by Gene Payson of Troy Built Models
WHAT’S AN AWESOME PILOT? An awesome pilot is someone who can dazzle spectators from casual observers to accomplished pilots. This is done by a combination of precision flying and 3D flying. To prove you are an awesome pilot you can enter contests like IMAC sequence, IMAC Freestyle, Pattern Sequence, Pattern Artistic Aerobatics, or you can go head to head with all types of aircraft at IMAA fly-ins. Fly-ins are dangerous and exciting because pilots share the stage with other dissimilar aircraft. At a fly-in, one pilot may be doing slow 3D maneuvers while a jet passes by just inches away at 200 mph. At fly-ins, the hot shot pilots are there to put on the dog. You can also put together a multi-plane show routine. A 2 plane routine is MUCH, MUCH (did I say much?) harder than it looks. Pilots who make it look good must be excellent pilots who have put a lot of effort into practicing together and choreography.
An awesome pilot will:
Fly with awesome precision.
Fly a straight and level line, even in high wind. Always fly parallel to the runway. Don’t drift and don’t purposely fly skewed to the runway. Either fly straight out or straight in or circle out or in.
Always be flying maneuvers, never just flying around aimlessly.
Be acutely aware of the wind direction and speed to compensate with rudder and throttle.
Have a plan on what to fly before taking off.
Always be a better pilot after each flight by paying attention to details and learning something each flight.
Fly maneuvers gracefully and at constant speed with the same quality both upwind and downwind.
Fly all maneuvers under control at all times. While some maneuvers may scare the casual observer, other pilot’s familiar with your flying will be amused.
Practice a lot.
Roll and snap to the left as well and as often as to the right.
Present maneuvers properly by centering loops, rolls, Cuban 8′s.
Go home with plane intact.
The major skills of an awesome pilot are to:
Be awesome in envisioning maneuvers for awesome symmetry.
Be awesome on the rudder for awesome straight figures.
Be awesome on the throttle for awesome energy management.
Once you envision the maneuver you wish to fly, rudder control and throttle management are crucial to it’s accurate completion. Rudder control keeps your heading accurate without rolling/ banking the aircraft. A plane flown with awesome rudder control flies maneuvers straight and true in all wind conditions. Throttle/energy management takes into account the aircraft’s power to weight ratio, the aircraft’s drag (profile drag and propeller induced drag), and wind heading and wind velocity.
How to be an Awesome SEQUENCE pilot:
At the IMAC and NSRCA sites you can find many “sequence” maneuvers. ALL are a combination of straight lines, rolls, loops, snaps, circles, spins, and stall turns. They are drawn out very nicely on paper. When you are flying, envision the entire maneuver like you saw it drawn out on paper just before you enter that maneuver, then put the plane in the position you envision. No matter how awesomely accurate you can fly, if you don’t know precisely where you are going to fly, your presentation won’t be awesome.
Know how large you can make the maneuver comfortably knowing intimately the performance of your aircraft. Most aircraft have limitations and you have to deal with them. If your aircraft has incredible power to weight so that the vertical speed after high energy maneuvers (like snaps) is still great enough to fly other high energy maneuvers (like half loops with 4 point rolls over the top), then you have it easy. Most planes don’t have this power to weight ratio and you must learn the maximum size that you can easily and repeatedly make each maneuver. You learn this through trial and error.
An awesome pilot will use the rudder early often. Set a distance away from you that you wish to fly, say 500 feet. Maintain that distance at all times. Adjust for the wind and for maneuvers which are flown incorrectly. If you find yourself too far in or out, or that you are not on the correct heading, don’t bank and yank to move the plane back onto course. Use rudder to correct heading and BE SNEAKY about it. Slowly apply the rudder to get you on the heading you desire, then slowly get off the rudder. Don’t bang the rudder correction. You can slip back into position completely unnoticed by the untrained eye.
Don’t fly a racetrack pattern unless you are forced to by other airplane traffic. If you are forced to fly racetrack, practice center maneuvers only. At the ends, practice 180 degree rolling circles or 180 degree turns in the pattern.
