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Old 04-30-2012, 10:51 PM   #1
uninc4life2010
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Default How much time should I spend on a sim and micro heli before moving up?

Hey all,

I just ordered phoenix, and my dx6i is on layaway at the hobby shop.

I am planning on getting a blade mcpx after a little more sim experience and money availability, but my main questions are:

1. how much time should I spend on the practice sim?

2. What maneuvers should I be fully comfortable performing on both the sim and blade mcpx before I can justify moving up to a T-Rex 450?
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Old 05-01-2012, 03:58 AM   #2
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As soon as you can hover in place, tail on, the sim for 5 minutes (in place, meaning heli not moving).
Mcpx, doesn't really matter, as long as you can hover on simulator you are fine, you can try hovering it just like on the sim to boost your morale .
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Old 05-01-2012, 07:45 AM   #3
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I'm no expert, in fact I'm pretty new at this but for me.......sim you should be able to hover comfy all orientations and be able to do slow FF figure eights.On a micro I'd say hover and simple movements around you...turns,boxes,eights,circles.If you move up to a bigger heli too soon it will waste $$$ or you'll quit ( MANY people do).I read somewhere that as many as 75% of people trying this sport give up and I believe it. Good luck and stick it out!
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Old 05-03-2012, 06:20 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by exhogflyer View Post
I'm no expert, in fact I'm pretty new at this but for me.......sim you should be able to hover comfy all orientations and be able to do slow FF figure eights.On a micro I'd say hover and simple movements around you...turns,boxes,eights,circles.If you move up to a bigger heli too soon it will waste $$$ or you'll quit ( MANY people do).I read somewhere that as many as 75% of people trying this sport give up and I believe it. Good luck and stick it out!
I 100% agree with this post and 100% disagree with the guy who says 5 mins on the sim and go hover/crash your heli. You won't have fine finger movement so your landing's will be rough and could cause a tip over crash. These heli's are dangerous I wouldn't give a 450 to a mate to fly unless they knew how to fly a MCPX confidently.

20+ hours mastering just hovering all orientations on the sim, then go fly the pants off the MCPX till you can fly figure 8's and fast forward flight. Really there is very little to gain in flying a 450 by just hovering it, you should master flying the pants off the MCPX upright when you got that nailed grab a 450 and you'll already be able to fly it and you'll instantly have the HUGE thrill of flying it forward flight nose in on the first day if you already have the MCPX skills and get over the pucker factor. Whatever you can do on MCPX you can do on the 450.
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Old 05-04-2012, 05:06 AM   #5
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I Whatever you can do on MCPX you can do on the 450.
No you can't. You may think you can but mcpx is different enough from everything else out there to render it pretty much useless as a trainer for a newbie. It's slow on collective, slow on cyclic which makes it initially very easy to fly/hover, then when you try to do more advanced manoeuvres (funnels, half piro flips, etc) it requires skills which can't be acquired by just flying mcpx,.

Long story short, despite what army of people on the internet believe in, it's not a good trainer for someone who never flown anything else and no amount of upgrades will make it one. It may train your self-confidence for short period of time, but it will be gone as soon as you spool up a 450 or bigger for the first time. It's fun heli to fly, when you already know how to fly and then, it may even help to train some maneuvers.

A simulator used properly (look at the stickies) is much better training tool and will eventually teach you how to fly mcpx as well.

I am yet to know a person who "learned" to fly on mcpx and can do the same on 450. Usually this kind of "progression" leads to crashes and at best false sense of self confidence.

Of course, I'll get army of mcpx lovers denying that, without any proof.

Re-read what I said. 5 minutes tail in hover on the sim in place (this may take a week or month to practice, depends on a person). Try that on mcpx if you want (after you mastered in on the sim) and go hover a 450 or bigger, you will be fine.
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Old 05-04-2012, 11:53 AM   #6
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Whats that the Mcpx cant do piro flips and funnels so its a bad trainer for a newbie. ? LOL

Everything i learnt in the last 3.5 months was first learnt on the sim then practiced in the real world Sim the MCPX. My learning progression was Sim 1 week, 2 weeks on mcpx nose in FF, next weekend I flew my 450 nose in 6th pack that's how good the MCPX is as a trainer I learnt banked turns on it and circuits those same skills translated 100% when flying the 450. And ive found the same for inverted circuits, circles and flips and rolls.

