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  1. #1
    Don Szczur's Avatar
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    First day of the 2005 Season

    Today officially marks the first day of the 2005 pattern season. Read and understand this- What is done between now and the end of December (i.e., the winter season, at least hear in VA) will heavily weight the outcome results of next season. If you are reading this, try it and next July you will understand exactly what I am saying.

    The first task this evening was to get re-familiarized with the pattern plane. It is a big adjustment going back to a 2 meter after flying a 3 meter since the pattern NATS. Something I learned from watching Quique, Jason and Chip is that they have a significantly higher ground reference plane in their sequence. This makes it more difficult for the judges to detect a small deviation in altitude during horizontal rolling maneuvers, for example. I started off at a higher altitude ok, but found that halfway through the second sequence I was back down on the deck. Old habits are hard to break.

  2. #2
    Don Szczur's Avatar
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    RE: First day of the 2005 Season

    Stall turns.

    The wind yesteday evening was blowing exactly the way that it was at the NATS. In and from the left at about 7 MPH. It blows in just enough that you have to stay on top of it all the time, leaving concentration for just a few seconds results in the airplane drifting in too close.

    I pushed up on the left box, 2 of 4 point rolls, high rates, cut the throttle, and then stall, put the rudder.... oh no! flop! The nose went over into the wind, very dramatically. Even a burst of throttle as the rudder was applied did little. OK, flew through the rest of the sequence. Lined up for the next time through. Ok, 2 of 4 up... Another Flop!
    Now I'm starting to have a minor panic attack. Pull back around, get lined up. This time I'll stall left rather than right (its turning with the wind a bit, but planes like to stall turn left- with the torque of the engine). Another flop! Alright, these guys can talk all day about marginal stall turns. I'd like to see them do one and show me. I go back, get lined up, push, 2 of 4 up. Reduce throttle, and as soon as the plane is ALMOST stopped, add a couple of clicks of throttle, the plane stops (visually) and the throttle keeps a bit of prop blast on the rudder. It comes around well. Only issue is its about 1 wingspan difference. I'll take it. I'll take it. I'll take it. It looks very well, not a pivot on the CG, but it looks well. Wow, so easy to forget how to do these things.

    I land and increase the rudder throw from 130 percent to 140 percent; increasing throw from 1 3/8 inch left, 1 3/8 inch right, to 1 1/2 inch both ways.

    I will say this- the Focus I does stall turn better than the Focus II. Guess it has to do with the amount of fuselage deflection during yaw maneuvers. The Focus II does not yaw much in point rolls, rolling circles, or even in wind correction for that matter. Downside is it resists yaw in a stall turn as well (making them harder to enter). I'll take the tradeoff (the point rolls and wind correction are superior to the Focus I).

    Looking forward to day 3 of practice for the 2005 season...

    Don

  3. #3
    Don Szczur's Avatar
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    RE: First day of the 2005 Season

    Thank you Earl H. Thank you Dean Pappas, Thank you all. The Ziptie. Otherwise known as the Figure Z from the middle. I worked, and worked, and worked last year to get this maneuver to present well. The down angle always seemed to be just a bit too shallow for my eye. And the final 45 degree up line always seemed to end slightly early as I was coming up on center before I got high enough (for the two spins).

    Well, here it is. Start the first radius well before center. If one does not do this, the whole maneuver is offset up wind which puts the 45 degree down line at an awkward position (assuming the top line is centered). I really concentrated on doing this technically correct.

    Anyhow, I did this tonight and it just looked right.

    A little right rudder over the top and its pushing over give some additional room to work with on the down line as well... as its coming down at the bottom, it keeps it from getting too close.

    Michael Hill says that most diamonds are too close at the bottom. Well maybe my Figure Z was a bit close at the bottom as well.

    Anyhow. This is a great time to take the time... and learn before the rush to prepare for the NATS takes place late next Spring.

