As most of you know, I have the opportunity to fly with many fellow jet pilots. Skill levels range from complete jet novice to seasoned jet pro. Lately, I have seen both types of pilots having issues while flying. The common problem is not using the trims on the transmitter. Guys are flying untrimmed aircraft and struggling.

My advise is to always take a moment and verify the plane is flying correctly. Setup a straight line and take your hands off the sticks; what does the plane do? Does it climb, dive, roll? If so, FIX IT! This can take a matter of seconds, but can make the entire flight more enjoyable.

Another trick I use is a little more complex, but greatly reduces the pilots workload. Setup Flight Mode Trims assigned to the "flap switch"; 3 modes, Cruise, Takeoff, and landing. This allows the pilot to trim the aircraft for each "Flap Condition". I enable this on the ailerons and elevator on my DX18. The great part of this feature is that my aircraft is always in trim when I change speeds; takeoff, cruise, and landing.

Another note, I trim my aircraft (elevator) with the flaps down such that the aircraft will maintain altitude in the landing pattern, when the correct throttle position is set. If I increase the throttle the plane will speed up and climb, and slow down and descend when power is reduced. Remember that elevator controls airspeed and power controls rate of descent/ascent. 

Make sense? Comment below if you have any questions.


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As Dustin suggests knife edge tracking etc is not the intent. Your goal should be to reduce your work load as much as possible. Lower work load in a competition environment will allow you to focus more specifically on maneuver quality rather than just keeping the aircraft in the air. If you at a Jet event lower work load will allow you to enjoy your flights a lot more and allow you to fly in more challenging conditions.

You shouldn't be fighting your jet. A well trimmed and setup aircraft will fly well, regardless of its complexity, shape or weight. If you ever get a chance to watch Steve Stricker fly his Phantom, (Phantoms are known for being hard to handle) you will see the fruits of a well set up and trimmed aircraft.

Some specific tips. once you get your balance and trims set up as Dustin suggests, look for control harmony. Work with ATV and expo, in all rates to maintain the same feel and control throughout the speed envelope. Try to avoid a sensitive feel in pitch then have a soft feel in roll or visa versa. Look for a balance feel in pitch and roll. Then also look for that same feel with different flap settings. Typically you should run a little less expo with more flap to achieve the same sensitivity.

Upright and inverted flying. Often a heavy feel inverted is attributed to forward c of g. This could be the case however more than likely its the rigging angles of the wing, stab and thrust. This is hard to change especially with a scale jet and to just move the c of g back to obtain the right amount of forward stick inverted will often cause the aircraft to become less stable in the upright position. C of G is more a feel in the flair. If it's too sensitive move it forward, if your running out of elevator yet still can't obtain a decent flair attitude move it back. Ok so know you have your desired c of g but your aircraft still feels heavy inverted. Try adjusting your expo value in pitch for down elevator only, often to obtain the correct feel you will have a different expo value for up and down. As a example, Skymaster Hawks need a lot of elevator when inverted , this was also the case with the Skygate Hawks I have flown. My setup with the Hawk has 32% expo with up elevator and 8% for down yet the feel is nicely balanced both upright and inverted. 

You will be amazed how this will help your rolls. It's a easy adjustment to make and it won't effect any other part of the aircraft setup.


Awesome post Pete!!!

Hi ,was wondering if the trim article that Peter Goldsmith wrote a while back and the trim chart apply to jets also?  It has been very helpful in my IMAC planes.



One thing I have noticed. Pilots need to trim there jets with no gyro on!, once stable then good to use the gyro. Also I see a lot a of guys with a lot of ALI trim, but its there rudders that are out of trim

Thanks Dustin, Peter, and others.  As a jet rookie still, it is a lot to swallow but hanging around enough of you great pilots, will certainly help with further understanding.     Chic

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