|This hobby is alot of fun but in the beginning it can be very confusing and somewhat
intimidating. Learning to fly RC Helicopters is hard and can take awhile. There is no short cut
to learning to fly. Some ways of learning are easier then others and what worked for one
person might not work for the next. Everyone learns at different speeds and in different ways.
Don't get discouraged if learning to fly seems like an impossible task, Because its Not.
Just know that when you first start learning to fly, You WILL crash, alot!
But everyone does so don't get upset when it happens, plan for it. Buy lots of spares for your
first helicopter because you will most likely destroy it a few times before you finally start to get
the hang of hovering and basic forward flight.
I really feel that the best way to
get started in this hobby is to get
yourself a Flight Simulator. A
Flight Simulator, or sim for short,
is a program that you install on
your computer. You then connect
either a real or specially designed
transmitter to your computer so
that you can learn the basics of
flying, and do so without ever
having to buy any replacement
parts or spend any time fixing
A few sim programs can be
downloaded for free, but to get
the most out of a Flight Simulator
you should look into a high
quality one (that you'll have to
buy). A quality sim can teach you
more then could imagine.
A few Flight Simulators to look
Clearview - rcflightsim.com/
Reflex XTR -
Phoenix R/C -
Aerofly Pro - www.aerofly.com/
Realflight - www.realflight.com
Learning to fly really starts with
learning what stick on the
transmitter does what. The
easiest way to "train your
fingers" is through a sim.
4ch Fixed Pitch Helicopters (FP's) are great beginner helis because they are very simple,
durable and require very little set-up. "Single Rotor" helis fly much differently from "CoAxial"
helis and tend to be much harder to control. Due to the complexity of 6ch Collective Pitch
(CP's) Helicopters, high cost to repair and lengthy set-up times, most choose to start on a FP
because they cheap to buy, cheap to fix and very durable. Learning on a FP can be a
challenge but finding a large indoor area will really help you learn faster. FP's are not good to
try and learn on while outside. Rather until you learn how to fly you will be better off staying
indoors. Afterwards though, FP's can be alot of care-free fun.
There are a few misconceptions about Fixed Pitch helis . First being that they fly differently
from a CP. This is NOT true. The only thing a FP can't do is fly upside down. Other then that
the flight characteristics of FP's are the same as CP's. Another misconception is that you have
to master flying a FP before moving to a CP. Again this is NOT true, FP's are meant as trainers.
Once you understand the basics then you should really look into buying a bigger CP heli. The
biggest misconception is that once someone buys a FP, they will become bored of it quickly.
Most of the time this is not true. Most people who buy a FP will keep it in their fleet of helis
because they are alot of fun to fly (once you learn how to fly).
CP's are really not meant for beginners. Not only are they much more dangerous then Co-axial
and FP helis, they are more expensive to crash and take a fair bit of set up time to make them
fly right. CP's come in sizes from micro indoor ones all the way to really, really big outdoor
ones. A few CP's are sold as RTF Kits (Ready-to-fly) but most are sold as ARTF Kits
RTF's come with everything you need to start flying in one box.
ARTF's come with just the basic heli kit, they usually need assembly, no electronics are
There are advantages to both kits but one thing to know bout RTF Helis is that they will still
need to be checked and set-up prior to flight. Often you will find yourself replacing
components on RTF kits with higher quality parts. Because of this it often makes more sense
to buy an ARTF kit, purchase the electronics you wish to use and build the heli yourself.
|Collective Pitch Helicopters
Choose your Heli. This is where it can get complicated. If you're reading this then most likely
you are new to r/c helis. So Here are my tips for choosing your first heli, following these steps
should help make your choice easier.
- Where are you gonna be flying?
You need to consider this first for various reasons. You can't fly a nitro heli inside (most can't
and don't want too) Also you can't fly a 600 class heli (a rotor span bigger then 4ft) in a garage.
While generally you want the largest heli you have space for, the bigger the heli the more
stable it will be, but bigger = more money to fix when you crash.
- How much money do you have to invest in this hobby?
There are now helis available in all price ranges. Fly what you can afford to crash/fix.
- Nitro or Electric
This is really a matter of personal opinion. Both have pro's and cons. I like electric because of
its simplicity and that I can fly anywhere without making anyone mad because of the noise.
Since I went with electric, most of my tips are for choosing an electric heli.
- Co-Axial or Single Rotor Heli
A co-axial heli is easier to fly, mainly meant for inside but can be flown outside on calm days.
However a co-axial flys completely different from a single rotor, so most skills gained by
learning on a co-axial will not have anything to do with a single rotor heli, they fly completely
different +from each other. So if you want to be able to really fly, go straight for a single rotor
- 4 Channel Fixed Pitch (FP) vs 6 Channel Collective Pitch (CP)
Single Rotor FP helis and CP helis fly exactly the same
- EXCEPT the FP's won't fly upside down!
This is an age old debate.Most who learned to fly on a FP will recommend it to other beginners
because of their simplicity, ability to withstand most crashes with no damage, require almost
no set-up time, cheapest type of heli to buy, fly and repair. CP helis are generally not
recommended to beginners due to their complexity. They must be properly set up to fly right,
they also need to be re-adjusted anytime you take it apart, that can mean lots of time spent
repairing and tweaking if you crash alot. They also cost more to fix, but after you get better at
flying and stop crashing the cost of repair parts becomes irrelevant. It is possible to learn on a
CP with out any problems, it can just take longer and more money.
- Other tips
Buy Lots of batteries, this is good for 2 reasons. The first being the obvious that more
batteries will equal more flight time, the second reason is that by having extra batteries you
will be putting less stress on the batteries making them last longer.
Buy a nice battery charger. You will want a nice LiPo Balance charger. LiPo batteries with
more then 1 cell need to be balanced. Buy a charger that can accurately charge and balance.
Or use a seperate balancer, but still buy a quality battery charger.
Buy LOTS of spare parts. You can never have too many spare parts. And there's nothing
worse then having to wait for replacement parts to arrive in the mail. When you buy spare
parts always buy a few extras at the same time.
Co-Axial Helicopters are to
easiest and most stable helis
available. When set up properly
they will hover all by themselves.
They are meane for indoors only
but can be flown outside when
there is NO wind.
Learning to fly on a CoAxial Heli
will be one of the quickest ways
to get into the air and start flying.
They are great beginner helis that
almost anyone can fly.
CoAxial Helis come in 2, 3, and 4
channel versions but my
recomendation is to only buy 4
channel versions, never 2 or 3
One big thing you need to know
about CoAx's is that they fly and
handle much differently then
Single Rotor Helis. So once you
master flying a CoAx and want to
move to single rotor helis, you
will basically have to re-learn how
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