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Old Sep 13, 2012, 09:55 AM
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What can I do to make 450 better in the wind?

I've flown planes for a few years but helis are relatively new to me. I can hover my Belt CP fairly well (Has good electronics and the DTS mod) on a calm day but with any significant wind it's all over the place. I know that the size of the heli is an issue but aside from going bigger what can I do to improve the windy day performance? Can the paddle angles make difference? Do I need different paddles or blades? Is head speed a factor? Anything else?
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Old Sep 13, 2012, 10:24 AM
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What can I do to make 450 better in the wind?
-Practice, practice practice...
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Old Sep 13, 2012, 10:32 AM
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when you say "all over the place" what is not working? I have hovered in the wind with very little issue on my 450. practice with it nose into the wind to start. when the wind blows you will see it moves back and up. reduce collective and push forward on cyclic. when the wind dies down it will want to move forward and down. so, increase collective and pull back on cyclic. you definitely you have to be on your toes.

if you face it sideways to the wind, it is pretty much the same thing, it will go up and drift in the wind. so, you have to counter those movements. major difference is that you will also have your tail want to weathervane into the wind. depending on how good your gyro is, it will compensate, but I find even a good one will drift some and you will have to move the tail back to where it was.
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Old Sep 13, 2012, 10:39 AM
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Yeah, I know practice is the biggest thing, and I'm doing that. I fly some pattern in airplanes so I do have it in me to work on a skill until it's right.

I suppose I was a bit vague, wasn't I minbari? What's happening is that the wind pushes the heli off course in the direction of the wind. The rotor looks to be turning away from the wind, so if I get a gust of headwind the heli pitches up. This, of course, makes the effect that much worse. Then when I correct for it the gust stops of course which makes me have to correct again, leading to attempts at hovering that do well to stay inside of a 40 foot circle sometimes. If there is something I can do aerodynamically to get the rotor to turn into the wind I think that would help a lot. I'm currently running cheap wood blades and the stock paddles and tail blades.
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Old Sep 13, 2012, 01:14 PM
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Hello.
You will find that cutting the rates back and adding expo makes the helicopter less sensitive to pilot input.
I fly my 450 at 65 rate and 30 expo. This gives it a nice feel but does not make the helicopter itself more stable!

The addition of an extra set of flybar weights as in the picture bellow makes a huge difference in the overall stability of the helicopter.
Also if your ESC has soft start. Use it and run your helicopter up 100% and fly in idle up mode! This will keep the head speed up and utilize the gyroscopic tendency of the flybar and the extra weights you just installed.

You will find that the helicopter is much better in windy conditions and is much easier to hover and fly low and slow.




Why?
I do not know of weighted paddles for a 450 size helicopter so!
Just add weights!

RC Helicopter flybar & pitch set-up (7 min 29 sec)


Hope this helps you!
Ron
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Old Sep 13, 2012, 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by jester_s1 View Post
Yeah, I know practice is the biggest thing, and I'm doing that. I fly some pattern in airplanes so I do have it in me to work on a skill until it's right.

I suppose I was a bit vague, wasn't I minbari? What's happening is that the wind pushes the heli off course in the direction of the wind. The rotor looks to be turning away from the wind, so if I get a gust of headwind the heli pitches up. This, of course, makes the effect that much worse. Then when I correct for it the gust stops of course which makes me have to correct again, leading to attempts at hovering that do well to stay inside of a 40 foot circle sometimes. If there is something I can do aerodynamically to get the rotor to turn into the wind I think that would help a lot. I'm currently running cheap wood blades and the stock paddles and tail blades.
I think that is normal behavior for a CCPM in the wind. the blades are an aerofoil shape, so more air over the blades in the form of wind is gonna make it gain more lift (and altitude) and the wind also pushes on the fuselage making it push in the direction of the wind.

What you are doing, IMHO is the best thing. get used to countering the effect of wind and adjusting your collective to control altitude. get good at that and your reflexes will be better when it is still.
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Old Sep 14, 2012, 01:03 AM
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Wow

Heavier rotor blades ...

Yeah more flybar weight ...

