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 backBack to Set Manoeuvres List    Pie Dish

Pie Dish Tail Down
Pie Dish Tail Up

This manoeuvre consists of a minimum of 4 complete circuits that are centred on the contest centreline. The model should maintain an acute angle whilst flying sideways at constant speed, altitude and attitude. The pilot may choose to fly the model skids in, skids out, nose-up or nose-down.

If you are new to ‘Pie Dish’ manoeuvres then the first step I would suggest is to begin flying some gentle tail-in or nose-in remote circles in front of yourself. Whilst attempting both forms of circuit is excellent practice for many 3-D manoeuvres, you will, at some point, have to decide to fly either a tail-down or nose-down Pie Dish. I have found that the tail-down manoeuvre is the natural ‘first choice’ as the model will settle into a balanced Pie Dish quite easily compared to the nose-down case, where the accuracy of tail inputs becomes more important and considerable practice may be needed to produce good accuracy. The choice is, of course, yours; so if you have the time, try both before making a final decision. You also have the option of flying the circles with skids in or out. With the skids out, then your remote circle practice will begin a normal upright mode but for skids in this will require an inverted start. So you have several versions of the Pie Dish to choose from, ranging from the tail down/skids out version to the nose down/skids in. A point to remember is that the judges are all 3-D pilots and will fully appreciate the relative difficulty of these variations of the Pie Dish. In the case of the upright tail-in (tail down/skids out) remote circle, begin with the model in a stable hover, before using a small aileron input to create the desired sideways motion. This is followed with some back cyclic (elevator) to establish the model in the remote circle. As the model begins to move, tail rotor control is then used to keep the tail pointing towards the centre of the circle, whilst height is controlled with collective pitch. Aim to produce smooth tail-in circles up to a maximum diameter of about 30 m. If you opt for nose-in (nose down/skids out) Pie Dishes a similar exercise may be used with the nose pointing to the circle centre. In this case, aileron inputs will be opposite to that required for the same direction of a tail-in example. Forward cyclic is used to hold the model in a circular path with tail control keeping the nose aligned with the circle centre.

Following practice of these gentle remote circles, attention should now shift to speeding up the manoeuvre using a larger amount of cyclic, pitch and tail control. With the increase of speed the attitude of the model will become more nose/tail high with the maximum being governed by available engine power. In this case, elevator and collective pitch must be balanced to maintain a steady altitude whilst aileron is used to control the sideways speed of the model. Throughout rudder control is used to match the speed and overall diameter of the manoeuvre.

Possible Problems
Maintaining consistent height and position are the most common problems. If a wind is blowing, there is a requirement to add additional cyclic and pitch when moving into wind, and reduce these control inputs when downwind. This is where practice of slow tail/nose-in circles is so valuable, as flying these in various conditions will develop the necessary skills needed as the manoeuvre speeds up towards the faster Pie Dish. Four complete circuits are required, and I would suggest getting the model well established in a steady Pie Dish before your caller indicates the start of the circuits to be judged.

The key to a good series of Pie Dishes is getting the model into a balanced manoeuvre keeping control movements to a minimum. Take care not to attempt too tight a manoeuvre, as you will then be demanding high power from the engine with, perhaps, no reserve available, so if the model begins to descend, your only option is to open up the overall diameter.


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