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Perhaps the dumbest question of the month

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Old 08-08-2012, 06:36 AM
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70x7
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Default Perhaps the dumbest question of the month

Noobie alert!!!

I recently upgraded from a 3 channel trainer to a 4 channel. Everything is going great, but I'm just wondering-am I supposed to be flying using all four channels?? It seems I can make the airplace do whatever I want (at this phase, anyway) by using only elevator, ailerons, and throttle, which is essentially a 3 channel airplane, with just different channels.

What am I missing?

I've tried combining rudder with aileron and really don't see much difference in the flight characteristics. Is aileron/rudder combo just a really advanced thing to do? Am I doing something wrong to only use ailerons?

Please don't tell me what a dumb question this is (I already realize that distinct possibility).
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Old 08-08-2012, 06:50 AM
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j.duncker
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Default RE: Perhaps the dumbest question of the month

Nope good question.

Lots of models that I flew would only require rudder on takeoff and steering on the ground after landing [ and stall turns ]

A few large biplanes looked better in the air when rudder and ailerons were used together on turns. But they flew fine using ailerons only.

The only time I felt I definitely needed rudder as well was when flying high aspect ratio gliders.
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Old 08-08-2012, 07:10 AM
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Default RE: Perhaps the dumbest question of the month

Hi!
You just discovered that side rudder isn't neccessary!
But...You use it whenever you want to do more precise manuvers, and at take off ofcourse. And when you want to do 3D manuvers.
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Old 08-08-2012, 08:03 AM
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Default RE: Perhaps the dumbest question of the month

I take it you're hand launching.

Rudder controls the turning of themodel on the ground and, once in the air, it controls yaw (side-to-side attitude). Ailerons control roll and elevator controls pitch (up-and-down attitude). You can get by as you noted, but adding the third component allows much more control. You're not going to do wingover turns or much knife-edge without rudder. ;-)

Note also that some models fly without ailerons just on rudder and elevator.
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Old 08-08-2012, 08:05 AM
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Default RE: Perhaps the dumbest question of the month



That's acutally a very good question, and one that I had when I was first learning to fly. 

I agree with everyone else here.  I've been flying smaller size planes for years and I've never really used the rudder on any of them, except for take-off, landing, and taxiing.  You certainly wouldn't want to be in a full-size plane without some rudder input (it gives the awkward sensation of your back-end falling inside the turn and you don't have quite the correct view from the pilot's seat).  But as long as you can control the plane alright don't worry about over-complicating things just yet.  Practice with it when you get more experience and see what happens.  There are some 3D maneuvers that you can only perform with the correct amount of rudder, but they usually require a more advanced plane.

The same thing also applies to flaps, should you ever upgrade to a plane that has them.  If you can get the landings correct without using the flaps, they aren't really required either.  However, I will add that I do prefer having flaps and regularly use the rudder on my larger size planes.

Good luck!

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Old 08-08-2012, 08:44 AM
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Default RE: Perhaps the dumbest question of the month

I learned to fly with a Sr. Telemaster, great plane!! I kept asking my basic instructor about the rudder and all I was told was to use it for take off and roll out after landing. About a year later I had an advanced instructor and finally learned what and when the rudder was used. Today I give flying very little thought, the plane just does what I want. I use the rudder constantly.
I still love flying three channel planes but my first electric I set up with rudder and throttle on the left stick and elevator on the right. First thing, I had to think of everything I wanted the plane to do. I almost hit the fields lights a couple of times then was flying inside those huge power lines!! I got the plane back to me and landed. As soon as I got home I set up my radio so I had elevator and rudder on the right stick so I could fly the plane like it had ailerons.
You can fly a plane with just aileron and elevator but the plane is a lot smoother with using all three controls. My advanced instructor had me using the rudder right away, now it's second nature and I do it without thought.
It also helps to have a pattern pilot teaching you how to fly correctly.
I teach new pilots the same way my basic instructor taught me but after solo I start teaching the new pilot like I was taught by my advanced instructor. The plane type also counts a lot in how and what I teach. I was into Fun Fly type of planes right after my solo. Nothing about them is precision but they will do everything, I think the Up-Roar and Dazzler type of plane is still a nice learning tool. If the new pilot is into ARFs I lead them over to the little 40 size GP Kaos. It is a true precision plane that will do everything and do it smoothly!!
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Old 08-08-2012, 09:12 AM
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Default RE: Perhaps the dumbest question of the month

Yeah, most of the guys I fly with only use rudder to takeoff and taxi while on the ground with their 4 channel planes. Personally, I prefer to think of the right aileron/rudder stick as the "direction" stick, not aileron on a 4 channel or rudder on a 3 channel. To me, it doesn't really matter what I am using to turn with, it's the use of the correct stick that counts.
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Old 08-08-2012, 10:45 AM
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Default RE: Perhaps the dumbest question of the month

Yea, I should have specified: I am hand launching. The only place I have to land/take off is a gravel driveway. It works with my 3 channel (big wheels) but my new 4 channel has tiny little wheels that just can't do the rocks, so I just took the gear off for now.

