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Beginner series on maneuvers and adverse conditions

#1
Hello, long time viewer and first time poster here.

As I've watched many of the flite test movies (and other rc fliers on YouTube), I've caught several references to particular types of fixed-wing maneuvers and flight conditions -- particularly emergency or recovery sequences -- that many beginners might not be familiar with. These are things like stall turns, induced rudder stalls, landing in crosswinds, loss of control when flying with wind, and so forth.

Lots of beginners without a personal trainer or buddy box are likely to encounter adverse conditions and may have to learn how to deal with them via trial and error -- possibly even hazardously.

There are many YouTubers that cover models and builds, but I have not seen any that provide a series on basic maneuvering skills that a pilot would need. I am not talking about airshow acrobatics or tricks, rather the basic abilities of plane handling with respect to a realistic variety of wind and weather conditions and the vocabulary that goes along with those conditions.

The beginner series covers these only briefly, and you can piece together much more if you watch all of the hundreds of FT vids, but it would be nice to have it provided in a more comprehensive short series.
 

PsyBorg

Fly Angry
Mentor
#2
hehe so far my plane vocabulary under adverse conditions is turn.... turn....... TURN...... TURRRRRRNNNN...... No no no no no no!!! sigh... and thats just the hand launching.

Welcome to Flite Test mate. I am sure some of the real pilots could easily explain things for various conditions but not many are set up to do proper video WHILE IN said conditions. FT does have a beginner series but that is only basics of flight not how to handle adverse conditions. This would be an awesome series for them to follow up with for sure.
 

rockyboy

Skill Collector
Mentor
#3
I'd love to find a good flight series like this - I agree that it's common to find people talking about the control surfaces and how they move, and some videos on landing, but not a lot on the flight maneuvers.

As an example, I lost quite a few planes learning some basic things like 'when making a slow speed turn, don't use the ailerons - use the rudder'. I've heard people blame these crashes on 'tip stalls' and radio failures, but really it's just a piloting error. That I keep repeating. :black_eyed:
 

foamtest

Toothpick glider kid
#4
Yeah this was the hardest part of learning to fly. My recommendation is to go on a simulator and bash the sticks, then try and recover. That's how I learned to fly and it's taught me pretty well. When in doubt pull up!
 

rockyboy

Skill Collector
Mentor
#5
I know simulators have helped lots of people, but I have found the 4 different ones I've tried (3 free and Phoenix) pretty much useless. Maybe I just don't have a good enough computer to run the graphics at a good level, but the plane always looks like a little speck and I get completely frustrated within minutes. And when I've flown planes in the simulator that people say are close to the real plane, I find them completely alien compared to the real thing.
 

foamtest

Toothpick glider kid
#6
I used my Kindle fire HD with a free, flight simulator and I went from barely being able to fly a 3 channel micro to flying a mini guinea pig for my first scratch built maiden without any issues.

I was practicing on the simulator a lot though over the winter though, I probably have a few hundred hours in it over the whole winter.
 
#7
I do think a bit of tutoring on what to do with those fingers and thumbs to fly the plane would be helpful.

I note that RealFlight have tutorial sections.
 

SlingShot

Maneuvering With Purpose
#8
I have RF-8 and RF-X. I think they are very good ( I do have an older 1 GB gaming card, 8 core and 16 GB RAM...still good). A 37" TV for a monitor helps too.
 
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sprzout

Member
Mentor
#9
I know simulators have helped lots of people, but I have found the 4 different ones I've tried (3 free and Phoenix) pretty much useless. Maybe I just don't have a good enough computer to run the graphics at a good level, but the plane always looks like a little speck and I get completely frustrated within minutes. And when I've flown planes in the simulator that people say are close to the real plane, I find them completely alien compared to the real thing.
I think the thing with simulators that a lot of people forget is that it helps to get the basics down - that is, when you're flying towards yourself, right is left and left is right. Plus, it's a helluva lot cheaper to crash in a sim than in real life. :) Yes, I get exactly what you're saying about the speck if you turn off the "cheater" views that a lot of sims offer, but if you're learning and just trying to get muscle memory down, it helps for that, and it helps to keep you in practice.

Will a sim teach you how to deal with wind gusts? Not from my experience. Sure, you might get a bobble, but most of the sims I've used aren't random enough to deal with changing conditions. I was at my field on Saturday, and we had 10-15 mph gusts that kept kicking up, and the wind kept changing direction - one minute, it'd be blowing straight down the runway, the next, it was gusting at a 45 degree angle to the runway, from the opposite direction. I had fun with it, because it was challenging me while I was flying my MiG-3; the wind kept making the wings waggle quite a bit, and I couldn't really slow down too much or else I'd stall and drop out of the sky.

The problem with all of this is that I don't think you can really teach to it. I mean, I can tell you, "Fly fast and level with your warbird; if you want to roll it, that's not exactly a problem, but don't slow down. If you want to loop, build up speed first and don't let up on the throttle until that nose is back pointing at the ground." But to tell you where precisely YOU should let off? It's not exactly something i can tell you, because some of it is feel...That just comes with practice.
 
#10
The problem with all of this is that I don't think you can really teach to it. I mean, I can tell you, "Fly fast and level with your warbird; if you want to roll it, that's not exactly a problem, but don't slow down. If you want to loop, build up speed first and don't let up on the throttle until that nose is back pointing at the ground." But to tell you where precisely YOU should let off? It's not exactly something i can tell you, because some of it is feel...That just comes with practice.
To some extent that's true, but slowly and deliberately teaching it with visuals and a teacher who understands the underlying principles goes a long way toward making practice a deliberate, useful thing instead of just practicing how to fail over and over. I feel like the quad community has this down pretty well, actually. If you have time, take a look at this tutorial by Drew Camden:


He combines talking through the maneuver, showing the FPV feed, showing stick cam footage, and even holding the quad in front of the camera and manipulating it to demonstrate the maneuver in digestible bits. Videos like that can easily quadruple the effectiveness of practice sessions.

Now that's a trick tutorial, but in large part the same principles can be applied to basic maneuvers and flying in adverse conditions. Of course, a video like that isn't really in the same punchy vein as the FT style. Honestly, the FT crew might not be the best people to do it. I could see Alex or TJ (maybe even Austin) taking that kind of deliberate and comprehensive approach, but once Stefan starts flailing and giggling, it's all over. :p
 
#11
I have Phoenix and find it pretty darn good if you go in and set up control throws the throws when picking a new plane are turned way down for beginners, and it can scale the plane up in size which I use a lot. Setting up the weather with gusts and wind changes can be done and it seem pretty random.

Does it fly exactly like a real RC plane it is close, what you are trying to do is build up muscle memory. When using the sim I try and work on one thing at a time and try and get it down as close to perfect a I can and try to fly smoothly no abrupt changes in direction so the plane more flows then all over the place. Put the plane exactly where I want it whether landing, turns, loops, barrel rolls, hovering etc I want the plane to be in a specific place when the maneuver is done not just some where in the air. Be very particular when flying the sim.