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Old Mar 21, 2012, 04:12 PM
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Don't Touch The Controls !!

There is a rumor circulating a new helicopter is under development that comes with a dog. If you touch the controls while you are flying - the dog bites your hand! There is more logic than laughs in this design philosophy because it eliminates the biggest problem for beginning students - over-control. How many times have you been told or heard or read "the biggest problem for a beginner is the tendency of over-controlling." OK - so you try under-controlling. Under controlling?? Over-controlling is a result of under-controlling and once you start over-controlling you can't under-control? WAIT A MINUTE!!! You can't fix over-controlling by under-controlling and you can't fix under-controlling by over-controlling. Something ain't right here!! What you usually hear is "it will come with time - you just need more practice" What good is more time and more practice going to do if you are making the same mistakes and you don't have a clue what those mistakes are? You aren't alone with that conundrum!! After writing 2 books and a couple hundred students later - I sat down and had a long talk with myself (I often fall alseep during those conversations) - and one of those AHHA!! moments came to me. Over-control is a symptom not a cause!! SAY WHAT??? OK - read my words!! OVER CONTROL IS NOT THE PROBLEM - TIMING IS!! Now that a lot simpler to read than to understand so here's an exercise you can try at home!

The emphasis of this exercise is to let the helicopter fly itself as much as possible - in other words - keep the cyclic centered as much as possible. Don't follow the helicopter with your cyclic - only give it an occasional nudge of correction. Start with a slow and precise lift-off. This is essential! If your heli is rolling to the left or right when you lift off the ground you are starting with error and are forced to correct. Unless your timing is DEAD-NUTS the error will only get worse not better. Give a tad of aileron at the point of lift-off and then immediately center the cyclic. When you do it just right the lift off will become more and more vertical and more and more controlled. Once you are hovering (2 seconds without roll) the helicopter will look like it is hanging by an invisible thread - what a great feeling!! NOW - and this is the hard part - keep your cottin pickin hands off the controls and let it fly itself. DON'T try to follow it with the cyclic - this will introduce error!! When it starts drifting - it will start drifting in about 3 seconds - give the cyclic a slight nudge in the opposite direction and IMMEDIATELY center the stick - don't chase it - or the dog will bite you!! After the nudge - observe the movement of the heli for 1-2 seconds - if it is still drifting in the same direction - give it another slight nudge - but keep centering that cyclic. If it starts drifting in the other direction - give it a nudge to slow it down - remember just a nudge - than center the cyclic and WAIT to see what it is doing. By giving the cyclic small nudges and WAITING to see how it responds you will start reducing the drifting instead of increasing it!! If you give it too big of a nudge - you probably will in the beginning - don't chase it - land. Start again - the ground is your stabilizer if if starts getting away from you. After a few touch-and-go's something amazing happens - you start to feel like you are flying your helicopter - instead of your helicopter flying you. Practice hovering for longer and longer period of time in a smaller and smaller circle. LOOK MOM NO HANDS!!! You will be amazed how that unstable platform called a helicopter suddenly becomes stable. It is the 1st and most important step in learning how to hover - turning the nose - forward flight and FLYING! Have a great flight!!

In other news - FAQs 102 has taken off and thanks to everyone's support and encouragement - the Phoenix Flight School has opened its hangar doors again. After being away for 2 months I was surprised the doors even budged. If you struggling to get off the ground and getting tired of picking up the pieces - welcome aboard!! Glad to put you on the training roster. Drop a line in my message box or scratch a message on this post for your boarding pass.

captJac
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Last edited by CaptJac; Feb 25, 2014 at 05:59 AM.
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Old Mar 21, 2012, 07:31 PM
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Australia, QLD, Clontarf
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Looks good, I think I might buy a copy when I get home tonight. It will be good to be able to learn more about these heli's without having to ask a 1000 questions on the forums.

EDIT: Bought! Really enjoying reading through and I'm only up to the pre-flight check list
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Old Mar 22, 2012, 04:28 AM
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Aachen Germany
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Originally Posted by brad1601 View Post
Looks good, I think I might buy a copy when I get home tonight. It will be good to be able to learn more about these heli's without having to ask a 1000 questions on the forums.

EDIT: Bought! Really enjoying reading through and I'm only up to the pre-flight check list
Was there a pre-flight check list?? I probably should have written a pre-read check list as well for those who like to read fast!! There is a LOT of info in those 119 questions & answers - I can say that because most of those questions were the one's I was trying to find answers to 5 years ago. Have a great read!! Take it slow and easy. Crashes usually result from thinking we can instead of knowing we can - and knowing takes all the guesswork out of the equation.
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Old Apr 21, 2012, 04:53 AM
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One more biting remark -

If you are controlling the sticks with just your thumbs - add a finger. In other words - pinch the sticks on the top - don't thumb the sticks. Now before you thumbs down this suggestion - 2 things to consider. When your thumb is doing the pushing your finger is setting the limit and when your finger is doing the pushing your thumb is setting the limit - a basic principle of closed loop servo systems.

