How to fly RC Helicopter School – Tutorial 6

This video demonstrates how to practice rudder and cyclic control while the tail of the helicopter is pointed towards you. It is the sixth part of the how to fly RC helicopter school.

Remember also: try hovering in at least 20in above the ground to escape the ground effect. Be careful with all movements made with your transmitter. Only little control stick movements.
Another hint: if you make a sidewards or forwards movement you always have to give a little bit more throttle because part of the propulsion now goes to the side or back and because of this the helicopter will descend.

1th exercise: move the tail. back and forth, but always back to the starting position and continue moving from this position.
2nd exercise: forward and backward flying. Keep tail pointing towards you.
3rd exercise: roll to the left and right.
4th exercise: and now all movements done before will be done together. You control the height with the pitch control stick. Hold the helicopter at appr. 20in. Always keep the tail pointing towards you. Using the right control stick at your transmitter you control the forward and sidewards movements. Now fly along the edges of the square. clockwise and counter clockwise. Not easy, isn’t it?

And now you have to practise, practise and practise. Sorry if I say this again and again, but only by practise you will get necessary routine. In the next tutorial of the how to fly RC helicopter school it will get even more tricky and you need all exercises out of this tutorial.


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How to fly RC Helicopter School – Tutorial 5

Finally time has come. In this RC helicopter for beginners tutorial we will let the helicopter hover for the first time. Hurray!

Please pay attention to the following:

  1. While hovering, the helicopter react on stick movements much clearer. When sliding on the ground we were able to move the stick fully up and down or left and right. Doing so during hovering the helicopter would crash.
  2. On ground dragging will slow down the movement. However if hovering a forward movement will continue even after bringing control stick back to center position. Only a little (please note, littlel!) control stick movement in the opposite direction will stop the forward movement.
  3. A totally balanced model for flying is much more important then for sliding on the ground. To find out, if the RC helicopter is balanced get it airborne for a short moment and land it again (a “hop”). If it tend in one direction counteract with the trimm-slider on your transmitter.
  4. The ground effect. If the helicopter is hovering app. 20 in (or the rotor diameter) over the ground it feels like wobble-bubble. This is because of the air-stream impinge on the ground. So try to hover a bit higher to avoid this ground effect.
  5. If it looks like a crash it is important to immediately move the throttle stick down. If you don’t do this you might cause an even higher damage (e.g. on gear wheels).

Now let’s start.

  1. Exercise: small hops. Try to hold the helicopter in hovering position for 2 seconds and land it. Again and again. Always make sure that tail is pointing towards you.
  2. Exercise: hovering for 4 seconds. It makes sense to count from 1 to 3 aloud. You will be focused on the helicopter that you will forget the time. Exercise this as long as you feel comfortable.
  3. Exercise: hovering for 4 seconds and move the tail to the left or right and bring it back to center and land again.

And don’t forget. practice alt least 3 x 30 min. Only by exercise you will get the necessary routine as a RC Helicopter beginner.


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How to fly RC Helicopter School – Tutorial 4

In the second tutorial we have learned to fly with the tail pointing towards you. In the last tutorial we flew with the nose pointing towards you. In this video we will do the same exercises this the indoor RC helicopter being sidewards. That is the trickiest orientation in terms of controlling the helicopter (well, perhaps topped by flying head first :-) ).

It can and will be confusing but that’s OK and nothing will happen as long as you that it easy and slowly. Better to place the indoor RC helicopter by hand back again in the right position.

1. part: nick movement. Helicopter flies forward and backward but from your point of view to the left and right. Turn the helicopter 180° and continue practise.
2. part: roll movement. Helicopter flies left and right but from your point of view forward and backward. Turn the helicopter 180° and continue practise.
3. part: sliding in square.
4. part: writing letters on the ground by sliding.
All exercise of yours in sidewards position. And try by using tail function to always keep sidewards position.


