Flying a remote-controlled (RC) helicopter can be lots of fun and many beginner RC helicopter pilots soon become lifelong enthusiasts of the hobby. One of the reasons why flying RC helicopters can be so enjoyable is that there is a fair amount of finesse and skill involved, allowing for plenty of room for growth, learning and time spent as a RC helicopter pilot.
Here are the top five things to know when learning how to fly an RC helicopter:
The motion of the RC helicopter blades is what helps the helicopter take off, change direction and land and is referred to as pitch. One of the most common mistakes as a beginner RC helicopter pilot is to underestimate the need for pitch control when flying the RC helicopter.
When the air moves over the main rotor blades on the RC helicopter, the helicopter lifts up or moves down. If you create a bigger pitch angle with the rotor blade, you will get more lift. Conversely, if you lower the pitch angle, you will lessen the lift.
Cyclic RC Helicopter Controls
Many beginner RC helicopter users are not familiar with the controls for their new RC helicopter. Quite a few RC helicopters have cyclic controls, which usually move right, left, back and forth. These controls are responsible for the direction in which the RC helicopter is flying. When you change the cyclic controls, you change the pitch of the full rotation of the blades as they spin.
There are several components to the cyclic controls, including a flybar that sits perpendicular to the main blades, as well as two paddles at the ends of the flybar, a swashplate, and a servo, which both sit under the blade unit on top of the helicopter body.
Fixed Pitch RC Helicopters
When you are looking at RC helicopters for beginners or choosing the best beginner RC helicopter, you might want to consider RC helicopters with fixed pitch. A fixed pitch RC helicopter, which includes many electronic RC helicopters, does not allow the user to adjust or control the rotor blade angle.
Instead, the entire blade component assembly mentioned above is fixed and moves together automatically, thereby earning the term ‘fixed pitch’ since the speed of the blades is the only thing that you can use to adjust the altitude.
While fixed pitch RC helicopters are often some of the cheaper RC helicopters and can be easier for beginners to learn on, it can be difficult to achieve and maintain a certain altitude since there is usually a lag between moving the throttle and achieving lift.
Collective Pitch RC Helicopter Controls
Once you have gained some experience with flying a RC helicopter, you may want to experiment with RC helicopters with collective pitch. Like a real helicopter, collective pitch helicopter controls move independently and can be adjusted to change the pitch angle and therefore the movement and altitude of the helicopter.
Unlike fixed pitch RC helicopters, collective pitch RC helicopters have the ability to move the main rotor blades separately from the rotor head to change the pitch. When you have more control over the pitch, you have more control over the altitude because you can keep making small changes to the pitch to keep the altitude consistent.
When you are a beginner RC helicopter pilot, you may want to start with a cheap RC helicopter with fixed pitch and move on to a collective pitch RC helicopter once you have learned the controls better and are ready for a more complicated transmitter.
Regardless of your RC helicopter choice, you will no doubt end up making at least one crash landing and will have damage to your helicopter. This is why it is always a good idea to have some spare parts on hand.
When you purchase your RC helicopter, purchase some spare parts at the same time so that you have a surplus for immediate repairs as necessary. If you do not have the part you need when you need it, head out to a local hobby store that specializes in RC helicopters or visit some popular stores online such as TrendTimes.com or HobbyTron.
Remember that just like any other skill, getting good at flying RC helicopters will take time and practice, plus a little knowledge.