KNIFE- EDGE MANEUVER
This is a fantastic maneuver particularly when performing at low passing altitude. It uses to be a jaw dropping moment for audience in any flying event. Every aerobatic RC flyer need to make it right in particular but the hard part of this maneuver is keeping the plane in a straight line.
Since the aircraft has tendency to turn when banked on its side so the flyer needs harmonious control over three dimensions. A straight lateral flight, a desired altitude – which now switch to rudder instead of elevator, and the last thing, the speed which is controlled over the throttle stick.
Looks a bit nervous at first to perform Knife Edge but it is fun to tease your brain with different inputs. Just to make it more encouragement for you that once this maneuver is within your control you can add up more spice to the next level such as Knife-Edge circle, Knife-Edge spin, and Knife-Edge side slip for instance.
Here is how to do this maneuver step by step.
1. Get the right RC plane the can perform this maneuver with ease. The ideal aircraft for this manner are given to the aerobatic plane such as Extra, Katana, Edge, Yak54 and F3A type of plane. Other RC planes that are acceptable for this job can be low-wing sport plane, and those symmetrical airfoil wing planes. This does not mean that the War-bird can not do this trick but it can be done with appropriate setting on the plane and with some hardship for you to keep it flying like Knife-Edge
2. Lean back on your chair and turn on the Flight Simulator, this is the best way to get train nowadays. You would be better off doing this until you are an Ace of Knife-edge before jumping to the real model plane. Keep it simple with the training process that is allowing the crash during build up your skill in this maneuver. Take your time to concentrate on the three dimensions of control and learn to coordinate the stick to keep the Knife-edge looks stable. As RC plane enthusiast you love to explore and to take risk so you will be marvel in no matter of time.
3. Keep in mind that in this maneuver the control stick you are acquainted with will be working in different definition. After the plane is 90 degree banked the rudder will then be elevator control and the elevator will act as a rudder. In order to freeze the plane in Knife-edge poster the aileron will be the main key to rack it in place against the yawing. Of course your nerve needs a new format – the fun just start isn’t it?
4. Take off you plane and make 90 degree roll and freeze it in this position (do not worry about the rolling left) just keep it in smooth altitude using rudder in stead of the elevator while applied no more than 60 percent power (according to my opinion but is also up to your preference as well) however some type of plane can not be maintained the altitude with this speed. So it depends on the plane type you choose and as I said before an aerobatic plane is the best choice for you as it can maintain Knife-edge with less than half throttle.
5. Once the stable level of Knife-edge is within your command you can try to use the elevator to keep the plane in straight path – for now the elevator will act like a rudder. However as the Knife-edge starts the main wing has tendency to roll left which is normal for this behavior so you can cancel this tendency by applying some right aileron as seen in the picture. All of these controls will keep you busy for a while until it is almost automatically learnt to your skillfulness.
Do not give up the practice, stick to it and keep making it straight and smooth within desired altitude because this maneuver can be added to a more versatile movements. As I mentioned earlier that Knife-edge is the key to other spectacular maneuver such as Knife-edge turn, Knife-edge spin and Knife-edge side slip – for instance.
I made a tutorial video by myself and show it here, it depicts the Knife-edge maneuver as I explained above. Please accept my apology for not giving it with the real RC plane since it is hard to zoom in while making it in the air and the quality is quite poor. Phoenix Flight Simulator used here gave me a true control feeling more than other program but you can try any Flight Sim that you got, it is acceptable and is the best learning tool you can trust nowadays.
Please leave me a comment if you need more information or sharing your experience when doing this maneuver.