Wow, what a great day with the HBK2. The first flight was after breakfast and a healthy amount Sumatra. In the past couple weeks, I had spent the first 20 odd flights quarantined to the relative calm of the garage, today I set out to conquer the great outdoors. I’ve been outside once or twice but the wind always scared me off and I never finished a battery.
Goals for the first two flight were simple. Do two things that I can’t do in the garage. Fly high, and fly far away, but not as the same time. First up, altitude. Sure I’ve done it in the sim but never in real life. The first attempt was hair raising. Up up and away! After a few gentle climbs and soft descents, I started to work through the white knuckle zone and settle into a very familiar experience thanks to many hours on the sim.
Next was distance. In the garage I can only get about 15 feet away. In the backyard, when I cross invisible 15 foot boundary, the adrenaline climbs and panic sets in. I took it out to about 45 ft and held a nice tail in hover. Then brought it back, landed, and started to breath. Then, did it again, and again until I started to get comfortable. By the third battery the backyard started to feel quite a bit smaller and far less daunghting.
The fourth battery was for side–in practice. I had done the left side in the garage many times, but never the right side. All week I’ve been working on right side-in on the sim. Today it was time to try it outside. It felt very uncomfortable at first. But after the nerves settled down, I settled into a comfortable groove swapping from one side, to the other holding it then repeating. Toward the end of the battery came the scariest challenge of the day, wind. I had been lucky up to this point as it had been very calm, with only an occasional breeze to heighten my senses. I had prepared for this and my prep paid off. Last night, I practiced about an hour on the SIM with gusts up to 20mph. What really cracked the wind code for me was reading in this
thread about how it’s really like forward flight. One thing that always freaked me out about wind is that sometimes when a gust comes I go up and other times I go down. Never really could figure what controlled my direction during the gust. It turns out to be very simple when you think about it being like forward flight. Forward or reverse cyclic do a nice job of counteracting wind induced altitude changes. I had always been using the collective exclusively, but I think the cyclic works better.
Battery 5 was the WIND battery. By the time the battery was ready the wind had picked up. It was steady about 5mph with 15 mph gusts, I’m guessing. I took off and held a hover a nose into the wind, a little higher than I normally hover. I hung there, practicing the cyclic moves as the gusts came and went. Before the battery was done, I was moving around the yard in different orientations being tossed by the wind, but still being in relative control. I won’t say I got comfortable, but it’s no longer the scary ordeal it once was.
By battery 6 the wind had died down it was calm again. Getting bored with side in and gentle moves, I take it down the end of the yard and try a straight shot to the other end. Before I know it, I’m doing full on FF from one end of the yard to the other, and back again. The corners were more stop and turn, then bank and roll. This was so much fun I repeated until the battery was done, then did it again for battery 7.
By the time I got to battery 8 the sun was down and all that remained of the day was soft twilight. Buoyed by the last two batteries, the end had come too quickly and despite the dangerous lighting conditions I decided on, just one more flight. The glowing amber led on the Rx seemed quite a bit brighter than it had all day. As if to say “WARNING WARNING”. Fender’s nighttime tree crash was running through my mind and I went for it anyway, kept it close and didn’t try any FF. There were a couple times when all I could see was a silhouette, but kept flying through it. I made it through the battery without incident and closed out a great day of flying.