Soaring With The Birds – ST Model Salto Does Just That!



Hand launch:
This is the method used for the first couple of takeoffs, until we got the plane correctly trimmed. It is a very easy process: full power is applied, which extends and activates the EDF unit, and the glider is launched as horizontal as possible. On a windy day, the relative airspeed makes it climb very fast the first few meters and then it stabilizes and enter a normal ascent rate. On a calm day, it will be important to keep the plane horizontal until it gains enough speed to avoid any premature stall.
Self launch:
Very much like its scale counterpart, the ST Model Salto is capable of taking off on its own, as long as the friction against the runway is low enough. That means basically that it won’t take off from grass, but will have no problem to take off on a concrete runway. As long as the plane is on the ground, there is limited rudder control, and the Salto may easily be pushed around by the wind. The rudder does not have enough authority for a crosswind take off, but if the nose is directed 
straight at the wind, the Salto will have no problem taking off on its own. This is a very nice feature, and not very frequent for a plane of that size (although ST Model has an unusually large offering of self-launching gliders in the 2-meter-wingspan range.)



The Salto hold a steady 20-30 degrees ascent to altitude. The 
moderate climb rate is consistent with the low power used by the EDF unit, and the small battery required to fly. That makes for a lighter plane, which improves the glide performance. The Salto doesn’t have any tendency to pitch up or down when the power is applied. The down thrust (or in this case, “up thrust”) imbedded in the EDF mount by design is correctly adjusted. That is less work for the pilot, as there is no correction to apply during flight.

The stall only appears a very low speed but it is brutal, with a tendency to roll over on one wing. The plane recovers easily in less than 30 feet, thanks to a very light weight airframe. This is to be watched on landing, as it better to come with some speed, even if the plane ends up rolling over a long distance.

All the classic aerobatic maneuvers can be performed with ease, as long as it doesn’t require too much vertical momentum. The Salto energy retention is correct for being a foamy, but the light weight and the slight airframe deformation under load are detrimental for this type of flying. The aerobatic glider tends to have a higher wing loading, and they are as rigid as possible. That has a direct consequence on the diameter of the loop, which must be kept tight and will be preceded by a slight descent to gain momentum. The Salto is very stable in all condition, will not surprise its pilot with a dynamic stall, which is a big plus for learning glider aerobatics.

Bringing the glider to earth is as easy as it gets. The fuselage and wings are kept parallel to the runway almost until touchdown. A small flair at the end brings the 2 wheels to touch at almost the same time, and reduces some the rolling distance. The Salto keeps a good aileron authority even at slow speed on the runway, so it is easy to keep the wing tips from rubbing against the pavement while the plane is still moving.



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