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Old 02-15-2016, 05:39 PM   #1
AEAJR
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Cool Flight stabilization systems - let's discuss

Friends,

Flight stabilization has become a common part of RC flying, especially among electric pilots. Whether it is in the receiver, as is common with a lot of the BnFs, or something you add, let's talk about them. Here are the questions I would like to ask:

1) Types: 1 axis, 2 axis, more?

2) Receiver based vs. other methods of adding stabilization

3) Adjustable systems. Either on/off or adjustable gain

4) Are they just for beginners?

I am NOT taking about FPV systems. I am talking about systems that are used by visual pilots, though some may apply to both.

So, let's see what the community knowledge can bring to the discussion.


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Old 02-15-2016, 06:10 PM   #2
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Hi

personally i have always thought that a system that can save a model from crashing at the click of a switch is a good thing and as they can be had for around 10 now there is no good reason why everyone should not have one, even if its just for one of the rare moments when it could save many 100 of plane and equipment and save possible damage to persons on the ground.

You will however always get the If I didn't need them no one should use them brigade but they are getting fewer and fewer now as newer younger pilots come along who are happy to embrace technology rather than shun it just for the sake of it.

Here in the UK our governing body the BMFA have even started to embrace this technology by updating the training and testing with a new pilot Proficiency test for pilots using stabilization devices.

So for me yes they are a good thing, personally prefer the 3 axis sort with a couple of levels of control operated by a three position switch.

I can also see the ring fence idea being good as well for new pilots as well as return to home GPS devices if funds allow.

I wonder how long it will be before they are a legal requirement

Crash Helmets and Seat belts are a proven safety device that a very small minority refuse to use, even after all these years, although their numbers are dwindling as they tend not to survive a crash

Paul
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Old 02-15-2016, 06:15 PM   #3
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This is one area of RC that's been developing very rapidly in the last few years.

I've used a few of the basic fixed wing gyro systems like the Lemon Rx and Orange versions that are integrated into a spektrum compatible Rx. These are standard 3 axis 'rate gyros' (pitch, roll and yaw). They detect uncommanded movement of the plane and correct it. So for instance if the plane gets hit with a gust these gyros will compensate and keep the plane flying straight. Basically these gyros are like turning down the wind, and they generally make the plane smoother to fly.
They are pretty limited though, they don't do any 'fancy tricks' like some of the more advanced systems do.

Where it gets really interesting is the more advanced 6 axis systems. These have a 3 axis gyro plus a 3 axis accelerometer (the accelerometer detects linear acceleration in addition to the gyros angular detection). These systems have the ability to 'remember' which way is up, so that brings the possibility of self leveling, attitude control and panic recovery, or even really neat tricks like 'auto hover'.

The one I'm trying right now is the Hobby Eagle A3 Super II.

This is the full blown 6 axis type but is bargain basement price. It's got various flight modes including a 'panic recovery' mode that instantly levels the plane, it's also got a 'attitude locking' mode that lets you do stuff like putting the plane in knife edge or harrier flight and literally taking your hands off and letting it fly itself. Most exciting is the Auto-Hover mode which has to be seen to be believed, it's just amazing. Here's a video i shot a couple of weeks ago playing around with auto hover:
YouTube Video
ERROR: If you can see this, then YouTube is down or you don't have Flash installed.

I know the purists will think of these systems as 'cheating', each to their own. You dont have to use one if you dont want to. I find them fun to play around with so i don't care if it's cheating!
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Old 02-15-2016, 06:16 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by AEAJR View Post
Friends,

Flight stabilization has become a common part of RC flying, especially among electric pilots. Whether it is in the receiver, as is common with a lot of the BnFs, or something you add, let's talk about them. Here are the questions I would like to ask:
1) Types: 1 axis, 2 axis, more?

The single axis will basically fall to the common Helicopter units that are used for assisting with tail control. Not really much use to a fixed wing pilot unless a specific need for only one element to be assisted.

2 axis ... again not much call for this as a pilot would usually want 3 axis as minimum.

3 axis are the common ones ... Lemon, Orange, P1 etc. and the low budget end versions of more expensive brands.

