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The Effects of Wind

Old 08-10-2012, 03:35 AM
  #1  
Flying Fiz
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Default The Effects of Wind

Hi Guys,

I'm new to planes, (been flying helis for a few years though) And I love the scale flying and comfort factor with these compared to a big heli. So I'm a compentent plane newbie I guess.

A few weekends ago I bought a new a PZ Wildcat and flew it for the first time on a super calm day and I just loved it, flying fast it was solid and predictable flying slow it was calm and easy with no wing tip tendancies. I had six perfect flights. So I then purchased the PZ P51 Mustang and took them both to a quiet field to have another great days flying.

BUT on this day there was occassional strong gusts of wind mainly above the tree line. I need to occassionaly go above the tree line because it is such a small park. On the first occassion with the Mustang when the wind hit me I seemed to lose controlof the plane, I couldn't turn into the wind, and over say a 10 second period of time I seemed to only have occassional control, it was squirrely and non responsive and then overly responsive, then it just started getting blown away and I thought I must have lost my signal, but I managed to get it facing back at me and I put its nose down a little and gave it full throttle back to me. Luckily it made it back to me and a safe landing. Later a similar thing happened with the Wildcat. Both planes unscathed, but the pilot was a bit mentally scarred! BTW, it was a DX8 tx and a 1300mAh batt in the planes.

My question , is this normal, is this the effect a strong gust of wind can have, and what is the best method of dealing with this when it happens.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 08-10-2012, 07:57 AM
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Wind can be tricky, especially if it's coming across obstacles like trees etc which create strong turbulence. Best advice I can give is:
  • Stay upwind of your standing position at all times. Pick your position in the field with this in mind.
  • If the plane zooms away behind you when turning downwind try flying figure 8's with all your turns made into wind.
  • Keep airspeed up, maybe add a click or two of downtrim compared to your slow-flying calm day trim.
  • When flying downwind the plane can look like it's going fast but due to the following wind it's actual airspeed may be low causing poor responsiveness and/or stalls. So don't throttle back to slow the plane down on the downwind leg even if the plane looks like it going too fast.
  • If the plane is not responding to control input then 99% of the time the cause is that you are flying too slow, get the nose down and apply power (same is true even if it's not windy).
  • Practice practice practice....

If you can find a flying site that doesn't have high obstacles up wind to create turbulence, this can make a huge difference.
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Old 08-10-2012, 01:39 PM
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wind is something you have to learn to deal with. I just like to remember the fact - the airplane does not know it is windy. Mentally that is a good thing to remember. Find a spot where is open and you will find that the turbulent rolling wind you encountered does not exist. That will really help you.

But FLY the plane - some of the funnest flying I do is insane winds for my slope gliders - the more wind the more fun!



Mike
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Old 08-10-2012, 03:51 PM
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nidly
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I've been flying over 1 year in my back field (lined with woods) and coincidentally I had this exact same experience with 2 different planes on the same day. The wind wasn't real strong , but it was gusty (changeable and turbulant)

I'd never noticed it before , but the first plane actually went down cuz I was a bit too low and slow. I swore it was an equipment failure cuz I had zero control. I was wrong , there's nothing wrong with the plane. The second plane I was "on it" quickly and was able to recover it. I was ready. The rest of the day was very terrible flying because I couldn't relax. I had to concentrate too much , lol.

Anyways the point I make is this: You know where the plane went down? It was close to the woods exactly lined up with a huge opening (path) in the trees. Now that I look back at it , I have been "hit" there before but never gave it a second thought. I'm gonna have to name it "death row" or "the wind tunnel"

I've been paying attention lately to my wind sock and the wind does some very tricky things next to the woods and above them. In otherwords , the wind sock appears to lie.
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Old 08-13-2012, 12:47 AM
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Flying Fiz
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Thanks for the responses guys, thats good advice which I will take into account. In particular the WOT approach and a few down clicks of El to compensate would seem to make sense.

I have since read that wind is the biggest cause of crashes & I can fully understand that after my feeling of losing control.

Regards,
Phil
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Old 08-13-2012, 02:07 AM
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nidly
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Pretty neat you mention that. I just got in form flying 5 planes and EVERY flight was beautiful and every landing was great. Tree of those same planes I flew last night.

I had a terrible time with all 3 of them and swore there was something wrong with 2 of them. I was lucky to get them all back in 1 piece. ALL 3 flights were cut short because the winds seemed to be fine at ground level , but very nasty at tree top level.

As I smiled and walked in tonight I told myself "ya know , I think all my crashes have been in the bad winds"

My worst one happened to be that Flyzone Cessna Corvalis 350 and it's just a terrible mess in the wind. I have to work at it constantly. Tonight it was a dream to fly it. It was like a different plane altogether.
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Old 08-13-2012, 02:25 AM
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Yes, I similarly find that the ultra micros are either one of two different planes;

1. In any wind they are almost unflyable (except for the Mig and the UM Stryker which can stand a bit of wind).

2. With no wind they are just so much fun and so chuckable and fly beautifully with the benefit that you cant really hurt them over soft grass.

I was just surprised that I would lose control over a fast and big (if you call 960mm wingspan big) plane so completely for a scary period of time. Lucky that lesson was learnt without a crash or lost plane.
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Old 08-13-2012, 02:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Flying Fiz View Post
Hi Guys,

I'm new to planes, (been flying helis for a few years though) And I love the scale flying and comfort factor with these compared to a big heli. So I'm a compentent plane newbie I guess.