HOW TO BUILD YOUR RUDDER SKILLS:
FIRST STEP: Practice knife edge flight. Fly at a speed where your plane has adequate rudder authority. If this is at full throttle, then so be it. If it’s at 3/4 throttle, then that’s better. Trim out your plane using the trim guide on the NSRCA site so that your plane flies knife edge by only managing rudder and throttle. If you use elevator or aileron correction use your computer radio to make corrections. Practice knife edge over and over, upwind and downwind, looking at the canopy and looking at the belly (this is much more difficult). Do not go onto the second step until you are very comfortable and your plane flies as it should. If you can’t fly knife edge consistently, you won’t be an awesome pilot. You may need a more powerful servo or a 6 volt battery or both to do knife edge. Practice knife edge along with straight and level flight maintaining a precise heading. Be sure to practice straight and level flight making heading corrections using the rudder. You’re plane should be trimmed out now well enough that it won’t dive to the ground when you are upright and want to yaw slightly by applying the rudder. Most planes dive to the ground when the rudder is applied. Make adjustments to this doesn’t happen. Don’t be a hero and try to compensate with the sticks. Let the computer radio do it for you. There is not a top pilot in the world who doesn’t mix out his airplane’s problems. You’ll have enough to do flying the plane without compensating for your plane’s inadequacies.
SECOND STEP: The first step is the most difficult. After that you have it easy (for awhile). Now we move on to 2 point rolls. The CG of the plane should be such that when inverted the plane should be close to hands off which means it’s a little on the tail heavy side for the average pilot (but you’re going to be an awesome pilot aren’t you??? So make it a little tail heavy!!). When you roll to inverted you need to use, dare I say it? THE RUDDER! Yes! You said you don’t need the rudder didn’t you? SORRY, YOU NEED THE RUDDER!. As you roll to inverted, bump the rudder the exact same amount as you did during knife edge flight, but just when the plane is around knife edge position. Not too soon and not too long or you will veer off course. Just right. Hey, guess what? When you’re inverted, you must use the rudder there too!! Aaaaghhh. Yes, now that you are inverted you are now going off heading and you must correct using the rudder. Wow, you just hit the rudder the wrong way didn’t you?? Well roll back over to upright, turn around and try it again. Roll to inverted just before center so that you are inverted at center. It’s hard to tell whether you’re coming in or going out isn’t it? You’ll figure it out pretty quickly if the spectators start diving for cover. It’s easier to see if you’re high up, and you’ll also avoid those Oooh’s and Aaaah’s from others as you pull instead of push and just barely miss the ground. When in doubt, roll to upright and pull! Don’t half loop. Do that 500 to 1000 times (not kidding), and you’ll have it down pat. You may even be down to less that 5000 feet when you’re doing it! Roll slower and slower, and fly longer and longer inverted. When you can fly at 500 feet out and 100 feet high and can take 2 seconds to roll to inverted, then fly for 2 seconds inverted, then roll for 2 seconds back to upright, and do this at 3/4 throttle, and stay right on line, you’ll be able to do what most people in the chairs behind you can only dream about. You are awesome! If you can do it at 1 second intervals, that’s excellent. Now is the tough part. Do it rolling to the left, turn around and do it rolling to the right. Also do it from left to right and from right to left. HA! You can only do it in one direction! Practice another 500 – 1000 times flying from left to right and rolling left, then rolling right, and flying right to left, and rolling right and then rolling left. AND YOU’RE NOT DONE! While flying any maneuver which has you inverted (which is most of them), you need to use rudder when inverted. Practice all the time, you’ll get it.
THIRD STEP: OK, it’s been three years, but you’re feeling cocky now, and want more. It’s 4 point roll time. That means knife edge to the belly!! Very predictably you will do the first quarter roll to see the canopy, then the second roll is to go to inverted, and then you saved the worst for last hoping beyond hope that something will happen and you don’t have to do the third point of the 4 point roll. Now matter how you try to delay it, it’s coming, and so is the ground if you use the wrong rudder. Most planes do very nice cartwheels, right up until the wings and fuselage fly apart. Avoid that. Go back to step one and practice knife edge flight with the belly to you. You don’t have the practice knife edge with the canopy to you, that’s too easy now for Mr. Awesome. You’ve got to be able to hold it for 3 seconds. Also, watch your batteries when you’re doing this. The rudder uses a lot of juice, and if you haven’t used it before, you’re in for a surprise. But you sensed something was up in step one didn’t you? Yes, that’s it. Using the rudder to only steer on the ground just didn’t use up your battery much. A four point roll should be done in rhythm. Count one, two, three, four. Count evenly and slowly. Time it so that you are inverted just before center. Again, learn this from left to right and right to left and rolling to the right and rolling to the left. Use rudder mainly when you are close to knife edge, not while rolling too much or you will veer off course. See you next summer.