The next step up basically jumps 3 steps to the 6 axis units that are becoming more common. Hobby Eagle, Eagle Tree etc. These have the 3 gyro functions plus 3 accelerometers to add data to calculate not only attitude but rate of deflection.

2) Receiver based vs. other methods of adding stabilization

This comes down to what unit functions you want as many Rx combo's are 3 axis. Second size and weight limitations. Of course radio brand as well as the Rx ones are mostly brand specific. The non Rx combo are the most versatile of course as you can add to any system.

3) Adjustable systems. Either on/off or adjustable gain

Definitely should be adjustable ... as well as On / Off ... and if available with in-flight adjustment even better.

4) Are they just for beginners?

No - a common misunderstanding about their role. Of course the SAFE Version by HH is a different ball game and is aimed at the beginner ... and has really brought about the arguments that rain on and on about switching it off etc.
Most after market systems like the Hobby eagle for example are a bit more clever than the likes of SAFE. We now have in-flight gain control, auto-level, Hover, rate and HH all in one unit and switchable on demand IN FLIGHT.

I am NOT taking about FPV systems. I am talking about systems that are used by visual pilots, though some may apply to both.

So, let's see what the community knowledge can bring to the discussion.

You will find I started a Hobby Eagle A3 Super II thread already to help anyone buying one and wanting to install. No techno jargon and muddy waters stuff ... just plain fit, set gains and use.

I find it laughable actually that years ago - I was one of the first on my field with a 'programmable' radio ... a Jr Propo with pots and switches ... 35Mhz FM job. No computer .. all analogue pots etc. It also had D/R and a sort of expo on rudder, snap roll buttons, throttle stop, throttle up etc.
I was told - CHEAT CHEAT CHEAT ... its not real flying ...

Today that set is old hat and left behind by the computer jobs we now have with all the functions accepted as REAL flying today. So in my mind - the advent of Stabilisation systems falls in the same field. Tomorrow it will likely be standard supply with a radio.

Nigel

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Old 02-15-2016, 06:18 PM   #5
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Used correctly, they can help. Used incorrectly they can make a bad situation worse.

Very similar to autopilots in a full scale aircraft... There are flight conditions where the stabilizer will cause problems if left in command of aircraft attitude. Just about all of them will make a stall worse by attempting to maintain aircraft attitude when the correct response is to get the nose down.

Maintain the performance range where the flaws in the technology are unlikely to appear and they take some load off of the pilot.

We've been experimenting with assorted self leveling systems for the entire history of aviation. One of those is called Dihedral. The purpose of dihedral is to make the aircraft easier to maintain in straight and level flight.

In the 1930's for FF models (and seen again in the 1970's for RC...) a system was used which had vanes sticking down from the wings connected to ailerons. When the plane started to slip, the vanes would deflect and the linkage would apply aileron to counter the slip.

In one model I installed a pendulum system that would adjust the elevator to bring the model back to level. Hand launch throwing the plane forward, would swing the pendulum to the rear of the plane and that was detected as nose up so it would dive every time... It worked really well for ROG though.

Maynard Hill, one of the most famous innovators in model aviation, developed several variations on autopilot systems. One of these was used to successfully fly a model across the Atlantic. (after a few planes were lost in earlier attempts)
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Old 02-15-2016, 06:23 PM   #6
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The subject of the stabilisation being bad is when a model is slow on finals ... a wing drops or she gets off line. The stabilisation will add aileron .. kick the rudder and BHAM in she goes. Why ? We all know that at slow speed we should only touch aileron if absolutely necessary and then dab only. Stab doesn't know that.

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Old 02-15-2016, 06:55 PM   #7
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Good comments, keep 'em coming.

Feel free to talk about specific units and what we should know about them.

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Old 02-15-2016, 07:08 PM   #8
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Well.. specific units will tend to leave us with outdated info fast, because these things are getting updated rapidly.

I personally prefer a separate gyro rather than one built into the RX.

This comes from my experience with "All in one" gyro, ESC, mixer, RX units where if one part failed you had to replace the whole thing. Those units in the ESky CP Honeybee 2 heli tended to burn the tail rotor ESC and then you were stuck. The replacement "all in one" cost as much as a new heli.

My Honeybee now has separate ESCs, gyro and RX and the mixing is in my TX.
And yes the ancient thing still flies.
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