A few weekends ago I bought a new a PZ Wildcat and flew it for the first time on a super calm day and I just loved it, flying fast it was solid and predictable flying slow it was calm and easy with no wing tip tendancies. I had six perfect flights. So I then purchased the PZ P51 Mustang and took them both to a quiet field to have another great days flying.

BUT on this day there was occassional strong gusts of wind mainly above the tree line. I need to occassionaly go above the tree line because it is such a small park. On the first occassion with the Mustang when the wind hit me I seemed to lose controlof the plane, I couldn't turn into the wind, and over say a 10 second period of time I seemed to only have occassional control, it was squirrely and non responsive and then overly responsive, then it just started getting blown away and I thought I must have lost my signal, but I managed to get it facing back at me and I put its nose down a little and gave it full throttle back to me. Luckily it made it back to me and a safe landing. Later a similar thing happened with the Wildcat. Both planes unscathed, but the pilot was a bit mentally scarred! BTW, it was a DX8 tx and a 1300mAh batt in the planes.

My question , is this normal, is this the effect a strong gust of wind can have, and what is the best method of dealing with this when it happens.

Thanks in advance.
Next time you are near a river with rapid flowing water, take a look at how the water swirls around the rocks.

Same thing with wind over the trees. Downwind from the trees, you get down drafts, sideways drafts, up drafts, you name it. And where these effects can change by the minute, depending on how fast the wind is blowing.
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Old 08-13-2012, 02:58 AM
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Flying Fiz
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Thanks, that makes sense and gives me a clearer picture of what is happening.

I think I'll keep below the tree line execpt for the calmest of days. Only problem is that until I gain more experience I like to fly 2 mistakes high, it has saved me a few planes and helis so far..
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Old 08-13-2012, 03:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Flying Fiz View Post
Thanks, that makes sense and gives me a clearer picture of what is happening.

I think I'll keep below the tree line execpt for the calmest of days. Only problem is that until I gain more experience I like to fly 2 mistakes high, it has saved me a few planes and helis so far..
One issue of flying below the tree line, these models can be further away than you think, and that's an excellent way to put a model INTO the trees

If you fly way over the tree line, you can get above that turbulance.

FYI, some sailplane flyers fly their models directly over a row of those trees, "riding the ridge air flow". They can fly for hours, as long as the wind blows. Even done it myself back in the 1980's.
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Old 08-13-2012, 03:56 PM
  #11  
nidly
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Originally Posted by kyleservicetech View Post

If you fly way over the tree line, you can get above that turbulance.
I'm gonna try that next time. I guess I just figured it was worse at higher altitudes. Thanks.
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Old 08-13-2012, 04:07 PM
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Be aware the wind speed may go up dramatically as you ascend- just watch for signs that you need to descend to get out of a higher speed wind.
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Old 08-13-2012, 04:09 PM
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nidly
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That's what I was afraid of a few days ago. I think I need bigger planes.
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Old 08-13-2012, 05:32 PM
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Just be aware for a dramatic change in ground speed.
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Old 08-13-2012, 07:55 PM
  #15  
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Originally Posted by nidly View Post
I'm gonna try that next time. I guess I just figured it was worse at higher altitudes. Thanks.
It may be blowing more at higher altitudes but at least it'll be consistent. Its amazing how much breeze you can successfully fly in if it's a steady constant breeze instead of puffy and unpredictable.
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Old 08-13-2012, 09:12 PM
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To Denny's point, I was flying my little AT-6 Texan aound the field the other day. And had it right at tree level while on the downwind to and just started turning to base and it was like wind shear. A sudden down thrust. Almost lost her but recovered. I think there are vortices generated by the tree line that create a disruptive airflow that we obviously cannot see. I'm a little more conscious of that now.
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Old 08-13-2012, 11:15 PM
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Originally Posted by dahawk View Post
To Denny's point, I was flying my little AT-6 Texan aound the field the other day. And had it right at tree level while on the downwind to and just started turning to base and it was like wind shear. A sudden down thrust. Almost lost her but recovered. I think there are vortices generated by the tree line that create a disruptive airflow that we obviously cannot see. I'm a little more conscious of that now.
The fact that it occured just as you turned from the downwind leg also brings up the distinct possibility (probability?) that your airspeed was too low and you stalled when you tried to turn. When heading downwind it's very easy to get fooled by the model's high speed over the ground into thinking the model is flying fast, so possibly without really thinking about it you ease off the throttle and pull back a fraction on the elevator to slow the model down a bit.. This is a sure fire recipe for a stall and the cause of very many crashes that get blamed on gusts, windsheer, radio failure, brownouts... you name it.

Of course wind sheer and turbulence does exist and can cause crashes but providing you are flying well above stall speed it would take something pretty extreme to bring a model down.
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Old 08-13-2012, 11:50 PM
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Thanks Jet,

I would normally have thought the same thing and still scratch my head except in this case, I knew this plane was particularly subject to such stalls. I actually had applied power heading in the the turn to base. I really do think I hit a down draft. We get these low alt thermals due to the heat we have here that usually contribute to lift. But perhaps some turbulence due to the tree line?
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Old 08-14-2012, 07:27 AM
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Turbulence from trees can be pretty bad so that might have been it. The field where I fly for instance is long but quite narrow lined on the 'long' sides by high trees. If the wind is blowing along the field it doesn't have any trees to come across and flying in even quite high winds is no problem. On the other hand if the wind is coming across the field it rolls over the tree line and even a fairly gentle breeze can be very tricky with unpredictable turbulence and down-draughts.
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