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Old Jan 08, 2013, 10:36 PM
Citizen #96
Steve Graham's Avatar
NE Denver, CO
Joined Sep 2007
723 Posts
Bill,

Kudos on attempting to break it down. Understanding conceptually what your trying to do is an important step in the learning process. No the brain can't consciously think it through in real time at first. This is where the sim and it's capability to slow down the physics becomes very useful. Slowing things down allows your conscious brain to think things through. After awhile the unconscious part of your brain will take over and do what's necessary. Slowly begin bringing the sim speed back up and you will be back to full speed before you realize it.

I went through the same process a couple years ago and will share what I came up with. FWIW I fly what I call second person. I look at the model and move it with the sticks by reference to the cues observable from the ground. Others choose to fly FPV or by imagining themselves in the seat. Some will have you believe that one way is better than the other. I don't believe that. My technique works for me and these "rules" work for this particular style.

Bill, I believe you came close on your "2nd" try. So with apologies I'll start where you left off. To make things a little easier IMO to visualize I imagine the aircraft as reduced to a disc, a frisbee for example, with an image of the aircraft with top and bottom represented on the disc. I do this because this system is consistent regardless of how the disc is rotated through 360 degrees. Rules 1 & 2 apply when the disc of the aircraft is relatively level with the horizon. Can be climbing or descending but wings relatively level.

Rule 1 UPRIGHT
The rudder steers the farthest airframe extremity.

Rule 2 INVERTED
The rudder steers the closest airframe extremity.

To this I would add two additional rules. Rule 3 & 4 apply when the disc of the aircraft approaches 90 degrees to the horizon. This will be the case in knife edge flight or a vertical line when we are seeing either the Top or the Bottom of the aircraft.

Rule 3 Viewing Top
The rudder steers the uppermost part of the visible disc.

Rule 4 Viewing Bottom
The rudder steers the lowest part of the visible disc.

When I was first learning this I used the memory aid "Top, Top" and "Bottom, Bottom" Some people say when in knife edge looking at the top you just push the stick towards the tail but this fails to account for the times the aircraft is oriented other than "tip up" or the times you actually want to steer the aircraft lower as a curving knife edge segment.

Some will tell you this is far too academic and for them perhaps it is. It does work though and by slowing things down initially in the sim and allowing your brain time to absorb the system you'll soon find yourself at the ultimate level of motor skill. That being what is sometimes referred to as unconscious competence.
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Old Jan 08, 2013, 10:46 PM
Citizen #96
Steve Graham's Avatar
NE Denver, CO
Joined Sep 2007
723 Posts
I'd like to add agreement that being able to proactively use rudder for when we know torque effects are going to come into play is key to mastering the art of smooth and symmetric flight.

The other tool that has been of great value to me is a stick practice plane. I usually have one sitting next to my chair to fly with while I watch TV. My GF thinks I'm a complete geek. I think she may be right.
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Old Jan 09, 2013, 07:40 PM
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United States, CA, Richmond
Joined Dec 2007
164 Posts
Steve,

Glad to hear I am not alone in this, and I see where you're going with rules 3 & 4. I like also your categorization of this method of flying (2nd person). Personally, I tried the first-person scenario but it never worked and the more I thought about it, the more I saw that approach as futile. My approach stems from a "FLY RC" article I saw around 2008 which had the following aileron rule which worked beautifully for me: when the model is approaching you, put the stick under the wing you want to raise.

I'm memorizing the advanced sequence now and since this has a lot of rolling maneuvers in the vertical plane I am trying to work out aileron rules for this orientation as the standard aileron rule (above) doesn't work well. Do you have anything for that?

Regarding p-factor, spiral slipstream, torque and the use of the rudder, Peter+'s comments and yours are well made. I have always found Dave Scott's graphics and explanations of these factors to be excellent (see Dave's Precision Aerobatics). I didn't include this in my original post as it's outside of the original question.

Cheers,

Bill

PS. I will have to see if I can edit the title of this thread because your post proves that I can't claim such rules to myself anymore!

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Originally Posted by Steve Graham View Post
Bill,

Kudos on attempting to break it down. Understanding conceptually what your trying to do is an important step......That being what is sometimes referred to as unconscious competence.
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Old Jan 09, 2013, 10:54 PM
Citizen #96
Steve Graham's Avatar
NE Denver, CO
Joined Sep 2007
723 Posts
Thanks Bill, One of the reasons I originally gave this so much thought is that when I started trying to fly precision aerobatics it seemed that given a 50/50 chance of guessing and getting the rudder input I needed, at least 75% of the time I ended up getting it wrong. This is actually why I choose my original user name of W. W. Corrigan, Wrong Way

I can't say that I've ever put the thought into aileron that I did into rudder. I have been training some guys on heli's recently and trying to distill things a little bit since it really helps to have concise definitions when trying to explain things. Here's a couple I came up with.

