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Newbe to pattern flying could use some propeller sizing advice

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Old 09-22-2017, 05:40 PM
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lamarkeiko
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Default Newbe to pattern flying could use some propeller sizing advice

I will be flying in my first Sportsman 401 contest tomorrow and I would like a little information and advice on how to choose the proper size prop. I have been thinking that it would be best to lean towards a longer prop with less pitch to give more pull with less speed. Tomorrow I will be flying a BTE Venture with a Thunder Tiger Pro 61 engine. Right now I have a Master Airscrew 12 X 6 Scimitar installed. I have plenty of other size props, but I really don't know where I should start. I'd appreciate some size recommendations, and also why so I may have a better understanding.

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Old 09-22-2017, 06:29 PM
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speedracerntrixie
 
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For a sport .61 glow engine I really like the APC 13x6. It just seems to have a good combination of speed and pull.

That being said, as long as you have enough pull, the sportsman sequence is not really all that power hungry. You will most likely have more issues with flying in too close and making your box too small. When that happens you start rushing through the sequence and your scores suffer. The next thing I see all the time is guys not defining their lines. Whenever you pull to either a 45 degree line or a vertical line you need to lock into that line and hold it there for 3 seconds or more. Take the Cobra roll for example. Enter the maneuver perfectly level, note that wings level will actually appear that thenoutside wing is low. Next pull up to a 45 degree line and lock it in. As the airplane gets close to center, back off the power some. When the airplane gets dead center, pull off a little more power and push to a 45 degree downline. The downline will be at about 1/4 power. Maintain your line with rudder throughout. It will be rather painful at first but by the end of the weekend you will see how much better you are flying. If you haven't hooked up with an experienced pattern guy yet make sure to talk with the CD prior to the pilots meeting so he can get someone to give you a hand. Don't worry about the scores for the first couple of rounds, just concentrate on flying more defined each round and the scores will take care of themselves. Good luck and most of all have fun.
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Old 09-23-2017, 06:37 AM
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Speed is giving you the keys to your first contest. I would only add it is a bad idea to change things right before a contest. Fly what your used to. I make dramatic changes during winter. This s gives me time to figure out a new feel. Smaller changes I may make in season but just after a contest when I have a few weeks to see if it is desired. Pattern is all about consistent accurate flying. Getting a mentor will pay off dividends in the future. Also please have fun. You won't improve if it is only work. It won't be work if f you enjoy it.
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Old 09-24-2017, 06:00 AM
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lamarkeiko
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Thanks guys for the replies back. I had 3 flights yesterday, and I have done much better in practice at my own club field. This pattern event is at a unfamiliar field to me and that did give me some problems, along with extra jitters since I've never did this before. I get 2 more flights today, so I hope I can apply a little experience from yesterday to improve my scores. I'll stick with the prop I've been using. As far as flying further out, that is something I really need to work on. The judges did mention that to me. I was out of the box on a couple maneuvers, and flying further out would help that. My local club field where I have done all of my practicing has a tall tree line straight across, and to the right which has made me practice closer in, and all my landings have to come from the left. Yesterdays wind conditions required all landings from the right, which did give me more problems with lining up the runway.

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Old 09-24-2017, 06:57 AM
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You survived your first day of pattern competition. IMO this means you are flying better then 80% of the guys in your club. I'm sure that you have learned enough to put your brain in overload. It does get easier as far as the logistics go but as you move up in class of course the flying gets more difficult and the judges start getting more nit picky. I have not been to the Medford contest as of yet but would like to. I hear it's a real nice place. I do expect that a couple of my pattern buddies are there though. Sean Mearsh and Lawrence Tougas should be there.

I sincerely hope that you are hooked and will continue competitive flying. I think you may have already found out that you brought a knife to a gun fight. When it is time to upgrade to a more competitive airframe voice around and I'm sure there will be a few options made available. That's what I did and I found a couple 2 meter airplanes that although needed work I was able to get them in the air quite inexpensively. For sportsman and intermediate you just need an airplane that flies straight and will hold a good pace. Heck I may even have one that I can part with to help a new guy out.

