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HelicopterBeginners Corner › Buddy boxes - revisited
07-18-2005 03:35 PM  12 years agoPost 1
rbrodt

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Colorado Springs, CO

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Hi all,

I'm thinking buddy boxes are a great teaching tool, and that maybe the reason they are not a very popular training technique for R/C helis is because the instructor doesn't take the time to think through the verbal exchange that needs to happen between instructor and student during the session to make a first flight successful.

An obvious example of this: the instructor has the heli in a stable hover and is about to hand off to the sutdent, but the student has neglected to match the instructor's throttle stick position, e.g. the student has the throttle at full down when the handoff occurs. This will typically cause an unplanned meeting of earth and heli.

Rock climbers have a very well-defined protocol for teaching first-timers "the ropes", so to speak. Has anyone thought about a similar "protocol" for instructor/student, including emergency situations?

Bob
"Can we fix it? Geez, I sure hope so..."

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07-18-2005 06:07 PM  12 years agoPost 2
zagidave

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uk.(north london)

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jmho,
i think buddy box teaching for helis are great but NOT for teaching hovering,
a training u/c and a sim are far better.
buddy box tuition once the student can hover with confidence is a much better solution into circuit flying as the instructor can let the student take off and only need to takeover control if the student gets into a "problem situation" the instructor can then save the heli, land then try again.

in a hover there is not enough time to recover, whilst still giving the student a chance at recovery himself, and that is what he/she must learn.

they are great for a sample flght at hovering when you just must save the m\c

imho

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07-18-2005 08:22 PM  12 years agoPost 3
rbrodt

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Colorado Springs, CO

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Thanks for the reply and the words of wisdom zagidave.

I don't know about other buddy box training systems, but the Airtronics RD600 transmitters that I'm using have a push-and-hold type "trainer" button: as long as the instructor is holding down the button, the student has control. Once the button is released, control is back at the instructor's transmitter.

You say there's not enough time for the instructor to recover from a bad situation while the student is learning to hover. It seems to me that the time lag between letting go of the button and beginning the recovery is minimal. Assuming that the instructor has been following the student's progress, it should be possible to predict when disaster is about to strike and intervene, n'est pas?

Have you ever tried boddy boxes with helis, or know of someone who has? I'd be interested in finding out if this teaching method is worth pursuing...

Bob
"Can we fix it? Geez, I sure hope so..."

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07-18-2005 08:24 PM  12 years agoPost 4
deafheliflyer

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Arizona

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hi

I learned hovering with the buddy box, and I can hover VERY VERY well......

As I was learning thru the buddy box, I havent crashed in a hover.... It is a good learning tool, IMHO better than the sims.. The instructor has to be on their toes at all times and themselves be a very reactive recoverer.

Just my .02 cents

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07-18-2005 08:26 PM  12 years agoPost 5
deafheliflyer

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Arizona

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hi

Allow me to add..

Im learning to FF now with buddy box.. If I had learned on my own, I probably would have crashed soo many times and given up on helicopters a LONG time ago..

Like I said, its a good tool

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07-18-2005 08:41 PM  12 years agoPost 6
rbrodt

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Colorado Springs, CO

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Hi mdelvecchio, I think what you said is exactly right: "The instructor has to be on their toes at all times.." this has to be part of the "protocol" I'm talking about - this should be approached with the same rigor and level of detail as the flight instructor/student relationship used for training on full-size aircraft, otherwise it's all just haphazard and doomed to failure.

This was the original intent/question of this thread: is there a standard, accepted protocol for teaching to fly R/C models, and specifically helis, using a dual-control type of system like the buddy box?

Bob
"Can we fix it? Geez, I sure hope so..."

