How to teach yourself to auto in 5 lessons - HeliFreak
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Old 03-11-2011, 07:12 PM   #1
rbort
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Default How to teach yourself to auto in 5 lessons

I get asked this all the time and just sent it in an email to someone. Here it is:

"As far autos, it goes in lessons like this:

AR 101:

Hover, hit hold, and float it down. Key is land it smooth and don't fly away. I have seen many people either climb, or get into forward flight for some reason. Repeat AR 102, 103 until you get it perfect.

AR 201:

Get into slow forward flight over the runway, go down to the end of the runway and turn around and come back into the wind. While at 3 to 6 feet high and moving at 5 to 15mph, hit throttle hold and slow it down (nose up) while adding collective and make a landing. Key is land straight and don't dig the tail into the ground. You pull back to slow it down, but at the end of the landing, you need to push forward to level it before touchdown so you don't dig the tail blades into the grass. Its OK to slide it on the runway if head speed is running out, but practice being able to stop it also and land level besides doing a sliding landing. Repeat AR 202, 203, etc until you get this perfect.

AR 301:

Take off, climb downwind to 300 feet, turn around into the wind and hit throttle hold. Drop collective and come down 50 to 70% of the way, hit throttle hold again, and fly away. You need to learn to hit the switch, and hit it again comfortably without panic. No worries where its going, just worry about using the switch and not screwing up the collective. Any time you see scattered blades, BAIL OUT, and fly away for another attempt. Do NOT force it. Repeat AR 302, 303, 304, etc until you can use the switch and glide down.

AR 401:

Here is where you need to learn collective management in the autos. Many pilots drop collective hard because of fear of the rotors stopping and lose altitude too fast. You need to fly up to 300 feet, turn around into the wind if any, and hit throttle hold. As you start to come down, learn to find the sweet spot in the collective where the blades are turning (solid disk), but while you're coming down as slow as possible. While you are doing this, you need to learn to aim for the runway. Many people go on some angle and if the auto is completed to the finish they are landing in the woods somewhere. If you find yourself going away from the runway, try to correct it until you reach 50 to 70% of the decent and bail out so you can climb back up and try it again. The key here is that you are going to autorotate down from 300 feet with some slow forward flight and are lined up with the center of the runway. Repeat AR 402, 403, 404 until you can do this comfortably.

AR 501:

This lesson you need to learn your forward speed and the target of where your heli is going to end up. You climb up to 300 feet, turn around into the wind, and start your decent. Now that you can stay lined up with the runway, your next challenge is to figure out the nose attitude of where you need to be to make a landing within 100 feet of where you are standing. This means where in the sky you put the helicopter to start out (height and distance), and as you're coming how much you nose up or not depending on your forward speed so you do not overshoot and land in the next field over. I see this all the time where if the auto was to be completed to the finish, the pilot would be landing the heli like 300 feet past themselves down maybe even past the end of the runway. Practice nose angle and the key thing here is that you start out with some speed, and by the time you reach your landing point you will want to have used up most of that speed. In other words, if you had 20mph forward speed at 300 feet, you need to have 5mph at 10 feet. NEVER lost all your forward speed at altitude and come the rest of the way straight down with 0 forward speed. If this happens, BAIL OUT and fly off. Decending straight down is a bad thing, especially if there is no wind. If there is a steady wind, you can get away with it. But in general while learning the speed needs to be extinguished near the ground, not up high. Repeat AR 502, 503, 504, etc until you are comfortable with this and the heli is coming in centered and close to you.

Do not force an auto, but, your first one will just come all of a sudden. If you go up high, turn around, begin the decent, maintain the head speed, line up with the runway, and come in close to yourself at 5 to 15mph, well guess what, its AR 201 and you just take over from there and make the same landing you practiced in the beginning - its that simple!

One last thing to note that I didn't mention, its not necessary to drop collective instantly or before hitting throttle hold. Most people fear this and try to lead an auto with dropping collective before idling the motor. Try it sometime, once you are positioned in the sky, you can hit throttle hold, count to 3, and then drop collective and all will be OK. So don't rush, and don't worry if the blades scatter a bit. If you see that just drop collective a little more and wait, and the head will speed back up.

