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Old 01-03-2017, 01:07 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Precision

It seems like the most impressive part of any heli flying is precision. Flowy, smack, pop and lock, speed, doesn't matter what is done technically if it doesn't look precise.

Are there any tips for gaining precision other than lots of practice? Setup/drills/etc?
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Old 01-03-2017, 01:25 AM   #2 (permalink)
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There is no short cut for skill. Playing with rates and expo can help clean up some areas your thumbs cant quite get down. Also would consider lowering headspeed/collective to slow the helis response to your inputs. Otherwise practice, practice, practice.
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Old 01-03-2017, 12:49 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Precision/Smack/Pop - Talent/Skills is the key.
Flow - If you have the above Talent/Skills you need to learn Transitions.
Lock - Setup, good Gyro or FBL System.
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Old 01-03-2017, 07:08 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Study: The FAI F3 sporting code for helicopters contains the rules and judging guidelines for helicopter competitions.
https://www.google.com/webhp?sourcei...-8#q=fai%20f3c
Spending some time with this document will introduce you to the world standard for precision helicopter flying. Learning and practicing a few of the basic maneuvers in this document with an eye towards judging them is a great way to introduce yourself to precision flying.

Visualization: For any given maneuver you should be able to see it in your mind's eye before you fly it. Doing this will help you see when the model moves from it's intended path.

Evaluation: Learn to accurately identify the lines involved in precision aerobatics. Basic aerobatic lines can be horizontal, 45 degrees and vertical. The eye can be trained to "see" these fairly accurately. Get a friend with a carpenter's level and have them hold it at various angles and ask you to tell them when you think it hits the cardinal points. You can also make one out of a straight piece of wood like a broomstick and a digital bevel box. Fly your lines with purpose. If you intend to fly parallel to the flight line don't accept a flight path that slowly drifts in or out even by 5 degrees. Same with lines directly towards or away from the flight line. At the same time work on the ability to judge constant radius circuits both in the horizontal and the vertical. Vertical is much easier as a loop has several key points that should be analyzed. A sky with a few clouds as background helps here. Mark the models location at the beginning of the loop. It's apex at the top should be directly above the point it started at and of course the loop should finish with the model exactly in the spot it started. The left and right middles of the loops up and down lines should be exactly horizontal from one another. With practice a changing radii becomes quite easy to identify.

Practice fixed wing precision aerobatics: Groups like IMAC have a robust community that can help you with the ability to evaluate the accuracy of various lines and radii.

Deliberate practice: When working on a maneuver isolate the core skill elements that make up the move. Try and identify the specific areas that are causing you trouble. Now practice just those fundamental elements.

Develop a routine to music: Flying a specific maneuver set repeatedly with each move timed to the piece will force you to develop the discipline necessary for precision flying. Many can do free form flying to music with no defined choreography. A much smaller set of pilots are willing to take the time necessary to advance their flying to this level.
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Old 01-04-2017, 09:18 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Excellent information.

As an "aging" novice (young at heart though), I really find more enjoyment in attempting precision flight.

That's what's so nice about this hobby, fast or slow there is something for everyone.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Graham View Post
Study: The FAI F3 sporting code for helicopters contains the rules and judging guidelines for helicopter competitions.
https://www.google.com/webhp?sourcei...-8#q=fai%20f3c
Spending some time with this document will introduce you to the world standard for precision helicopter flying. Learning and practicing a few of the basic maneuvers in this document with an eye towards judging them is a great way to introduce yourself to precision flying.

Visualization: For any given maneuver you should be able to see it in your mind's eye before you fly it. Doing this will help you see when the model moves from it's intended path.

