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Old Nov 23, 2011, 07:34 PM
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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.
WHY
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.


YOU CANNOT FLY A COLECTIVE PITCH HELICOPTER

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.

Ron
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Last edited by Imzzaudae; Nov 23, 2011 at 07:49 PM.
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Old Nov 23, 2011, 08:29 PM
CP heli ≠ 3D heli
Gedexas's Avatar
United States, NJ, Point Pleasant Beach
Joined Mar 2009
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I'd say this is a bit over the top. Maybe we can collaborate to make this post a little less "Don't even bother" looking.

This has the potential of being a good primer, but now, if I was a beginner and read this, I would say "HUH? So I should not bother then because I will crash anyway?".

Let's start one section at a time. I'll work on the text between beginning and "A good place to start"
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Old Nov 23, 2011, 08:38 PM
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Joined Jul 2007
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TLDR... did you post this on a blog or something?
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Old Nov 23, 2011, 09:03 PM
CP heli ≠ 3D heli
Gedexas's Avatar
United States, NJ, Point Pleasant Beach
Joined Mar 2009
1,676 Posts
So, you just got that shiny new "__insert_brand_here__ 6CH 3D FUN" heli?

You think you will crash it? Maybe you are trying to keep it in one piece? Keep reading. Otherwise, go have fun and keep 911 on speed dial.

This is not a toy

That warning on a box is there for a reason. If your box does not have that warning, start looking at another box. Unless, of course, you are looking for a coaxial helicopter. A little less in the fun department, but a good place to start.

RC helis are exciting and addictive, and only recently became available to the masses at an affordable price, so the misconceptions, presumptions and false opinions are more plentiful than ever. You think you know how deep in this you are? We'll see about that.

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!

Before you attempt to fly, do homework. RCGroups and the rest of the internet are full of knowledge, you should learn how to set your heli up even if it says RTF. You have to know what EVERY wire and pushrod is for and what it does, otherwise your chances of a successful landing are not huge.

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. It's like juggling on a unicycle, except you can only fall once, then you need to repair it and it will cost you. Eventually your thumbs will learn what to do, it's just a matter of whether you will learn it the hard way or not.

Naturally, a helicopter will not try to stay where you left it. It's not designed to. Also, there is no mechanical or electronic device keeping it in the air, so your thumbs will need to take care of this. Helicopters are pretty quick too, a wrong move and it's gone. Helicopters are non symmetrical either, the main blades spin in one direction, so a helicopter uses a tail rotor to control that imbalance, that creates another imbalance, but this the responsibility of the pilot to correct it.

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. The drawback of coaxial helis is they lack agility and, therefore, are very hard to fly outdoors, especially in wind that would be no match for a CP heli.
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Old Nov 23, 2011, 09:04 PM
CP heli ≠ 3D heli
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United States, NJ, Point Pleasant Beach
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How's that?
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Old Nov 23, 2011, 10:01 PM
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This forum is supposed to be about posting information for new and up coming RC helicopter pilots. I did try to right a reasonable and informative article to help the guys that are desperately looking for basic information about where to start and why.

Unfortunately I am not able to please everyone. Hope anyone that takes the time to read my post finds the information both informative and helpful in there quest to learn the basics of RC Helicopter flying.
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Old Nov 23, 2011, 10:13 PM
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imzzaudae? how many collective pitch helicopters do you own?

i started on a kyosho concept .30, there were no coax helicopters, there were no cheap FP rtf options. my .30 never hit the dirt so you are just a little too negative on the learning ability of others.
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Old Nov 23, 2011, 10:17 PM
CP heli ≠ 3D heli
Gedexas's Avatar
United States, NJ, Point Pleasant Beach
Joined Mar 2009
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@ Imzzaudae

I agree, but just to quote one thing, just to give you some perspective.

"Please take a year and learn how to fly a fixed pitch helicopter well. Indoors and out."

Don't you think this is a little discouraging? I have learned on a CP, started six months ago, and can fly full circuits with confidence, no crashes and all. I'm not saying your advice is bad, it's just stubborn. Nothing a little editing can't fix. So, how did I do?
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Old Nov 23, 2011, 10:59 PM
And here..we..GO!
United States, AR, Alexander
Joined Sep 2011
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Completely false..
I only crashed my first heli (which happened to be a state of the art Blade SR, known for stability and quality) because the sun was in my eyes. I knew I was ready for CP right out of the gate because the guy at the LHS said so...


