Flying your model
To ensure that every flight is successful, it is sensible to carry out a few pre-flight checks. At first this list may seem long and laborious, but after a few flights it will become a very quick process.
A sample of a few checks:
- Is the battery is fully charged?
- Are the wings straight and level?
- Is the head firmly attached?
- Check that there is no gap between the body and the wings
- Check for any damage to the Roprey, especially the elastic bands
- Are the control surfaces trimmed correctly?
- Do all the control surfaces move smoothly and in the correct direction?
- In the case of the robara, are the battery wires the correct side of the elastic, away from the fan?
For a complete checklist please click the button below:
Roprey, like any aircraft, must always be launched into the wind. For beginning pilots, it’s best if someone else launches the model. The pilot can stand directly behind the launcher, both facing into wind.
The model must be held flat and level. The Robara must be launched at 100% power, but the lighter Rocrow should be launched at 50-100%. The launcher must throw the model horizontally. The temptation is to throw the model steeply up, the nose pointing skyward. This is unsuitable, and the model is likely to stall, turn sharply and fall to the ground.
When the pilot is more experienced, the model can be launched by one hand, the other holding the transmitter. Attaching a lanyard to the transmitter to avoid it being accidentally dropped is a good idea.
Don’t forget your pre-flight checks!
For the first few flights, start the flight in the middle of the biggest space possible, above a soft surface such as grass. It is advisable to take the model up to a height where a mistake doesn’t immediately lead to a crash. Beginners often try and keep the model as low as possible but this can be counterproductive.
Always start with smooth and gentle turns. Aim to apply gradual pressure to the sticks, rather than poking and jabbing at them. When it comes to steering the model, it’s very much like a car. When turning a car left, the wheel is turned left. When you’ve turned enough you must start turning the wheel to the right, or else you will continue to turn left! Like a car, when steering the model one way, be sure to straighten it up again to avoid flying in circles.
Inexperienced pilots should avoid flying in the early morning or late evening. Although it may be light enough to easily see the falcon, low light levels can quickly make the pilot lose his orientation, as it’s difficult to tell which way up the Roprey is. These times of day also have a low sun, which can make flying difficult.
As the pilot becomes more experienced, more daring manoeuvers can be attempted. These should be practised at height initially, so that any mistakes can be corrected before the ground rises to meet you!
The great thing about Rofalconry is that you hardly ever need to land the model, the hawk tends to take care of that part for you! However, when practicing, landing is required.
Always land into the wind, this makes the flight more stable. Pick a landing area, approach it into the wind, and shut off the throttle. In most conditions the model will continue to glide forward. In very windy conditions, a small amount of throttle may be required to stop the model from stalling.
As the model moves towards the ground, an especially soft landing can be produced by pulling the nose up. Slowly pull the nose up, gradually applying more pressure. A perfect landing would see the aircraft touch the ground at the exact same time as the right stick meets its lower limit.
Try and land on a soft surface, such as grass, whenever possible. Always check the opening towards the fan after every landing to ensure nothing is causing an obstruction. Experienced pilots can often catch the Roprey rather than having it land on the ground, but mistakes can be embarrassing!
Like many practical skills, it can be more confusing reading the techniques than seeing them. Outside the world of Rofalconry, RC flying is a hugely popular hobby, and there are many clubs to be found. These clubs often provide beginners with opportunities to learn with trainer aircraft and experienced pilots to help.
Wingbeat’s Roprey models are designed to fly in the weather conditions that would be possible for the falcon. The Roprey have been flown in wind conditions where both the prey and the falcon are stationary despite going full guns ahead!
As has always been the case, it’s important not to over face a young, unfit or inexperienced hawk. Slipping a youngster in a gale at quarry it’s very unlikely to catch is fruitless. The same goes with the pilot! Asking an inexperienced pilot to fly in strong winds, or in turbulence, is going to result in knocked confidence and an hour in a dark room with the glue gun. However, watching an experienced falcon fly against an experienced pilot in strong winds can be a real spectacle.
Light drizzle is normally shrugged off by both falcon and Roprey, but any more tends to detract from the flight. The electrical components in the models are reasonably well protected from the rain, but if they become wet they may fail. After a crash in the mud, Nick has on occasion sprayed a hose pipe through the centre airway in the Robara & Rocrow to clean it with no ill affect, but we certainly don’t recommend it!