Learning to fly - with or without a Model Flight Simulator
When you are just getting started and learning to fly, even with a simulator, don't overdo it!
It is all too easy, especially with the simulator, to spend too long 'in the air' at any one time and this has the potential of letting you take 'two steps forward and one step back', or even worse, 'one step forward and two steps back'!
When you are learning to fly a model aircraft and/or helicopter you are going to need just about all of the concentration you can muster and if you lose this towards the end of a flight then you are courting disaster! This is especially true with model helicopters!
In the early days keep your flights short, even if you know your tank will give you 10 minutes of flight time then only fly for 5 of them, land and have a break, have a chat or have a cup of coffee etc....... Relax for a while! Also remember that learning to fly is not a race! Above all, don't be intimidated by other people suggesting that you should have 'stayed out longer' or 'you should have tried.....' etc. Learn to fly at your own pace, no-one else's!
High levels of concentration can cause your body to release chemicals into your blood that, even over a short period of time, can cause stress.... stress then leads to frustration.... frustration leads to mistakes.... and mistakes can lead to crashes! High levels of concentration will also result in jerky muscle movements rather than smooth muscle movement and this, again, can be due to the chemicals that have been released into your blood!
In simple terms, taking a break will give your body a chance to flush out/remove these chemicals from the blood stream. If your break is too short then the body will not have had time remove these chemicals completely, so the next time you fly there will be a cumulative 'build up' of these chemicals - leading to more chance of you making a mistake........ A reasonable break also gives you the opportunity to have a chat with other people. Remember also that this hobby/sport is not just about flying, it is also about making new friends, learning from them, having a good day out and generally enjoying yourself!
Back to the plot:
Just take a look at one of the more experienced flyers in your club and one of the newcomers, compare their 'body language' while they are flying. The experienced flyer will look (for the most part) relaxed while the 'newbie' will probably look stiff, uncomfortable and possibly somewhat stressed! Obviously their flying styles will be very different as well, the experienced flyer will tend to be smoother while the newbie will probably be rougher. This is partly to do with the high levels of concentration required at this early stage - and also the lack of 'muscle memory' that I have already mentioned (see 'Why Tru-Flite' from the menu on the Tru-Flite web site - www.tru-flite.org). We all go through this stage but fortunately it does not last very long.
Statistics have shown that most crashes/accidents occur on the last flight of the day (think about that!?!?), when your concentration is likely to be at it lowest, when you are generally tired - both physically and mentally! Be aware that even as little as 20 minutes of flying in a day can 'wear out' a beginner!
At the end of the day don't be tempted to think/say 'I'll just have one more quick flight'! It might be your last with that particular model........... Going home with an intact model is much more satisfying than with a bag of bits and pieces! You should therefore think/say 'I've had a good day so far, I don't think I'll push my luck'!
The same goes for flying your simulator, possibly more so, as you know that there will be no financial loss at the end of the day! You want to be able to gain knowledge and experience at a rate of 'two steps forward', 'two steps forward', 'two steps forward'! Not 'two steps forward and one step back' - or worse!
Keep your simulator flying similar to that of your real flying. Fly for, let us say, 15 minutes and then take a break. Walk away from the computer for half an hour or so and only come back once you have have had time to 'switch off' and maybe review what you have done. Once again, this will allow those chemicals to be flushed out/removed from your blood stream!
Have you ever spent an extended period of time on the simulator, maybe two or three hours, and felt 'worn out'? Guess why?
So don't be tempted to sit in front of the simulator for hours at a time.........!
Above all, have fun and enjoy your flying!
I hope this helps.