Compared to the operation of other remote-control devices, RC helicopters are a little trickier to master. Their responsiveness is also their handicap for novice flyers, because one misstep will send your new toy hurling to the ground below. Fortunately, the best remote-controlled helicopters are made to take a few crashes. Here are a few tips for your first flight.

  1. Start small. Rather than seeing how high your RC helicopter can go before losing radio contact, practice precision. Take it just two or three feet off the ground and indoors, where there are no drafts of wind to compete with your control, and practice landing it on surfaces.
  2. Get familiar with the directional controls of your RC helicopter. On two-channel helicopters, you only control the up/down movement and left/right rotation. These helicopters can t hover in place; they move forward as a default. Three-channel helicopters put you in charge of forward (and sometimes backward) movement, so they can hover in place if you set this to zero (usually by not touching the control). Four-channel helicopters can also move sideways. The more channels, the more control you have over your device, but the more practice it takes to get good at it.
  3. After a crash, check the condition of your helicopter before you send it up in the air again to avoid losing parts.
  4. For maximum flight time, let the battery cool off between flights. A hot battery doesn t charge as efficiently and may interrupt the fun after two or three minutes instead of the five to seven minutes that most RC helicopter batteries provide at their best. Consider buying an extra battery so that you can be using one while the other is charging.
  5. Use small, subtle movements. Quick changes in speed or direction can make you lose control.
  6. To land, slowly decrease the throttle so your remote-controlled helicopter gradually lowers to the ground. If your helicopter gets out of control and a crash is imminent, immediately stop the throttle. A spinning rotor that hits the ground has a much greater chance of breaking.

These tips should get you well on your way to getting the most enjoyment out of your remote control helicopter.

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