RCHelicopterHowTo.com


A beginner's guide on how to fly an RC helicopter.

Introduction
Transmitter Controls
Steps 1 through 3
Steps 4 through 6
Steps 7 through 10
   

4. Spin it Up

Once you have your training gear installed, find a nice smooth and flat surface to pratice on. Never practice on grass. An empty garage, a hardwood floor, an outdoor cement patio or a tennis court all work great. If you have access to an indoor basketball court, this is even better. You'll want a surface area at least the size of a one-car garage. Try to clear the area of as many obstacles as you can. If you're learning to fly outdoors, avoid learning on windy days. Even if the helicopter is on the ground, a gust of wind can pick it up into the air if it's light on its skids and may cause you to lose control.

Once you have selected your location, place the helicopter in the center of the area with the tail pointing toward you (it is easiest to learn in this tail-in orientation first because the controls translate nicely to the helicopter's movement). Turn on your transmitter, making sure any idle-up switches are turned off (on the Blade CP, make sure the toggle switch on the right side of the transmitter is pointing away from you), and move the throttle stick down to its lowest position. While holding the transmitter (or at least keeping it within reach), connect the battery on the helicopter. Remember not to touch the helicopter during the first few seconds after you connect the battery -- the gyro is initializing, and moving the helicopter at this time can lead to stability problems in flight.

The helicopter will respond to throttle input once the gyro has initialized. Step back about ten feet, and slowly raise the throttle stick to spin up the main rotor blades. The Blade CP and most other mini-electrics will begin to lift off at about 2/3 throttle, so don't go past that point. Instead, give the helicopter just enough throttle so that it gets light on its skids, but doesn't try to lift off. When you get to this point, you'll see the helicopter start to bob up and down.

5. Adjust Your Trim

If the helicopter tries to drift in a certain direction or rotates without any control stick input, you may need to adjust your trim. Move the trim sliders in the opposite direction that the helicopter is drifting. For example, if the helicopter tends to drift to the right, move the aileron trim slider a few notches to the left to counteract the drift. Similarly, if the helicopter's nose is rotating to the left, move the rudder trim slider a few notches to the right. Adjust each trim slider as necessary so that when light on its skids, the helicopter remains as stationary as possible. Some drifting is normal because the helicopter is fighting ground effect.

If you've moved your rudder trim slider all the way to the end of its travel and the helicopter's rotation in the opposite direction is still not corrected, you may need to adjust the proportional trimmer potentiometer (pot) on the helicopter's receiver. Refer to your manual for more detailed instructions, but essentially this dial controls how fast the tail rotor spins relative to the main rotor. Turning the dial clockwise makes the tail rotor spin faster, which rotates the helicopter's nose to the right when spun up. Similarly, turning the dial counter-clockwise decreases the tail rotor speed, which rotates the nose to the left. By trial and error, adjust the trimmer pot so that when your rudder trim slider is close to its center of travel, the helicopter remains stationary.

6. Slide it Around

Now you're at the point where you'll want to be for at least your first few battery packs. With the helicopter spun up enough to be light on its skids, carefully move the right-hand stick in different directions and allow the helicopter to slide around on its training balls. If the helicopter is too responsive, bring down the throttle a little bit to where you feel comfortable with how fast the helicopter slides. If you get too close to an obstacle or begin to lose control, bring the throttle stick down to its lowest position, wait for the rotor blades to stop spinning, and move the helicopter to a safer location. The following video demonstrates the basic idea:

Video: wmv | mov

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