I'm now perfecting highly controlled inverted circuits on the MCPX and piros. Everything I've been able to learn on the MCPX I did the next time I flew my 450.

I tell you this, I don't see people who hover their 450 for 5 minutes at a time a few times a weekend progressing very quickly it's just not enough stick time to progress quickly. MCPX is loved because it's a real world sim you can fly anytime and everyday if you want. The MCPX is fun the learn on while the sim gets boring fast for a lot of people.

A sim of course is a must people avoiding them are just adding 6-12+ months to their learning curve IMO.
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Old 05-04-2012, 04:48 PM   #7
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Whats that the Mcpx cant do piro flips and funnels so its a bad trainer for a newbie. ? LOL

.
It can (half piro flips) and funnels in all orientations (nose up inverted are a bit tricky, because tail sucks). I'ts just easier and makes more sense to learn them on the sim, then fly them on mcpx and not to punish yourself with attempting them on mcpx first.

From what you are saying you learned your stuff on the simulator. While trying it on mcpx doesn't really hurt and gives sense of self-confidence (sometimes illusion of it), I am sure you could go on your 450 and just polish it on 450.

What I am saying there is a lot of people who think mcpx is a remedy for all the problems and will teach them everything, they don't even bother to use a simulator. At the same time, mcpx is very different from 450 and bigger helis which makes it at least questionable when it comes to training. Simulator with mcpx (optional) and regular 450 or bigger heli is still the best option, just like it was a year ago.
Or, I just must add, people just fly mcpx and nothing else - fair enough, it's fun garden heli.
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Old 05-04-2012, 07:53 PM   #8
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I do agree sim is best but if you can fly the mcpx and master flying nose in and banked turns on it, you should be able to fly a 450x pretty easy basic flight. They fly a little different but the stick movements for nose in and banked turns are the same. Sim is best I always learn on sim first, faster and cheaper and more stick time.
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Old 05-05-2012, 05:03 AM   #9
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Sim is good, and will get you started with orientations and basic hovering practice. Work on it until you can fly all orientations, and basic circuits/figure-eights. Get in the habit of using throttle hold when you're about to crash. Start off with a Trainer model, or a 700 class as they're extremely stable and almost dozy due to the large amount of inertia. Get good, and size-down to smaller helis within the sim. The Phoenix version of the mCPX is useless... don't bother with it, flies nothing like reality.

An mCPX will get you into reality (dealing with drift, tail blowouts, good collective control, how an actual FBL acts). Practice more, starting just like you did in the sim; refine REAL hovering, FFF, and quick recovery skills. Define your bail-out safety and make it second nature by banging the sticks for a second at random, and seeing how quick you can get back to your 'safe' orientation.

Back to the sim to practice more. You should be able to fly a 450 class in-sim by now, so use that to practice inverted hovering. Go through all the basics again... stable hover, movement, nose-in, tail-in, side-on and angles. Do it until it's second nature.

Back to reality. Height training on the mCPX, and first-flips. They're a LOT less forgiving in reality, and the heli drops like a brick. Thankfully it tends to bounce. Should be able to get to inverted hovering with practice. Spend even longer making the sim->reality jump, until everything's second nature.

Now you're ready for a real 450. The 450 X is my pick, as it flies like a larger, stabler, more powerful, EASIER to fly mCPX... it just doesn't bounce, so every crash is going to cost you in repairs; parts and time. Doesn't hurt that the Phoenix version of the 450 3d Advanced flies quite close (if underpowered) whe edited and set to Passive Flybarless mode. The bigger up side is that the 450 can be seen from a MUCH longer way off, meaning you can get HIGH (100-300') with it while you're practicing, depending on your eyesight. This gives you between 5-10 seconds to bail out... an absolute buttload of time compared to the mCPX (2-4 seconds max). Hovering, orientations (to lock them into your head), FFF. Flips are ridiculously easy compared to the mCPX.

