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What is pattern flying?

Old 10-26-2005, 07:31 AM
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Default What is pattern flying?


I am a newbie to R/C flying and was wondering if anyone could tell me the difference between pattern flying and 3d flying? Are 3d planes and pattern planes designed for different types of aerobatics?

Old 10-26-2005, 10:43 AM
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Default RE: What is pattern flying?

Hi panzerd18.
Pattern is just what the word implies. You fly a pattern in the sky. For example you go from a loop right into a cuban eight to a humpty bump etc etc etc. It is like an aerial ballet and when done properly is a beautiful thing to watch. It requires the pilot to keep the airplane in a defined area and always under positive control and is the opposite to just flying around in a circle or flogging around the sky. You can get the pattern from AMA showing the beginner through expert patterns to fly.
3d, often referred to as high alpha, includes maneuvers where the airplane is no longer flying on the wing but instead flying on the prop. It includes such things as hovering, blenders, waterfalls and other maneuvers that require a computer radio to get the kind of results you want along with a model that will do those maneuvers. For example you might use a mix of up aileron combined with down elevator to achieve a waterfall.
A 3d pilot might, for example, fly low over the runway at a 45 degree angle of attack, reduced power and all the while doing a slow roll. Seems impossible but they do it.
All of this will test your determination to practice a lot since you don't learn this stuff overnight. Hope this helps.

Old 10-26-2005, 11:58 AM
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Default RE: What is pattern flying?

The link below has a good write up on the definition of Pattern aka precision aerobatics....

Old 10-26-2005, 01:27 PM
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Default RE: What is pattern flying?

For another "slant" on this subject, you might want to check out the "Classic Pattern" forum for this thread that discusses the same subject.

To me precision pattern means executing a seies of traditional maneuvers in a precise way--and in a particular place. As mentioned, it is the exact opposite of just "frogging around" doing random loops, rolls, and snaps wherever the plane happens to be. Even the takeoff and landing are judged, you don't just "jump" off the ground.

Planes designed for pattern, (or Senior Pattern, SPA, which has nothing to do with the age of the pilot,, have smaller control surfaces, and are designed to go exactly where you "point" them, and fly smoothly and gracefully. As mentioned, if done correctly, the plane is absolutely beautiful to watch. Once you're "hooked" on aerobatics, you will be faced with a challenging, but rewarding experience. I can't even fly a trainer without trying to perform maneuvers--it's kind-of addicting.

Pattern fliers traditionally test their skills at contests where they are grouped according to pilot experience, and the difficulty of the maneuvers being performed. I doubt pattern fliers would burn gallons of fuel trying to perect the maneuvers if the contest didn't exist. Something about friendly competition with like-minded pilots gives you the incentive you need to work toward perfection--notice I say "toward"

Flying pattern is the fastest way to improve your flying skills IMHO. You've got to put the airplane "right there" and do the maneuver just so. You can't let the plane fly you--you fly IT.

Check out the web sites, and give it a try. You can fly SPA Novice class with traditional sport planes to get your "feet wet", and see if you like it.

Give it a try.


Old 10-26-2005, 06:57 PM
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Default RE: What is pattern flying?

Thanks for your great posts guys. I now have a good understanding of what pattern flying is compared to 3D.

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