Maybe flybarless with 3 axis gyro ... [ The 3 axis gyro should help ]
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Old Sep 14, 2012, 02:06 AM
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Funny that nobody mentions this:

You're machine is not the best one in this respect, but your problem has not so much to do with the quality of your machine, and more with your approach to flying. (please do not misunderstand, I am not judging your flying skills: I have fought the same battle in the past)

You can "practise, practise, practise" and in the end you will get a result. That is what I did, due lack of instructors. Then I became an instructor and tried analyzing problems like this, and tried finding a quicker way to acquire the necessary skills.

In my opinion, it is better to tackle the problem head on: as you describe it, it seems to me you are using the reactive approach to flying: the helicopter hovers, and you are merely waiting for an unwanted movement to hapen, correcting them after they have happened (maybe I am stating it not entirely correct, but please, English is not my original language). Please mind, that you probably do not feel like this when you are practising, but basically, that is what happens... virtually all novice pilots approach flying a helicopter like that. It's natural....

The way I use to fly even unstabilized 4 bladed 450 size in up to 4 Bft, is to not wait for the helicopter to do something (as a response to a gust of wind or something like that) and than react to it, but to keep my focus on actively keeping the rotordisc level. That way, you will be able to prevent the unwanted movement even before it really manifests itself.

Of course, heavier blades or better quality blades, heavier paddles, different rotorsystems etc etc can give an improvement, no argument there. Your particular problem, the rotordisc turning off-wind in gusts, can be slightly improved by turning the paddles one or two degrees negative, but you have to be very careful with that: this will always be a compromise between handling while hoovering in gusty wind, and handling when the helicopter is flying at speed, and too much negative on the paddles can give some nasty effects at really high speeds.

But the symptoms you describe are the normal behaviour of ANY helicopter in gusts, and can only be decreased by mechanical changes, not eliminated, so changing your helicopter will only give you more "time to respond". When your skills improve, you don't need that extra time anymore.

The symptoms can also be more or less completely eliminated with electronic stuff like Tarot, BeastX etc, but that is complicating things a bit, and in the end, you are just replacing a temporary shortage of skill (it is just a matter of time before you aquire these skills) by a permanent addiction to expensive and unnecessary electronics.

But... it is just my opinion, nobody needs to agree

Brgds, Bert
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Old Sep 14, 2012, 08:49 AM
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That's really helpful Brutus. Also thanks above to the one who posted the video. I do understand about watching the main rotor and making corrections based on what it's doing vs. waiting for the machine to move. I've been working on doing that, and on a calm day I have had some pretty good hovering because of it. And I completely understand that I can't eliminate the effects of wind but I can diminish them, so that's what I'm after. I see guys at the club field who can hover their helis practically motionless on days where my Cub is dancing all over the sky, so I know it can be done. I'll eventually get out there and get some pointers from some of those guys too, which will probably do more good than anything else to get me flying right. In the meantime, I'll add some weight to my flybar and see what that does, and probably will invest in some fiberglass blades to replace these cheap wooden ones that I've just about used up anyway.
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Old Sep 14, 2012, 09:43 PM
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Originally Posted by jester_s1 View Post
That's really helpful Brutus. Also thanks above to the one who posted the video. I do understand about watching the main rotor and making corrections based on what it's doing vs. waiting for the machine to move.
You need to get to the next step and actually fly the thing. Its not about making corrections, you need to point it where you want to go. The belt cp is light weight and runs at low head speeds, so it will go up and down in the wind a bit. You can help this by doing what others have suggested and running higher head speeds. It will still be difficult to anticipate the wind though, so don't be too hard on yourself. When you upgrade to a better chopper you will have all the practice you need to look real good
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Old Sep 15, 2012, 12:15 AM
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I have tried it at 100% throttle but still with hovering pitch curve and it didn't seem any better, but then again I'm so new to doing this it was probably just me not being used to it. I'll keep working at it and I'll get there. Thanks to all who helped.
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Old Sep 15, 2012, 02:00 AM
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Originally Posted by jasmine2501 View Post
You need to get to the next step and actually fly the thing. Its not about making corrections, you need to point it where you want to go.
Aehm... that is, very condensed, exactly what I intended to say.
But usually, if I put that way on the flying field, the message doesn't land with my own students (which says more about my teaching skills than anything else ), hence the "big wording".

