Tri-County Barnstormer Logo (5K)Scoring Maximum Points in Sportsman Pattern

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  Welcome to the Tri-County Barnstormers Pattern Contest. I know many of you are now old hands at flying the Novice (this was 1998 but this covers the 2020-2021 pattern) pattern this late in the season but maybe I can clear up some points in flying this pattern and suggest some ways to improve your scores. I’m not going to try to cover all points in flying the pattern but some of the important ones. The most important points to remember are:

I’m sure you have checked your plane thoroughly during the setup process but make sure everything is ready to go before your first flight. I’ve gotten to the ready box with the ailerons disconnected. So, be sure you’re ready!!!  DO A CONTROL CHECK!

When you arrive on the hot seat and your plane is ready for takeoff, stop, take a deep breath, look at your radio one more time to make sure all switches are in the right position and everything is ready to go. You do have your neck strap on if you use one, don’t you? Before you start your takeoff think about what rudder correction you will need if the nose turns toward you or away from you. Make this thought process and checkout a part of each takeoff. You don’t have to hurry!

Before the caller releases the plane, clear the engine one last time (if using glow) to insure its not going to quit when accelerated. Call your takeoff and advance the throttle smoothly, not suddenly. A sudden advance of the throttle is cause for downgrade so consider positioning the plane a little further back for that smooth acceleration. Correct any deviation in heading immediately. Small corrections are easier than large ones. Try to takeoff centered on the judges and at an angle that gives a gradual climb. Call the takeoff complete at 2 meters.

Your first pass in front of the judges is free so use it to establish your line. Try not to fly too close in because this will severely restrict the size of the box. Also remember, you have ample opportunity to establish or correct your line each time you exit the box. Use this opportunity to maximum advantage. Go far enough out and make any correction necessary to have the model online and at the proper altitude before you enter the box. Try to be dead level perfect as you enter.

First and probably most important are lines. Two of the first three maneuvers, Straight Flight Out and Straight Flight Back, are just lines. Remember, each maneuver starts and finishes with a straight line. This is important in the other classes as well and you must practice it now.

On to the maneuvers.  Here's what you'll do after the takeoff and trim pass: 
(U) mean upwind and (D) is downwind.


2.  Straight Flight Out (U) 10.  Immelmann Turn
3.  Half Reverse Cuban Eight 11.  45 Degree Downline (D)  
4.  Straight Flight Back (D) Exit Box
Enter the Box (going upwind)
5.  Stall Turn without Rolls 12.  45 Degree Up Line (U)
6.  Double Immelmann without Rolls (U) 13.  Split "S"
Exit the Box
Enter the Box (going downwind)
14.  Two Point Roll (D)  
7.  One Horizontal Roll (D) 15.  Half Cuban Eight
8.  Half REverse Cuban Eight 16. Two Inside Loops (U)
9.   Cobra without Rolls (U) Exit the Box
17.  Landing

Your first set of maneuvers consist of two centered maneuvers and a turnaround; Straight Flight Out (centered), Half Reverse Cuban Eight (turnaround), and Straight Flight Back (centered).

  1. (U) The rule book says in Straight Flight Out the model should be brought exactly parallel to the flight line and flown in an absolutely straight and level path for a distance of approximately 100 meters centered on the judges.  That means at least 50 meters of the straight flight out comes after center (distance does not have to be accurate).
  2. The Half Reverse Cuban Eight should be done so the 5/8ths loop stays in the box.  Pull into a 5/8ths loop, that's a loop that ends when the model is in a 45 degree upline.  Once the 45 degree upline is established, hesitate to draw a line, half roll to inverted, hesitate and draw another line equal to the one before then do a 5/8s loop to a horizontal line.  Make the radius of the arc to level flight the same as the radius of the partial loop entering the maneuver.  This maneuver should be done near the end of the box so the loops that follow are not rushed.
  3. (D) Straight Flight Back should be along the same line as Straight Flight Out. That means the same altitude and same flight path.
  4. Stall Turn: Pull to vertical, it doesn’t have to be a steep pull up but the model must at some point come absolutely vertical. I suggest you make a very gentle loop to vertical and hold that vertical about 50 feet. The gentle pull allows you a better chance of stopping at the intended point. Now, reduce the power but not to idle. This little bit of power will allow the rudder to be more effective for the turn and also help to damp the tail oscillation on exit. A pendulum movement of the tail on exit will get about a 1 point downgrade. The best way to minimize the oscillation is to hold some rudder until the plane is vertical on the down line then gently reduce it. Fly the plane out with the same radius as the entry.  Remember to hold a straight line on exit (maneuver starts and ends with a straight line).
  5. (U) A Double Immelmann is simply a half loop with a little inverted flight follow with another half loop. All AMA Double Immelmanns are a square around center with rounded ends. This means that the diameter of the half loop is the length as the horizontal lines.  Since this is a centered maneuver, if you divided the line of inverted flight with the center pole, each half of that line would be equal.  Or another way to think of this is the half loops are equal distance from the center pole (center line) and each line length before and after center is half the lenght of the vertical lines.

