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HomeAircraftHelicopterBeginners Corner › How important is it to practice on a simulator as a beginner?
08-09-2010 07:27 PM  8 years agoPost 21
Steff Giguere

rrProfessor

St-Eustache, Quebec, Canada

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Simple answer, don't practice and pay 1000's more in crash replacement parts.

Team Synergy, Rail blades, Team Scorpion, V-Team

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08-09-2010 07:54 PM  8 years agoPost 22
EmbdenMe Heli

rrNovice

Embden, Maine - USA

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Thanks for the reply and the suggestions – it’s appreciated.
I’ve searched a lot of websites the last couple of weeks looking for suggestions / etc and noticed a few other people recommended “building” your own helicopter. This does make sense – it would obviously take longer up front but would probably save a lot of time during the (inevitable?) rebuild after a crash. The Blade 400 I was looking at comes “ready to fly” which is great for a quick fix – but maybe not the best thing for a (hopefully) long term hobby.
Also the more I read the more I find people recommending a larger heli. I did try a larger heli (Trex ???) briefly on the Phoenix software and did notice that it was a lot easier (comparatively speaking) to hover then the Blade 400 – at least on the software.
As mentioned before I’m very new to this hobby so I’m not familiar with the transmitter you mention – however I will do some research on it.
Thanks again.

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08-09-2010 08:13 PM  8 years agoPost 23
Solmanbandit

rrElite Veteran

Tucson , AZ

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I started out flying without a sim because I didn't know about them. I finally started using one about a month ago. Even though I've been flying for a year, it is actually really helping a lot. I started out practicing inverted with a Trex 600 and can now do it on the sim with the Blade 400. Next time I go out, I will try it again on the real thing.

Trex 700E / Trex 500 ESP - Ikon/ HD 500 - Ikon 2/ Goblin 500 Ikon 2

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08-10-2010 01:52 AM  8 years agoPost 24
predatorman

rrVeteran

Falkland Islands

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One key thing is that while you can learn to fly and even get into 3D (if thats what you aspire to) you can get to learn the emergency drills too.
If you can Auto on a Sim then chances are you will pull this off in real life too.
Sometime you will get an engine quit firing...even an electric motor can fail. So carrying out an auto needs to become second nature.

I gather that Realflight covers 'failures' like the various servos breaking down etc, its a good feature to have. It can make the difference between a total wreck (I mean really smashed up) or a broken Heli that only needs a few parts and blades to be flying again.

I remember a crash I had, Predator gasser..zooming about and a link popped off the swash she started to barrel roll...funny thing was everytime she inverted I lowered the collective to use its minus 5 pitch (its all I carry for autos..I dont bother 3Ding) because I was always messing about on the Sim doing 3D..anyways she kept rolling and went in but despite smashed blades and bent boom etc she got off lightly

So sims are good. Phoenix has a balloon busting game on it...trick is to set up 3 mins of fuel and then bust them balloons; as soon as the engine dies you get to auto as quickly as you can. Its a good drill to do, and will bring on your skills fast. Trick is though, is not to get too carried away ie limit your real flying till you are comfy with what you are doing...dont show off! because chances are your friends will laugh while not giving you a dime to go towards repairs

Quality takes........time!

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08-11-2010 03:56 AM  8 years agoPost 25
scoobiemario

rrNovice

Newport News, VA

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I am glad that this is a common thing that sims are great for learning. I feel the same because orientations are difficult to learn for a noob.
It is hard to learn orientation. It's just not natural, and hard to learn. Until at some point it just CLICKS!!! And you find yourself just doing it better and better, with less thinking of "Which way should I move sticks"...
It just recently happened to me

Simulator is best buy in RC flying hobby!

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08-11-2010 04:30 AM  8 years agoPost 26
Ladymagic

rrKey Veteran

South Korea

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All of the information so far is great info to know. I don't think there is an individual in this hobby that hasn't benefited in some form from a quality sim. I learned to fly without the sim. I managed to learn all aspects of upright hovering in a short time. I was able to do basic hovering with in a few days. But, was I stuck in a hovering rutt for a long time before the sims released. I was afraid of full on FF. I bought Realflight and my flying skill expanded exponentially and I was able to confidently do FF, and basic 3D within a month of using the sim. It allows you to practice without fear and that's an element every pilot has to face when they fly for real. No matter how good you are on the sim when you actually fly that same stuff for real you still can become very nervous....at least I do. Once I've successfully executed a manuever a few times in becomes second nature.

