Remote Control Helicopters: The Basics

If you are just getting started with flying remote control helicopters, there are, without a doubt, a whole lot of new words that should be learned and understood, many of which have to do with the settings of your radio controller. While it is true that there are many different radio functions that you is necessary to be learned and understood, there are also some terms and basic radio functions that are common. Note that there are various radio functions depending on the type of helicopter you are using.

Some of the most commonly used remote control helicopters radio functions are the following:

1. Trim – This is the fine adjustment, which is usually controlled by small levers near the control sticks of your radio controller. This is responsible for the fine-tuning control surface center points.

2. Sub trim – This is finer division of the trim, and is usually adjusted by using the transmitter’s software of control menus.

3. Expo – this is responsible for making the feel of the controls around the center stick a little less sensitive, all the while giving 100% travel of the control surface. It is also responsible of making the feel softer without reduction of its aerobatic capability.

4. Throttle Hold – This control brings your engine to idle while still allowing you to have full control of the helicopter’s collective pitch. It is advisable to always use throttlehold in the event of a crash to reduce the amount of damage incurred by your helicopter (this is because it cuts the power to the main rotor blades).

5. Throttle Cut -This kills the engine, and is only applicable to nitro helicopters and not remote control helicopters.

6. Servo Reverse -This is responsible for reversing the direction of the servo wheel.

7. Gyro Gain – This is used to either increase or decrease the sensitivity of the gyro.

8. Endpoints or ATV – This is the adjustment, which is responsible for the control of the total amount of servo and the control surface deflection or travel.

9. Pitch Curve -this is responsible for controlling the degree of collective pitch at each point along the collective stick travel. Remember that the collective pitch is the angle of attack of the main rotor blades of your remote control helicopters.

10. Throttle Curve – The throttle curve governs the amount of engine power that will be transferred to the main rotor blades at each point in the collective range.

11. Idle Up – The Idle up allows for the maintenance of a constant rotor speed whether you are using positive or negative collective pitch.

12. AFR (D/R) -The AFR allows the adjustment of the control deflection in order to suit your flying style and ability. It is responsible for the reduction of the total amount of deflection to give a softer and slower feel, when changed to lower rates, or to aerobatic and agile when changed to higher rates.

By having a complete understanding of these commonly used terms in RC radio functions, you will be able to increase the likelihood of success that you will have in flying you helicopter.

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