Getting set up
OK, so you've got
your new helicopter, all the associated electronics and accessories, what now?
First up, if you
brought the machine brand new, you've gotta build it! Building a machine need
not be a chore, infact, it can be very rewarding! Just make sure you follow
the instructions provided by the manufacturer and if in doubt, ask questions.
Right, so your
machine is all built and everything's installed and your pride and joy is sitting
there all charged up and ready to fly! What next? You're itching to get to the
field aren't you? You wanna crank it up and get some action! Well hold up there
Rambo, you got some more homework just yet... First you gotta set up the pitch
and throttle curves in your radio, for more on that see our section on Pitch
and Throttle Curves.
Setting up your helicopter is one of
the most crucial aspects of helicopters. The helicopter will only fly
as good as the way it has been set up.
I can't emphasise enough how a well
set up helicopter helps in your learning stages. Flying helicopters is
hard enough without having to fight a less than ideally set up helicopter.
If you haven't got anyone near you to
help set up your helicopter, it's often worth driving to where ever there
is someone to help, just so you get off to the best start.
Cool, so now your
machine is about ready to fly. Give it yet another checkover following the list
- All screws are tight
Check and double check all screws are nice and secure.
- All linkages are secure
Linkages make your helicopter act. They transmit movement
from the servos to the control surfaces of the helicopter. Are your fuel lines
safe and secure?
Make sure the servos are reversed if necessary. Check
to make sure that the direction of the servos movement yeilds the correct
response from the control surfaces (ie pitch, cyclic, throttle, rudder etc).
- Gyro set up
sure that the gyro has been either reversed, or not reversed, as the case
may be, so that it yeilds the correct response from the rudder of your helicopter.
- Pitch Curve
Is your pitch curve all set up?
- Throttle Curve
Is your throttle curve set up as well?
- Are your electrics secure?
Is the wiring between electronics secure and protected from chaffing? Is the
switch correctly wired up? Is the battery protected from knocks and is secure
and free from movement? What about the receiver, is that nicely protected
and free from movement?
- Are your batteries charged up?
Trying to fly with depleted batteries will result in
a run away helicopter that will at the very least damage itself, if not something
above is a simple checklist which you can build upon. Don't let your first time
out be ruined by something that could have been prevented!
so now you've checked out your helicopter etc. Preferably you've had an experienced
flyer check it out as well to make sure you've not missed anything. But now,
you're pretty much ready to head to the field for your first flights.
you're at the field, there's some more checks to be done! Yup, more... These
- Club rules
If you're not a member of the club who is custodian of the field you wish
to fly at, ask what their rules are for flying. Some clubs require membership
to fly. Some require membership of the national body for insurance purposes.
Become aware of the flying field rules and abide by them. Some may dictate
that you need an experienced flier in attendance when learning to fly.
- What frequency are you on?
The most important thing you must do is find out what
frequency control system your flying field uses and ABIDE BY IT! If
you switch on your transmitter and someone else is flying their machine with
that same frequency, there's a good chance their helicopter will go out of
control and crash. This is called a shoot down. There's a gentleman's agreement
here in New Zealand that states if you shoot someone down, you pay for their
machine. Also, how would you feel if the out of control machine hit someone?
- Range checks
You want to complete range checks of your radio equipment
before trying to fly. Before turning on your transmitter, make sure you comply
with the frequency control system in use at your field. With your transmitter
aerial down, switch on the transmitter and the helicopter and start walking
while moving the sticks and make sure your helicopter responds. Keep walking
until the helicopter fails to respond. For more details, consult the documentation
of your radio.
- Crank it up!
Once you have your frequency sorted and your range checks
are complete, attach the training gear and pump some fuel into your machine,
turn on your transmitter and helicopter. Make sure your throttle stick is
set to low, connect your glow plug lead, connect your starter motor and crank
it! Hopefully it'll crank up and sit there at idle.
so now if everything has gone to plan, your pride and joy is sitting there burbling
away. It's time to get serious now! Preferably you'll want someone experienced
with you helping you out, even better if they can test fly it and set it up
for you, if not, follow on. Now it's time to track the blades. For more information
on that, see our tracking section.
now your blades are all nicely tracked, you now need to trim your helicopter.
For more on that, check out our trimming section.
OK, now your machine is all sorted and ready to rock, are you? Let's get down
to the business of learning how to fly!
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