INTRO TO 3D FLY THE TORQUE ROLL
Master this challenging aerobatic move
A guaranteed crowd pleaser, the lowlevel torque roll has been done time and time again. But it still seems to defy logic; I mean, how can a plane do that? But planes can do this maneuver easily if they are set up correctly, and with a little practice, anyone can learn to fly it. Ideally, the perfect planes for learning the torque roll are small, inexpensive, and easy-repair foamies. You can also fly these planes closer to yourself (an important element— more on this later), and they have great power-to-weight ratios. Once you get the basics worked out, you can then fly larger, more involved glow- or gas-powered airplanes. It’s up to you. Let’s see what we need to do to learn this impressive maneuver.
You will want a light plane that has a good power setup—enough to pull out of a hover—and a motor that can swing a large-diameter, lowpitch prop. The plane will have to have good-size control surfaces that can accommodate 40 or more degrees of throw. To make the torque roll a little easier to control, use dual rates so that you can switch the high rates on during the torque roll and off for normal flight. Exponential programming will also help make the high rates a little easier to control. Balancing your plane slightly tail-heavy will help keep it in the torque roll. When the plane has been properly set up, you’ll be ready to go.
THE ENTRY IS KEY
The key to doing a good torque roll is to make a good entry into the maneuver. It doesn’t matter whether you enter the torque roll upwind or down, but it will be difficult to learn the maneuver when the winds are stronger than, say, 5mph. Start your first few torque rolls with the plane as close to you as possible while still leaving enough room for your safety zone. The plane needs to be close so that any small heading shifts can be easily seen and corrected for (Figure 1). Always start your hover maneuver so that the plane will drift away from you. Once in a torque roll, the plane will drift in whichever direction the wind is blowing, and if that pushes the plane toward you, it could shake you up.
Nothing is as exciting as a giant-scale aerobat performing a low-level torque roll. Add some smoke and wow!