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A Word To The Wise For Beginners

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A Word To The Wise For Beginners

Old 12-20-2007, 09:32 AM
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TideFlyer
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Default A Word To The Wise For Beginners

I`ve been flying for a little over four years now, so I`m not a noob. In that time, I`ve lost only one airplane ( 4* to a bad battery ). That is, until a couple of weeks ago. Got a little too complacent, and before I knew it my WM T-34 was up over the top of me, against a grey overcast, I got twisted around and disoriented, and just drilled it right into the ground. Pure pilot error. Lessons ( all of which were taught to me by my instructor )? ALWAYS, but ALWAYS, stay in front of the airplane. Doesn`t matter if it`s a trainer, scale, sport or 3D. Second, ALWAYS keep the airplane out in front of you. Just wanted to share with everyone what can happen, very quickly, when you allow yourself to get a little too comfortable and forget, even for just a moment, what you were taught.
Old 12-20-2007, 10:00 AM
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Dr1Driver
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Default RE: A Word To The Wise For Beginners

TideFlyer,

Sorry to hear of your loss. In my 25+ years of flying, I've become philosophical about it. "If you fly, you WILL crash." I've lost planes to pilot error, mechanical failure, and one to a mid-air. It hurts for a while, but I get back into the shop and build another one.

Your advice is sound, and I'll second it and add some more.
NEVER fly the plane directly over you. You lose all sense of depth perception and orientation, especially when you have to spin around to follow it.
NEVER fly the plane between you and the sun. It shilouettes out, becomes a flat black blob, and you can't tell what it's doing.
NEVER let the plane get ahead of you. Always stay at least 5 seconds ahead of it.
NEVER do a maneuver you haven't planned and thought out, including what you will do after the maneuver is complete.
NEVER become complacent in your ability.

Always remember:
5 Most Useless Things To A Pilot:
1. Runway behind you.
2. Airspeed you don't have.
3. Altitude above you.
4. Fuel in the supply can.
5. A half-second ago.

Dr.1
Old 12-20-2007, 10:33 AM
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CGRetired
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Default RE: A Word To The Wise For Beginners

Good advice.. and I must admit, I've done it too.. but not lost an aircraft because of it.

Our main field has the pilot's stand facing the east.. meaning, while flying in the morning, the sun is right there. So, I fly off to the left and keep it over the 'alternate' runway, which runs somewhat east-west, so I face the north when flying in that direction.. keeps the sun away from my field of view..until I have to land it. Then it becomes an interesting drill.

CGr.
Old 12-20-2007, 12:51 PM
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Default RE: A Word To The Wise For Beginners


ORIGINAL: Dr1Driver

NEVER let the plane get ahead of you. Always stay at least 5 seconds ahead of it.
Dr.1
Sounds good. How would you do that? I mean the 5 seconds. [sm=confused.gif]
Old 12-20-2007, 01:31 PM
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CGRetired
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Default RE: A Word To The Wise For Beginners

What he means is to stay ahead of the plane. Think before you act.. if you are going to do a roll, for instance, think of what happens after the roll, where the plane will be, what attitude it is in (pointed down, straight, or up) and what you would do if you blew it.
Old 12-20-2007, 01:55 PM
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Default RE: A Word To The Wise For Beginners

ORIGINAL: Dr1Driver
NEVER fly the plane between you and the sun. It shilouettes out, becomes a flat black blob, and you can't tell what it's doing.
Not to mention the nasty spots it leaves in your eyes.
Old 12-20-2007, 02:32 PM
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Dr1Driver
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Default RE: A Word To The Wise For Beginners

Jim,

CGRetired says it pretty good. Think where and what attitude the plane will be in in 5 seconds, or after a maneuver. For example:

Doing a vertical spin...you typically release all controls to stop the spin. Some planes require counter controls also. This will leave the plane in a vertical nose-down position. Now what do you do? Think of that BEFORE you start the spin.

Doing an Immelman... The plane will be upside down, at a higher altitude, and going in the opposite direction it was before you began the maneuver. Now what? Think BEFORE you pull elevator.

You gotta watch out for other aircraft, too. That's why it's always good to have at least one spotter on the flightline. Call out what maneuver you're going to do before you start. Make sure you have clear airspace. Remember, where will the plane be AFTER the maneuver is complete.

I saw a good example of this several years ago at a local field. A Sig Kougar was flying low passes. A pilot flying a Bucker Jungmeister was preparing for take off. The Kougar didn't call out "low pass", nor did the Bucker call out "taking off". Yup, you guessed it. The Bucker pulled off and up directly into the path of the full throttle Kougar. It was nasty. The Kougar had slight damage to the nose and wing leading edges. It glided to a landing in the tall grass. The Bucker had both left wings ripped off at the root and was destroyed.

