Flight mode refers to ways of changing how an R/C helicopter responds to the transmitter controls while in flight. These terms generally apply to CCPM helicopters. Typical flight modes are:
- Normal mode
Mostly positive pitch curve and correlated throttle curve, with throttle low enough that when the collective is brought to the bottom, the motor will not longer power the main rotor. Used for starting and stopping the helicopter, learning, hovering and light flying.
- Idle up mode
Typically uses a linear pitch curve and V-shaped throttle curve to give full aerobatic performance. The head speed may be raised, or cyclic control increased to give better control authority. Some transmitters allow you to define multiple idle up settings. Used for sport flying and 3D, and can also be used in strong winds when a greater collective pitch range is needed.
- Throttle hold
Reduces throttle to idle while maintaining control of collective pitch. Used for practicing autorotations, as a safety measure with electric helicopters, and before impact in a crash to minimize damage.
Selecting a particular flight mode, by using a designated switch or switches on the transmitter, will enable a particular pitch curve and throttle curve and may also select particular dual rates, or set other channel values, such as for gyro gain. Trim can sometimes be set separately for each flight mode.