    Don

  4. #4
    Don Szczur's Avatar
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    RE: First day of the 2005 Season

    In case you are wondering, "Where did I get this advice?" JOIN THE NSRCA! The membership just paid for itself, in the form of the "Judges Corner" column by Don Ramsey. It's tough reading some criticism, but important to learn from these comments to fly correctly in the future. I highly recommend if you want to improve your flying to join at www.nsrca.org

    Don

  5. #5
    Don Szczur's Avatar
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    RE: First day of the 2005 Season

    Ray Morton Joined me for practice today. It was a bit unstable air, but otherwise great day for practice. I gave him all the pointers that I could muster. What did I learn today? Hmmm. yes the first maneuver, its a reverse cuban 8 with 4 of 8 up and 2 of 2 on the second 45. Yes, I think its 1 to 2 points better now. Chip should be proud. Tell Eric I got the first part right now.

    A few things Ray was learning provided some reinforcement. One must keep the throttle at a reasonable setting initailly then go to full throttle at the top and over the back side to carve the radius. At the 1 o'clock position the throttle is reduced so that at 3 o'clock position its at idle and slowing down. I don't put the throttle back on until its on the way back up on the next 45. The result? Good geometry and adequate time allowance to center the 2 of 2. Then its back on the throttle to carve the top half of the next loop segment. Then down to half throttle to exit.

    Stall turn 2 of 4 up. Ray showed what I knew. Have to make the first radius tight, hugged up against the box edge. Wind was blowing from behind and right. This allowed the plane to drift out some during the stall turn, and a negative snap out positioned the plane well coming down. An equally tight radius down allows enough room for a nice presented straight and level before the 2 of 4 opposites. The goal is to make this nice and pleasing to watch.

    Good day of practice.

    Oh, another one. The Clover leaf. This one is more strategically positioned to allow adequate room for the 45 degree up 4 point roll. Where was I going wrong? On the loop with roll at the top. I was hugging it in, keeping it nice and tight for a pleasant presentation. The problem though was the clover started (and ended) close, resulting in a crimped (short) line before the 45 four point, and quick rolls. Complicating things further was the humpty from the top. Since it starts low (due to the 4 point 45 thing ending lower than really what one needs), the bottom of the humpty seems like its about to clip the trees. Technically correct but not pleasant for the judges to watch. Now, you would think that simply exiting the loop with roll about 5 to 10 meters further out than I was flying would solve all these other problems? Thats right!

    Night.

    Don

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    RE: First day of the 2005 Season

    Don:... Although I don't fly pattern, I do fly IMAC in Unlimited. It is refreshing to read your column & the input that you give can be related to either disciplines. Your time devoted to your column is appreciated. I enjoyed watching & judging at the Don Lowe Masters.
    Wayne

  7. #7
    Don Szczur's Avatar
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    RE: First day of the 2005 Season

    What did I learn today? I don't know. Its been a couple weeks, and it often seems like its like starting over at times. Depth perception. I learned the importance of depth perception. Good hearing also helps with this. Filled eardrums from a recent cold made perceiving depth perception particularly difficlut. There are certain points that you have to become very attuned to with respect to keeping a constant distance out. It takes a good sense of depth perception and quick reaction times. There are some points in the box that are very easy to keep the plane where you want it, others are more difficult. At the top of a triangle rolling loop, for example. The plane is high in the box, just off center, and coming around the top corner to the down line 45 degees makes it really hard to "see" the ground, and the plane with respect to the ground. Today was a unique challenge in a way, because the wind was shifing, very lightly, in and out at different parts of the box. Great day for thermals and sailplane flying though. So, extreme concentration is required to fly pattern in these conditions. One would think this kind of day, light wind, mid '50s would be ideal, however the air is quite unstable this time of the year. Keep the loop out, keep the bottom line of the clover out, keep the back end of the clover out. Actually, the wind changed at that point and it was now blowing downwind with respect to the takeoff direction. Just for a baseline, I flew again just before sunset and it was very much back to normal. The plane required much less concentration to keep it at the required distance.

  8. #8
    Don Szczur's Avatar
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    RE: First day of the 2005 Season

    Rain. Flying in the rain. Not a good thing since its hard on transmitters and such. However, another big factor is rain drops on the glasses making it harder to see. Two items for rainy flying. The transmitter mit, researching into Horizon products for this one, and long "duck bill" hat to wear. Its not normal to fly in the rain, but some competitions in Europe, as I understand it, continue to fly in rain provided there is no lightning.