That's what I suspected, that rudder is used alot on the ground, and ads more control and smoothness in the air, but for now, I seem to be able to put the plane where I want it with no rudder, so I guess I'll fly this way for awhile and try to add in rudder as I get better.

Thanks

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Old 08-08-2012, 11:16 AM
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Default RE: Perhaps the dumbest question of the month

DEAR:70x7

The three channel that you came from is right . The new four channel is not ailerons/elevator/ruder. The four channels are AILERONS/ELEVATOR/RUDDER/MOTOR.

For the question of using the rudder with ailerons is totaly up to you.As stated above, some ppl use the aileron rudder combo for taking off and landing. Most ppl use that combo for some sport flying aswell as 3d flying.If you feel comfortable using the rudder the way you are.... use it.
That is what makes this hobby interesting, not one control is the same. WHat i mean by that is that everyone has they own way of flying the plane and the settings for the controller
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Old 08-08-2012, 01:07 PM
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Default RE: Perhaps the dumbest question of the month

Rudder &aileron = coordinated turns, where as rudder and/or aileron alone, will not.
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ORIGINAL: nitro208ca

DEAR:70x7

The three channel that you came from is right . The new four channel is not ailerons/elevator/ruder. The four channels are AILERONS/ELEVATOR/RUDDER/MOTOR.

For the question of using the rudder with ailerons is totaly up to you.As stated above, some ppl use the aileron rudder combo for taking off and landing. Most ppl use that combo for some sport flying aswell as 3d flying.If you feel comfortable using the rudder the way you are.... use it.
That is what makes this hobby interesting, not one control is the same. WHat i mean by that is that everyone has they own way of flying the plane and the settings for the controller
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Old 08-08-2012, 01:08 PM
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Default RE: Perhaps the dumbest question of the month

There are two things at the beginner level that rudder is necessary for. The first is making straight shots down the runway. I don't mean passing over the general area where you plan to land, but flying in an arrow straight line exactly where you need to. Aileron turns are way too slow to make the small corrections you'll need for that, so the rudder will become your best friend. The other is controlling the plane is significant wind. When you're flying crosswind, the nose will turn into the wind naturally while the wing rolls away from it. Obviously, you'll correct the roll with the ailerons, but if you don't also cross-control with the rudder you'll wind up turning the plane into the wind every time. Once you move beyond flying circuits, you'll need to feed in some right rudder if you ever want to do a perfectly vertical loop or any other maneuver that requires flying upwards, as well as making rolls track properly.
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Old 08-08-2012, 03:35 PM
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Default RE: Perhaps the dumbest question of the month

G'day

As you have found, most trainers will turn without the rudder but they turn better with a little.

But wait until you get something like a Decathlon. Long wing, short fuselage and a tail dragger - in short "close coupled". It absolutely demands you use the rudder to keep it pointed in the right direction both on the ground and in the air and to stop its tail hanging in turns and the plane running wide. I found this out the hard way. It also liked to wander all over the place on landing without the rudder to keep it on line. I also have a Senior Telemaster that will do this too though not as badly.

Welcome to the world of the rudder. Many people never get there.

Mike in Oz
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Old 08-08-2012, 04:47 PM
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Default RE: Perhaps the dumbest question of the month

In order to fly good aerobatics rudder is the most important surface on the airplane. Nice rolls, point rolls, rolling circles, strait lines ect are all impossible without the use of rudder. Most days just going from one end of the field to another without coming in or out requires the use of rudder. In fact while flying an IMAC or Pattern sequence, the rudder rarely sees nuetral.
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Old 08-08-2012, 04:49 PM
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Default RE: Perhaps the dumbest question of the month

The moment a Newb gets on the controls of a Cub you can tell they don't know how to use the rubber. There are a number of planes that require the coordinated turn. My last trainer was very rudder sensitive, if you used it you better have known how. That was a good plane for students to learn with. I have always told my students to go play with the rudder after they soloed, while still on the buddy box I would teach them how to coordinate a turn but usually after the solo. Once a student soloed I would give them my TX and the trainer and let them fly it until they got there own plane. I have only lost one trainer to a student accident.
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Old 08-08-2012, 07:40 PM
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Default RE: Perhaps the dumbest question of the month

Oh boy....incoming.....
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Old 08-09-2012, 04:08 AM
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Default RE: Perhaps the dumbest question of the month

Guess I must have done it the hard way. I learned on a 3 channel glider (rudder, elevator, throttle) that I built, and not knowing any better, I put the rudder on the left stick. I learned just fine, and wouldn't recommend doing it the other way. I have found with most planes that rudder turns behave differently than aileron turns, despite the fact they accomplish the same goal. Early on in my flying, this allowed me to save an aircraft from serious damage when an aileron servo lead got a short that caused intermittent function. Had I been smart enough to stay off the ailerons, I might have got the plane back with no damage, as they would have centered on the next moment of function. Rudder still gave me enough control to make a controlled crash.
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Old 08-09-2012, 06:15 AM
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Default RE: Perhaps the dumbest question of the month

