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Old May 11, 2009, 12:36 AM
Fly Runaway Fans
United States, TX, Fort Worth
Joined Jan 2009
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Question
Heli Whisperer; when good birds go bad

Learner question, why I put it here.

Seen Dog Whisperer on NatGeo? Cesar Millan. He gives dogs instant corrections when they go wrong, then lets go once they respond.

OK, been banging a HBFP around in an 11x7 space for a month without busting a blade (getting REALLY good at crashing) but also pretty much without 'flying' it. I decided to use the Cesar method on it.

When I see it going wrong (like its favorite thing to do, roll left toward the fireplace) I give it a strong R correction. When I see it respond, BEFORE it completely stops going L, I let go. I mean, thumb off stick to make SURE control input is neutral.

Course, it will just make some other mistake and I'll have to repeat until it gets ahead of me aiming at solid objects and gets its throttle cut. But using the Heli Whisperer method has doubled airtime over just a few days.

Am I on to something? Is this the way y'all who can fly these things do it? Input twice the anticipated correction for half the time and figure the other half of the correction will take place after you let go?

My brother flew a Jet Ranger once. A real one. He's a licensed fixed-wing pilot. But the Ranger pilot couldn't give it to him for 5 seconds without taking it back because he'd screwed it up holding a correction until it was correct and gone zipping off in the other direction. Seems I was doing the same thing with the HBFP. Hence the Heli Whisperer method, which from brief experience, is rewardingly effective.
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Old May 11, 2009, 02:23 AM
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Joined Dec 2008
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Do what works for you. If it doubled airtime then that's a great improvement. However I'll advise you that taking your thumb off the stick completely is a bad habit. When you get into trouble your first inclination is going to be a HARD adjustment followed by your thumb letting the stick slam back to neutral. If your adjustment is off by even a hair then your heli will slam into the ground. 'Stick banging" is not a good term to use, because if you watch the pros they are smooth and precise (but fast!). Just remember that with anything you teach yourself to do you have to eventually relearn the correct way..... just like going full throttle stick down to land on the HBFP. I just had my friend slam his 400 into the ground doing that in idle up.
Good luck and good job so far!
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Old May 11, 2009, 03:05 AM
Rotor Controller
CaptJac's Avatar
Aachen Germany
Joined Dec 2007
2,040 Posts
Good observation arbilab - the first phase of learning is correcting. As you become more skilled your fingers develop the "feel" for too little or too much. The more hours you practice the less correction you will need to apply. Phase-2 develops an "intuitive" feel for which way the heli is going to move before it moves.

- There is no flying formula because of the many variables.
- The more precision the machine - the more precision the control.
- The difference between a Belt-CP and a Trex is much more evident in phase-2.
- Precision hovering is difficult. From a 10 foot radius to 5 foot to 1 foot is exponentially more difficult - nearly impossible with any kind of wind.
- Improvement time is more realistically measured in weeks than hours. Try to resist the "hurry-up" impulse. It usually results in picking up pieces.
- Practice regularly and faithfully on the simulator. Once a week for 10 minutes won't do much. Do basic exercise drills over and over again.
- Muscle memory learns at its own rate - not yours.

Good luck - good flying - keep up the good work.

Jack
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Old May 11, 2009, 12:49 PM
Fly Runaway Fans
United States, TX, Fort Worth
Joined Jan 2009
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Thanks Jabo and Jack.

I know a HBFP is not a hands-off heli. But I'm so bad at knowing where my thumbs are, that's why I let it mechanically center itself then start over from there rather than thumb it back to where I THINK center is, which is almost always wrong.

Also fighting the beginner tendency to overcontrol, holding a correction until I see the desired END result, by which time it's skittering off in the opposite direction. Would you call that anticipation? That, I can probably learn. The fine, smooth, predictive finger control may never come to me. Example: as much as I type, I never get any better at it. Example of that: the backspace key broke off my computer 2 years ago. Good thing the stump still works.

At 63, I've already done everything I'm innately good at. So I'm trying things I'm innately handicapped at. Enough time and tools, I might make a decent heli mechanic. I'll never make a competition pilot.
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Old May 11, 2009, 02:13 PM
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Arbilab; I have noticed that by watching the swash plate and rotor head instead of other parts of the helicopter, I can predict the next movement a little faster. In addition, someone told me to learn using both my thumb and pointer finger, not just my thumbs. It gives you much more control.
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Old May 11, 2009, 02:29 PM
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Aachen Germany
Joined Dec 2007
2,040 Posts
maybe not a competition pilot - but a good pilot. Predictive flying" is really a better description than intuitive - although the two may cross paths frequently. Eyeball wise - I watch the rotor disk - at least I think I watch the rotor disk? Difficult to say if I am integrating or differentiating but clearly it is the delta that provides the most information. Adding to Alan's suggestion of pinching - I extended the joysticks about an inch which provides a little more positive feel and few DB's of mechanical attenuation. Keep practicing - keep posting.

Jack
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Last edited by CaptJac; May 11, 2009 at 02:37 PM.
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Old May 12, 2009, 12:13 AM
Fly Runaway Fans
United States, TX, Fort Worth
Joined Jan 2009
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Keep coaching! I appreciate it. Alan, I think I'm watching the axis. The cone of variability of body/mainshaft position.

I've heard the 'grip' control method. But remember my handicap? I can barely type after LOTS of practice. If I let TWO fingers try to guess where center is, I'd be HALF as likely to be right. Swimming in the gene pool, I got good auditory and correlational memory, but lousy visual and muscle memory.

Took advice from members here, sticking to one while trying to learn it, parked the V4. I didn't want to abandon it, but it won't care. Even if it does, it will understand.