Ailerons. Traditional wisdom suggests a coming vs going approach where the ailerons are either normal or reversed and the old saw you mentioned about putting the stick under the low wing. I actually use the convention of tail in vs nose in since helis can move backwards but the rules remain consistent either way. For raw beginners who have never flown before I will tell them to imagine a stick that runs through the CG of the aircraft but always remains vertical WRT the horizon as if it is on gimbals. The model will roll in the direction of force put on the stick but the stick itself will remain vertical with the model rolling around it. When the model is tail in imagine the right TX stick is the stick as it comes out of high side of the aircraft. The aircraft will roll CW or CCW with TX stick inputs exactly as it would were you holding the stick inserted in the aircraft. For the times when the model is nose in you can imagine you are moving the stick where it exits the low point of the aircraft. As before using these methods ensures consistent roll response regardless of the bank angle of the aircraft. For vertical lines I submit that you still orient in a tail in vs nose in fashion.

Elevator I think is the simplest of all. Regardless of orientation the model always pitches to the canopy with a pull and pitches to the gear with a push.

There is probably a more succinct way of wording this but I've not taken the time to try and figure it out. It's much easier to demonstrate on a practice plane. I will occasionally give the student the TX and ask them to move the sticks and I will show the response of the plane to his/her inputs.
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Old Jan 16, 2013, 08:56 PM
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United States, IL, Chicago
Joined Nov 2007
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Steve,

This is immensely helpful. I had the toward or away, inverted or upright down reasonably well, but for a long time was not able to learn how to react when the plane is passing by in front of me. At that point there is no "toward" or "away". Your "stick moves the farthest/nearest extremity" rule seems to have made a big improvement.

David
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Old Jan 19, 2013, 11:04 AM
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United States, CA, Richmond
Joined Dec 2007
164 Posts
Refinements

Steve,

Your stick through the yaw axis on gimbals for aileron control visualization is brilliant, thank you! In my mind, I paint the end pointing to the sky yellow, and the one pointing to the earth red.

There is still a breakdown in the logic as formulated when flying a vertical up or downlines though, since by definition, in this attitude the stick through the yaw axis is parallel to the horizon and the stick is pointing neither to the sky nor the ground (I'm sure this orientation is not as common for helicopters).

An additional formulation resolves this; when in a vertical up or downline, the stick on the yaw axis which has been on a gimbal falls into a slot which fixes the stick perpendicular to both the roll and longitudinal axes with the sky-end of the stick (mine is yellow) towards the canopy and the earth-end of the stick (red) toward the wheels - the stick rotates around the longitudinal axis no longer.

With the stick so fixed, when tail-in (going up), the tx's aileron stick pushes against whichever end of the stick is pointing toward the pilot. When nose-in (going down) the aileron stick pushes against the stick pointing away from the pilot.

Thanks again for the image of the stick going through the yaw axis for the ailerons. It's interesting that you use helis as a prime modality in the formulation of your rules. My first RC aircraft were helis. I really think this helped me with fixed wings because it seems to me that helis demand a wider range of control facility than do fixed wing aircraft.
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Old Jan 26, 2013, 11:38 PM
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United States, IL, Chicago
Joined Nov 2007
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Here's 4 rules for KE with simple phrases that don't require knowing whether you came from inverted or upright.

Tail - Wheels   If the  tail         is toward you, push the rudder toward the  gear
Prop - Top       If the  nose      is toward you, push the rudder toward the  canopy
Top - Tail         If the   canopy is toward you, push the rudder toward the  tail
Bottom - Prop  If the   belly     is toward you, push the rudder toward the  nose

Not sure if the catch-phrases are that great. Maybe someone can suggest some better ones.
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Old Feb 21, 2013, 10:23 PM
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United States, IL, Chicago
Joined Nov 2007
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After a lot of practice, I think I can collapse everything down to a single rule: Move the stick toward the vertical stabilizer, as viewed from the top of the fuse.

Sounds easy, but the trick is learning what this means for all the different conditions. Still, as I practice, I find that a single rule is easier to keep in mind than the 4 I listed in my previous post. I started making much more progress using this system.

1) The plane passing in front of you, top of the fuse in. This is trivially easy: Move the stick toward the tail.

2) The plane passing in front of you, belly in. This is the hardest one. You simply have to know here that the v-stab is facing away from you, so the vector from the top of the fuse to the tail reverses. But it quickly becomes automatic, much like the reversal of the ailerons when the plane comes toward you.

3) The plane moves directly away or toward you. Here, you have to learn to "reach" or tilt your view around to the where top of the fuse is. You can imagine just tilting your head slightly in the direction of the top of the plane. Conversely you can rotate the plane very slightly in your head so that the top is toward you.
    For example, with the plane moving away and the left wing up, you tilt your view around to the right side. When you do that the v-stab is to your left, so you move the stick left. With the plane coming toward you and left wing up, the top of the fuse is toward the left now. If you tilt your view around to the left, the tail is to the left, and the rudder goes left.
     
