Walkera Dragonfly 4 training tips
Having bought and set up your Walkera Dragonfly 4 electric rc helicopter, it's time to test your nerves and start enjoying it!
However, the thing to understand is that you won't be getting airborne right away. The first few times you operate your Dragonfly 4 helicopter should be at ground level, and here's why....
Electric rc helicopters such as the Dragonfly 4 are not toys! They may not be on the same level as larger 6 channel collective pitch (CP) helicopters but they are not that different when it comes to the fundamental controls and characteristics.
Spinning rotor blades can do a lot of damage to walls, furniture, dogs, cats, people etc., and even a small 4 channel Fixed Pitch rc helicopter like the Dragonfly 4 has a steep learning curve. So, because of this, learning how your helicopter responds to your stick movements on the ground is your primary objective.
Your flying area
If you haven't already read this section then please do, and return here.
To recap, you need to choose your flying area well and ideally it needs to have a smooth and slippy floor/surface. Outdoors is of course the best option by far, but if you're limited to an indoor area then the area obviously needs to be clear of any furniture, clutter, pets etc. If you can put some kind of padding around the walls (cushions, pillows, sleeping bags...), then great.
Incidentally, this page assumes that you really have gone through the setting up/switching on page, that you've fitted your training gear and that you are completely ready to start learning how to control your heli. If you haven't followed those guidelines yet then you're not really ready - so please don't try anything until you are!
OK, everything set?
The first point to remember is that all your early maneuvers are going to be done 'tail in' i.e. with the helicopter directly in front of you and the nose pointing away from you. This way, left is left and right is right.
The photo shows how you should be seeing your helicopter just before you start.
You're going to power up your Dragonfly 4 just enough to take the weight off the training gear, so that the helicopter skates freely over the floor on the training skids. The way to do this is to increase the motor speed slowly. There will be a 'kick' as the main blades gather speed and straighten themselves (this is why you didn't tighten them fully in the blade holder) but they only do this once and it happens in a second.
Gently keep feeding in the power until the helicopter starts to move around - once it is moving don't increase power; keep the throttle stick where it is and be ready to close the power completely if the heli starts heading towards a wall, or your feet! If it looks like the helicopter is going to get airborne, reduce power slightly. If it does get airborne unintentionally, reduce power smoothly but quickly. Don't just slam shut the power because that will cause the helicopter to drop out the sky, potentially resulting in damage.
While you're adjusting this power also play around with it a bit. This will get you used to the approximate power required for take off, and also the responsiveness of your Dragonfly 4 to various power settings. After a few minutes you should be able to get a feel of how much power your little Dragonfly 4 needs to get the weight off the skids, and how much you need to increase/decrease this power to keep it at that level of control.
Incidentally, never watch your fingers on the sticks - this is so important! Watch the helicopter all the time, not your thumbs!
OK, so you're getting used to the amount of power needed to get your Dragonfly 4 off its skids but you also need to control the directional movement at the same time.
You'll see straight away that as soon as you power up the helicopter it starts to spin in the opposite direction to the blades. This is where you need to learn yaw control, to act against the natural torque force that's causing the helicopter to spin.
Yaw is on the same stick as the throttle (for Tx Mode 2. Mode 1 has throttle and yaw on different sticks) and is controlled by tail rotor speed. The amount of yaw control needed is directly influenced by the main rotor speed - more speed generates more torque, so more thrust is needed from the tail rotor to balance this torque.
So with the helicopter just lifting off the gear, have a play around with the yaw and get used to how it responds. You'll soon notice that you don't need much input on the stick to get the heli spinning round one way or the other. You only need to do this a few times, and you'll quickly get the hang of balancing the yaw with the power to keep the helicopter heading straight ahead.
Once you've mastered the basic use of power and yaw, the cyclic is the remaining control to try out.
Cyclic is the forward/aft and left/right movement of the helicopter and is completely controlled by the other stick (on a Mode 2 transmitter).
Again, get the helicopter riding on its skids and keep the yaw under control to keep the helicopter tail in. Gently play around with the cyclic stick and get the helicopter moving sideways and forwards/backwards a little. Don't go mad - you just want to do the same as you did with the power and yaw, get the basic feel of how moving the stick effects the model.
The following video shows how your helicopter should be skating around the ground for these first important steps...
This power/yaw/cyclic control at floor level is all you need to concentrate on for now - get used to how your Dragonfly 4 handles on the ground before you move onto the next step, which is....