How to set up your simulator
Phoenix RC with Futaba transmitter
You decided to start the hobby, you want to learn. You were told to pracice in simulator first. Weren't you? Then I tell you now: practice in simulator first. I'll show you how I set everything up for practicing in Phoenix RC with a Futaba transmitter. But don't worry if you have different transmitter with different simulator, the principal is the same, just the ways to achieve can be different.
RC helicopter flying is a community hobby unlike the practicing. You will do it on your own. If you are lucky, someone has prepared everything for you, but if you are not, you need to know how to do it. Well, let's see how it goes.
Setting up the transmitter
It's not a good idea to use a simulator controller or any other than your real one. You can learn, how the sticks feel, where the switches located and how to use everything in real life. The only difference will be the program you use. It makes sense, your simulator is like a model with different settings. But don't worry, easier to set up this program than any real models. In this example I'll use a Futaba T8FG transmitter
Choose a new model memory
This is in the linkage menu's model sel. entry. Choose the new. The transmitter will ask you to confirm, what can be done by pressing the RTN button of the jog for 1 second. Then you will be asked to choose the model type. This has to be Helicopter H-1. Then you will be asked about the area and the FASST (these are Futaba FASST specific settings). You can leave both of them as they are, except if you live in France, where the transmittion power is limited. Then you have to choose France at the area setting.
In theory we are done. However I don't like when everything is controlled by the simulator, so let's set it up properly.
This is a bit different from real life making me able to play with drones or airplanes. There are more Idle modes on the transmitter. It doesn't matter what transmitter you have, Idle-0 (normal) and Idle-1 (stunt) are there. We can have 4 idle modes on this transmitter, but we will use 2 only. Above 50% throttle Phonenix RC will use the governor mode, so we don't have to worry about throttle control just below 50%. Therefore I leave the idle-0 as it is, from 0 to 100%, then I can fly with drones and airplanes in Idle-0. Idle-1 is for helis with governor. Let's see how it is.
Find the throttle curve entry in Model menu. Leave Idle-0 as it is. Choose Idleup1. Now you can set all points to 100% or you can delete the three middle ones, and set the two end points to 100%. But this is not enough. Idle modes are disabled by default, so let's enable Idle-1. You can go to the second page. The edited Idle depends on the position of SE switch (upper switch on the left back panel). Shift it to middle position, that's the Idle-1. Go to the ACT entry, which is in INH state now. Set it to ON. There is an RD entry next to the ON in Normal mode, which means the Right knob is controlling the expo of that channel. If you don't want to get confused, disable it in Normal mode (Idle switch down position) by choosing -- at the hardware list. This is the default value of Idle-1.
Even if you don't want to land with autorotation yet, you must have this function. Learn to use this switch from the beginning, when you crash even in simulator, pull the throttle hold immediately. Even better, when you pull it just before the impact, when it's obvious you can't save the model. Why? Because the heli is not going to destroy itself on the ground because of the still working engine or motor. It reduces the damage a lot, and it makes sense to get used to it at the beginning. After a while it becomes so natural behaviour, you will do it everytime with no intention.
Before you think, you know how to switch it on, because there is the Throttle Hold just below the Throttle Curve, I have to make you disappointed: no, wrong way. Find the Condition, then enter. As you see, there is the HOLD, which is -- at the moment. Set it to SD. This is the top-rightmost switch, so you can keep the middle finger on all times. At the On/Off you need to configure the middle position to on as well. So the up positions is going to be off, the two others will be on. No go back to the previous Throttle Hold menu and set the value to 0%. If you are testing the SD switch here, you see the ACT is displaying OFF when the switch is up, and ON in any other positions. We are almost there.
Setting up the Gyroscope
It's not too important bothering with it for helis in simulator, but at least you can learn, how to use rate mode and head lock mode. So let's set up. The first setting in Gyro menu is the Condition. Change it to SWITCH. You can have up to 5 different settings, but it's enough to use two: One is for rate mode, the other one is for head-lock. Select the switch SB as control for the first program. This is -- at the moment. On/Off state can remain OFF-OFF-ON. Then select the #2 Switch SB again, but On/Off has to be ON-ON-OFF. Now you can use #1 and #2 by switch SB. Let's set some values.
The only thing what you need to do is switching AVCS mode to NORM in #1. Job done, you have a rate mode, when switch SB is down, and head-lock when this switch is anything else.
Renaming the model memory
Last thing is renaming the program. which can be done in the model select entry of Model menu. New1 is selected at the moment. So rename it as you want for example: SIM, PHOENIX, etc... This will display on the main screen.
Now let's calibrate it in Phoenix RC. Just follow the wizard. If you are lucky, everything is good.
When the pitch stick is down, the helicopter does nothing. When you push it up, the hli starts to spin up, and above half way it begins to lift. When you pull that stick aside, the nose has to follow the stick direction. When you push the elevator stick forward, the heli leans forward. When you pull the stick aside, the heli has to follow it by leaning.
if anything behaves opposit, you can reverse the particular direction at the your controls menu.
Now let's test the Idle switch: When it's up, the heli shouldn't stop the motor even if the pitch stick is down. But when you pull the switch SD down, heli will stop the motor. How to test the Gyro mode? Lift the helicopter up a tinybit, then lean it to either side a tiny bit. The heli begins sliding to that direction. We are in simulator, let it go. If the heli turns towards the sliding direction, it is in rate mode. If it remains in the original direction whilst it's sliding, that is head-lock mode. We use head-lock mode in general, but you can learn bot of them.
If everything went well, you are ready to practice now. Well done!