Don't Touch The Controls !! - RC Groups
Shop our Airplanes Products Drone Products Sales
Thread Tools
Mar 21, 2012, 05:12 PM
Rotor Controller
CaptJac's Avatar

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 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. If it is not vertical - don't chase it - land. Start again - the ground is your stabilizer if if starts getting away from you. 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 2 slight nudges - one in the opposite direction to stop the drift and the 2nd one in the direction the drift started so you don't introduce error. After the 2 nudges IMMEDIATELY center the stick - don't chase the heli or the dog will bite you!! Observe the movement of the heli for 2-3 seconds - if it is still drifting in the same direction - give it another set of the one-two nudge - and keep centering that cyclic. By giving the cyclic small nudges and WAITING to see how it responds you will start reducing the drifting instead of increasing it!! 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 103 has joined the fleet with FAQs 101 and 102. The Phoenix Flight School is still schooling and now in its 6th year. 6 years!! OMG!! 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. The Flight School is FREE. I've been teaching for ... you don't really want to know. FAQs 103 is FREE. I've been writing for ... you don't want to know that either. What I do know is time sure fun when you having fly!!!

Last edited by CaptJac; Sep 05, 2015 at 10:06 AM.
Sign up now
to remove ads between posts
Mar 21, 2012, 08:31 PM
Registered User
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
Last edited by brad1601; Mar 22, 2012 at 04:21 AM.
Mar 22, 2012, 05:28 AM
Rotor Controller
CaptJac's Avatar
Originally Posted by brad1601
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.
Last edited by CaptJac; Mar 22, 2012 at 05:33 AM.
Apr 21, 2012, 05:53 AM
Rotor Controller
CaptJac's Avatar
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!!
Apr 21, 2012, 05:55 AM
Rotor Controller
CaptJac's Avatar
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.
Last edited by CaptJac; Apr 26, 2012 at 03:28 AM.
Apr 26, 2012, 03:29 AM
Rotor Controller
CaptJac's Avatar
Apr 26, 2012, 04:48 AM
Registered User
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.
May 15, 2012, 10:08 PM
Registered User
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.
May 16, 2012, 12:22 PM
Registered User
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.
I need to work on my righthand technique.
May 27, 2012, 11:48 AM
Rotor Controller
CaptJac's Avatar
May 27, 2012, 04:18 PM
Registered User
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.


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.
May 27, 2012, 10:57 PM
Ready to fly a real Heli now!
TM70s's Avatar
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.
May 28, 2012, 03:25 AM
Rotor Controller
CaptJac's Avatar
Originally Posted by ABlue
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.
Jun 08, 2012, 04:56 PM
Registered User
Dustbin's Avatar
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)!

Jun 17, 2012, 10:10 AM
Registered User
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,.

Thread Tools

Similar Threads
Category Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Careful! DON'T TOUCH the controls!! CaptJac Beginner Training Area (Heli-Electric) 19 Jan 05, 2012 10:20 PM
Discussion SPEED CONTROL ALIGN RCE-BL75G Don't work - Question alcomen Power Systems 0 Sep 19, 2011 09:22 AM
Don't fly when there are kids anywhere around unless you have them under control boomerace Parkflyers 27 Aug 29, 2003 11:05 PM