Dialing in plane and pilot for precision RC flying

hey everybody out at the field today with my it’s actually one of my Nancy MiG’s the mig-29 version for from RC powers with a few Nancy modifications on and essentially the the vertical stabilizer and rudder are not stock smaller elevon x’ and smaller ailerons and slightly different size kf4 air foils when Stefan and I were playing around with this we were extending it back I think it’s about a 40% KF but anyway those are the basics on the plane so the gist of what I’m out here doing today is Stefan and I have been working hard and if you’ve if you’ve read our blog recently we’ve been Stefan bought a great book from RC flight school in Wisconsin called airplane and radio setup and it talks about you know getting getting your plane set up to more to be more a more precise flying plane a better balanced plane and then allowing you to do some things with your your radio and your expo and just how you actually handle your transmitter to become a more precise pilot so that’s basically one of my big goals for this year is to become a more precise and honest pilot and not that I’m dishonest or anything but honest from the standpoint of being able to strip down you know a lot of expo and stuff that I’ve used you know in the past I’m I’ve kind of been a 50-percent Expo everywhere flying and preaching kind of guy mostly because of how I was setting my planes up so anyway I’ve made some some pretty significant changes in my my philosophy and thus far it’s paying off big-time in feel and precision I have with my planes so today I brought this plane out and I’ve done a few things first of all before he came to the field one of the steps to try and make my plane fly more precisely as you can see hopefully here used to have my servo my pushrod all the way out at the very end of the servo so I’ve moved it as close in as I can with these little connectors I’m but this I’ve moved it like 3/8 of an inch I’ve heard me on the servo arm closer to the servo so what that does is obviously it gives the servo a bit more mechanical advantage because you’re moving closer to the servo rather than way out here so it’s a shorter lever for the servo to to have to move now obviously that does affect the travel a little bit but the precision is is unbelievably more smooth than when I had it set up over here before now I used to put my aileron sort of halfway down here just to to reduce the travel mechanically by 50% so I’ve put that all the way close to the servo now as well and I’ve had to I’ll talk about it a little bit more as we go through when I show you how my throws are right now so that’s what I’ve done there I’ve also on the rudder I used to have my rudder all the way out here I was a little bit worried moving not too far in because for some of the moves that I like to do like stall turns and things like that I still wanted you know some some good rudder surface so basically I’m kind of taking my setup from it was probably more set up close to what say a 3d pilot might do and I’m trying to make it more precision so I’m going from kind of one end of the spectrum to the other to try and get a more precise feel for the plane for my transmitter and just help the plane fly more crisp and and maneuverable which thus far it’s it’s actually doing so that’s kind of the servo setup so moving those in so eventually in my future builds in order to get the best mechanical advantage I can or best flexibility and mechanical advantage or set up I’m gonna probably start using different control horns so I can actually have the control horn servo or a push rod link further away here to give more you know have the ability to have more throws now

as you’ll see today I tend to like to find my plane’s scale if I can so sort of scale roll rates pitch rates turn rates that sort of thing if you’re liking to do you know rifle bullet rolls and flip tumble loops and all that sort of stuff then you know maybe this setup is it’s not for you and that’s fine I’m not here as an evangelist try and convert the RC world but I just want to hopefully show you the results that I’ve had have been pretty pretty pretty incredible thus far all right I guess I’ll just have to take my word for it but anyway so that’ll be a change in future builds I’m using this as a testbed because I had it laying around and I’d probably also do the same thing with my rudder out here so I could still have the same amount of throw but then be able to move the control or the push rod closer into here to give me that precision okay so enough about the linkages one of the biggest changes is how I balance my plane I want to show you some things here this this little hole right here that’s the stock CG from the RC powers mig-29 version for plan okay and my my old way of thinking to balance a plane was to try and balance it on that stock CG was zero trim and I kept being stuck in this rut of always winding zero trim so when it not happening and I actually wrote a post on the blog and an email to Dave powers because I was finding now and again this is because I wasn’t probably I wasn’t balancing the planes properly this is sort of where I ended up I ended up with my CG with zero trim to keep you know it wasn’t zooming or anything like that quite a bit further forward and this battery like this battery is located where I need it to be right now but this battery I kid you not was almost a completely two full two inches so you know the that’s I would have kind of cut the battery in half with here so I don’t know how I was flying with it so bloody nose heavy like that but you know I guess it was just what I’d gotten used to over hundreds and hundreds of flights so here’s what’s interesting now so I’ve gone through and I’m gonna try and demonstrate it to you in this flight there’s a couple of different things you know and it takes a little practice and you know we’d all probably look at it a little bit differently but one of the biggest tests is to do an arc test which I’ll show you you kind of pull up to pull the plane up about thirty degree climb chop the throttle and then just sort of watch how it how it goes over the top of the arc and and then you know eventually it’s going to drop its nose as it runs out of runs out of energy so here is my current CG which is about a quarter of an inch behind stalk and actually an inch and a quarter behind where I was flying before so that’s a pretty massive difference just for giggles and grins you’ll notice it’s actually even with where the back of the KF meets the meets the fuselage which is which is kind of interesting so what does that do for me well it makes the plane much much better balanced and all phases a flight it makes launching easier because if the plane feels better balanced maneuvers are much are much smoother and actually quicker because it’s rotating on where the plane wants the CG to be and and the flying experience is is much much different the plane is is is more responsive better handling and just smooth air flying overall so you can see that’s a big like I say that’s a big difference this is where am I my old philosophy of thinking had me and this is where my new philosophy of thinking has me and the plane is actually balanced properly now and and I’ve been able to bring the mass closer to the actual center of gravity rather than having it spread out over such a far distance and reason that’s important is if you kind of think that you know 60% of your airplanes weight on this plane is with probably like from the front of the battery to the tip of the motor 60% of your airplanes weight is the components on most of these planes anyway that is if you fly I fly with a 2203 cell battery so if you can have that much more concentrated in a smaller area closer to the CG it’s just it’s just basic physics the plane is going to going to rotate on its on its axis which is the the CG you know and all three axis it should rotate on the CG and if you have if you have a shorter lever it that the plane doesn’t have to work as

