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Old Jun 27, 2012, 03:19 PM
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newby question about flying upwind

The instructions for my Stratos, and a couple of comments on this forum say that you should always keep the airplane upwind of you. I'm not sure I understand why. I'm still at the point where I'm just trying to fly "controlled" roughly circular courses around the local athletic fields, and it's a lot easier to keep track of the airplane if I'm roughly in the middle of my circlular course. I'm flying in very light wind conditions, so perhaps I'm not experiencing the effects of higher winds on controlling the airplane down wind of you--- is it just harder to get it back if the wind is stiffer? So far I haven't had any more problems controlling the airplane downwind than upwind (but like I said, I've stuck to pretty calm conditions so far). Can someone enlighten me as to the reason for this "rule". Thanks,

Tom
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Old Jun 27, 2012, 04:24 PM
PowerTower
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United Kingdom, England, Bristol
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I think it's something to do with being able to always keeping it with the wind in your face, so after a while you can't see for watering eyes !!! TiC. I was told to do same because it's more predictable, I can also vouch for not letting it get behind you ! I did and it was a hell of a walk to retrieve my model once I had given up trying to recover it's flight-path !
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Old Jun 27, 2012, 05:19 PM
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The problem is ground speed. The airplane is always flying at the same air speed, assuming you don't change the throttle setting. However if you get down wind of yourself the airplane appears to be flying slower as it comes back toward you. So if at this point you make a mistake and the plane turns away from you it immediately gets farther away from you. A couple of mistakes like this and before you know it the plane is lost.

Also you should not be in the middle of the circuit. As the airplane circles around you have to continually be turning to face the plane. It is much better to maintain your position and keep the plane in front of you. This is as much a safety issue as an orientation issue. If you are continually turning you cannot be aware of other planes and or spectators.

Glen
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Old Jun 27, 2012, 05:38 PM
Sure, I can fly after sunset!?
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Easier to PUSH than to PULL

Hard to explain, but when you are flying INTO the wind, it is like you are PUSHING the plane away from you. You can then go left and right sideways to the wind, and the wind will actually return the plane to you.

Flying WITH the wind is the opposite. It is like you are always trying to PULL the plane back to you. There is never any let up. It is a constant tug of war, especially for a novice, and ESPECIALLY in high wind!!!

Another tip: When flying INTO the wind, on an uncomfortably windy day, you might find it easier to keep the plane upwind but try to fly it more or less laterally, against the wind (left and right). When turning in heavy wind, always try to turn INTO the wind. Then, you are making SLOW speed turns (plane speed - wind speed). If you make turns WITH the wind, the speed is greatly increased (plane speed + wind speed).

Of course, once you get proficient at flying your plane, it will be loads of fun doing the opposite and getting a thrill at the high ground speed! But for a beginner, that thrill is often the thrill of a great crash.

Good luck!
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Old Jun 27, 2012, 06:46 PM
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It's quite simple. Beginner training aircraft are usually lightly powered. With a stiff wind, when you get too far downwind the plane may not have enough airspeed to return upwind. As long as the airplane is capable of flying faster than the wind is blowing you don't have to worry about it. As far as flight characteristics go, it doesn't make any difference if the plane is upwind or downwind.

Regardless of the wnd direction, it is always best to face one direction and keep the airplane in front of you. For reasons previously mentioned, it is not a good idea to fly in circles around yourself. Also, facing one direction and keeping the airplane in front of you helps you to learn to make the airplane go where you want it to rather than the airplane going where it wants to go and you constantly trying to bring it back. Practice flying circles in front of yourself in both directions and flying horizontal figure eights. You will be a better pilot for it.

Larry
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Old Jun 27, 2012, 06:50 PM
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Like flying a kite, always in front.
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Old Jun 28, 2012, 09:58 AM
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Aw come on use a little imagination...

And learn to NOT fly OVER your head...Very very bad form and frowned upon IF you go to a club field...
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Old Jun 28, 2012, 10:16 AM
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Plus, over your head can cause instant disorientation.
Don
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Old Jun 29, 2012, 05:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lnagel View Post
It's quite simple. Beginner training aircraft are usually lightly powered. With a stiff wind, when you get too far downwind the plane may not have enough airspeed to return upwind. As long as the airplane is capable of flying faster than the wind is blowing you don't have to worry about it. As far as flight characteristics go, it doesn't make any difference if the plane is upwind or downwind.

Regardless of the wnd direction, it is always best to face one direction and keep the airplane in front of you. For reasons previously mentioned, it is not a good idea to fly in circles around yourself. Also, facing one direction and keeping the airplane in front of you helps you to learn to make the airplane go where you want it to rather than the airplane going where it wants to go and you constantly trying to bring it back. Practice flying circles in front of yourself in both directions and flying horizontal figure eights. You will be a better pilot for it.

