RC Gliders, Sailplanes and Slope Soaring Discuss rc gliders,rc sailplanes and slope soaring in this forum. Thermaling techniques, airfoils, tips, etc

hand launching gliders

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Old 10-20-2010, 03:51 PM
  #1  
crash bandicoute
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Default hand launching gliders

hello. i'm becoming more interested in soaring and gliders and have read several threads here regarding them. unfortunately, i think all the ones i've read, involve the use and operation of a high start. is it really possible to get a glider in the air well enough to cruise a bit to catch a bit of a thermal or a little lift somehow to get it up a good ways? i fly in a valley, but unfortunately (again) the sides of the hills here in my area of WA state are pretty well covered with those big green things that atract planes. but there is a lot of farm land, so space isn't too terrible of a concern. i would just like to know if i'm setting myself up for a little disappointment and unable to get the plane in the air without a high start. buying the plane is more than likely going to get me in a bit of hot water with the "book-keeper", but i figure i could get away with the forgiveness easier than the permission, for the glider. also, i guess i should annotate that i'm looking at the great planes 2M spirit kit. i've read that the gentle lady is probably the best way to go for beginner gliders, but i like the looks of the spirit better with the actual canopy. maybe black with transparent red, and a little white for trim?
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Old 10-20-2010, 04:31 PM
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Default RE: hand launching gliders

The gliders you've mentioned are not "hand launch" gliders. That category specifies a much lighter class and most importantly launching technique for getting the planes airborne.

I think you might want to look into discus launched gliders if you're truly interested in catching thermals without a winch or hi start. With modern DLGs, launches of 100 feet or more are routine, and that's enough altitude to catch feeders to thermals to get you off your valley floor.

I recommend going to RC Groups and checking out the "Hand Launch" sub forum of the Sailplane forum. There are lots of choices and there's bound to be one to fit your budget. State of the art birds can go from 250 to 600 bucks, but depending on how much building you want to do there are options.
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Old 10-20-2010, 05:33 PM
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Tall Paul
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Default RE: hand launching gliders

Joe Wurts has specked out a Paragon from a hand launch!
But that's Joe!
We mere mortals need the hi-starts and winches.
Discus launching works fine, gets more altitude than the baseball toss can.
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Old 10-20-2010, 05:40 PM
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Default RE: hand launching gliders

ORIGINAL: crash bandicoute

hello. i'm becoming more interested in soaring and gliders and have read several threads here regarding them. unfortunately, i think all the ones i've read, involve the use and operation of a high start. is it really possible to get a glider in the air well enough to cruise a bit to catch a bit of a thermal or a little lift somehow to get it up a good ways? i fly in a valley, but unfortunately (again) the sides of the hills here in my area of WA state are pretty well covered with those big green things that atract planes. but there is a lot of farm land, so space isn't too terrible of a concern. i would just like to know if i'm setting myself up for a little disappointment and unable to get the plane in the air without a high start. buying the plane is more than likely going to get me in a bit of hot water with the ''book-keeper'', but i figure i could get away with the forgiveness easier than the permission, for the glider. also, i guess i should annotate that i'm looking at the great planes 2M spirit kit. i've read that the gentle lady is probably the best way to go for beginner gliders, but i like the looks of the spirit better with the actual canopy. maybe black with transparent red, and a little white for trim?

It is possible to discus launch, but there is a truth about gliders. The bigger they are, the more successfully they hunt. Also, the higher they are launched, the better they hunt. Your success rate finding thermals is going to be way better with a decent high start. Also, if you're just learning to fly, discus launched gliders aren't great trainers.

The Spirit kit would be a fair glider to start with, but you've got a couple of hurdles that need to be jumped.

It will help you greatly to find a few other glider flyers. They'll not only have high starts, but can help your learning process GREATLY. If you're worried now about the book keeper, wait until you bring home a trash bag of balsa your first time out. Find some experienced help, and that probably won't happen. And you won't need to buy a high start right away.