FOURTH STEP: Rolls are next! They are called slow rolls which the 4 point roll is a hesitation roll. How slow is slow and how you hesitate is up to you, but generally the longer the harder/better. The slow roll is tough because now you are feeding the rudder in sooner and ending later and you can’t stop to gather your thoughts in between. It’s not much different, and after a few hundred times, you’ll only need a few more hundred times to get it close to perfect.
FIFTH STEP: OK things are dragging on and on, you’ve spent $1000 in gas and that’s just driving to the flying field. You’ve almost crashed too many times to count and your finger is sore from flipping the prop. Now it gets hard. Really hard. You may want to bail at this point, but hang in there. It’s time for rolling circles. These babies are tough! We want to end up with 4 rolls in one circle, one roll each 90 degrees. Start with 90 degree one roll rollers. It’s just like the slow roll from before just bent a little bit, kind of like when you were trying to fly it straight but weren’t too good at it. To see how big to do it, try flying a circle without rolling and see what seems comfortable. Then do a flat circle using rudder only and staying upright. The radius is pretty big to do it smoothly. That’s the radius to shoot for. Once you master the first 90 degrees, you must learn it from left to right, right to left, and rolling to the inside and to the outside of the circle. This will take awhile, a looooong while. But after that, it just gets harder. The worst is the final 90 degrees with the plane starting out heading towards you and the flightline. The key is to practice the 90 degree roller only, with the rest of the circle being flown banked without rolling BUT after you master the first 90 degrees, don’t roll the first 90 degrees, roll the second 90 degrees only. Do the rest of the circle in a regular bank. Do it from left to right and right to left, starting upright and starting inverted, upwind and downwind, in a crosswind and in calm weather. Then do just the third 90 degrees and then the dreaded fourth 90 degrees. When you practice the fourth 90 degrees, try to do it with no one else around. It keeps down the shrieks and doesn’t jeopardize too many cars in the parking lot.
SIX STEP: Well you got the 90 degree rollers down, no it’s time for the 180 degree rollers and then the 270 degree rollers keeping in mind to stagger the starting and engine positions, which way you roll, and flying right to left and left to right, starting from inverted and starting from upright, and upwind and downwind. Keep mixing it up.
SEVENTH STEP: Rollers. Full blown you name it you have to fly it rollers. Now it’s time to put it all together and do a 4 roll roller. Now it’s tougher because you need good throttle management. You must be at full throttle into the wind, and part throttle when downwind. You must start and stop in exactly the same place. And now you must alternate the rolls too. Practice the first 90 rolling in and the second rolling out and keep changing. Then, just to make it more difficult, you must also do 3 roll rollers, 2 roll rollers, and 1 roll rollers upwind, downwind, from inverted or upright, alternating and with your eyes closed standing on one foot while singing Broadway show tunes. Then you can be like Quique Somenzini and do a snap at each 90 while rolling the rest of the circle and do it to the beat of the music. (You can put him to shame by doing it with your eyes closed and the transmitter behind your back.)
Once you master rollers, you can easily fly many maneuvers with a minimal amount of practice because you will be good on the rudder. Rudder is the key to flying precisely and becoming an awesome pilot. The better on the rudder you are, the more awesome you are.
The left stick is the throttle. It can stop between the top and the bottom. Try it. Gas planes slow down very fast when the stick is at the bottom. Move it forward a little when you are landing. For loops, if you have a powerful plane, you should be at 3/4 throttle at the bottom while entering the loop, then at full throttle when perfectly vertical, then reducing the throttle to 1/2 at the top of the loop, then at idle just after the top and when pointing vertically down, then up to 1/4 through the bottom of the loop (especially if you are now headed into the wind), then back to 3/4 throttle. Throttle position changes with wind conditions. Fly in both directions and see what you need to do with the throttle.
