How long to switch stick mode

For years and years, I have been flying planes in mode 4 (aileron and
throttle on left stick) and helicopters in mode 2 (collective and tail
rotor on left stick). I have tried to convince myself that switching
from plane to heli (or back) was just a matter of five minutes of
getting adjusted. I am now starting to realize it is not that simple.
Or maybe I am just getting old.
For months now, I have been flying a plane (a PBY Catalina) that likes
lots of rudder, and a bit of *opposite* aileron in the turns. I am now
getting ready to fly heli again, so I hit the simulator to brush up on
the skills a little. To my amazement, I couldn't keep the damn thing
in the air, and I crashed it at least ten times before I realized what
was happening: In a left turn, my Catalina reflexes added lots of left
rudder and opposite aileron. This, of course, was in reality more left
bank and right tail rotor, resulting in a characteristic tail-first
crash every time.
So now I have decided to re-learn flying planes, this time in mode 2.
I am prepared to spend the necessary hours on the simulator before I
go fly a real plane again. I have already started practicing, and I am
now in a situation where I can fly just fine, but when something
unexpected happens, the old, incorrect reflexes kick in and make the
unexpected situation worse, in stead of resolving it.
Has anybody tried doing this switch before? How long should I expect
to have to practice before I get good enough to at least avoid
crashing. How long before I can start instructing again?
Reply to
Robert Roland
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I don't know, Robert -- a lot depends on you.
Just pulling this out of my -- uh -- ear, but if you set up the simulator for really, really, gusty conditions you'll get into more of those unexpected situations, and have more practice getting out of them without thinking.
Maybe put the simulator into "follow the plane" mode, and with the gusts turned up and the plane way high, close your eyes for a time (count it out, but I'm not sure if you want a ten-count or a two-count!). Then open them and recover as fast as you can. The "follow the plane" mode will make sure that you don't spend time finding the plane, so you'll be practicing the hard part -- unthinking recovery of the plane ASAP.
Reply to
How long does it take to learn something? Depends on you. How long does it take to unlearn something? Depends on you.
How did you end up learning to fly in Mode 4 on planes and mode 2 on Helis?
Reply to
Ed Anderson
I have now tried the gusty conditions a bit. It does have value, but mainly during landing. In the air, there is just too much time to think before something goes wrong.
I have not tried this, but I imagine it won't be effective. Not knowing *what* will happen is not so bad when you exactly *when* something is going to happen.
I have now practiced quite a bit with the "Yak 54 3D" (In Realflight G5). It is set up with extreme control sensitivity and is quite tail heavy. This seems to be good, as even the slightest subconscious mistake becomes obviously visible. I am struggling a lot with hovering. Earlier, that was a breeze, as the controls in mode 4 were exactly the same as a helicopter in mode 2, so my helicopter reflexes worked "out of the box". Hovering seems to be a good exercise, since it requires extremely quick and accurate corrections to maintain balance.
All in all, it seems there is no quick and easy way. The only thing that works is to put in the hours. Also, it seems the reflexes to some degree are separate for each different maneuver. I can now maintain a reasonably stable hover, but if I transition from level flight into a vertical climb, the tiny rudder corrections needed to keep the climb vertical are still often done with the right hand.
Maybe slow rolling circles will be my next exercise. That requires good rudder control, and combined with lots of elevator work, it adds to the workload.
Reply to
Robert Roland
When I started with planes, I had heard someone say (and it seemed to make sense) to have the main controls on separate sticks, so that it would be easier to adjust one without disturbing the other. That was, of course, with slow, stable trainers that mostly fly themselves, so that only occasional inputs are necessary.
When I got to try helicopters, it seemed to make sense to control the rotor disc (cyclic) with one stick, visualizing the transmitter stick was mounted on top of the rotor head. I tried it and it felt right.
I never had an instructor. It was just me and a couple of equally inexperienced friends trying to figure it out as we went along.
Reply to
Robert Roland
Actually, you are flying Mode 3 for airplanes.
Mode 1 is rudder/elevator on left, throttle/ailerons on right Mode 3 is opposite of that.
Mode 4 is ailerons/elevator on left, throttle/rudder on right. Opposite of Mode 2.
Reply to
Not according my transmitter (JR 9x2) software or its manual. A quick search gets this page that also disagrees with you:
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Here's another link of interest:
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This paper also discusses which mode is best and why. Quite interesting. It does, however, not consider pilots who fly both helis and planes.
Reply to
Robert Roland

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