Learn To Fly
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Hello one and all. I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself, I am Andy McAllister, I own the Raptor 30 featured in this site, I was December Pilot of the Month 2002 (thanks J!), and am the creator/copyright owner of such splendid moves as the McTwist and McSpin, so if anyone uses these moves without my explicit permission I'LL SUE YOU BAS**RDS!! ..........ehem........sorry about that. Jonny has very kindly asked me to write the articles on learning to fly, from your very first hover all the way through to all out 3D, the only reason being he can't fly for sh*t so I have to write it for him! Nah only kidding, he has only just started out flying, but at the rate he's going he'll be doing the famed McTwist's in no time at all!
This is where it all begins.....although to be honest there isn't really much I can tell you on this part of flying, it really is just practise in getting used to what your helicopter wants to do. First of all set the helicopter out 20ft in front of you with the nose pointing away from you. Start increasing the collective gently to spool the blades up to the point the helicopter wants to break free from the ground, at this point pause slightly with the collective, and then begin to gently pull in the power until the helicopter is a few inches above the ground, once there try and hold it in one spot for as long as you can, if you get in trouble lower the collective ever so gently to bring your helicopter to a soft landing (well thats the plan anyway). If you keep it below a foot there is virtually no damage to be done to the helicopter if you panic and drop the collective, but it's always nice to land as soft as you can! Practise this until you can keep it in a 5ft area from where you took off from for as long as you like, because remember, every flight begins and ends with a hover.....unless you crash!
Forward Flight and Nose In
Forward Flight
This is another area of flying that is similar to hovering, it really is just practise. A good intro to forward flight is this: Hover tail-in about 20ft in front of you, and about 5-10ft off the ground. Ease in some forward cyclic to start the helicopter moving forward, but not too much, you want a fast walking pace, no more at this stage. As it begins to move forward you should notice it lose a little height, so push a little power in to stop the descent, then as the helicopter has been going for a few seconds (around 20-30ft forward), pull the cyclic back gently to bleed off the speed, you will also notice the helicopter climb if you don't lower the collective a little. Thats really all there is to this, start working on making the helicopter going left to right in front of you until you are comftorable zipping around.

Nose In Hovering
Ahhh.....I bet you have heard all about how hard this little number is haven't you.....well, IT'S TRUE! IT IS IMPOSSIBLE! Only kidding, its just as easy as anything else you're going to learn, it's just a little daunting at first. There are two ways to learn this I feel, the first method is from the ground up. This is where, with the training gear on, you take off alread nose in, and learn hovering all over again, or there is method I used, which was from the air down. This is where you start flying tail in (with or without the traning gear depending on if you took them off already or not) and turn the helicopter around to face you when you are already a safe distance from the ground, I feel this way is less risky should you get in trouble because you have a larger safety margin. 3 of the 4 major controls will be reversed when learning nose in (well actually hey aren't, but they sure do feel messed up at first). The collective will be the only thing unchanged, as up will still make it go up. As for the cyclic, forward elevator will no longer send the helicopter away from you, but rather towards you, and right cyclic will make the helicopter go to your left. It really is just getting used to looking at your helicopter in this way that is hard, but after a day or two it will seem natural. Plus nose in hovering is pretty much essential if you want to progress onto more demanding flying.