Chapter 13. Learning to Fly an R/C Helicopter

Table of Contents

13.1. The skills required
13.2. Making the learning process easier
13.3. Minimize repair time and maximize practice time
13.4. Divide the learning process into smaller, easier steps
13.5. There is no substitute for practice

13.1. The skills required

The skills required to fly a helicopter can be categorized into three broad areas:

  • Visual skills

  • Integration

  • Motor skills

Here is a more detailed explanation of the skills involved:

  • Orientation. You must be able to instantly determine the position, yaw, pitch, and roll, and the acceleration in yaw, pitch, and roll while the helicopter is moving. (the roll, pitch yaw, and deltas of each)

  • Movement. You must be able to track the velocity and acceleration of a helicopter relative to the ground while tracking the orientation of the helicopter. (the x, y, z, and the deltas of each)

  • Computation. Your brain must take these 12 data items of orientation and movement and determine the correct direction and distance to move the two joysticks.

  • Motor skills. You need extremely fine motor skills to move the joysticks in small increments to effect very small corrections to the helicopter's orientation and movement.

Unfortunately, it is difficult to develop these disparate skills independently, which results in a steep learning curve.