Vertical Lines
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Vertical Lines

The key to vertical lines is getting your plane set-up properly. If you are holding elevator inputs to maintain a straight line, you will never be able to add decent rolling maneuvers while flying the line.

When you add full power on a vertical up-line, you should be able to take your hands completely of the sticks and the plane will track perfectly straight. When you power back to idle on a vertical down line, the plane should fly a perfectly straight line. If it won’t do either of these, then revisit our “Basic Aircraft Set-up” section to dial it in.

Once the plane will fly the lines on its own, then all you have to do is concentrate on the rolls or snaps - not fighting the line.

An under-powered plane will really affect the quality of your vertical lines. Do not try to fly unlimited or FAI with a plane that will not maintain a constant speed on the up-lines. It causes you to rush all of your up-line maneuvers, so you do not run out of airspeed. Your following down lines will then be rushed, since you never got enough altitude on the up line to make the downs long enough. Not to mention, the plane will constantly be changing speed, with resulting changes in control response. If you have an underpowered plane, stick to the lower classes that are not so vertically demanding.

Windage Corrections

If you have a wind, the plane will need to lean into the wind to make the track perfectly vertical. Once you lean the plane, gravity will pull the nose toward the ground. To compensate, you will have to hold an appropriate amount of rudder and/or elevator to hold the nose up.

For an up line, gravity is trying to pull the nose away from vertical. So, if the plane is leaning towards the gear for windage, then hold a little up elevator to keep it there. If it is leaning towards the right, hold a little left rudder.

For down lines, gravity is trying to pull the nose back to vertical, so you must hold the rudder or elevator in the direction you need the plane to lean. For example, if you need the windage to the left, you hold some left rudder. If you need the plane to point towards the gear for windage, then you will have to hold a little down elevator.

What if you have to do a roll while holding a vertical line? This is where it gets pretty tricky. Unless you are REALLY quick with your controls during a roll, it is best to forget about windage inputs during the roll. Gently re-apply them when the roll stops. The plane will track straight for a short time without the windage inputs, so you have a second to add them back. If you are doing point rolls, you should add the windage at each point for that split second. Release the inputs as you start each roll to the next point.

One problem is multiple rolls on vertical lines. These usually take longer to accomplish, with more chance for the wind to take affect, so we WILL need some windage during the roll. We are going to simplify your inputs, though. Forget about using rudder during the roll. Rudder can barrel a roll faster than any other control. Instead, we are going to correct by very gently “stabbing” the elevator each time it is appropriate. Start by making sure your roll rate is at a manageable speed - not so fast you cannot keep track. I prefer to have a low rate that allows me to hold the stick against the stop, so I get the same predictable rate for every roll. Now, as you roll, gently “bump” the elevator when the plane comes around.

For example: Let’s say you have the plane leaning towards the gear on a vertical up-line, and you have to do a double roll. You are holding a little up elevator to maintain your windage. Release your windage correction as you start the roll. When the canopy comes toward the wind, gently bump the elevator down - just a brief stab. When the gear comes back around towards the wind, bump the stick in the up direction. Continue this until you reach your point, then stop the roll and gently reapply your normal windage controls. With a little practice, the “bumps” will not be noticeable at all to an observer, and the plane’s track will remain straight.


45 Degree Lines

45 Degree lines are somewhere between level and vertical. The only advise I can give is that your inputs will be greatly reduced. In other words, if you do a 4 point roll on a 45 up line, you will need very little rudder on the two knife-edge points - and also little down during the inverted portion. Do not over control.

One other consideration is power control. Use idle on the down lines. On the up lines, about throttle is appropriate. Of course, this may pose a problem if you are using a throttle to elevator mix. In attempting to peg throttle, you may touch into the elevator mix, which will make your 45 degree up line inconsistent. If you find this is the case, then use full throttle on the up line too.



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