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How can i improve as a pilot?

reddstagg

Junior Member
#1
Figured I would finally pop my head in here.

I am a new Paddock Flyer in Australia.
Have saved 7 months of husband allowance and have a bit of gear, spares and 2 planes (an AXN and a Teksumo)
I got setup so I could hang out with a couple of the other dads who have recently gotten into the hobby.

I spend a lot of time information collecting, but virtually everything is about improving planes or gear.
What about the Pilot?
Has anyone got good resources, drills, maneuvers to improve flying skills?
Unfortunately I fly a lot on my own, and when I go flying, I loose focus, I wonder around, glide, and chase birds.

Yes it is a simple question and I am hoping for a bit of simple advice.

Cheers,
Stagg
 

FlyingMonkey

Stuck in Sunny FL
Staff member
Admin
#2
What is it you'd like to improve? Are you looking to increase your focus? Would you like better control of the aircraft?

If you were to join a flying club, they usually focus on the ability to fly in a circle first. They want to see a pilot who can "fly the pattern" which is fly the same circuit as the other pilots sharing the field, so that there's less chance of hitting each other.

They'll watch for cues such as how you prep your gear. When you get to the field, are you neat and orderly? Do you fumble trying to get your plane ready for flight? Do you approach the line with caution, and check for other aircraft, and pilots before taking to the air? Do you follow club procedures, call out to other pilots to let them know when you're taking to the field, launching your aircraft, flying low across the field, and landing?

Other people will suggest being able to do all sorts of intricate stunts. From pattern plane flight, which to me is more pilot's skill with an aircraft. To 3D flying, which is more the use of raw power to force the plane to do things that it "shouldn't be able to do."

For me, just being able to fly and maintain a steady altitude. Follow a course that's on the ground. Take off and land without needing repairs. These are skills I value, and am still working on. :D
 

reddstagg

Junior Member
#3
Thanks for the quick and succinct response FM.

At the moment I fly on a 5000 acres of farm surrounded by national parks
(Rather windy that day... don't have much experience in wind yet)

Ultimately I can't join the club as I have commitments when the club flies.
Also the local Model Association hasn't approved the Turnigy 9X so i couldn't fly at the club even if I was available (Am upgrading to Frsky in 6 weeks)
Great comments about club flying...I will go down and check the local club and see how they fly... and practice flying a circuit, and follow club procedures even tho I'm not at a club.

I really want to improve my control of the aircraft, and be able to have a set purpose or maneuver to practice.
Ultimately I want to progress to some basic pattern flight.
But if i want to do a slow roll, or knife edge, or hammerhead stall... is it a matter of grabbing the sticks and giving a crack?
Obviously i might be a little limited with my planes acrobatic performance :)

Is there a natural sequence or progression to these maneuvers?
Is there drills that pilots practice when they go out?
 

FlyingMonkey

Stuck in Sunny FL
Staff member
Admin
#5
If you're looking to improve through repetitive flying and drill, then this is the section of the hobby for you...

http://nsrca.us

http://www.centralhobbies.com/instructional/pattern.html

This is pattern flying. As a group, they hold contests where participants are given a listing of specific aerial maneuvers that they are to perform.

"Simple" maneuvers such as loops, inverted flight, Immelmans, etc, but done to high precision, within a very specific "box" of airspace.

Here is an example of a begginer's level series of maneuvers.

http://nsrca.us/images/stories/currentsequences/Sportsman_Maneuver_Descriptions.pdf


An excellent visual of various maneuvers.

http://www.geistware.com/rcmodeling/aerobatics/maneuvers/

Hope this helps.
 

earthsciteach

Moderator
Moderator
#6
I say, grab the sticks and have a go at it once you are comfortable with take-off, landing and flying around in circles. Just give yourself plenty of altitude!
 

IBeHoey

The Warranty Voider
#7
I practice new maneuvers on the simulator.
I second this, especially when trying/learning something new. That being said, learning a new move on the sim doesn't entirely mean you'll be able to pull it off in real life but having a safe, un-costly, environment to practice the proper stick movements will pay dividends down the road.
 

aiidanwings

Senior Member
#8
I second this, especially when trying/learning something new. That being said, learning a new move on the sim doesn't entirely mean you'll be able to pull it off in real life but having a safe, un-costly, environment to practice the proper stick movements will pay dividends down the road.
Very true. The simulator planes usually fly better than mine! For me, its more about learning the stick movements than perfecting the actual maneuver.
 

MrGravey

Senior Member
#9
I have to agree with the OP. There is way too much information out there on gear, and no near enough on flying.

I have read a few print magazines on this subject and that seems to be the only real resource for this kind of information. Model Airplane News has a special edition out right now with break downs on some very good information on flying.

http://www.airagestore.com/promotions/homepage/whats-new-and-hot/ultimate-aerobatics.html

That helped me understand the thought process of aerobatic flight a goot bit better if nothing else.