Anticipate.

Dr.1
Old 12-20-2007, 02:49 PM
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rbuhrman
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Default RE: A Word To The Wise For Beginners

Excellent advice here. I would also add - Never Be in a Hurry to Fly. Check your plane, equipment, and controls before every flight and don't rush it.

The best piece of advice I ever got was to check my receiver battery voltage before every flight. Nothing will ruin your day faster than running out of juice. My voltmeter is the most important piece of equipment at the field.

Happy Flying!
Old 12-20-2007, 03:22 PM
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Missileman
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Default RE: A Word To The Wise For Beginners

Also,
Never take your eyes off your plane, if you need to look at the radio for any reason hold it up so you can see both your radio and plane (better to get help from another flyer if possible)
IF you lose your airplane in the sun (happens kind of easy at my field as we face south) keep your sticks neutral until you can see it again. If others are at the field yell out I can't see my plane and perhaps they can talk you through.
Old 12-20-2007, 03:48 PM
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Jburry
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Default RE: A Word To The Wise For Beginners

When it becomes clear that you will inevitably be flying thru the sun (our field also faces south), close one eye before you enter the sun's area, open it after you leave. That way at least one eye isn't spotty after.

When we have a northwest wind (25% of the time in summer), the sun sets near the upwind end of the runway, so all takeoffs involve flying thru the sun. When we have a southeast wind, all landing approaches go thru the sun. Wish we could turn the field around...

Most of the time, tho, it's pretty damn good!

J
Old 12-20-2007, 03:53 PM
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Default RE: A Word To The Wise For Beginners


ORIGINAL: Dr1Driver

NEVER fly the plane directly over you. You lose all sense of depth perception and orientation, especially when you have to spin around to follow it.

Dr.1
Very true. One more lawndarted Reactor 3D EP lies in rest due to the above.
Old 12-20-2007, 04:31 PM
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Dr1Driver
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Default RE: A Word To The Wise For Beginners

More good advice from Missleman, J, and RB.

In regards to not being in a hurry to fly... Don't fly if anything doesn't seem just right. Fix it or postpone your flight. Some things you might not consider at first are:

Weather - Sun, wind. Ever flown in a 90 deg. crosswind? Don't learn by yourself.
People - Number of planes in the air or size of the spectator crowd. Hot planes or people watching make you nervous? Don't fly.
Your feelings - Tummy upset? Back bothering you? Allergies watering your eyes? It's no fun to get Montezuma's Revenge from a hot dog in the middle of a flight.
The plane - Elevator suddenly has 1/8" down trim. Why? Oh, it got moved accidentally. Are you sure?

Dr.1
Old 12-20-2007, 04:32 PM
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pkevinb
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Default RE: A Word To The Wise For Beginners

...and never fly a mostly white plane while it's snowing...
Old 12-20-2007, 10:21 PM
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Default RE: A Word To The Wise For Beginners

I understand that this forum is for beginners, and I know that an abundance of caution is far better than any kind of safety risk....BUT. I don't think it's necessary to use the word, 'never', with regard to safely experimenting in the course of learning and improving.

It's true that, 'never', is safe, but do you think people who meaningfully improve their skills have actually NEVER flown through the sun, never flown a plane that didn't seem, 'just-right', never flown with other flyers in the air, never flown with any type of discomfort, never flown a spontaneous manuever, or never flown less than,'5 seconds', ahead of the plane?

Safety being primary, I think it's time we stopped pretending that TOY airplanes are made of plutonium. It's fun, go out and safely enjoy the best hobby God ever invented. Don't be afraid to experiment, but do so SAFELY. If it costs you an airplane, it was probably worth it. And, if you can't afford to replace what you are flying, this probably isn't the hobby for you.

Never say, 'NEVER'.
Old 12-21-2007, 06:47 AM
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Dr1Driver
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Default RE: A Word To The Wise For Beginners

BUT. I don't think it's necessary to use the word, 'never', with regard to safely experimenting in the course of learning and improving.

There is necessary risk, acceptible risk, and stupid risk. Be your own judge of which is which.

Dr.1
Old 12-21-2007, 08:25 AM
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Default RE: A Word To The Wise For Beginners

As to the "5 second" thing, here is another example, and an exception to the rule...

A fairly common maneuver is to do 3 rolls in a row. The object is to keep the plane on a straight heading without losing altitude.

Now here's a good example of "Thinking ahead":

Before you start the maneuver, think to yourself "I'm going to do 3 rolls". Don't think "I'm going to do a roll" and then halfway through it decide to do 2 more.

Now for the exception to the rule: Be prepared for anything!

If you have decided to do 3 rolls, but the first one is sloppy, and the second one is worse, what do you do?

