Getting Ready to Hover

Mar 21, 2013 2 Comments by

Using the pitch angles I presented in my previous blog, it’s now time to practice hovering, and this is what all the building and planning have been for – to see a little light under those skids. However, this is also the time you will have to be very careful, and patient, because there is a great urge to “get started”; to progress into the flying stage before you’re really ready. It’s a quite natural feeling to want to learn how to fly, but by being too aggressive it’s also easy to go too far, too quick, and damage the machine you have been cherishing so much for so long.

With this in mind your number one goal is not really to learn how to hover, but actualy to keep the helicopter in good mechanical condition so you will have something to practice with. I have seen many people try to learn too quickly, only to crash and cause themselves rebuilding time and expense they could have avoided if they would have progressed at a more reasonable pace. Remember, if your helicopter is down for repairs you can’t be learning, so your number one goal is not to do any damage to the helicopter and learning how to hover is only your secondary goal.

With all the building and set-up behind you this is also a time when you expect to progress very quickly, and even with time to train on a flight simulator, it can be rather discouraging to find helicopters are not as simple as they may seem. But when you think about it you really shouldn’t be disappointed – there isn’t anything else like flying a helicopter. No matter what your previous experiences in life has been – even flying a real helicopter – trying to master an R/C helicopter will require skills and coordination that you have never encountered before. That is not to say it is overly hard, only that they are different skills than what you are used too, and they must be acquired through proper practice. So don’t expect success to come overnight.

Paul Tradelius

About the author

A regular contributor to Model Airplane News, he is also the columnist for our “Rotor Speed” helicopter column. Paul has been flying RC helicopters since the early ‘80s and now enjoys all types of rotary machines, including scale and aerobatics, and he continues to experiment with modifications to improve performance.

2 Responses to “Getting Ready to Hover”

  1. Richard Herbig says:

    I READ YOUR FIRST BOOK “BASIC OF R C HELICOPTERS”, PROBABLY 3/4 YEARS AGO, AND I AM STILL ON A BEGINNER LEVEL.
    MAYBE I SHOULD HAVE, AS YOU MENTIONED, BUY THE LARGEST YOU CAN AFFORD.
    MAY NOT BE EXACT WORDING.
    I STARTED WITH THE “AXE”, THEN CX2,BLADE SR, AND A FEW OTHERS.
    Latest IS THE BLADE MQX, 4 ROTOR…FUN BUT NOT AS EASY AS THEY ADVERTISE..

  2. Paul Tradelius says:

    Richard – Larger helicopters do have some advantages, but experience in itself is a good teacher. All the helicopters you mentioned are good performers, so they should serve you well for a long time to come.
    But please don’t get discouraged. Learning to hover is like learning to ride a bike. You have to get the feel of it. If someone were to ask you now if it’s hard to ride a bike, you would say definitely not. But remember when you were young and trying to get one under control? I think you will find helicopters are the same way – keep on practicing, with emphasis on not damaging your equipment, and soon you will get the feel of it.
    Let me know if I can be of any further help.
    Paul

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