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Written by Chris Mulcahy
RC Helicopters
As seen in the December 2019 issue of Model Aviation.

THERE ARE MODELERS FLYING helicopters who, unfortunately, don’t have a local flying club to be a part of. Flying by yourself can be good, but after a while, it can get a little old, especially if you are trying to learn something new and you don’t have anyone to bounce ideas off of.

Fortunately, we live in a modern age where access to a world of information is right at our fingertips. But what can you do to keep your motivation up when there is no one around with whom to fly?

The first thing you can do is join social media. There are many groups dedicated to different aspects of heli flying. Whether it is scale or 3D, there is a discussion group for everyone.

Watching online videos is a great way to get motivated. There are plenty of videos out there for all skill levels, and you will start to choose maneuvers that you want to try. You can examine videos closely to see how maneuvers are performed then put that knowledge to use on a simulator to see if you have figured it out before trying it on a model helicopter.

Attend a fly-in. Even if the event isn’t necessarily for helicopters, it is still a great place to meet like-minded people. You will at least learn something new about RC, but you could also make some good friends.

There are a number of larger fly-ins throughout the year, such as the International Radio Controlled Helicopter Association (IRCHA) Jamboree, held at the International Aeromodeling Center in Muncie, Indiana, where you can meet pilots from all walks of life and skill levels. Just being around other RC pilots and model aircraft will bring your enthusiasm back.

Going back to the internet, there are a couple of great forums dedicated to helicopters. There you can find build threads with photos, items for sale, and often support from manufacturers and team pilots. They are great places to ask questions and seek advice, as well as share what you are up to in the world of RC.

runryder one of the longest running rc helicopter forums
RunRyder, one of the longest-running RC helicopter forums, is operated by Mark Ryder.

helifreak is another long time helicopter forum
HeliFreak is another long-time helicopter forum. It is under the ownership of RCGroups.

Podcasts are another great way to stay engaged with what is happening in the heli world. We are lucky right now that there are several good podcasts from which to choose that are dedicated to helicopters. Most of them also have corresponding social media pages, which are great places to catch up with and meet fellow pilots.

Another option is to start your own club. The AMA has many resources to help you get started, including information on how to approach the task. It can be no small feat, but at the end of the day, you will have accomplished something of which to be proud. A line from a famous movie seems appropriate: "If you build it, they will come," and you can share your field of dreams with other hobbyists.

All of these options are also opportunities for you to contribute back to the hobby community. You can write about what you’ve learned—whether online in a forum or in the form of an article to be published in a magazine such as this one.

However you choose to pursue the hobby, remember that all of the professional pilots who you watch in awesome videos learned how to hover just like the rest of us. They went through the same trials and tribulations that we go through, and I’m sure, at times, they too had to find ways to stay motivated.

Don’t give up; get involved and enjoy!

All Good Things Must End

The time has come for me to hand over the heli column to someone new. I’ve enjoyed writing this column throughout the last several years and have met a lot of interesting people along the way. There are definitely ups and downs when you put your writing out there each month, but it has been a tremendous amount of fun.

rcgroups is an established forum for all types of rc
RCGroups is an established forum for all types of RC, not just helicopters.

I encourage you to write in and let Model Aviation’s executive editor, Jay Smith, know about any ideas that you might have for an article. It can be challenging to come up with new material without touching on something that’s already been written about, but this is your column, so let him know what you want to see.

I hope that you have enjoyed my columns, and I look forward to reading the next "RC Helicopters" column.

I will, of course, continue to fly 3D helis, as well as all kinds of fixed-wing aircraft and a little full-scale flying. I plan to also enjoy attending future fly-ins, and I hope to see you all out there having fun!

Fly safely.


SOURCES:

IRCHA

www.ircha.org

Model Aviation/Jay Smith

(765) 287-1256, ext. 225

www.ModelAviation.com

AMA

(765) 287-1256

www.modelaircraft.org

RCGroups

www.rcgroups.com

HeliFreak

www.helifreak.com

RunRyder RC

www.runryder.com

2 comments

Last year about this time, having retired 7 months before, I decided to get back into the R/C hobby. This time I wanted to include flying helicopters. I attempted contacting two flying clubs through their websites. Both clubs professed to include helicopters. Neither club responded. Was it because I expressed interest in helicopters? I will never know for sure about one, and the other one prefers not to have helis around. They recommend a club much farther away. I joined the club anyway because I also wanted some help flying fixed wing aircraft and wanted to learn about electric powered aircraft. I learned from various websites, some of which I should not have learned because of their (incorrect and dangerous information).

I know the local club, (as well as others I'm sure) along with the AMA are needing new members to grow. I wonder how many prospective members are lost because web based inquiries, from the club's website, are not answered?

I look for places where l can fly alone, or with one or two other fliers. I enjoy flying the aircraft, and not having to engage in the “clicks” of people that always form. The retired guys that fly together regularly are the worst ones. Everyone of them is an expert, often giving incorrect advise where it is not needed. Recently I had to endure the 10 min rant of one of these “experts” about how dual rates/exponential was a bunch of B.S., and the only dual rates a “real” pilot needed was right there in his thumbs! (I don’t even fly with my thumbs) It is also very stressful to maiden a new aircraft with people standing around saying “omg/don’t stall it/what’s he doing/that was a close call/she’s tail heavy”. Then there are the guys who get mad at you if you don’t allow them to have the sky to themselves. This is especially true of the heli pilots who apparently need the airfield to themselves for each flight. So to think people are not a part of the hobby because they do not wish to join in club activities is not really true. Some of us love aircraft and flying, but do not wish to engage in the nonsense that goes on at a club field.

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