Question about setting surface throws for new pilots - RC Groups
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Oct 14, 2004, 10:36 AM
Proud member of LISF and ESL

Question about setting surface throws for new pilots

I am interested in the approach of experienced flyers and instructors when it comes to plane set-up for new flyers. I don't fly glow or gas, so my questions are around gliders and electric park flyers, though the power source probably doesn't matter.

When I was a new flyer, I tended to over control. Most of the new flyers I help have the same tendency. Setting throws to a lower rate seems to be a common approach with new flyers, to help compensate for this.

My question revolves around the use of lower throw settings either on the plane or using a dual rate switch on the radio vs. exponential on the radio. I am not looking for right or wrong but more about philosophy or experiences that people have had.

After seeing a new flyer crash recently, it occurred to me that using low rates does limit the maneuverability of the plane and might not give the new flyer the ability to get out of trouble because the surfaces don't have enough throw. For an experienced flyer in the same situation, with larger throws, they could pull the plane out of trouble.

If the new flyer has a computer radio, I was thinking that using exponential, perhaps a large amount of exponential, could be a better approach. Since this "softens the response" around the middle, but still gives them the full throw when it might be needed. This would seem to get the benefit of lower rates without the limitations of limited throws. As they gain experience, they could back down the amount of exponential or perhaps eliminate it over time.

What do you think about this approach? Is there still a real benefit to limiting the total throw rather than using exponential, if it is available?
Last edited by aeajr; Oct 14, 2004 at 10:39 AM.
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Oct 14, 2004, 10:45 AM
Registered User
P-51 flyby's Avatar
I as a fairly new guy to R/C flight. I like your idea infact when and it's a good thing too I set my throws somewhere in the middle not maxed out but the smallest either. My first plane was the GWS Mustang flew it and it barley flew because of my scale parts made it a bit heavy. The next if I had but the reccomended throws I would of had some trouble. I just but them in the middle and I could see plenty of times where it saved me.
Last edited by P-51 flyby; Oct 14, 2004 at 11:24 AM.
Oct 14, 2004, 01:12 PM
God is good
Viper Pilot's Avatar
Exponential is really the ticket for "heavy-handed" newbees. You can simply soften up the middle of the throws which results in smoother controls.

I really do not recommend shortening the control throws extremely, because you can drastically reduce the effectiveness of the surfaces that way.

Oct 14, 2004, 03:30 PM
Low AltiDude
PGR's Avatar
I've taught numerous people how to fly RC and I've noticed a common tendency among all of them: They seem to want to start doing aerobatics before they've even conquered straight and level flight. 'Bout then, I leave them to their own devices but advise them that if they tire of crashing and want to learn how to fly, they are more than welcome to come back and see me.

My belief is that flight needs to be as uncomplicated as possible for the noob. They need to learn how to fly straight and level, do basic turns, and land a plane without damaging it in that order. They don't necessarily need to master those skills (have any of us?) but they need to become proficient at them before they start thinking about rolls, loops, and other advanced maneuvers.

Level flight, turns, and landing don't require big control surface throws or dual rates so why complicate matters by throwing them into the mix? Responsiveness can be increased to match the skill level of the pilot and that skill level never increases fast enough to warrant mid-flight adjustments.

That's my twist on things, anyway.

Last edited by PGR; Oct 14, 2004 at 03:32 PM.
Oct 14, 2004, 03:30 PM
Suspended Account
I've have helped a few newbie learn to fly (over my last 20 years) and highly recommend a sure fire way to prevent a crash. Use a buddy box always.

I would forget the expo setup, setup dual rates, and absolutely wire them to a buddy box. Equally I would follow the designers guidelines on throws. Most students learn to fly around quite easy and really need to have full deflection of control surfaces. Generally they loss control form orientation more then anything I've seen.

Personally, I never liked expo, and never like the feel of the plane using it. Ofcourse this my feelings on expo but I do recommend the buddy box as the only sure way to help a student learn, and save a plane that has gotten out of control.
Oct 14, 2004, 08:04 PM
Proud member of LISF and ESL
Wow, this is great stuff. I appreciate everyone's insights. May different approaches and all make sense.

Anyone else have some ideas on this?
Oct 14, 2004, 10:37 PM
Low AltiDude
PGR's Avatar
Allow me to expound on this subject a bit:

I keep a (basically) stock Slow Stick in my hanger just for training purposes but I believe I may have found a better plane for that. I say "believe" because I haven't flown one yet but it not only sounds and looks like a winner, it was also designed by Doug at Mountain Models and he builds planes that work.

Sounds like he's going to call it the Magpie and offer both plain and aileron wings for it. The thread starts HERE and there's also a video of the plane in flight HERE if you're interested.

It combines all the features I think make a good trainer: Big, light, simple, tough, and inexpensive. I have several projects already on my plate but when I clear the bench, I'm going to build a Magpie. Who knows .. I might even enjoy flying it myself.

