Flying electric RC Helicopters. RC helicopter is becoming more and more popular among all age groups, with new folks coming on-board daily. In fact, electric RC helicopter is the fastest-growing sector of RC aviation and may soon overtake airplanes as the preferred remote control aircraft. One reason is that most electric RC helicopters are easier to fly and maintain than gas models. Something many gas and electric helis have in common is the capacity to inflict injury if handled carelessly, so always take care to treat them with respect. Hobby-grade models have very high rotor speeds and the spinning blades are capable of causing serious injury – even toy model blades can hurt. To protect yourself, learn the safety rules and follow them to the letter before, during and after each flight.
You should always conduct a pre-flight check. Confirm that your radio is functioning properly and puts out enough signal for normal flying distances. Any loose screws, nuts or bolts should be tightened and batteries fully charged; check servos, linkages and control surfaces and make needed adjustments. It is best to work from an actual checklist rather than memory, so you don’t overlook an important step. And if you are new to flying, it is a good idea to have a pro check behind you.
As to flying RC helicopter, beginners should not fly alone. You will be more comfortable with a seasoned pilot by your side and he can take over if you lose control. On the other hand, you also don’t need a crowd around – it could be dangerous for them, and make it harder for you to concentrate. Never fly if wind conditions are unsuitable – it doesn’t take much of a breeze to play havoc with all but the largest electric RC helicopters. Fly in open spaces, clear of trees, power lines, or other obstructions. When in the air, keep the copter a safe distance from yourself and others. 15-20 feet will allow a little time to react if something goes awry. Remember, even very small models generate serious blade tip speed, so do not come close when they are spinning. Wait until the blades come to a complete stop before approaching, and never hold onto to your heli when the blades are turning.
Plain commonsense, along with strict adherence to safety rules, will make for optimal enjoyment each time you fly. As you gain experience, you will become more relaxed and skilled, but don’t get over-confident. Remember the safety rules, put them into practice and have a great time flying electric RC helicopters.
Some vital tips below:
- Always hold your blade grips tightly when you start your helicopter. If the engine starts at a higher rpm than you expect and you don't have a hold of it right away you may not be able to stop it. This can happen if you forget to reconnect the throttle link after maintenance or forget to turn the rx on.
- If you do start your engine and it is near full power the first thing you want to do is pull the fuel line off the carb, then kill the throttle on the tx. You want to get the RPM's down asap to avoid damaging the clutch liner.
- If you have a radio with a lot of switches, make it so that when you start your engine all the switches be one direction. For example, when all my switches are flipped back / up and the throttle is all the way down, my helicopter is ready to be started.
Always tighten / check the mission critical screws before you fly, especially the ones that control the tail.
- When you crash, inventory your heli and make sure you picked up all the pieces, because they're expensive as hell and you can never buy one part of a set.
- Make sure your throttle linkages are secure and set to idle before starting your engine, or it may try and get you!
- Those foam blade holders that cost 3.50 aren't just to keep the blades from rotating all over, they preserve the life of those mixing levers connected above the mast, which otherwise get "stretched" out and cause slop.
- Secure the Rx's frequency crystal with some tape. It's not unheard of this crystal backing out from vibrations causing loss of control.
- If you notice slop in the tail that didn't used to be there, land and find out why it's there now, or you may find yourself practicing a pirouetting autorotation.
- Read the WHOLE manual, just because it looks done doesn't mean it will keep flying for long.
- If you get shakes really bad with training gear on and you're sure your blades are balanced and shafts straight, try chaning the length of the training gear. There are a few things that will affect the resonance frequency of your helicopter: 1) Weight and weight placement 2) Size and lengths 3) RPM 4) Shape. So when in doubt, change one of those variables and see what happens.
- When you are flying with wind, remember that you'll need more power on the down-wind turn (when the wind becomes with you) because while it may look like you have forward flight, really you are just hovering. Hovering takes a LOT more power than forward flight which benefits from transitional lift, so be prepared for it to sink faster than usual in a turn with no wind.