This is the point you get to exit the box. That means you have a little time to regroup and reestablish your line. Make the most of this free time.  The best maneuver for any turn around is the half reverse cuban eight.  It gives you maximum time to make adjustments to both altitude and distance out.  Remember to call or have your caller call the box exit and entry.

  1. (D) One Horizonal Roll should be centered on the pole.  That means the model should be exactly inverted when it goes through center.  The rotational speed of the roll is not specified.  This would be good time to learn to roll a little slower and use the rudder.  Check out The Fourth Control on this website for some advice.
  2. Half Reverse Cuban Eight is the same as #3 above except is downwind.  This requires different wind correction on the loop.
  3. (U) Cobra without Rolls is a pull to 45 degrees up, hesitate, then push to a 45 dive.  The middle of the push over to the dive should be centered on the judges and all radii (entry, over top and exit) should be the same.
  4. An Immlemann Turn is a half loop followed immediately by a half roll. The half roll should begin immediately after completing the half loop. Any visible line before the roll is cause for downgrade, usually 2 points.
  5. (D) 45 Degree Downline should be centered on the judges and center pole.  Be careful of the push to entry because it is easy to make a small radius into the 45 line.  The exit radius should match the entry radius.

Exit and Enter the box

  1. (U) 45 Degree Upline should be centered on the judges and center pole.  Be careful of the push on exit because it is easy to make a small radius.  The exit radius should match the entry radius.
  2. The Split-S is a turnaround maneuver and should be done near the end of the box. If you do it too soon, the next maneuver will be rushed. Begin by half rolling to inverted then immediately upon reaching inverted begin the pull for the half loop. No inverted straight line allowed here.
  3. (D) A 2 Point Roll is just a roll with a hesitation while inverted. Roll to inverted, hesitate, roll to upright. The inverted hesitation should be centered on the center pole or judges.  Centerd on the judges means the portion of inverted flight before the center line is equal to the amount of inverted flight after the center line.  Make the roll rate of the entry to inverted and the exit to upright the same rate.
  4. Half Cuban Eight is another turnaround maneuver so start early enough to get the 5/8ths loop in the box.  Pull into a 5/8ths loop, that's a loop that ends when the model is in a 45 degree downline.  Once the 45 degree downline is established, hesitate to draw a line, half roll to upright, hesitate and draw another line that is equal in lenght to the one before the roll then finish with a gentle pull to level.  Make the radius of the arc to level flight the same as the radius of the partial loop.  This maneuver should be done near the end of the box so there is time to setup for the maneuver that follows.
  5. (U) The loops are centered. Try to make the last as round as the first. There seems to be a tendency to pull the last loop too hard on entry. Exit the loops and box with a straight line.

Exit the Box

  1. The landing begins at 2 meters and you should try to have the model centered on the runway with wings level at that point. Its always best to slow down as soon as possible on landing; downwind is good but no later than base.

In addition to the above pointers you should remember all maneuvers should be wind corrected to preserve the geometry of the maneuver. You should also call your takeoff, landing and all box entry and exits or have your caller make the calls. I hope this helps with some of the questions you may have.

Don Ramsey

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