What is the trick to learning to fly a helicopter?

I have tried practicing on two different simulators:
Microsoft flight simulator
GE Real Flight
and I just don't seem to be able to keep the helicopter from
spinning wildly out of control, what kinds of things can I
do to begin improving my skills?
Reply to
Peter Olcott
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On Tue, 9 Dec 2008 06:37:00 -0600, "Peter Olcott" wrote in :
In Real Flight, put the heli in "idle up" by selecting the middle position for the 3-way switch at the top left of the controller.
This brings the engine up to full speed with a little negative bite on the rotor to keep it on the ground.
The left stick then controls only the collective (the thing that makes the heli go up and down) and does not vary the throttle setting on the motor.
Anticipate that as you raise the collective, there may be a tendency of the aircraft to yaw toward the left (this happens to me all the time because I do not wait for the rotor to reach proper speed).
For me, it helps to realize that I have to counteract every input I just made in order to hover in one place. I don't have the delicacy of touch not to overcorrect, so I do a little dance on the right stick mostly, left-right, forward-back. I make corrections on yaw less often and usually with less difficulty (I guess there is a gyro on the yaw axis helping out).
Transitioning to flight from a hover means shoving the nose down (if you're following the nose, of course) and causing some of the lift vector to be converted to thrust.
Transitioning from flight back to hovering requires hauling back on the stick momentarily to get the rotors to act against the direction of flight, then going into the hover-dance right away, starting with a quick pitch forward to stop the aircraft from reversing direction. I think of this whole sequence as the "Whoa, Nellie!" manuever: strong move backwards to stop the forward motion, strong move forward to get level, then twitching to hover.
It took me nearly forever to be able to fly away from myself, return, and land. I'm not entirely certain what I was doing wrong. I just made hundreds of attempts and eventually got better.
In a relatively stable hover, the rotors will be slanted slightly to the right. If you try to hover with the rotors perfectly level, you will cause the aircraft to move to the left. This takes a little getting used to, especially (for me) in nose-in hovering.
The rule for leveling the rotors when the heli is coming toward you is the same as the rule for leveling the wings of an airplane that is flying toward you--low side gets the aileron input.
You have to level the heli yourself after every bank you make. So far as I know, there is no aerodynamic tendency at work for helicopters to come out of a bank as there is for high-wing trainers with non-symmetrical airfoils and plenty of dihedral. If you bank it left, you will have to bank it right shortly afterward if you want to stay in the air.
I am a sloppy heli pilot. I do 98% of my heli flying on the simulator, so it doesn't cost me too much money. I think I've got a lot of bad habits from plank flying (mixing up elevator with every aileron input).
The heli columnist for MA used to write, "If you're not flying, you're not trying." Keep at it on the simulator and you'll eventually work out your own system.
Marty
Reply to
Martin X. Moleski, SJ
I have not used either of those. I use FMS and had to first set it up correctly and trim the heli. It is set now so that if I throttle up the heli rises and doesn't spin. After that it's like getting to Carnegie Hall, practice, practice, practice. With FMS you can fly from the heli if you want, that is instead of looking at it from the fixed position on the ground ,it's like you are in the heli. If you do this for a while you can get the hang of the controls and not have to worry about the spatial relation between you and the model. When you do fly from the ground concentrate on the NOSE of the heli, not the tail.
I can fly up, out a bit and back and land. That's about it. mk
Reply to
MJKolodziej
| I have tried practicing on two different simulators: | Microsoft flight simulator | GE Real Flight | and I just don't seem to be able to keep the helicopter from | spinning wildly out of control, what kinds of things can I | do to begin improving my skills?
Well, it's hard to tell what the problem is, but the first place to start is to make sure that the controls are set up properly.
If you give it enough power to just rise off the ground, it should mostly just sit there, perhaps drifting slowly somewhere -- but it should not immediately spin out of control. If it does, something needs adjusting.
Beyond that, this is a good site on learning to fly a R/C helicopter --
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`RADD'S SCHOOL OF ROTARY FLIGHT'
Side note: about learning to fly the real thing --
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... from the guy who brought us SQL for web nerds!
Reply to
Doug McLaren
If you have the current real flight, try selecting the Axe Ez helicopter. That's a beginner machine of the coaxial design that is pretty easy to fly in real life too. Fly it around a bit until it gets boring both tail in and nose in, then tackle trying to keep one of the 'real' ones under control.
Reply to
cs_posting
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I miss Real Flight G2. To me, that version had the best heli features. I wish I could find the product key (that fell off the CD case and got lost) so I could run it again.
Ed Cregger
Reply to
Ed Cregger
Hey Ed,
If you ever registered it I bet tech support would send you a new key to use. Any G2 version key would work.
Reply to
Chuck
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Thanks, Chuck.
I really hate to lose the use of this sim. It just seemed intuitive and a lot of fun to use.
Ed Cregger
Reply to
Ed Cregger
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I have emailed them three times about such a thing and they never answer me.
Ed Cregger
Reply to
Ed Cregger
Correction: I just remembered. They did answer me. They sent me a code that did not work.
Ed Cregger
Reply to
Ed Cregger
Write back and tell them that. They may have a work around for you. Barring that, holler me and maybe we can work something up for you.
Reply to
Six_O'Clock_High
Thanks, Jim. Between you and Marty, I should be up and running pretty soon.
Ed Cregger
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"Six_O'Clock_High" >>>>>> spinning wildly out of control, what kinds of things can I
Reply to
Ed Cregger
I have the latest version of FMS but have not found any way to set it up so one is flying from the heli. How do you do that? It appears to me that the only options are Chase Camera or Fixed Camera, neither of which allows one to fly from the heli.
Reply to
Larry Farrell
Chase is what I was referring to . mk
Reply to
MJKolodziej
Okay, but in my opinion, that is quite a long ways from flying from the heli.
Reply to
Larry Farrell
The trick I use is to stay as far away from helis as possible!
Reply to
Jim

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