Learning to fly a model helicopter is a time consuming (and sometimes expensive business) and requires much patience. One route many people take is to use a flight simulator. Whilst these by no means can replace real hands on flying they certainly help.
Even a well-trimmed helicopter will only hover in place for two or three seconds “hands-off” before it starts to drift and requires constant correction to hover in one spot. In addition, a drifting helicopter will gain speed much like a ball rolling down a hill. If you are slow to move the stick to correct the drift, then you need more input to stop the drift, so it is best to stop the unwanted motion quickly before it gains speed.
Many beginners lack the reflexes to correct these ‘drifts’ and often over compensate resulting in a crash. A simulator will help you develop these skills quickly without spending a lot of money on replacement parts and testing your patience.
So what is a simultator ? An RC helicopter flight simulator is a program or game that simulates the flight of a real RC helicopter, from the controls to the physics of flight, to weather conditions. Some however are truly nothing more than games and will be of little help in learning to fly. Most simultators designed for game consoles are likely to fit into this category.
Simulators using a transmitter (same as a normal R/C) transmitter) connected to a computer are the best type. Some of these are free, all you need is the transmitter, whilst others have to be bought. At present most helicopter simulators are for the PC. If you have a Macintosh computer, your only choice for a simulator is a freeware one, the AlphaOmega RC Helicopter simulator.