Big Art's Tips for a Better Pattern
Takeoff to Level Flight
As the rule book states, a one quarter lap roll is all that is necessary for a good takeoff. A long roll is impressive, yet is not correct. Fly up to face high and set your level flight there because the judges will be looking for and expecting all your bottoms to be at this height.
This is the maneuver that gets the attention of the judges. The first climb should be just before reaching the upwind side of the circle. This makes it easier for the inverted climb to exit.
Round Loops, Square Loops, & Triangle Loops
For these maneuvers, you must be in the middle and 180 degrees from the judges. This gives you a better view of the shape and also allows the judges to see what you have done.
Horizontal Round Eights
It is very important in this maneuver that you don 't put a vertical climb in the intersection This gives it the impression of being two "D's" and that is incorrect A simple touch in the center is sufficient.
Horizontal Square Eight
This is one of the more challenging maneuvers. Counting between the comers helps greatly because it gives you a cadence. If the wind is blowing, don't hurry. Just give it more room.
The first mistake in this maneuver is start too low. It must be started face high and in front of you. Otherwise, the bottom loop will be too big and cause you to fly a flat in the transition from inside to outside.
The first turn of this maneuver is the most critical. The most common mistake is not to climb up, but to climb out. Fly this maneuver over your shoulders. The second turn must go straight across the top, not back. Doing this will make the airplane go through clean.
In your climb, wait until the airplane reaches near 45 degrees before you tilt your head back. Follow the airplane up and it will take you overhead. The most common mistake is to fly this maneuver in front of not over your head.
Four Leaf Clover
The size arid placement of the first loop is the most important part of this maneuver. Your success with this maneuver depends on the first loop. It must not be too big! Try 10 get the left edge of the loop in the middle of your body. Starting the loop before you get downwind will help. Most people let the edge of the first loop go past the center of their body and end up flying through it with the second loop.
-Fly all your maneuvers in front of you and the judges!
-Be in the middle and fly in front of the judges!
It is very important to take a walk around and check over your flight area. This gives you a chance to see if there are any inconsistences on the surface that you need to know about Also, if you have the time, watch a few flights before hand to see how the judges are moving with changing wind conditions.
BASICS OF CONTROL
by Art Adamisin with contributions from the Adamisin Family
Controline Precision Aerobatics can be one of the most demanding and intimidating events in modeling. It combines man and machine in a dedicated effort to achieve. There is no measure of success except at the whim of subjectivity. Why do we do it? 'Cause if it was easy, it wouldn't be nearly as much fun and the rewards would be meager!
The challenge of stunt is that so many elements have to come together in order to be successful. It is not just a building event, though building straight and light is mandatory. It is not just a finish event but attractive, well-finished models are usually rewarded. It is not a brute horsepower event, though a powerful and dependable engine is essential. It is a mental event but you can't "think" your way to the top. And finally, contrary to what others may have told you, it is not just a flying event because ALL of the elements mentioned above must be in place simply to participate; and the best flyers don't always do their homework!
So where do we start? By first acknowledging the controllable factors from those out of your control. You can control your equipment, your practice habits, and your attitude. You cannot control the weather, the contest site or the judges, but you can be prepared for them!
Obviously, this relates to the airplane you use. If you have been using a certain engine type with success, then it is probably a good idea to pick an airplane to fit the engine too! Whatever engine, it must be powerful, controllable and dependable. Remember that power isn't gauged by what the engine can develop for one or two flights or even one out of two flights; the power of the engine is the power that is available EVERY flight! For that reason, it is a good idea to plan on getting two of them! Break them both in and try to make them interchangeable. If engine number 1 gives up the ghost (or maybe just starts acting squirrely). You can swap it for your backup with as little loss of practice time as possible. Scenario number 2, you bum up an engine in your first round flight and have to switch in the middle of a contest; wouldn't it give you a nice feeling of confidence to know that the backup is ready to use?
What should I build?
