Lesson 3: Rolls

If you are still a little shaky doing loops and stall turns, GOOD. If this was ‘easy’ more people would be flying Helicopters.

Rolls are probably the most intimidating of the basic maneuvers. Questions about roll rate, revo settings, and sustaining head speed at negative pitch settings SHOULD be on your mind. If you have come this far it is time to just GO FOR IT.

Your basic setup should now be pretty close to ideal for the ‘Idle Up 1′ mode. Fine tuning will NEVER end, and finding a new twist on setup is the name of the game.

When doing your first roll, the Key is keeping FORWARD speed up. Keeping head speed high when going to negative pitch has been taken care of with your setup by now.

Unlike an Airplane, you do not have the luxury of having a constant source of power pulling you forward. The Heli depends on INITIAL forward speed to complete a roll. So we CHEAT a little bit. Just go into a shallow dive. First time it will be scary, but started high enough, you will survive. Just DO NOT do what the Aircraft guys do and start the roll climbing even a little. As long as you maintain forward speed, all the little fears about Revo mixing, roll rate, etc. will disappear.

Note*** A heli’s forward speed is a function of “vertical lift” and “disk angle”, sort of like constantly sliding ‘down hill’. When entering a roll, the heli should be in a ‘Nose down’ attitude, generating vertical lift and forward speed, as the heli rolls to inverted, the applied negative pitch and “maintained” Nose down attitude will make consecutive rolls possible with a little practice.

The tails attitude (slightly high) will be maintained throughout the rolls without any control input to the T/R. (assuming a half decent revo setup). Plank flyers will find doing consecutive rolls almost as easy with helis, only difference is pumping collective instead of elevator.

Rolls can be done with the wind or into the wind. With the wind they will look smoother but started late, the heli may be a long way out before completion. Done into the wind, the roll will look ‘pitchy’ and erratic but will not travel as far. Having said that, I don’t think it matters much.

Lets Get Started….

Just sit down and think about the sequence of controls for a bit and do some dry runs with your thumbs BEFORE attempting the roll in the air. As long as you do not panic you will pull this off with no sweat.

For the faint of heart, start as high as you can and as fast as you can. The rest of you just follow these simple directions.

Make a big sweeping turn at the end of the field to conserve forward speed. Settle into a fast level pass at full throttle/collective, making sure you are NOT climbing. The faint of heart should actually be descending very slightly to come back into sight.


Your level, your fast, the heli is right in front of you, your heart is pounding, Give it full aileron…Jeez, it seems slow doesn’t it?…Can’t fold now, in for a dime, in for a dollar.

As it starts to roll, you should remember to give it full negative collective (all minus 2 or 3 degrees), you can slam it this time, and work on technique in the future. It WILL come around, and it will NOT loose much, if any, altitude. As it starts to return to right side up, give it positive collective again and release the aileron when level.

The roll probably looked better than most aircraft rolls. With a bit of practice they will.

It won’t be long now before you are trying consecutive rolls, split ‘S’s, Cuban ’8′s, reverse inside loops…..watch out Curtis Youngblood.

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