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Old Dec 13, 2012, 05:16 AM
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San Jose, CA
Joined Oct 2003
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A couple of questions for speed pilots

Hi Guys,
I was always curious about the psychological skills (apart from physical flying skills) required to fly fast planes. So a couple of questions

1) Do speed pilots (I mean those that can fly and control 150mph+) have more mental clarity and focus than an average rc pilot? in other words is mental clarity one of the requirements for progressing to flying high performance planes?

2) Control stick awareness - Do you always have an awareness of stick position when you are flying fast planes or is it automatic (i.e. you don't think about it).

Please share your experience.

Best
yesbee
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Old Dec 13, 2012, 05:59 AM
Tim Lampe; Hobbico R&D
KRProton's Avatar
Champaign, IL
Joined Dec 2009
3,380 Posts
Ha ha. I like this one.

I still remember when I flew the first wood prototype of the Rifle, then later became effecient at flying it full-throttle the whole flight, then gradually started flying other speed planes like the Sunracer and now my F5D Viper. This type of flying is my main area of interest now.

I wouldn't say those who fly this stuff are pre disposed of any more clarity or focus, but I would say it does require you to think more clearly and focus when you are flying them. I even like to make sure I've had a proper meal and fluids before heading out to the field to fly my speed planes and in the summer remember not to become dehydrated. Mainly I want to give myself the best opportunity to make proper decisions and focus so I don't make mistakes like forgetting to switch to the correct model in my Tx before flying or setting my Tx too close to the plane when I attach the wing (lest I bump the throttle stick).

I would simply say that people who fly this fast stuff are simply just a little more experienced or have their "stuff together." Know how to program a radio, how to solder, proper linkages, etc. Many people who have been in the hobby for a long time just plod along and never get better and always seem to have problems with their stuff. Not that they are having any less fun and not that you have to get better at the hobby, just some people are on top of their game a little more and have some kind of drive to improve.

But I think just about anybody who wanted to fly this stuff who has a little patience and drive can do it.

I would add that flying speed planes has made me a better pilot. My confidence is good and my senses are sharpened and it's EASY to land anything (at least anything that flies even remotely correctly).

Summer before last I lost a couple of Rifles because I lost sight of them. First one happened when I wanted to look down at my Tx to see the timer. Not a HORRIBLE idea, but what I neglected to do was throttle down and bring my plane closer in--poor decision making due partially to inexperience and just bad judgement (I should have know better). When I looked up it was gone (but I could still hear it). Another time I simply let it get a little too far and high on a cloudy day. That one was due to complacency.

Now however, I can fly in any conditions--cloudy, gray, patchy, whatever. I can't really imagine a scenario where I would lose it because my focus is just natural now and I know where to put it and how to get it there naturally.

To answer your other question, I don't conciously keep track of my stick positons unless I'm trying to troubleshoot something or figure something out. Otherwise, when I'm flying I just focus on the plane and manipulate the sticks as required, but I think it's second nature.

Tim
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Old Dec 13, 2012, 06:29 AM
Wake up, feel pulse, be happy!
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United States, AK, Fairbanks
Joined Aug 2009
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I wouldn't call myself much of a speed pilot compared to most of the guys who hang out here, but I'll give you my take on things.

Quote:
1) Do speed pilots (I mean those that can fly and control 150mph+) have more mental clarity and focus than an average rc pilot? in other words is mental clarity one of the requirements for progressing to flying high performance planes?
This is a definite yes, but it's something that's learned or acquired during the process rather than being a prerequisite. You get used to speed pretty quickly; 100mph on Sunday feels like 60mph by Saturday. Joe Pilot at the field flying his Ugly Stick might not initially have the focus it takes to keep a 165mph Voodoo in the pattern with the throttle firewalled, but a bit of practice does loads. I tend to visualize it like I'm physically holding the plane with my brain and moving around the sky. If my brain's grip starts to loosen, that plane will escape and I won't be able to get it back. The more I fly, the stronger my brain-grip gets, just like a muscle. This goes beyond just flying fast, too. It also applies nicely to things like low inverted passes where any teensy mistake means you're toast.

As far as mental clarity... THAT might be a matter of dispute depending on who you ask (e.g. "pilot" versus "pilot's significant other").

Quote:
2) Control stick awareness - Do you always have an awareness of stick position when you are flying fast planes or is it automatic (i.e. you don't think about it).
The transmitter leaves the equation as soon as the plane takes off. For me this happens with everything, right down to my Slow Stick. The only time I'm really consciously aware of the transmitter is when I'm doing something like finding a trim switch. Beyond that, my brain says "Plane, roll left" and the plane rolls left. I've been flying planes for like ten years and it's all just muscle memory at this point. Think about how difficult it would be to walk if you had to consciously move each muscle and joint.

I've also noticed, and I've heard others describe, an interesting phenomenon: When I'm out flying a plane and it doesn't behave the way I expect it to, my immediate reaction is tactile rather than visual: Instead of just seeing it respond to my stick movements abnormally, I "feel" it, like I'm trying to physically push the plane itself to do one thing and it's not cooperating.
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Old Dec 13, 2012, 06:34 AM
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Everything that Tim said and to add to it, you build up to speed. You first go say 100 and when that is common place for you, graduate up to a higher speed and so on. You build up to high speed not jump into it.
When you start getting 160 and up, you have to be thinking and reacting ahead of the plane. If you're behind, it's already to late.

Terry
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Old Dec 13, 2012, 09:14 AM
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San Jose, CA
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Hi All,
So thank you for all the insightful responses.

