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Coordinated turns

dwallersv

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Something all fixed-wing pilots know about, many RC heli pilots (all should, but alas, not the case), and virtually no quad first-time pilots know about.

After 2 years of drone flying and ignoring it (I'm a private pilot, as well as past fixed-wing RC gliders and helis), I decided to give coordinated turns a look, and MAN OH MAN! A really good skill to learn for flying quads!

What are coordinated turns? On a fixed-wing aircraft, the plane turns by banking (rolling). When you do this maneuver, you have to "coordinate" some yaw so that the aircraft doesn't slip diagonally sideways/down in the direction of the roll. In fact, this slide/slip is a technique that is used to fly straight into a sidewind while landing.

Quads have the same problem, although the control effects are changed around a bit. We turn via yaw control, not rolling. Quads are not "directional" like a fixed-wing plane; they fly equally well in all four cardinal directions. However, when you turn via yaw input, momentum causes the quad to "slide" sideways in relation to the new forward direction until the new thrust direction manages to completely change the direction of flight.

In other words, you may be done with the actual heading change from your control inputs, but the aircraft is still flying in the original direction, especially if you were moving fast.

Yet, you can coordinate turns with a quad, very effectively, and massively improve the control over precisely where the aircraft is in space. You can fly like a bad mofo in Sport mode, and precisely zoom around a turn without much overshoot.

HOW

Simple: When turning, add some roll in the same direction you're turning. How much depends on how fast you're going, and how fast the yaw rate is (how much yaw stick your giving). THIS is what you have to simply go out and find a big, open field to practice, practice, practice to get the right feel for how much control input to get it optimal.

Good news is, this is so fun you won't want to stop. Get a few more batteries.

Once you get this down, to the point of muscle memory so you're not thinking about it, you can "fun fly" in sport mode so much better, and with much more control.

I've been burning 5 batteries a day all week doing this, and having a blast. Nearly no braking at all -- full speed Sport, circles, ovals, back and forth, around stuff, figure 8s, etc. And absolutely wild!

Coordinating turns is really only helpful when flying really fast, LOS, pretty much ignoring the camera. It's sport flying, drone-only -- you're not flying a camera drone when you're worrying about coordinating turns.
 
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MDPeters

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Something all fixed-wing pilots know about, many RC heli pilots (all should, but alas, not the case), and virtually no quad first-time pilots know about.

After 2 years of drone flying and ignoring it (I'm a private pilot, as well as past fixed-wing RC gliders and helis), I decided to give coordinated turns a look, and MAN OH MAN! A really good skill to learn for flying quads!

What are coordinated turns? On a fixed-wing aircraft, the plane turns by banking (rolling). When you do this maneuver, you have to "coordinate" some yaw so that the aircraft doesn't slip diagonally sideways/down in the direction of the roll. In fact, this slide/slip is a technique that is used to fly straight into a sidewind while landing.

Quads have the same problem, although the control effects are changed around a bit. We turn via yaw control, not rolling. Quads are not "directional" like a fixed-wing plane; they fly equally well in all four cardinal directions. However, when you turn via yaw input, momentum causes the quad to "slide" sideways in relation to the new forward direction until the new thrust direction manages to completely change the direction of flight.

In other words, you may be done with the actual heading change from your control inputs, but the aircraft is still flying in the original direction, especially if you were moving fast.

Yet, you can coordinate turns with a quad, very effectively, and massively improve the control over precisely where the aircraft is in space. You can fly like a bad mofo in Sport mode, and precisely zoom around a turn without much overshoot.

HOW

Simple: When turning, add some roll in the same direction you're turning. How much depends on how fast you're going, and how fast the yaw rate is (how much yaw stick your giving). THIS is what you have to simply go out and find a big, open field to practice, practice, practice to get the right feel for how much control input to get it optimal.

Good news is, this is so fun you won't want to stop. Get a few more batteries.

Once you get this down, to the point of muscle memory so you're not thinking about it, you can "fun fly" in sport mode so much better, and with much more control.