    Wind and turbulance. It increases closer to the ground. Another good reason to fly higher. It is still difficult flying higher. In order to fly in closer, and have good size maneuvers without going too high at the top of maneuvers, flying lower base of meneuvers seems to be the most natural thing to do for the presentation.

    Presentation... F05 Presentation. Rolling loop looks good in close. The second, third, fourth, and fifth maneuvers are best positioned out further. Its very busy. This gives some time to draw lines between maneuvers. However, soon after that, the spin (bringing it in) to the three of four opposites and the stall turn with 2 of 8 up (bringing it in closer) to finally, the next three maneuvers- starting the rolling circle at about 120 to 130 meters out, exiting close in, and then the half roll, half loop and avalance are all in at about 140 meters as a result. Finally, a box positioning maneuver humpty bump to bring it out and get higher for the top golf ball maneuver.

    Take note... the comment "you're in-and-out" is not necessarily a bad thing at all, but something to think about in terms of best presenting the sequence as a whole. My best one (about my 85 to 90 percent level of effort) got a 997 at the finals. Chip got the 1000. I'll keep this technique.

  9. #9
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    RE: First day of the 2005 Season

    Wayne. Second place at the JR Challenge to open up the first day of the competition. Excellent flying.

    Pattern plane is outside again. I could not remember the maneuves in P05. Lets see, try hard. Cuban 8 with 4 of 8 point rolls, stall turn roll up pos snap down? This does not feel right. Lets see. No lets not see, I can't remember. Like a final exam without studying, its hopeless.

    Now, F05. No problem, rolling loop half diamond with 2 of 4's humpty from the top. Make sure to keep the airspeed up on the up line to get a clean snap. Figure 9, ziptie, two turn spin, 3 of 4 opposites, stall turn 2 of 8 up 1 1/4 snap down, circle, half roll, half loop, full roll.... etc.

    Funny, I can remember the F05 rather than P05. Guess it shows you remember what you practice most. I practiced that last year. Back to work.

  10. #10
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    RE: First day of the 2005 Season

    Flew in some wind at Myrtle Beach, SC. This is what was observed. In a strong head-wind, with a small crosswind component, the opposite occurs from what you would think, in terms of wind correction. Now, granted this, the wind was 17 gusting to 25 on Saturday (contest was not flown) and 12 gusting to 25 on Sunday (we flew that day). I stuck around after the contest and got in three practice flights in the wind conditions. As a side note, I have not experienced these kind of winds since the TOC lakebed, when there were dust storms. I did that once in 2000 and it was not a fun experience. I came away with a broken windshield on my car when an easy-up tent blew through the parking lot. The fuselage on my brand new, barely touched Brio blew over and broke some paint off the canopy. YES, the fuselage, with no wings, lifted up and blew over. Anyway, Sunday was better, so we flew in the wind and learned.

    For example, the wind blowing hard from left to right at 15 to 20, but blowing out a little, maybe 5 or 10 degrees from the runway heading. What happens is the plane, depending on the design, may actually weather-vane into the wind.

    Since the head-wind is so strong, the nose points into the wind as you are coming along a down line or downline-to horizontal transition radius. Since the plane is sitting into the wind for so long (due the the slow ground speed) and the engine is basically full throttle (and it feels like it needs a YS 180), the plane will actually come in rather than blow out.

    Likewise on a down line, for example the push vertical with two of four up, stall turn and negative snap down, exit upright. One actually needs to put rudder in to take it out, otherwise the nose comes in on the downline (due to weather vaning of the nose into the wind) and the plane tail section is actually behind the rest of the plane (aerodynamically speaking, with respect to the horizontal ground speed (zero on a downline, and then about 40 to 50 plus the wind speed as it transitions to horizontal)

    The are some that hold the theory that the airplane does not feel the wind. This is not the case with pattern. The airplane feels every mile-per-hour of wind component. Why? Because we fly the airplane with respect to the ground, not with respect to the wind speed or direction.

  11. #11
    Don Szczur's Avatar
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    RE: First day of the 2005 Season

    Flight comparisons between the Brio and the Focus II- related to doing maneuvers differently for different aircraft. The Brio is running a 4 blade 15x12, which may have a significant factor in this regard. I noticed that on the cuban 8, the plane requires a little throttle during the bottom radius' coming up. The drag on the prop, plus the larger fuselage slow the plane down during this section. So the engine on abou 1/4 throttle rather than off at idle around the backside provide a nice smooth radius. Down lines are slower, which really helps define lines before and after and gives a much more consistent speed throughout the maneuvers.