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How to fly RC Helicopter School – Tutorial 3

This is the third part of the “How to Fly RC Helicopter” tutorials.
In this vid your skills from the previous tutorials will be combined and more complicated by holding the nose of your coaxial helicopter pointing towards you while you practice the exercises. Sounds not too hard but you will see that it is not as easy as it looks like because you have to invert control stick movements.
In the first part of the exercise you will use the tail function. Place the helicopter right in front of you in the square nose pointing towards you. Give throttle so it slides and move the left control stick to the left and right. After each movement the helicopter should be brought back into starting position. Then you continue with the nick function. Move the RC heli towards and backwards always taking care of nose pointing towards you.
And now? Right, the roll function. Sliding the remote controlled coaxial helicopter to the left and right. And again, use your tail function to control nose direction.
Every single movement alone is not that hard, isn’t it? Now here comes the challenge. Combine all movements and fly in square. That isn’t that easy anymore. Please practise this exercise until you feel absolute comfortable. This is the most important exercise of the entire tutorial.
Why, you ask? If you are flying later on and for example a blast push the helicopter towards an object you have to react fast with the right movement to avoid a crash. If you then steer in the wrong direction because nose is pointing towards you and (all) movements are reversed a crash can’t be avoided anymore.
Finally the helicopter will be again placed with tail pointing towards you and flown along the square-sides. Strange feeling, isn’t it?
To top it all you can try to fly letters (A, B, C). The cool thing about this exercise is, that you imagine the movement in your mind and than fly it. A condition for later 3D flight where pilot practice the movements hundreds of times in their mind before they actually fly it.
Practice this exercise with you coaxial helicopter as long as you feel comfortable. At least 3 x 30min.


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How to fly RC Helicopter School – Tutorial 2

This is the second tutorial in the series “How to fly a RC Helicopter School”. Goal of this workout is to learn nick and roll funktion of you coaxial helicopter. As you remember from one of my previous article: nick is the movement of the helicopter forward and backward by lowering nose or it’s elevation and roll is the sidewards movement to the left or right. Both movements are done with the right control stick on your transmitter. For / back for nick and left / right for roll.

In the first exercises the helicopter (swimming, not hovering) will be moved forward and backward within the practice square on the ground. If the tail swing off you have to counteract with the tail function (left/right with the left control stick as shown in the first tutorial) so that the tail is always pointing toward you. Practice this movement until you feel absolute save. In the second exercises you will move the helicopter from the left to the right and back. The same here. Use tail function to hold the orientation.

In the last part of this tutorial the coaxial helicopter will be flown along square edges. Sorry, not flown – moved! This combines the both movements you have learned before. After a few rounds change the direction. Thereby tail always pointing towards you.
In this exercises you will see why it is so important to have a square marked on the ground. It gives you a perfect orientation.

Again practice this exercise at least 3 x 30min until you feel totally comfortable with the movement.


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How to fly RC Helicopter School – Tutorial 1

Many of you are, like me, RC helicopter newbies. You can learn how to fly RC helicopter all by yourself, in a RC flying club (for sure the best way) or by tutorials / videos.
I have found this series of tutorials at YouTube. I was very fascinated and excited and by far that was the best I have found (always interested in new tips).

It is from Mikey from the USA. You can find him at or his YouTube Channel at

Who is the tutorial for? Basically for all who want to learn how to fly RC helicopter. But who starts with a $30 “3-Channel, coax, fixed-pitch, horizontal tail rotor” will not have any benefit from this tutorial, because it serves a more ambitious class of helicopter. You need a coax helicopter with vertical tail rotor. Whether fixed pitch (FP) or collective pitch (CP) doesn’t matter. It must be at least a 4-channel RC helicopter.

That would be my recommendation to start with such a model in the world of helicopter hobby.
In addition it is highly recommended that the transmitter is mode 2 (take a look at this article) so that it is easy to follow the movements in the video.

Before you start, follow these instructions:

  1. Attach a training kit to your helicopter. With a training kit you can avoid helicopter tilt over and damage to the rotors. Of course, this is no 100% protection but at least something.
  2. In the video you will find the advise to mark out (using tape or cord) a 9ft x 9ft square to practise in. This is very useful because it gives you a reference during practise.
  3. Where to practise? I the video he practise in a garage. That’s perfect. It should be a place where you have absolutely no wind and at least 13ft x 13ft (better 16ft x 16ft) space without any objects.
  4. How often should you practice? The length of each exercise depends on how long the battery last and how many spare batteries for change you have. I highly recommend practise each exercise in every video for at least 3x30min and not changing to the next video before. The better and safer you are in every exercise the better you are later in the coordination of more complex motions. And let me tell you that. Who skimp on exercise will pay for it later. Namely in spare parts for the crashed helicopter.

