Control Rates
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We have done a lot of adjusting with our control rates to get the mixes set. Now it’s time to fine tune the rates to make them usable again. Here’s where we want them.


Low rates:

Aileron. Just enough to perform controllable rolls at full stick deflection. In other words, you should be able to slam the stop and still easily stop the roll wherever you choose. It will be a relatively slow roll. In basic it can be quite slow. If you are flying unlimited, it will necessarily be faster, as you must fit more rolling maneuvers into the same length lines. Expo should be around 20 percent so the center stick area is not sensitive.

Elevator   Just enough to pull a pattern size loop - plus a little in case you have to do some correcting. The negative elevator will have to be a few percent of throw greater than the positive. This is to account for the extra push you have to use to hold inverted flight. Expo should be around 20 percent to desensitize the center stick region.

Rudder   Just enough to hold knife edge flight at throttle, plus a little in case you have to correct. Expo should be 20 to 25%.


High rates:

You will find that one maneuver will dictate the maximum rate for each control. Gradually increase your high rate until the maneuver flies well, and then stop. Don’t use more throw than is necessary. There is no advantage to having the plane “wrap up” with excessive rates. We want the plane under control at all times.

Aileron   The maneuver that most frequently dictates your maximum aileron throw is the snap roll. Increase the rate until your snap rolls are crisp, but not so fast as to be uncontrollable. Increase your expo to 35 to 50%. The goal with the expo is to make the stick feel the same during the first stick travel whether you are in low or high rate. That way the plane will not jump if you flip the rate switch while holding a little correction.

Elevator   The maneuver that usually dictates high elevator travel is the spin. You want enough throw to stall the plane with the throttle at idle for a spin entry. This will be a little different positive and negative - usually requiring more throw in the negative direction. As with the aileron, we want to match the expo so the elevator feels the same on either rate for the first stick travel. This will be in the 30 to 40% expo range. Some other maneuvers that may demand a lot of elevator are the down line, power off snap roll and the tail slide. If your class includes these maneuvers, be sure to make sure you have enough elevator to fly them properly.

Rudder   hammerheads are the most rudder demanding maneuver we fly in pattern. Having that little extra will make the difference between a hammerhead and a belly flop when the wind is strong. Other maneuvers that use a lot of rudder are tail slides and rolls at the bottom of loops. Double check your throw by flying some of these.

Note: The tail slide is the only maneuver you will fly in pattern that may benefit from using 3D control rates. If you raise your high rates to fly the slide, they will likely be way to high for all the other maneuvers. So, if your class includes tail slides, consider using triple rates, the highest of which will only be used for the slides.



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