hard to move that weight if the you know like before when I had this battery two inches further forward it was a much longer lever so it’s probably you know I again I’m not sure how I was flying the thing but anyway that’s in the past and and we’re moving forward so um anyway very interesting so enough about about the CG my radio is beeping at me here so I just want to show you now so the second part of all of this messing around with the servos is again I was before I was flying with with about 50% expo so I’m actually dropped down and very comfortably flying with 20% expo which gives me a much more immediate response and you’ll have to take my word for this as well but one thing about having those push rods closer to the servo is that those little movements in the center the control surface goes much smoother like I’m just barely moving the sticks there now what used to happen before when the when the push rod was way out at the end is these little moves in in here we’re far more jerky like you could you could physically see the control surface being more jerky because the servo has to move you know is moving that that lever and the action of the servo was just not as smooth for me so I’m noticing a big difference just in how those move so here’s full deflection now that mean I look like a lot and you know for a lot of you you might think all it no way the things going to fly properly little crease and my Elavon there but I’ll show you still even with this much throw how maneuverable it is now what I did notice a little bit so I have a hundred percent throws now whereas before I was flying with like 60% throws and about 50% Expo compensating for having that 3d setup rather than this more precision setup so I have had to increase my my aileron throw deflection by about a quarter of an inch just to help keep the rules a little crisp in the turns it’s not really too bad but you know I just like to have a little bit more Christmas in the roll so again when I put different control horns on on my next build I’ll probably be able to tone down that that aileron throw a little bit and you know help prevent a little bit of drag I still actually am getting you know this is about how obviously about half the rudder throw that I used to get and it actually still does stall turns very nicely so I’m very happy with that anyway I’m just going to show you real quickly cuz I’m gonna shoot another video to show you kind of the process I went through to get there but this is you’re gonna hear me talk about the two-finger it’s actually I guess for purist is a is a finger thumb kind of philosophy so I used to be a thumbs only guy so this is how I used to hold my radio you know I just basically had a death grip on it and you know probably had way too much pressure on the sticks with my thumb’s so this was an easy transition for me so this is the position I fly with my hands in right now so I have my thumb still on the end so it was actually that from that standpoint was a fairly easy transition and now what I do is I use my index finger as a guide so and and to support that so now what I find is those two working together and with much less Expo Mike touch on the sticks is much much lighter you know and I my movements you know I don’t I feel the movements going into the sticks much better than I did when I was you know probably pressing too hard with my thumbs it it just is a much smoother more precise feel for me now I my finger you know again I’m gonna shoot a video and show you how all of this I like my finger so these two fingers the thumb and the finger the index finger are flying you know I can still I can still what I need to do my my trims as need be and then these fingers the index finger here I just have it sort of resting her middle finger sorry I have it resting up there and then I can I can manipulate all of the switches that I that I might need to there so so that’s working out working out well okay so again like I say more more detailed video on that so let’s let’s take this up for a little burn here and and see I’ll try and show you the fan has already done a great job in his video and I just kind of want to show you again how how this plane is is handling that so it’s working writers