Now lets start.
For every exercise you should double check, if the helicopter is balanced. In the video it is shown, how to balance a helicopter. If the helicopter is not balanced, change the position of the training kid or place some weight on it.

In the video you will see, what it means to have a transmitter in mode 2. Which channel makes what? Take a look at this article where I have described all 4 mode.
After you have turned on the transmitter and made sure that the pitch control stick (left) is in the down position and all other trim slider are in the middle position, you can connect the battery. Hold still for a few seconds, that the gyro can calibrate itself.
Then place the helicopter with the tail towards you in the middle of the square on the ground right in front of you.

First you have to find out, if your helicopter tends to drift to on side when you push the throttle (left control stick) just as much that the helicopter starts to swim. If he tends to one side use the trim slider to readjust.

The first exercise is to play around with the tail function. (left control stick left/right movement). Just give as much throttle (pitch) that the helicopter starts to swim. You don’t want the helicopter to fly / hover. Now move the stick to the left and the nose goes to the left. Move the stick to the right and the nose goes to the right. Try not to use the other channels and concentrate on this motion. Goal is to place the helicopter in different angle to you and than back into starting position (tail towards you).

Although this exercise seems to be easy be impatient and practice 3 x 30min. That is the way how you learn how to fly RC helicopter.

Here is Mikey’s video:

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How and where to trim RC helicopter for beginners?

What is trimming? I mentioned this in an earlier article about Control stick configuration on transmitter for indoor RC helicopter. Trimming means adjustment. You want to adjust that the helicopter stays as stable as possible while hovering.

Basic RC helicopter for beginners have no special trimming on the model. Simply by using sliders or buttons on the transmitter you can adjust single channels. In more complex models there you have a whole series of trim possibilities.

Rotor blade tracking:
That means, that both rotor blades are in same level when they are spinning. In standstill you can’t see it. They have to spinn. To differentiate which blade you have to trim simply put a stripe of tape with different colours on each blade end. If the rotor spinns and you look from the side, you can see, which blade is upper or lower to the other. Goal is that both turns in the exact same level and height of the rotor head. To change, you have to change the work angle (pitch) of one of the blades. To do so, you have to change the length of a lever by turning it’s head once or twice in or out. How much and in which direction you have to try out.

The gyro:
The gyro is used for stabilizing the helicopter in its rotor axis. In some models other movements (like rolling) are also controlled by gyro. That meas, when for example a blast turns the helicopter the gyro is registering the motion and changes the pitch of tail rotor to counteract against.
How intense reaction is can be adjusted by a potentiometer or by menu. Some advanced gyro can be adjusted from transmitter. Is a gyro adjusted to severe it will make a pendular movement.

The swash plate:
It is use to transfer the motion made by servos to the turning rotor head. In neutral position swash plate should be adjusted that it is totally horizontal. If it is not, you should turn ball-link at the end of the linkage rod until swash plate is horizontal.

Tail rotor:
Same here. In neutral position (stick and trim slider at transmitter in middle position) servo lever should be in a position that it can move maximum in both directions. On special adjustments, please take a look into your manual because every helicopter is different.

Last but not least. The balance:
A ready to fly RC helicopter for beginners is in balance right out of the box (at least should be… :-) ). To find out whether a helicopter is in balance or not, lift it by holding it at the rotor head. It should pending horizontally and not tending to one side. This would mean that it would yaw to that side while hovering and you would have to compensate it with control stick movement.
A dis-balance could come from e.g. a newly installed heavier battery pack. To compensate that you have to attach counterweights.