Back when we started flying stunt in 1963, we had Noblers, Chiefs, and Aries with Fox 35's. Since then we've experimented with I-beam wings, planked wings, sparless wings, foam wings, plug-in wings, bolt-on wings, high aspect ratio wings, semi-scales, jets, classics, self-neutralizing bellcranks, V- Tails, T-Tails, thin flaps, thick flaps, flaps blended with the airfoil, thin stabs, thick stabs, built-up stabs, foam stabs, fuselage-mounted landing gear, wing mounted gear, torsion bars, aluminum gear, tail draggers, trikes, mono-shock, tandem gear, retracting gear, gear for grass, gear for pavement, fuselages without doublers, built-in fuel tanks, removable tanks, two-bladed props, three-bladed props, (the four-blader hasn't been flown yet), aluminum engine mounts, firewall mounts, dope finishes, epoxy finishes, polyurethane finishes and even Monocote. We have dared to be different and most of the ideas have worked. But even the ones that didn't, helped to improve the breed. We have proven to our-selves that we can make anything fly. What we hope to pass on to you is the fruits of our quarter century of experimentation and innovation.
This may sound funny coming from that background I just described where we almost NEVER built what could be described as a "normal" airplane; but that's what I am going to recommend! Why? Because there isn't really a lot of difference in all of the top airplanes and that at least, initially, your emphasis should be on establishing your competence. Want to learn something? Compare as many of the top stunters as you care to, they will fall into a relatively small band of variation. Why is that? Because everybody is watching the other guy and selectively "borrowing" for his own "original" creation. Besides, the physics involved basically dictate the limits on how far we can really push the aerodynamics and still achieve credible performance. Just remember, whatever you build must be straight.
Starting with a new airplane.
A while back, someone made some to do about something called "Bench Trimming." Don't know exactly what that means unless they wanted a work bench that would turn a five foot radius comer! We would prefer to think that the model should never leave the workshop until it is as right as it can be prior to test flying.
While the airplane is being trimmed, you should gradually work your way up to complete patterns but don't force your way into it. Put a stop watch on the early flights just to make sure you are consistently getting enough flight time. A pattern typically takes about 5 1/2 minutes. If your engine is not running at least six minutes, then you are probably not going to have enough time. If the engine is running over seven minutes, then it is running too long, but you can fine tune that later. Does the engine quit cleanly at the end or does it sputter for several taps before quitting? The sputtering time is useless for flying but it does add to your time aloft. I never try a pattern per se until I am very confident that the airplane will do it. That means that the wings must be leveled, the engine runs the same speed upright and inverted, the balance point is at least fairly close and the leadout location and tip weight, are safe. Once these factors are under control, then start doing maneuvers and check for signs of "sqirreliness". Start with round loops, inverted flight, squares, round eights, vertical eights, square eights, overheads etc. Keep doing more challenging maneuvers. Usually the last maneuver I try is the reverse wingover. Basically, everything has to be working right to do a good wingover! Actually, all of the above can usually be attained pretty quickly; we usually have a pattern within the first half-dozen flights. The airplane will let you know when it is ready. Just don't force it.
Once you begin doing patterns, take your time honing them in. Start by doing the maneuver shapes as accurately as you can, and as you get comfortable with the airplane start brining in the tine points like sizes and bottoms. No sense in pranging the airplane because the pilot or airplane were not yet ready!
Once the airplane is flying well, then STOP TRIMMING FOR A WHILE! I have seen dozens of flyers take airplanes with good potential, trim them out to be great flying airplanes, and then continue trimming them out until they are mediocre! Besides: the only way you can tell how a stunt plane flies is to do stunt patterns.
How do we practice?
We keep hearing about golfers and baseball players who use a technique called PREVISUALQATION to improve their game. Well, it works for stunt flyers too. Simply put, it means flying and reflying the pattern over and over in your mind so that you know what it looks like subconsciously, then flying it that way when you get to the field. Conversely, if you fly something badly at field then it stands out in your mind the instant you make the mistake. Ideally, you should have someone helping you and watching every flight. If that is not possible for every flight, then at least get some time so you can visualize what you are doing when you have to fly alone.