Larry
Excellent post, all of it. Nice work, Larry!

-Flieslikeabeagle
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Old Jun 29, 2012, 05:29 PM
PowerTower
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Joined Aug 2009
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Yes, thank's all, now I have a better understanding too. Having found out what the pantomime favourite 'It's behind you' means when flying models, I think I will be a better pilot with this greater knowledge.
Black6088.. There you have it, thank's for raising the question
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Old Jun 29, 2012, 05:38 PM
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Having found out what the pantomime favourite 'It's behind you' means when flying models, I think I will be a better pilot with this greater knowledge.
Indeed! Having a powered RC model behind you means there is no safety line that separates pilots from dangerous models, and no safe place for the audience or public to be. Very dangerous once you get beyond one-ounce micro RC planes.

And having an unpowered slope glider behind you means only one thing - kiss that model goodbye, or prepare to do some rock climbing and hope for the best!

One chap I knew (learned to fly in a park) never got the hang or the importance of keeping the model in front of him. Later he joined an RC flying field with a hospital right behind it. You guessed it, when he was in the air he was sometimes over the hospital instead of the flight area.

-Flieslikeabeagle
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Old Jun 30, 2012, 04:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lnagel View Post
It's quite simple. Beginner training aircraft are usually lightly powered. With a stiff wind, when you get too far downwind the plane may not have enough airspeed to return upwind. As long as the airplane is capable of flying faster than the wind is blowing you don't have to worry about it. As far as flight characteristics go, it doesn't make any difference if the plane is upwind or downwind.

Regardless of the wnd direction, it is always best to face one direction and keep the airplane in front of you. For reasons previously mentioned, it is not a good idea to fly in circles around yourself. Also, facing one direction and keeping the airplane in front of you helps you to learn to make the airplane go where you want it to rather than the airplane going where it wants to go and you constantly trying to bring it back. Practice flying circles in front of yourself in both directions and flying horizontal figure eights. You will be a better pilot for it.

Larry
Totally agree ............

It has nothing to do with orientation or crabbing or other as some say ... it's all to do with being able to get it back to you.

The matter of flying in circles - do yourself a favour. STOP doing circles. STOP flying ROUND yourself.
START flying figure of eights IN FRONT OF YOU. It's what I taught all my learners to do from very beginning. It teaches not only one bank and turn but the other as well. Second being in front of you all time teaches flight line discipline where most flight sites ban flying behind or over pit areas etc.

Too many learn to be comfortable landing from one direction and with same turn ... the Fig 8 helps to break that and get pilot to be more comfortable with landing both from left or right .. having final turn whichever way is necessary.

Don't believe me about some only flying one way ? Go watch and you'll see what I mean !

Nigel
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Old Jun 30, 2012, 10:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by solentlife View Post

Too many learn to be comfortable landing from one direction and with same turn ... the Fig 8 helps to break that and get pilot to be more comfortable with landing both from left or right .. having final turn whichever way is necessary.

Nigel
Agreed! you have to learn turning both ways comfortably.

You can't learn just left pattern flights because when the wind favors the opposite direction, you have to make a right pattern and if you're not used to it, you'll find yourself struggling on your right turns.

Also, always make sure you take off against the wind (headwind) because this will help you gain lift. And with that being said, you will land against the wind as well. You can land both ways but as you go on with the hobby, you'll realize that when landing tailwind, you come in hotter than landing on a headwind and next thing you know, you used the whole strip just on your approach and no room left for your landing roll. And if you take off with the wind, you will have a longer take off roll than taking off on a headwind.

All members posted above nailed it on any aspect of the theory of flight.
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Old Jul 01, 2012, 10:40 PM
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I use to fly circles around myself too... go to the center of the field, back to the sun and fly..... I did that for a long time, even though I knew at club fields they didnt and I had read you shouldn't....

All was fine and I didnt get what the bid deal was until one day I happened to come around and flew directly across the sun..... well, then all was NOT fine... I waited for it to come out the other side, but it didnt.... I waited, and waited... and waited..... I cut the throttle and kept waiting.... after what seemed like 30-45 seconds I finally saw it again, almost exactly opposite where I expected it to be.... If it had not been an easystar trimmed for hands off gliding, I dont think it would have ended so well....

That was the last time I flew circles like that... I still stand with my back to the sun, but I NEVER let it go behind me anymore....
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Old Jul 01, 2012, 10:46 PM
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Moab, Utah, USA
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Don't tug on Superman's cape, don't spit into the wind, Don't pull the mask off the ol' Loner Ranger and don't fly into the sun. Nope, doesn't rhyme

Larry
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