The neat thing about getting into this is that any aircraft that is straight and set up correctly will allow you to practice these things anytime you want, adding little things to your repertoire until you are able to do a number of really nice looking figures. The basic figures that comprise the beginner level are really simply horizontal lines, vertical lines, 45 degree lines, simple axial rolls, and then spins and stall turns to provide a bit of spice.
When you have soloed and you have moved up to more challenging aircraft…perhaps a low wing tail dragger. Take offs and landings are in the bag so to speak and you are looking for new things to try then pilots frequently are caught rolling and looping and keeping good control of the aircraft all of the time and they begin to watch what others are doing with their aircraft. Often times you will be impressed by someone who seems to be disciplined and is trying new things. You want to go there too but you do not know how to get on that road.
The road begins with watching the action at the field and picking out certain aircraft that you like the look of and can afford…both time and moneywise and talk to those that are flying these aircraft. Many new aerobatic planes exist on the market and asking questions about them is a terrific idea. One club member that comes to my mind is Craig Hunter who approached me repeatedly when I was flying a Fliton Extra 330 and plied me with questions about this and that and took pictures and asked how I liked the plane. This went on for quite a while and I was wondering if it would come together and sure enough I know that he is successfully using that very good airplane to practice precision aerobatics.
Once an aircraft has your fancy and you think it will fly straight then the next thing you must do is put it together correctly with the best servos and dependable power system that you can afford and begin to fly it and watch what it is doing when you try to fly straight lines of all types. Here’s the thing: light weight means a light wing loading…..a very good thing…., you must then get the center of gravity correct, you must get the thrust lines correct, and you must get the control throws correct. When these are achieved you will be amazed at how much pleasure you will get from flying that aircraft. Small airplanes are at a disadvantage because they tend to jump around a bit and seem to flit around instead of groove through aerobatic maneuvers. The larger the aircraft the more solid it feels through turbulence because of the higher Reynolds Numbers. RN is the laminar flow principles that air produces as it flows through or around an object.
Google it if you would like to find out more about RN.
This installment, as you noticed, is all about the important questions…..do you want to fly smoothly and do you have the right tool for the job? Once you get past these two in the affirmative then the next stage in development is to try to trim the aircraft to fly straight and level without touching the sticks….(once in level flight). There is so much to learn in setting up a good aircraft but when you do have one set up and you like the feel of it in flight then you are ready to try loops that have constant radius throughout and slow rolls that require small inputs on rudder and elevator to hold the heading and roll rate constant. Think about flying the nose of the aircraft and making your rudder and elevator guide the nose at all times by pressurizing those two surfaces. There is nothing more excellent and exciting then to see a brilliantly performed slow roll from one end of the field to the other. Once you learn to do them then rolling loops and circles are just around the corner.