There is one question about flight simulators that people often ask. Do I really need one? Can’t I learn everything ‘hands-on’? Well that is really 2 questions but the are along the same lines. The short answer to this is YES! Go out and Get one! For two reasons A) they are fun to fly on, and B) if you crash you are out no money. Now if you only have a co-axial helicopter then you could do without it because co-axial helis are usually very stable, some more than others but normally nothing too horrible to manage.
Once you begin to move from just he co-axial heli’s though you really ought to get a simulator. Crash in real life—you are out some cash, Crash in a simulator– you are out the time it takes to hit the ‘reset’ button and no money! Also you get to try out a bunch of aircraft to see how you will like them before you buy. They have more airplane than heli models in them and both have their plusses and minuses.
They both work very, very well and do an amiable job of showing you the ropes.
And now in no particular order: the two that I use:
I purchased RealFlight as my first real simulator. It comes with a faux transmitter that allows you to fly as though you were really flying the aircraft. It has a new version 5.5 out now that has combat and first person shooting etc and still it is a great sim. The only thing is that you have to use their controller which kinda has the feel of a Futaba transmitter. This isn’t a bad thing it is just that I have used all Spektrum transmitters and receivers for my birds.
It has a reset button for when you have screwed up and crashed, it has good graphics and selectable weather. Lots of planes and a few odd aircraft are with this sim. And you have to pay for all the upgrade disks.
The controller is useful only for the flight sim.
Phoenix is the second Flight sim I purchased and in some respects it is better for heli pilots. Updates are constantly being put out as new RC aircraft are produced and it has just about every heli you could want available. The big draw on this one is that you can plug in your own transmitter to it and fly. This helps with the overall feel of the flying a bit. One version of this software comes with a actual Spektrum transmitter.
The sim resets for you automatically after a crash and you also have a lot of control over the weather and flight physics just like RealFlight. Both of these are great and about the same price so you can’t really go wrong. More heli models in the Phoenix and model upgrades are always free!