Sky-High Adventure with the Macintosh, Amiga, & Atari ST
by Charles Gulick
STUNT-FLYING THE 182-S
To control your 182-S well is a continuing challenge. It is no mean feat to land it even close to your ground position, let alone on the runway. A runway landing is the toughest challenge of all. But it can be done. And I guarantee you that the first time you do it you'll exult!
However, other great firsts—equally thrilling—are in store. A runway landing may not impress the average observer because nonflyers have no idea how tough it is. But if you turn the model on its back in flight or do a loop or a spin, the “ooohs!” and “ahhhs!” will more than repay the hours you spent practicing stunts with the 182-S.
If you've watched actual R/C flying, you know that aerobatics are the norm for all but the rank beginner. R/C models can do stunts that are virtually impossible in actual aircraft because their power-to-weight ratio is far beyond even that of specially built stunt planes.
In the case of the 182-S, it flies more like a real airplane than do most R/C models. Its power-to-weight ratio is identical to that of the prototype Cessna 182. Thus, compared with the average R/C model, it is more difficult, but not impossible, to stunt-fly. And it is a beautiful airplane to watch in the sky.
The following are only guidelines. In actual R/C flying and particularly while doing aerobatics, you'll rarely have time to get into the best possible configuration for each maneuver. And I know that you'll try stunts like those described below when you haven't enough airspeed or altitude, and you'll doubtless get into trouble, crashing often.
Nevertheless, your objective should be to fly without crashing, which is the only reasonable objective. Achieving that objective is, of course, another matter.
In all the following stunt descriptions, it is assumed that you have adequate altitude and an airspeed of about 135-140 knots (normal cruising speed) at the outset of the maneuver. “Adequate altitude” depends on exactly how, and how well, you perform the maneuver. Also, for many of the descriptions, I cannot provide specific pressure instructions for the Macintosh, which has no keyboard yoke option. If you're flying the Mac, I can only suggest that you carefully analyze the values given for the Amiga/Atari keypad yoke and that you pay equally careful attention to the basic stunt description as well as to the aircraft as observed in the sky. Because you can neither count elevator pressures nor see your elevator trim/position gauge, you are at a particular disadvantage in learning to stunt-fly your R/C model.
Finally, let me remind you that the values given are approximate. They are provided to give you an idea of each stunt and should, in all cases, be modified to suit the aircraft's configuration. So, here goes!
Apply hard aileron pressure in the direction you want the model to roll. When the wings are about 30 degrees from perpendicular (as observed in the sky and/or on the attitude indicator), apply full down elevator (approximately 12 qd). When the wings are again 30 degrees from perpendicular, apply an equal amount of up elevator (approximately 12 qu). Neutralize your ailerons as the wings come level. Adjust elevator to suit the aircraft's configuration.
Inverted Flight (entered from half-roll)
Do a half aileron-roll as described above, applying hard aileron pressure in the direction you want the model to roll. When the wings are about 30 degrees from perpendicular, apply full down elevator. Neutralize your ailerons when the plane is inverted. Adjust elevator to fly inverted and level. (Forward pressure raises the nose and back pressure lowers it relative to the horizon.) Interpret the artificial horizon in the same manner as in normal flight; that is, to keep the wings level apply aileron pressure in the direction of the low side of the slant.
The engine will stop while you are inverted.
To recover from inverted flight, apply full left or right aileron. When the wings are about 30 degrees from perpendicular, apply strong up elevator. Neutralize your ailerons as the wings come level in upright flight. Adjust elevator to suit the aircraft's configuration.
Immelman (half-loop followed by half-roll)
Apply forward elevator pressure (5 qd) to pick up speed. Wait for approximately 155 KIAS. Apply strong up elevator (12 qu) to climb, followed by full throttle. At the top of the loop, apply forward elevator pressure, as needed, to briefly fly inverted and level, followed by full left or right aileron. When the wings are 30 degrees from perpendicular, apply strong back pressure (as in the last portion of the regular aileron-roll). Neutralize your ailerons as the wings come level. Adjust elevator to suit the aircraft's configuration.