Encouraging results, almost all landings although forced were upright. RE sudden, twitchy stick movement: From what I read HBFP is a sudden, twitchy craft. Great, another Esky bad control habit I'll have to unlearn when I start flying the 450.

But I can juzbout fix the HBFP in the dark, whereas I can't fix the 450 at all, I barely know the concepts much less the procedures and don't own any tooling. I've got a bridge, a HBCP2. Still twitchy, but cheap intro to CP rebuilding. And the few times I've had it off the ground, it's more controllable than the FP. Should be, with the head going that bloody fast. Gawd, it makes 'real heli' noises!

Though I'm less than ideally equipped for it, this is a great adventure.
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Old May 12, 2009, 12:36 AM
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United States, AZ, Mesa
Joined Jul 2007
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I think getting fixated on one part of the helicopter and trying to get all your clues from that is a Bad Thing. The mast doesn't give you heading information, just as the tail boom doesn't give you attitude information... you need to look at both, at the same time. When you are hovering it is probably fine to focus on the mast, but when you fly more than 10 feet away, you can't even see it any more. So you need to learn to look at the whole helicopter - rotor disk, tail, skids, canopy, the whole thing. There are times that you won't be able to see one or the other, so you need to learn to shift your focus to whatever is giving you the most information at a given orientation. I can't see the rotor disc when it's straight edge-on, and I can't see the skids on the far end of a high-banking circle... but I can see the tail and canopy pretty much all the time... of course, the tail doesn't help a lot when it's pointed straight at you and you're far away... so it's a constant struggle to stay in tune with the machine. A lot of times, I can't actually see which direction anything is going, but I know which direction I pointed it, and barring some wild blip in space-time, I know it's pointed that way, whatever way that is. Turn off the zoom on your simulator sometime and see if you can control the helicopter when it's too far away to make much of a shape at all - then you will learn the helicopter whisper

I learned that with planes - I can get my 2-meter glider up so high you can't see which way it's pointed... but I know which way I pointed it, and I can see the effect of various control movements, and this gives clues to how it's oriented. Not saying that's worth much with helicopters, but it does help you get an intuition for the orientation issue.
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Old May 12, 2009, 01:06 AM
Fly Runaway Fans
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Thanks Jas. Indeed, I'm only referring to orientation clues within my 11x7 indoor airspace. Would NOT apply at distance. Another envelope that needs expanding.

Shucks, I can't even fly my coax nose-in yet. And I've got a 450 sitting here waiting for me to grow into it. If I live that long......
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Old May 12, 2009, 02:53 PM
My other addiction!
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Marysville, Ca., US
Joined Jan 2007
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arbilab,
Pull the receiver out of your 450 and put it into the HBFP with the 3-in-1. Then you can dial some expo in with your DX6i, and calm some of that twitchiness down. You will be amazed at how much easier it is with the more precise DX versus the E-Sky stock setup. After you get used to the correct responses, you can switch back to stock, as you will be better able to anticipate. Just set up a model in your DX6i with no swash mixing and a linear throttle curve.
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Old May 12, 2009, 05:16 PM
Fly Runaway Fans
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Might do that, norcal. Was aiming the 3x1 at the CP, and looking at buying another 6200 rather than cannibalizing the 450. Buy 2 of them, maybe, one for each. Sure reduce the clutter on my dining room table, which is paved with transmitters.

This week, I'm rather gloating to myself "this is hard and I'm semi-handicapped but I can still kinda do it". That will pass (it better), then I will more appreciate getting it to work more civilized.
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Old May 12, 2009, 05:47 PM
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Try using a neck strap and the "pinch" method of holding the sticks. I'm a Honeybee learner also, and I found this made control easier. So far I can only hover tail in.
Colin
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Old May 12, 2009, 07:22 PM
NooB micro pilot
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Southeastern, PA
Joined Dec 2008
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One thing I've discovered in the short time I've been flying r/c helis...confidence kills! In other words...usually, most my crashes seem to occur during a moment of over-confidence. However, if I approach a 'difficult' maneuver with some degree of caution, my chances of success seem to increase. Go figure.
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Old May 12, 2009, 07:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by microair
One thing I've discovered in the short time I've been flying r/c helis...confidence kills! In other words...usually, most my crashes seem to occur during a moment of over-confidence. However, if I approach a 'difficult' maneuver with some degree of caution, my chances of success seem to increase. Go figure.
It's a matter of "setup" I think... if you go into a move the wrong way, it's not going to come out right. If you're cautious about getting set up correctly, then it's more likely to work just fine. I see this with a lot of things. I'm working on IMAC pattern flying right now (airplane thing) and most of the time, when a move ends up off-line, it's because you started it wrong. If wings aren't perfectly level when you go into a vertical up-line, it's going to be obvious at the top because you'll end up going in a completely wrong direction. Same thing here... if you try to make a loop and you don't start level, the non-levelness will get worse and you'll come out going in a funny direction.
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Old May 12, 2009, 08:16 PM
NooB micro pilot
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Southeastern, PA
Joined Dec 2008
139 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by jasmine2501
It's a matter of "setup" I think... if you go into a move the wrong way, it's not going to come out right. If you're cautious about getting set up correctly, then it's more likely to work just fine. I see this with a lot of things. I'm working on IMAC pattern flying right now (airplane thing) and most of the time, when a move ends up off-line, it's because you started it wrong. If wings aren't perfectly level when you go into a vertical up-line, it's going to be obvious at the top because you'll end up going in a completely wrong direction. Same thing here... if you try to make a loop and you don't start level, the non-levelness will get worse and you'll come out going in a funny direction.
Well put, jasmine2501...makes sense to me.

Wow, this forum really does provide some useable, concrete advice every now & then!

microair
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