Learning to Fly - Simulators
are an excellent training aid - read more about how to use them
to accelerate your learning and reduce your crashes.
How can they help you learn - ever wondered how best to use your
simulator, wonder no more.
only ever owned one RC simulator, I have had many an hour with
most of the popular sellers. They can all help - some better than
others - but the key to success is regular planned practice. Your
first goal should be to get the simulator as close to your models
flight characteristics as possible. You will find this to be a
'continuous' exercise. You may have the simulator 80% right in
the first few hours, but it could take a year to improve it by
another 10%. For the complete novice the simulator can only be
known to match your models hovering. As your flying skills develop
you will realise the simulator can match more and more of your
models flight envelope. There should come a point where you feel
100% confident that what the simulator does the model does. Once
you have reached this stage you know you can learn anything on
the simulator before you risk trying it on the model.
I think many
people have owned more than a few simulators, and believe the
latest is the greatest - but has the latest taught them the most.
Probably not, regular practice - say 10 minutes a day - in a structured
way is the quickest way to progress. As an example of what to
practice - if I want to do a clockwise rotating pirouette with
the real model, then I practice clockwise and anti-clockwise on
the simulator first. I'd try various exercises, such as pirouetting
fast, slow and stopping at 1/2, 1/4 and 1/8's - anything that
makes me more confident on the simulator. I will also practice
escape plans should it not go as planned at the flying field.
I will be aware of no fly areas, such as the pits or the 'big
oak tree' and will fly appropriately. I'd set up realistic wind
conditions on the simulator, both the ones I expect and those
which are unexpected. I practice until I know I can do the pirouette
on the simulator 100 times over without a single mistake. In RC
simulator parlance a mistake is classed as pushing the stick in
the wrong direction. Pushing the stick the wrong amount or over
correcting is not a problem (that's what you learn on the real
thing), its pushing the wrong stick, or the right stick in the
wrong direction, that must be avoided. This is the real challenge
of learning to fly model helicopters.
is the important factor when you try that pirouette for real,
as any doubts will make the chance of pushing a wrong stick much
greater - that's why you have to be 110% confident on the simulator,
and this will only come with hours of practice. Once you've tried
the process to learn one maneuver, you'll have the method 'wired'
and can use it to progress as far as you wish. Whether it be a
pirouette, circuit, loop, roll or pirouetting flip the learning
method should be the same, always to go further on the simulator
than you intend with the model. Your models setup and structural
condition should not be discarded, these are very important considerations
(particularly for an aerobatic maneuver) and should be right before
you try a new maneuver.