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Offline Allen Delger  
#1 Posted : Tuesday, March 13, 2018 12:07:17 PM(UTC)
Allen Delger

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Ok, we are flying Sportsman for the first time this year. Unknowns are a new challenge. I have two questions for all the experts. I'm looking for what tips, tricks, techniques or just hard work approaches work for you.
1. How do you approach an unknown in preparing to fly it as a pilot?
2. What instructions do you have your caller give you?
Offline Krzy4rc  
#2 Posted : Tuesday, March 13, 2018 12:35:27 PM(UTC)
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Allen,

Here is my personal experience.

I start with a brief stick fly identifying amy directional issues, rolls that nees to be noted. Then I will fly through it many times to become very familiar, close to memorized.

Then, I like to "mind fly" visualizing the plane in my mind as I fly through the maneuvers trying to note stick movements and judging considerations. Just because the speed of a stick fly tends to not let me get into the same mind set as a flight.

As for the caller, I like my caller to assume my mind will go BLANK when I take off, as it has! A brief prep phrase before the manuever and details during the maneuver. Especially noting directionals and when I have to prepare to be in a particular position. Such as high for a spin.

Also, side note there is a caller article in the newsltetter . You can find the link on the website.
Rich
Krzy4RC
SC-ARD (Louisiana)
IMAC Newsletter Editor
Team Jeti
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Earle Andrews on 3/13/2018(UTC), Allen Delger on 3/16/2018(UTC)
Offline Mike Karnes  
#3 Posted : Tuesday, March 13, 2018 1:19:50 PM(UTC)
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Most important tip is; don't forget to breathe
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Allen Delger on 3/16/2018(UTC)
Offline Krzy4rc  
#4 Posted : Tuesday, March 13, 2018 1:28:41 PM(UTC)
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How could I forget to mention that!
Rich
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Offline Doug Pilcher  
#5 Posted : Tuesday, March 13, 2018 1:39:42 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Mike Karnes Go to Quoted Post
Most important tip is; don't forget to breathe


Wise words from the master!

Allen, I can get you some used Unknowns from years and years and years......past. You and Ed, and yank one from a folder, study it for an hour or so and then go fly it. As close as you can get to the "Unknown" factor of them. Maybe come up to Sherman and I can get Dan out there and we will judge the flight.
Doug Pilcher
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Would rather be flyin than workin!
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Allen Delger on 3/16/2018(UTC)
Offline Steve Stanton  
#6 Posted : Tuesday, March 13, 2018 2:01:01 PM(UTC)
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Amen, very good advice.
Offline Adi Kochav  
#7 Posted : Tuesday, March 13, 2018 2:06:35 PM(UTC)
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Patience. Consistency. Self confidence.

Patience : Build your UNKnown in a way it will flow, do not be eager to do an element, wait for your caller to call it for you.
make it wide and big,

Consistency : All your UNKnowns should be drawn (directions and inputs), practice and flown in the same mindset you adapt.
Make the drawings and inputs lean, short and obvious words.
Full roll to the right can be written, 1 roll right.
1 quarter roll to the right can be, quarter right.
1 negative snap to the left can be, left negative (nothing is negative or positive other than a snap)
and so on...

Self confidence : Well when you achieve all of the above, fly with confidence, make the sequence big and graceful, wind correction and speed.
thanks 3 users thanked Adi Kochav for this useful post.
Earle Andrews on 3/13/2018(UTC), Allen Delger on 3/16/2018(UTC), David J on 6/7/2018(UTC)
Offline Bill Teeter  
#8 Posted : Tuesday, March 13, 2018 2:28:29 PM(UTC)
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As Adi said - go big and go slow. Slow down and give yourself time to think and listen to your caller.

If you use switches for spins or other maneuvers figure out when you will be using them. We get used to flipping switches for the Knowns but pre-think where you need to do it for Unknowns.

Biggest tip - make the Unknowns fun. I used to stress about them but try to just see them as a new challenge. Have some fun learning to fly some new maneuvers. Take the heat off yourself as much as possible and just fly them as best you can. A single sequence goes fast, if you blow a maneuver try to put it behind you and focus on what comes next.