NOT!!

I think progression in THIS hobby depends on your patience and wallet. But you do make some valid points.
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Old Nov 23, 2011, 11:37 PM
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I'm sure in a club setting where you have experienced pilots looking over your shoulder and tottering you, you may be able to train on a collective pitch helicopter without practical experience on a fixed pitch helicopter.

Unfortunately a lot of us live in rural communities and we are teaching ourselves how to fly in our living rooms and garages. How many collective pitch helicopters I own should not matter as my document was written with the beginner in mind and I consider collective pitch helicopter to be outside the realm of this document. Lets just say it's best that beginners learn how to fly before getting something harder to fly and much more time consuming to fix when they smack it up. I don't know about you but when I look on line, the classified adds are full of gently used 400's and 450s that are bent and busted by poor unsuspecting newbies told a bunch of BS about how anyone can fly it.

If it makes any difference. I have an MCPX flying and a gently used Blade 450 in peace that I'm resurrecting. Picked it up for $100.00 after the guy that owned it trashed it on it's madden flight.

How did I learn to fly a helicopter. I am teaching myself!
Blade MCX2 Living room
Blade 120SR living room and back yard
Blade MSR living room and back yard
Blade MCPX living room and back yard
Will fly my 450 in the spring after I have about 100 hours on the MCPX
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Old Nov 23, 2011, 11:50 PM
CP heli ≠ 3D heli
Gedexas's Avatar
United States, NJ, Point Pleasant Beach
Joined Mar 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Imzzaudae View Post
I'm sure in a club setting where you have experienced pilots looking over your shoulder and tottering you, you may be able to train on a collective pitch helicopter without practical experience on a fixed pitch helicopter.
Not necessarily, but mostly the case. I was not trained by anyone, and trust me, I'm no genius. It just depends on the background of the person. Not everyone has the same background as you do.

Quote:
Unfortunately a lot of us live in rural communities and we are teaching ourselves how to fly in our living rooms and garages. How many collective pitch helicopters I own should not matter as my document was written with the beginner in mind and I consider collective pitch helicopter to be outside the realm of this document. Lets just say it's best that beginners learn how to fly before getting something harder to fly and much more time consuming to fix when they smack it up. I don't know about you but when I look on line, the classified adds are full of gently used 400's and 450s that are bent and busted by poor unsuspecting newbies told a bunch of BS about how anyone can fly it.
Yeah, we already had this discussion, with a guy named Murad, I believe. It's a business, it's about making money. Businesses claim things all the time. There is a bright side, I get a cheap heli, at least for parts.

Quote:
If it makes any difference. I have an MCPX flying and a gently used Blade 450 in peace that I'm resurrecting. Picked it up for $100.00 after the guy that owned it trashed it on it's madden flight.

How did I learn to fly a helicopter. I am teaching myself!
Blade MCX2 Living room
Blade 120SR living room and back yard
Blade MSR living room and back yard
Blade MCPX living room and back yard
Will fly my 450 in the spring after I have about 100 hours on the MCPX
100 hours on the mCPx? I'm pretty sure you could do it a little faster.

One thing to note. I usually need to readjust to my bigger helis after flying the mCPx, the bigger helis are a bit "lazy" after the mCPx and I start to wonder if there is anything wrong with them. After the bigger heli, the mCPx is too small and too witchy, so further readjustment is needed. I'm getting used to this now.
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Old Nov 24, 2011, 12:33 AM
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Imzzaudae ......Very well done. Not sure why your taking heat on this. I thought it was a most excellent post and agree 100%.....wher the heck were you 2 years ago when I needed to read this ? ha...This forum needs more post's like this
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Old Nov 24, 2011, 12:46 AM
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I'm sure I could have the helicopter flying next week. Just laid away a Bell 222 fuselage for it and winter is fast approaching. Looking forward to flying the helicopter some time next May or June. Will see.

Thanks for the perspective guys.
Newbies see rule #1
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Old Nov 24, 2011, 12:47 AM
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Thanks
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Old Nov 24, 2011, 02:56 AM
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United States, TX, Fort Worth
Joined Jan 2009
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It's always easier to criticize than it is to do.

I think your perspectives Imzz, plus/minus editorial discretion, are quite good.

E.g., you can't say 'CP is impossible' because for MOST of the history of this hobby CP was all there was and yet somehow the valiant (wealthy) persevered. Eh?
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