how I learned: get crazy on the sim, understand the heli, and then: baby steps - RC Groups
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Jul 16, 2007, 12:00 AM
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how I learned: get crazy on the sim, understand the heli, and then: baby steps


Thought my experience might help other newbies. I was finally able to get up hovering, fully comfortable in a couple weeks, with a Honey Bee FP2. It took lots of work, but almost all of it on the sim.

I'll say I think it's foolish not to go for a simulator, at least FMS which is free and realistic enough to get the basic controls.

You can buy the E-sky remote for $20 (I did - very inexpensive), or get the USB cable for most any real transmitter (there's one for E-sky remotes that cost $8 I think, I can send you the link).

For me, the trick at learning was to really work myself on the sim - I got to the point in FMS where I could turn on wind to 7 m/s, gusts 5 m/s, and still maintain basic control of the model, keep within a small-ish box & land. This took many hours: 25+, I lost track after many late nights.. This was using my own model for the HB FP2, which I modified from a model found of CP2. My model is attached, it is very light and wimpy and thus gusts are a disaster...

You need to develop the basic reflexes & have those mapped to the right controls for a problem scenario. I think you can learn using just the RADD method, etc, but my sense is it's a slower path to wiring those reflexes. There's some stuff you can't test / prepare for until it's too late (unless you use a sim).

For example, the first time I got my Honey Bee hovering (first heli ever), it suddenly lurched to one side, I think due to radio glitch. I saved it from near destruction against a wall, I'm positive due to reflexes built on the sim.

Follow the RADD / whatever other method as well, but I would say also get lots & lots of time in on the sim, and not just doing basic stuff: Try flying sideways back & forth in a straight line. Or nose-in towards yourself, land on a dime, and then back up, also in a straight line. Really master the tough stuff, because in real life even the easy stuff becomes tougher.

Here's where I got the inspiration for really "working myself" on the sim:
http://www.heliguy.com/nexus/learning.html

I would add, get to the point where you can take anything unexpected (that's why I love the gusts feature on new version of FMS..) When it starts falling out of the sky, what do you do?! (don't think!!, thumb up the throttle..) Veering off at some crazy incline, towards the ground? Your internal feedback loop should be short and direct, thumb pushing in opposite direction to recover, without thought!!

After many sim hours, I also followed the RADD method for a couple packs. I found that it helps, in particular regarding holding the tail (staying in one orientation makes working the cyclic a whole lot easier). But then I jumped in the air (carefully), and realized I knew pretty much all I needed to from the sim.

I don't know why anyone would be against using the sim. I don't think it can do harm, so long as you realize that there are many added subtleties to look out for & be careful of when doing the real thing.

Did you know that commercial pilots are trained on sims so extensively, that when they fly a real jetliner that is new to them for the first time, it is loaded with passengers, on the tarmac?? They go through so many crisis scenarios on the sim that flying for real is a breeze in comparison.. I'm not making this up.

Again, sims such as FMS are limited in their realism, so watch out.. But really, I think abusing yourself on the sim & then taking baby steps on the real deal is the best approach. It got me in the air, hovering nose-in, side-in etc no crashes in a week..

Also!! Make sure your model is trimmed & set up properly, (and understand what that all means). After some frustrated attempts, I found that my HB FP 2 was not truly "RTF" out of the box: the servo links, rotor pitches, gyro proportion & gain were all off: also the tail motor was barely screwed on!! Understand your bird before taking to the sky. It should fly "effortlessly" & smoothly, once you develop some skills. I was impressed at how stable the HB flew once I had it dialed in..

Last: use the training gear!! Save many tips into the dirt..

hope this helps -wunderbar
Last edited by wunderbar; May 05, 2008 at 03:33 PM.
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Jul 16, 2007, 12:14 AM
Team Mulikow
Gino CP's Avatar
From the length of your post I can imagine how happy you must be. I have yet to finish it LOL. Nice work.
Jul 16, 2007, 08:41 AM
QPower 18650
madhun1's Avatar
A combination of muscle memory and understanding the flight controls is all its really about. Now that sounds simple but in the real world totally different kettle of fish. Wunderbar you sound exicited. It sure does sound better than my method of learning, i.e., placing the helicopter atop a wheelie bin and initially trying to keep it from flying off it, which is actually quite difficult. 5 sets of main rotors and a few tail rotors later and I was managing to go a whole pack without snapping anything.

I first started out flying a mates Feda dragonfly with the geared tail and quickly discovered whilst fun it was the biggest POS I've ever had the misfortune of piloting.

Having discovered how woefully fragile these were, I decided the way to go was direct drive and ordered one for me and the lads. Initially ordered the EM300 DD GWS Dragonfly with the PHA01 mixer, gyro, esc. After a lot of abuse, really I'm surprised the thing was still flying, she finally blew the pha01 so it was upgraded with the PHA300.

Guys and girls if you want a cheap, reliable, fixed pitch 4 ch heli to learn how to fly/avoid crashing do yourself a favour and grab a GWS EM300 which should be shipped with the PHA300 now.

I'd be surprised if you couldn't buy one flying these days for the $90-$100 US.

Parts are cheap and readily available.

Sorry to hijack your thread wunderbar, congrats mate.
Jul 16, 2007, 09:16 AM
Team Mulikow
Gino CP's Avatar
Yup, muscle memory developed by stick time. That's how you learn. During a flight, you can think about your next maneuver. That's fine. But you don't have time to think about how to do it. If you have to think, you crash. Keep practicing.
Jul 16, 2007, 09:50 AM
Sidewalkers stand clear!
Cityflyer's Avatar
A good tip with sim's is to fly them as soon as possible when coming home from the field.