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07-18-2005 09:15 PM  12 years agoPost 7
zagidave

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uk.(north london)

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i have done some instruction with a buddy box on helis and stand by my previous post.
the student has to learn to recover for himself, when instructing in a low hover position the pressure is on for the instructor,

he must, be safe,save the m/c,ensure the student progresses.

then there is the problems you pointed out of incorrect stick positions
this is not a problem if the student takes off.
passing a low hovering heli to a novice pilot is scary i have tried and found it better to let the student take off

i do understand some people will progress quicker with this confidence booster.
but a sim will teach basic hovering skills risk free,
imho

edit:- once past the hover stage then a buddy box is an excellent tool

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07-18-2005 10:18 PM  12 years agoPost 8
rbrodt

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Colorado Springs, CO

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Thanks for the feedback zadidave, I think I'll take your advice and have the student start on a sim - a buddy box sounds too risky for the neophite.

But...getting back to my original question
Is there an accepted protocol for buddy box learning? It seems to me that this needs to be well planned and thought out before attempting it, otherwise it could turn into a confusing and frustrating experience for both instructor and student...

Bob
"Can we fix it? Geez, I sure hope so..."

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07-18-2005 10:32 PM  12 years agoPost 9
MattJen

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UK

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the student has to learn to recover for himself, when instructing in a low hover position the pressure is on for the instructor,
mmmi disagree wtith this comment, if you cannot recover from a propper hover then you there is no way you should be teaching!

You made the point of a low hover- if you are an instructor the first thing you get into the students mind is there is no such thing as al ow hover,
it is dangerous, makes the helli unpredictable as it is still in ground effect,
you get the student to learn to hover with the skids at eye level which means the blades are above head hieight, and you get them to learn to learn to hover in an FAI box which is 10 metres by 10 metres with the pilot standing 10 mters from the centre, that is the basis for learning.

My instructor has taught me from Day 1 (18 months ago) he would not hand over to me unless i was ready, he would say to me "matt r u ready at half stick ?" sometimes he would hand over and i wasnt , but because of the safe height level he would grab it back in a safe and controlled manner thus putting me at ease and not scaring the crap out of as the helli blades bite the air with a viciouse noise.

really if you cannot hover safely yourself at all angles keeping the hellie in the same spot (1.2 meter cirlcle) then really you should not be teaching at the moment.

also in my honest opinion teaching soneone to fly is only a small part of being an instructor, teaching how to setup, what to look for in anew model, the seriousness of using lock tight on all the necessary parts, the looking for mistakes, as i have seen models turn up to my training school myself included, i thought it has been put together correctly, only to find out servo is working on the wrong driection, and on the raptor the tail pins had been over tightened and not locktighted, and fan assembly nut had come loose, etc,

i am a good flyer, good at hovering, i could probably teach someone to hover, but i dont know enough about setup, or have the confidence of teaching on a buddy lead with someones own machine, that to me is also a neccesary part of teaching, as all machined fly different.

anyway that is my 1.00 worth

have fun all

matt

All The Best

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07-19-2005 12:06 PM  12 years agoPost 10
piroflip

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Northern England

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i agree with zagidave

FFF yes, but hovering,,,,,, very dodgy.

lack of communication between instructer and pupil could wreck

a model in the blink of an eye.

i have only ever used a buddy box for plank teaching at which it is

of course the perfect solution.


.

heli veteran of thirty years.......still learning!!!!!!

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07-19-2005 12:40 PM  12 years agoPost 11
fliers1

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Lockport, NY

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That's why I've been safely teaching to low, high hover, slow and fast forward flight for decades without the use of a buddy-cord. I'm teaching someone to hover right now and in a 20 mph wind. He was a bit skeptical from reading and hearing all of the bad things that will happen when being trained to hover, with or without a buddy-box.

I've offered to teach/show this method for decades now and cannot understand why there was so little interest. My only thought is that experienced heli fliers really have no interest in instructing others. Oh well.

Take care,
CCR

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07-19-2005 03:29 PM  12 years agoPost 12
rbrodt

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Colorado Springs, CO

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What's your teaching method?

Hey fliers1, I'm interested! Share, share!

Bob
"Can we fix it? Geez, I sure hope so..."