The 3rd thing to consider - I added one more - is fine control - which is the emphasis of the videos in Flight School 101. Try some of the exercises with just your thumbs and then using the pinching method. Have fun!!
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Old Apr 21, 2012, 04:55 AM
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Last nibble of advice -
When you are pinching the sticks - don't pinch. HUH?? You don't want to be pinching you just want your fingers to be in the pinch position. Relax your pinch so your fingers are just brushing the sticks - this way your thumb and finger can work independently and working together at the same time. Tap the sticks lightly - either with your finger or thumb depending on the direction of the tap. As you accumulate stick time you will find your fingers will hang on the sticks without applying pressure and move without you being consciously aware of it. Muscle memory is taking over - enjoy the ride.
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Old Apr 26, 2012, 02:29 AM
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Old Apr 26, 2012, 03:48 AM
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United Kingdom, England, Witham
Joined Feb 2011
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being a thumb sticker for 30 years it took a while to convert to pinch sticking.
I got my wife to slap me round the head with a wet fish every time she caught me with thumbs on the sticks.
most people have hair that smells like summer meadows... me? mine smells like a fish market

Seriously tho its a very hard habit to get out of, but well worth the effort to try... the increased precision you have over the controls is very noticable.
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Old May 15, 2012, 09:08 PM
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I learned to use the pinch grip on the sticks early on, having read it somewhere. Might have been in one of the guides KA-Planes posted back when they were in business. I completely agree it provides more accuracy, and I also find myself sometimes wanting to hang too tightly onto the sticks. When I catch myself doing that I relax my grip, and the whole experience is a lot less nerve wracking an more enjoyable.

I once rode in a Bell 206, and chatted with the pilot the whole time. He was ex- USAF, and at that time I had not gotten into RC, but was into FSX trying to learn helis there. We talked a lot about flying helis and learning to hover (it takes about 10 hours in the real world to learn to hover, he said). He told me that the Bell 206 actually is designed with a slight delay in reaction to the controls. You have to make the input and wait slightly for it to react. Using that tactic helped me learn to fly better in FSX, and also helps me fly now in RC.

I only fly scale, and most of my flying involves ever more 'practicing' of precision hovering and slow flying from one point to another. The nice thing is I can do this on my own property, so I don't need to go anywhere when the urge hits to fly.

Thanks for this nice thread! It is information like this which helped me succeed in this hobby rather than giving up in frustration.
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Old May 16, 2012, 11:22 AM
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Thanks for the lesson, Capt. Jac. I've only been into this since the first of the year, and was wondering if there was a "proper" way to handle the sticks. I'm currently in a hy-bred mode. That being the thumb on the right stick and the finger/thumb combination on the throttle/rudded stick. I only tried to get used to the thumb action as I watched all those chinese kids trying to sell me their copters
Thanks again.
Don,
I need to work on my righthand technique.
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Old May 27, 2012, 10:48 AM
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Old May 27, 2012, 03:18 PM
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Not touching the controls has been the biggest eye opener yet since I started flying helicopters. Odd to think I have spent most of my "hover" time introducing bigger errors trying to correct earlier errors.

Thanks again CaptJac.

Alan

P.S. I am home from my travels now and would like to schedule a lesson now that I have the simulator and proper cable.
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Old May 27, 2012, 09:57 PM
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Cool tips, especially the pinch! I'm going to try it on my 120 SR when I fly again outside (should be tomorrow).

Just hope I don't drop the radio while doing it. I'm still learning.
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Old May 28, 2012, 02:25 AM
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Originally Posted by ABlue View Post
Cool tips, especially the pinch! I'm going to try it on my 120 SR when I fly again outside (should be tomorrow). Just hope I don't drop the radio while doing it. I'm still learning.
Good point - hard to hold your radio when pinching - use a neck strap. That gives you a stable platform to rest the hands on while the fingers are working.
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Old Jun 08, 2012, 03:56 PM
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Or a tray! Just getting back to helis after a 4 year layoff from all RC. Dusted of my old MicroStar 400 to try to get back into some sort of a groove (never did really learn to fly a chopper), originally using a Pultsender (tray type tranny - MC20). Am now using a JR DSX11, neck strap and have always pinch-sticked (I like that term).

Lots of new things to get used to (especially the programming)!

Pit
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Old Jun 17, 2012, 09:10 AM
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Hello all. It looks like this may be my best bet to getting an answer to my question. I have a brand new (literally, first flown yesterday) Blade mCX2, Spektrum DX6i, and Phoenix 4.0. The closest heli in Phoenix is the Blade mCX and it's extremely simple to fly. In trying to make the sim heli more like the real heli I went into the Edit menu and set realism to 100%. Now the heli in the sim won't get off the ground even at full power. It will is I go back to the Default setting. Some other helis won't fly at all even when set to Default. I'm reasonably sure it's a setting in the control menu or in the DX6i but everything looks right in my extremely limited experience. Any ideas or help would be appreciated. Thanks,.
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