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Old Jan 31, 2016, 08:21 PM
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Practice

Ok guys, so I am newer to pattern flying. In fact last year a friend and I went down to Jacksonville FL and competed in the D3 championship comp. This was my first ever, and I enjoyed it a ton. So this year I want to fly the Intermediate sequence and have been working on it with my friend.
I have a few question for some of you vets. 1. What were some things that you had to really work on when you first started? I know I need to work on centering maneuvers and staying in the box. 2. Did you find it more helpful to have others that don't fly pattern but understand the maneuvers give suggestions or tell you how things look?

A few things that I am having trouble with are. 1. After the half square loop with a half roll up. The next maneuver is the outside loop from the top. Seems I am having a problem with the last half of the loop. First seems towards the bottom of the loop plane wants to start tracking off line and then while accelerating up I am always chopping the loop and it is not looking round at all. So my question is, is this a common problem? If so what are some trick you all have done to get through this. 2. The double Immelman with rolls. What should this look like? I picture it as kind of a rectangular look. As in longer than it is higher.

And finally I know practice, practice, and practice pays off. But doesn't do any good to continue to practice the wrong way.
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Old Jan 31, 2016, 09:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kc8qpu View Post
Ok guys, so I am newer to pattern flying. In fact last year a friend and I went down to Jacksonville FL and competed in the D3 championship comp. This was my first ever, and I enjoyed it a ton. So this year I want to fly the Intermediate sequence and have been working on it with my friend.
I have a few question for some of you vets. 1. What were some things that you had to really work on when you first started? I know I need to work on centering maneuvers and staying in the box. 2. Did you find it more helpful to have others that don't fly pattern but understand the maneuvers give suggestions or tell you how things look?

A few things that I am having trouble with are. 1. After the half square loop with a half roll up. The next maneuver is the outside loop from the top. Seems I am having a problem with the last half of the loop. First seems towards the bottom of the loop plane wants to start tracking off line and then while accelerating up I am always chopping the loop and it is not looking round at all. So my question is, is this a common problem? If so what are some trick you all have done to get through this. 2. The double Immelman with rolls. What should this look like? I picture it as kind of a rectangular look. As in longer than it is higher.

And finally I know practice, practice, and practice pays off. But doesn't do any good to continue to practice the wrong way.
The thing I had a hard time with when I moved to Intermediate was maintaining 100-150 yard distance from the flight line. IMO, your best judge for your pattern flight is someone who flys at least one level higher than you. On your outside loop, good rudder control is needed. P-factor and motor torque will affect tracking when applying power. The immelman loop is a square box with half loops at each end.
I suggest you look at NSRCA..http://nsrca.us. You can download the flight Aresti diagrams, maneuver descriptions and judging guides.


P.S. Sportsman has breaks between series of maneuvers. There are no breaks in the upper classes, making it imperative you get your heading and distance right, or it will throw off your next maneuver. One error may show up in the next two, costing you points.

Have fun!
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Old Jan 31, 2016, 10:39 PM
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A few things I would add is, make sure that your plane is properly trimmed. To do serious pattern flying, you need a properly trimmed plane. There are several good trim charts available online.

A properly trimmed airplane will seriously reduce the pilot's workload. If you are constantly trimming your plane during flight, you won't be able to concentrate on flying the maneuvers properly.

Then of course there is practice. you really should have someone that is a accomplished pattern flyer to help you practice, as this will shorten your learning curve exponentially, also it's been my experience that the advanced pattern fliers that you would meet at a contest, will for the most part, be willing to help ( critique) you with the maneuver(s) that you need help with.
In closing the most important thing is to just have fun and enjoy the comradeship of your fellow pattern fliers. After all that's what it's all about.

J
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Old Feb 06, 2016, 08:52 PM
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When first starting to fly pattern, spend one flight per session flying SnL at a constant distance and altitude. Perform only turnarounds typical for your schedule (Sportsman or Intermediate) for the whole flight.

On the remaining flights, all center maneuvers must be flown through. You must learn to temper your control surface commands throughout any maneuver to achieve geometric precision. That requires flying the elevator for example throughout a looping element.

I've done pattern for forty years and continue on. I've also been the top judge in pattern in the early 2000s. Going in, all newbs should understand that pattern precision is the most difficult thing you can do with a plane. It requires tremendous dedication and continuous practice. It is NOT a series of stick movements that just bang the plane around.

Regards
Matt
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Old Feb 07, 2016, 06:54 AM
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Bo Edström, Sweden
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Hi,

It can be a good thing to learn 2-3 manouveres in sequence in the beginning and wait to later try to fly the whole Schedule. For example in FAI Avanced class with total 17 manouvres it is hard to remember all of them in the beginning while flying and it will be rather much work to try to get whole Schedule correct at once. So my recommendation is to start practice fewer manouvres in the beginning and later connect them to larger parts and eventually the whole Schedule.