Evaluation: Learn to accurately identify the lines involved in precision aerobatics. Basic aerobatic lines can be horizontal, 45 degrees and vertical. The eye can be trained to "see" these fairly accurately. Get a friend with a carpenter's level and have them hold it at various angles and ask you to tell them when you think it hits the cardinal points. You can also make one out of a straight piece of wood like a broomstick and a digital bevel box. Fly your lines with purpose. If you intend to fly parallel to the flight line don't accept a flight path that slowly drifts in or out even by 5 degrees. Same with lines directly towards or away from the flight line. At the same time work on the ability to judge constant radius circuits both in the horizontal and the vertical. Vertical is much easier as a loop has several key points that should be analyzed. A sky with a few clouds as background helps here. Mark the models location at the beginning of the loop. It's apex at the top should be directly above the point it started at and of course the loop should finish with the model exactly in the spot it started. The left and right middles of the loops up and down lines should be exactly horizontal from one another. With practice a changing radii becomes quite easy to identify.

Practice fixed wing precision aerobatics: Groups like IMAC have a robust community that can help you with the ability to evaluate the accuracy of various lines and radii.

Deliberate practice: When working on a maneuver isolate the core skill elements that make up the move. Try and identify the specific areas that are causing you trouble. Now practice just those fundamental elements.

Develop a routine to music: Flying a specific maneuver set repeatedly with each move timed to the piece will force you to develop the discipline necessary for precision flying. Many can do free form flying to music with no defined choreography. A much smaller set of pilots are willing to take the time necessary to advance their flying to this level.
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Old 01-05-2017, 04:17 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I agree. Very useful information. I like the timing to music as it gives that extra element of control of acceleration and speed, another element to the myriad of inputs that we have to combine to achieve the intended result.
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Old 01-05-2017, 07:55 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Graham View Post
Study: The FAI F3 sporting code for helicopters contains the rules and judging guidelines for helicopter competitions.
https://www.google.com/webhp?sourcei...-8#q=fai%20f3c
Spending some time with this document will introduce you to the world standard for precision helicopter flying. Learning and practicing a few of the basic maneuvers in this document with an eye towards judging them is a great way to introduce yourself to precision flying.
This is true for FAI events, but it's worth noting that the AMA governs the rules and judging guidelines for their own Sportsman, Advanced, and Expert classes for helicopter competitions here in the USA.

At the AMA NATS last year five classes were flown: FAI F3C and F3N, AMA Sportsman, Advanced, and Expert.

The information on the AMA classes can found here:

http://www.modelaircraft.org/events/compreg.aspx

https://www.modelaircraft.org/files/...s2017-2018.pdf

It's a good time to start planning for this year's NATS!
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Old 01-05-2017, 04:32 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Graham View Post
Deliberate practice: When working on a maneuver isolate the core skill elements that make up the move. Try and identify the specific areas that are causing you trouble. Now practice just those fundamental elements.

Develop a routine to music: Flying a specific maneuver set repeatedly with each move timed to the piece will force you to develop the discipline necessary for precision flying. Many can do free form flying to music with no defined choreography. A much smaller set of pilots are willing to take the time necessary to advance their flying to this level.
Thanks!

These two points really hit home for me. I spent years playing classical percussion so precision is what I'm all about. And precision through deliberate practice and timing...well that's basically what I did for years in percussion.

I'll start rolling this all into my sim time...and the field when the weather cooperates around here!
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Old 01-06-2017, 10:40 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bredler View Post
These two points really hit home for me. I spent years playing classical percussion so precision is what I'm all about. And precision through deliberate practice and timing...well that's basically what I did for years in percussion.
Sticking with this around deliberate practice on what Steve called "core skill elements"...

A lot of guys, including me, go right from basic comfort with upright forward flight to trying out anything that looks fun: funnels, tic tocs, piro flips, or whatever. This is natural and there's nothing wrong with it, but I would just elaborate on the idea of core skill elements as including the other three orientations: upright tail first, and inverted in both directions. If you can transition between any two of those orientations seamlessly at the midpoints of your figure eights, and actually have the eights look good, everything else will feel and look much better, and you'll be much farther along when you start working on a new maneuver, as well as in linking your other moves smoothly.
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Old 01-06-2017, 12:26 PM   #10 (permalink)
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+1, the "right" practice is key. I flew around for a few years then went back to basics and it helped. One key is piro with corrections left, right, upright and inverted then move heli around with piro's stopping in ever orientation possible. It teaches you position recognition and correction that smooths out flying and most advanced maneuvers require to be flown well.
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