It's very much easier to learn to fly a glider, but not by yourself. And learning to fly and learning to discus launch at the same time isn't a recipe for success.
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Old 10-20-2010, 05:59 PM
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Default RE: hand launching gliders

crash bandicoute,

Here is another idea. I got into gliders when I bought the Parkzone Radian. I then went on to building the dynaflite butterfly, then the peice o cake. The radian is electric power, but what I do is get it up high to where I can hardly see it and cut throttle. It will thermal, not sure about slop soaring.
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Old 10-20-2010, 07:41 PM
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Default RE: hand launching gliders

Yes it is certainly possible as many DLG flyers have done it and often make it look easy.

I've also seen our local hot shot pilot hand launch and spec out a Dogson Windsong year ago. BUT... it took him a lot of tries to do it.

I myself have dabbled with the smaller 50'ish inch hand launched gliders. I had indifferent results until I started treating it like I treat my free flight hand launch models and stand there for minutes at a time waiting for "thermal sign" to waft about me. When launched into promising air based on my free flight senses I scored a far higher percentage of thermal hits. But without such senses you could wear out both arms and those of someone else before you manage to rise above the pullout height.

This is why high starts or electric assist are so popular. It gets the model up to where it can forge out upwind and then S turn back and forth over many hundreds of yards to the oncoming river of air to test a lot more volume for thermals than you can from a lowly hand launch.

But I'll suggest that if you're keen on hand launching that you get into the relatively cheap side of the hobby of free flight hand launch glider. If you're in the hilly area of Washington then there is a functioning free flight group called SAM8 that operates out of Harts Lake Prairie just east of the Fort Lewis base on some military practice ground. Learning to fly FF HLG's and pick thermals with them can be a superb learning step to flying RC DLG's or HLG's. if that is your goal. Not to mention that they are hellacious fun in their own right. And if your arm can't take it, as many of the older flyers are finding, then go with catapult launching them. With the regulation 9 inch loop of rubber the power is about the same as a mid 20's guy with a good arm that won't need Absorbine Jr at the end of the day....
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Old 10-20-2010, 08:21 PM
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Default RE: hand launching gliders

Free-flight HL gets one into a LOT of exercise!
Which is good!
Hi-starts are really nice, one gets used to noting where the end of the line came down after release, and landing the plane close to that, as most launches don't get thermals.
The spot landing practice is handy.
Electric power is best of all.
Gets the plane up to altitude with lots of time to thermal hunt... and then go back up if one isn't found.
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Old 10-21-2010, 10:58 AM
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Default RE: hand launching gliders


ORIGINAL: BMatthews

If you're in the hilly area of Washington then there is a functioning free flight group called SAM8 that operates out of Harts Lake Prairie just east of the Fort Lewis base on some military practice ground.
i'm stationed at McChord AFB, right beside Ft Lewis. (air Force, of course)the club i used to belong to and soon will be again is Mount Ranier RC Society. CONVENIENTLY, located near Hart's Lake road. that's awesome... not sure exactly where it is you're talking about, but if you have information on them or a number i could get ahold of someone, that would be great if you could PM me. i'm going to try looking it up online also. maybe i can find something, if it's an organized group.



i've watched quite a few videos also with the hand launching thing sometimes working , but only okay. nothing awesome like a high start. guess i'll be saving lunch money. which glider would anyone recommend for a first one. knowing how to fly is not an issue; i've been flying RC for a few years now. just the budget deal. she thinks i need to sell a couple planes before getting anything new.
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Old 10-21-2010, 11:02 AM
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Default RE: hand launching gliders

i guess i should also post i really don't like arfs. not too keen on the composite fuselages, either. i love kits and not afraidtoscratch build, as one of these days, that's what we will be calling "our kits", whenthe BARF's take over.SAVE ALL PLANS AND TEMPLATES!!!
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Old 10-21-2010, 09:43 PM
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Default RE: hand launching gliders

