RCU Review: Mark Leseberg Rolling Harrier

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    Contributed by: Mark Leseberg | Published: March 2004 | Views: 61166 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon
    How To do Rolling Harriers

    by: Mark Leseberg, Jr.
    Rolling Harriers: The Basics
    When done properly, the Rolling Harrier maneuver is one of the most graceful and impressive of the 3D maneuvers. While many are impressed by hovering or the torque roll, and may look at the rolling harrier as a nothing more than a normal roll that is at a slight angle. What they do not know is that it takes countless hours of practice, coordination, and timing to get the control inputs down to perform this maneuver properly. While every pilot has there own little "tricks" that they use for practice, I will give you an overview of how I like to perform this maneuver.

    It is very important to understand the common maneuver that makes this 3D action of the rolling harrier take place - the aileron roll. It is important to understand that the starting point of this maneuver is with one aileron roll followed by another, and another. To start practicing the rolling harrier would be impossible without the concepts of first the roll, then the rolling circle. For most people, the simplest way to begin to practice is to start by rolling in your most preferred direction. This can be to the right or left as it doesn't make much difference.

    I feel that you can gain the most by rolling the aircraft to the outside of the turn. (i.e. rolling left and turning right or rolling right and turning left) My reason for doing this is for better presentation and to be able to reverse the roll direction midway through a Harrier Flight.

    Presentation in this maneuver should be maintained by drawing a line through the aircraft, from the tip of the spinner, to the center portion of the rudder, or the center of thrust. Most commonly referred to as the Zero Line. This Zero Line is a perfect line that should be maintained throughout the maneuver regardless of the Angle of Attack. This brings up the point of Roll Rates. I have been asked by many people, how I keep up with the roll rate of the aircraft? It is very simple; I picked one roll rate and stuck with that rate for all practice sessions. In the beginning, is vital that you start slowly!

    Begin with the first 90 degree section of the roll. Slow the aircraft until the nose is up about 7-10 degrees. The objective here is to begin the roll before the stall. Once the aircraft is stalled, the wing is no longer flying and the ailerons become less effective. The entire appeal to this maneuver is the sheer fact that the airplane should be stalled, but is flying on the MOMENTUM of the mass of the wings, and the thrust generated. Start with a goal for the days flying. For example, I want to accomplish a four-roll Rolling Harrier of 90 degrees. Once again, you have to crawl before you can walk.

    The timing is critical as the first 90 degrees of the maneuver you are holding full rudder while the plane is stalled. The ailerons are held steady to maintain a constant roll rate. The elevator is used to steer the plane left or right at that split second.

    Once we have attained the first 90 degrees of the roll, I will then proceed to the 180 degree point. As you approach 180 degrees you have relaxed the rudder and are inverted with as much down elevator as you need to maintain the stalled angle of attack. At this point the rudder is used to steer the model.

    As you pass through 270 degrees you have relaxed the elevator and now have full opposite rudder input and again are using the elevator to steer the model.

    The completion of the maneuver ends with the model upright in a harrier attitude using up elevator to control the angle and rudder to steer.

    As soon as the 180 degree point is attained, this is where most people give up on this maneuver. You are more than 50% of the way there.

    All that is left is TIMING. If you have practiced the 0-180 degree portion of the Rolling Harrier, you have started with the TIMING aspect of what makes this maneuver so difficult. You are there, but just lack the confidence to finish because you made one mistake and the airplane flies off heading, but we started relatively high and slow. From here on out, it is up to you how bad you want it. No one person can teach you how to finish. All I can do is help you with the basics, and can't emphasize enough to learn the basics and what the Rolling Harrier is derived from. It took me 200 flights and countless hours on the simulator to understand the dynamics of the Rolling Harrier.

    Rolling Harriers: The Finer Points

    Aircraft setup is very important to learning and understanding what your model is doing at any given time. In the 3D setup on my transmitter, I have 140% ailerons, 140% elevator and 140% rudder. These values are the maximum that are allowed, but are toned down to match the pattern rates near neutral. (i.e.. between 50-70% expo) I fly my aircraft on one switch with two rates. One being Pattern and the other being 3D. It is my feeling that the flipping of switches deters from the task at hand, and as we have all either seen or heard, can cause a crash.

    The ailerons on my aircraft are among the biggest out there. They span near the entire length of the wing with 45 degrees of throw in either direction. This is a very high roll rate, that I challenge anyone to match. It also aids in the ability to stop the Rolling Harrier in an instant, and begin in the opposite direction of rotation. It is very important to practice this with an airplane that is suited for this type of flight. Preferably an aircraft that is light, with high power to weight. The bigger the diameter of the prop, the more stable your high alpha maneuvers.

    Once you have mastered the Basics of Rolling Harrier flight, it is time to start increasing the roll rate, and developing faster reflexes to to changing altitude via power applications rather than control inputs. Most people think that the control value is what keeps the aircraft at a certain altitude. To tell you the truth, it is a combination of power application, control input, and feeling of the moment. I know that it may seem to much, but after 250 flights, you won't even think about it and will be explaining it to you kids some day.

    Rolling Harriers: Going the Opposite Direction

    View the Video of
    Mark Leseberg at
    Tucson Shootout

    *courtesy of ScaleAerobatics.com
    OK, we have the Rolling Harrier all practiced up and now we are ready to go the opposite direction. Get ready for an amazing "mind game" that will make you want to give it up. I have been working on this for two years, and finally have found how to present it well in the Freestyle Program. It is time to repeat the entire process over again while trying to maintain the ability to hold the transmitter without throwing it.

    Rolling Harriers: Conclusion

    It is very easy for me to site here and explain to you what happens in this maneuver, but the best way is to practice it in the simulator. If you can do it on the simulator, it is possible in real life. I Guarantee it! Go and crash all the airplanes you like on the simulator. It sure is cheaper than a 30-40% aircraft. Watch all the video you can, and emulate the Rolling Harrier from your favorite pilot. Practice doesn't make perfect, Perfect Practice makes Perfect!

    Courtesy of Mark Leseberg, Jr.

    Comments on RCU Review: Mark Leseberg Rolling Harrier

    Posted by: littlephoenix on 09/04/2009
    so here i am practicing the rolling harrier, as you can see i am not that good at it but im getting there i think??? i have been flying for about a year and a half and i ave been told the rolling harrier circles are the most difficult maneuvers in RC, is this correct ? anyhow here is the video please rate my video and comment, thanks so much :) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Iu6ZL7i-_0
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