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Old 05-13-2012, 04:59 PM   #1
NJSwede
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Default Inverted challenged

Ok, so here's a confession: I've been doing this for 18 months now. I can fly pretty much any plane, I can do basic 3D stuff (harriers, hovers, spins, pop-tops etc.) and I can do all the aerobatic moves (albeit pretty sloppy). Overall, I would consider myself a pretty competent pilot.

But there's one thing I (pardon my french) suck at: Inverted flying. I was watching one of the club members flying perfect inverted 8s with his Pulse XT yesterday and I was trying to do the same. I just can't stay in stable inverted flight long enough and my inverted turns are horrible and usually end with me rolling out back to upright.

And we're talking aerobatic, symmetric wing, zero degree dihedral models here, so there's no way I can blame the model. All my aerobatic models are trimmed to require only a very light down pressure to maintain altitude when inverted.

Any pointers?

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Old 05-13-2012, 05:28 PM   #2
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Ahhh.. I feel better now. I've been flying for decades longer than you and I still can't harrier or hover worth a damn... But I can fly inverted ok

Like most things with r/c flying confidence is a big factor and confidence comes with practice.. so the answer is simple; practice practice practice. Actually although my inverted is ok'ish I run out of bottle when it comes low inverted flying, any thing below about 15' and my bottle goes, so I could use a bit more practice too.

One thing that may work for you is to trim your plane so that it dives ever so slightly when inverted. Having to keep that slight forward pressure on the stick makes sure your brain doesn't forget that the plane is inverted. Also low rates help keep things smooth.

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Old 05-13-2012, 06:45 PM   #3
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If you have the patience, you can get your plane trimmed up so that it will neither dive or climb when inverted. It is a combination of where you place the CG, downthrust and incidence. I have most of my bipes trimmed so that they will fly hands off both inverted and right side up but it takes a lot of trial and error adjustments to get them that way. One of the biggest and easiest experiments to do after you get the CG at it optimum point is to start trimming the ailerons. I have found that most of my planes like to have both ailerons slightly up at neutral settings. Try different things, it will make interesting tests and you will learn quite a bit about what makes a plane stable. Just do the changes one at a time and in small increments.
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Old 05-13-2012, 07:30 PM   #4
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Rodneh,

The 3D planes that i think NJ is talking about fly level inverted 'hands off' with ease.. In fact go too far back with the CG and they climb inverted. This was a big surprise to me when I first tried these planes because previous models I'd owned had always needed a hint of down elevator when inverted.

Anyway.. some find trimming so that a touch of down is required when inverted is easier because it forces you to subconsciously remember that the plane is inverted and, as the old saying goes, "down is up and up is expensive"

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Old 05-13-2012, 08:45 PM   #5
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Yes, it's trimmed as neutral as possible on the elevator for both inverted and upright. Since these are symmetric wing with zero incident, they need some degree of elevator deflection to maintain altitude, so it's virtually impossible to have them neutral on both upright and inverted.

So back to my problem. My flying gets very twitch when I'm inverted. I keep over correcting all the time. It's probably all in my head.

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Old 05-13-2012, 09:07 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by NJSwede View Post
Yes, it's trimmed as neutral as possible on the elevator for both inverted and upright. Since these are symmetric wing with zero incident, they need some degree of elevator deflection to maintain altitude, so it's virtually impossible to have them neutral on both upright and inverted.

So back to my problem. My flying gets very twitch when I'm inverted. I keep over correcting all the time. It's probably all in my head.
I'm struggling with the same technique but for the most part, all my planes are flat winged foamy parkjets. I've approached it as an incomplete axial roll. So, roll just enough to get her on her back and hold with slight pressure on the down elevator. Am I approaching this the wrong way?

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Old 05-13-2012, 09:13 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by dahawk View Post
I'm struggling with the same technique but for the most part, all my planes are flat winged foamy parkjets. I've approached it as an incomplete axial roll. So, roll just enough to get her on her back and hold with slight pressure on the down elevator. Am I approaching this the wrong way?

-Hawk
I think that's the right way, and getting to that point is not an issue. It's staying inverted and flying clean and predictable patterns around the field while inverted I have a problem with.