Properly trimmed plane including properly balanced (CG as optimal as possible, no winghalf heavier then the other etc) and rather modest control surface throws will help a long way.
As said, when plane is properly trimmed (it is much to tell on that subject) You can spend more of Your attention to fly the manouvres and less to compensate for poorly trimmed plane. So time spent on learning how to trim a plane more optimal is well spent time. The practice will be more rewarding and more efficient then.

To just watch other good F3A flyers fly will give You valuable info how manouvres can be flown but we all have our own flying style so how one flyer present a manouvre might be slightly different to other flyers and what You prefer.

Remember You should fly so the judges that sit 7-10 meters behind You can see the manouvres clearly so they can judge them properly.

It is also helpful to have some small poles at 60 degrees on each side of a center pole so You can visualize a centerline and the left and right side limits of the "box".
I bring with me to the field 3 small poles (about 2 meter high) with a square wite flag on that I place 150 meter in front of me and 260 meter to the right and 260 meter to the left so I can see the limits of the box on ground and glance on them to see if I fly reasonably inside the box.
It take some extra minutes to place the poles and later bring them in but for me it is worth it.
Vertically (60 degree) is harder to judge but the vertical limit at 150 meter distance is 260 meter up and that is rather high, If You have, or some friend have, altitude telemetry try to fly at 260 meter so You can see how high that is. It is nice to know how high 260 meter is.

And practice in steps and have reasonable goals at start so You do not get overwhelmed.
The goal is of course to fly the whole Schedule in a squence, and also in any wind condition - direction and strength. Hardest wind direction is when wind is blowing towards You (plane can drift fast close to You then unless You wind-compensate properly).
Max allowed wind is 12 meter/second continously at (FAI) competitions and that is a lot of wind. But I never practice at 12 m/s, maybe 10 since I do not want to risk my plane at landings where hard qusty winds can make unpredictable tings to the plane near the ground. I have flown in one competition where it was winds of 10 meter/sec and it was very demanding (it was also some crosswind).

/Bo
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Old Feb 07, 2016, 05:04 PM
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kc8qpu

Regarding the second half of the loop tracking off line, assuming the planer is trimmed properly, your wings not be level near the bottom of the loop. You should be seeing the bottom of the wing(actually the top) at that point. The tendency is to dip the inboard wing. If you dip the inboard wing the plane will drift toward the flight line. Since the plane is upside down at that point it will have a different look that you will need to get used to.

Regarding the oblong loop, which again is a natural tendency, you just have to be gentle on the elevator. Your speed may be higher near the bottom of the loop which makes you elevator more sensitive. Try to keep a constant speed all the way around.
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Old Mar 17, 2016, 08:41 PM
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I never did thank all of you for your advice. I have been trying to fly when ever I can. The last few times we have had calmer than normal wind. I have to say I can honestly tell myself that I have been progressing with all the practice in the gusty wind conditions. My outside loops are looking a ton better. I did have a few problems with the planes trim conditions. I knew I had been fighting a slight twist in the tail. I straightened that out and is now only .05" difference. (According to my precision machinist square) And it was still flying nose heavy to I adjusted the CG with battery placement.

I have really been working on placement and centering. As well as flying my transition with more of a radius rather than a hard pull on the elevator.

Exactly one month until the first contest. Right now I say it can't get here soon enough. But I know once I get there I will probably say, "Man already here".

Ha ha.
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Old Mar 17, 2016, 09:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kc8qpu View Post
I never did thank all of you for your advice. I have been trying to fly when ever I can. The last few times we have had calmer than normal wind. I have to say I can honestly tell myself that I have been progressing with all the practice in the gusty wind conditions. My outside loops are looking a ton better. I did have a few problems with the planes trim conditions. I knew I had been fighting a slight twist in the tail. I straightened that out and is now only .05" difference. (According to my precision machinist square) And it was still flying nose heavy to I adjusted the CG with battery placement.

I have really been working on placement and centering. As well as flying my transition with more of a radius rather than a hard pull on the elevator.

Exactly one month until the first contest. Right now I say it can't get here soon enough. But I know once I get there I will probably say, "Man already here".

Ha ha.
I had my first contest 2 weeks ago, and one coming up this weekend. Once you get a few in the books, you will look forward to them. It sounds like you are progressing nicely. Look forward to the compliments from higher class pilots, who will be judging your flights. They will notice your progress, too. Outside loops?..Are you starting out in the Intermediate class? Good luck!

Gary
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Old Mar 18, 2016, 07:18 AM
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Yes. I actually started flying Intermediate last summer with our inner club contests. I had thought about flying the sportsman sequence, but seeing as how I have been flying Intermediate for the past several months and trying to work on things I think I will be just fine flying Intermediate. I actually flew the sportsman last year in November down in Jacksonville. I did ok, but was unfamiliar with the routine so that didn't help a whole lot.
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