How to start with RC Helicopters: The RADD School of Rotary Flight

And here she flies! This is my Blade 400, with an aftermarket canopy (before being painted to resemble a Protos) flying on my 10th battery of the RADD method. I can't describe the excitement and the speed my heart was pounding in my chest at. Since then I probably spent another 20 batteries hovering, and hovering again, and I can proudly say that my first crash happened way afterwards, trying FFF (fast forward flight).

EDIT Feb 2016: The links were broken, now they should work again. Thanks for letting me know.

I have been flying radio controlled planes for a while now, but I always have had a soft spot for helicopters and when, for Christmas, my girl gave me a little coaxial I could not believe what I was seeing. And surely she did not know what she was getting herself into!

To cut a long story short, hovering the little coaxial became quickly doable, and I started to get interested on what else the rc helicopter world could offer me. I bought a Blade mSR from a guy on rcgroups and realised that from a coaxial to a single rotor there is a big difference. Yes, even if the single rotor is a fixed pitch helicopter. At the beginning I thought I could never get to manage it.
This did not last long though, a Blade 400 followed quickly, but she was quite intimidating, so I got myself a second hand m CPX to practice with.

The mCPX has become my favourite trainer, and I did all the mods I think are worth doing: I extended the tail, went brushless, bought a fancy canopy, got her a carbon frame, an aftermarket landing gear, and a nice aluminium swashplate. Does she fly better? You bet.

When the time came and I felt ready to approach the 400, a friend at the field mentioned the RADD method to learn, which is particularly good because it gradually eliminates the fear, and makes you comfortable when you learn.

I do not want to take credit for anything regarding this method, only to have followed it successfully, but I think it is worth mentioning it because it truly worked for me and I hope it will help countless aspiring pilots out there.


Here we go, this series of lessons was developed by a guy that calls himself RADD, you can read his full story on his website, which other than being informative, is filled with humour and makes for a great read.
Basically he takes us from not even knowing the difference between the front and the back of an helicopter to successfully hovering it in 10 batteries. It is going to be stressful, it is going to be exciting, it is going to be awesome.

Here you will find the links to the preflight training, each of the 10 lessons, and a shortened version pdf which you can print and take to the field with you.

Battery 01 - Spin up
Battery 02 - Same as the first
Battery 03 - Tilt the Swash
Battery 04 - Throttle up
Battery 05 - Tilt the Swash (yep, again...)
Battery 06 - Put the Training Gear on
Battery 07 - The Scooter
Batteries 08 & 09 - Your Batteries
Battery 10 - Time to Fly!

And here you can find the short PDF version

Hope you find this useful, and best of luck with your hover practice!
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