Brgds, Bert
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Old Sep 15, 2012, 02:37 AM
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Originally Posted by jester_s1 View Post
That's really helpful Brutus. Also thanks above to the one who posted the video. I do understand about watching the main rotor and making corrections based on what it's doing vs. waiting for the machine to move. I've been working on doing that, and on a calm day I have had some pretty good hovering because of it. And I completely understand that I can't eliminate the effects of wind but I can diminish them, so that's what I'm after. I see guys at the club field who can hover their helis practically motionless on days where my Cub is dancing all over the sky, so I know it can be done. I'll eventually get out there and get some pointers from some of those guys too, which will probably do more good than anything else to get me flying right. In the meantime, I'll add some weight to my flybar and see what that does, and probably will invest in some fiberglass blades to replace these cheap wooden ones that I've just about used up anyway.
If you can do it on a calm day, then don't worry, it will just be a matter of time before you can do it on a more windy day.

One tip: most novice pilots find the response of their machine to be too agile to handle, and reduce the stickresponse (either by selecting lower rates in the transmitter, or by selecting shorter servohorns). This can be a necessity to get you through te first steps, but when skills improve, it severely limits your ability to quickly and adequately react to gusts.

Therefore, as soon as you feel your (increasing) skills allow it, gradually increase the response of your helicopter. Every time you do this, you will need a short "getting used to-period" but after that, you'll notice, that your feel of control over the helicopter has increased.

Look at it this way: if you are hoovering nicely on a calm day, and you have set up the helicopter to respond comfortably on stick imputs of let's say, 1/4 stick travel, than it follows that on a gusty day, you'll typically need 3/4 sticktravel movements to correct for these darned unwanted movements.
This means your thumbs are continuously all over the place, the servo's too, and all in all (both your thumbs and the servo's need time to get to their commanded position) your reaction time is getting slower. A lot....
Consequently you are always too late, and the next needed control imput is caused by the precious one not being adequate....
Contrary to "logic" a slow response set-up does not allow for more precise control, because a helicopter is actually not so much controlled by accurately dosed imput, but much more so by accurately timed imputs.

Eventually (probably that is still some time in the future) you will get to a point where you can hover your helicopter on a gusty day, with stick movements closer to 1/8 than 1/4 of stick-travel, and feel comfortable with it. That's about where you need to be, in order to have sufficient control at high speeds and tight turns without having to push the sticks to the stops every time.

But that is still some time in the future....
Keep practising: it is really rewarding!

Brgds, Bert
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Old Sep 15, 2012, 03:31 AM
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Most of the pilots I see having trouble in gusts are because of over controlling, as mentioned above. The gust moves the helicopter, you have a slight delay in reacting, the gust is gone, and your still correcting for it. It takes some time to get a feel at your location on how the wind reacts. Sometimes there is no need to correct. When you do need to correct the fastest reacting control is often the cyclic. When facing into the wind if it moves up, a little forward stick maybe all thats needed. If you give it collective also, its easy to over control. With more experience the balance between cyclic, and collective becomes easier.
You might find that the ones at the club hovering so well, often have a much better setup helicopter.
Mechanically your limited on most 450's, since most have little adjustment. That is why many adjust the feel with flybar length, paddles, headspeed, and blades.
In wind the way to tell what is needed for the flybar/paddles, is the direction the helicopter reacts to the wind. Yours moves with the wind. That is what most 450's do. To correct for that, a faster reacting paddle setup is needed. That means lighter, or more agressive paddles. That is not usually fun for most people, so they leave them alone. To fast of reacting flybar/paddle setups will react into the wind.
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Old Sep 15, 2012, 11:08 AM
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Lighter paddles to make it turn into the wind? That's the opposite of what I've been told to make the heli easier to handle. Of are we talking about two different things? Obviously lighter paddles mean quicker reactions and less stability, so is the strategy of going lighter essentially about making the heli quicker to react to wind by turning into it instead of just holding its position?
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