I've been burning 5 batteries a day all week doing this, and having a blast. Nearly no braking at all -- full speed Sport, circles, ovals, back and forth, around stuff, figure 8s, etc. And absolutely wild!

Coordinating turns is really only helpful when flying really fast, LOS, pretty much ignoring the camera. It's sport flying, drone-only -- you're not flying a camera drone when you're worrying about coordinating turns.

Thanks for post. Thanks also for the description on how to use this function on the aircraft. Cheers, and happy flying!
 

dannybgoode

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A good point. You can see the ‘sliding’ in drone vids particularly where the camera is pointing somewhat down and it can be distracting.

I have started working on rectifying this in my flying using exactly the control inputs you mention.

Note I am learning to fly RC CP helis and boy those things are merciless! Great for teaching fine control though. :)
 

Gecko10

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Like you I have a lot of fixed wing hours and have been doing coordinated turns from day 1. But miss the ole "Needle and Ball"
 

steve1968

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I also come from rc helicopters where it is very important skill to learn, I almost do it instinctively now, sport mode is so much more fluid and appears under better control.
 

Air Beetle

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sometimes I shoot a 360 of an object "manually" which involves a slow nose in maneuver. It's tougher than you think.
 
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kydroneman

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Nice post and I think a lot of the younger drone pilots don't get it but as an old fixed-wing flyer and RC heli flyer I do get it. It really does make a difference when shooting videos as I am still getting used to flying my Mavic air but I do a lot of coordinated turns flying LOS and not watching the tablet screen.
 

steve1968

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Nice post and I think a lot of the younger drone pilots don't get it but as an old fixed-wing flyer and RC heli flyer I do get it. It really does make a difference when shooting videos as I am still getting used to flying my Mavic air but I do a lot of coordinated turns flying LOS and not watching the tablet screen.


Yes I agree about flying LOS but I also learning to trust the tech and the screen when my old eyes start to struggle, and use both sets of skills.
 

kydroneman

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Yes I agree about flying LOS but I also learning to trust the tech and the screen when my old eyes start to struggle, and use both sets of skills.

I hear ya. Had to buy a tablet cause my phone screen is so hard to see and worse on sunny days.
 

CanadaDrone

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The best way for new pilots to learn, IMHO, is to buy a cheap quadcopter from Amazon ($20-50). They even have altitude hold and are almost as easy to fly as the DJI drones, but they are small and cheap so you can practice all the movements indoors or outside on a calm day. All of them have easy mode and "advanced" mode too. Once you can zip them around your living room using all controller inputs without hitting anything, flying one of DJI's drones is a piece of cake. Controls are identical to DJI's drones. I trained myself on those and when I got my 'real' drone, everything was natural, and muscle memory has saved me from more than one crash so far.

When you're done, either keep it around to play with or give it to a young person who probably has no idea how easy it can be to fly and will probably love it.
 

scott rand

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Thanks for the post. I wonder if DJI can add Coordinated Turns as one of the remote controller modes.
I don’t use my Goggles much, but I’m assuming when you go full autonomy with them, and turn them with your head instead of the controller, it’s kind of doing the same thing.
 
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Something all fixed-wing pilots know about, many RC heli pilots (all should, but alas, not the case), and virtually no quad first-time pilots know about.

After 2 years of drone flying and ignoring it (I'm a private pilot, as well as past fixed-wing RC gliders and helis), I decided to give coordinated turns a look, and MAN OH MAN! A really good skill to learn for flying quads!

What are coordinated turns? On a fixed-wing aircraft, the plane turns by banking (rolling). When you do this maneuver, you have to "coordinate" some yaw so that the aircraft doesn't slip diagonally sideways/down in the direction of the roll. In fact, this slide/slip is a technique that is used to fly straight into a sidewind while landing.

Quads have the same problem, although the control effects are changed around a bit. We turn via yaw control, not rolling. Quads are not "directional" like a fixed-wing plane; they fly equally well in all four cardinal directions. However, when you turn via yaw input, momentum causes the quad to "slide" sideways in relation to the new forward direction until the new thrust direction manages to completely change the direction of flight.