And a final tip: If you're coming in with scattered blades (low head speed), do not attempt to come to a full stop and hover it down. Instead, land it like an airplane where you touch down moving and slide to a stop by adding collective on touchdown gradaully to the top to keep it sliding as long as possible. Forward speed increases lift, and with a slow head speed you can stay in the air in forward motion but not in a hover.

This came out SO GOOD that I'm going to cut and paste it on the forums for others to benefit from as I've been typing it for the past 1/2 hour!!

Hope this helps and enjoy!"

-=>Raja
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Old 03-11-2011, 08:33 PM   #2
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Very nice! Thank you
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Old 03-16-2011, 09:08 AM   #3
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Thank you. That is the best description I've seen yet for autos. You just gave me a plan for something to accomplish by the end of the year!
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Old 12-04-2014, 12:54 AM   #4
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The subject of auto rotations came up in the main thread and someone referenced this thread.

I contacted rbort, and moved it to RC Flight School with his permission.

This is the best step by step how to on auto I have seen yet.

This can be used in conjunction with the lessons taught in the "Curtis Youngblood autorotation class - YouTube"



Hopefully more can get use from this information.
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Old 01-08-2015, 06:09 PM   #5
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Autorotation Topic: Overspeed

Seems like experienced folk talk about "overspeed" when doing autorotation maneuvers.

Please explain what that is, and why you might do it, or why you might want to avoid it.

Thanks,

Paul
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Old 01-08-2015, 06:54 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flyingw View Post
Autorotation Topic: Overspeed

Seems like experienced folk talk about "overspeed" when doing autorotation maneuvers.

Please explain what that is, and why you might do it, or why you might want to avoid it.

Thanks,

Paul
Overspeed involves making the heli fall fast, then putting blades into the airstream to turn the rotor faster than the normal speed of the powered rotor.

Look at What is over speeding?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheVortex3d View Post
It's when air rushes through the disc and makes it spin faster than the motor has it going. ...
Overspeeding during an auto allows "dismount autos", where maneuvers can be done immediately prior to landing.

Where it is hard on the heli is the blade root. 700mm blade spinning at or over 2400RPM puts A LOT of strain on the blade root which can shatter it (blades are not usually manufactured to take this amount of force - see also making a high speed projectile(s) and an expensive heap of broken parts).

You can overspeed without using throttle cut. Dive then pull the blades into the wind with negative collective. Does sound awesome, but you may pay for it in wear and tear.
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Old 01-09-2015, 06:41 AM   #7
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Thanks Arch,

I understand. That's one of the cool things about model helicopters: They tease us to fly them to destruction. Kind of like our own bodies - less fun unless we over eat and drink at the cost or extra wear and tear.

Paul
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Old 01-09-2015, 05:00 PM   #8
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What is a good size heli to start attempting autos with? I have a 450, 500, 600, and am building a 700 gasser. Obviously the 450 has the least pucker factor and I dont want to risk the 600 or 700 while learning.

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Old 01-09-2015, 09:57 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richmurphy83 View Post
What is a good size heli to start attempting autos with? I have a 450, 500, 600, and am building a 700 gasser. Obviously the 450 has the least pucker factor and I dont want to risk the 600 or 700 while learning.

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Oddly ehough, the bigger the better. More hang time.

450 autos come in really quick. 700's just tend to glide in.

Sim practice and small steps and auto bailout regime. (only bail out high).

Hardest part I find is aiming.
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Old 01-10-2015, 09:02 AM   #10
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I knew bigger is better but would I be able to properly learn on say a 500? I tried a cluple with my 450 at tye end of the season but they did not go so well. I was trying auto straight doen with no forward momentum, did not wad the heli in thankfully just tipped over because the blades were spinning so slow.

Did this 2 or three times and when I was bringing the heli back in the house one of the tail blades fell righr off lol luckly I didn5 try another.

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Old 01-10-2015, 08:23 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richmurphy83 View Post
I knew bigger is better but would I be able to properly learn on say a 500? I tried a cluple with my 450 at tye end of the season but they did not go so well. I was trying auto straight doen with no forward momentum, did not wad the heli in thankfully just tipped over because the blades were spinning so slow.

Did this 2 or three times and when I was bringing the heli back in the house one of the tail blades fell righr off lol luckly I didn5 try another.

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I'd say start with AT LEAST 500 size.

