Thread: Discussion Why newbies crash
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Old Nov 23, 2011, 06:34 PM
Imzzaudae is offline
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Why newbies crash

I would have to say that the #1 reason new model helicopter pilots crash is lack of knowledge! The first thing anyone that has been flying model helicopters for a while will tell a beginner is get a simulator, Practice on the simulator and study. Although the new gyros available today make model helicopters considerably easier to fly than previous generations, you still need a general understanding of it's control system, and you have to fly the helicopter 100% of the time!

The problem beginners face is, you cannot stop and think while flying!
Once you lift the helicopter off the ground, the helicopter is naturally unstable and requires the pilot to keep telling it where ( not ) to go all the time. About once every 2 or 3 seconds. These corrections are minute stick moments and it takes a bit of flying time to get your head and fingers working, without thinking move thumb. It soon becomes like riding a bike, you just stop falling over and ride but your going to skin your knee the first few times.

Helicopters with a tail rotor!
Say you set your new helicopter on the floor set all the trims in the centre and give it throttle. The helicopter goes up and left.
You see it, think about it, then it takes time to think move the right stick right. Then you move the stick a bit. During the time you where seeing it, thinking move stick then move finger the helicopter was off getting into trouble. Your beautiful new helicopter is broken before you even moved the stick.
The main rotor blades are being driven clockwise by the centre shaft of the motor. Now for every action there is an equal and apposite reaction so the outer housing of the motor is trying to spin the helicopter the opposite direction. That's OK as long as the helicopter is sitting on the ground.
The friction of the skids on the ground keeps the helicopter from spinning.

But as soon as the torque of the motor becomes more than the friction of the skids on the ground the helicopter will spin out of control counter clockwise.

So we put a fan on the back of the helicopter that blows sideways and stop the tail from spinning.

Now we can stop the tail from spinning counter clockwise but the sideways fan blows the helicopter left all the time. We have no choice but to tip the helicopter just a smidgen right in order to stop the sideways drift caused by the tail rotor. In a hover the helicopter must be tipped right all the time
or it will drift left. You cannot change this. When the helicopter is sitting on the ground it cannot tip so just as the helicopter is starting to lift you must add just a little right aileron to stop it being blown left. This is tricky at first but becomes natural after a few thousand takeoffs. Once up you can trim the helicopter so it does not drift so much but it will still need your constant attention or it will be off getting into trouble again and again.

Take off
The hard part of taking off with a tail rotor helicopter is spooling the helicopter up and just as it begins to lift, you must input a little right aileron to hold the helicopter in place and add power.

This is a delicate operation not enough aileron and the helicopter drifts left. To much and you flip over and bust a blade or worse. This is an acquired skill not that hard, but will take a little practice before your doing picture perfect liftoffs!

The Solution
Why 4 Chanel coaxial helicopters make good 1st helicopters.
Coaxial helicopters have 2 motors and 2 sets of blades that spin in opposite directions. They cancel out the torque of each other and we don't need a fan at the back to stop it from spinning.
No fan on the back equals no blowing sideways!
In order to turn the helicopter we slow down one motor just a bit and the torque of the other motor turns the helicopter. Coaxial helicopters also tend not to wander and will correct themselves if you just let the stick centre. New pilots get a chance to think move the stick and learn how to move the helicopter around without the helicopter constantly wanting to take off in a different direction every 2 seconds.

A good place to start

Any good quality 4 Chanel coaxial helicopter would be a great place to start flying. The Blade MCX2 is a very nice helicopter and will provide new or 1st time helicopter pilots with the necessary motor skills required, before attempting a signal rotor fixed pitch helicopter like the MSR.

This is where the inherent stability of a coaxial comes in. If the trims are centred on the radio when you push the throttle up, the helicopter will rise pretty much straight up. It may spin a bit, just land and trim it out with a little rudder trim. Then take off again, gently move the helicopter forward a little bit with the right stick.

Big stick movements make big helicopter moments.
Don't make big stick moments or corrections you will end up out of control!

After a few flights you should be able to take off, rise straight up and hover.
Turn left, right fly all over the room and land without the helicopter running into things like lamps and walls. Practice takeoffs and landings fly around the room sideways nose in nose out fly forward backwards try everything you can think of to challenge yourself and have fun!

This is teaching your eyes, brain and fingers to work together without you having to stop and think about it. Now move the rods from the short balls to the long balls on your swash plate!

Learn how to handle a helicopter that handles a little more aggressively.

RC Flight Simulator

Find a flight simulator and try flying the helicopter with training gear!
Remember keep the tail pointed at you all the time.
Trim it up nice and remember about lean right on takeoff..
Practice takeoffs landings and hovering. This is going to drive you nuts as the simulator is not at all easy. If you practice for an hour every night, after a week you will be able to take off kind of hover in a place 10 feet square maybe even land in one peace. After 30 days you should be able to take off hover fly around a bit and land without crashing.
This is going to be very hard work !

The helicopter will over react to stick input and will continually drift away on you. Don't give up. Move it around a bit and back to hover. This is going to be very hard work! Practice practice practice and it will come to you.

