Friday, January 21, 2022
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Flying the Pirouetting Loop

In recent years the Pirouetting Loop has been a maneuver in the XFC and 3D Masters’ Known Maneuver sets. This is one of my favorite maneuvers because it looks very clean and precise and has many variations. Some variations include pirouetting globes, vertical pirouetting figure eights and more. It looks much more complex than it really is; basically it is just a loop where you transition between the four orientations: forward, backward, nose-in and tail-in. It helps to be comfortable doing loops in all of those orientations. The keys to doing the Pirouetting Loop are timing the cyclic inputs and maintaining a consistent pirouette rate, just like any other pirouetting maneuver.

Set your pirouette rate to medium-to-slow at full stick deflection. This makes it easier to coordinate your cyclic inputs. The difficulty of the maneuver will increase with your pirouette speed, so keep that in mind.

Once you are at your comfortable height, move the helicopter to either the left or the right side of the field so you can enter the loop with some momentum. In this case we will be starting from the right side of the field.

Come across the field with a good amount of speed and once the helicopter almost crosses in front of you, begin a slow pirouette either to the left or to the right. For this example we will be using left rudder.

This is the most important step because it starts the beginning of the loop. Once you have completed the first pirouette and see the tail rotor pointing straight back, give it a little bit of up elevator and a small amount of positive pitch.

Pirouetting Loop
Step 4

Continue the constant pirouette and when the helicopter is nose-in, you will want to give a left aileron input to help push the helicopter around the loop.

Pirouetting Loop
Step 5

Immediately following step five, the helicopter will be in a nose-down orientation, which requires a down elevator input to push it through the loop.

Pirouetting Loop
Step 6

This is basically the same as step six except that it requires a different cyclic input. The tail will be pointed towards you so you have to give right aileron now to keep the loop going.

Pirouetting Loop
Step 7

The tail is now back in the original position (pointing to the right) and the helicopter should be vertical, around the nine o’clock position. Repeat steps four through seven until you get to the 10 o’clock position. Once you reach 10 o’clock, start feeding in negative pitch to form the top of the loop. Once you reach the top, level off and just continue slowly pirouetting across until about the one o’clock position.

Wait for the tail rotor to be pointing to the left and give a little bit of up elevator and negative pitch. The negative pitch will help form the right side of the loop. Due to gravity, the helicopter will just naturally flow through the loop.

Pirouetting Loop
Step 9

To get the helicopter from one o’clock to about four o’clock, use the same cyclic inputs as in steps four through seven.

This is the hardest part of the loop since it is at the bottom and near the ground. Take it slowly and focus on the orientations and what inputs are necessary. Remember to feed in positive pitch at the bottom of the loop (four to five o’clock) to help round off the loop and continue pirouetting past you. After you are comfortable getting through the Pirouetting Loop, focus on keeping consistent speed and keeping the loop round. Exit the loop at the same height as you entered it. Also, some people tend to make the loop into an oval shape either by making the sides bigger than the top and bottom or making the top and bottom bigger than the sides. There are many variations that you can do to make it a fun and interesting maneuver. I hope this helps you learn the Pirouetting Loop. Have fun!

Pirouetting Loop
Step 11