One key and this is one I need to work on myself is PRACTICE. Your practice sessions should have a structure to them. Have an experienced pattern pilot watch you and give you feedback. It's sometimes is difficult to hear what your mistakes are as at least for myself, I don't always see what other guys do. When I do listen and apply the feedback my scores usually get better though. You have probably already found out that most guys out there are willing to help you out. Take advantage of the offers.
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Old 09-25-2017, 03:58 PM
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Lamar, I too competed in my first pattern contest this summer. The first couple rounds are always the worst! After that you start to realize that it is just another day of very structured practice with feedback given to help you improve. I had a little help as I used to do a little racing back in the day so while I still had the jitters for my first three rounds They weren't as bad as some of the guys. Still I had that to deal with along with a new field....Just like you had to. It's all part of the game. Don't fret to much and it will get better.

I wish you the best of luck in your endeavors!

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Old 09-26-2017, 08:39 AM
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I just want to give a report of my final 2 flights for Sunday. It didn't work out very well. It was fairly cold Sunday morning just prior to my first flight. I had a hard time just getting my engine started. I had the best take off so far, but as I was just starting my turn, I had a dead stick. I was able to land out in the field with out any damage. I had very little time to retrieve my plane and get ready for my final flight, so I had very little time to try to tune my engine better. I just gave a few clicks of the needle to richen the fuel, but when I got on the runway for my final flight, the engine died when giving throttle. That ended my final flight.
I was a little disappointed because I was confident I could improve my scores from Saturday. I had tuned my engine Saturday afternoon, leaning it out quite a lot after the temp. had warmed up. I think if I had spent time Sunday morning retuning when the temp was cold, I would have been fine. Lessons learned.
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Old 09-26-2017, 05:51 PM
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I'm just going to add this, the faster your plane the straighter it will fly and provided you can keep up with the speed, your pilot workload will be less. At speed a top hat with half rolls can be as simple as pull, roll, pull, throttle off, pull, roll, pull, throttle on, (with appropriate pauses) provided you started out wings level and your 1/2 rolls were ~180 deg.

Slowing that same maneuver down is going to increase your workload. You plane has to be trimmed better, you'll get bounced around by wind more, throttle management is harder and you'll need to be using the rudder more.

Way back in the entry class when doing 3 consecutive rolls, horizontal and 45deg line 1/2 rolls I could get away with just using elevator and the only roll I used rudder in was the slow roll. Now I'm using rudder in every roll (slow and normal, full and part, horizontal and 46/60 deg up/down lines) with the only exception for those in up/down lines.

That being said, as I've improved (?) with my current plane I've gone from 17x13 to 17.5x12.25, to 18.5x12 to now running 19x11, so never be afraid to experiment.

Slower speed gives the pilot more time to think and the plane more time to wander off line....

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Old 09-27-2017, 04:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bjr_93tz View Post
I'm just going to add this, the faster your plane the straighter it will fly and provided you can keep up with the speed, your pilot workload will be less. At speed a top hat with half rolls can be as simple as pull, roll, pull, throttle off, pull, roll, pull, throttle on, (with appropriate pauses) provided you started out wings level and your 1/2 rolls were ~90 deg.

Slowing that same maneuver down is going to increase your workload. You plane has to be trimmed better, you'll get bounced around by wind more, throttle management is harder and you'll need to be using the rudder more.

Way back in the entry class when doing 3 consecutive rolls, horizontal and 45deg line 1/2 rolls I could get away with just using elevator and the only roll I used rudder in was the slow roll. Now I'm using rudder in every roll (slow and normal, full and part, horizontal and 46/60 deg up/down lines) with the only exception for those in up/down lines.

That being said, as I've improved (?) with my current plane I've gone from 17x13 to 17.5x12.25, to 18.5x12 to now running 19x11, so never be afraid to experiment.

