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Not a Newbe, but looking for plane and 2.4 GHz radio recommendations / opinions

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Not a Newbe, but looking for plane and 2.4 GHz radio recommendations / opinions

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Old 12-28-2014, 06:59 PM
  #1  
D400webb
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Question Not a Newbe, but looking for plane and 2.4 GHz radio recommendations / opinions

Hi Everyone,

I know these kinds of questions are not uncommon (and perhaps tedious), but after perusing the forum for a bit, I've not really found what I'm looking for.

About Me:
I'm getting back into RC gliders after a 15+ year hiatus, and it looks like I have a lot of catching up to do. My main interest has always been non-competitive thermal soaring (generally RES), but I enjoy slope (and slope combat), and HLG as well.

I've flown a number of different types of 100"+ thermal planes, from my trusty old Olympic II (1st build, 1st plane, and still have it), up through full-house competition sailplanes, and experimental self-designs. I've flown some 2m, but prefer larger planes; never had an interest in Scale. My slope planes were generally sport types (nothing too radical, no racers), and my HLGs are likewise intended for fun duration flying. DLGs were relatively new when I put the hobby aside all those years ago.

Radios:
I still have my old 72 MHz FM and AM JR transmitters (and rx), but I'd like to switch up to 2.4 GHz with binding and multi-model memories, and I'd like some feedback on brand and model likes/dislikes, pros/cons, opinions, gripes, etc. for decent sailplane radios (min. 6 channel).

On my first glance at what's available and suits my needs, I was drawn to the Futaba 10 JA, and the JR XG8 (I'm leaning towards telemetry enabled radios, but it's not really necessary), but I'd certainly welcome any useful insights on any brand and model that suits my needs. Even though I prefer RES, I will fly some full house, and I like the mix capabilities and flying modes of the more sophisticated radios. Not sure if I might try electric thermal.

Planes:
Soooo much seems to have changed in thermal design and preference that I'm having a challenging time sorting it all out. I'll probably continue to fly RES and some full house thermal ships, HLG, and maybe try DLG. I may do some slope flying too. I'm not interested in buying the most expensive thermal designs out there since I've never been into competition. I've always enjoyed building, and experimenting with airfoils, but I'm not sure that's what I necessarily want to do either since I had to start wearing glasses for my close-up eyesight a couple years back (and still find fine work with glasses to be irritating). I'm certainly open to buying something almost ready to fly; especially for a full-sized thermal ship. Perhaps more than anything, I enjoy flight performance over speed and lawn-dart landings.

Field:
I have the most ideal flying space anyone could wish for; I live on a large ranch in a semi-arid environment where thermal activity is excellent (even intense), and winds are generally low (though they can really whip up during intense thermals). I have multiple hay fields, pastures, and even slopes and ridge lines to pick from so it's about time I put them to use for flying and have some fun. I still have a full-sized Hi-Start. It's been kept in a cool, dark spot for all these years; hopefully it's still okay since I really like its simplicity, but I have a full shop here so I could easily build a winch and retriever.

So, lots of food for thought I hope; any ideas?
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Old 12-29-2014, 05:58 AM
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Welcome back. Radios are a personal choice and the name brands all work.

Spektrum DX-9 is a good mix of channels, capabilities, and price. Team member Sherman Knight haunts RC Groups and is a walking encyclopedia of programming information for JR and Spektrum radios specializing in gliders.

Having never messed with telemetry its easy to say you don't care, but play with it a few times and you'll like it. I love having a vario, altitude reporting at the press of a button, and radio link quality and battery information available.
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Old 12-30-2014, 12:16 PM
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Thanks for the reply Andy. I've since added a few more tx to my list to check into, and the Spektrum DX9 was one of them. I spent a short while at a local hobby shop and asked a few questions about changes in radios. After hearing what I like to fly (primarily thermal sailplane), the shop guy recommended a Spektrum DX6. Even just a few minutes research on this radio revealed to me that I need to be careful to ensure I get a full-range radio, as opposed to the park-range DX6. So much for the local shop.

I've been a bit concerned since then about 2.4 GHz tx/rx range (and I see it was a common enough topic on forums up until about 2 years ago). Range was never anything we worried about with 72 MHz. A flying buddy and I once checked the range of a Airtronics FM system (don't recall which model) that he used with his Open Class Modi (IIRC), and gave up at about 4 miles since it was still working fine and I couldn't really see him holding up the plane even with bionoculars. For someone with decent eyesight, an Open Class or F3J sailplane with good markings is easily visible a mile off, and most RES ships are easily flown at that distance. Since it sounds like you have some experience with a vario, albeit with a much smaller 2m sailplane (I'm assuming you use it in your Spirit), have you ever experienced range issues, or known anyone who has with an Open ship?
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Old 12-30-2014, 12:26 PM
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Actually, I haven't updated my RCU profile in a while. I'm speaking of my 4.2 meter Blanik, which at 1200 feet gets pretty small a mile would be 4x that. I've never had a range issue with any of my 2.4 stuff. I've towed 6 meter ships to where i could barely tell which way the tow plane was going as well with my 115" DA-85 powered tow plane.