HOW TO PRACTICE MANEUVERS:
Practice by repeating the same maneuver over and over and over and over. Use an entire tank of gas doing loop after loop after loop after loop. If your loops are still bad, spend the whole day, week or month doing nothing but loops. You will only learn through repetition of the same maneuver over and over. Going from one maneuver to another will not help much. Once you have mastered one maneuver, then go on to the next. You may have to combine a couple of maneuvers like Immelman’s and Spins, to be able to practice spins, but the main point is that you need to do the same maneuver OVER AND OVER. Sound boring but it really isn’t. Try it. Do every maneuver from left to right, and right to left, going to the left, going to the right (like rolls and hammers) so you don’t become dependent on one direction, and upwind and downwind so you practice throttle management. The key is repetition.
HOW TO FLY INDIVIDUAL SEQUENCE MANEUVERS
If you enjoy boring holes in the sky without precision, you may enjoy boring holes in the sky with precision. You don’t need to fly competition to have fun with some basic maneuvers. Maneuvers are explained as to how to use your brain to move the sticks to fly them. Planes are different. If I could fly your plane first, I could give you better tips on how exactly to position the sticks on your transmitter to obtain the desired effect in the air. Since I am not there to fly your plane, you must do this by trial and error, but that’s fun too. After you have mastered it with one plane, the next plane will be different, but far easier to master.
ALL maneuvers begin from level flight and all maneuvers end in level flight.
Your plane must be trimmed out correctly to make flying the maneuvers easier to learn.
GENERAL WIND CORRECTION
Maneuvers need to stay on the ground heading that you have envisioned. As you see explanations on how to perform the various maneuvers, you will need to refer to this section for making wind corrections. Each maneuver has its own particular wind correction techniques, and they will be addressed individually as well.
- In any wind condition you want to be in a slow or stalled condition for as little time as possible.
- In verticals, for a headwind, pull less than vertical. As the plane slows, more correction is necessary. Straighten up just before the maneuver. After the maneuver, push down to fly away from you.
- In a cross wind where you are pulling to vertical, aileron roll just one or two degrees into the wind before pulling up. This will do two things, 1) it will yaw the plane unnoticeably and 2) it will yaw the plane when you have the greatest speed to somewhat overcorrect distance-wise at the bottom when you know that you will be blown uncontrollably downwind at the top when the aircraft is stalled when doing hammers, tailslides and spins.
- Throttle and Speed: Fly faster than usual in a crosswind to minimize seeing yaw. For vertical maneuvers, fly as fast as possible vertically upwards, then slow down as quickly as possible by chopping the throttle so that you are at low airspeed for a minimal amount of time because when you are stalled, the plane is going downwind and you cannot make corrections at that time.
- On vertical downlines, have the throttle at idle, but correct with yaw a lot if necessary. In 30 mph winds, the plane may be at a 30 degree angle into the wind in a descent. Hold the correction until just before pullout. If you pull out without straightening up first, you will actually point the wrong direction. Straighten out to a perfectly vertical descent while simultaneously rolling just 1 or 2 degrees into the wind before pulling out. This will keep you on track.
- In maneuvers which have portions which are both upwind and downwind like circles, loops and 8′s, you may need a tremendous difference is airspeed (throttle). In a 15 mph wind, you will need full throttle into the wind, and be at 1/2 throttle when traveling downwind. Remember that your airplane’s speed may be 105 mph at full throttle and 75 mph at 1/2 throttle. In a 15 mph wind, that’s 75 + 15 = 90mph downwind and 105 – 15 = 90 mph upwind. At 90 degrees to dead upwind/downwind, there is a dead crosswind. This makes rolling circles much more difficult. At least with loops you don’t have to deal with the crosswind component. In a loop you deal only with differing amounts of headwind/tailwind.
STALL TURNS / HAMMERHEADS (HAMMERS)
Explanation of the Hammer maneuver: Pull to vertical, slow down at the top of the maneuver to almost a stop, perform a 180 degree rotation in yaw (rudder), fly vertically down, then pull out to the horizontal. This is good to turn you around, so do it at the ends of the field to get you back to the center instead of a 1/2 loop or 1/2 circle. You get to use the throttle in the hammer.
