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   HOW TO - How to best use the Phoenix Simulator while learning to hover

A great many helicopter pilots today are using the Phoenix flight simulator to improve their flying skills, and of course, to learn to fly, especially when it comes to helicopters, this is definitely a very valuable training aid that I would advise most would be helicopter pilots to get a copy of.

I must say here that I have NO COMMERCIAL RELATIONSHIP with Phoenix whatsoever.  I recommend it purely because IMHO at least it is the best value helicopter simulator for RC helicopters I have tried.

However, if you are just learning to fly, it can be a bit bewildering, what with all the different models that are available in Phoenix, and then the fact that you can change almost every setting there is to make them behave differently.

I use Phoenix with my  own  1on1 Training sessions, and due solely to it's size, I have chosen to use the BO105 helicopter that can be found in the Scale section of the helicopters.  This is because student pilots can see it pretty easily, and see what attitude it is in, which is an essential part of learning to fly a helicopter.

You can of course choose any helicopter you wish, but there are some very important settings that you can change to make the initial learning curve a lot easier for yourself.

Open the Model - Edit window, and select the MAIN ROTOR TAB.

Go to the last section headed LIFT, and change the HOVERING ABILITY to 100%

This will make the helicopter a lot more docile initially.  As you progress with your hovering, reduce this value slowly until finally you get it back to 0%

In the same section, ensure that the next entry, GROUND EFFECT is set to 100%

This will make the helicopter a lot more realistic as all helicopters are effected by ground effect, which makes them respond differently when near to the ground.  I suggest that you never change this.

Now go to the FINE TUNING TAB, and select the first option in the CONTROL EXPO SECTION.

Set this ELEVATOR EXPO setting to about 30%

Set the next one, the AILERON EXPO setting to about 30%

Set the next one, the RUDDER EXPO to about 15%

These three settings will make the amount of control movement the servos will go less around the centre stick position.  If you find the helicopter is still too twitchy, increase the first two to about 45% maximum.  The aim here is to slowly reduce these values as you progress.

Select the TAIL ROTOR TAB, and select the GYRO MODE option

There are two options here, RATE and HEADING HOLD (HH).  You can if you wish switch this to HEADING HOLD, which will make the tail less likely to drift on you, allowing you to focus on the cyclic and throttle pitch controls more intently.  HOWEVER, as  you improve, you REALLY MUST switch this back to RATE MODE so that you learn to control the tail, as you will certainly have to anyway as you progress.

The final one to change is on the ADVANCED TAB, and it is the top one labelled Collective pitch response.  Change this to around 60-70%.  This will help you to maintain a steady height while focusing on the other hovering controls.  You aim will be to set this back to 100% as you progress.

PLEASE REMEMBER TO FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS ABOVE TO WORK THOSE SETTINGS BACK TO THEIR NORMAL SETTINGS, otherwise you will kid yourself that you are a better pilot than you perhaps really are....

For more help on learning to fly, please check my tutorials section, where you will find several tutorials covering all aspect of helicopter flying, including learning to hover, the most crucial art of all..

Happy Simulator Flying...

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