In other words, you may be done with the actual heading change from your control inputs, but the aircraft is still flying in the original direction, especially if you were moving fast.

Yet, you can coordinate turns with a quad, very effectively, and massively improve the control over precisely where the aircraft is in space. You can fly like a bad mofo in Sport mode, and precisely zoom around a turn without much overshoot.

HOW

Simple: When turning, add some roll in the same direction you're turning. How much depends on how fast you're going, and how fast the yaw rate is (how much yaw stick your giving). THIS is what you have to simply go out and find a big, open field to practice, practice, practice to get the right feel for how much control input to get it optimal.

Good news is, this is so fun you won't want to stop. Get a few more batteries.

Once you get this down, to the point of muscle memory so you're not thinking about it, you can "fun fly" in sport mode so much better, and with much more control.

I've been burning 5 batteries a day all week doing this, and having a blast. Nearly no braking at all -- full speed Sport, circles, ovals, back and forth, around stuff, figure 8s, etc. And absolutely wild!

Coordinating turns is really only helpful when flying really fast, LOS, pretty much ignoring the camera. It's sport flying, drone-only -- you're not flying a camera drone when you're worrying about coordinating turns.
Really good point! I actually tried it out a while ago, and it works extremely well. It makes flying precise!!
 

kidroc

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Its the only way to fly if you ask me me.. no sliding around for me lol. but I've been flying for 26 years man i'ts came a looong way since then..
 

newt2u

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Agree its the only way to sports fly. Another difference with fixed wings is that on a fixed wing, especially gliders, turns require bank and up elevator as well as coordinated rudder. But on a quad... I have a MA as well you do not need any up as the flight controller keeps the heigh, so all in all a bit simpler to master and as you say great fun!
 

Schnauzergeek

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Something all fixed-wing pilots know about, many RC heli pilots (all should, but alas, not the case), and virtually no quad first-time pilots know about.

After 2 years of drone flying and ignoring it (I'm a private pilot, as well as past fixed-wing RC gliders and helis), I decided to give coordinated turns a look, and MAN OH MAN! A really good skill to learn for flying quads!

What are coordinated turns? On a fixed-wing aircraft, the plane turns by banking (rolling). When you do this maneuver, you have to "coordinate" some yaw so that the aircraft doesn't slip diagonally sideways/down in the direction of the roll. In fact, this slide/slip is a technique that is used to fly straight into a sidewind while landing.

Quads have the same problem, although the control effects are changed around a bit. We turn via yaw control, not rolling. Quads are not "directional" like a fixed-wing plane; they fly equally well in all four cardinal directions. However, when you turn via yaw input, momentum causes the quad to "slide" sideways in relation to the new forward direction until the new thrust direction manages to completely change the direction of flight.

In other words, you may be done with the actual heading change from your control inputs, but the aircraft is still flying in the original direction, especially if you were moving fast.

Yet, you can coordinate turns with a quad, very effectively, and massively improve the control over precisely where the aircraft is in space. You can fly like a bad mofo in Sport mode, and precisely zoom around a turn without much overshoot.

HOW

Simple: When turning, add some roll in the same direction you're turning. How much depends on how fast you're going, and how fast the yaw rate is (how much yaw stick your giving). THIS is what you have to simply go out and find a big, open field to practice, practice, practice to get the right feel for how much control input to get it optimal.

Good news is, this is so fun you won't want to stop. Get a few more batteries.

Once you get this down, to the point of muscle memory so you're not thinking about it, you can "fun fly" in sport mode so much better, and with much more control.

I've been burning 5 batteries a day all week doing this, and having a blast. Nearly no braking at all -- full speed Sport, circles, ovals, back and forth, around stuff, figure 8s, etc. And absolutely wild!

Coordinating turns is really only helpful when flying really fast, LOS, pretty much ignoring the camera. It's sport flying, drone-only -- you're not flying a camera drone when you're worrying about coordinating turns.

Are there any videos that illustrate what you’re talking about?
 

Red Baron

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I do this all the time as I mostly fly over the ocean-- Sport mode only-forget filming- It's a blast!
 
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