Best
yesbee
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Old Dec 13, 2012, 09:24 AM
I am actually really slow
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Brisbane
Joined Jun 2008
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You need to have quick reaction times, good eyes and be absolutely focused 100% of the time. You also have to learn not to blink (;

These models arnt actually that difficult to fly (or land) it just takes a while to get used to something so aerodynamically clean. They fly like gliders and most of them dont have any bad tendencies at all.

My biggest concern with newbies though is what they are going to do if something goes wrong. You cant afford to have a mental blank at 300+kmh. You have to be on the ball.

I also think taking things progressively as previously mentioned helps. Slowly building up speed so you remain comfortable with what you're flying. F5D is Formula 1 and you have to start with go karts first (:
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Old Dec 13, 2012, 10:11 AM
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Deutschland, RP, Niederzissen
Joined Dec 2011
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I agree, the good F5d and speeders are easy to fly cause the are calculable in their behavior at all speed ranges.
Its the short time you have to react that makes it difficult.
You have to set your corners in time,if it gets too long to get it in right direction you will miss it cause its too far away to keep controll!!

Be aware that a F5d can turn 180 in less than 0,7 sec at 300 Km/h if you pull hard, you have to know and expect this so start with moderate throws!!

It happens quite often that spectators(even the younger!) can not follow the plane through crazy manouvers but for me behind the sticks (i am an old bone) its much easier cause i know what will happen!!

The most important is to keep focused at your plane, so start with going fast when your alone at your airfield!

The biggest challenge for me is an F5d competition, flying arround you with your caller shouting at you and the other 2 competitors flying frightening close( with their own callers shouting stupid stuff) and sometimes impacts or midairs arround you makes it difficult to keep concentrated at your own business!!:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...=ai2dhE1HIz4#!


Sure you need special mental and pilot skills, but to be honest i dont know what is it about me to be not successfull in competition, maybe both!


Yello



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Old Dec 14, 2012, 07:21 PM
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Valdese NC
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I think speed guys are just born that way.
I would bet that most of the fast guys flying have been involved in some other form of speed competition since they were very young...or at least wanted to be involved in some kind of racing.
For me it started out with bicycles evolving into full scale motorcycles and cars. Model airplanes was a natural digresion as I got older.
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Old Dec 14, 2012, 07:37 PM
Tim Lampe; Hobbico R&D
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vic welland View Post
I think speed guys are just born that way.
I would bet that most of the fast guys flying have been involved in some other form of speed competition since they were very young...or at least wanted to be involved in some kind of racing.
For me it started out with bicycles evolving into full scale motorcycles and cars. Model airplanes was a natural digresion as I got older.
Huh. Never thought of that. Might be something to it....
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Old Dec 14, 2012, 08:00 PM
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Valdese NC
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I would bet the CR 250 and Gixxer were the highlights
No pics but I ran a 73 CB 750 down the quarter and moved thru the stock car ranks down here till I came to my senses.
Now it's Q500's and moving into Q40.

I got the ol 750 back a few years ago and got it running again last summer. Still running an 82 KZ1000 for kicks back and forth to work.
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Old Dec 14, 2012, 11:39 PM
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I never thought about treating going flying with the same prep (phyical)as going to the track. Fueled and hydrated. I race dirtbikes as well. Harescramble and enduro. YZ 250 with an Eric Gore 300 kit right now. Been doing more moto the last few years.
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Old Dec 15, 2012, 10:53 AM
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Joined Jan 2006
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This may sound crazy but when you have the hammer down on 5.5KW....you don't dare touch the sticks...at least I don't. After the lineup turn as soon as the wings are level and I am convinced it is ready to go into orbit the throtte is pegged...then just hang on for 4 to 5 seconds. After coming out of the throttle I get back on the sticks. Getting the ship trimmed out and getting used to launching/landing it is where all the flying takes place. Just my humble opinion but in my experience the launch is the hairest part of a HP flight. The speed passes are actually the most solid part of the flight...if everything is setup properly and there is no flutter. The worry during that time is something burning...don't ask me how I know!
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Old Dec 15, 2012, 02:37 PM
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United States, FL, Daytona Beach
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I was never able to fly well over 200mph tell I found out about Bath Salts Hope I have helped in some way....KRProton and Arcticflyer also had some informative posts.
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Old Dec 15, 2012, 04:37 PM
Tim Lampe; Hobbico R&D
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Champaign, IL
Joined Dec 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vic welland View Post
I would bet the CR 250 and Gixxer were the highlights
No pics but I ran a 73 CB 750 down the quarter and moved thru the stock car ranks down here till I came to my senses.
Now it's Q500's and moving into Q40.

I got the ol 750 back a few years ago and got it running again last summer. Still running an 82 KZ1000 for kicks back and forth to work.
Hi vic.

Actually, the "Gixxer" was the lowlight. I turned Expert that year and wasn't competitive at all. About mid-season I moved back down to Novice and finished out the season with my tail between my legs. Much more successful racing motocross.

I betchya you have a lot of fun and get a lot of looks on that KZ 1000. Is it metallic brown? Classic!
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Old Dec 15, 2012, 04:38 PM
Tim Lampe; Hobbico R&D
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Champaign, IL
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M.Gonyea View Post
I never thought about treating going flying with the same prep (phyical)as going to the track. Fueled and hydrated. I race dirtbikes as well. Harescramble and enduro. YZ 250 with an Eric Gore 300 kit right now. Been doing more moto the last few years.
Where in Michigan are you?

I grew up in Ann Arbor and went to high school up in Grayling, then Eastern Michigan University over in Ypsilanti.

Nice pic too!

Tim
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