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Dual Rates - The Good, Bad and Ugly
Author: Clay Ramskill

DUAL RATES - the Good, Bad, and Ugly

by Clay Ramskill

Usually found on radios with 6 or more channels, dual rates allow you, with a flip of a handy switch, to change how much servo response you get from a movement of your control stick. There is a switch for each channel involved, and an adjustment for each which allows you to "dial in" how much less response you'll get with the dual rate "on".

Dual rate use is fairly simple - with the dual rate "off" you get normal response; that is, full servo rotation with full stick deflection. Turning dual rate "on", you get only a certain percentage of the servo rotation you would normally have had at any stick deflection. That percentage is what you control with the adjustment on the transmitter. This is a nice capability - your plane can be set to be wildly responsive for aerobatics, yet with dual rates on, you can still fly very smoothly, for landing, for instance. Pattern fliers use this a lot.

THE GOOD. You could set your plane up such that with dual rate on, the elevator travel isn't enough to stall the plane, allowing smooth, stall-free flight. Turning the rate back up then would allow such maneuvers as snaps and spins. Some folks use dual rates for landing only, to stop overcontrolling at slow speeds. Dual rate capability is super for test flying a new plane, when you're unsure of just how responsive the plane will be. The possibilities are near endless.

THE BAD. The radios with dual rates cost extra bucks. You have more switches to twiddle with, and to check before flight. And in dual rate, you're not using all your servo travel - they will not be as accurate as they are using full travel, nor as powerful.

THE UGLY. The problem is, that you get used to having a certain response from your plane, and expect that response all the time. With dual rates in use, you must remember whether you're "in" or "out" at all times so you know what responses your plane is capable of. A BUNCH of planes have been crashed that way; the pilot wondering why his plane wouldn't pull out of a loop like it normally did! Or on dual rates, the plane couldn't respond quick enough to overcome some turbulence on landing.

The Bottom Line. If you have dual rates and use them, you've got to know at all times where those little switches are set. If you don't use them, set them such that if the switch is turned on, you still have 100% travel; that way, it doesn't matter where the switch is. NEVER set the rate such that the plane is unflyable or only marginally controllable with dual rate "on". You all know how Murphy's Law works, right?


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