My advice to anyone who is new and wants to have a successful experience in this hobby is be thorough with all your basics. I say this becuase there is also a negative side to sims. Sims allow a person to advance quickly...sometimes I think it allows pilots to advance too quickly. I've seen what happens when a pilot learned just enough of the bacics to start 3D. No matter how good some of these pilot become in 3D, the fact that they bypassed refining their basic flying skills is very evident in how well an action is excecuted, flewn through, and completed. These pilot usually crash alot more due to this fact. Refining your basics will allow you to fly your way of of trouble 90% of the time. And you'll most like crash less. Your 3D will look much more deliberate too. It's more interesting a to watch a 3D pilot whose taken the time to learn the basics than it is to watch a pilot who only learned enough to get into 3D. You can see this becuase they are just flailing the gimbles around and reacting to the heli. In contrast the heli should be reacting to the pilot. Reacting to the heli means you'll always be one step behind. So take your time learn as thoroughly as you can before you start 3D. Sim or not, you'll get more if you do. Happy flying

Mellisa

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08-11-2010 06:19 AM  8 years agoPost 27
CX1

rrKey Veteran

Canada

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do everything mentioned above and you'll be flying like szabo in no time ?

well maybe a couple of years

EmbdenMe Heli

be prepared to spend thousands
if you don't have a credit card get 1 you'll need it
this hobby is very addictive

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08-11-2010 01:40 PM  8 years agoPost 28
predatorman

rrVeteran

Falkland Islands

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My first sim was 'Easyfly' which had hardly any parameters that you could set but it did have 2 helis...I used the sim to help me with planes but Helis had always interested me.
I just kept plugging away till I could fly the sim models easily, there were 2 models one was a Jetranger which was hard to learn on at first but the second was a '3D' which to me was impossible. I vowed that once I could handle both models easily THEN I would buy a real model
After 10 mins or so of hovering my first heli (Kyosho Nexus 30) I flew my first circuit! and never looked back.

Quality takes........time!

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08-11-2010 05:54 PM  8 years agoPost 29
EmbdenMe Heli

rrNovice

Embden, Maine - USA

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be prepared to spend thousands
if you don't have a credit card get 1 you'll need it
this hobby is very addictive
I’ve started figuring that out – trying to pace myself on the old credit card though. Another nice thing about the sim is that while learning on that it gives me a chance to save up my pennies for a real heli – and a chance to look around a little more for exactly what I want.

Amazing how time fly’s while on the sim – I’ve been working on it every night (with the exception of one) since I bought it a week or so ago. I only mean to stay on it for around an hour – but typically ends up being a couple of hours (with a few small breaks and cursing fits in-between).

I’m fairly confident on the “tail-in” hovering portion now (as confident as a newbie can be) – although I think I may spend another night or two just concentrating on that. Like "Ladymagic" mentioned above – I want to be totally confident with the basics. Any suggestions on what I should move onto next? Should I work on “nose-in” hovering or should I start doing some basic forward flight work? Any suggestions/words of wisdom would be appreciated. That’s one thing I wish the sims software had – a “suggested training course” for beginners. I wouldn’t think it would be that difficult to program in – and could even track how your doing (i.e. in the hovering practice it could measure your drift over a certain amount of time and suggest when to move on). I know I’m asking for a lot but why not think big right? Maybe I’ll see if the Phoenix website has a suggestion box.

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08-11-2010 06:16 PM  8 years agoPost 30
CX1

rrKey Veteran

Canada

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an idea
not that im an expert

learn all the hover orientations
then start moving the heli in slow controlled circles tail in
then do the same for all sides

after you get tired of that
start doing circles like a real heli flies
learn how to make left and right turns
then do figure 8's
keep doing aerobatics have fun
when you're ready to learn 3D repeat the above upside down

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08-11-2010 07:34 PM  8 years agoPost 31
chopper_crazy

rrElite Veteran

Delphos, Ohio

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the simulator is the best tool you can buy in this hobby!

It's a complex, costly, glow powered anti-gravity machine!