Hammer Basics: Use full throttle in the upline. Use the throttle to slow the plane to almost a stop. The throttle position to do this depends on your plane. A powerful and fast plane may need the throttle to be at idle and the plane will gradually slow to a halt. Underpowered planes will stop on their own, even at full throttle. Once your plane is just about stopped, apply some throttle and give full rudder to bring the plane around so that it’s pointing straight down. Adjust the plane using whatever controls are necessary to head the plane vertically down and put the throttle to idle. Fly vertically down, then pull out in time to be at the desired level altitude.
Techniques to master the Hammer:
- Wings are level before and after the maneuver.
- The radius of the pull up matches the radius of the pull out.
- The length of the line up matches the length of the line down.
- The speed on the way up matches the speed on the way down.
- The plane pivots without pitching or rolling.
- The plane doesn’t wag its tail after rotating.
Hammer flying tips:
- Don’t slow down too much at the top, and apply plenty of power when the rudder is at full deflection. The worst that can happen is that the plane will flop over and head back down with the belly towards you. Just 1/2 roll and pull out and tell onlookers you did it on purpose and that they just witnessed a tailslide.
- Be sure to have a lot of rudder throw. The only force to yaw your plane when it is stopped is the air blast from the throttle being deflected by the rudder. You need quite a bit of force to get the plane to yaw 180 degrees. This force comes from the prop and the rudder. You need enough of both.
- To stop the wagging on the way down, gently start easing off the rudder after the plane gets to the 2 o’clock position and continue to ease off until the plane is just about vertically downward. Another technique to stop the wagging is to keep the rudder deflected slightly after the plane has rotated until there is enough forward speed to dampen things out.
- If your plane is yawing one way or the other at the top, you have to hammer with the yaw. Only the best can go against the yaw.
Wind correcting the Hammer:
CROSSWIND CORRECTION: Yaw into the wind both on the way up and on the way down to keep your track relative to the ground vertical. The yaw on the way up will be less noticeable than on the way down. Even though your aircraft will be blown downwind at the top of the maneuver when the speed is low, don’t yaw enough to maintain the heading at the top because it will look bad, instead, straighten up before hammering for a better presentation. Knowing that you will be blown downwind at the top while hammering, over-correct slightly on the way up at the bottom on the initial pull up where it’s less noticeable. On the way down, have the throttle at idle, but correct will yaw a lot if necessary. In 15 mph winds, the plane may be at a 30 degree angle into the wind in a descent. Hold the correction until just before pullout. If you pull out without straightening up first, you will actually point the wrong direction. Straighten out to a perfectly vertical descent while simultaneously rolling just 1 or 2 degrees into the wind before pulling out. This will keep you on track for a nice horizontal line.
HEADWIND/TAILWIND: In any wind condition you want to be in a slow or stalled condition for as little time as possible so you are blown off course as little as possible. For a headwind, pull less than vertical. As the plane slows, more correction is necessary. Straighten up just before the hammer. After the hammer, push down to fly away from you. On the exit in this case, you will be pulling out downwind, so your groundspeed will be very high even though your airspeed is low.
Explanation of the maneuver: Pull to vertical, slow down at the top of the maneuver to a stop, let the plane fall backwards vertically until it flops over, fly vertically down, then pull out to the horizontal. There are two types of tailslides, wheels down and wheels up. Wheels down means that when the plane flops over that when the plane is horizontal as it falls through the tailslide that the wheels are down. Wheels up means that the plane falls over backwards and the canopy is down (wheels up) as the plane is horizontal as it flops.
Tailslide Basics: Use full throttle in the upline. Use the throttle to slow the plane to almost a stop as if entering a hover or TR. 3D rates are best, but remember to turn them off before pulling out to horizontal! The idea is to almost hover at the top so that you can get the plane in the perfect position before reducing the throttle to idle and falling backwards. If you are pointed straight up, most planes will flop over forwards producing a wheels down tailslide. A wheels up tailslide usually requires the plane to be on its back several degrees so that it will flop correctly.