This way with good memory of how your heli flies you can adjust the heli in the sim to fly more like the real one does. This is mostly for them that have started to fly FF.
Jul 16, 2007, 01:36 PM
Sussex, UK
RobinBennett's Avatar
Welcome to RCGroups, and congratulations on learning to fly!

Quote:
I don't know why anyone would be against using the sim.
Possibly because they've read too many of the threads where people say how poor FMS is compared to Realflight/Reflex/Pheonix, and then they look at the price of these sims against a basic FP RTF heli and decide they want a heli and not a computer game.

The other thing to watch for, when learning on a sim, is that you can easily train yourself to take silly risks and crash a lot. If I'm just mucking around on a sim (or with my HBFP) I might crash once a minute - but if I crash my CP heli once a *month* it could blow my entire hobby budget.

By all means get crazy on the sim, but make sure you remember which manoeuvre's you often get wrong, and don't try them for real. Like you say, "baby steps on the real deal"
Jul 16, 2007, 01:42 PM
Idle up!
PLATINUM's Avatar
Nice post Wunder! Looks like you will be into the cps without much trouble.
Jul 16, 2007, 02:25 PM
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by RobinBennett
Welcome to RCGroups, and congratulations on learning to fly!


Possibly because they've read too many of the threads where people say how poor FMS is compared to Realflight/Reflex/Pheonix, and then they look at the price of these sims against a basic FP RTF heli and decide they want a heli and not a computer game.

The other thing to watch for, when learning on a sim, is that you can easily train yourself to take silly risks and crash a lot. If I'm just mucking around on a sim (or with my HBFP) I might crash once a minute - but if I crash my CP heli once a *month* it could blow my entire hobby budget.

By all means get crazy on the sim, but make sure you remember which manoeuvre's you often get wrong, and don't try them for real. Like you say, "baby steps on the real deal"
I have to agree with this ^^.

I tried the FMS sim but I didn't like it for learning because I found it difficult to quantify distances etc. I think the amount of people who post different opinions on this subject proves that some find it more useful than others.

I'm sure sims are good for learning orientations though so I'm thinking of giving it another shot when I try inverted. Until then I prefer to learn on the heli, it helps to get rid of that shock factor when it does something unexpected.
Jul 16, 2007, 02:25 PM
Registered User

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oops
Last edited by wunderbar; May 05, 2008 at 03:30 PM.
Jul 16, 2007, 04:10 PM
Registered User
My sim training has helped tremendously. I practiced tail-in hovering and some side-in hovering for 1 hour each evening on FS One for an entire month before I attempted tail-in hovering on my HBFP. Guess what? I pretty much hovered the HBFP tail-in right out of the box. I have since sold my copy of FS One, a very good sim, and purchased Phoenix RC, which is awesome!

I have never attempted any hovering orientation or FF maneuver on the HBFP without first mastering that move the sim. After 7 months of flying under my belt, I am able to fly very good figure 8s and circuits (fast and slow) with the stock HBFP. I would not be at my current level of flying skills without using a sim. Of my total flying time to date (sim and real helis), I would say that about 85% has been spent on the sim and 15% on the HBFP.

I too like to practice on the sim after returning from the flying field. I like to recreate the actual flying conditions (wind speed and direction) that I just experienced at the flying field. When I crash at the flying field (which is getting lesser and lesser), I usually know what caused me to crash (usually pilot error); therefore, I try to re-create on the sim the actual heli orientation, altitude, speed, position relative to me and the maneuver I was attempting to perform just prior to the crash.

I also keep a log of my real flights, which includes the things I performed well and the things I performed not so well. That way, I know what to practice during my sim time. Also, before I go to the flying field, I always have a plan of what maneuvers I want to perform and other things that I want to accomplish for those two or three 10-minute flights .

Iím probably spending 3-4 hours a week on Phoenix RC. I usually practice every night, even though some nights I may only have just a few minutes. I am now doing quite a bit of sim time on the T-Rex 450, including inverted hovering, which is preparing me for when I get my real Belt CP and Mini-TitanE325 in the air. Before, I know it, I will be performing inverted FF!
Jul 17, 2007, 05:20 AM
Registered User
Update: someone in another thread pointed out (correctly) that my FP2 model for FMS was too twitchy. I changed the values for cyclic and re-posted in same place (original thread post).
Jul 17, 2007, 02:17 PM
Sussex, UK
RobinBennett's Avatar
wunderbar - would you like to post your FP2 model on www.eflightwiki.com ?

It's going to be useful to loads of people and these threads will disappear of the front page in a day or two.

I'd just take a copy and post it myself, but technically the copy you posted here now belongs to RCGroups.
Jul 17, 2007, 03:02 PM
Registered User
Ok, I posted it as link to the rcgroups, just as someone did for PeterVRC's realflight model:

http://www.eflightwiki.com/eflightwi...tle=HoneyBeeFP

How's that..?
Jul 17, 2007, 03:02 PM
Registered User
I agree with the OP. I spent alot of time on the sim (FMS) too. It really helped me. I started with RADDs, and that's great for getting the right attitude about flying (staying in control, etc), but it doesn't give you the muscle memory. That comes from the sim. I was hovering pretty quickly once I actually got up the balls to get the thing off the ground and stop "driving" it around the gym floor

I still crash, but that's because either 1) I'm flying beyond my skill level (but it's fun!), 2) it's too windy but I fly anyway, or 3) I rigged the helecopter together instead of waiting for new parts to arrive. Crashing doesn't scare me anymore.

I'm glad I started out on a cp (blade); if I had followed the usual advice and gone with a fp, I'd be ready to upgrade already.


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