How to Get Started in RC Helictopers Part 1
Submitted by rcheli on Mon, 09/19/2011 - 09:13
Flying RC Helicopters is one of the most difficult of all radio control hobbies. Hopefully this article will help you avoid some of the pitfalls of learning to fly RC helicopters and save some frustration (and money) along the way.
The key to becoming a successful RC helicopter pilot is dedication. If you take the time to learn the basics, you will become a proficient pilot and find a very rewarding hobby.
The first thing you want to purchase is a good flight simulator. This may seem strange, but if you have decided to get into the RC Helicopter hobby, realizing that there is a steep learning curve, spending a couple hundred dollars on a flight simulator is a great investment that will save you lots of money during the beginning phases of flying RC helicopters.
You will want to purchase a flight simulator that has true to life copies of the helicopters you will be flying out in the field. There are a number of great flight simulators on the market today. The most popular are the Real Flight G5.5 simulator by Great Planes, the Phoenix R/C Pro Simulator V3.0 form Horizon Hobby, and the AerofFly V5.5 from Ikarus.
After spending some time on the simulator, it will be time to purchase a helicopter. Things can get very confusing quickly. There are a lot of inexpensive “knock-off” imports available and many have great low prices, but most of these helicopters are not engineered as well as the name brand helicopters and replacement parts are usually hard to find. A great recommendation is to visit your local hobby shops to find out what brands they carry and if they keep a good supply of replacement parts in stock.
The next part of the RC helicopter purchasing process is understanding the different kinds of helicopters that are available. The reason this is important is that by having a good understanding of the helicopter types before you make a purchase, you will be able to determine how far you flying skills can advance with a particular model.
Coaxial Helicopters – Coaxial helicopters are true beginner RC helicopters. Coaxial helis like the Heli-Max Novus CX have a dual rotor head system designed for stability and are not real agile helicopters. Each rotor has two blades and these are placed with one rotor on top of the other rotating in opposite directions. The coaxial system eliminates the need for tail blades because each rotor spins in the opposite direction. The helicopter is controlled by the speed of the rotors which are controlled by the remote control transmitter.
Fixed Pitch Helicopters – A fixed pitch RC helicopter like the Heli-Max Novus FP is one that typically has a two-bladed rotor system. The speed of the rotor head controls the height of the helicopter. The fixed pitch helicopter’s direction is controlled by the tail rotor.
Collective Pitch – A collective pitch RC helicopter like the Walkera HM-1B heli typically has two rotor blades and the rotor head runs at a constant speed. As the pilot pushes on the throttle (collective) stick up and down, the pitch (angle) of the blades changes. Collective pitch helicopters are complicated machines that have tail rotor control, gyros, flybarless or flybar options and are the most difficult RC Helis to fly.
The biggest difference flying a collective pitch helicopter is that the RC helicopter can be flown upside down because enough negative pitch can be applied to the rotors. This is how the ‘Pros’ can do 3D aerobatics with a RC helicopter.
Starting out, it is recommended to get a Coaxial RC Helicopter. These are good choices because they react a little slower to commands, can be flown indoors and will (with some models) hover is you let go of the sticks.