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Three steps to starting out in Pattern- practice

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Old 08-16-2009, 09:58 PM
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Don Szczur
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Default Three steps to starting out in Pattern- practice

First. Set up your practice session. Draw a 60 degree box, or put cones out there so you can practice flying in that area and parallel to a line in front of you. This is a simple process. Walk straight out 10 paces (counting each time your left foot hits the ground). Put down a cone. Turn right and sight a spot in the far distance, parallell to the flight line. Walk 17 steps. Put a cone down. Go back to the 10 pace spot and turn the other way and walk 17 paces and put the third cone down. Done. IF you have a larger runway you can multiply everything by 2. (20 out and 34 left and right). The square root of three is 1.73, I believe. 17 paces is close enough. I double checked and this is much more accurate than some cardboard/line templates. And more accurate than the lines drawn on the runway at site 1 at the NATS (very big grin for the FAI finalists like me who kept finding themselves out of the box on the right side).

Step one. Positioning. Put the loop about in the middle. Put your two rolls centered in the middle. Put your square loop centered on the middle. Keep your turnarounds in the box. This teaches you when you need to pull up to keep maneuvers postioned or in the box. Center your spin entry. Correct for wind.

Step two. Geometry. Make the loop round (that is now in the middle). Make your centered square loop square. Put your turnaround cuban 8's at 45 degrees. Use a paper plate or fresbee that is round for loop coaching. Fold a piece of paper at a 45 degree line for your coach to use. A coach is anyone. You wife (Hanno taught me this), your girlfriend (before the hot date), or even the student you are instructing between practice flights. Trust me students never lie.

Step three. Wings level. By the way, in case you are wondering when, this step requires the use of rudder throughout. Do everything opposite that you learned about in some of the sport flying aerobatic "expert" guidebooks related to rudder. Trust me, it takes practice to understand what weathervaning is and how it's used to work with a wind correction, and when you have to straighten the fuselage out. If you want more details than this, get the "precision aerobatics technique" video. Ask my wife for this at pvavon@hotmail.com

Thats it. Oh, yes, If you have baked that cake and want icing, do this extra step. A couple/three weeks before the contest do this thing called smoothness and gracefulness. Don't do this til last. It's the easiest to do but adds points. Throttle control, upline, downline speeds. Smooth entry and exit of radius and rolling maneuvers. Remember you are there to please the judges. Nothing else. Show it. Best of luck at the contest.

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Old 08-17-2009, 11:30 AM
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Default RE: Three steps to starting out in Pattern- practice

Don - Thanks again for the help. One thing I forgot to mention is that I didn't have to fight the uplines with rudder when you had me enter with wings truely level. Here I thought I had a trim problem, I guess it was just a pilot problem. You mentioned something about showing me how to flick the landing (or something like that). Do you just mean flicking the throttle to keep the engine from dying? I noticed that my tank is angled slightly down in front so this may cause the clunk to be above the fuel line on landing. I'll block it up in the front and will also redo my throttle linkage just in case that's the problem. The heat made it really hard for me to concentrate but it was a worthwhile day of flying.

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Old 08-17-2009, 01:44 PM
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Default RE: Three steps to starting out in Pattern- practice

Very good advise Don
Thanks for the tip on how to setup the cones. That's the best tip I've had in a while.
Mike Mueller
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Old 10-05-2009, 08:54 PM
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Don Szczur
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Default RE: Three steps to starting out in Pattern- practice

Results. Pilots who participated in these clinics learned. Local flyers took 1st place in Intermediate, Advanced and FAI at the D2 Championships, and 1st place in Sportsman, Intermediate, Advanced and FAI at the Northern VA championships. Lets keep the momentum guys, good flying.
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Old 10-15-2009, 01:31 PM
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Default RE: Three steps to starting out in Pattern- practice

Great info Don. Very well said, and easy to understand. Many people think getting into pattern is a lot more challenging and you need highly trained people to help. The use of simple objects laying around can be very valuable. Probably most important is finding someone who is TRULY HONEST with you during practice.

Sorry I screwed up the sweep by winning Masters at the Northern VA Champs...lol..

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