I read an article that helped me understand the progression to becoming a better pilot. Maybe it will help you too.

http://www.geistware.com/rcmodeling/articles/awesome_pilot.htm

It feels like the hobby expects that someone around you already knows how to fly. There just isn't much out there that really explains what is going on in the air. You might find a video of some guy showing you his stick movements or something, but there is no explaining what is going on, just a video of how his hands moved.

On the last video on the Horizon Hobby YouTube channel with Quique Somenzini talking about the VisionAire there is talk of a how to series with QQ himself showing his co-host's kid how to fly some 3D stuff and I'm looking forward to that. Help from the man himself would be very very nice indeed. If you haven't already I would recommend subscribing to the channel so you will know when that is coming.

From personal experience the simulator helps, but only at about half the rate real flight time does. When I go out to fly I just try to make sure I do everything I do with thought involved. I never just 'bang sticks' because you might pull off something nice but you will never be able to do it again without thought involved. I also spend a fair amount of time while I should be working thinking about how to make the plane move in a certain way.

Maybe somewhere in all that ramble there is something that helps. Sorry, I just kind of threw this post together.
 

vk2dxn

Senior Member
#10
Hey Stagg
I started out with a flight sim (clearview) and when I could take off and land 10 times in a row with out a crash then I took to the air with a parkzone p51 ultra micro and a hot glue gun :).
The little p51 is now basically a flying ball of glue but it give me the skills on how to correct myself in gusty wind etc and the rest is history.

Paul
 
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Ak Flyer

Fly the wings off
Mentor
#11
Practice dude. Lots and lots of practice. Decide what you want to be able to do as a pilot and set some goals. Make realistic steps to getting there and have at it. Fly lots of circuits. Touch and goes. Save the trick stuff until you get better at the basics. Practice loops and rolls up high, but first practice flying circuits up high so when you lose orientation you have an idea of how to get it back. Mark your planes top and bottom with distinctly different patterns to make it easier to recognize. Eventually you will get to a point where color and pattern aren't as important and you react more to motion.

The best thing you can do in my opinion is to practice landings. Dead stick landing especially. Cut the motor up high and bring her in without power. That way when you need to do an emergency landing you're prepared. Get to know your planes stall characteristics. Get to know it's glide slope. Fly in cross winds, fly in gusty winds.

Simulators are great but they are still simulators. I have Pheonix and it's saved me a bunch of money on my helicopters but you can't substitute real experience.
 
#12
I have just finished school holidays and managed to fly 8 out of the 16 days. Have burned a few dozen batteries, and almost 20 hours flying ... seems like a dumb questions because I now understand how it is all about practice practice practice.

Thanks very much for all your handy suggestions. Links... and have added Horizon Hobby to subscriptions... great video.

My progression has been supported significantly with a lot of reading/watching of resources online... articles, flight theory and of course FT. It has taken many "unknowns" out of the early stages.

Starting to feel confident in my abilities... have been doing a lot of aerobatics, loops, rolls, stalls.
Was also great because I was able to fix a mates AXN... balance it, trim it and get him flying too (Helps if he had the prop the right way)

And... FT Crazy challenges helps, the "Bixler/Scott" mentality of Give it a Go... That said, my mates saying "Bet Ya Cant" helps a lot.
Have been fly through gaps in trees, landing inverted, fly out really far or really high... best one was rounding up 300 sheep with a delta wing.

I have been trying to locate a fantastic website aimed at real pilots that had pages and pages of hardcore principle/dynamics of flight stuff that also really helped me understand stalls and lift...etc Ill post if i can find it
 

FlyingMonkey

Stuck in Sunny FL
Staff member
Admin
#13
Redd, one of the things that I've seen that I think helps, is peer to peer challenges. Like you said, the "bet you can't" comments do tend to push you. I've seen my friends, who fly with other people, progress much further than I have, in a much shorter period of time, because they're constantly challenging each other.

I don't fly with other people, so I haven't got that challenge base to work with. One solution could be to do it online. We're currently holding various "for fun" contests. Currently there's one for building the best fuselage for a multi rotor.
http://forum.flitetest.com/showthread.php?4756-Multi-rotor-cover-build-contest

Maybe we could also start doing some video contests that revolve around skill building challenges?
 

Ak Flyer

Fly the wings off
Mentor
#14
Very true. Challenges up your game in a hurry. It's way more fun too. When you feel you've mastered your plane, try different types of planes. Scale planes are very different than sport planes and 3D planes are on another planet. If you really want to get good, try different IMAC style manuevers, stuff like real aerobatic pilots do. Then work your way into a hardcore 3D plane and hang it all out. The heli organization IRCHA has different levels that you can test to and they specifically spell out the maneuvers that you must have in your bag of tricks to make it. I bet there's a similar things out there for planes.