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Jan 12, 2022, 12:08 PM
Registered User
Captain Dunsel's Avatar
Thread OP
Question

What are "Flight Modes" and why are they used?


Honestly, I've never used flight modes, despite having been flying R/C for over 50 years. I'm looking for a new transmitter (to augment my Spektrum DX-9) and I'm trying to decide what qualities I need in a transmitter.

I'm not anti-technology (I say as I type on my Linux/Ubuntu laptop); I just don't understand what all the interest is in 'flight modes'.

CD
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Jan 12, 2022, 05:14 PM
Ronaldo Nogueira
ronaldopn's Avatar
Good question, I also had no idea of what it was but found the video below which provided some enlightenment.
As a 3D/XA pilot I still see no reason to use flight modes, actually I don't even use rates (I fly in full rates from take off till landing) but I can understand it may be useful for some other types of flying.
Ronaldo
(11/12) FrSky TARANIS Radio – Using Flight Modes and Global Variables (GV/GVR) (13 min 54 sec)
Jan 12, 2022, 06:13 PM
Registered User
Captain Dunsel's Avatar
Thread OP
Thank you, Ronaldo, but I can't get the video to run on my computer as it freezes Firefox.

I did some more Googling today and found what I think is an explanation of Flight Modes, written by Andy Kunz and posted by someone I think was a flying friend back in 1975-78 time frame.

https://www.lakesawyerhawks.org/all_..._tech_tips.php

Honestly, I don't see why my wife and I would need flight modes. We're simple sport fliers, we haven't had a model with retracts since 1983, nor do we use flaps.

CD

CD
Jan 12, 2022, 06:55 PM
Ronaldo Nogueira
ronaldopn's Avatar
Thanks, kind of what I was imagining, not really applicable to my flying style.
I simply don't like the idea and I don't think I would have time to flip switches during flight.
I do use a couple of mixes and curves but they are all fixed (not tied to a switch).
Ronaldo
Jan 12, 2022, 07:22 PM
Registered User
Captain Dunsel's Avatar
Thread OP
We tried dual rates shortly after they first became available, but neither one of us liked the idea of having to reach for a switch whilst simultaneously trying to hold onto the control sticks (Note that I apply trims for her and she applies them for me -- we're used to working as a team). So, I just adjust throws so we're both comfortable with a model and we go with that.

Likewise, when we want the stabilizer on, we turn it on before takeoff and turn it off after reaching a safe altitude (it's on an E-Flite Cub 450, which is a pretty stable model to begin with).

Thank you for helping me,

CD
Jan 12, 2022, 09:33 PM
tic
tic
thunderscreech
tic's Avatar
You might have a plane that will be configured one way for thermal fight and another way for speed flight.. In this case having to re-trim is more work than flipping a switch to change modes and then having to trim again going back from high speed flight to low speed or thermal flight
Jan 12, 2022, 11:11 PM
If it flies, I can crash it.
rocketsled666's Avatar
Yeah. If you're just flying sport airplanes, you don't really need Flight Modes. But if you're flying helis or quads or sailplanes, Flight Modes can be very handy. It means exactly what it sounds like it means - you flick a switch and the model is configured for different flight characteristics. Flight Modes give you a way to reconfigure things like mixes and channel ranges (and for helis, pitch and throttle curves) with the flick of a single switch. For the most part, you can do the same things with multiple switches (provided your radio has enough), but obviously being able to make all the changes with a single switch is a better way to do it.

Multirotors, and for the most part helis, and to a slightly lesser extent airplanes all have flight controllers nowadays. Flight controllers usually implement their own concept of "flight modes" and they're selected using a single channel/switch and the TX doesn't need to do anything special.

I'd almost be willing to bet that any modern computer radio you might buy today (something with multi-model capability and a built-in display) will support Flight Modes. It's just software. Doesn't really cost more to include it (though of course, that doesn't keep them from charging more. But I don't think any do).
Jan 13, 2022, 09:51 AM
Registered User
Captain Dunsel's Avatar
Thread OP
Yes, it sounds like it's just software we have no use for. Our gliders are standard REM stuff (like a Sensoar or Gentle Lady with a motor) and the rest of what we fly are all simple sport planes.

We've been using a DX9 for several years, but never used flight modes (nor expo or dual rates). I'm looking to get a backup Spektrum transmitter, so I started going through the DX9 to pick out what we actually use as a beginning requirements list.

CD
Jan 13, 2022, 10:14 AM
That thing almost hit me
Tahoed's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Dunsel
We tried dual rates shortly after they first became available, but neither one of us liked the idea of having to reach for a switch whilst simultaneously trying to hold onto the control sticks (Note that I apply trims for her and she applies them for me -- we're used to working as a team). So, I just adjust throws so we're both comfortable with a model and we go with that.

Likewise, when we want the stabilizer on, we turn it on before takeoff and turn it off after reaching a safe altitude (it's on an E-Flite Cub 450, which is a pretty stable model to begin with).

Thank you for helping me,

CD
In all my years of flying, I've never found a safe altitude. Flight modes come in handy for some of my sailplanes.
Last edited by Tahoed; Jan 13, 2022 at 10:22 AM.
Jan 13, 2022, 10:42 AM
tic
tic
thunderscreech
tic's Avatar
I was at a "safe altitude" when I lost sight of my expensive hotliner and had a fly away.. I tried different flight modes but nothing helped
Jan 13, 2022, 10:47 AM
That thing almost hit me
Tahoed's Avatar
You apparently forgot to program the "Get back here" mode.

On a more serious note, the majority of fliers don't need flight modes, dual rates, or throttle curves.
Last edited by Tahoed; Jan 13, 2022 at 10:57 AM.
Jan 13, 2022, 02:30 PM
Intermediate Multi
Trisquire's Avatar
Some of the aerobatic foamie guys use dual rates when switching from pattern to 3D type maneuvers. Pattern doesn't require as much throw.
Jan 13, 2022, 06:30 PM
Registered User
Captain Dunsel's Avatar
Thread OP
Maybe it's because we've been flying R/C since the 70's (I soloed in 71, my wife soloed in 76), but we both learned to fly the model, not the transmitter. We don't like to take our hands off the sticks to flip switches, nor do we see a need to change control sensitivity whilst flying. We've tried expo and rejected it as being too sloppy around neutral. So, most of the extra 'gimmicks' on the newer breed of transmitters are superfluous for us.

I wish someone would produce a transmitter that had the following:

5 to 7 channels
10 to 20 memories (to allow multiple models on one transmitter)
Lipo battery
2 to 3 mixes (to allow rudder/aileron mixing, aileron differential)

CD
Jan 13, 2022, 07:09 PM
Intermediate Multi
Trisquire's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Dunsel
..............nor do we see a need to change control sensitivity whilst flying....................
Doing pattern style maneuvers with extreme throws would be counterproductive. Doing 3D without extreme throws would be impossible. Of course, no one insists that you've got to do both in the same flight. You could always change control sensitivity mechanically between flights.
Jan 13, 2022, 08:21 PM
tic
tic
thunderscreech
tic's Avatar
I have resisted getting a new radio for many years.. My current radio doesn't have telemetry but it DOES have flight modes and I do use them. I have a "launch mode" for my F5B glider. It has a long delay on power up so all 6,000 watts don't come on instantly. It also has a little right aileron to counter the torque on launch and a little up elevator.. Once up and away I flip a switch to a different flight mode which has no delay on the motor, neutral EL and AI trim.. It would be scary to fly it without a launch mode and since the motor throttle is on the spring loaded trainer switch, I can't feed in power manually


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