ChopperAddicts NEW 
HOVER TRAINING AID

HOVER-EZE

CHOPPERADDICT SPECIALISES IN THE BUILDING, REPAIRING & 
SETTING UP OF R/C HELICOPTERS AND RADIOS

   

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and help me to continue helping heli pilots both new and not so new

I have been providing low cost 1on1 hover training days for some time now, and have experienced at first hand all the problems new pilots have.

For new pilots, learning to hover a helicopter is probably the hardest thing that they have to learn, and also the one that causes the most frustration, and probably costs the new pilot the most money due to  the costs of all the inevitable crashes they WILL almost certainly experience while trying to hop all over the place getting to grips with the cyclic control movements needed to hover their helicopter.

I AM PLEASED TO SAY THAT I HAVE NOW COME UP WITH A LOW COST 
DESIGN THAT OVERCOMES VIRTUALLY ALL THESE PROBLEMS

By their very nature, helicopters are naturally unstable, which means that the pilot has to control them AT ALL TIMES.  Due to this instability, when a helicopter is hovering, it tries to move away from the horizontal, causing it to move off more and more rapidly in one direction or the other. Helicopters also have this tendency to take off moving left and backwards due to the tail rotor side pressure, main rotor rotation etc.

The most obvious problem for the new pilot is to understand what both sticks on the transmitter (Tx) actually do, and how the helicopter reacts to those movements.  Right now, the most common way for new pilots to learn this difficult art is by putting a pair of training legs on their helicopter, and then trying to hop around the ground basically experimenting with the sticks.  As is inevitable, they sometimes come up off the ground, which can easily lead to panic, and the pilot either slams the helicopter back onto the ground, or worse yet, loses control totally and the helicopter goes screaming of sideways, forwards or backwards, usually ending up turning over when it meets the ground, hitting the main rotor blades on the ground, damaging the head, blades, often the boom and tail drive shaft etc etc.  That means quite an expensive repair bill.

OK you are saying, we all know the problems, how do we overcome them ?

Well, it really is quite simple, as indeed are most good ideas.  I took a leaf from the early days of Rolls- Royce and their Flying Bedstead experiments for designing workable vertical take off machines.

NB This training aid is NOT TOTALLY FOOLPROOF, and it is still possible for you to crash even when using it, but the chances of having most of those early crashes is certainly reduced by about 95%

NB - The concept and design are both copyright Ian Turner (2010)  
            
This design may not be produced in quantity or sold commercially without my personal written permission.

Despite that, I am still publishing the full design details in good faith to allow individuals to copy the concepts and to build a single copy of this design (solely for your own personal use) to allow it to be tested out in the real world, and to let new helicopter pilots try it out for themselves.  

I just ask that you PLEASE provide me with your feedback on how it works for you.

For a diagram of my design for Hover-EZE in a separate window - CLICK HERE

CLICK on control above to view Hover-EZE being demonstrated  by ChopperAddict

Strangely, to me at least, some people  have complained that the previous video is somehow "contrived" because I was the pilot flying the helicopter in the clips, so I have filmed a VERY RAW NEW STUDENT with NO PREVIOUS COLLECTIVE HELICOPTER EXPERIENCE using my Hover-EZE Training Rig to learn to hover in ONE SINGLE DAY

Here is the result of that amazing day, that proved conclusively to both me and the student concerned that the Hover-EZE Training Rig REALLY DOES DO WHAT IT SAYS IT DOES....

CLICK on control above to see how well it all worked with a brand new student....
& how well it could also work for you as well..

A few days later, on a really nasty day with winds gusting 20-25 knots, I had a 1 on 1 helicopter setup day with another student who had bought a Trex 450 clone off Ebay.  After I had completed the setup I test flew it myself, using my Hover-EZE training aid for additional security due to the strong and unpredictable winds. Neil, the student, asked if I thought he could try it out for himself. After some deliberation I told him to go ahead once I had set Hover-EZE up so the tethers were nice and tight

HERE IS THE RESULT...

CLICK on control above to view Neil's first ever flight using ChopperAddict's Hover-EZE

Why not check it  out for yourself, and enjoy the benefits of Hover-EZE and indeed Alien Command in the later stages of the day to get a totally new RC helicopter pilot flying successfully in ONE DAY....