Apply forward elevator pressure (5 qd) to pick up speed. Wait for approximately 155 KIAS. Apply strong up elevator (12 qu) to climb, followed by full throttle. Keep the throttle open to round out the top of the circle, and then as descent begins, close the throttle completely. As sky comes into view (on the artificial horizon), apply strong forward pressure (8 qd) to arrest a secondary climb. Open throttle to cruise power, and adjust elevator to suit the aircraft's configuration.
Split-S (inverted flight followed by half-loop)
Roll to inverted position (as in Inverted Flight, above). Close the throttle (whether or not the engine has quit). Apply strong back pressure (15 qu) to enter the back half of a loop. As sky comes into view (on the artificial horizon), apply some strong forward pressure (15 qd) to arrest a secondary climb. Open throttle to cruise rpm, and adjust elevator to suit the aircraft's configuration.
Close the throttle. As the aircraft begins to slow down, apply strong up elevator to maintain a steep climb attitude while the airspeed drops. When the plane stalls, let the nose drop to an approximate 45-degree angle (with respect to the horizon), and then apply full left or right rudder to start auto-rotation.
To stop the spin, neutralize the rudder. Then, apply strong down elevator to recover from the stall. (If the spin is excessive, apply rudder opposite to the direction of the spin.) Restore cruise power and adjust elevator to suit the aircraft's configuration.
Chandelle (maximum-performance climbing 180)
Note the compass and/or the visual heading of the aircraft. Open the throttle to maximum. Apply back pressure (3 qu) to pitch the nose up. Enter a 30-degree bank to the left or the right, and neutralize. Immediately apply additional back pressure (3 qu) for a steep climb angle. (Only a small portion of artificial horizon should show.) Trim up at a rate to keep the smallest possible amount of horizon showing. The plane should be close to stalling speed. (If you get a stall warning, apply a little forward pressure.) Roll out 180 degrees from your original heading. Start to trim down and reduce your power to cruise rpm. (Your altitude gain should be 1500 to 2000 feet.)
Note your altitude and heading. Open your throttle substantially (10 notches or to 2450 rpm). Apply strong back pressure (2 × 5 qu). Begin a left or a right turn and steepen the bank to approximately 80 degrees. Neutralize your ailerons. When your airspeed slows to 50 KIAS, reduce throttle to approximate cruise rpm (10 notches). At the top of the turn, start opposite aileron pressure. Apply moderate down elevator (5 qd), and roll out on the reverse of your original heading. When your altitude equalizes (or the altimeter pauses), apply additional moderate down elevator (5 qd) to level off at your original altitude.
The Lazy 8 consists of two wingovers in succession, performed in opposite directions.
You can also add power-off and power-on stalls to your repertoire, as described in Chapter 13.
Practice the aerobatics as individual stunts until you get the feel of each of them. The instruments on your transmitter will be invaluable aids to execution; learn to be aware of what each tells you, as well as what the model is doing in the sky. Often, the model will be ahead of the instruments, and by watching it you will know whether you are into, or out of, trouble—before the instruments record the fact.
Once you have a feel for several stunts, try stringing them together: follow a roll with a loop or an Immelman with a spin and so forth. Frequently your altitude will dictate what stunt to do next if you are improvising. For example, if you've lost a lot of altitude in a spin, you might follow it with a Chandelle. Or, conversely, if you're on your back midway through a roll, perhaps you decide to get to a lower altitude in a hurry; so, instead of completing the roll, you convert it to a Split-S. Or, while you're at the top of a loop you might realize that your altitude is pretty hairy for completing it, so you change your mind and do an Immelman.
You'll probably find yourself accidently doing stunts that aren't in the book—this book or any other. At those times, what you've learned about classic aerobatics may well get you out of trouble. And there's no doubt that doing aerobatics will make you a better pilot—in the prototype as well as when flying R/C.