Autos on my X5 (500mm blades) are still pretty quick.
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Old 01-10-2015, 08:51 PM   #12
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Learning to auto is my goal this upcoming flying season. I will make my 500 my practice heli then seeing I have plenty of parts for it lol.

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Old 01-11-2015, 07:40 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by richmurphy83 View Post
Learning to auto is my goal this upcoming flying season. I will make my 500 my practice heli then seeing I have plenty of parts for it lol.

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Do a few hundred with a 500 size in the sim, then follow this 5 part method and you should be fine (very few spare parts needed).

Remember. If you need to bail out, do it ABOVE 20 ft. Below that, you are landing.
If you are off line on approach, better to bail and go around.
If rotor speed drops too much, better to bail and go around.

If approach good, descent speed good and rotor speed good, then bring her home.

Auto is the only heli move that involves a non-heli component (the ground).
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Old 01-14-2015, 12:51 PM   #14
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Why does the heli tend to want to tip over when touching down in an auto? Curtis Youngblood mentioned the effect in his video, and I've been noticing it as well.
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Old 01-14-2015, 05:11 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flyingw View Post
Why does the heli tend to want to tip over when touching down in an auto? Curtis Youngblood mentioned the effect in his video, and I've been noticing it as well.
FBL controllers try to attain an attitude (tilt). After an auto, blade speed is lower and the skids are in contact with the ground, so it takes more pitch difference to attain the FBL's commanded attitude. Until the blades are slow enough to no longer tip the heli, it's flying, and with a FBL system you need to ensure it's not trying to attain a non-flat attitude.

FB systems the paddles have an attitude dampening effect that wears off quicker than a normal FBL system. This means FB helis are less likely to tip after an auto.

This is how I understand it. Hope this all makes sense.
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Old 01-14-2015, 05:19 PM   #16
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Default The tipping over thing

I don't have this problem with the bavarian demon controllers. I used to own a cgy750 and it was more evident there. There are some differences between flybarless systems. Curtis was using an older flybarless system back then, his own at the time, and that was back in 2008. There have been many improvements since then.

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Old 01-14-2015, 09:02 PM   #17
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For me it tends to tip to the right. I suppose it could be me inadvertently giving it some right cyclic at touchdown and the effect is exaggerated by the fbl gyro.

Or maybe it is from the right skid touching first and causing the heli to roll left - and the gyro overcompensates.

Sometimes I can stay ahead of it and get no tipping.

Thanks for your opinions.

Paul
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Old 08-01-2015, 11:48 PM   #18
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Here's a tip.

Set your throttle hold switch to the following throttle curve: 20-20-20-20-20%.
Leave your pitch curve identical to your flight mode.

That's right. It's not a true motor cut auto.
It gives you a little buffer headspeed, so you can bail out.
(just like those nitro "cheaters" who always in engine idle, not a true engine kill during autos).

Focus on finding your left stick sweet spot. This is a great compromise between never and going for it. Good luck.
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Old 08-02-2015, 12:44 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slamdance View Post
Here's a tip.

Set your throttle hold switch to the following throttle curve: 20-20-20-20-20%.
Leave your pitch curve identical to your flight mode.

That's right. It's not a true motor cut auto.
It gives you a little buffer headspeed, so you can bail out.
(just like those nitro "cheaters" who always in engine idle, not a true engine kill during autos).

Focus on finding your left stick sweet spot. This is a great compromise between never and going for it. Good luck.
Yep. This is fine. But make sure you have a way to get to 0 at end of flight (and that your failsafe is 0).

Still do not try bail-out under 20ft. Will not have the power to the blades quick enough to reverse the downward momentum.

Assuming electric, at throttle 20, this will keep the ESC from soft start, so be careful not to strip gears on bail-out.

You should also be able to keep enough blade speed so that the blades will out-turn the motor (running at 20).

Not cheating unless in competition.
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Old 02-11-2016, 07:41 PM   #20
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Thank-you rbort for this thorough automation tutorial. I am just getting into RC helicopters, have ordered a WLToys V977 to learn with, and hope to be into a 250, or 450 size scale heli before the end of Summer.

Question: For the money, what is a reasonably good buy in the 250, or 450 class? FYI: I am only interested in scale flying, and want to build a MD 500, or MBB Bo 105.
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