I believe that almost anyone CAN LEARN TO HOVER QUICKLY AND VERY SAFELY 
just by using my Hover-EZE design

HOW TO MAKE YOUR COPY OF MY Hover-EZE TRAINING AID

The additional information you need is as follows :-

You will need about 35 feet of a lightish nylon rope (say 3mm diameter, such a tent guy rope or parachute rigging lines) so it is NOT too light, but also not too heavy.

This rope should then be cut into 4 equal lengths.

Each of the ropes need to be at least 7-8 feet long in total, with something like a dog clip or carabiner clip on one end that will be able to go around the skid support legs of your helicopter.

The end that is going to have the dog clip MUST HAVE at least a 9 inch length of 4mm bungee style elastic between the end of the rope and the dog clip. This is essential to absorb possible really hard jerks on the skids.  On my prototype I used some small elastic rings from by a camping shop. These are circular and about 12 inches in total length. I used 2 on each of the 4 ropes.

On each rope, about 5 or 6 feet or so from the dog clip end there needs to be small ring through which a tent peg will fit to anchor it to the ground. then another at 6-7 feet and the last ring at the very end. This allows you to gradually extend the length of the ropes, which allows the helicopter to rise higher, while still being controlled to a very great degree by the training rig. 

Again, my prototype simple used small loops in the nylon rope that I made secure using 2 tie wraps to lock the rope together forming the loop...

I just used standard steel tent pegs about 9 inches long from the local camping shop to anchor the ropes to the ground. I also ground a point on each of them to make it easier to push them into the ground.

I connect each dog clip to one of the skid supports, and then pull it out at approximately 45 degrees (the angle is not critical) as far as it will go, but keep the tethers at the back as far away from the tail as possible to avoid it possibly catching the tether while on the ground. Locate the ring that gives the shortest rope length initially, but before putting the tent peg in through that ring, move it back toward the helicopter about 3-6 inches. Repeat this process for the other three ropes in exactly the same way.

NB - MAKE SURE THAT THE ROPES HELD BY THE TENT PEGS CANNOT JUMP OF THE PEGS. I closed the hook ends down a lot in a vice and then push them into the ground at a 45 degree angle so that the rings cannot possibly come off the pegs.

Setting up Hover-EZE on the ground

The length of tether you choose depends on your level of skill, and how tightly you have each tether when connected to the helicopter and fixed to the ground.

For maximum safety, I recommend that you peg the tethers out at a 45 degree angle from the centre line of the helicopter. This also ensures that the tail skid cannot catch on a tether rope.

For a total beginner, it is best to have the tethering ropes almost completely tight, and about 4-5 feet long only.  This means that the helicopter will only climb up to about 12-18 inches before the rig will restrict it.  It also means that the helicopter will be held very much level for you, but it STILL CAN and WILL try to wander, and you will need to try to control it to keep it totally level using the cyclic (right) stick.

Once you are a little bit happier with using the cyclic to keep the helicopter level, pull the tent pegs out of the ground and move each of them in toward the helicopter about 3 inches (yes, I do mean ONLY 3 inches).  You will be surprised at how much more control that small amount of extra freedom of movement allows you to have.  The helicopter will still be stabilized to large extent by Hover-EZE, but it will be flying at about 2 to 2 1/2 feet.

If you let the helicopter drop down a little, the tethers will go slightly slack, and then you will be flying it totally by yourself, but if it moves too far from its central position on the rig, Hover-EZE will bring it back to the centre pretty well level again.

You can continue moving the pegs in bit by bit to give yourself more and more freedom of control. Once you are more comfortable, try using 6-7 foot tethers instead of 4-5, and again, start with them tight and then loosen them bit by bit as your skill improves.

FLYING USING THE Hover-EZE TRAINING RIG

This is really the simplest part of all. If you want even more security, you can still fit training legs, although they really are not needed.

Turn on your TX in the usual way, arm your helicopter and let it fully initialise.

Spool the helicopter head up to normal take off speed and then apply a little more Throttle/Pitch to let it climb up to the hover position.  The Training Rig will limit this to about 3 feet at most using the lengths etc I have given above.  You can of course simply adjust the tent peg position to allow more or less hovering height.