Techniques to master the Tailslide:
- Wings are level before and after the maneuver.
- The radius of the pull up matches the radius of the pull out.
- The speed on the way up matches the speed on the way down.
- The plane flops without leaning to the side.
- The plane can wag once as it falls through.
Tailslide flying tips:
- Don’t slow down too quickly at the top to maintain control to get into perfect position until you’re ready to slide.
- Your tail surfaces may or may not reverse during the descent depending on your idle rpm and the speed that you are falling. As you fall the air will flow backwards over the tail if the speed you are falling backwards exceeds the speed of the air coming down from the prop. In some cases the tail surfaces may react backwards as they are now acting like canards. You can steer the plane on the way downwards if you are quick on the sticks BUT you must be sure you are falling backwards faster than the prop is pushing air over the tail!!
Wind correcting the Tailslide:
- When possible, slide downwind instead of upwind because it looks like you are sliding more as you are moving away from yourself.
- With a crosswind, lean the nose of the plane slightly downwind because when the power is at zero the tail will be blown downwind and the plane will straighten out.
How to practice to be an awesome pilot for 3D flying:
You will be low and slow thus each input to your plane can have dire consequences. Practice up high, but get as low as possible as soon as possible but be confident in your flying before getting too low.
The lower (lighter) the wing loading the better. Power is not as important as wing loading. If you flop out of a maneuver, a low wing loading prevents stalling. A light plane will allow you to not lose any altitude when falling out of a maneuver, it simply starts flying immediately without having to build up speed to get flying again. Power is good for show, but it won’t save a heavy plane in a bad position like low weight will. As long as you have enough power to maintain a hover, you have enough power.
Get a simulator. Practicing hovering on a simulator is often harder than with many planes. Master it on the computer and you will have an easy time flying your plane.
Set your radio up for lots of throw and experiment. Certain designs do better than others. The bigger the better too. You can get a gyro, once you are an expert, sell it.
Hovering and torque rolling are the most difficult. Once you’ve practiced on the simulator, practice with your plane. The closer you are to the plane, the easier it is to see and make corrections, but the shorter the distant to destruction. There’s no substitute for practice when it comes to 3D. It typically takes a thousand attempts or more at hovering to become good.
Experiment and practice with your plane until you learn everything you can about it.
FIRST STEP: Programming your radio for 3D flying is key to being an awesome 3D pilot. See our webpage on programming your radio first.
SECOND STEP: Trimming out your plane for 3D flying is critical to being an awesome pilot. Right thrust and up thrust must be optimized. Perfect right thrust and up thrust for hovering is different than for sequence flying though they are close. This cannot be changed on a day to day basis, so you need to decide what is most important to you. It’s easier to fly sequence with 3D right thrust and upthrust than it is to fly 3D with sequence right thrust and upthrust, so if you are primarily interested in 3D, trim the plane out as follows: On a day when there is little or no wind, fly level to the center of the field at a slow speed, pull to vertical and roll to see the canopy of the plane as if you were going to do a hammer. Let the plane slow to almost a stop. Go to full throttle and let go of the sticks and fly for several seconds. If the plane veers right of left, adjust the rudder to keep the plane vertical. Do this 10 to 20 times to be sure. Then put washers under the engine mount to put in about 1/2 the angle that the rudder is (if the rudder is deflected 4 degrees, change the engine thrust by 2 degrees). Do not line up the cowl yet with the spinner backplate. Do another flying test and make adjustments until the plane goes exactly straight up when you apply throttle. Follow the same guidelines for setting the upthrust. You need upthrust based on the CG of your plane as it hangs from the propeller. If you picked up the prop and let the plane hang vertically as in a torque roll (TR), if all the components inside the plane were in proper position, the plane would point straight up and the engine thrust line would be right through the CG. This probably isn’t the case so change the engine thrust (you probably need upthrust) so that the plane doesn’t keep falling forward to the belly when in a TR.
THIRD STEP: You should be good with the rudder. Learn rudder skills by following the steps above. You especially need rudder skills when the belly of the plane is towards you. Doing belly in hammer heads is good practice. Fly back and forth across the field inverted and do hammer heads at each end. Keep the uplines straight (using the rudder) and hammer while under control the direction that you choose.