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08-11-2010 08:04 PM  8 years agoPost 32
predatorman

rrVeteran

Falkland Islands

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Try using markings on a field if possible, and keep the heli over these markings while hovering, then try following the marks (if there is like a soccer field or something) you can make up a game of sorts. This will bring on your skills.

On one sim there was a sign post and I used to land on the crosstrees of this, attempting it nose in as well

I loved learning to fly, and would go through it again quite happily.

Quality takes........time!

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08-11-2010 10:16 PM  8 years agoPost 33
Heli0228

rrApprentice

Ripplemead, Va

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Flying help.
The simulator is a great tool to use while you are learing to fly. I think once you can fly around on the simulator with few crashes go to the AMA web site and type in your zip code and find a club close to you, once you find a clud see if some one can put on a buddy cord and then start to fly. You need to get experienced help this will benefit greatly in the long run. You will never out grow the simulator because you will always be learing in this hobby, so there will be new moves to try out. Hope this helps.

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08-11-2010 10:40 PM  8 years agoPost 34
predatorman

rrVeteran

Falkland Islands

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good idea about the Club, you can go it alone. I had to as there was no choice...and while this has its benefits in some ways you will learn heaps more and be a far safer pilot with some real 'in person' help.
Setting up the average model is quite a skill in itself, and a badly setup model can be dangerous as well as not fly as well as it could.

Maintenance is important too, having someone show you all the relevant items to check on your machine can only be a good thing. These machines are not toys, like the instruction manual states.

Quality takes........time!

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08-12-2010 04:30 AM  8 years agoPost 35
Ladymagic

rrKey Veteran

South Korea

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Embdenme,
I always recommend you start Upright tail-in, then Side-ons, and lastly Nose-in. Learn upright horse shoes, and then full figure 8 circuits. Then you repeat the process for inverted flight. This whole process usually takes between 2 to 4 months depending on the pilot's ability to listen and apply and previous RC experience. You can do this on the sim and in real life. If you do it on the sim, take it seriously as if it were your real life heli. I've found that if you take your sim time seriously, you'll pick everything up much faster.

I am a qualified trainer here and I've successfully trained 4 new pilots this past year. They are all confident enough now to where they can teach themselves to improve their own skills.

I have a set training plan I like to use with them. First, fly tail-in hovering until it becomes second nature to you. Once you feel comfortable with that orientation, it becomes your emergency return position any time you are trying out a new orientation or manuaver when it starts to go all wrong. It also helps in preventing "pilot lock up" in bad situation by giving you an avenue to save your aircraft. Next, I teach them how to "spot" hover. In this case, you select three spots in front of you. Your starting spot "1" will always be centered directly in front of you. Spot "2" and "3" will be about 10ft to your left and 10 ft to your right. You goal at this point is to hover the heli to and from each spot while maintaining a perfect tail-in postition in reference to you. You must hover perfectly still at each spot for no less than 15 seconds. No drifting. Also, You can pivot but you cannot walk with the heli to the spots. This teaches you how to articulate your tail inputs and how to manage the collective and cyclic to move the heli around. More importantly, it teaches you how to counter the heli to get it to stop exactly where you want it.

Next you want to learn Side-on. I like to teach right and left side at the same time. This prevents a new pilot from delevoping favored side. You will also do this when learning cicuit flying for the same reasons....fly figure 8's. To do this, I tell the pilot to start with a "quarter side" hover and not a full on side hover yet. At this point, the tail must never be pointing directly at you. This method teaches you how to reference the cyclic gimble in relation to the swash plate and how to quickly adjust to a heli whose orientation will be constantly changing when fly FF and 3D.

The final upright hovering skill you'll need to learn is Nose-in. I save this one for last because it has proved to be the most difficult to learn and you'll need to reference your other newly learned skills to understand it. Remember, you'll feel like your ailerons are reversed, but they are'nt. You have to conciously make aileron inputs for a while while in this orientation until you get used to it. Never learn to fly nose-in less than 20ft from yourself. Never hover at eye level in any orientation.

There is a little bit more inovolved in this process, but I consolitdated it a little bit. The main thing is to take your time and move from each step only when you are truely proficient. It can be boring and repetitious at times, but just remember you are building a strong foundation for expert flying so take your time and don't skip steps. If you follow this, you'll be able to fly out just about anything as long as your heli will listen becuase there is not position the heli attain that will lock you up. If you want a more detailed decription PM me. I can explain everything and why you do it that way. I hope this helps.