New maneuvers go to the sim for practice, then up high with the mCPX (assuming it has the power to pull them off), then up high with the 450 X. Or skip straight to the 450, depending on preference. By this point you should know when you're confident/competent enough to bring it down closer to the ground to see it better, and for the 'wow' factor.
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Old 05-09-2012, 10:27 AM   #10
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I made the mistake of starting out going from my Msr to a 450............HUGE mistake. I crashed the 450 so many times it was costing me a fortune. So one day at the field I saw somebody flying a mcpx and couldn't believe what he was able to do. So next day I went a bought one. Still a big mistake. It still wasn't as easy to fly as I thought it would be. I stuck it out though doing basic circuits and fff and before long was able to get it inverted but that's about it. I spend all last summer just flying the stock mcpx. Over the winter I fixed the 450, put 2 BL mcpx's together and the biggest thing was I bought the Phoenix sim. The best investment I made. I spent countless hours on the sim over the winter just getting comfortable. The first time I took the mcpx's out I was throwing them all over the place. Doing flips, loops, funnels, circuits I couldn't believe how much more confident I was. The biggest thing I learned was orientation and what the heli was going to do when I pulled a certain way on the controller. Then about a month ago I took my 450 out and was flying all over the place. I don't think there is a time limit on when to move from one heli to another. They all feel different but the biggest key is when you can get all your orienations down to know what to do when you encounter an issue or need to bail and recover. With the sim my confidence has shot through the roof. Good luck and before you know it you will be throwing that mcpx all over.
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Old 05-09-2012, 12:15 PM   #11
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OMFG thank you sim! It was incredible the type of confidence the sim has given me! I just got back from the field 10 minutes ago and was flying FF circuits, and figure-8's with mcpx ease. I even flipped it 3 times. Seven battery packs and zero crashes! I can say with 100% certainty that I felt like the mcpx was easier than the sim by far! Such a good investment.

The only issue I had was stall turns. It just doesn't have enough power to really boost high up like in the sim. Also, after the stall turn, it gets really wobbly at full forward speeds. Otherwise, I was estatic!

I'll say it again, I pity the people who learned to fly helis before the days of sims.
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Old 05-09-2012, 04:37 PM   #12
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Regarding the blades......I have never had luck with the performance blades if that's what you are using. If it's stock I always use the bullet because with the perf blades I always had wobbles in fff. I know others have had great luck with them so I don't know what they are doing different. My favorite that I use on all my bl mcpx's is the KBDD blades. But at least with the bullet I never had wobbles either.

Great job getting out and flying and not having any crashes. Especially putting 7 batteries through it. That's quite an accomplishment.

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Old 05-09-2012, 05:57 PM   #13
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I put my sim in a museum and fly my 2 mcpxs' daily
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Old 05-11-2012, 08:52 AM   #14
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I think your learning experience needs ro be well rounded.

I'm no expert, I just learned to do fff with my Blade 400 this weekend- 2 packs, no crashes! I got mcpx after feeling confident with the Blade 120sr..

The mcpx is an entirely different animal, and until I learned how to really tweak the dr/expo on my transmitter, it was incredibly frustrating.

I got Phoenix sim, and I really started getting confidence. Then I watched YouTube videos of guys explaining rc heli flight concepts: turning, exiting forward flight, etc.