Related articles:
Control stick configuration on transmitter for indoor RC helicopter

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Control stick configuration on transmitter for indoor RC helicopter

Who buys a indoor RC helicopter has to deal with the question, which channel is where on the remote transmitter? One single look into the manual will get you clarity. In this article I will basically write about which functions there are on a transmitter. A detailed article about the basic motion of a RC helicopter can be found earlier in the blog.
  • Pitch = ascending and descending (change engine speed in fixed pitch models or change work angle in colletiv pitch models)
  • Nick = fore / aft or nose down or up
  • Roll = rolling movement around the long axis (line from the nose to the tail)
  • Tail = turn around the rotor axis
Unfortunately not every indoor RC helicopter has the same control not to mention the same control stick configuration. Let’s start with the motion control.
Pitch: do the models have a fixed pitch, then ascending and descending is controlled by the engine speed. With adjustable (collective) pitch of the rotor blades, ascending and descending is done by changing the work angle at a constant speed.

Nick: in basic models with no swash plate and no collective pitch nose up or down is done by a horizontal tail rotor. In more complex helicopter models this movement is done by a change in the pitch of the main rotor.

Roll: in more complex models done in the same way like nick. In basic indoor and outdoor rc helicopter there is no roll motion.

Tail: turning around the rotor axis in coaxial helicopter is done by a shift in speed (torque) of one of the two rotor engines. In collective pitch helicopters it is done by a change in tail rotor thrust.

Lets move on to the control stick configuration:
In cheap basic models the control stick configuration on transmitter is generally fixed. The more advanced models you can change configuration on your transmitter.
Coax helicopter normaly have a 3 channel control because roll motion doesn’t exist.
Left stick up/down = ascending/descending
Right stick up/down = fore/aft
Right stick left/right = tail clockwise/counterclockwise

3 channel transmitter for coax indoor RC helicopter

3 channel transmitter for coax indoor RC helicopter

For all RC helicopter having 4 motions as described above, there are the so called mode 1 to 4. As far as I know the same all over the world.
  • Mode 1: left stick: up/down =nick; L/R = tail; right stick: up/down = pitch; L/R = roll
  • Mode 2: left stick: up/down = pitch; L/R = tail; right stick: up/down = nick; L/R = roll
  • Mode 3: left stick: up/down = nick; L/R = roll; right stick: up/down = pitch; L/R = tail
  • Mode 4: left stick: up/down = pitch; L/R = roll; right stick: up/down = nick; L/R = tail
4 channel mode 2 transmitter for RC helicopter

4 channel mode 2 transmitter for RC helicopter

Finally there is the question, which mode you should take? If you are flying (or planning on) in a local helicopter club, you should take the mode they use that you can learn from him. In the most cases mode 2 is used. Basically you can choose the one you like, because if you are a beginner you have to learn it anyway.
One last thing: wherefore are the slider next to each stick on your transmitter? They are for trimming corresponding channel. Should your indoor rc helicopter have tendencies flying in one direction with this slider you can counteract.
Related articles:
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The difference between single rotor and coaxial RC helicopter

Roll, airspeed, yaw, climb/dive, single rotor and coaxial helicopter. The question is: why and how does a remote controlled helicopter fly into the direction I want it to. In this article I will cover the four direction of motion, how they arise and the difference between single rotor and coaxial helicopter.

Ascending and descending (pitch): principally ascending and descending is been done by the main rotor. Helicopter using rotor blades with fixed angle of attack (fixed pitch) achieve this effect by increasing or decreasing the engine speed (throttle). If one, on the other hand, can change the pitch (collective pitch) using servos then the engine speed will stay the constant. Changing the pitch will cause an increase or decrease lift (collective). By this one can identify basic from advanced RC helicopter models because a fixed pitch is easier to build and has less expensive parts.
This difference in the way of controlling the lift has another influence. A engine speed controlled model always change the engine speed and therefore always change the turning moment that has effect on the flight behavior. A change in torque leads to a turn around rotor axis clockwise or counterclockwise. Is there no gyro stabilizer on board, one has to compensate this movement by hand with the transmitter. And here is the problem for the beginner: a fixed pitch RC helicopter is cheaper and therefor bought more often by beginners but it is more difficult to fly than a collective pitch model.

Forward and Backward (nick): the rotor axis (called mast) is fixed. Only the rotor system on the top can move in all directions. To do so, movements are transferred from servos via swashplate to rotor head. For the forward movement, nose of the helicopter needs to be lower to transform part of the upward lift into propulsion. How do you do that? Is the blade in the circular motion at the front (helicopter nose) pitch will be decreased. As the blade turns to the back, pitch will be increased. This difference causes the rotor plain to tilt to the front. Nose comes down and the helicopter flies forwards. To fly backward, principle is reversed. So called fore / aft cyclic.

