Sport Aerobatics (Radio Control)
David A. Scott, 2006
1st U.S. R/C Flight School
P.O. Box 212
Shawano, Wisconsin 54166
vi + 87 pages, spiral bound paperback, landscape orientation
I was asked to review this flight training manual by the author. I have not received nor will I receive any compensation for this review, other than the benefit of reading the manual. My experience in competition aerobatics is very limited. I have placed third and second in two small pattern primers in upstate New York--the only two times I have competed in anything other than club fun-fly events. I have read a great deal about pattern competition through the NSRCA's K-Factor and hope to move on from the Sportsman class to the Intermediate if and when I attempt another competition.
Sport Aerobatics is the second of four flight training manuals written and published by the author for 1st U.S. R/C Flight School:
Primary (Solo) Flight Training
Sport (Basic) Aerobatics
Precision (Intermediate) Aerobatics
These four books all use the "Visual Learning System," with a multitude of diagrams to illustrate the points being made and diagraming the exercises to be undertaken. Scott also has a Simulator Hints and Tips booklet available.
Scott flies and teaches full-scale aerobatics and has a very clear vision of how complex sequences can be broken down into small units, practiced at that level, then reassembled and flown with greater precision. This is the essence of the "David A. Scott (DAS) System," which is used on all four manuals: "This program adheres to the fundamental premise that one must attain the basics before refinements can be attempted without becoming obstacle's to one's success and confidence" (vi).
The basic maneuvers covered in this manual are the loop, aileron roll, Immelman, Cuban 8, Reverse Cuban 8, hesitation rolls, and some more complex variants built from these components. There are three fundamental sections aimed at picking the right airframe, installing appropriate control surfaces, establishing good frames of reference, dealing with the wind, and learning to read Aresti diagrams.
This manual is a workbook. It is not meant as entertaining reading. It is intended for a small part of the RC world: those who want to learn how to fly precision RC aerobatics, either for their own satisfaction or to enter judged competitions. To extract full value from it, the reader should make a commitment to taking the workbook to the field and practicing the maneuvers with a friend acting as a coach and critic. Scott recommends one-hour practice sessions up to four times a week.
There is an old joke about a visitor asking a New Yorker how to get to Carnegie Hall. The answer is "practice, practice, practice." This is only good advice if one knows how to practice in such a way that the practice brings about improvements in the performance. Those who have already learned to fly entry-level aerobatics may have lots of bad habits that need to be broken in order to profit from the DAS system. The goal of the book is to teach people how to fly with purpose, both in practice and in competition (75). To learn from our mistakes, we have to correctly identify the mistakes we've been making, figure out what the fixes are, and then ingrain the corrections by repetition until they become second nature. That is the kind of practice that makes perfect.
In short, this book is highly recommended for those who want to lay the foundation for flying precision aerobatics. It is not recommended for those who are content to flop aimlessly around the sky.