You have several choices, but only about 3 seconds to decide which to do. I can't tell you the best thing to do, because the best thing to do at one point could be the worst thing to do a half-second later.

So even though you have a pre-planned maneuver in mind, be prepared to "get outta Dodge" if things go wrong.
Old 12-21-2007, 08:59 AM
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agexpert
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Default RE: A Word To The Wise For Beginners

Yeah, always try to fall up.

It takes a lot of practice in order to develop the ability to 'bail-out' correctly from each and every possible screw-up. Foamies are great for this type of practice. Keeping a foamie low, slow and as close to your body your abilities will safely allow will help you learn the proper inputs to make corrections.

After you have destroyed a few foamies, you will learn to crash them 'gently'....eventually you will be hovering to your waiting hand instead of belly-landing the thing.

Until you can get to that level, do all of your experimenting at least 1 1/2 loops high. Flip the plane around a bit, see how throttle management, gravity, control throws and air-speed affect the potency of your inputs.

Trust me, that cold nervous feeling you get when you are unsure of what correction to make is a great teaching tool.
Old 12-21-2007, 09:18 AM
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Dr1Driver
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Default RE: A Word To The Wise For Beginners

Good advice, "Minn"! In addition to learning to "bail out", a pilot needs to learn to ABORT! This has saved my Dr.1 countless times when a takeoff roll was disrupted by a bump that yawed the plane on rollout. Also when it got too slow on final and stared to yaw and just hang there. Don't force a maneuver.

Another good example is "I'm going to do 5 loops." At the top of the second loop, the plane slows too much and snaps out. Now what?

"age" is right, it takes practice. 3 mistakes high is minimal altitude at first.

Dr.1
Old 12-21-2007, 09:24 AM
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RCKen
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Default RE: A Word To The Wise For Beginners


ORIGINAL: Dr1Driver

Good advice, "Minn"! In addition to learning to "bail out", a pilot needs to learn to ABORT!
Absolutely, one needs to learn to abort. But there is one "maneuver" that I see beginners and experienced pilots NOT aborting from. That's the take off. I can't even begin to count the number of times I've seen a plane get squirrely on take off and instead of chopping the throttle and aborting the pilot will try to "force" the plane into the air before they run off the runway or hit something. This is usually followed quickly by a stall and a very ugly crash. I try to teach my students (some learn, some don't ) that when the plane gets funny on take off that they should just chop the throttle and let the plane roll out to a stop, and then try their take off again.

Ken
Old 12-21-2007, 11:07 AM
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Default RE: A Word To The Wise For Beginners

I did a short article in our newsletter titled "Go Around!".

The whole object of that was to let people know that it often necessary to, as was already stated, abort. If this means that the landing is not going as planned, then, add throttle THEN add elevator and go around for another try. Don't be so proud of your landing skills that you can't swallow that pride and head for the blue sky if you are long, or not lined up properly, or if the cross wind just gusted and pushed or pulled your aircraft from the intended path, just go around.

I learned the hard way.. yeah, several times, before I got the message. GO AROUND!!! Save that plane, and go around!!
Old 12-21-2007, 11:13 AM
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hungryandbroke
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Default RE: A Word To The Wise For Beginners

Get yourself a Sig Something Extra, put it on high rates and you'll have your 3 rolls done in about 1 second!

Plenty of time left for "any" bailouts.
Old 12-21-2007, 11:14 AM
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Default RE: A Word To The Wise For Beginners

The Four Star 40 will do the same.. I know.. Scare the hell out of ya for a maiden flight that is.. was not expecting it. WOW!!
Old 12-21-2007, 12:33 PM
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Default RE: A Word To The Wise For Beginners


ORIGINAL: Jburry

When it becomes clear that you will inevitably be flying thru the sun (our field also faces south), close one eye before you enter the sun's area, open it after you leave. That way at least one eye isn't spotty after.

When we have a northwest wind (25% of the time in summer), the sun sets near the upwind end of the runway, so all takeoffs involve flying thru the sun. When we have a southeast wind, all landing approaches go thru the sun. Wish we could turn the field around...

Most of the time, tho, it's pretty damn good!

J
simple solution: fly at noon
Old 12-21-2007, 02:26 PM
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Jburry
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Default RE: A Word To The Wise For Beginners

Heh. Trouble is, gotta work to fly!

And this time of year, noon sun is at about 45 degrees above the horizon... On the climbout for prevailing winds!

Just more opportunity for the one-eyed technique!

J
Old 12-21-2007, 11:40 PM
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Default RE: A Word To The Wise For Beginners

Thank each and everyone of you that has wrote something here! I feel as if i have learned allot from you all, I am very new and its stuff like this that I have read that will make me think a little bit more about what if the next time I go flying! It could save me or someone else on the ground a few stitches. Thank you all very much for the time you have taken to help us that need it! Bob

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