ChopperAddict's Hints & Tips


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   INFORMATION - What gyro setting should you use when learning to hover

Everyone has their own views on this, and therefore this is simply my own personal view, based on flying helicopters for around 18 years, and teaching others to fly them for almost as long.  

You probably know even better than I do that learning to fly an R/C helicopter is a real challenge, so anything that helps you to learn this trick skill a little more easily is to my mind a GOOD THING.

Fortunately, a great many of the helicopters that are sold specifically as helicopters that are suitable for people to learn to fly with now come with tail gyros that provide both the normal RATE mode and also provide Heading Hold (HH)

You may not be familiar with what these terms mean, so here it is in a nutshell.

The standard RATE mode simply lets the gyro help you to control the tail by DAMPING DOWN it's tendency to try to turn against the power of the rotor blades, which is a perfectly normal thing for all helicopters to do. In fact it is a physical fact, and the relevant Law of Physics says - "for each movement there is always an equal and opposite movement".  This is why helicopters always try to turn, and without a at least a RATE gyro, few if any of us would be able to fly them at all.

So RATE mode is very useful, and in fact was all that I had available to me when I first learned to fly helicopters.

However, the HH setting does a great deal more.  It will always try to hold the nose of the helicopter so that it points in the same direction.  Obviously if you tell it to change, it allows you to do so, but will then try and hold the new heading for you.

What this means to pilots learning to fly a helicopter is that using a gyro set to HH mode makes it a lot easier initially, as you will not have to think abut the nose very much, which gives you more time to concentrate on the really tricky stuff, which is the throttle and the cyclic.

So my basic advice is to use the HH mode if your gyro provides it.

However, once you can hover reasonably, you MUST go back and turn it to RATE mode and try again, as you will then find it more difficult to hold the nose correctly, but you ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO LEARN TO CONTROL THE TAIL AT SOME POINT before moving on to Forward flight.

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