Things every helicopter pilot should know

  1. Make an informed purchase. The vast choice of model helicopters that are available can be overwhelming. Before you buy, think about where you will fly (hopefully you will choose to join us at the Alcester Helicopter Club) and for how long, what spares availability is like, your level of competence and what the reviews say. If you are new to the hobby, arguably the best way to start is with a PC based simulator.
  2. Build your own helicopter. Read the manual and take your time during construction, paying extra attention to the instructions. Don’t be afraid to seek advice on anything you are unsure of. If you are new to the hobby or are less than confident of  your assembling ability then get the model checked over by an experienced modeller.
  3. Be safe at all times. It should go without saying, but given the potential for nasty accidents when operating what could be considered a remotely controlled hedge cutter, It’s something not to forget. Common sense should be used at all times, if it doesn’t look safe then it more than likely it is not.
  4. Never turn your back on your model while it’s switched on or running. Once you have set your model down ready for take off keep an eye on it at all times, use throttle hold to stop any unwanted accidents by knocking the throttle on.
  5. Pre-flight checks must be carried out. Experienced fliers may feel they don’t need to make a meal of it, however don’t get blasé or forget. Turn on the model in the correct sequence, wait for the gyro to set, then wiggle the sticks. Theirs a fair chance that even this could give you a clue if there’s a problem. Look at the blades whilst folding them back from their holder, don’t fly if there’s any question or concern over any part of the model. Don’t forget to select the correct model in the transmitter.
  6. Transportation, great care should be taken when transporting your model. If you just throw it in the back of an empty estate car with only a spare car battery and a Yorkshire Terrier for company then you just know that something is likely to get broken.
  7. Simulator time is a must for many pilots but how do you best use them? The answer may seem obvious but you can find yourself flying a multitude of models, usually starting off rotary and ending in fixed-wing jets after a few minutes. Part of the problem is that we treat simulator time as some kind of game when in reality, self-discipline is required.
  8. Don’t take repair short cuts. Whilst there are some you can get away with, most you can’t. Servos need to be thoroughly tested after gears have been stripped and replaced.
  9. Regular maintenance. On most helicopters there are aa few components that aren’t critical to flight, and like any mechanical device, maintenance will be required after a period of operation. Replace worn ball links before they fail, a few minutes spent here may save a catastrophic failure
  10. Have fun. Remember why you are doing this. Unlike many other disciplines, almost all R/C helicopter pilots wish they could do more than they actually can. Weather preparing for a competition, training for your BMFA A or B test, or just flying for the hell of it, make sure you can perform a new manoeuvre on the simulator with more than a reasonable chance of success before trying it for real.
  11. Be safe and be seen to be safe at all times. We don’t need a clip board and a health and safety panel to do this just a little common sense.
  12. If in doubt ask, don’t be shy to ask for help.