Tri-County Barnstormer Logo (5K)Scoring Maximum Points in Sportsman Pattern

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  Welcome to the Tri-County Barnstormers Pattern Contest. I know many of you are now old hands at flying the Novice (this was 1998 but this covers the 2007-2008 pattern) pattern this late in the season but maybe I can clear up some points in flying this pattern and suggest some ways to improve your scores. I’m not going to try to cover all points in flying the pattern but some of the important ones. The most important points to remember are:

I’m sure you have checked your plane thoroughly during the setup process but make sure everything is ready to go before your first flight. I’ve taken off with the retracts unconnected. So, be sure you’re ready!!!

When you arrive on the hot seat and your plane is ready for takeoff, stop, take a deep breath, look at your radio one more time to make sure all switches are in the right position and everything is ready to go. You do have your neck strap on if you use one, don’t you? Before you start your takeoff think about what rudder correction you will need if the nose turns toward you or away from you. Make this thought process and checkout a part of each takeoff. You don’t have to hurry!

Before the caller releases the plane, clear the engine one last time to insure its not going to quit when accelerated. Call your takeoff and advance the throttle smoothly, not suddenly. A sudden advance of the throttle is cause for downgrade so consider positioning the plane a little further back for that smooth acceleration. Correct any deviation in heading immediately. Small corrections are easier than large ones. Try to takeoff centered on the judges and at an angle that gives a gradual climb. Call the takeoff complete at 2 meters.

Your first pass in front of the judges is free so use it to establish your line. Try not to fly too close in because this will severely restrict the size of the box. Also remember, you have ample opportunity to establish or correct your line each time you exit the box. Use this opportunity to maximum advantage. Go far enough out and make any correction necessary to have the model online and at the proper altitude before you enter the box. Try to be dead level perfect as you enter.

First and probably most important are lines. Two of the first three maneuvers, Straight Flight Out and Straight Flight Back, are just lines. Remember, each maneuver starts and finishes with a straight line. This is important in the other classes as well and you must practice it now.

On to the maneuvers.  Here's what you'll do after the takeoff and trim pass: 
(U) mean upwind and (D) is downwind.

2.  Straight Flight Out (U) 10.  Immelmann Turn
3.  Stall Turn 11.  45 Degree Downline (D)  
4.  Straight Flight Back (D) (Exit Box)
(Enter Box)
5.  Half Reverse Cuban Eight 12.  Vertical Up Line (U)
6.  Two Inside Loops (U) 13.  Split "S"
(Exit the Box)
(Enter the Box)
14.  One Horizontal Roll (D)  
7.  2 Point Roll (D) 15.  Half Reverse Cuban Eight
8.  Half Cuban Eight 16. Double Immelman without Rolls (U)
9.   Cobra without Rolls (U) 17.  Landing

Your first set of maneuvers consist of two centered maneuvers and a turnaround; Straight Flight Out (centered), Half Reverse Cuban Eight (turnaround), and Straight Flight Back (centered).

  1. (U) The rule book says in Straight Flight Out the model should be brought exactly parallel to the flight line and flown in an absolutely straight and level path for a distance of approximately 100 meters centered on the judges.  That means at least 50 meters of the straight flight out comes after center (distance does not have to be accurate).
  2. Stall Turn: Pull to vertical, it doesn’t have to be a steep pull up but the model must at some point come absolutely vertical. I suggest you make a very gentle loop to vertical and hold that vertical about 50 feet. The gentle pull allows you a better chance of stopping at the intended point. Now, reduce the power but not to idle. This little bit of power will allow the rudder to be more effective for the turn and also help to damp the tail oscillation on exit. A pendulum movement of the tail on exit will get about a 1 point downgrade. The best way to minimize the oscillation is to hold some rudder until the plane is vertical on the down line then gently reduce it. Fly the plane out with the same radius as the entry.  Remember to hold a straight line on exit (maneuver starts and ends with a straight line).
  3. (D) Straight Flight Back should be along the same line as Straight Flight Out. That means the same altitude and same flight path.
  4. The Half Reverse Cuban Eight should be done so the 5/8ths loop stays in the box.  Pull into a 5/8ths loop, that's a loop that ends when the model is in a 45 degree upline.  Once the 45 degree upline is established, hesitate to draw a line, half roll to inverted, hesitate and draw another line equal to the one before then do a 1/8s loop to a horizontal line.  Make the radius of the arc to level flight the same as the radius of the partial loop entering the maneuver.  This maneuver should be done near the end of the box so the loops that follow are not rushed.
  5. (U) The loops are centered. Try to make the last as round as the first. There seems to be a tendency to pull the last loop too hard on entry. Exit the loops and box with a straight line.

This is the point you get to exit the box.  That means you have a little time to regroup and reestablish your line. Make the most of this free time.  The best maneuver for any turn around is the half reverse cuban eight.  It gives you maximum time to make adjustments to both altitude and distance out.

  1. (D) A 2 Point Roll is just a roll with a hesitation while inverted. Roll to inverted, hesitate, roll to upright. The inverted hesitation should be centered on the judges.  Center on the judges means the portion of inverted flight before the center line is equal to the amount of inverted flight after the center line.  Make the roll rate of the entry to inverted and the exit to upright the same rate.
  2. Half Cuban Eight is another turnaround maneuver so, again, start early enough to get the 5/8ths loop in the box.  Pull into a 5/8ths loop, that's a loop that ends when the model is in a 45 degree downline.  Once the 45 degree downline is established, hesitate to draw a line, half roll to upright, hesitate and draw another line that is equal to the one before the roll then finish with a gentle pull to level.  Make the radius of the arc to level flight the same as the radius of the partial loop.  This maneuver should be done near the end of the box so there is time to do the Cobra that follows.
  3. (U) Cobra without Rolls is a pull to 45 degrees up, hesitate, then push to a 45 dive.  The middle of the push over to the dive should be centered on the judges and all radii (entry, over top and exit) should be the same.
  4. An Immlemann Turn is a half loop followed immediately by a half roll. The half roll should begin immediately after completing the half loop. Any visible line before the roll is cause for downgrade, usually 2 points.
  5. (D) 45 Degree Downline; start before center so the length of the line before center and the length of the line after center are the same.  Make a nice gentle arc into a 45 degree downline, draw a line centered on the judges and pull a radius (equal to the entry radius) to horizontal flight.

Exit and Enter the box

  1. (U) Vertical Up Line is just a vertical line on center.  The entry and exit radii must be the same.  The top radius is easy to make very tight so be careful and try to make this exit the same radius as the entry.
  2. The Split-S is a turnaround maneuver and should be done near the end of the box. If you do it too soon, the next maneuver will be rushed. Begin by half rolling to inverted then immediately upon reaching inverted begin the pull for the half loop. No inverted straight line allowed here.
  3. (D) The Horizontal Roll is centered on the judges and try to make it a little slower than a blur. Centered means the inverted portion of the maneuver is directly in front of the judges.
  4. See # 5 above
  5. (U) A Double Immelmann is simply a half loop with a little inverted flight follow with another half loop. Since this is a centered maneuver, if you divided the line of inverted flight with the center pole, each half of that line would be equal.  Or another way to think of this is the half loops are equal distance from the center pole (center line).
  6. The landing begins at 2 meters and you should try to have the model centered on the runway with wings level at that point. Its always best to slow down as soon as possible on landing; downwind is good but no later than base.

In addition to the above pointers you should remember all maneuvers should be wind corrected to preserve the geometry of the maneuver. You should also call your takeoff, landing and all box entry and exits or have your caller make the calls. I hope this helps with some of the questions you may have.

Don Ramsey

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