|Contributed by: Mark Leseberg | Published: March 2004 | Views: 67323 | Email this Article
How To do Rolling Harriers
Mark Leseberg, Jr.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
Harriers: The Finer Points
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.
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
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
Harriers: Going the Opposite Direction
the Video of
Mark Leseberg at
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.
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
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