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Coordinated Flight. I can’t do it


kissTheSky
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kissTheSky

I’m trying to manage my coordinated flight and can’t see to get a good handle on it. 
 

During a recent out-and-back bomber escort mission, when the squadron is scissoring above the bombers, no matter what leg of the scissors I am at, I always have to put left rudder (to differing degrees) to keep my AC from slipping (or was it skid??). 
 

I thought it was the wind direction, but unless wind has changed direction on the return trip, I was still having to put left rudder on turns. I’d appreciate some tips and guidance on practicing and managing coordinated flight. 
 

Thanks 

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cardboard_killer

Are you trimming your a/c? If so, are you trimming it often enough?

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kissTheSky
16 minutes ago, cardboard_killer said:

Are you trimming your a/c? If so, are you trimming it often enough?

Thanks,

 

Since I’m constantly scissoring, I reset my trim(s) once I take off and start scissors along with the squadron.

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RedKestrel
18 hours ago, kissTheSky said:

Thanks,

 

Since I’m constantly scissoring, I reset my trim(s) once I take off and start scissors along with the squadron.

When you say you reset your trim, do you mean you press the button to return trims to normal, or you set it up yourself?

An aircraft in flight pretty much needs constant control inputs or trim to fly straight due to all the forces acting on it. Anytime you change the aircraft's attitude, altitude, engine settings or airspeed the required inputs change. If the change is momentary you can just correct with controls, otherwise you probably want to use trim to avoid tiring yourself out with constant control inputs on long journey legs.

When you reach cruising altitude and airspeed, you should adjust your plane's trim so that it flies level and with the ball centred without much control input from you. Not all planes can be made to fly 'hands off' but they can all be brought close enough. From this starting point, you then only have to counteract adverse yaw (when banking) and gyroscopic precession (when you pitch up or down) from your maneuvering. Use the rudder to stay coordinated during turns, climbs, dives, etc as part of the scissoring movement. I find that most planes in the sim need very little rudder to stay coordinated in banks and turns, until you start to maneuver more violently in combat. 

 

If you need constant left rudder input whether turning right or left, I think your plane is probably not trimmed for coordinated level flight, and in level flight you would probably be slipping or skidding.  

 

All this being said, some planes do not have rudder trim at all (the I-16, the Yaks and the 109s, and maybe a couple others) and IIRC those planes have pre-set trim tabs that are set on the ground to keep the plane trimmed during cruising speeds. So outside of cruise settings you need to constantly apply small rudder forces.  

 

In combat I will use pitch trim sometimes to alleviate control forces or give me more authority. Many planes require nose-down trim to stay in a dive, so on an initial attack you either need to trim down or be holding your stick forward, which makes it harder to be precise. Later, if/when the combat gets slower, you will probably have to add more nose up trim to make the turns you need to. Rudder trim I rarely touch in combat...if possible I accelerate to combat settings and speed, set my trim, and then focus on the fight.

 

 

 

 

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kissTheSky

Thanks @RedKestrel,

 

I have all trims on axes, and try to use them, but most of the time I just find it easier to keep slight rudder and stick pressure works a bit better. Perhaps I should look at axis profiles, it may be that a linear axis might be too aggressive for trim controls. 
 

my confusion was/is, I had a Bodenplatte bomber escort mission in th P51D, roughly 40 minutes flight to target, just about the same to bombers’ airfield, almost 180 degree out-back route and I had to put in almost exact ratio of rudder input for coordinated flight no matter which leg of the trip.  
 

I’ll work on it more and see if I can make some sense of it. 

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RedKestrel
7 hours ago, kissTheSky said:

Thanks @RedKestrel,

 

I have all trims on axes, and try to use them, but most of the time I just find it easier to keep slight rudder and stick pressure works a bit better. Perhaps I should look at axis profiles, it may be that a linear axis might be too aggressive for trim controls. 
 

my confusion was/is, I had a Bodenplatte bomber escort mission in th P51D, roughly 40 minutes flight to target, just about the same to bombers’ airfield, almost 180 degree out-back route and I had to put in almost exact ratio of rudder input for coordinated flight no matter which leg of the trip.  
 

I’ll work on it more and see if I can make some sense of it. 

You mentioned in your first post that you have to apply left rudder to 'differing degrees' in the scissors. This is the clue. It takes very little rudder input to counter adverse yaw in most of the fighters in game, for the most part. If you are already having to apply significant left rudder to keep the plane coordinated in level flight, you would never have to apply right rudder since the adverse yaw induced by the turn wouldn't necessitate it - you would just have to apply less left rudder.

 

Lets say you go into a right turn with your plane trimmed to fly coordinated. When you enter the right turn, the plane's nose will move to the left - adverse yaw - and the 'ball' in the turn and bank indicator would move to the right. You 'step on the ball' to coordinate the turn, so you would apply right rudder - let's say 10% of available rudder input.

 

But if you go into this same scenario and you are already holding 40% left rudder just to fly straight, it's different. When you enter the right turn, the plane's nose will move to the left - but only enough to require a small amount of change in rudder input, the same 10% of input you would have required in the above coordinated turn. So instead of needing to apply 40% of left rudder input to stay coordinated, you now have to apply 30%.

 

If you entered the turn coordinated for level flight and maintained the exact same amount of rudder input throughout the turn, you would notice the ball moving out of centre in the direction of the turn.