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07-19-2005 06:12 PM  12 years agoPost 13
Drunk Monk

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Preston, UK

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Teaching people to hover with a buddy box is very easy, I've done it with 2 3810's quite a few times. I generally take the heli up to 15-20 feet, ask the guy if he's ready and tell him I'll count down from 3 and he'll have control, 3-2-1 you have control and see what happens. There's plenty of time to take control back, I don't see what the problem is, while the heli is in the air I'd constantly match the sticks to the heli so that I I can recover if anything happens.

The sim is a great tool to learn on but why not let the person have a play on the buddy box? it get's their adrenaline going and makes them want to try harder and get a heli sooner. I loved the buddy box when I was learning.


Stephen

I only open my mouth to change feet.....

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07-20-2005 12:18 AM  12 years agoPost 14
fliers1

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Lockport, NY

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rbrodt,
It was once called "two pilots - two sticks" Simply put, the student learns how to use the collective/tailrotor stick first, while the instructor holds the heli in a steady hover with the cyclic stick.

Obviously, there is a bit more to it than that, but it would be so much better if I were able to demonstrate first.

Take care,
CCR

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07-20-2005 02:55 AM  12 years agoPost 15
Ace Dude

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USA

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The sim is the best way to go, especially in the initial/beginning stages of learning how to fly.

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07-20-2005 06:06 PM  12 years agoPost 16
tadawson

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Lewisville, TX

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I learned the way fliers1 described, and was able to learn to hover with zero crashes, so I can say it worked for me. Did two breif flights on the buddy box when getting into forward flight so that if I lost orientation, it would not fly away . . . .

- Tim

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07-24-2005 06:17 AM  12 years agoPost 17
donlynn

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New Zealand

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Gidday

I really rate the buddy box, I get alot of fun out of it and I'm sure the students do too.
I feel it is more a fun rather than hover tuition so is limited. As already stated takeoff and landing training is best on a sim. I've tried new folks with my collective at 7/8 power ready to take control during a student landing and yes it is definitly heart massage.
I currently fly a r30v2 tt39/zimmy and have had well over 300 flights with somebody on the buddy box on this and previous choppers. I enjoy it.

my chopper
$80 if we stack it, I used to do it for no risk , but folks wern't scared enuf and pucker factor is definitly part of the experience.
no one has paid yet, really close a couple of times times

I try to discretly ask
"Is the flight for fun or learning "?
I find this a important question as I don't wish to bore myself & someone else if they are not into the why.
There are defintly different tpes of ways in which folks learn, If you can try to pick up on this its is alot more comfortable for both student and teacher.
I start with the student having one channel at a time, so they can stay in front of the chopper, usually start with the tail so it is easy and fun so faster info absorb.

My handover is very specific,

position is 2 crash heights minimum, higher in no wind , so I can recover & auto easily if nessacary (has happened twice, murphy!)
first pass of control I'm parked up, nose into wind, 3 crash hieghts, =easiest recovery
We can still see the chopper's orientation
parked up nose into wind holding ground position
this so during the intial student control period if they are
'no idea whatsover'
my recovery is likey to be easist and into wind.

Are you ready to take control,
What is your voltmeter reading ? This so they have some radio awareness.
Are you in idle up & dont flick that engine kill switch WILL YOU !! ?
so they think about not bumping the switches & it is harder for them to cause a boom strike from bogging due to aggressive stick inputs, havn't got close yet, I hold my collective at 0 before I retake way out of control so the disk unloads then I'll fly the recovery
Is your collective at 3/4, so its somewhere close to handy

we hover for a wee bit
we try a oval circuit
then land and see they are ok , and it gives me a wee mental break, sometimes if I'm tired I'll land for 10 seconds then away again as that is enough
a loop for some fun , they only have to hold the tail straight
then each cyclic in turn and I take tail back again, again so it reduces the student workload.
then just the collective
then maybe both cyclic if the're not complete unco's
then tail & collective, this always gets folks confused, mainly the plankers cos thats the taxi lever !!