are working good okay it’s kind of a sloppy lunch anyway like I said before obviously didn’t show up on that launch because I was kind of sloppy with my throw but I find on launching now they’re much less stressful so I’m just barely barely feathering the sticks here and just really able to the Yank and Bank it around you know nice and relaxing I don’t feel a lot of I don’t have a lot of tension through my my index finger and my thumb so I’m just going to try and set it up and demonstrate the arc test a little bit of speed so about thirty degrees so you can see there it’s probably in all honesty it might still be a little bit nose-heavy but what what I like to look for in this arc test and I’ll try it again here is if I’m still too tail-heavy then it’ll sort of it’ll sort of mush the the rear end will sort of mush and if it’s if it’s still really nose heavy you know like it’ll as the airplane slows down at the nose will drop far more drastically okay so very crisp rolls that was that was kind of a full deflection roll I know it’s maybe not as snappy as some people like but you know to me that’s probably even a little bit more scale and you’d see most MIG pallets doing and a real MIG but again just very easy to to to yank and bank this this plane around in a very tight spot because I you know I just feel comfortable so I’ll show you so it still does that wasn’t the best pilots rendition of a stall term but it still has pretty decent kick on the rudder even with half the throw I used to have but again I’m down I’m in the rudder I’m at about 35% expo it just flies you know it the whole feeling of the plane compared to the way I used to have it set up both the plane and my radio flies so much crisper so there was a full speed full deflection loop so you know even with those what you would I have it it’s basically an inch and 3/4 of of travel one-way in my my Elavon or my in the elevator so still you know and I still have a slow down here I still have the authority you know I can kind of do one of those sort of slow thrust-vectoring type square loops at the top like you see MiG’s do in air shows so pull up boom I still have the authority to do that and the thing is because I’ve got it balanced properly now on where it should be the plane does so much of the work for me once I get it moving you know it doesn’t need a huge control surface deflection to to do it to do its job so the other thing is if you pull it into a vertical stall it doesn’t tend to be so aggressive with the nose drop so I’m just gonna set it up here and and try a little high off I don’t really have my high alpha hands with me today but I’ll see what I can do so high alpha with this two finger or finger thumb method I find is actually easier because I find that I’m already more precise in my in my control inputs or my interface with my transmitter get out of that long grass silly bring it around here come on so again I might need a little bit more throw you know for high alpha getting it around in those right turns where I’m fighting the prop wash uh-huh so another test you can do is is inverted which which I’ll I’ll try and do here I’m not the best inverted pilot it still makes me pretty darn nervous but so it’s still a tiny bit nose heavy I’ve got about I don’t know quarter

stick deflection there obviously I’m not inverted anymore but so I’m gonna shut my timer off I know I’ve got some time left here I just want to show you one more arc test here hopefully it so chop the power nice and smooth you know it doesn’t do anything silly because it’s so nicely balanced so it also flies much much nicer on on approach you know when you’re when you’re coming into land because it has you know I don’t I hate to use the term cliche it lands itself but because it’s much better balanced you know it requires very little elevator up elevator to sort of hold it off as it’s coming into land because because it’s balanced where it wants to be on the proper CG it just kind of you know it has its own sort of natural sync rate there so um anyway folks I hope that that you know kind of demonstrated where I’m going this plane flies you know just by those by those little tweaks in adjusting the plane and then you know proper setup with the radio already this plane is flying so much better and I feel so much better connection and and smoothness and how I’m flying with it so so it’s pretty much like I said it’s about a it’s a four step process I guess when you think about it and and and they kind of go hand in hand the servo the the servo this obviously makes it much smoother more sensitive but less jerky Ness having it you know that actually probably I guess if there was the one most important cornerstone is is balancing the plane on its proper neutral CG because when you do that with the plane it does everything else better unless you tell it not to so that works so much in your favor because now you’re not fighting you know the laws of physics and aerodynamics and then you know setting up and handling my radio properly my transmitter properly which allows me to drop my expose down quite a bit and have a much better connection with my plane just one thing I would say is if you do are looking to to mess around with this setup is make sure as much as you absolutely can that you know get all your control surfaces down to zero with no trim and really really try and focus on getting them as dead center as you possibly can because you can imagine as you’re working towards more more precision and less and less Expo if you have one control surface what I’ve been finding anyway if I had one control surface that’s just a little tiny bit out of of dead center when I have no trim then I’m fighting that a lot harder than I should be so that’s you know another tip I could pass on to you is make sure your control surfaces are our dead center zero with zero trim before you start working through this process so you’re not fighting against control surface that’s not already centered so anyway folks hopefully this has been useful to you it’s been a real fun process for me a learning process and it actually you know at first once the fans started sharing the information from from the airplane and radio setup manual from RC flight school which I have a copy of on the way I would strongly recommend if you’re looking to take your flying up to a next level check it out I will put the links to the to their website in the down below in the video but anyway what I was about to say is you know what when so the fans first started sharing the ideas with me you know again being on the wrong side of 50 you know I thought you know why I’ve been doing it this way and it works well I was doing it that way and it worked but I was working a lot harder than I needed to and now that I’ve tried these new you know got out of my own head and got out of my own way and I’ve tried these new processes it’s really just boom instantly taken my flying and my plane set up to a whole new level with actually not a whole lot of major adjustment you know on my part I’ve got about probably fifth close to 50 flights now using that new two finger or finger thumb process and I’m really really really liking it I’ll never go back to thumbs only again but that’s just me I know that’s an emotional issue in the RC community but anyway folks enough of my blathering thanks very much for watching and take