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How To Fly A Quadcopter

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RC Flight Controls for a Quadcopter

How To Fly From Scratch Step By Step

  1. Learning to fly is made much easier by following a simple step by step procedure.
    1. Familiarize yourself with your Quadcopter and read all instructions.
    2. Familiarize yourself with your RC transmitter and insert batteries.
    3. The left stick controls Throttle (moving the copter up and down) and Yaw (rotating the copter right or left).
    4. The right stick controls Pitch (moving the copter forward and backward) and Roll (moving the copter side to side).

  2. Perform any preflight setup and adjustments recommended by the manufacturer's instructions.
    1. Charge the copter's battery with the supplied charger following the manufacturers instructions.
    2. Prepare your copter for flight according to instructions.
    3. You can safely fly the UDI U818A or Hubsan X4 Quadcopters indoors, or outdoors, from flat ground, the carpet or a large table.
    4. Indoors or out you should have a large uncluttered space and you also need wind free and draft free conditions.
    5. Ensure the flight area is clear of people, animals and breakable objects.

  3. Set the copter down in the middle of your open space facing directly away from you.
    1. Ensure the RC transmitters throttle (left stick) is all the way down and turn it on.
    2. When preparing to fly, always lower the throttle and turn the transmitter on first, then connect the copter's battery.
    3. When finished flying always disconnect the copter's battery first, then turn off the transmitter.
    4. Back 3 or four steps away from the copter and remain facing it.

  4. Your first endeavor will simply be to have the copter go straight up a few inches and then land.
    1. Slowly advance the throttle stick till the motors start spinning and then back off till they stop.
    2. Do this several times to get a feel for the throttle, eventually taking the throttle to nearly the copter's take off point.
    3. Now, advance the throttle just enough to get the copter to barely lift off the ground and immediately shut it down.
    4. Do this several times and see if the copter is trying to move in one direction or the other or is trying to rotate right or left.
    5. If the copter is moving forward or back, the Pitch trim button next to the right stick can be used to compensate.
    6. If the copter is moving to one side or the other the Roll trim button below the right stick can be used to compensate.
    7. If the copter is rotating right or left the Yaw trim button below the left stick can be used to compensate.
    8. Adjust the trims as necessary to achieve a relatively stationary and non-rotating take off and hover with no input but throttle

  5. Now let's attempt to take off and hover about a foot above the ground while keeping the copter over its takeoff spot.
    1. Your job is to use the throttle to hold altitude and very small movements of the right stick to hold position.
    2. You will need to get used to using the right stick subtly to hold horizontal position with small movements.
    3. You may also need to use the left stick side to side (yaw) to keep the copter from turning.
    4. If the copter is Yawing (turning), Rolling (moving side to side) or Pitching (forwards or backwards) adjust trims so it stays put.
    5. Once you get it trimmed as best you can, work on going into a hover, holding position then landing cleanly.
    6. It is best to move the copter up to about a foot off the ground while hovering to avoid prop wash turbulence.
    7. When descending to land you can chop the throttle fully off while the copter is still an inch or two above the ground.
    8. Practice this exercise to learn the basics and subtlety of stick movement required to control the copter.

  6. Now we will work on moving forward and backward and right and left without rotating (yawing) the copter.
    1. Take off and enter a hover as before, but now move the copter a foot away from you and bring it back with the right (pitch) stick.
    2. Then bring it towards you about a foot then back, get used to forward and back movement with the right (pitch) stick.
    3. After doing this for a while, switch to side to side movement with the right (roll) stick.
    4. Use the left stick rotation (yaw) side to side motion only to keep the copter turned directly away from you.
    5. Practice this a lot, then work on actually flying around while keeping the copter pointing straight away from you with the yaw stick.
    6. When you are ready, start working on flying a small square pattern while keeping the copter pointing away from you.
    7. When you can fly a square competently, start working on flying a circle using roll and pitch at the same time.
    8. Once you have gotten to this point you can start taking on more challenging and even slightly breezy conditions.
    9. Start experimenting with different flying sites and even flying around obstacles and varied terrain - Have some fun.
    10. And that was the easy part - Learning to use the yaw stick to rotate the copter while maintaining our orientation is the hard part.

  7. Now we will learn to rotate the copter which requires us to be able to mentally place ourselves in it.
    1. There is no easy way to learn this and it will take some time to master, especially if you have never flown RC planes before.
    2. The up and down and forward and back and side to side motion can be controlled by thinking about it and moving the controls.
    3. Turning the copter to a different rotation other than straight away requires us to reorient our frame of reference to the copter.
    4. And to be able to fly requires that we must be able to control the RC transmitter without actually thinking about our hand motions.
    5. Essentially we must be able to operate the RC transmitter subconciously as is required when playing an action video game.

  8. Take off and enter a hover, then using the yaw stick rotate the copter 360 degrees back to facing away from you.
    1. Do this a few times (rotating in both directions) until you have good feel for it.
    2. Now try rotating the copter just a bit till it is facing away from you at a small angle then try moving it forward and then back.
    3. Feels really weird doesn't it, try this several times, rotating back to straight away from you each time.
    4. Rotate to 90 degrees and maintain position in a hover and back, then 90 degrees the other way, hover and back.
    5. Practice hovering with the copter rotated at various angles up to 90 degrees in either direction.
    6. Now start rotating past 90 degrees and work you way up to 180 degrees with the copter facing towards you.
    7. Past 90 degrees, the controls are reversed and it will take some time and practice to get used to this.
    8. Once you can hover at any angle, start doing some short pitch only forwards and backwards excursions at each angle.
    9. Practice this a lot, gradually increasing the angles to 90 degrees both ways and then moving on to full 180 degrees.
    10. In addition to the pitch (forwards and backwards) motions, start adding in roll (side to side) movement as well.
    11. Learn simultaneous yaw, pitch and roll stick coordination, fly in a circle with the nose always leading, then go the other direction.
    12. Start working on flying a clean figure eight in front of you with the nose always leading.
    13. When you can do this last part well, you are seriously on your way to becoming a competent pilot.

A Final Caution:

Even after you have gotten used to the copters shifting orientation there is still a problem.

As you start flying further away it is harder to see where the multicopter is pointing and you can easily become disoriented.

Flying Lesson for a Quadcopter Outdoors

The easiest way to start is with one of these Consumer Quadcopters.

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