That's what helped me! I need to try to find someone with a buddy box- that would take away nerves I think to polish off some other things. I'm gonna try to fly the mcpx again too.
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Old 05-17-2012, 08:54 PM   #15
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I 100% agree with this post and 100% disagree with the guy who says 5 mins on the sim and go hover/crash your heli.
He didn't say that. He said (paraphrasing), "Practice on the sim until you can hover for five straight minutes." If you can only manage 4 minutes before the sim bird breaks away, then practice on the sim some more.
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Old 05-17-2012, 08:56 PM   #16
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I put my sim in a museum and fly my 2 mcpxs' daily
Few of us have that luxury. I'm doing good to fly once every two weeks.
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Old 05-17-2012, 09:08 PM   #17
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Or, I just must add, people just fly mcpx and nothing else - fair enough, it's fun garden heli.
I went to a local heli flying field a few weeks ago, and I was shocked. A guy there had a 500E, a 600 Nitro, and a nice 1.5 meter fixed wing. The wind was pretty steady at about 14 knots. He flew the 500, and then the 600. Then he flew the planker, but the ESC burned up in mid-flight. Fortunately, the low voltage section didn't burn, so he still had control of the flight surfaces, and he was able to bring the bird in dead-stick with no further damage, if not quite being able to bring it all the way back to our position. The shocking thing was after all that, he broke out an MCPX. All those really big birds followed by a gnat... and in a 14 knot wind, no less.
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Old 05-18-2012, 01:01 PM   #18
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1. how much time should I spend on the practice sim?
I would say 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Oh, wait, you have to sleep some time...

OK, make that 23 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Seriously, spend as much time on the sim as you can stand until you are just too bored to continue. Nothing elimintes anxiety like boredom, and although I am no expert at flying helicopters, I can tell you from long experience as a SCUBA instructor (and a tiny bit of experience with RC models), anxiety is the #1 cause of errors for new students. Once one is past the novice stage, the #1 cause of errrors is overconfidance. I think the sim helps with both, but to be certain it helps with familiarity.

If I may be so bold, I stongly suggest any new student (of whatever activity) provide for themselves a means of measuring their progress. As one begins to learn, it often feels as if one is not learning or progressing at all. When I teach SCUBA diving, I always make sure my students in their 3rd week of training get to observe a class in their 1st or 2nd day of training. In the 3rd or 4th week, many students begin to get frustrated by what seems to them to be a lack of progress. When the class is allowed to watch a bunch of other students in their 1st or 2nd day, inevitably someone pipes up and says something to the effect, "We were never that bad." I then point out they were precisely that bad when they started. For many students, this puts a much more positive outlook on the remainder of their training, which grows progressively more difficult, just like flying helis.

I myself had just such a moment the other day. When I bought my first real model heli ( a 400 Lama, not one of the $25 toys), I crashed it immdeiately on takeoff because it was out of trim. It headed for a wall at moderate speed, and a few inches from the wall I decided my only real choices were to chop the throttle or hit the wall under power. I chopped the throttle, and of course the bird fell out of the air, breaking its nose gear. Move a few months forward, and without really realizing it, I had started to be a little depressed about my progress in flying. I knew I was making some progress, but it felt like it was too little, given the anmount of time I was spending flying the sim or real birds. Again, I wasn't really conscious of this thinking (feeling, more like), but it was there. Then I decided to make some major modifications to the same bird I had crashed on its first flight. After the mods, I knew the chopper was no longer trimmed, and woud be just as much a handful as it had been on the first flight. I was a little aprehensive, because I was going to be trimming it in the same confined space where it had first flown. I was right about the trim: it was at least as far off as it had been originally. It startled me to realize, however, that although the trim was as bad as it had ever been, it was actually EASY for me to overvome it when flying. I landed the craft, adjusted the aileron link, and flew it again. One more adjustment of the aileron link, one turm on the elevator link, and a couple of bumps to the transmitter trims, and the trim was perfect. 'Never even came close to a wall.

Quote:
Originally Posted by uninc4life2010 View Post
2. What maneuvers should I be fully comfortable performing on both the sim and blade mcpx before I can justify moving up to a T-Rex 450?
How much fun do you get out of reparing your helicopter? I get a fair amount of fun, or at least satisfaction, out of repairing my helis. I won't go so far as to say it is so much fun I would deliberately crash a heli just so I can repair it, but it is enough fun that I don't worry about crashing a chopper until it's actually in the air. The more time you spend on the sim, the less fun you will have repairing your helicopter.

I have seen a number of people pooh-pooh the idea of using an MCPX to help train for flying their 450+. Again, I have almost no time in on either craft (although I own both), but I find even flying a tilt-rotor in the flight sim helps me when flying my real choppers. Heck, even flying an out-and-out planker like an F4-U or a Stearman helps me fly my helis.
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