Most woman will stay at 2 inputs, all males want to have complete control ' I'm ready now !! '

each of these may be 2 minutes each, my tank runs for 15 so it is easy
If the male student is getting too loose I just climb to 3 crash heights before they get control and I leave it longer before I recover so they really get to feel the out of control fear
One good mate goes on the cord alot and we swap mid roll or loop or stall turn. Its good fun
Our buddy cord is cordless and that makes it alot safer otherwise part of my handover procedure is
"is the buddy cord safe"
this so the student has the chance to have cord awareness.

Lotsa fun and good vibes

Regards Don

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07-27-2005 04:55 PM  12 years agoPost 18
rbrodt

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Colorado Springs, CO

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Thanks for the feedback Don, although it was tough reading with some of the colloquialisms One question: what's the conversion factor from "crash height" to meters ( or km )?

Bob
"Can we fix it? Geez, I sure hope so..."

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HelicopterBeginners Corner › Buddy boxes - revisited
07-27-2005 11:39 PM  12 years ago •• Post 19 ••
pcinc

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Westfield, MA

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Buddy Boxes - Revisited

I have to chime in and tell you al of my experience on this subject. First a little bit about the RC hobby and myself. I have always had an eye for RC Heli’s but never had any exposure to the hobby. Last July I bought a used Raptor 50 and met with an experienced Heli guy at the local field to check it over for me. He set it up, checked it over, then started to teach me to fly it. I was doing Ok until I tried hovering in my backyard and crashed it pretty good. It was way too tight an area for someone as new as me to be flying in. After this, it was suggested to me to pick up a trainer lane and learn to fly it and it would help in learning to fly the Heli. I got an already set up complete LT 40 Kadet. I started on the Buddy Box and could fly around at a fairly high altitude, but could not take off or land. This spring was a continuation of that. Between my work schedule and the wet spring we had here I didn’t get as much box time in as I would like to have. Now it’s been close to a year and I can’t fly on my own at this point. I have had a couple of different instructors on the box but never seemed to progress to the point I hoped to be at. I read a post from fliers1 (Clarence Ragland) here on RR stating that he could teach anybody to hover in a couple of hours. I PM’ed him and after a couple of exchanges Clarence stated he could not only teach me to hover but also fly on my own in 2 days. Talk about skeptical? I made arraignments and met up with Clarence to take him up on his theory. First day, the wind was blowing 20-25 mph and I figured the day to be lost. Not Clarence. He got me up in the air and started on taking off and landing approaches in the wind. We did this for a while then switched over to the Heli. First flight out, I’m a nervous wreck. My knees were knocking and the sweat was just pouring. I couldn’t even think about controlling the right stick. We ran a tank of fuel with me trying to hold a steady altitude and the nose straight ahead while Clarence controlled the right stick completely. The next thankful went a little better. I managed to be able to think about the right stick and control things somewhat with Clarence assisting when I got things out of whack. None of the flying with the Kadet or the Raptor was on the Buddy Box at all. I used my radio with my thumbs on the top of the sticks (something totally new to me) and Clarence reached under my thumbs and controlled the stick when needed (a technique Clarence calls the “Ragland Technique”). He was in continuous communication with me every minute I was in the air. This gave me a positive feel of how much stick movement was required for each move. At the end of the first day, I was further along in my flying than I have ever been in the last 10 months. I still had doubts about hovering and flying on my own by the end of the 2nd day so I extended my check out one at the hotel I was staying at more day.
Day 2, I started off with the Heli and hovered 2 tanks of fuel with minimal assistance on the second thankful. We switched back to the Kadet and did take off and landings one after another. The wind was not blowing as hard as the day before, but kept changing the direction it blew across the field. Clarence worked with me on all the different areas of flying effected by the changing winds. We worked on throttle control, upwind legs, down wind legs, landing approaches and take offs. At this point I was getting mentally overloaded and we took about a 2 hour break. I cooled down, re hydrated and freshened up back at the room then had a little lunch. I met Clarence back at the field and started right in on the Heli. It all started to come together. I hovered a couple of tankfulls with minimal assistance. I switched back over to the Kadet and did take off and landings one after another. He even had be do a dead stick when he didn’t believe me when I told him the crazy beeping was telling me I’m about to run out of fuel. Spent the rest of the afternoon practicing take offs, landings from both directions and figure eights crossing at midfield. Fired up the Heli one more time and hovered the entire tank without assistance. I was able to control it, fairly stable, and recognize and make corrections when needed. Mission accomplished! I was comfortable with all aspects of flying the Kadet and hovering the Raptor. I cancelled the 3rd night and went home.
Having been through both the Buddy Box and Clarence’s method, I have to say the “Ragland Technique” is far more effective. I would recommend getting hooked up with Clarence or anybody that teaches by this method to anyone that wants to learn how to fly either planes or Heli’s. It’s very effective with both. Since my instructional time with Clarence I have flown at my field a couple of times. I hooked back up to the Buddy Box the first time up to make sure I could get oriented at my field and be able to pick out my marks for landing. Next time out I completely went Solo. I flew 6 full tank of fuel all on my own. Then I fired up the Raptor and hovered 2 more tanks of fuel completely on my own. Everyone was impressed with what I had accomplished in 2 days. I even got a comment from a member that used to fly heli’s on how steady I was able to hover in place.
Sorry for such a long post, but I just had to share my experience with everyone. I’m not trying to knock the Buddy Box system at all here. After this experience I have to say it’s not the most effective way to learn. I have seen a number of folks at my field learning on Buddy Boxes and they are still on them.
Drop Clarence a note if you want to learn to fly (even in the wind). His e-mail is fliers1@aol.com
Here is a link to an AMA newsletter about Clarence teaching people that never touched a radio before.
http://www.amadistrictii.org/column...4-09 Column.pdf
Peter, now flying on my own!!!!!

