Fun Fly + My Flying

Last weekend was the fun fly here in Kenora.  It was originally going to be in Rainy River (in which I wouldn’t have been able to attend) but due to all the rain their field became flooded so the Kenora club hustled to pull of the event here.  On the Friday I was able to get up for a few flights and although I brought my plane out Saturday to get in some flying at the event it was way to windy for me so my plane remained on the ground.  As much as I wanted to fly it was still a fantastic day chatting with all the guys and watching planes fly we don’t typically see around here of all sizes.  The bigger acrobatic ones were a lot of fun to watch and lit a spark in me as I aspire to be able to build and fly one of them some day!

Unfortunately it has taken me so long to blog about it I can’t recall my learning points, if their were any… and I’m sure their were, from last Friday night.  I did get out flying Monday as well where I got in another few flights.  Overall it was another fantastic evening of flying; however, I did discover some specific items I need to remember / work on:

  • When landing remember to flare the plane right before touch down to ensure I land on my main landing gear (the rear two wheels) by applying a tiny bit of ‘up’ rudder before touching down and then letting the front tire come down.  With the way I’ve been doing it, coming in level, my front wheel takes the brunt of the force and could break or cause the plane to nose into the ground if it catches in the grass.
  • When banking for my turns I need to make sure my bank angle isn’t to steep for the speed I am at otherwise I am going to stall and plummet to the ground! This especially includes when coming in for a landing with a lower cruising speed; however, I need to make sure I do not cut the throttle and keep as much applied as I can before I get my plane around and lined up for landing.

Pilots get into trouble when manoeuvring for a landing with power at idle when they make steep turns to align themselves with the runway.  I definitely made to steep of a turn the one evening when my engine quit as I was to quick, panicked a bit perhaps, and instead of slowly manoeuvring in for the landing I banked hard and pulled around to get in line with the runway which could have easily lead to disaster instead of a save, especially if I wasn’t still on the trainer… and that’s why you start here and build up.

These links explain the issue of slow speed and bank angle as related to stall problems:
http://www.boldmethod.com/learn-to-fly/aerodynamics/why-does-stall-speed-increase-with-bank-angle/
http://www.experimentalaircraft.info/flight-planning/aircraft-stall-speed-1.php
http://turbineair.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Bank-Angle-vs-stall-speed-2013.pdf
http://krepelka.com/fsweb/lessons/private/privatelessons02.htm

Fun Social Flying Evening & New Experiences

I am loving the hobby of R/C Airplanes!  I had another awesome night of flying yesterday.  I got in three solid flights. What a solid flight looks like for me is approximately nine minutes, as that is what I have the timer on my transmitter set for, which I start right before takeoff.  The realised duration all depends if when I first hear that beep I come in for a landing right away, decide to wait for the final minute warning, or if it takes me a few attempts to get a landing I’m comfortable with which leads to about a +/- of a couple minutes.  The wind permitted takeoffs and landings going South to North on the runway last evening, which is the way in which I talked about in a previous post and really just started doing.

This evening wasn’t without a little added nervous excitement either, lol.  On my very first takeoff as soon as my LT40 lifted off the ground the right wing dipped, as if I wanted to bank right… which I didn’t, that could have lead to disaster.  I was quick enough on the controls to level it out and shakily gain some altitude before getting comfortably high up in the air for the remainder of the flight.   I heard “nice save” from John for that takeoff. Not sure what was with this evening but the second flight it came on the landing.  When approaching from the South I was way to far down the runway and had cut the power so when the aircraft landed I went right into a pool of water on the airfield.  A big thanks to John for retrieving the aircraft for me!  The lesson learned here is to not cut the engine so quick, come in lined up and low and then cut it such that I land up closer to the fence we stand behind as my aircraft doesn’t require much runway to come to a stop.

I managed to squeak in a third flight before the sun set which turned out to be my best flight of the night.  My takeoff was very smooth as the plane came off the ground effortlessly and uneventful, levelled out to gain airspeed before climbing into the air and performing a smooth right bank across the North end of the field.  After flying around I came in for a landing, learned from my swim in the pool, coasting for a smooth landing near wear we stand followed by a short taxi trip towards the exit.

Last evenings flying came with a little extra special moment as I got to see Peter fly his plane multiple times.  He’s always helping others on the ground or on the buddy box teaching someone how to fly so it was a pleasure to see the teacher up flying around, in this case breaking in a new engine.  I also got to assist Peter, for a change, prep for his flights, even if it was just in little ways such as holding the plane while Jon started and Peter revved it while out on the field.

After cleanup I caught up with the guys at McD’s, which is the tradition for at least some to go, where we shared some stories.

Crosswind Flying Excitement

Friday evening I got out for an excellent evening of flying getting in four flights, three of which were solid and one of which tested my ability to remain cool and collected, lol.

The planned new experience and knowledge gain from this evening of flying was taking off and landing when their is a crosswind.  In a previous post I mentioned how the runway generally runs North/South and Friday evening the wind was blowing West/East.  During my takeoff, heading South, in order to prevent the plane from tipping over or blowing off course you need to apply some rudder and ailerons (both R in this case) to prevent the plane from veering left and from tipping over due to the crosswind.  During landings you need to ensure you are over far enough on the runway such that while descending the plane doesn’t get blown from above the landing strip, but instead is blown into position.  While descending I used the rudder (applying R rudder again as I was landing pointing South) for course correction to keep the plane pointing down the runway and from getting to far over.  While performing these tasks you still need to do what you would normally during takeoff and landing (i.e. applying up elevator to get off the ground during take off and in order to land on the rear wheels, main gear, while landing).

All in all it was an excellent night of flying in which only a few noticeable events occurred:

  1. During flight my engine cut out due to the temperature change and I was able to remain calm and coast my plane in for a dead stick landing.  Then adjustments were made on the engine to help ensure the appropriate amount of fuel is being provided.
  2. While taxing back to the gate I applied to much throttle and the plane didn’t stop in time so I nosed into the fence, which cut the engine and thankfully did not damage, as I miss calculated how much time it’d take for the plane to slow while taxing.
  3. On a pre-flight check I noticed that when my throttle was at half on the transmitter the plane was actually at full throttle.  Going beyond that was just stressing both the servo and plastic ‘hinge’ for the throttle arm, which is not ideal.  This meant that I was finely controlling the throttle as from 0 to half equated to 0 to full and everything above half was essentially doing nothing but stressing the components.  This was like this from the time it was assembled, not sure why nobody noticed this until I did that evening, but do to the gracious help of Peter and John it has been fixed.  Hoping to get out this evening to see how this changes the feel of the plane!
  4. On my last flight of the day I didn’t compensate enough for the crosswind on landing and though I tried to make corrections at the last minute with my rudder to get back on the runway.  I ended up in the tall grass just off the runway and used the kill switch to kill my engine as quickly as I could to prevent damage (which I thankfully appeared to be successful at!).  This was a different experience as on top of the crosswind the sun was setting, already quite low, changing the visual of the approach and I went by the plane instead of my ground markers causing me to misjudge where the plane was at.

The weather hasn’t cooperated since Friday; however, I am hoping to get out tonight.  Will have to wait and see.