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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,
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.
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
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 ?
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.
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%
- The concept and design are both copyright Ian Turner
design may not be produced in quantity or sold commercially without my personal written permission.
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.
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
on control above to view Hover-EZE being demonstrated by
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
on control above to view Neil's first ever flight using
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....
believe that almost anyone CAN LEARN TO HOVER QUICKLY AND VERY
just by using my Hover-EZE design
MAKE YOUR COPY OF MY Hover-EZE TRAINING AID
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.
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.
prototype simple used small loops in the nylon rope that I made
secure using 2 tie wraps to lock the rope together forming the
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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......
POINTS about Hover-EZE
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
ON THIS CONCEPT ARE MOST WELCOME - JUST EMAIL ME HERE