    It was fairly windy today with a decent cross wind component. Got to fly both aircraft in generally the same conditions. I took out some more of the rudder of the Brio and then put it back in. I dialed up the high rate elevator and ailerons to 120 percent, then took some out so its down to abou 110 percent. I think I'm going to bring it down to about 100 and see how that works. This adjusts the spin speed and presentation. Low rates are at about 80 percent aileron and elevator, and 40 percent rudder. I brought the rudder high rate down to 80 percent. It has just a bit of down-thrust in from the front nose ring. It seems to be about right now. The right thrust- was not able to check as it was just a bit too windy.

  12. #12
    Don Szczur's Avatar
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    RE: First day of the 2005 Season

    Last flight of the 2005 season (that is unless I go to the Worlds). Overall what was done from December last year paid off. P05 was very positive with respect to maneuvers. The cuban 8 was 1 to 2 points higher than last year. Overall the P was very solid. Next season, the focus will be on the P07 first, then F05 and most of all unknowns. IMAC is crossing my mind at this time. Would this be positive to help develop this between now and December?

    Any case next flying season is scheduled to start in approximately 12 weeks. Again, what will be done between 12 weeks from now and the end of the year will have a very large bearing on what the outcome is next June or July.

    Cheers!

    Don

  13. #13
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    RE: First day of the 2005 Season

    One can repeat this process year after year. Are the readers learning from these experiences? The flying season for 2007 started 3 weeks ago. What can be learned by the end of the month will have a large impact on next season's results. The weather patterns have been very different this fall so far.

    A few areas of particular interest are the rolling maneuvers. I keep telling Edwin to get on that flight simulator and learn rudder inputs. He is preparing for intermediate. For him it helps on the two half rolls and immelman and cuban. What I am really telling him is that I need to do that, as well. Joseph spends 10 to 14 hours a week on the simulator. He sets the example. I need to follow his example. For me, during one roll loop, one roll circles and all the other circles, things happen. Gravity requires less inside rudder at the top (fight gravity slowly) and more rudder at the lower segments (fighting gravity faster). Physics talks about potential and kinetic energy. High and low at the top, low and high at the bottom. The timing of inputs and transition of controls is important. Also control during the quarter segments. Elevator acts in the same fashion as rudder (brings you in or out). Quique is master at this. It can be done by all with proper preparation. I know it can. I've done some, but not all the time. I'll follow my own advice and work toward the simulator during the weeknights, and this weekend looks like another good one for flying.

    Cold. After the one roller climbed during the first 90 degree segment, thoughts went through my mind. Has the airplane gone into hold? Is it going to crash? No, I just can't feel my thumbs. It's cold and my rudder thumb is knumb. I fly one sequence and put the plane into a gently banking turn, as I put my hands into my jacket pockets to warm them for several seconds at a time. They warm up and I'm able to continue practicing. Objective for tonight is to modify the transmitter mit for use. Removable front cover to slip over the neck strap bracket. Required gear for winter flying.

    P07 is now taken for granted and its time to move on. Thank you Jon for the coaching in Huntsville. I owe you 20 normalized points per round next year for the point rolls on the 45's and loop point roll. Sequence is pretty solid, although I'll want to improve it later. F07 and unknowns are it. That's it. That is it. Control during unknowns is paramount. The norm is the unfamiliar. Make the unfamilar the norm. Yes. That is it...

  14. #14

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    RE: First day of the 2005 Season

    I've learned a LOT Don!

    Keep sharing your thoughts, they are really appreciated.

  15. #15
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    RE: First day of the 2005 Season

    Yes I've done some comparisons and the primary Brio is much less rudder required due to lighter weight and also I believe the 8611 servo on rudder vs the 8411 on rudder. I plan to test this by changing rudder servo to 8611 on backup and seeing if there is a big difference. Forward CG does also require less rudder correction (pitch correction) during circles and rolling loops, but the CG is futher back. 7 inches back is much better than 8 inches back. It does require 15 % more aileron to attain clean snap and break. Good experience.

    Cheers,
    Don


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