Hey. you know that time you escaped from the evil mastermind's lair to the helipad, and there was a totally unguarded helicopter, blades spinning, but you realized you don't have a pilot's license so you had to walk home? I'm here to tell you that next time, you're riding in style. Also, stop talking to strangers.
The first important step is to determine if the helicopter is French*. Try sniffing. If you smell cheese, do the exact opposite of what I'm about to tell you with your feet, because the blades spin the wrong way.
Good. So you're sitting in the left or front seat of your American-made helicopter and its clockwise (looking up) spinning rotor. There's a stick on your left. That's the collective, it makes you go up and down.
There are one or two sticks between your legs, depending on physical gender. The bigger one is the joystick, and it makes you go forward because that's all you can handle right now.
There are pedals at your feet. They do a bunch of stuff you don't need to know about. Put your feet on the pedals, push until they're even, and keep your feet on them for the duration of the flight.
Now gently pull the collective up while pushing on your left* foot. Ignore the people shooting at you; if the mastermind had time to train them to shoot, they wouldn't have left the helicopter running and unguarded. Go slowly, because if you screw this up you're hamburger. If you've done it right, you've only spun a little to the right*, and you're a foot in the air.
Now gently push the joystick forward a little bit.
If you've got a bit of space, just keep it there until the helicopter rises off like a graceful bird. If you're in a mountain fortress, more collective and more left* pedal. Once you're above the trees, buildings, and terrain around you, pop open the champagne, champ, because you made it.
I'm just kidding about the champagne. Drinking and flying is a terrible idea. We'll deal with landing next time.