 

if you're still applying left rudder in a right turn because your plane is so out of trim you need to be applying some kind of right rudder at all times.

 

The best way to see this would be to simply fly the plane and not apply rudder inputs and see what the ball does by itself. And definitely try and adjust your setup so you can trim your plane, it will make your life a lot easier in the long run.

 

 

 

Edited by RedKestrel
Mixed up my gol' durn directions!
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kissTheSky

Thanks again @RedKestrel,

 

So, my case in the P51 was, in level flight, I had to apply minimal left rudder while trim was at zero. Prior to that, for level flight I had to apply 2-3 degrees of rudder trim (pointer was between 0 and 5, closer to zero). 
 

I set the trim to 0, ball sets itself slightly left, and I start bank left half of scissors, I had to put quite a bit left rudder to keep ball at 0, then I start the bank right half of scissors, still having to put left rudder, but less than the previous half, but still more than what it took me to achieve level flight. That’s the part I’m having trouble understanding. In my mind, I should not have put any left rudder, or at least less than the amount it takes me to achieve level flight, no?

 

And then, when the bombing run was done and we were escorting bombers back home, bank left portion of scissors still needed more left rudder than the second half. Since we were traveling in the opposite direction (more or less), in my mind, I should have put more left rudder on the bank right portion of the scissors, since the wind direction would not have changed that much. 
 

I’ll keep practicing though. I need to figure this (trim) out. It’s just that in the p51 we have all three axes trim available, I find myself fiddling with all three, which keeps me from searching for enemies. That’s the whole reason I find it easier to keep slight pressure on the rudder pedals and handle roll/pitch trim with the stick. 
 

Thank you again, I really appreciate the recommendations and explanations.

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RedKestrel
2 hours ago, kissTheSky said:

Thanks again @RedKestrel,

 

So, my case in the P51 was, in level flight, I had to apply minimal left rudder while trim was at zero. Prior to that, for level flight I had to apply 2-3 degrees of rudder trim (pointer was between 0 and 5, closer to zero). 
 

I set the trim to 0, ball sets itself slightly left, and I start bank left half of scissors, I had to put quite a bit left rudder to keep ball at 0, then I start the bank right half of scissors, still having to put left rudder, but less than the previous half, but still more than what it took me to achieve level flight. That’s the part I’m having trouble understanding. In my mind, I should not have put any left rudder, or at least less than the amount it takes me to achieve level flight, no?

 

And then, when the bombing run was done and we were escorting bombers back home, bank left portion of scissors still needed more left rudder than the second half. Since we were traveling in the opposite direction (more or less), in my mind, I should have put more left rudder on the bank right portion of the scissors, since the wind direction would not have changed that much. 
 

I’ll keep practicing though. I need to figure this (trim) out. It’s just that in the p51 we have all three axes trim available, I find myself fiddling with all three, which keeps me from searching for enemies. That’s the whole reason I find it easier to keep slight pressure on the rudder pedals and handle roll/pitch trim with the stick. 
 

Thank you again, I really appreciate the recommendations and explanations.

There are other factors (P-factor, gyroscopic precession, etc.) can also cause yaw that has to be corrected. So if you pull up the nose will yaw a bit as the propeller 'resists' moving up through the air and the force is applied at 90 degrees to the movement of the nose (gyroscopic precession), for example. So the combination of forces may make it so you need less rudder to counteract adverse yaw when turning in one direction than another. Once again, if you don't start completely coordinated from trim you may find yourself never having to apply opposite rudder. Just by changing the amount of rudder input in a small way you are mitigating adverse yaw. 

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kissTheSky
48 minutes ago, RedKestrel said:

There are other factors (P-factor, gyroscopic precession, etc.) can also cause yaw that has to be corrected. So if you pull up the nose will yaw a bit as the propeller 'resists' moving up through the air and the force is applied at 90 degrees to the movement of the nose (gyroscopic precession), for example. So the combination of forces may make it so you need less rudder to counteract adverse yaw when turning in one direction than another. Once again, if you don't start completely coordinated from trim you may find yourself never having to apply opposite rudder. Just by changing the amount of rudder input in a small way you are mitigating adverse yaw. 

Thanks. It makes sense. Off to sightseeing flights to work on trimming the AC then. :fly:

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4 hours ago, RedKestrel said:

...

Lets say you go into a right turn with your plane trimmed to fly coordinated. When you enter the right turn, the plane's nose will move to the left - adverse yaw - and the 'ball' in the turn and bank indicator would move to the left. You 'step on the ball' to coordinate the turn, so you would apply right rudder - let's say 10% of available rudder input.

...

 

Do you mean that the ball would move to the right (a "slipping" right turn) rather than left (a "skidding" right turn)? 

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RedKestrel
1 hour ago, JimTM said:

 

Do you mean that the ball would move to the right (a "slipping" right turn) rather than left (a "skidding" right turn)? 

I had this right the first time around and then changed something, thought it looked good, and posted. Shoulda went with my gut!

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von_Tom

 

Calibrate your controls too, just in case an input is screwy.

 

von Tom

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kissTheSky

Thanks @von_Tom

 

I just acquired a new stick and recalibrated everything including the throttle, on which my trim axes reside.

 

last night I worked on trimming the P51, and I’m getting more comfortable with rudder and aileron trims, but elevator trim still needs some work. 
 

Thanks for all the suggestions guys. They’re appreciated. 

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