, Inc. currently makes and or distributes everything from exhaust pipes to governors. The Youngblood branded products have now been regarded as one of the highest quality and best developed RC Heli accessories in the industry, known for its unrelenting passion for excellence to ensure the highest standards of performance and durability. CJ Youngblood Enterprises is divided into two divisions - the Next D Designs which handles the helicopters, while the Radix Division takes care from accessories, electronics, fuel, main & tail blades to stubz paddles.
NEXT D RAVE 450
In the culmination of all his works and expertise, Curtis and the Next D Designs (a CJ Youngblood Ent. Division), came up with the new Rave 450 sized electric helicopter. When it appeared on the market, it was very impressive and it was claimed to be the world’s fastest R/C chopper. This revolutionary 450 size helicopter features an all metal head, high quality parts, carbon fiber U-frame design, and tube driven tail. The Rave 450 can run either 325mm or 350mm main blades in its stock form.
The manual is clear and concise, easy to read. This is one of the best assembly manuals that is seen with even some actual photographs of the model which is a work of art in itself. The manual is amazing and it’s full color with full pages and multiple angles of pics for each step that takes you from unpacking the model all the way to blade tracking and everything in between in great detail.
To some heli flyers, the Rave is so much better than any other 450 out there right now. Every person that has sworn off 450s and gone bigger that has flown the new Rave has been very impressed. To them, the technology alone that Curtis packed into the little bird is incredible and it really does fly more like a .30+ series nitro than a 450 electric.
Visibility of this helicopter is outstanding. It’s large canopy allowed you to fly this machine “big sky” style. A definite plus for older pilots with eyes that don’t work that great anymore.
The Next-D Rave truly has set a new standard, like the iPhone did for cell phones, pushing the RC heli industry to make higher quality better flying 450 size helicopters. Many of the competing manufacturers have released new helicopters to directly compete with the Rave and have even lowered their prices to make buying their products more attractive as well. Both of these are great things for buyers and enthusiast. The easy build, great value and stable flying characteristic make this a phenomenal model.
Russ Deakin, editorial assistant to Model Helicopter World magazine was quoted saying, “My initial inspiration came from Curtis Youngblood with his performance at Sandown park model symposium and via his videos. At that time, I thought helicopters could only hover and fly around a little, with the occasional loop and roll thrown in. Curtis certainly blew my concept of model helicopters away and I have always found the precision of his 3-D flying to be totally awe inspiring.”
Curtis will represent the USA in the 2009 RC Helicopter World Championships to be held in Muncie, Indiana on August 2 - 11, 2009 with an electric conversion JR Vibe helicopter. Curtis’ current sponsors are: JR Radio, Next D helis, Radix blades, Blurr Batteries, MiniG gyros, and PowerHelis.com. The future may hold many unknowns, but whatever challenges and adventures are placed before Curtis, he will continue to pursue a career in this hobby he loves and there will never be anyone like him!
3D Masters Curtis Youngblood 2007 freestyle finals - VIBE 90
3DMasters2003 Curtis Youngblood - VIGOR