This is not a conscious decision; it’s
just something that happens when I get
my helicopter in the air. My brain kicks
into automatic and I do the same thing
that I always do. It might just be me, but
it’s something that I now recognize.
This changes when I go to a heli fun-fly and see the awesome maneuvers that
some pilots do. When I am around other
helicopter pilots, I watch their flying
with great interest. That is when I see
things that I never thought to try, or am
reminded of maneuvers I know how to
do, but forget to mix into my flight.
I believe that flying with pilots who
have stronger skills helps drive your own
skills further. As it is, I don’t have that
benefit, and so one day I asked a friend
whether he ever becomes stuck in a rut,
and how he deals with it.
My friend is an extremely talented
and well-known pilot, so I figured he
would never have this same problem.
As it turns out, he does. He told me that
when he finds himself getting stuck in
a routine, he will go back to the basics.
By basics, he means all the way to the
beginning. I’ve always said that if you
have excellent orientation skills with
your helicopter, the rest will follow, and
this sort of follows that same thinking.
My friend will practice basic flight
maneuvers, such as Figure Eights, and
orientations in all directions. In the
case of the Figure Eight, he will fly it
in a chosen direction, repeat it upside
down, do it backward, and then inverted
backward, before reversing direction and
doing it all over again.
I was intrigued by this and decided to
give it a try. It goes without saying that
there is a huge benefit to doing this on
the simulator too, but sometimes you
just can’t beat the real thing.
Laying out basic maneuvers such as
these brings into stark relief those that
I am uncomfortable flying. It became
apparent how I was favoring one
direction more than the other—I tend
to roll and pirouette left more than I
do right. Going back to basics forces us
to brush up on the flying we might be
avoiding without actually realizing it—at
least that was the case for me!
Now when I go to the flying
field, I make sure to practice these
basic maneuvers. I hope to see an
improvement in my flying skills and
98 Model Aviation SEP TEMBER 2016