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07-28-2005 12:48 AM  12 years agoPost 20
doorman

rrProfessor

Sherwood, Arkansas

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Buddy Box

From reading this post, I would have to say that I think that zagidave
has the best handle on flying with a buddy box....
I am one of our club heli instructors and I have worked with quite a few students and still fly with most of them....
I fully suggest that a sim be used as much as possible while the heli is being built and set up, and during the times when you cannot be at the field to practice... to me this is a VERY important step in the learning process.. (and I agree that there are other ways, but this is what has worked in this area)
The buddy box does not come into play until I can see a controlled hover and good movement of the heli to the left and right and some slow forward and then hover back to the starting point....and at different levels/heights.... once this has been accomplished, then I will offer to take them around the patch on the cord.... but again, at the students pace (mostly), but sometimes they do need a little push too!!
The heli is put into the hover by the student... I then instruct them of what I want the next movements to be; turn the nose to the right, increase throttle and pitch and gain altitude... all the time my finger is at the switch and ready to take it, BUT, I also do everything on my tramsmitter that I tell the student to do.... I am dry flying while the student is doing the actual and in this way I am ready to take it if there should be a need.. and this usually works pretty well with the FF...
Now is when the fun begins.... they must transition from FF to a hover and land, and the instructor needs to keep talking to a point of letting the student know what to do, BUT you also do not want to distract the student, so when in the final part of the hover to touch down, the instructor is silent and watching for the slightest indication of a problem.. and while this is going on, I have my throttle set to just a touch over half stick, just in case I do have to take it... but this is the only place that I do not follow the students lead... and trust me, as stated earlier in another post.... There is not a lot of time to bail while in a hover... but this technique has saved a couple of heli's and let the student build his/her confidence so that they can keep going...
I like the sim and the buddy box...... but in answer to the original question, YES comunication is key...... and a LOT of consentration.....
I hope this info helps you out...

Stan

AMA 2918-Team JR, Spin Blades, East Coast Scale Helicopter,Castle Creations

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HelicopterBeginners Corner › Buddy boxes - revisited
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