That’s about it. I will add how to do many 3D maneuvers, then keep them centered and above the ground!!
HOW TO FLY INDIVIDUAL 3D MANEUVERS
If you are a competent pilot who enjoys living life on the very edge of the envelope, then 3D is for you. Your plane is always just moments away from disaster. Spectators get thrills from near disasters, and so does the pilot! 3D flying is one near disaster after the next, with a crash inevitable with one slip of the finger, one burble of the engine, one wrong move, one mechanical failure, or one gust of wind. Not all 3D maneuvers are at just above stall speed, but all 3D put the plane at more risk than sequence flying. This is very difficult, and takes a special (meaning more expensive) aircraft and equipment to do it right.
NOTE: If your plane is heavy (high wing loading) and it must dive to pick up speed before it can fly out of an aborted maneuver without snapping, then you have the wrong plane. Either lighten your plane or get a new plane. If not, you will be forced to fly too high to have fun or you will crash. If you have a 40% plane over 36 pounds or a 35% plane over 26 pounds, your plane is heavy, so be careful.
KEYS TO 3D FLYING
- The lower (lighter) the wing loading the better: lower stall speeds and better knife edge capability. The ability to fly away from a botched maneuver is important.
- The higher the power to weight ratio the better: blast out of trouble or jump out of a hover.
- The more the control surfaces move the better: faster maneuvering.
- The larger the control surfaces the better: more control of the air.
- The more powerful the servos the better: to prevent flutter.
- Digital servos: precise motion throughout the range and tighter centers.
- The faster the servos the better: faster corrections.
- The larger the fuselage side area the better: better yaw control.
- The larger the size the plane the better: less sensitive.
- A computer radio: mix out quirks, switch rates easily using one flight condition switch.
- The correct amount of right thrust: the plane must go up straight in a hover.
- Lots of money: buy the best, stretch the envelope, have a backup.
- Nerves of steel: the lower the better.
- Bulletproof airframe: don’t have a mechanical failure, especially servo linkages.
- Bulletproof engine: hovering on the deck has an unhappy ending if the engine quits.
- Rearward CG: flies inverted virtually hands off for better maneuverability.
- Extensive preflight: you can’t afford a mechanical failure in the air which should have been caught on the ground.
Explanation of the Torque Roll (TR) maneuver: Pull to vertical, maintain vertical position without ascending, plane rotates around to left under it’s own power (due to the torque of the engine). End maneuver by pushing (or falling) out to level flight, or powering vertically upwards.
- Maximum rudder and elevator throws.
- None or opposite exponential.
- No flaps
- Throttle curve if necessary to have soft throttle at TR rpm so you can make slight variations to the rpm easily.
- This is an extremely difficult maneuver which takes many, many, many hours of practice with the right plane which is trimmed out correctly.
- Enter the TR near yourself and just a little upwind.
- The lower the better because it’s easier to see the plane and make corrections.
- Calm days are easier than windy days.
- Enter a TR by flying to the TR starting spot in a Harrier or do a wall.
Techniques to master the TR:
- When first learning to TR, cheat in any way you can. Do whatever it takes to make it easier at first, then remove any cheats one at a time.
- Best Cheat: A gyro on the rudder or the elevator or both will help. Set the gain very high, and use the gyro only when in the TR as the gain will be too high for normal flying. This is cheating because a gyro is not allowed in competition.
- Use separate trims on flight modes. Set up a flight mode for TR. Use the trims to make TR easier. Usually a little up and a little right is needed.
- Blip the throttle and the control surfaces simultaneously to get the airplane to correct any lean without ascending.
- A steady throttle is more difficult than blipping the throttle.
- Get the plane vertical. It looks like the plane is on its back. You shouldn’t be constantly holding any up. If you are constantly inputting up elevator, add upthrust to the engine instead.
- If you are constantly giving right rudder, add right thrust to the engine.
TR flying tips:
- Be sure the fuel tank is above 1/4 full. The fuel may slosh around and cause the engine to burble when the fuel is low.
- When you are learning, slowly ascending will help. When you are good do not ascend. When you are awesome, descend. Continue reading