Not sure if this will help anyone else, but I have been finding it really helpful. My rudder responses to moving into KE from any orientation are becoming much faster.
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Old Feb 23, 2013, 09:21 PM
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United States, CA, Richmond
Joined Dec 2007
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Hey Neko -

glad you're getting good mileage out of "2nd person" rules. I must say that since your first post, though, I have a hard time understanding why one would need a rule that does not depend on knowing whether you came from upright or inverted; one always knows in actual practice whether transitioning to KE whether one was previously upright or inverted. Since the rules that follow from this knowledge are quite simple (rudder stick moves with or contrary to aileron) compared to what you propose, above, I can't imagine why you need a rule that doesn't refer to a prior orientation.

Can you enlighten me as to why?

Thanks,

Bill

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neko View Post
Here's 4 rules for KE with simple phrases that don't require knowing whether you came from inverted or upright. .
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Old Feb 23, 2013, 10:56 PM
Citizen #96
Steve Graham's Avatar
NE Denver, CO
Joined Sep 2007
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One problem that may not be immediately apparent with approaches that aim merely to sustain knife edge flight is as follows. It only works when the goal is to keep the nose from falling. When you get into more advanced flight regimes there will be times when you actually want to drive or steer the nose. Rolling loops, circles and climbing/descending flight paths for example. This is why I advocate for rules that refer to steering as opposed to the overly simplistic "If the top of the aircraft is towards you push the stick towards the tail" The rules I proposed earlier give you direction that enables you to "steer" the aircraft in any direction you choose.
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Old Feb 24, 2013, 08:44 AM
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Joined Nov 2007
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Ho4D: Partly it's for the fun of it, and partly for the simplicity of having a static rule that doesn't require knowing where you came from. Partly because sometimes I just space out on where I came from. Partly in case you do 3/4 of a roll to get to KE, you don't have to remember to reverse the rule. And partly because the process of making the rules makes me pay attention to what is happening and in itself helps me learn.

Steve: I was using your rules for upright/inverted and found them really helpful (as posted above). For KE, your rules don't deal with the plane going directly toward or away. I know that rarely happens at the field, but it got me thinking. Now that I reread your post, mine are just an extension or restatement of yours, and I should have cited you.
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Old Feb 24, 2013, 10:50 AM
Citizen #96
Steve Graham's Avatar
NE Denver, CO
Joined Sep 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neko View Post
Steve: I was using your rules for upright/inverted and found them really helpful (as posted above). For KE, your rules don't deal with the plane going directly toward or away. I know that rarely happens at the field, but it got me thinking. Now that I reread your post, mine are just an extension or restatement of yours, and I should have cited you.
Thanks, No need to give me credit for anything. I don't think there is anything new under the sun and I'm sure my thought processes were picked up from someone else before me, even if subconsciously.

Your correct about KE on the Y axis. If the model is off to my left or right I can visualize that I am looking at whichever top/bottom is closer to me but if the model is directly in front of me coming or going I have to make a choice. I think this is fundamentally what you already described above.

At the end of the day all of our brains work in slightly different fashions when it comes to spatial orientation. This is why I don't claim there is any ONE right or wrong way to accomplish the mission. If a technique works for you thats all that counts really.
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Old Jun 20, 2013, 02:18 AM
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Joined Jun 2009
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Years ago, I used to paint my right wingtip red on the bottom, and blue on the bottom left. I stuck a couple pieces of red & blue tape on either side of the aileron & rudder.

Don't laugh, it worked! I used to tell students "turn red, or "turn green": I don't know why, but it seemed to cut the confusion factor 'way down.
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Old Jun 21, 2013, 10:57 AM
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Joined Nov 2006
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As with others, kudos for trying to make a usable system, and I wish you luck with it. But from a personal point of view, I think practice, practice, practice was the key. As I grew up flying slope, flying towards myself was a necessary thing, so coping with rudder "reversal" as it were, was something I had to get used to. I didn't have any spectacular skill, nor any particular system, just hours and hours of "launch, circuit, land, launch, circuit, land" until it became second nature and didn't require any thought.

After that, stick input becomes instinctive, a sort of "muscle memory" I suppose.

It was only then that I think I really began to "hone" my flying skills at all.
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Old Jul 18, 2013, 11:03 AM
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United States, MA, Medfield
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I like that look at the farest/closest extremity idea. I have to give that a try.

For what it's worth, what helps me--

Regular Flight --
Coordinated aileron/rudder turns -- both sticks go the same way.
Knife-edge turns -- sticks go in opposite directions (both in or both out).

Inverted Flight --
Coordinated aileron/rudder turns -- sticks go in opposite directions (both in or both out).
Knife-edge turns -- both sticks go the same way.

What I've been practicing the last day or two on the sim (and I'll try with my planes next time I'm at the field) is Reverse-Half-Cuban-8s and Half-Cuban-8s using rudder to correct course. I find that really helps as you are correcting one way and then have to switch rudder to correct the same way after the 1/2 roll.

Flying regular and getting rudder correct is easy. Flying inverted continuously and getting rudder correct comes after just a tad of practice using the rules above.

Getting rudder correct all the time while quickly switching from regular to inverted is hard and you don't have time for rules. For me at least, it's practice practice practice those half 8s.

-l2t
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