There are many ways to launch an FPV wing, all with the same goal: to send the aircraft in the air without crashing. In this simple and basic tutorial I will explain my preferred method of launching and landing an FPV wing.
This guide teaches you how to launch wings WITHOUT any assistance from stabilizer or flight controller. And it’s totally possible for beginners.
When it comes to launching a wing, there are a lot to think about because every wing is different. The best launching method depends on many factors such as wingspan, power systems, thrust to weight ratio and so on… The method I want to show you here works on a wide variety of wings.
It’s inevitable to crash a lot when you are just starting and learning how to launch a wing. It’s very important to get a strong model! I recommend the S800 and here is the build log.
How and Why I Launch This Way
Before going into detail, let me briefly explain how I launch and the advantages.
Here is the 1-minute video demonstration. I will break down the steps in more detail in this tutorial.
Basically I toss the wing with my left hand, while using my right hand on the right stick of the radio transmitter to control ailerons and elevators.
The key advantage of launching this way is the ability to control the wing once it’s in the air.
Often wings are not trimmed well and it rolls or pitches by itself, or you might be launching into obstacles. Being able to steer the wing as soon as it leaves your hand is key to keeping it in the air and successfully launching every single time.
Right Hand or Left Hand?
Most people are right handed, and therefore it can feel a bit awkward to toss something with the left hand. The truth is, it’s more of a “release” than a “precise throw”, so your non-dominant hand is totally capable.
Since most people are using mode 2 radios (ailerons and elevators on the right stick) nowadays, it makes more sense to train your left hand to launch the wing, while your right hand controls pitch and roll. If you are using mode 1 then you will probably do it the opposite way.
Step by Step How to Launch Wing
If you’ve never launched a wing before, it’s much easier to do it on a calm day rather than a windy day :)
The moment before launching, check and make sure everything is working properly.
- Is the FPV goggles getting video signal from the FPV camera on the wing?
- Check camera image, clean the lens if it’s dirty or wet from previous flight
- Is control surfaces working with stick movement?
Wear the goggles on your forehead, in a position that you can easily put it on with your left hand. You might want to practice this quite a few times :)
I also recommend setting up an arming switch on your radio. Not necessary but a good safety thing to do. You can set it up on the radio even without a flight controller.
Grab some grass or sand on the ground, throw it in the wind and see which direction the wind is blowing.
You want to launch the wing into headwind for easier take off, the wing gets more lift and flies more steadily.
Left Hand Holding/Tossing The Wing
Grab the wing by the middle of the leading edge (halfway down the right wing) with your left hand, with your thumb at the bottom.
Some people throw their wings with their right hand, because they are right-handed and throwing a wing with the left hand just feels awkward. I am right handed too, and it’s certainly doable with your left hand, it just needs a bit of learning.
Of course you can do whatever you feel comfortable with, I am not going to judge if you decide to do it with your right hand. But it just feels more logical to me to use the left hand to toss the wing, while the right hand can steer the wing as soon as it’s in the air.
Right Hand Holding the Transmitter
After grasping the wing by the leading edge with your left hand, you use your right hand to raise the throttle. If you are not using a neck strap to rest your radio on, you can also use your mouth or chin to move the throttle stick.
What throttle level do I need?
For take-off, set the throttle to a known position where the wing begins to pull from your hand. This is different in every wing, it could be 50%, 75% or 90%, you would have to experiment with yours. Some people just raise the stick all the way up to 100%. The only risk is that you could “overpower” the wing at launching, it gets more sensitive to your stick movement and becomes harder to control.
As soon as the throttle is set, put your right hand on the radio stick and prepare to control the wing.
Take a deep breath…
Grab the wing with your left hand, pull it back behind you, and swing it toward the sky at a 30-40 degree angle IN A STRAIGHT LINE!
When you let go of the wing, it’s easy make it yaw to the right. This is usually because you are holding it for too long / letting it go too late.
Also try to avoid too much roll and pitch deviation in the process. Although that’s not the end of the world, because you can usually steer and correct it with your right hand on the radio. The more experienced you get, the easier this becomes. When you have mastered the launch, you could even save it from some very sloppy throws :)
If your wing is heavy, or has a poor thrust to weight ratio, you might find the wing lacks the force to push out of your hand even at full throttle, and doesn’t want to lift off in the air. In this case, you would have to toss it harder into the air to gain that crucial initial airspeed more quickly. Otherwise it will just sink and crash due to the lack of speed and lift.
That was the mistake I made with my first wing. I was scared of crashing, so I gave it too little push. But the little push actually made it harder to launch and more likely to crash…
However, for a wing with great thrust to weight ratio, you don’t have to throw or toss the wing at all. You can just let it fly out of your hand, basically your hand is just there to guide the launch angle. But maybe you shouldn’t build and attempt to fly such a powerful wing if you are just a beginner :)
Put on FPV Goggles
As soon as the wing leaves your hand, you are officially flying! And if the aircraft is launched at the optimal speed, you should be able to steer it.
Gently stabilize the plane into a level, climbing position, and you are now ready to immerse into FPV. Put on the FPV goggles with your left hand, and enjoy the ride!
DO NOT rush to put on your goggles, make sure the wing is fully stabilized first :)
How To Land?
Landing is much easier.
When you are ready to land, fly against the wind and towards the landing spot. Drop your altitude and lower throttle to slow down.
For the touchdown, pull your elevator back (pitch up) and cut throttle. And just let it slide/glide until it lands. Keep the wing at level and do not throttle up during the process.
Thanks I really need this tutorial, I´veen tryning to flight my wing with no luck, I learneda a lot with this tutorial, I will try it all in my next try.
Thank very much.
If possible, get someone who knows how to fly wing to check your wing first :) Make sure it actually flies :) And get them to trim it for you first :)
Use a lot of throttle, and throw it high and hard :) Don’t be afraid :)
Do you find valuable to practice on FPV simulator before flying a real wing?
If yes, could you recommend some?
I personally never flown wings in simulators. Didn’t need to. But I guess it would help a little, really depends on the pilot :)
The hardest part, still, is the launching :)
The “left handed Sally sidesaddle” was 1st coined and used extensively by Dave of RCPowers. Then Sean (squishy) brought it to FPV wings in about 2012 and it’s been one of the secrets of the Flight Club for years. Every aspiring FPV wing pilot should learn it well..
Excellent tutorial! Thank you for taking the time to help everyone else.
No problem! Happy new year :)
just make sure you know where to grab your goggle after take off. my first try ended in a chrash because i hit the input button on wy fatshark while putting them on my eyes. my picture changed to 3D mode an i was not able to change it fast enough… since then, i grab the goggle only with two fingers i the center part…
Yes :) very important to practice that before first try :)
Also important to check if there is video before launching, when I first started, my wing ended up in pieces because I had no video when I put them on LOL It was truly scary !