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Old 05-13-2012, 09:19 PM   #8
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I have been practicing this more and more. What has helped me the most is thinking about how the ailerons still work the same way inverted, so I picture it as if I am flying right side up, just my elevator is reversed. This has helped me a lot, but I still need a bit of practice before I will be bringing much rudder into the situation.
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Old 05-13-2012, 09:36 PM   #9
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NJ,

I think you will find that if you tweak the CG back a shade more that you will be able to get your planes to fly both upright and inverted 'hands off' yet still be perfectly stable enough to fly ok. I know that the Slick 360 will fly that way because that's how mine is set up right now. It also works the same way on my EF Edge Exp and PA Ultimate AMR biplane.

How this works had me scratching my head at first but then it dawned on me that downwash is the key.. Downwash from the wing means that the tail has a negative angle of attack compared to the wing, even when both are set at zero degrees. The beauty being that downwash 'reverses' when you are flying inverted meaning that the plane will fly either way up without any trim change.

The downwash effect is quite slight though so it only works as I describe if you have the CG well back on the cusp of instability. Set up this way they fly fine but you do need to fly them all the time, especially on landing approach where the neutral stability means they easily slow up and stall if you don't watch out... but you get used to it.

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Old 05-13-2012, 09:41 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by NFA Fabrication View Post
but I still need a bit of practice before I will be bringing much rudder into the situation.
+1.. I still struggle with reversing rudder input. it seems like my brain can handle one reversed control (elevator) but freezes up if I try to give it two reversed controls to deal with... So I generally leave the rudder alone when inverted, which works ok for general flying but not if I want to get into stuff like inverted harriers.
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Old 05-13-2012, 10:41 PM   #11
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The biggest thing you need to worry about is practice. Just go out and fly inverted. No one is born with this ability, so we practice a lot. There is no simple way to learn anything other then practice and then practice some more. Some people pick it up faster then other, but we all have to practice to get good at anything. There's no pill you can take and no short cuts, just practice. You didn't learn upright flight over night did you?

Also, the controls don't change and suddenly work backward. Down is still down when referenced to the plane, but since you aren't in the plane it looks backwards. Down is still forward stick though, it's just that flying upside down is a little strange at first. Your used to pulling to go up, but now you have to push to go up. Just fly around inverted for awhile and make simple turns and start expanding it to include other stuff as you begin to feel better about flying upside down. Fly inverted and do simple turns long enough and you can start adding more to it later as you get used to this. You didn't learn to fly doing blenders at first did you? Inverted is the same way. Start slow and work your way up. It's a maneuver you have to learn just like anything else. You build up to it, you don't jump in with both feet.

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Old 05-13-2012, 11:33 PM   #12
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Actually, the reversed controls isn't even that much of a problem. It's just that I can't seem to get used to the "feeling" of the plane when inverted.

But you're right all of you. It's all about practice. I mean, the things I have practiced are the things I do well, soooo...

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Old 05-14-2012, 04:59 AM   #13
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Get a simulator. Taking away the risk of a crash or losing the plane makes you a much better flyer.
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Old 05-14-2012, 05:34 AM   #14
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For what it's worth, I'm sure 90% of my inverted problems are in my head.

It took me forever to realize that the controls were the same for inverted and normal flight. Right is still right, etc. For the longest time, I was double-translating everything in my head.

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Old 05-14-2012, 06:34 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by hayofstacks View Post
Get a simulator. Taking away the risk of a crash or losing the plane makes you a much better flyer.
Thanks Hay,

Yes, I have a sim. Just isn't the same when I get out there on the field but I will conquer it eventually.
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Old 05-14-2012, 08:56 PM   #16
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I'm horrible at inverted flight as well. I have one plane - Eflite Eratix - that handles fairly elegantly with very little need for down elevator when inverted. The warbirds, on the other hand, barely escape crashing when I fly them inverted. It isn't as easy as some make it look, is it?
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Old 05-14-2012, 09:36 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by JetPlaneFlyer View Post
+1... I still struggle with reversing rudder input. ....
FWIW: When upright, move the rudder stick in the direction of the desired movement for the end of the plane that is farther away from you.
When inverted, move the rudder stick in the direction of the desired movement for the end of the plane that is closer to you.

