What is 3D

August 18th, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

3D is a style of helicopter flight which makes the helicopter appear to defy gravity by flipping , rolling and moving  in “3 dimensional space” sometimes on the spot, which would not otherwise be possible in full size helicopters. There is not really a clean explanation of what 3D is …often a video helps.

3D Moves (not all of them)

Auto – Pushover

Start out in an inverted auto and then pushover to a tail first landing. The key to this trick is getting the right amount of forward speed while inverted. Start out high to get the Fwd speed and timing correct.

Auto – Tumbling S

Another trick to be performed while autoing

Sustained Pirouette Flips

Pirouette while flipping which is essentially keeping the cyclic in phase with the yaw of the helicopter in order to maintain the flip. Repeat the maneuver over and over and you have your: “Sustained Pirouette Flip”

Again this involves Piro-Flips however this time between each individual Piro-Flip, the axis of the flip is rotated. You follow the same principle that is being applied in the Piro-Globe.
Death Spiral

As the name suggests this can be a quite dramatic maneuver when performed to the limits.

Start with plenty of height in a stationary hover then 1/4 roll the model to knife-edge then Set collective to 0 deg. As the model falls apply fwd or bwd cyclic. The model will be rotating about the axis which it is falling. To exit, stop the application of fwd/bwd cyclic and 1/4 roll again. Depending on the direction you roll out, will lead to a normal or inverted pullout.

The rate of descent can be slowed by applying the Stationary Death Spiral philosophy.

Death Spiral
Death Spiral – Stationary

The stationary death spiral is a development of a Fwd inverted circuit. By decreasing the diameter of the circuit until the model is effectively turning on the spot. To sustain height the model obviously isn’t knife-edge, as with the death spiral. However the model is at a very steep angle.

Once the stationary death spiral has been mastered the heli can be sent round circuits and climb in this manner, with the use of collective.


One of the 3D Masters set maneuvers. See pic. Basically a climbing then falling funnel. But, for this manoeuvre a skids in and out funnel are required.

Start in a Funnel, skids IN, and low (tail down for this example). Then power up vertical, maintaining the funnel. At no point should the diameter of the funnel increase/decrease.

At the top put the model Knife-edge tail down, but keep rolling the heli. Then transition to a funnel but this time skids OUT. Now bring the heli back down to the starting point, in the funnel.

For clarity the upwards and downwards section are shown side-by-side in the picture. But, the idea is to go straight up, then straight down. Like the Plunger on a ‘Detonator’.


See Pic. The example shown is tail-down inverted. This seems to be the most popular variant. But there are of course many different variants.

The funnel is a development of sideways circuit flying. By reducing the size of the circuit until the tail (in this example) is turning almost on the spot. Increasing the collective pitch while still maintaining height will force you to increase the angle of the model, and vice-versa.

The transitioning between the different variants of a funnel, is known as morphing funnels.


The ‘Hurricane’ is a high speed knife-edge circuit (Basically the same as a Wall of Death).

By using high collective values the angle of the model can be made to appear on the knife-edge.

TIP: By flattening out the circuit @ positions B/D allows more lift to be created, so that @ positions A/C the model can actually be put on the knife-edge. As A/B are the positions at which the spectators view the model on the knife-edge, it increases the illusion that the model is knife-edge all the way round.

Hurricane – Flipping

Move is seen in the picture from birds eye view

Tic Toc

A metronome is a way of achieving ‘knife-edge’ flight with a helicopter. See Pic. When viewed on (A) it appears that the heli is holding a knife-edge attitude. Also known as a Tic-Toc. Using the metronome as a flight mode, it is then possible to perform, metronomic circuits, Figure 8s, Loops and the Big Ben Clockface.

Tic Toc
Pie Dish

Similar to a funnel but the size of the circuits is much bigger and the angle of the heli is lower, giving the ‘pie dish’ shape to the man’vre.


Pirouetting Globe(picture from birds eye view)

  1. Enter maneuver pirouetting traveling E to W.
  2. When central (C) to pilot/judges start Piro-Loop (PL1) travelling E to W.
  3. Complete PL1.
  4. When back at the center (C) rotate direction of travel by 45°.
  5. Perform PL2, starting loop traveling NE to SW.
  6. When back at the center (C) rotate direction of travel by 45°
  7. Perform PL3, starting loop traveling N to S. (i.e., looping into yourself to start).
  8. When back at the center (C) rotate direction of travel by 45°.
  9. Perform PL4, starting loop traveling NW to SE.
  10. When back at the center (C) rotate direction of travel by 45°.
  11. Perform PL5, starting loop traveling W to E (Parallel to flight line).
  12. Once PL5 is complete exit maneuver traveling W to E pirouetting.

So you enter and exit the maneuver at the same point (C), but exit traveling in the opposite direction.

Now you could decrease the angle of rotation change to say 30°, 15°, 10°………etc. Therefore increasing the number of piro-loops to the globe. To make it look good, I think a 45° change is the minimum requirement.

The other variation is to continue rotating by another 45° after PL5 and continue round. This would give 9 piro-loops and exit traveling E to W. This is gonna be hard, because you now have to be able to piro-loop away from yourself.

Pirouetting Loop

The example shows 2 complete pirouettes per loop, you can of course do as many piro’ you like per loop. The pic shows a piro-loop, using right tail rotor input.

Pirouetting Outside Loop

The outside version of the pirouetting loop.

Pirouetting Vertical 8

One of the 3D Masters set maneuver.

Pitch Pumping

Not really a man’vre in itself I believe. Pitch pumping has arrived with the advent of big block powered machines, were pitch can now be used to add a dramatic visual effect to a more ‘traditional’ maneuver. As it sounds, pitch pumping is basically moving the collective from say -5deg to + 5deg in rapid succession.


A rainbow is basically a large 1/2 flip but holding the collective until the end of the flip. By varying the amount of cyclic and collective determines the size of the rainbow. The rainbow can be carried out Fwd/Bwds, Sideways and Piro’ing.


Basically a Pirouetting Tail Slide. As the falling speed increases, the demands on the tail system become VERY HIGH. Only attempt this maneuver if you are 100% confident in your model.


3D Masters Move – This maneuver consists of a series of tailboom-vertical metronomes with a half aileron roll between the metronome stop points. 6 pitch reversals are required, and the model will retain constant tailboom orientation. The roll will be centered at the mid-point of the arc.


The snake is performed on the ‘knife-edge’. Pic shows a birds eye view.

To perform the example shown, you need to be able to perform (1) A tail-first inverted clockwise knife-edge circuit and (2) A tail-first normal anti-clockwise circuit. Then bring the 2 together and perform 1/2 circuit (1) then transition to the other (2), and so on down the flight-line.

Like most tricks there are multiple variants to practice and master. (NOTE: Pic shows the heli completely knife-edge, this obviously is not possible, but it was much easier to create the pic that way)

Sudden Stop

One of Jason Krause’ signature moves. First get the heli traveling at great speed Fwd Normal Flight. Then pull back elevator quickly and do a 1/4 back flip to vertical, then punch more positive collective. The heli will suddenly stop its Fwd motion. The key to getting a dramatic sudden stop is the cyclic to collective timing.

Tail Slide

Take the model up high and then point the tail at the ground. The model will accelerate and end up falling tail first very fast !!!


The Tornado is a combination of a pie dish up-high morphing into a funnel down- low.

Wall of Death

The Wall of Death is basically the same as a Pie Dish, but with the heli at a near vertical attitude.


Another one of the new 3D Masters Set Maneuvers

The maneuver involves performing multiple funnels while sending the heli around a circuit.

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