My instructor told me that rudder would come naturally to me. He was correct, never realized how much rudder I use until a couple of weeks ago I flew a 3 channel without rudder.
No you don't have to use rudder, if you start a turn with ailerons and then add rudder you will have to reduce the aileron input alot.
I can't think of a single aerobatic manuver that doesn't require some rudder input, even a loop, depending on the winds.
A good pratice for learning rudder is a flat turn where you start with rudder then add opposite aileron to keep the turn flat, or a skid.
Like everything else rudder requires pratice.
Good Luck
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Old 08-09-2012, 07:16 PM
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Default RE: Perhaps the dumbest question of the month

It's a bit like understeer and oversteer on a car. Most cars and times you don't have to think about it. But for fast and accurate driving it's important to be know.

Some planes just naturally keep leaning into the turn when you bank them (like the Piper Pawnee) and the rudder is used more to initiate a turn and to counter your bank angle. Most planes tend to 'understeer' and can use rudder to help them turn a bit tighter and to keep them tracking straight when there is some cross wind. 
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Old 08-09-2012, 07:19 PM
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Default RE: Perhaps the dumbest question of the month

I'll echo what many have said in that you don't "need" rudder at this stage. However, if you plan on staying in the hobby and advancing, its a good idea to "grow up" using rudder and start getting used to it as soon as you're comfortable, so that it becomes second nature to you. I've seen some pilots that never got used to rudder, and it gets to be obvious. When you first learn to fly, your mind is going a million miles a minute, so it can be overwhelming to deal with all that in the beginning. But after you can take your plane up and breathe, you might as well start using it in turns and such. In some models, as you said, it doesn't seem like it does a whole lot. But in others, especially precision, aerobatic and 3D aircraft, the effect from the rudder is much more pronounced.
The good thing is, when flying, as you experiment with rudder to get used to it (you give too much or wrong direction) its probably the most forgiving of control surfaces for errors. I feel it can only help to have it...worst case scenario is you don't touch it. But at least its there if you want to use it. And if you are ever going to fly anything beyond basic circles and occasional loops and rolls that you don't really care what they look like, learning the rudder is inevitable. As was mentioned, aerobatics and 3D will certainly rely heavily on rudder skills. Good luck to you.
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Old 08-10-2012, 12:18 AM
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Default RE: Perhaps the dumbest question of the month

You dont need the rudder to begin with but get used to it soon. You need it to correct the landing in a crosswind or if you have botched the landing. I learnt this the hard way on my Tiger 40 low wing when I landed in a crowd and had to go and catch the airplane at high speed to prevent it hitting someone (throttle cut didnt work due to setup issues)

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Old 08-10-2012, 05:46 AM
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Default RE: Perhaps the dumbest question of the month

I find I use a lot of rudder, mostly for lining up for landings, but also for nice smooth turns with shallow bank.  Rudder is also fun to get the plane tumbling all over the sky![8D]
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Old 08-10-2012, 07:19 AM
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Default RE: Perhaps the dumbest question of the month

On some designs using the rudder is absolutely necessary. Yesterday was training night and I saw guy around 20 years old (the very worst age to try and teach anything to) fighting a foamy Cessna all over the field. He was doing bank and yank turns and sideslipping the plane every time, and cartwheeled it in on his landing attempt because he was trying to do aileron turns to get the plane headed down the middle of the runway. How this guy has soloed is beyond me, but that's another rant for another day. I tried to give him some pointers, all of which included, "use the rudder for that." He was too intent on playing with his toy to really listen, so he got the plane back upright and tried another one of those bank and yank turns about 10 feet off the ground just after takeoff and dorked it in. This time be bent the motor shaft so he was done for the day. Then I came to find out he had already wrecked a big foamy biplane, probably doing the same thing.

The point: your rudder skills are the next thing to develop once you are capable of making a circuit around the field without getting upside down. Proper rudder use makes a plane so much more predictable and controllable you'll find your enjoyment of the hobby increases dramatically when you add it into your repertoire.
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Old 08-10-2012, 11:51 AM
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Default RE: Perhaps the dumbest question of the month

Thanks for all the input, guys.
It makes total sense that the rudder lines up the plane to the runway when close to the ground.
As for some of the comments that adding rudder allows a more coordinated and "quicker" turn...it's hard to imagine this plane turning any quicker than it does with only ailerons. To my beginner thumbs, it seems to turn on a dime if I like (I'm comparing this to my 3 channel, which would turn quick, but would also stall if I turned too sharp). I can also do a slower (more real to life) turn using only ailerons. I guess this is a characteristic of this plane, and as I get more advanced, other models will require more precise input from me. Right now. I'm happy to keep it in the sky. Loops and a little inverted is about all I'm brave enough to try so far, but I'll experiment with adding rudder into the aileron turns and one day I'll be doing more advanced stuff.

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