HeliBags® - Custom Bags for RC Helicopters
HeliBags® - Custom Bags for RC Helicopters
HeliBags® - Designed from the skids up to protect your helicopter from everything, except dumb thumbs!
HeliBags® - Designed from the skids up to protect your helicopter from everything, except dumb thumbs! Read more
"[Helibags®] are very well made. I was surprised by how rigid the bags are when assembled, so they will provide plenty of protection to the model. A pair of internal straps is attached to the base, so you can secure the model and there is plenty of headroom to leave the rotor blades attached should you wish." - Jon Tanner, Editor MHW
I have a real passion for helicopters of all shapes and sizes and have been flying (and crashing!) Remote Control helicopters for nearly 10 years now. I've seen huge changes in this industry, from nitro helicopters being the popular choice to the new breed of flybarless electrics. In the last year I've got more involved with this hobby than ever and my collection of helicopters has grown.
I wanted to make getting from home to the flying field and storing my helicopters in the off season (that's 11 months of the year here in the UK!) as easy as possible. When you’re spending hundreds or even thousands of pounds on your remote control helicopter you want to make sure that when it’s not in the air, it’s safe and secure. So I looked around for cases and bags and was surprised to find that there was little to choose from. The bags that I did find were, in my opinion, not good value for money and had not had any real time or attention paid to their design or aesthetics.
So I started to sketch out some ideas with the aim of designing a bag for Remote Control Helicopters that was not only designed and built well, but also fulfilled certain key criteria.
Create bags for the three major size catagories, 450, 50/600 and 90/700 that:
- Can accommodate both flybared and flybarless helicopters without modification of their setup.
- Can secure the helicopter inside the bag to reduce movement and enable the bags to be hung from the front end for storage and transportation.
- Have rigid padded walls that will protect the helicopter while giving the bags structure.
- Have a built in blade caddy.
- Have dedicated spaces (pockets and/or inner bags) for batteries and accessories.
- Can easily fold down to reduce size for postage.
- Are made using high grade materials to ensure durability and strength.
I found a fantastic design team based in London to help me turn my sketches into professional designs. This enabled me to discuss my ideas with some great designers (Mac and Amelia) who could validate my ideas and help turn them into working prototypes.
Over a period of more than 6 months, we came up with a number of different designs and, using a manufacturer that Mac had been using for many years, prototyped the major changes to see what worked and what didn’t. By improving upon each one we ended up with the design we have today that fulfils all my original criteria.
The Skid Pockets were to stop the helicopter from being able to slide backwards in the bag and was taken from the way in which I used to hang my helicopters on the picture rail. This was a great example of an idea that didn't work once we prototyped it. It was far too fiddly and would have been difficult to make work for a wide range of helicopters.
The Skid Pocket evolved into an adjustable front strap that loops round the skids and a top strap that loops over the canopy. This is much less fiddly and, once clipped in, the helicopter hardly moves at all. This also fulfilled the criteria of being able to hang the bag from the front end.
One of the key considerations when designing the bags for the 50/600 and 90/700 helicopters was the size, and more importantly the length of the bag. One of the criteria for all our bags was that they should have rigid, padded walls. So we had to come up with a design that gave maximum protection but that also wasn't going to cost a fortune to ship internationally. We've designed the two larger bags so that they fold almost in half but still maintain their rigidity when unpacked. All the current prototypes come in at under 1 meter on the longest side when packaged. This means that when we do finally get the bags into production, international shipping will be almost half the cost compared to if they didn't fold up. We want to make the shipping as fair as possible so we've created pledges for different international regions. We think this is best way of doing it as it means that if you order from Europe you don't pay the same shipping as someone in Australia. The other option we’re giving international backers is to either collect or sort out their own shipping. We think we've got some great rates but if you think you can get it shipped for less feel free to pledge UK amounts. We’ll contact you once the project is successfully backed so that you can arrange for a courier to collect your bag once it's available.
We looked at all the key requirements for a good helicopter bag and developed some innovative ways of keeping a helicopters safe, including internal straps and rigid padded walls. What we have ended up with is a bag that not only functions well and looks good, but that's also exceptionally well made.
We started with the design for the largest bags as we knew these would be the most challenging. Once we had a working prototype of the 90/700 and 50/600 we moved on to the 450 which didn't require the design to fold up as it was already under a meter in length.
Now we need your support!
This project has taken over the last year of my life and has developed from an idea all the way to functioning prototypes that I'm really proud of and I want to share it with all the other RC helicopter pilots out there.
We've now got to the point where we have working prototypes of each size bag and we're ready to take this to the next stage. In order to do that we need your help. To get the bags into production we need working capital of at least £80,000, a figure we just can't get to without the help of Kickstarters like you.
So that we can be competitive with big names in this industry, we need to order the fabrics and other materials in large quantities and to do that we need your pledges.
One thing that is true within this hobby and in life in general is that you get what you pay for. Throughout this process I've been adamant that the quality of the product must come first otherwise there would be little point in continuing and I may as well go out and buy one of the bags already on the market.
To ensure that the quality is maintained once the bags go into mass production we've had all of our prototypes made in-house by the same factory that will handle the volume production. The manufacturer that we've chosen is not only ISO 9001 certified but has been making bags for over 15 years for the likes of the British Ministry of Defence and some other very big name brands. They can handle the volume that we need and some. When the project is funded and production starts I will be at the factory ensuring that the first run meets my exacting standards and I'll be updating you all the way with plenty of photos and videos. Once the first run is done and they're safely in the UK they'll be shipped out to all our awesome Kickstarters.
We're creating all size bags in a limited edition black that's going to be exclusively to our Kickstarter Backers, it won't be available to anyone once the project is funded so everyone will know you were one of our valued backers.
The current prototypes have the following internal dimensions (LxWxH):
HeliBag™ 450 - 670 x 105 x 230 mm
HeliBag™ 50/600 - 1250 x 235 x 400 mm
HeliBag™ 90/700 - 1420 x 235 x 440 mm
We have done our best to ensure that the majority of helicopters in a size category fit inside the corresponding HeliBag™ but there will always be exceptions. It is therefore a good idea to measure your helicopter before you choose your bag. Please also be aware that some manufacturers manuals only list the air frame dimensions (without the canopy). If there is a helicopter that you don't think will fit, let us know and we'll see what we can do.
Risks and challenges
The biggest challenge we face is keeping the cost down without compromising on quality. In order to do that we need to raise at least £80,000. This will allow us to order materials in large enough quantities to compete on price with some of the big names in the industry. This will mean that we'll have a very competitive price point but a considerably higher quality bag.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (40 days)