Slower speed gives the pilot more time to think and the plane more time to wander off line....

YES all the above is true. I flew my Pulse XT40 with a YS 63 on the nose in my first contest. Everybody at the contest was trying to slow me down to stay in the box. A week later I was flying faster (3/4 to full throttle) and though I would not have been "in the box" the flying was much easier. With a little practice I think the box would be large enough to get away with the faster speed.

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Old 09-28-2017, 07:14 AM
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To reply back on the previous 2 posts about flying faster, The person that has got me started in trying pattern, flies in the advanced category. He has always encouraged me to slow the plane down doing the maneuvers. Prior to my entering my first Sportsman contest, this past summer, I had been practicing doing the Sportsman, flying with a Sbach. This plane did fly much faster, and granted, doing rolls was much better, I had much difficulty completing each maneuver in the sequence because if I was off a little in one maneuver, I would not have time to fully correct my plane for the next, and as you know if you don't start wings level, parallel to the runway or centered, the problems just escalate.
A little over a week before my Sportsman contest I was doing my normal practice with my Sbach, when I decided to try the sequence with my Venture, since I was taking it as a backup plane to the event in case I had some problem with my Sbach. The first time I flew the sequence with my Venture, I was totally surprised at how easy it was to perform all the maneuvers in the sequence. Except for the horizontal roll, all the other maneuvers could be done better. I credit the slower flying plane and slightly larger, giving me more time to make corrections before the following maneuver. I then practiced with that plane for a couple days before the event.
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Old 09-28-2017, 03:23 PM
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Do you fly scored turnaround maneuvers in your Sportsmen schedule?

Over here the Sportmen's schedule has a free turnaround so I try to suggest to the Sportsmen flyers when I'm calling for them (or even judging them) to take their time in the turnaround (if they have the battery capacity) and use it to set themselves up properly for the next pass, otherwise as you say their problems just multiply. I don't mind even if they do an extra few turns at the end of the box to get lined up, but once they start their run in it's game on and deductions o'plenty

In honesty, half reverse cubans and half square loops should be bread and butter turnarounds for Sportmen flyers to practice. The first one brings you back onto line at the same height, the 2nd one gets you from bottom to top (and from top to bottom) with minimum workload. Even practicing a 90/270 degree procedure turn is better than the flat lazy eight habit often carried over from general flying.

You're also correct, some designs are simply easier to fly the pattern with than others..

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Old 09-28-2017, 03:29 PM
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The US NSRCA sportsman sequence is turn-around but has 2 breaks for lining back up. More than speed I would imagne that you might have been flying in. Flying in is the most common item that sets up for a rushed sequence. I fnd that I need to spend a fair amount of time reminding myself what proper distance from runway is.
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Old 09-28-2017, 03:56 PM
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When approached by a new perspective pattern or IMAC pilot for advise, the first thing that I reccomend is that they go and establish straight flight, wings level at about 100 meters out. Then simply do a turn around maneuver at each end until they can do this repeatedly while maintaining the same box depth and altitude. It's a great foundation to then build upon.

Airplane setup is also something that a new pilot needs to learn. If I look at just about any non competitive pilots ailerons I can almost guarantee that the ailerons have unequal throw and differential is not used. That one thing alone makes a huge difference in sportsman. The other thing is that most always use way too much throw.
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Old 09-28-2017, 03:58 PM
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Yes, flying in towards yourself makes life hard, it happens to me on occasion and it makes my life difficult to.

Fortunately there is a centre maneuver or two I can use to push the plane back out a bit without the judges noticing too much. My favorite in P-17 is the the humpty with 3/4 rolls and knife-edge over the top, because you can put a "kink" in the upline during the first 1/4 of the 3/4 roll with a dab of elevator (to come in or go out) and it doesn't stick out like a sore thumb when you do it (even with a smoke trail). A bit of pressure on the elevator stick after the 3/4 roll during the rest of the upline also tends to be hard to spot.

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