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How to get started in RC heliopters part II

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  • How to get started in RC heliopters part II

    Question: When do I know how to move to the next phase of flight?

    Answer: Unless you like wrenching and buying parts, I suggest you wait until you're proficient in hovering in at LEAST 3 orientations. Hovering Tail towards you, and hovering with the tail pointed left and tail pointed right.

    Question: Why can't I just do forward flight now?

    Answer: Because at some point, the helicopter WILL be facing you. Starting at you. Hovering with the nose facing you is intimidating and takes some practice. Because an airplane is constantly moving forward, flying towards yourself is far more natural. With a helicopter, in order for it to continue moving forward, you need to continue pushing forward on the cyclic stick.

    Question: How do I learn to hover "nose in"?

    Answer: After you're comfortable with the first 3 hovering orientations, take the helicopter to a reasonable height (about 15 to 20 feet in the air) and hover in one of your comfortable orientations. With the left stick, yaw the helicopter around so the nose is facing you. Only hold it there for a few seconds, and continue the yaw until the tail is pointing at you again. Continue practicing this, and you can increase the amount of time you hold the model "nose in" Practice, practice, practice. Simulator practice is invaluable, and the more time you put into practicing, the better pilot you will eventually become.

    Question: Now I'm pretty comfortable with "nose in", what next?

    Answer: I suggest flying "lazy 8's" Fly the model at a height of 15 to 20 feet high (too low and you won't have time to react if you become disoriented, too high, and you will have difficulty seeing the orientation of the model) in a figure of 8 shape (imagine looking down from above the model). Take a look at the image of the lazy 8. Practice flying the lazy 8 in both directions. As you become more and more confident, you can stand up the "8" (see the picture labeled "stand up 8") You'll notice that in the "stood up 8" the helicopter will be spending a lot more time flying back towards yourself.

    Remember, before you start to practice forward flight and lazy 8's, have a plan for what you're going to do if you get confused. My recommendation is to yaw around to "tail towards you" and back up the helicopter into a nice comfortable "tail in" hover. Regain your composure, and try again!

    Stay tuned for part III

  • #2
    Thanks for posting this Brian! This will be a big help to those just getting into helis. Have you considered doing something similar on setting up CP helis? I know that is one of the major hurdles for pilots transitioning from a fixed pitched or preprogrammed heli, to a do-it-yourself machine like a goblin or Trex. On another note, I would love to see you guys do a lineup of scale helis similar to what you have done with warbirds. Currently, Roban is just about the only company doing scale machines and fuselages, and their prices are high, and parts difficult to come by..