Every one will have a different idea on how to learn to fly. I believe that you should learn slowly and get good at one step before the next. Its hard to just be hovering about when the others around you are flying around and having a great time. Your wishing you could be doing what there doing, so you get impatient and try to do more than your capable of doing. End result CRASH! So take your time and learn. Its not a fast thing to do but think of the end result. A great pilot with only a few crashes. Yes you will crash, be prepared! Donít let it get you down. But make that day take for ever to get here. I have people that fly with us that havenít crashed in 2 years. This could be you to!
Over the years I have seen a lot of people trying to learn how to fly r/c helicopters. The following is my opinions on how to do that. When I learned to fly we didnít have any of the flight simulators that are available today. Thereís nothing wrong with them, I think that they are a great tool to have if you can afford it. If having a flight simulator will prevent one crash, then they basically will pay for them self's. How ever, even if you can afford it, thereís still nothing like the real thing. These simulators work real good at teaching you how to move the sticks and what will happen. This is very good to know but you just donít get that feel that you get from the real flying. You will also need to or want to have it set up like the helicopter you will be flying and if your a beginner you really wonít know how to do that.
One of the best things you can do for your self is to go to that local flying field and find some one who flies well. Some one you can trust and you like how they fly. Check out there helicopter. See that its put together like a pro would do. They might fly well but if there helicopter is "HACKED" together, then that's probably a sign of who your dealing with. Once you find that person ask if they will help you. After you find that person stick with them, donít change from person to person. Every one will have there own opinions and techniques. This will also apply when setting up the helicopter. You need to get it set up right, so you can fly. If you go from person to person and they change your set up, youíll never get flying.
This is how I first learned to fly. I relate my learning to bowling. ( and Iím not a good bowler! ) My first game is warm up. My second game is my best, and my third is... well not so good. This is because my mind will work overtime and will confuse me. This to me is the same as r/c helicopter flying. My first flight is warm up. My second flight will be the best I will get the hang of it and just when I think I got it, my third flight something different will happen and Iíll be all baffled again. The point here is that you should try only to fly a few flights when you start or take some time between the flights so you do confuse your self. What will happen is that you will think you have done something right and then the next time one thing will be a little different and that will screw you up!
BEFORE YOU BEGIN!... MAKE SURE YOU HAVE YOUR TRAINING GEAR ON!
Now onto the flying it self:
First you will want to learn the yaw or tail rotor command. With the helicopter light on its feet, learn to control the T/R. Try to keep it behind the helicopter. Position your self as in PHOTO #1. You will want to be positioned behind the helicopter and off to one side. NOTE: notice that on PHOTO #1 my left and right yaw arrows are in the front of the helicopter. This is because you FLY the NOSE of the helicopter.
When you feel comfortable with that, just add a little power and get the heli to lift off about 3 to 6 inches. Do this for a few seconds, then land. After a while youíll be able to keep it up longer and longer, till youíll be able to hover for a longer amount of time. PHOTO #2
Now that you can hover at 6 inches. Proceed to learn to hover at a waist high altitude. Get Full control of shorter hovers before going to the next level. As you get higher, you will get out of GROUND EFFECT and things will get different. PHOTO #3
Well now you have learned to hover, you should now learn to hover both 90 degrees to your self. Lift of into a hover and slowly rotate a little to the left then the right and do this till it gets comfortable. Keep doing this till you are able to hover both directions 90 degrees. Do this because when you start learning approaches you will be coming in at 90 degrees to your self, hence the 90 degrees hovering! By now you have grow comfortable with hovering, so now is the time also to practice when the breeze is light. Get used to the wind, but be careful not to get behind on the controls. This is why you start when the breeze is light. What I mean about getting behind on the controls is that the breeze will move the heli and you will want to correct for that movement before its to late. PHOTO #4
Next learn to do side swipes with the helicopter. Move the helicopter a little to the right, then a little to the left. Only move a foot or two at first. Get comfortable. Move on to slightly larger distances. If you want you can take the heli small walks. just move the helicopter a little and then you move with it. This will let you learn what it looks like to see it moving. PHOTO #5
Then you can learn to do TAIL IN circles around your self. Do them slowly. Get used to doing them in both directions, although one way will be easier do to the direction of the rotating blades. You will also follow the path of the circle your self. PRACTICE ON ALL YOU MANEUVERS TO DO STRAIGHT UP AND DOWN DESCENTS FROM THE PAD. PHOTO #6
Now learn to do your side way swipes mixed with your 90 degree hovering that you learned earlier. At first you will not put the full 90 degree yaw in. Move the helicopter to one side or the other and stop its motion. Give it a slight amount of opposite TAIL ROTOR YAW. Just a little amount. Then leaving the helicopter in that condition, Move it back over to the opposite side of you. Stop its motion and give it opposite TAIL ROTOR YAW again. Give it about the same amount you did earlier. keep doing this till you get comfortable again. When you are comfortable with that, try giving it more TAIL ROTOR YAW and so on till you are now flying it back and forth at 90 degrees to your self. REMEMBER!!!! keep in mind that at any time you get in trouble how your going to get the TAIL ROTOR back behind the helicopter. This then is back into the position of a normal hover .... a hover that you practiced at first and everything will feel familiar and you will be ok. PHOTO #7
Next its time to start to learn the basic forward flight. This is an expanded version of the sideways swipe mixed with your 90 degree hovering techniques. Since you can already fly left and right and put in your 90 degree hovering, this will be easier now. at first you will want to add a slight amount of corresponding ROLL CYCLIC. just a little bit is all you need. Your figure 8 will only be about 20 foot big. DON'T GET TO FAR TO ONE SIDE OR ANOTHER OR OUT IN FRONT OF YOU! Do this till your comfortable with it. As you get into this you will find that the helicopter will want to keep traveling out away from you. Stop the helicopter after one or 2 turns and do some backwards hovering to bring the helicopter back where you started from. After a while of doing this you will be able to take the "8" and bring the helicopter back in line with your self so it doesn't fly away. Once you get comfortable with a small version of the figure "8" then increase it size. DON'T GET TO FAR OUT. YOU STILL NEED TO LEARN APPROACHES TO "FLY" THE HELICOPTER BACK, NOT JUST DO BACKWARDS HOVERING. After you get the approaches down you can increase the size of your figure "8"s. The next thing you know.... your flying higher and farther and...YOUR IN FORWARD FLIGHT.....!!!! PHOTO #8
The approaches. When your comfortable with the above and can fly about 15 to 20 feet to the right and left and can be about 10 feet high so you can learn to approaches. Fly to one side of your self like you did to learn side swipes. Now turn the helicopter 90 degrees pointing back the way it came from. Slowly increase you altitude to about 10'. Start a slow forward movement like you did before and slowly come of the THROTTLE / COLLECTIVE PITCH a little and descend to your waist high altitude again. DO NOT USE A LOT OF FORWARD CYCLIC. This will drop the nose and the helicopter will pick up speed fast! As the helicopter comes down to about head level start adding the power again. At the waist altitude you can level off, fly past your self, and then stop. Go back and re-practice this. Then do it from the other direction. One habit you don't want to get into is only learning this from one side. If the wind comes up, you don't know what side you will have to do your approaches from. Always try to do them into the wind. These approaches will also help when you get into autorotation. PHOTO #8
Well this should get you going. The next steps of forward flight will be just what you have practiced above only at a higher and farther distance. DONíT short change learning to hover. Everything will eventually evolve around it.