Learning to Fly - Initial Flights for a Beginner
here is a series of articles to get beginners into the air.
your ready to start hovering your helicopter.
First thigs first, you followed the advice in our getting
started section, and you have a well built, test flown and
trimmed out model helicopter - let's begin.
first flight it is good practise to set the model down in your
living room, and practise (with the engine stopped) which transmitter
control controls the helicopter. This really will accelerate your
learning curve substantially.
For your first flights a training under carriage is essential
- I like the stick and balls approach. With these secured safely
and the engine started (did you check your frequency was clear
and the radio and receiver switched on?) you can now place you
model at a safe distance, ready to start feeling the controls.
bring the collective/throttle up very very slowly, until the model
is just getting light on the skids. As you raise it more, even
before the model lifts off the ground it will start moving. This
is the ideal position to be in. You are now trying to control
the model, and if you don't feel confident then you can easily
lower the collective and the model will place it's weight on the
ground and stop moving without incident. Always keep the nose
pointing away from you whilst learning, as even at 45 degrees
off, you will find the cyclic control inputs consfusing without
the model facing directly away from you.
If you try
to lift the model into the air, then it will quickly move in a
'random' direction, and you will not know how to stop it - and
unfortunately the ground will step in to help stop it where you
could not. At this stage of learning altitude is your enemy. The
safest, quickest and cheapest way to learn to hover is not to
allow the model to lift more than an inch off the ground for the
first half gallon. At this height you can learn all you need to
hover a tank out ina controlled way with zero risk.
You will repeat
this process of getting the model light on the skids, watching
it start to move, attempting to put a control in to stop it moving
and then lowering it back to ground, many times. The learning
will be, that each time you get it light on the skids, it will
stay still for longer and longer as you learn to operate more
controls at the same time, and with less thinking before acting.
After only a gallon, you may be able to hold the heli in a 3 x
3 meter area between 1 and 12 inches off the ground. At all times
if the model feels out of control you can easily lower it back
to ground before it starts to move too fast.
suffer the first crash because the model got too high too soon.
If your not comfortable hovering at one foot off the ground, you
will be even less comfortable at 6 foot.
Once you can
keep the model in a 1 x 1 meter square, for a minute at a time,
then you can consider gaining more altitude.
At this stage you still want to keep the model at low altitude,
perhaps between 1 and 2 feet. You will quickly find you can hover
it for a whole tank in this height range without it moving too
far off a central spot. You will probably acheive this after only
2 gallons of flying. Those two gallons should only take 2 weeks.
to acheivng this are generally crashing - and the only way you
are going to crash using the above method is if you go too high
too soon. If you get confused on the controls with the model at
6 foot, it will pick up a lot of speed before you have lowered
it back to ground.
At this point
you might start thinking of hovering it at 12 foot and trying
circuits. It is a good idea to very gradually build your height
to a maximum of about 6-7 foot, just above eye level, but be aware
the model will feel very different at this height so be carefull.
If you were
to try your first circuit or hovering at higher altitude, then
you would need to extend your pitch range to give -5 to +10. However
I think your better off leaving it at 0 to 9, and trying the nose
in hover . . . . .
- Nose In - DON'T WAIT TILL LATER, DO IT NOW!!!
This is the easiest opportunity you will ever have to learn nose
in. You are already a master of learning a new skill, with your
safety net being low altidute and a softly set up model. When
you got into trouble you just lowered it down. Well this is how
you should learn nose-in, while these instincts are still fresh
in your mind. Keeping the training undercarriage on, fuel up,
start the engine, and this time place it on the ground, nose into
wind at a safe distance, but facing you.
to learning nose in is to push the cyclic where you don't want
the model to go. Using this brain cheat, you will be hovering
nose in, 3 foot off the ground for a whole tank in less than a
gallon - I guarantee it!!!
If you decide
to try the nose in, make sure you stick with it for at least a
gallon - giving it just 5 minutes will be a waste of time - it
needs continuous practise.
Once you have
the model in control for nose in hovers, gently build the height
up to 6-7 foot, and keep practising for another gallon.
Now when you
go back to tail in, you will get a shock. You would be so used
to nose in, you may have forgotton how to hover tail in. As long
as you keep the two seperate you will be ok for the short term.
I will discuss how to swap between the two (tail in and nose in)
in the next step - coming soon.
between Tail In and Nose In.
Coming Soon . . .
to follow soon, including;
Practise - gentle introduction to figures of eight
Time to extend you skills with side on, and simple hovering patterns.
The easy way, with the figure of eight.
- sometimes easier than banking it round a turn
Shallow turn's can be very disorientating, a gentle stall turn
however is much easier.