How to get Started Flying RC Helicopters
by Michael Cottier
RC helicopters have become a very common RC toy and come in a variety of prices and types. Some questions that beginners face are: what type of helicopter to choose; what power source; and whether they want an indoor or outdoor chopper. With many more options on top of those, you can imagine how difficult it is for beginners to take off, literally.
First letís talk about the different power sources that a RC model helicopter can have, and which one will best suit you. If you are a beginner RC helicopter pilot, then the best power source for you is electric. Electrically powered chopper engines are very fast, but yet still quiet, and can maneuver just as well as a full sized fuel powered one! Another attraction of electric helicopters is the fact that you donít have to deal with messy fuels or with tuning the engine at all. Plus fuel cost money, and electricity is much cheaper. If you are a beginner then I definitely recommend that you get an electric powered RC helicopter and then progress your way up to a glow powered one.
Glow engines have been used in RC airplanes for some time now, and have now made their way over to helicopters. Glow engines have a simple ignition system that uses a glow plug rather than a spark plug. The glow plug is heated by a battery operated glow starter, and meanwhile the modeler uses a starter to turn the engine over. When fuel enters the combustion chamber, it is ignited by the heated glow plug and the engine starts up.
If you want to seriously get into the RC helicopter hobby, then a glow engine chopper is perfect for realism, building, maintaining and flying! You will be able to personalize your chopper exactly the way you want it, adjusting hover time and rotor speed. Once you get a feel for your helicopter, and have everything adjusted perfectly, your helicopter will fly just the way you want it and not the way some factory decided it should.
The next challenge beginner helicopter pilots face is learning how to fly their chopper. This is a big problem since a helicopter is the hardest aerial vehicle to fly and having a miniature version of one doesnít make things easier. If you have no helicopter flying experience and you try to fly it, most likely it will crash into the ground. To save yourself frustration you need to learn how to properly put it together and fly it.
I recommend that you read the instruction manual, front to back, before you attempt to put it together and when you actually do, make sure you tighten every bolt and include every screw. One missing screw or loose bolt can throw the whole helicopter off and send it crashing to the ground because it is unbalanced.
Learning how to fly a RC helicopter is a challenge within itself, and could never be fully taught over the internet or through some book. The best way to learn is to get real flying experience with an instructor at first, and then on your own later. You can find an instructor at a local RC airplane and helicopter club. RC airplane clubs are most common and exist in just about every state and country. Since most of them will have experience with planes, they most likely will also know how to fly RC model helicopters too.
If you want to learn more about RC helicopters, and see some recommendations, then check out Michaelís helicopter page at http://www.rc-model-airplanes.com/rc-model-helicopters.html Interested in R/C airplanes? Then take a look at his RC airplane website http://www.rc-model-airplanes.com/