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FreeStyle Tips
FreeStyle Tips
Freestyle Tips by Allyson Parker-Lauck of Chapter 12
Hey everybody. I just put out the Chapter 12 Newsletter last week with the article on tips for Freestyle Programs. I got some EXCELLENT information from Warren Anderson, Alan Cassidy, Bob Stark, and Clyde Cable (who's not on the list -- doesn't have email -- called him on the phone). There were a couple of others who offered information too, but it wasn't in electronic form. Since Clyde, Warren, Alan, and Bob's info was so complete, I called it quits with those three, plus a couple of tips of my own.

I didn't post the results to the list yet since I wanted the Chapter 12 Newsletter recipients to see them first. The Newsletter went out a week ago though, so now I'd like to share some of the highlights with the IAC list. I've constructed many Freestyles in the 10 or so years I've been competing, and I thought I knew all the tricks. But I learned a lot from the info Clyde, Warren, Alan, and Bob sent me. Alan Cassidy in particular had some really interesting, unique approaches and some real life examples of how they work. When it stops snowing here I think I'll have to go try some of his techniques! (We got about 6 inches of snow last night, and it's still coming down hard right now even as I write this note and look out the window. Quite an April Fools joke that mother nature is playing on us here in the high country!!!).

On to the tips. If I post them all in the full detail form, it will be the longest email of all time, so I'll paraphrase. Also note that some of the tips are conflicting. One idea works for one person, but not for another. General tips are: Make the choice whether you want to impress yourself, your friends, or the judges. The same sequence won't necessarily do all three. Secondly, to start out with, borrow a sequence from another competitor, then change the figures you don't fly well. Once you've got the hang of flying a freestyle, you should then definitely construct your own.

1. Keep it simple: 1/2 loops, 90 degree rollers, 1/2 square loops.

2. Keep "hangers" at upwind side of box (hammers, spins, etc)

3. Cross wind correctors always upwind.

4. Center box figures always upwind.

5. Half Cubans, Sharkstooths, turns, half loops downwind.

6. Use a template to draw pretty form B's and C's. Don't be sloppy.

7. Start sequence with a BANG! Center box figure that scores well and looks good.

8. Put snaps (often an unreliable outcome) at end of sequence in back corner of box.

9. Keep the K for each figure not too far from the average for the sequence (Subtract the value of the roller and spin from the total sequence K, then divide the remaining K by the remaining number of figures. Try to keep each figure's value close to that K factor.)

10. Make sure the airplane shows the figure well. For example, a Decathlon will do a 1/2 roll up, but it won't always look really good. You may prove something, but it is unlikely to score as well as a 1/4 roll up or a straight vertical line.

11. Fulfill roll requirements on the vertical downline or 45 degree downline. Snap rolls are especially much easier on the 45 down than on the horizontal or on uplines.

12. 2 point rolls show better than 4 or 8 points. If you need to add K when you finish sequence construction to meet the minimum requirements, start out by adding 2 point rolls first.

13. Avoid 45 lines as much as possible, especially in a Pitts. The round fuselage makes it difficult to judge.

14. Keep figures you don't score well on to a minimum K. Do a 90 degree roller whenever possible rather than a 180, 270, or 360.

15. Put in a wind corrector every 5 figures.

16. Make sure you ALWAYS meet the maximum K requirements for a sequence.

17. Use all the figures you're allowed to minimize the cost of a blown figure.

18. If you're pushing to the vertical, try to keep the line without rolls.

19. If you only need 2 snap rolls, then only use 2 snaps. Snap rolls are harder to stop, are less reliable, and get you no extra points.

20. Don't start with a hammerhead. The day may come when the ceiling is low and the optional break will be needed. The first figure is usually the highest altitude figure, and it's easiest to push/pull around a humpty than punch a cloud waiting to slow down enough to kick on the hammerhead.

21. Choose a figure 1 that has the least complex judging criteria so that the judges have to score you well at the start. They'll get a good first impression, and may subconsciously give you better scores later in the sequence.

22. Enter spins after a figure ending with a 45 line or vertical line. You won't have to slow down for spin entry causing you to lose altitude or fly out of the box waiting to slow down.

23. Always spin 1 1/2 turns. One turn stops flat and requires a big push. 1 1/4 spins stop with a wing low that you have to correct. 1 1/2 spins stop relatively vertical and require less corrective input from the pilot.

24. Exploit low speed, accellerating flight, and avoid high speed downward excursions. Any time you are at low speed at full power, you are gaining energy. Anytime you are flying faster than the speed you can sustain level at full power, then you are losing energy fast. Drag is greater than thrust and you must consequently slow down even if flying level.

25. Never place a full loop in a freestyle.

26. Do Humpties into the wind.

27. Place more difficult figures early in the sequence so you can get them done while you are fresh and strong and can ease through the rest of the sequence.

28. Never place a big altitude loser late in the sequence. Don't get caught low at the end.

29. Either use a template or a computer to draw your sequences. Give the judges a good impression right from the start.

30. Speaking of good impressions. WING WAG LIKE YOU MEAN IT! Three fast dips of the wing facing the judges looks good, and makes the judges think they're going to see a great flight.

31. Begin Immellmanns downwind, and Split S's upwind. Reason? The roll should be INTO the wind to help avoid the costly 2 point deduction of drawing a line between the loop and the roll.

Hope this helps. I was able to put more detail into the Newsletter, so if you have any questions on this "Reader's Digest" version let me know and I'll send you the more detailed examples. Thanks again to Warren Anderson, Alan Cassidy, Bob Stark, and Clyde Cable for sharing their wisdom!!!!

Take care and Fly Safe!

Allyson Parker-Lauck

Loveland, CO

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