The helicopter will climb up and pull all 4 of the ropes tight, and then basically sit there.  It will of course do what all helicopter try and do, and it will try to bank left or right or forward or backward, but it CANNOT REALLY GO VERY FAR IN ANY DIRECTION.  It is now pretty simple for the new pilot to correct the helicopters movements using the rudder and cyclic controls. Even if the student is too rough with the sticks, the helicopter still cannot tilt very far, and will not do their normal trick of disappearing away at high speed, resulting in yet another expensive crash.

By using Hover-EZE the student pilot is able to get really familiar with the cyclic movements of the Tx, and will soon get the feel of just how much (or actually LITTLE) input is needed to correct the helicopter and make it stay level.  

Now we all know that this is the MOST IMPORTANT THING they MUST learn to be able to hover successfully, and the Hover-EZE Training Aid will let them do so for less than cost of the parts needed after their first hovering accident.  

It is true that it is still just about possible to crash a helicopter using this rig, but you really would have to be STUPID and HAM FISTED to be able to do so, or you are actually trying to prove it can be done......

TECHNICAL POINTS about Hover-EZE

Unlike with the normal practice of hopping around and spinning and jumping off the ground, where the natural reaction when it starts to go wrong is to drop the throttle and make the helicopter land. You can of course still do this with Hover-EZE but the better solution is to apply more throttle to make the helicopter lift up again so that the tethers are restraining it fully again. Then it is easy to apply the relevant cyclic input to level the helicopter out. 

The design of Hover-EZE allows a great many variations in layout, all of which can be used to good effect to let you focus on specific parts of the hover learning process.  

The first point to note is the length of the tethers you choose to use, and how much slack you allow on each of them.

1 - The shorter the tethers, the less height the helicopter will be able to climb to. I suggest for absolute beginners that each tether is no more than 4-5 feet.  Equally, there should be no more than 6 inches of "slack" on each tether.  This will restrain the helicopter to no more than 2 feet at most.

2 - The longer each of the tethers, the higher the helicopter will be able to climb, and you will be able to try more cyclic input without the tethers interfering to any significant degree, unless the helicopter reaches critical attitudes, when the tethers will help to stop it going too far.

3 - The more "slack"  you allow in the tethers, the more height and cyclic movement the helicopter will be allowed to move under, and therefore the more YOU, the pilot, will be responsible for keeping it level.

Positioning the Tether ropes

1 - The normal setup is with all 4 tethers at 45 degrees to each other and the skids of the helicopter. This gives the maximum security as the helicopter cannot tilt very far in any direction.

2 - If you want to focus on aileron movements without having to worry too much about elevator control, set each tether to about 30 degrees to each side from the centre line of the helicopter. This will restrict the Pitch (Elevator) freedom of movement of the helicopter, while allowing even more Roll (Aileron) movement.  CAUTION - Setting up this way also restricts the safety that the rig can provide from excessive aileron movement.

3 - In a similar way to (2) above, if you want to focus on Elevator movements without having to worry too much about Aileron control, set each tether to about 60 degrees to each side from the centre line of the helicopter. This will restrict the Roll  (Aileron) movement of the helicopter, while allowing even more Pitch (Elevator) freedom of movement.  CAUTION - Setting up this way also restricts the safety that the rig can provide from excessive Elevator movement.

4 - For the more advanced pilots, you can even just use 2 tethers, both at 90 degrees to the direction of control you want to work on. eg The tethers going out at 90 degrees from the centre line of the helicopter will allow almost unlimited elevator movement, and with the tethers going fore and aft along the centre line, the Ailerons will have that same freedom of movement.

Hover-EZE for more advanced pilots

It is not only brand new pilots that can benefit significantly from the design of Hover-EZE, more advanced flying skills can be learned in safety as well.

Flying side in and nose in are the two most obvious things that cause newer pilots real problems, and it is really easy to make the wrong input, resulting in the dreaded crash to the ground. You can fly a helicopter on Hover-EZE from any side of the helicopter you wish, which lets you experiment and learn the correct inputs in relative safety.

I HOPE THAT OTHERS WILL PUT TOGETHER THEIR OWN PERSONAL COPIES OF Hover-EZE AND TRY IT OUT TO SEE HOW WELL IT WORKS.  PLEASE NOTE you cannot sell or resell it in any form, or make multiple copies.

ALL COMMENTS ON THIS CONCEPT ARE MOST WELCOME - JUST EMAIL ME HERE

 

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and help me to continue helping heli pilots both new and not so new