Getting Started


Flying model helicopters can be an extremely rewarding hobby. It gives you many skills, and if you join Perth RC Helicopter Club you will find an extremely fun and supportive atmosphere. You don’t need to have any prior experience with model aircraft in order to be able to learn how to fly RC Helicopters. The club is happy to provide assistance and advice where required in order to help you get started.

The costs and time required to learn how to fly will vary for each student and will also vary based on what style of flying discipline you choose. There are 3 main flying disciplines to choose from;
(Click to see a demonstration video)

Obviously, you aren’t limited to only fly and learning one discipline, however ALL of these disciplines require the basics:

  1. Hovering
  2. Hovering in all upright orientations (Right Side in, Tail In, Left Side in and Nose In)
  3. Controlled Forward and Backward Flight
  4. Fast Forward Flight

The cheapest and definitely the best way to learn how to fly is with the use of a simulator – A piece of Simulation computer software that you can install on your computer which has realistic helicopter and environment physics.

Buying a simulator

There are many simulators on the market, but a few of them really stand out as good choices. Its extremely important that when buying a simulator, you use one that has realistic Aircraft and Environment physics. There are quite a few cheap simulators out there that don’t do this very well, and you may end up teaching yourself bad habits.

The main simulators that you should consider are;

  • Real Flight G6  – Excellent simulator, packed with features and training videos. Comes with a USB Controller – you can also plug your own radio into it.
  • Pheonix V4 – Very good simulator for Helicopter training. Has good features and some more familiar models. BYO Radio.

The whole idea of the simulator is to  learn the basics of a maneuver  and then transfer what you’ve learned from the simulator down at the field. Some people prefer to get out doors and burn some fuel/empty some batteries , and many pilots have achieved great success without them. On the other hand some pilots consider a simulator essential. If keeping the price down to a minimum is a big thing for you, its strongly recommended to purchase a simulator it will save you alot of money in the long run, and help you progress much faster than pilots that don’t have one.

Safety (for both members and prospective members)

Safety is the most important part of flying RC helicopters and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Over the years we have operated we have had no accidents at the club. We practice strict safety rules to ensure a safe environment. Please check out the safety page for the clubs safety document and further information about safety.

Learning to fly

The first thing you need to learn is some basic maneuvers, The most important is learning how to hover. You can fit a special undercarriage to your heli that will extend surface area so that if it comes down on an angle, it will land upright and therefore help prevent any damage from occurring. Initially, you will need to practise your Nose Out hovering – this is the easiest orientation to learn. You should be able to hover within a 1-2meter box area whilst maintaining the same altitude before you progress to other orientations. Next you need to practise your Side orientations (Left and Right Side facing towards you). Again, you should be able to hover within a 1-2meter box area whilst maintaining the same altitude before you progress. Moving on from this you should now start to get a feel for the helicopter and the stick inputs. You should be able to slowly edge your way to hovering nose in – but dont rush it, when you are nose in, it will “feel” as if your aileron(or left and right roll cyclic) is reversed. A simple way to remember is if the heli banks to the right then stick to the right to correct.

Once your confidence grows it will be time to remove the special undercarriage and continue your training. You should start to progress to flying side to side, forwards and backwards and then slowly combining them to fly in small circles, its important to keep the nose of the helicopter away from you when you are learning. When you can hover nose in, you should be ready for some figure 8 circuits and then you should be able to move on to some nice smooth fast forward flight.

Buying a helicopter

You can buy a model helicopter in kit form or buy new/ second hand ready built. There are advantages of both ways however it would be more beneficial to build it yourself from kit to get you familiar with the heli’s mechanical operation and besides there’s going to be a time when you will need to fix it so the more experience you gain now the better. There are various helicopters brands available for learning on. The quality of the engineering of most helicopters today is excellent. Get in contact with your local hobby shop or ask people down at the club what you should be buying to start out, because new helicopters are coming out into the market regularly.

Joining a club

The time and money saved and knowledge gained in a short period of time make joining a club invaluable. One of the advantage of our club is we have a large pool of members with different experience levels, all ready to help you get started. One of the aims of our club has been to help out new pilots therefore it would be more sensible to take advantage of the services that we will provide.

Our field is huge and frequency congestion is basically non-existent. We are a heli only club and don’t share the field with any other clubs. This means helis have full access to the flight line to fly however you like, no need to watch out for other birds in the sky. Flight space is not a problem.