If you want a hand launched glider that you can build from a kit get the Gambler: Light, easy to build and a great first DLG
http://www.wrightbrothersrc.com/prod...mblerplans.htm
or the Quick Flick
http://www.mountainmodels.com/produc...roducts_id=205


If you want an electric launched glider that is built from a kit, consider the Helium
http://www.stevensaero.com/StevensAe...2-p-19699.html
or the Chrysalis
http://www.nesail.com/detail.php?productID=5426



If you want a hi-start launched glider kit consider the Gentle Lady
http://www3.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...?&I=LXYXG1&P=7
 the Jester
http://www.mountainmodels.com/produc...roducts_id=174
or the Scepter
http://www.mountainmodels.com/produc...roducts_id=178


Any of these can be flown on the slope as well.


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Old 10-22-2010, 10:24 AM
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Default RE: hand launching gliders

man, i really like that helium MG. it even has shoes and a spoiler. i love this site and all the people on it!!! beats googlin' stuff anyday. i saw this glider in the photo section on the home page and was trying to figure out where i could get one, and couldn't find it on the net. i didn't even know the company website existed. so amny resources. i guess i could build it while i'm saving lunch money for the electronics. though, i know nothing about the electric motor/ESC/crazy battery terminology, and how to hook it all up. i've always played nitro.
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Old 10-22-2010, 10:26 AM
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Default RE: hand launching gliders

oh, how high do these 2 meter gliders get usually before losing orientation of them? or start getting hard to see?
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Old 10-22-2010, 10:51 AM
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Default RE: hand launching gliders


ORIGINAL: crash bandicoute

oh, how high do these 2 meter gliders get usually before losing orientation of them? or start getting hard to see?
Depends on the pilot. I have had my 2M planes up about 1500 feet and out around 2000 feet with good results. I have flown them higher but that is probably a good working range. But your smileage will vary.
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Old 10-22-2010, 11:05 AM
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Default RE: hand launching gliders

smileage would vary from this, to this , then probably this when i lost sight. LOL!!
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Old 10-22-2010, 12:20 PM
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Nice use of smilies! 
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Old 12-03-2010, 12:48 PM
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Default RE: hand launching gliders

I ordered a Chrysalis sailplane kit from Northeast Sailplane Products back in Oct, and they took my credit card info, and I hadn't heard from them by Dec, so I emailed them to ask for an approx ship date. I never got a response. Does anyone know if they are still in business, or just that slow with orders? Thanks, Randy

OK, I did a search for them on this forum, and realized I will probably never get the kit I ordered. Will look for another 2 meter with spoilers. Any suggestions?
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Old 12-04-2010, 12:55 PM
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Default RE: hand launching gliders

Crash, did I ever send you the info on contacting the SAM8 guys?  PM me if I forgot to message it to you.

As for operating height you'll find that you want to keep it in fairly close until you educate your internal autopilot, get familiar with the plane's appearance in various attitudes and get to where you trust your control input instincts to do the right thing without a lot of visual feedback.  This all takes time.  Likely something like 50 to 100 flights.  During this phase you'll progrssively range out farther over time.  Just keep in mind to err on the side of maintaining the model's  size on the comfort side instead of making it too small.

When in practice, and I sure wouldn't trust myself to get this far out at this point not having flown my thermal gliders for over a year, I would let it get far enough out and high that I could just barely make out the stabilizer as separate from the wing and fuselage.  This manner of limiting the model has the advantage of working for any size and recognizing that we need X amount of visual perspective recognition on whatever model we are flying.  But for a newbie to this I'd keep it in close enough that you have no issue at all making out the stabilizer.
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Old 12-04-2010, 03:15 PM
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Default RE: hand launching gliders

I just flew a photo flight at a local park, and related the position of the airplane to the images when I processed them.
I never let the plane get 1500' away.. this is with a 80 inch wing.
Any further than that and orientation becomes difficult.
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