When doing "knife-edge": If the canopy is toward you, move the rudder stick toward the tail.
If the canopy is away from you, move the rudder stick toward the nose.
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Old 05-14-2012, 10:12 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by gyrocptr View Post
FWIW: When upright, move the rudder stick in the direction of the desired movement for the end of the plane that is farther away from you.
When inverted, move the rudder stick in the direction of the desired movement for the end of the plane that is closer you.

When doing "knife-edge": If the canopy is toward you, move the rudder stick toward the tail.
If the canopy is away from you, move the rudder stick toward the nose.
Gyrocptr,

Great tips!.. I've never hear it put like that but i think that's something I may be able to get into my thick head. I especially like the knife edge tip because in KE you have to use the rudder whereas in inverted you can usually get away with ignoring it Previously I only ever did KE with the canopy toward me due to constantly getting mixed up on rudder input

I'm going to go and practice your tips on the sim!
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Old 05-15-2012, 03:28 AM   #19
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The reason to do the flight sim, you can gret it much closer then you ever would with a real plane, at least till your good at inverted.

You don't have a problem flying, you have a problem. With orientation while flying inverted.
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Old 05-15-2012, 04:33 AM   #20
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Here is a little tip for inverted flying. Use flight modes. I put a flight mode on mine for inverted and trimmed it to fly hands off just like upright and then it's just putting in the controls that you need for what you are trying to do.

Granted flight sims are great to play around with and they do help, but they are not the same as real world and everything changes out there. We used Flight sims in the AF for pilot training and it helps, but there is a world of difference between the two. Real world you die for real, flight sim you push a button. They do have their place though and using them helps, but you still have to practice out at the flying field too. No matter how good a pilot is, he didn't get there by wishing.

Ed
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Old 05-15-2012, 06:02 AM   #21
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I found I got 'over the hump' of inverted flying when I developed a change in thumb position. Once I started 'getting it', I had moved my thumb position from being on the top of the stick, to more on the back of the stick. I am able to 'push' the stick forward knowing the inverted push is really 'up'.

Other things that helped me were to do do aileron rolls with a long pause for the invert. roll 1 of 2, then pause, then roll the same direction the 2 of 2. The pause when inverted let me feel better that fact mentioned that ailerons do not change when inverted. After that, it was GAME ON!

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Old 05-15-2012, 06:14 AM   #22
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Default I struggled with inverted for a long time too

What finally got me past what I call the "cold sweats" of flying inverted was an EPP indestructible foamy. In my case a SuperFly. It got me past my fear of making a mistake and smacking the ground. I would smack it on the ground, pick it up and throw it back in the air. I could practice down low and close to me without fear of crashing. Proximity to the ground also gives a very clear feeling of the control response.

I still struggle occasionally with wrapping my brain around the control reversal. The last time I was out flying inverted I cruised around inverted until it was time to land, rolled over upright, made a picture perfect approach, and then just before touchdown "pushed" the stick to raise the nose a touch and bonked it on the ground instead!! Duh! I should have made a couple of circuits around the field right-side-up before attempting the landing just to get my brain fully reversed for upright flight. Sadly this was not a foamy but a bigger balsa bird so it will need minor repairs.

As others have said, practice, practice, practice.
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Old 05-15-2012, 01:50 PM   #23
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One of the bad things about getting used to doing something is getting to relaxed at it. Back when I was flying in the 70's I was talking to a friend of mine while flying and in the process of making a high speed LOW inverted pass, I was going to impress everyone and make a sharp pull up at the end of the field with a screaming Duelest. Well, I did alright, but it would seem that UP from inverted flight at 5 feet doesn't work very well. Have you ever watched your pride and joy explode right in front of everyone because you weren't paying attention?? Moral of the story, DON"T GET COCKY. It will bit you every time.

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Old 05-15-2012, 05:51 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by NJSwede View Post
Actually, the reversed controls isn't even that much of a problem. It's just that I can't seem to get used to the "feeling" of the plane when inverted.

But you're right all of you. It's all about practice. I mean, the things I have practiced are the things I do well, soooo...
I find due to 'stress' it's easy to run too slow with the nose too far up while inverted, that makes everything harder.

As far as 'up' 'down' goes, I trained myself to refer to the plane itself- stick back = go towards the cockpit, stick forwards = go towards the bottom of the plane.
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Old 05-15-2012, 09:26 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by CNY_Dave View Post
I find due to 'stress' it's easy to run too slow with the nose too far up while inverted, that makes everything harder.
This.

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