Learning to Fly - Getting Started
If your new
to radio control model helicopters, here is a guide to items you
will need to start learning to fly.
you want to fly model helicopters . . . good move!!!
thigs first, it's going to cost a little money to fly radio control
model helicopters, but far less than the fun you'll get out of
it. Allow about £600 to get started, then you need at least
another £150 to £300 to cover your first year. With
the only negative out of the way - assuming your other half doesn't
mind the time aspect - it's now time for the positive sides to
learning to fly a radio control model helicopter;
It's a great
hobby, with lots of great people. Model Heli's are the most addictive
fun you can have, there is always something new to learn and another
challenge to master. There are many parts to the hooby; radio
setup, radio programming, model building, model setup, engine
setup, flight trimming and last but not least the flying. Few
people become masters of all these areas, but the hobby accomadates
them, because which ever areas you find natural ability in, you
can easily focus on that part without detriment to the others
on your first model, you should take a broad spread of opinions,
not just the first advice your given. Go and visit some clubs,
talk to the people learning, see what they are using, ask them
what they think about it. Then talk to the club expert ask his
advice, because chances are when you buy your first model these
will be the ones who actually help you set it up and teach you
To get started
you need the following items; 5 channel Helicopter Radio, 5 Servos,
Receiver and flight pack, Gyro, Engine, Starter Motor, Starter
battery, Glo-Plug heater, Fuel and Pump, and lastly the helicopter
my experience the Raptor, Nexus, Caliber 30 and Shuttle/Sceadu
are the best helicopters to buy. Due to the mixture of low cost,
high quality and great flight performance. You can cut corners
on the engine but personally speaking I would always try to go
for an OS.
is down to personnel preference with Sanwa, Futaba and JR making
excellent sets for beginners with enough features to get you into
3d and beyond. I would suggest a radio with 5 point throttle and
pitch curves. I would also not learn with a heading hold gyro
(or at least not set to heading hold mode). And unless you have
strong reasons not to, use mode II, whereby the throttle and tail
are on the left transmitter stick and the cyclics (elevator and
airleon) are on the right - I wasted two years trying it the other
way, having intially dabbled with mode II but then buying my first
proper heli from a shop that used mode I. Once I'd re-wired the
radio I was hovering in 2 hours.
Once you have
the helicopter, radio and engine you will need starter equipment;
fuel, starter motor, power panel or glow plug battery, 12v starter
battery, fuel pump. My personal preference is for simplicity here.
I hate all the extra little bells and whistles, and prefer simple
bits, like non-electric fuel pumps.
Hobbies has a great deal for a raptor 30 with Sanwa radio
- check it out.
It's a hard one to teach in an article, so the two best tips
are; 1) follow the manual very carefully, reading through each
section before building, 2) get an experienced helicopter modeller
to check your work over before you try to start it.
Of a more
general nature you should make sure everything is smooth and free
to operate correctly, but not lose. No controls should be tight,
including head linkages and moving arms. All wires should be neatly
held out of harms way, you wouldn't want a servo lead connecting
with the spinning main gear. Make certain the fuel tank and line
is assembled correctly. Follow any instructions for finishing
blades very carefully - thankfully on the kits suggested above
this is done for you. Ideally for learning to hover a pitch range
of 0 to 9 is best.
person checking your model out, will make sure of the above as
well as checking the correct direction of all controls including
the gyro. He/she, might also test fly your model to trim it and
check the engine is running sweatly. It should be rich at this
stage, to keep the engine cool and lubricated during the running
in period - it may use a little more fuel now, but it will pay
you back in the long run.
section describes how to take you first flights and progress
to nose in and circuits.