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14 Figure 8's Slow

  1. Tony
    If you have made it this far, you are doing great. It’s time for a little reward. Let’s get into some forward flight. Up until now, you have been going in straight lines and coming back to the home box. Now it’s time to make some fluid movements while you are flying around. We will start out going left and tail in to each of the boxes. If you want to go past your 10’ away box, you can move the box 20 or even 30’ away from the home box. Just make sure they are in line with each other. One thing to remember is you will be flying in longer lines. The translational lift I mentioned before will be more apparent now. Be sure that you set your pitch curves back to normal at this point since you are going to be transitioning into FF.

    We will start out getting the helicopter into a hover above the home box. Keep the tail towards you the whole time. Next, move the helicopter to the box your right. Keep the motion fluid and transition to the left and go towards the box on your left. Keep doing this until you can hold the tail straight and everything is fluid.
    Now is when things start to get hard and when a lot of people crash. Now is the time when you want to be over grass and not on concrete or asphalt. As you are transitioning, you are pretty likely to lose orientation when you are learning, but you have to stick with it.

    Next, while going to the right, give the helicopter a little right rudder so it’s flying at an angle and not sideways. When you go to the right, your nose will be slightly facing into the direction of travel. Once you reach the box, you will come back to tail in and move towards the home box. When over the home box, give it a little left rudder until your nose is almost facing in the direction of travel. Once there, come back to tail in and bring it back home. Do this for a while until you feel comfortable with the helicopter.

    Now it’s time for some REAL forward flight. While doing the back and forth movements, transition into forward flight at each turn. This will be very hard at first. When you are all the way at the right box and turn to come back to the left, you will be nose in. Now do you see why we did nose in early? Another thing to remember is when you are making your turn with the helicopter on your right, you will always turn left so the tail will turn towards you, and not the nose. If you are on your right, and you turn to the right, then you will be turning to nose in, then past nose in, and it can confuse some people. If you find this hard to understand, I will be making a video series on this to better explain it.

    Starting at the home box, start tail in and move to the right all while moving the rudder to the right to transition into forward flight and pointing the nose into the direction of travel. When you get to your right box, stop the helicopter in a hover, give it left rudder and come back towards the home box. Don’t stop on the home box, keep going onto the left box. When you get there, stop the helicopter and give it right rudder and bring it back. Keep doing this until you can control the helicopter in both directions.

    Up to now, you have been going in straight lines. As you are doing your left and right forward flight, I want you to fly around your boxes on the ground. Remember to turn left when the heli is on your right and turn right when the heli is on your left. Do this and make the circle on your left and right bigger and bigger until you are flying in a figure 8 pattern. You are now flying figure 8’s.

    If you are anything like me, you will find flying the heli in forward flight will be easier than trying to keep the heli in a constant nose or side in hover. This is because you can better put yourself in the cockpit of the helicopter. If you have flown planes before, this should be second nature for you. Either way, you are now flying your helicopter. Once you land the helicopter on the X in front of you, give yourself a pat on the back, because you are doing a fine job. If by some chance you crashed during some of this, don’t let it get you down. Crashes happen as I mentioned before. And they will happen more when you are learning than they will after you learn the basics. Just don’t give up. You WILL be able to fly. There are some people who can learn this stuff in a day and it blows my mind. Then there are others that have been flying for a year and they still don’t feel like they are ready to transition into forward flight.

    That brings up my next point. The ones that don’t think they are ready, but they have mastered the art of hovering and moving the helicopter around, need to actually push themselves a little bit. There is just going to have to be a day when you say to yourself, “its time to fly and stop hoveringâ€. And that is when you need to overcome the shaking hands, and your heart trying to beat out of your chest, and just go out and do it. Let’s face it, the replacement parts for most of the 450’s are pretty cheap. So if you crash, you may have to spend about $15 on parts. I suggest you spend more and get quite a few spare parts just in case. You will get your order in, fix your heli, and do it all over again. A great pilot Dave Herbert has a great quote that I use every day: “Every flight is a test, and every crash is a lessonâ€. If you crash your helicopter, find out what went wrong and learn from it. Was it a mechanical failure or was it just good ole fashioned dumb thumbs? If you had a failure, find out what it was and how to keep it from happening again. If it was dumb thumbs, run through your head all the movements you made up to that point and find out what went wrong. Did you try something new at the spur of the moment? Did your finger slip off the stick? Once you figure out what went wrong, you will know how to correct it for the next time.
    The key here is that you NEVER GIVE UP!

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