Attention: with every movement to the front (or back), the helicopter will lose height, because part of the lift has converted into propulsion. Therefore the pilot hast to give a bit more pitch at the beginning of a forward motion to keep the height.
In very simple coaxial models with fixed pitch and without swashplate a horizontal mounted tail rotor pushes the nose down.

Sidewards movement to the left or right (roll): this movement is called roll or left / right cyclic. One can remember this motion that it is a rolling movement around the long axis (line from the nose to the tail). This movement is done in the same way the forward and backward movement is been done  described earlier. Just that now pitch is increased on one side and decreased on the opposite side.

Flying curves (tail): this movement is called left / right yaw and let the helicopter turn around the rotor axis. As described above, back-forward, ascending-descending and roll left-right is been done by main rotor. In the case of a flying curve, it is a combined motion of flying forward and turning around the rotor axis (yaw).

If you use a coaxial helicopter, this movement is been done by letting one of the two engines turn slower (or faster) than the other one. As a result torque change (witch is in balance in a hovering model) the helicopter turns around the mast. Plain language: higher speed of the upper rotor compared to the lower rotor causes a higher torque in the upper rotor compared to the torque in the lower rotor. Helicopter will turn in the direction of the lower rotor.

At a normal helicopter with just one rotor there is no torsional reaction of a second rotor. That’s why they have the vertical tail rotor. Without the vertical tail rotor, a helicopter would spin around uncontrolled. A tail rotor works like the main rotor. Besides that it does not lift upwards but “pushes air” to the side against the torque moment of the main rotor. The tail it it’s lever arm and due to that the tail rotor can be much smaller. For the fine tuning and to keep the helicopter still a gyro stabilizer is used. If one wants to fly a curve more ore less thrust is been created by the tail rotor shortly and the helicopter turns around its axis.

Any questions left? I hope I could express myself in a way which everyone can understand and you now understand how single rotor and coaxial helicopter fly.

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Outoor or indoor helicopter?

Today I want to cover the question, at which point a RC heli is used as indoor helicopter or outdoor helicopter? Like many other questions about re helicopters this one is also not clear to answer.
I think clear to everyone it the fact, that nitro helicopters are not supposed to be used inside your appartment. This can be dangerous doe to the pollution. Those are definetly outdoor models. Especially as I will describe later due to their weight they will be more suitable for outdoor activities.
Definetly indoor helicopter are those teeny little coaxcial helicopter you can buy for less then $40. Sure you can find in this size models with a single rotor but they weigh less then 450g (1lb) and have a rotor diameter of unter 450mm (17.7in). The are, due to their little weight, too liable to every wisp of wind. Rising air of a radiator is usually enough to let them adrift. Further more those scale helicopter often have only 2 or 3 channel, which makes it impossible to counteract against crosswind. A sidewards pushed helicopter can be readjusted by roll-movement (longitudinal axis movement) only. Pretty much impossible if the model doesn’t have the funktion, like the 2 or 3 channel models. They are more fun-models. You can just do some simple flight maneuver for which you need dead calm.
Among experts it is not totaly clear. In many books and internet forums you can read, that outdoor helicopter starts at 700 to 800g (1.5 to 1.8lb) or 700 to 800mm (27.5 to 31.5in) rotor diameter. Everyone below is an indoor helicopter. There is not doubt about: the less wind the better. Those RC helicopter are heavy enough, have enough power and also have full control in all 3 space-axics they can work against air blasts. However, even better are models beyond 1,5kg (3.3lb) and 1000mm (39.4in) rotor diameter.
Conclusion: small models with 2 or 3 channel and weigh of under 450g (1lb) and rotor diameter of under 450mm (17.7in) are definetly indoor helicopter. Up to 750g (1.7lb) they are hard to control but experienced pilots can fly them outdoor. Starting at 1,5kg (3.3lb) or 1000mm (39.4in) rotor diameter they are real outdoor helicopter.

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