Ok, I know this is an RC Car Blog, but a lot of folks who are into RC cars are also interested in learning more about helicopters. Since I have some experience in both, I thought I’d write a getting started guide.
Being new to a fun and exciting hobby like RC Helicopters is…well…fun and exciting! But there are some things that the seasoned pros wished they knew when they were just starting. Things that would have made the first flights more entertaining and time-saving – if they’d only knew.
Below are the top ten tips from expert fliers on getting the maximum amount of fun out of first flights – worth the effort for a great time with a new hobby.
Run Safety Checks & Pre-flight Checks
An RC helicopter is not a toy. It is a scaled model of a real helicopter, and they weigh quite a bit, and travel fast. Injury to people and animals can result if proper safety checks and pre-flight checks are not taken. Avoid an unhappy first flight by putting safety first.
Keep an Inventory List Handy
This will be important for a first flight. If the RC helicopter crashes, and parts fly (which they do sometimes), collecting them and putting them back together requires an inventory list. Individual parts are hard to replace as they must often be purchased as a set, and they are extremely expensive.
Go Ahead and Try Four Channels instead of Two
The more channels on the RC, the more accurately the helicopter will fly – but it will take some getting used to – four channels are more difficult than two, but they help fly the helicopter better; they’re also not that difficult to operate.
Ensure the RC Helicopter comes with Tech Support
Purchase a good RC Helicopter that comes with tech support and back up. This will come in handy if a crash happens or if upgrades are desired.
Learn the Basics of Flight
One doesn’t have to be a physicist to understand the theories on how things fly – just get a background on what’s required in order to get things off the ground.
Don’t Over-do it on the First Flight
Save the fancy tricks for later – for the first flight, or first few flights, just get the hang of controlling the helicopter and keeping it from crashing. Just start with moving it around on the ground or at about a foot off the ground. Once the feel of the craft is stable, then try higher altitudes. The tricks can come later.
Read the Manual from Front to Back
Don’t skim. Read the entire manual and make sure all the parts are in place.
Know how Weather Affects Flight
Learn how tail winds, down-wind, and up-wind will affect turns and hovering. Ask experts for the best flight conditions for a beginner.
Knowing the terminology of RC helicopters will help when others are explaining their favorite tips and tricks. It’s a time-saver once the terminology is learned!
Consider a Flight Simulator
Flight simulators can be expensive, but they can also be worth every penny in confidence building prior to the first real flight. Many experts wished they’d invested in a flight simulator, once they’d crashed two or three RC helicopters!
These ten tips will help make for a better, more fun first flight that is safe and enjoyable for even the most novice hobbyist. The seasoned pros know how frustrating a first flight can be if no one is willing to tell the newbie time-saving hints! Luckily, the RC Helicopter community is a tightly-knit one that always enjoys newcomers to share in the fun.