Oct 14, 2004, 10:50 PM
Proud member of LISF and ESL
Originally Posted by PGR
Allow me to expound on this subject a bit:

I keep a (basically) stock Slow Stick in my hanger just for training purposes but I believe I may have found a better plane for that. I say "believe" because I haven't flown one yet but it not only sounds and looks like a winner, it was also designed by Doug at Mountain Models and he builds planes that work.

Sounds like he's going to call it the Magpie and offer both plain and aileron
Nice advertisement! It belongs in the "for sale" section. It has NOTHING to do with the subject of this thread.

Moderator, can we have this post deleted?
Last edited by aeajr; Oct 14, 2004 at 10:51 PM. Reason: Moderator, can we get the above post deleted?
Oct 14, 2004, 11:23 PM
Low AltiDude
PGR's Avatar

I don't work for Mountain Models and I have nothing to gain by "advertising" for them. I added this input because it has everything to do with teaching noobs to fly. Teach with an inappropriate airplane and it won't matter how you adjust the surface throws.

Sorry if I got your boxers in a wad.

Oct 14, 2004, 11:31 PM
Proud member of LISF and ESL

The thread is about whether the use of exponental, dual rates or setting limited throws on the surfaces is the most appropriate way to set up a plane for a new flyer.

I didn't see anything in your post about or related to that. Perhaps I miss read it.
Oct 15, 2004, 11:53 AM
Registered User
I'm a novice pilot who just got his wings on an Super Star EP using a buddy box. I certainly agree with RCJETPILOT that this is the way to go. Many potential crashes caused by my disorientation were averted by quick action by my instructor. Wrt control throws, we set the plane up with plenty of rudder authority and much less elevator. We decided on this after we found the recommended rudder throw was insufficient to adequately control the aircraft in the commonly experienced winds at our field. Limited elevator was ok for control and minimised over-control (and risk of stalling)
Fwiw, Fred
Oct 15, 2004, 07:19 PM
Registered User
Cal's Avatar
I guess this is along the same subject lines.........

One can limit throws either by using end point adjustments or dual/triple rates........

Is there a preferred way to do this?

Hope I'm not hijacking a thread here. If I am, I apologize.......
Oct 15, 2004, 08:26 PM
Proud member of LISF and ESL
CAl, you are right on subject. That is what we are discussing.

When I had a standard radio, I had to set the surface throws at the plane. So I would set it up with limited surface movement until I became comfortable with it. Then I had to reset the surfaces at the plane. I would do the same thing for new flyers. Once they stopped overcontroling, I could increase their surface thows by making changes on the plane.

Now that I have shifted to computer radios, I make all surface adjustments from the radio. I get them centered, then set end point from the radio. I always set low/high from the radio. I set the plane at "full recommended throw" then set dual/tripple rates from the radio where high rate is full throw and low is typically 70% of high.

Lately I have been using more exponental. Throw is set for 100% on the plane. Then on the radio, low is set with exponental at 50%, middle rate would be exponental 25% and high would be no exponental.

At full stick throw low, mid and high have the same throw on the plane, but in the center area the movement is a lot less with 50% exponental than it is with 25% and the surface moves the fastes with no exponental. If you have a twitchy hand, you have less tendancy to have a nervous plane set on low or mid.

If you tend to over control, then on low rate you can move the stick around more before the surface moves a lot. But if you need full throw, you still have it. I am finding this a better strategy for myself and believe it will work better for new flyers who have computer radios.
Last edited by aeajr; Oct 15, 2004 at 08:29 PM.
Oct 16, 2004, 08:52 AM
WAA-08 Survivor
Griffin's Avatar
Fred mentioned what I consider to be key for beginners or myself testing a new plane--limited elevator throws and stronger rudder. If the planes cg is ok, the lowest recommended throws on the elevator and the highest on the rudder often provides a very controllable plane which is tough to stall. -Steve
Oct 16, 2004, 09:49 AM
Proud member of LISF and ESL

That is extremely interesting. I presume you are the instructor. I also presume you are looking at this from an E/R plane with no ailerons.

Now, in the case of a student that has a radio that has dual rate capability, do you do this at the radio on a low/high rate swtich, or do you do it at the plane, which would prevent the student from switching it?

Do you set up this limited elevator due to over control tendancy around the middle of the stick or to take away the end point thow at the end of the stick movement?

I am very interested in why you do this as well as what you do. It might be obvious to you, but I would appreciate your explaining it if you would.

We don't have a formal instructor program in our club. It is more of a mentoring arrangement. I am not a master instructor. I am a guy who has come a long distance in a short time due to intense practice. I am told 700 flights, approximately, in 18 months is well beyone typical.

Knowing this, many of the new guys come to me for help and advice. Many of the experienced guys, who don't want to spend time with the newbies send them my way. I am glad to help if I can.

I want to do the best job I can when I help and advise them, so I am asking about the why as well as the what when it comes to setting up student planes and radios. What has worked for me is not necessarily what others do.

I hope I am making myself clear.
Last edited by aeajr; Oct 16, 2004 at 10:06 AM.

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