So your kids new RC helicopter has just arrived in mail today, and they’ve shredded through the packaging to get to the eagerly awaited new toy. But then they shout ‘Mom, hows does this thing actually work?’ and you realize that you have no clue either!
Well, if you find yourself in this situation, don’t worry, because StarWalkKids is here to help out with our top tips for flying RC helicopters.
1 The Controls
The first thing you and your child want to do is familiarize yourselves with the controls. Generally, the controls on an RC helicopter are something like the diagram below, but be sure to check the instruction manual that comes with your copter to be sure.
If your child is more of a visual learner, the following diagram might be useful for them.
2 Get ready for take off
So know your child has a good idea of what all the controls do, its time to get ready for their first flight. First step in getting ready for take off is finding a nice flat and level surface to go from, and make sure the tail is pointing towards you so all the controls make sense. If you are outside, don’t try to fly if it is too windy. Stand well back from the copter, and very gently and gradually, push the throttle up until it starts to slowly move off the ground.
3 Learn to hover
Your copter should now be a few inches off the ground. if it is drifting to the right or left, adjust the trim slightly so it hovers in one spot. Get your kids to practice this, as getting it to just hover is a really fundamental skill they need.
4 Practice moving right and left
Now they’ve got hovering down, its time for them to practice moving to the right and left. Get them to make very small adjustments on the trim so that the copter moves right or left a little bit. Remember, we said very small adjustments for a reason. The copter should gently drift over to one of the sides, and you should be able to stabilize it again.
5 Take to the Skies
Your child should now have the hang of the basics. That’s great! Now they can push up on the throttle a little more and take the copter up higher. As the machine goes further from the ground, air resistance increases, and it gets more difficult to make the adjustments we talked about in steps 3 and 4. This is why they should practice them at a lower altitude.
6 Spin around
Your child can now try moving the rudder controller in order to turn the helicopter and change its direction. They can start with a little tap to the left and right just to get the feel of it, and then they can try spinning it in a full 360 circle.
Just be sure to remind them that changing the direction of the copter will change the way the controls feel. For example, if they turn the copter round 180 degrees to face themselves, hitting the controls left will make the copter go to their right.
7 Fly Free
By now they should have a good idea of what they are doing, and they can try flying around a bit more freely. They should try going in a straight line, turning around and then coming back, and also flying in a wide circle to start of with. Remember to get them to keep all the movements slow and gentle; we don’t want them getting over excited and crashing it.
8 Bring it back down
Landing is another fundamental skill they really need to get down. Bring the copter back to that nice flat ground it took off from, and hover level above it. Make sure they keep the copter level and slowly and gently move the throttle own so the machine begins to gently descend. Remind them to be calm about it; if they push down hard on the throttle their precious RC copter will smash into the round!
The copter, like the drone, should naturally come down and land well, and small adjustments will need to be made along the way, but as long as they don’t go too fast, they should be fine.
Top Tips from the Pros
Be patient its going to take a lot of practice for your kid to master the controls. So they should be patient and take small steps to improve.
Be gentle with the controls One of the biggest causes of crashes with beginner pilots is that they hammer on the controls. Even little adjustments can have big effects, so teach your kids to be very gentle and to use very slight tugs and pulls on the controls
Keep the tail pointing towards the pilot For beginners, having the tail pointing towards you will mean that the controls make the most sense, as pushing right will make the copter go to your right etc. You’ll eventually be able to control it no matter where it is pointing, but this takes time.
If you’ve got any more questions on how to help your kid master their RC helicopter, why not drop a question on these handy RC helicopter hobby forums and let an expert help you out?