How to Fly RC Helicopters for Beginners
Drones have become increasingly popular over the past few years as technological enhancements have made them more accessible from a cost standpoint, and the quality of the photography has improved exponentially. Flying these quadcopters is relatively simple for beginners to grasp, with minimal experience and preparation required. However, that’s not always the case with the traditional helicopter models. Controlling a model aircraft with two propellers, rather than four, can be much more challenging initially.
It’s not atypical to have the first several attempts to fly an RC helicopter result in a crash within seconds of leaving the ground. While crashes are ideally avoided, they may be critical to the learning process. As with any foray into a new hobby, it’s advisable to start small. Purchasing a less expensive, more durable model to become familiar with the intricacies of flight and the radio transmitter can allow users the freedom to dabble in the art of flying RC helicopters, without breaking the bank or their machines. The following steps can help prepare beginners for smoother flights.
It’s just as important to follow the rules as it is to follow the instructions that come with the RC helicopter. knowbeforeyoufly.org is a useful website for anyone who plans to operate a remote-controlled device in public airspace to determine whether the aircraft needs to be registered or to clarify any regulatory concerns that may be ambiguous in the manual. There are specific locations where these devices can’t be flown as well, so it’s important to be aware of the restrictions. Although many starter RC helicopters are very small with a limited flight range, it makes sense to review the site. If the hobby progresses to bigger, more sophisticated RC helicopters, the regulations will eventually become applicable, and the registration fee is nominal.
Charge the power source.
Beginner model RC helicopters are usually battery-powered. There are enough challenges that come with learning to fly, so it’s crucial to ensure the power source is fully charged. This will allow the most extended time frame possible to practice the early maneuvers needed to get familiar with the helicopter, and avoid unnecessary crashes by running out of power prematurely.
Maintaining the power source can be a complex process. Most batteries can be damaged if not recharged properly. Trying to charge a battery too long won’t extend the flight time, but instead, burn out the battery or reduce the amount of power available for future flights, so it’s important to follow the recharging instructions.
Get familiar with the transmitter.
Before flying the device, it’s a good idea to master the RC helicopter transmitter and the purpose of each component. This is the opportunity to understand where the controls are located and their function until it almost becomes second nature. The primary control is the throttle which is typically on the left side. It will move the helicopter up and down and is key for take-off. On the opposite side should be the rudder to move the aircraft forward and back. What adds to the RC helicopter’s complexity is a third component called the trim, which controls the lateral movement. When flying the RC helicopter, the operators should be able to focus their full attention on the aircraft rather than the transmitter, so it’s essential that they establish a high degree of proficiency with the controls.
Find the optimal location.
Find wide open spaces with few people around. A landscape devoid of buildings, trees, and power lines enables the user to keep the helicopter in view and limit collisions easily. RC helicopters have fast-moving propellers, and there’s always the potential for crashes when starting out, so safety should be the priority. In this type of environment, though, any damage can usually be limited to the helicopter.
Rather than trying to fly the RC helicopter to soaring heights and in multiple directions right away, just concentrate on the basics at first. A good starting point is low-hover training, usually one or two feet above the ground. This gradual introduction allows the user to gauge the reactions of both the transmitter and the RC helicopter in a low-risk scenario. Once the operator is comfortable with fundamental movements at low altitudes, then more complexity and distance can be incorporated in small increments.
Learning to fly an RC helicopter is a process. The best way to minimize crashes and get the most enjoyment from the hobby is to not rush. There’s no preset timeline for the mastery of RC helicopters, so don’t get discouraged.