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Earle Andrews on 3/13/2018(UTC), Allen Delger on 3/16/2018(UTC)
Offline rclad  
#9 Posted : Tuesday, March 13, 2018 4:38:21 PM(UTC)
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Thanks, Allen, for bringing up this topic. I'll be in the same predicament this year. And thanks for all the replies! Great advice, especially "breathe" and "have fun" with it.

Originally Posted by: Doug Pilcher Go to Quoted Post
Allen, I can get you some used Unknowns from years and years and years......past. You and Ed, and yank one from a folder, study it for an hour or so and then go fly it. As close as you can get to the "Unknown" factor of them.


I think this is the best practical advice for preparing for Unknowns. I was flying one day last year with Ray Morton, and he pulled out a binder full of old unlimited Unknowns that he uses to practice unfamiliar sequences. I was impressed, but that quickly turned to terror as he asked me, a Basic pilot, to randomly pick one, and then call it for him! I have tried it recently back at my own airfield (with old Sportsman Unknowns), and it is hard to fly a new sequence you haven't practiced. You soon find out how good you really are. (Or aren't, in my case!)

Greg Hladky
Flying on a wing and a purpose...
and physics, power, practice, preparation, plans...
and pioneers who pushed the envelope!
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Allen Delger on 3/16/2018(UTC)
Offline Earle Andrews  
#10 Posted : Tuesday, March 13, 2018 4:39:54 PM(UTC)
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Great tips! I also try to memorize the unknown, although I hate memorization.

I think it was Don Szczur's tip to hand fly your stick plane through maneuver 1 until you have it memorized. Then add maneuver 2. Always start back at #1 and move thru the sequence....ONLY adding additional maneuvers when you have the previous ones memorized.

This process seems to work well for this old feeble brain!!!

Of course I sometimes still go brain-dead during the sequence....but having it memorized has saved me when my caller went brain dead!!!
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Chuck Edwards on 3/13/2018(UTC), Allen Delger on 3/16/2018(UTC)
Offline Brad  
#11 Posted : Tuesday, March 13, 2018 4:53:59 PM(UTC)
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I try to think less about the total maneuver during the unknown, and think more about just getting the correct lines and radii in the right order - upright or inverted, push or pull radius, up or down line, get the correct roll element. I'll mark the unknown sheet with roll direction where it's important, push or pull on the radii entry, and then get my caller to call those.

Brad
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Allen Delger on 3/16/2018(UTC)
Offline Joe Layne  
#12 Posted : Tuesday, March 13, 2018 11:46:08 PM(UTC)
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As soon as they hand ya the unknown, go to the nearest field and fly it as many times as ya can before dark! Just kidding!!!! Find another sportsman pilot and go through the sequence and name every maneuver, make notes about stick directions, turns, and anything else you can see as a issue. Then practice with the stick plane while your caller calls the sequence for you. then call the sequence for him. Repeat as many times as you can till you fill better about getting through it. We sometimes get three or four in a group to do this as flight order can make it harder. Its not as bad as ya might think, the unknowns are a bit easier.
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Allen Delger on 3/16/2018(UTC)
Offline Dangerous Dan  
#13 Posted : Wednesday, March 14, 2018 7:58:47 AM(UTC)
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Allen


