So we have been flying APM for about two years on fixed wing and mapped a lot of ground: http://deaconeye.blogspot.com/ Started with APM on multi's as well and been using Pixhawk for about 4-5 months with good success. We want to move towards a traditional heli since we fly from some islands that have no landing spots and multi's have limited times. So we want to end up with a large gas heli but we have no heli experience. So what is a good path to get there? Should we just get a Blade 600X kit, build it and fly it for a while then start the move to something larger (gas). We want to end up with 1.5 to 2 hrs flight time i.e. http://www.bergenrc.com/ObserverTwin.php Is this just really out of the question right now unless you are already entrenched in heli's? Just looking for advice so we do't waste a lot of time and money.
Hi, sorry I didn't respond sooner to this.
My recommendation would be to get a Trex500 to start learning helicopters. Helicopters with Arducopter are just as easy to control and fly as a multicopter, but it's the build and setup and tuning that are problems. But if you can get over that hurdle, they do offer interesting options compared to a multicopter.
Currently, a gas powered helicopter is the only way you're going to fly over an hour with a real payload, in real flight weather conditions, while landing in a restricted space with unprepared surface.
I am currently building up an 800 size gas helicopter as a first attempt at using Arducopter with a gasser. FWIW, I'm not a fan of Bergen mechanics.