Mellisa

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08-12-2010 12:37 PM  8 years agoPost 36
EmbdenMe Heli

rrNovice

Embden, Maine - USA

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If you want a more detailed decription PM me.
Thanks a bunch LadyMagic – this is exactly what I was looking for – I may take you up on your offer for additional information as well.
good idea about the Club, you can go it alone. I had to as there was no choice...
I think I may be in the same boat as you predatorman – we’ve got a couple of AMA clubs in the area (Embden, Maine) but they all seem to fly airplanes. I must admit I haven’t done much detective work yet so I may be able to find someone locally that fly’s heli’s. In either case I’ll probably still join the local club once I get a little bit of experience on my own.

Thanks to everyone for their input.

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08-18-2010 09:12 PM  8 years agoPost 37
sansone

rrNovice

North Florida USA

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+1 for simulator, sure they are not perfect but the alternative is a 3 second flight ending up a complete mess of your pride and joy. not to mention money for repairs

Fusion 50 FBL / Futaba 8FG / Beastx

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09-15-2010 07:03 PM  7 years agoPost 38
slickporsche

rrVeteran

American/Philippines

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Hahaha you guys will hate me for this post but that is life. You do not want to know what I think if sims, but if it works for you, then you should by all means use it.

I bought my first heli in 73, and it was a Graupner Bell 212 and very large at the time. I learned to hover it well, and kept practicing hovering until I had it down well. I then did lots of time walking the dog with it before going to circuits with it about 10-12 ft. No gyro at first. I then did install a Kavan gyro,and it got easier. There was no such thing as a computer or heli radio, so everything was done with mechanical mixing. No sims either. I did some sim time for my full size flying but not models.

I then went the Kavan Jet Ranger, Heli baby barf baby, Schluter Champion, Sx-81 with an early heli radio. Then to GMP product and then Miniature Aircraft X-cells that I still fly everyday, Then on to all the modern stuff and I like the new TT and the Tz and the Trex 700, and now the ElyQ, and all the Hirobos in between. I have been very fortunate in that I have not had lots of crashes, because I was probably cautious.

My point here is if you want to fly heli you gotta do it. Go slowly and get some help from someone that knows how to do a correct set up and balance blades. I think correct setup, balancing clutches, main and tail blades, pitch and throttle curves is the key to success here. Well, do not forget a good heli radio, as that is soooo very important. Many good ones out there like the Spektrum 7and8channel and the JR 9503, and if you can afford one the JR llX is really neat.

Back when I learned to fly there was not much knowledge about things like blade balancing, pitch and throttle curves, and lots of heli's did not have collective. I still hate flying a non-collective bird.Argh! LOL My Kavan Jet Ranger,and my GMP Cobra was a fbl and flew great. You can fly the sim all you want, but if you ain't at the field flying, you ain't learnin much. Other than equipment failure, the biggest cause of a crash is over confidence and flying beyond your aquired skills. I learned to do aerobatics with out ever crashing, but I scared the hell out of myself so bad a couple of times I had to go home and have beer. No I take that back, I did a job on my Concept 30SE one time when I tried a loop and part of the loop was underground. Not enough power, revs on the main blades and just plain stupidity. Its amazing how fast them suckers will stop.

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09-15-2010 08:04 PM  7 years agoPost 39
EmbdenMe Heli

rrNovice

Embden, Maine - USA

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Hahaha you guys will hate me for this post but that is life. You do not want to know what I think if sims
Personally I don’t see what’s not to love about the sim – much safer and lots less expensive for new pilots. The only down side is that it’s a real bummer going back to after flying the real thing.
Brand new to RC – 60 +/- flights and only $12.50 in crash repair costs for a set of blades – thanks Phoenix!!

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09-15-2010 09:22 PM  7 years agoPost 40
rexxigpilot

rrProfessor

Florida

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Only a FOOL or masochist would take on this hobby without a sim! Seriously, the current crop of simulators are so good there is no reason to not use one to learn how to fly. Do you think the US military would allow someone to fly multimillion dollar aircraft without sim training first? Not on your life.

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