Although when the helicopter starts moving it seems like an emergency it's not. Force yourself to move the sticks dead slow and gently as you can.
This is the key.
keep the tail pointed at you all the time.
Make each correction in 2 parts. First very gently tip the helicopter in the opposite direction of its drift. Relax and just tip it a little bit, let it slow down and stop easily. At the moment it stops ever-so gently level it out. Then very gently add input to tell it where you want it to go. Stop it when it's where you want it. Slow moments and gentle is the key.
keep the tail pointed at you all the time.
If you feel the stick move you moved it to much!
It's like thinking the helicopter to move.

Relax you are going to crash. Take a deep breath hit restart and try again.
Do not allow yourself to get upset. Just relax and try again.
It's not personal!

In Real Flight fly the impala with training gear it will be all over the park going every witch way and drive you nuts but in time you will get it. Once your up move it around a bit instead of just hovering.

Fly it down the runway stop. turn and come back stop turn away hover.

After you can hover move around a bit go ahead and try a coordinated turn.
Hit restart take off hover. Go ahead coordinated turn.
Hit restart take off hover. Go ahead coordinated turn.
Hit restart take off hover. Go ahead coordinated turn.
As you turn keep pushing the tail out as it comes around. That's the key.
Bank easy push the tail around and a little up elevator so it does not nose dive into the ground.

You will have you own pet name for the impala like that little bas ohhhh you little scream. In the end you will see the hummer of it all. And you will be able to fly your helicopter. There is no simulator that feels like a helicopter bouncing around the room in front of you so don't forget about your coaxial fly it every day, fly it forward backward sideways nose in nose out.

This is important as it is getting you ready for a tail rotor helicopter that drifts around and is letting your mind and fingers work together.


Do not buy one!
No matter what it tells you on the box.
No matter what the guy that can't fly a helicopter at the hobby shop tries to sell you.
Don't go buying a Collective pitch helicopter and expect to be able to fly it. You CAN'T!
You will trash it as soon as it's off the ground. That's if you get it off the ground.

You will need a good Fixed pitch trainer like an MSR.
Learning to take off properly and move an MSR around will take months of practice.
I highly suggest an MSR so you can fly an hour a day in the house or garage.
Take a large peace of cardboard. 1 meter square.
In the centre mark a 12” square box out of green masking tape to set the helicopter in.

Rule #1 Keep the helicopters tail pointed at you at all the times. Tail control is paramount!
Rule #2 Make the helicopter stay over the cardboard.
Rule #3 Read rule #1 again and again.
Practice takeoffs and hover tail towards you. Move the helicopter around just a bit.
Tail always towards you. When it drifts away gently move it back over the cardboard.

Learning this simple skill will take time.
Don't rush it.

A well trimmed helicopter will make all the difference.
If the helicopter constantly wants to drift left. Land and move the aileron trim a click right.
If it wants to go ahead. land and move elevator trim 1 click back.
If it spins trim the rudder the opposite way until it stops spinning.
Keep trimming one click at a time until the helicopter settles down.

Don't forget that the MSR is a high performance indoor helicopter. Hit the gas and it's going past your head like a bullet. Remember the simulator. Gentle on the right stick.
This is a nice helicopter if you go easy but it turns into an unmanageable beast if you start banging the
right stick around.

Takeoff, hover,slow forward and land practice every day for a month
Then work on coordinated turns.

Forward flight and turns.
When in a stationary flight, hovering you can simply add rudder and steer the nose of the helicopter where you want it pointed.

While flying forward in order to turn your helicopter you need to do what is called a coordinated turn.

Imagine the helicopter is moving forward away from you.
You want to turn right.

Add a little right aileron and bank right. At the same time you must push the tail around behind the direction of flight with the rudder. Then you must add elevator up to hold the nose or the helicopter will slide down into the ground.

So it requires a little bank right, lots of push tail around and up elevator all at the same time to make the helicopter bank and come around to the right.

Left turn.
Bank left push tail around behind and add up elevator

This is also an acquired skill it is not at all easy and will take many many hours of practice to make the helicopter do graceful bank turns. Practice on the simulator.

Stall turns.
While in forward flight. Pull up hard, as the helicopters nose pitches up and the helicopter stops.
add a lot of right rudder and snap the tail around so the nose now points down. Let the helicopter move ahead and down. Add up elevator and fly away. This is also best practised on the simulator the first few times.

Once proficient with a small fixed pitch helicopter like the MSR try a 120SR for outdoor hover, fast forward and coordinated turn practice for an extended period of time. 6 months or more.

You will gain valuable flying and situational awareness experience with a simple easy to fly and repair helicopter like the 120SR. It's not a matter of I might crash. It's a given. You are going to crash 500 times! You need a helicopter that is easy to fix, affordable and a ready supply of spare parts.

Taking the big step up to collective pitch.

Please take a year and learn how to fly a fixed pitch helicopter well. Indoors and out. While you are learning to fly. Study all you can about Collective pitch helicopters, gyro's, radio setups for flying them.
There are all kinds of people out there more than willing to take your money and sell you a beautiful 3D 400 knowing full well you do not stand a chance of flying the helicopter. After your year flying a Fixed pitch helicopter and your simulator. Before jumping into a 400 class collective pitch helicopter go get an MCPX and a good radio. Spend as much time as you can learning how it handles. Only then will you be prepared to attempt a 400 class collective pitch helicopter.

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Last edited by Imzzaudae; Nov 23, 2011 at 06:49 PM.
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