By Jeff Barrington - Newton Abbot Heli Club
Asked Question for R/C Helicopter Flyers
- I have been flying model aeroplanes for a few years and I would
like to learn to fly a model helicopter. Will my fixed wing experience
It will help in that you are familiar with radio control but you will
still have to learn from the ground up. Learning to hover can take some
time and you will have to be determined if you want to do it.
I need to join a club?
Yes, you will need help with setting up and experienced helicopter pilots
can test-fly your model as you progress, and if you know the model will
do it then you know its down to you. Try to join a club, which is exclusively
for helicopters, even if you have to travel, it will be worthwhile.
- As a beginner which model should I buy?
Most 30 size models are okay to start with, it is only much later in
the learning curve that the differences start to show up. The Thunder
Tiger Raptor is probably the best 30-size model around at the moment,
but the model, which is most widely used at your local club, could be
the best bet as there will be plenty of help and possibly spares.
- What radio should I use?
The best you can afford is the short answer but anyway the transmitter
must be specifically for helicopters and again the one most widely used
at your club is probably best.
- Why do I need a gyro?
The gyro helps to stabilize the tail and without it the model will be
almost impossible to control. Modern piezo gyros are better than ever
before and it is one thing that will make the model much easier to control,
however, a piezo gyro needs to be matched to a high-speed servo, preferably
digital. Again buy the best you can afford and don't waste any money
on old motorised gyros, they have been superseded.
- When should I remove my training undercarriage?
Can you hover tail in and side on both sides and land the model level
every time? If yes, then you could remove it. Don't let anyone persuade
you until you feel you are ready.
- I can hover and fly circuits but how do I learn to hover nose in?
There are two possible ways to do this either: refit your training undercarriage
and practise from the ground up or, fly the model towards you gradually
slowing up until you can hover. I have seen it done both ways; I did
it by the second method.
- What is an autorotation?
An autorotation is an engine off landing, the idea is to make the decent
with just the right amount of negative pitch so that there is enough
energy stored in the rotor to flair and land the model. This is considered
quite an advanced manoeuvre in some clubs but if your engine cuts the
learning will be worthwhile.
- What are the benefits of a 60-size model?
A bigger model will be more stable particularly in windy conditions,
the power to weight ratio is also better and the extra rotor diameter
leaves more reserve for autorotations. However it will use more fuel
and spares are usually more expensive. Better quality servos are also
advisable in a 60-size model.