This may sound like sacrilege but most flyers make the mistake of practicing too much! Not just the number of flights but the number of flights in a given flying session. If you are flying more than 4-6 flights in a given flying session, then you are wasting your time! You get physically tired and mentally tired, and you only end up practicing mistakes.
You will be far better off to have fewer flights in more sessions than to have a lot of flights every now and then. Remember, we are trying to build in an intuitive reflex for flying the pattern. It you are not showing improvement in a short flying session, then you are not taking your practice time seriously.
You should practice consecutively (i.e. don't take unnecessary risks) but never lackadaisically. You need to treat each flight like it is the final round at the NATS. You should be practicing everything that you do on contest day: spot where the wind is, learn how to start the motor, how you walk to the center, how you set yourself for takeoff, making you hand signal etc. Time your flights the way they will be at the contest; from signal to roll out. You should be between 6:15 and 6:45; if you are running short then you better practice being faster off the ground. If longer, then start measuring fuel. Remember, it is not just practice, it is a rehearsal!
When you get to a contest, you should not need a practice flight; you SHOULD have been practicing at home! All of your spare time at the contest should be spent getting yourself mentally prepared for the task at hand. Think about your practice sessions and the corrections that you have made and need to make. Keep reflying that perfect flight in your mind. You have been practicing conservatively but now every flight is like the final round at the NATS. Feeling butterflies? No problem, that only means that you are serious about what you are doing.
Now is when your rehearsals in your practice sessions are going to pay off. Start preparing a couple of flights in advance so you will be ready when it is your turn. Do everything you can exactly the same as you practiced. Look professional from the time you leave the pits to get over to the circle. Note the wind direction and choose your takeoff position. You do not need to hurry, but you need not be wasting time either.
Pay attention to the flyers ahead of you in the flight lineup. Watch how they are flying with respect to the wind and decide how you are going to lineup on it. If hey are having trouble, or don't start or something like that, you will have to fly earlier. DON'T LET YOURSELF BE FORCED INTO A PANIC SITUATION.
Take a deep breath to steady yourself, the stage is yours. Don't just fly; give the judges a presentation of the flight you visualized.
Your fright doesn't end until you have landed, returned to the pits, and secured your equipment for the next round. If you are serious, you are probably soaking with sweat. If it is just another flight, then reexamine your commitment! Again refly the flight In your mind. What did you see? What did you feel was good or bad? Why did you blow that bottom or intersection? Figure it out now while it is still fresh In your mind, and figure out how to overcome these problems In the next round.
Now to clear up a myth. A number of flyers claim that they were able to score better after changing their style to fit what the judges were buying. Well, given that we we've only been involved with stunt for a quarter century, we can tell you that it just doesn't happen that way. What some-times happens is that the flyer started thinking about what he was doing and simply concentrated better his next flight! Besides, there isn't any category for style in the stunt pattern. The requisites for the pattern are dearly spelled out in the rule book. Flyers should be duplicating rule book descriptions of the maneuvers and judges should be measuring the flyer's execution to the rule book standard. Anything less than that is simply wrong.
We are trying to impress on you that stunt is a demanding event that requires total commitment. There is no time for other modeling interests, or other outside activities. This commitment is difficult to achieve for any amount of time and extremely difficult to sustain for the long term. Your success, however you choose to measure it, or the degree of success you are happy with, is up to you.
I have decided to write this paper to all of my new found friends. I have seen a lot of simple mistakes that flyers are making that are costing them many points. I realize that there are many people who don't have close contact with one another for coaching. That makes this paper all the more important.
Here it goes.
First, prepare mentally then start your engine. Second, fly your best and concentrate. Third and finally, walk off like you came on, with an air of confidence. Fini!
Big Art Adamisin
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