Besides have fun and breathe don’t over study it. Last year I did not do so well in my first few sportsman unknowns. I would memorize and study with stickplanes for hours the night before then repeat the next morning. Then I was so nervous that when something wouldn’t go as planned my mind would lock up and I would end up with a break peanality just study to the point you can fly it with the stick plane without looking at the arresting which takes 30 min. Note directional elements with R or L. Think of where you may need altitude consider positioning and make notes on the aresti. Go over it a couple times with your caller the next morning and don’t look at it the 20-30 min before your flight use this time to relax and clear your brain. As Doug said I fly most days so give me a shout and head up to Sherman and we can work on some unknowns.
2018 Worlds Team Qualifier
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The answer to all questions lies in the bottom of your fuel can
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Allen Delger on 3/16/2018(UTC)
Offline kevinjulieevan  
#14 Posted : Wednesday, March 14, 2018 10:17:02 AM(UTC)
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this is such a great topic. i think i'm likely the world's worst unknown pilot. so here are some things i know i do wrong. several have been mentioned above. i always get nervous, my mind goes blank and the more nervous i am the faster and smaller i fly every maneuver. i often have not taken enough time to study my unknown because i've been too busy working on planes or just shooting the breeze with folks.
all that being said i have improved some and here are some things that have helped. step one remember how much i just love flying airplanes and remember the unknown is just one more time for me to fly my airplane so even if i zero everything i still just got an opportunity to fly my airplane for a few minutes!!!! step two when possible face the runway and stand or sit about in the same location as when i'll be flying and this helps with visualizing the maneuvers on the landscape you will be flying over for example " loop dead center over the little dip in the field, hammerhead over by those trees, split s over near the river etc.. also jeff aka moose taught me a great trick. record yourself calling your unknown on your smartphone then play it back on speaker phone while flying your stick plane and if you have time have your caller listen to the recording a couple times while you are flying your stick plane so they will learn how you like for maneuvers to be called to you.
good luck ! i consider a great unknown to be any time i get a score on every maneuver! also don't be afraid to bail out of a maneuver if you are uncomfortable . i nearly crashed once on a downline when i sort of froze up and then tried to salvage the maneuver at the last minute instead of just yelling break and saving the plane . don't forget to fly the plane !!
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Allen Delger on 3/16/2018(UTC)
Offline rclad  
#15 Posted : Wednesday, March 14, 2018 12:40:04 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Joe Layne Go to Quoted Post
As soon as they hand ya the unknown, go to the nearest field and fly it as many times as ya can before dark! Just kidding!!!!


Joe, you are a funny guy! I'm going to remember this advice before I fly every Unknown this year, and the chuckle I'll get out of it will help me relax and fly the best Unknown ever. Thanks!!

Originally Posted by: Joe Layne Go to Quoted Post
Find another sportsman pilot and go through the sequence and name every maneuver, make notes about stick directions, turns, and anything else you can see as a issue. Then practice with the stick plane while your caller calls the sequence for you. then call the sequence for him. Repeat as many times as you can till you fill better about getting through it. We sometimes get three or four in a group to do this as flight order can make it harder. Its not as bad as ya might think, the unknowns are a bit easier.


I look forward to trying this with you and the other Sportsman pilots. Thanks for the tip.

What I would like to understand is what skill the Unknown is testing vs. a typical Known sequence. What makes the two so different? Why is an Unknown, especially one with an easier combination of figures or maneuvers than a typical Known, so much harder to fly?

I was watching a video of a flight I made this past Saturday. There was no one else at the field, so I just propped my phone up near the runway and took off. With the camera focused on one end of the field I was struck by how my figures on that end were very nearly in the exact same place every time, as if I was just following a groove I had made in the sky from flying the same sequence over and over and over. (About a 140 times now!)

We must pick up a number of cues from the landscape that tell us where each figure in a Known sequence should start and end, and that familiarity probably allows us to be more relaxed, as well as concentrate better on the details of the maneuver. The tip someone posted above about standing near where you will fly your Unknown and visualizing that sequence over the landscape you will fly sounds like a good one.

The closest analogy I can think of that describes the difference between flying a Known and Unknown - and hopefully someone with more experience can correct me - is the difference between a pianist who can play a piece well after much practice - developing muscle memory for each note - versus the pianist who can read music and play the same piece well on the first try. I have played the piano for years and still must study each piece and can only play it well with practice. I'm not a good sight reader with music, but the odd thing is I still can't play a piece I'm familiar with but haven't memorized without the notes in front of me. I hope this doesn't portend how bad I will be at flying Unknowns!

Greg Hladky
Flying on a wing and a purpose...
and physics, power, practice, preparation, plans...
and pioneers who pushed the envelope!
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