There's the older DX-6 which is park range, but the current DX-6 http://www.horizonhobby.com/free-spe...eiver-spmr6700 is full range, but i think you'll be happier with the 9 and it will be cheaper to buy a decent radio up front than to go back and sell the first radio for a loss and buy the one you should have purchased to begin with
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Old 12-30-2014, 03:56 PM
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I still fly my trusted Futaba 8UAP ( on 72 ) at an active club field where we still respect and control the freq. board . Never had a problem .
Range is not a problem , no "brown outs " signal losses or whatever plagues some of the latest and allegedly greatest radios on the market .Stick with the brands you know and trust .
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Old 12-30-2014, 04:21 PM
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"brown outs" allegedly plague any radio installation that lacks sufficient capacity to power the receiver. Including 72 Mhz.
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Old 12-30-2014, 05:00 PM
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While any system encountering low voltage may be referred to as a " brown out " , the term came into its own during the early days of
one particular radios' 2.4 system . It happened no matter the state of the batteries either rx or tx .
Hence the call " I don't have it " followed by " I just charged and checked "
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Old 12-30-2014, 05:28 PM
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I'm wishing now that I'd not sold my old JR computer radio since now that I live on a ranch, I have my own flying fields and interference would not be an issue anyway. I still have a couple of cheap JR 4 channel txs that I'd used for RES and some slope flying, but I sold my 8 channel JR programable with my Ellipse F3B.
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Old 12-31-2014, 04:19 AM
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Originally Posted by jetmaven View Post
While any system encountering low voltage may be referred to as a " brown out " , the term came into its own during the early days of
one particular radios' 2.4 system . It happened no matter the state of the batteries either rx or tx .
Hence the call " I don't have it " followed by " I just charged and checked "
Please don't allow this to dissuade you.

Maven, I'm sure you're well aware of this but in case you're really not up on it, the first generation had some growing pains, one of them was when the voltage did drop below what caused the receiver to reboot, that they took several seconds to re-establish a connection. They fixed that issue.

"just charging and checking" is no substitute for an adequate capacity power system, if you bring the voltage down too low it will reboot, now it will do so instantly, just like the "other popular brands"
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Old 12-31-2014, 09:46 AM
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Question Radio Choices

Whoops, sorry the duplication - there seems to be no option to delete a post.

Last edited by D400webb; 12-31-2014 at 09:57 AM. Reason: Duplicate post submitted in error
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Old 12-31-2014, 09:48 AM
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Question Radio Choices

Okay, so far my new radio short list includes (in order of preference, with rationale in parentheses):

- Spectrum DX9 (price, mixes and flight modes, telemetry)
- JR XG8 (mixes and flight modes, telemetry, personal trusted brand pref.)
- Futaba 10JA (mixes and flight modes, telemetry, price)
- Airtronics SD10G (mixes and flight modes, quality, unfortunately NO air telemetry otherwise this would be #1)

I'm trying to limit myself to $500 for a new radio. Would anybody add another radio to this list of choices for open class sport thermal duration?

Last edited by D400webb; 12-31-2014 at 12:44 PM. Reason: Updated info
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Old 12-31-2014, 11:49 AM
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My own preference is the XG11, especially for sailplane use. It is more expensive than the XG8 and not as simple to program. Its complexity allows you to do more. One example is the stick position switches. On the XG11, the flight can be changed from launch to cruise by pushing the elevator stick forward for zoom. I don’t believe this can be done with the XG8 as its stick position switches lacks the hysterisis attribute. Unfortunately the XG11 manual doesn’t explain the stick position switches well.

Other premixes are enhanced in the XG11 over what is in the XG8. The Brake System flaperon mix, as an example, is a curve mix and not a simple rate as it is for the XG8.

Allan
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Old 12-31-2014, 12:32 PM
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Question Plane Choices

...And my thermal airframe shortlist is (in no particular order, but with rationale and comments in parentheses):

- Soaring USA Dragonfly Strong (price, AFER, like to try MH32)
- Soaring USA Eagle 3.6 (span, AFER, not familiar with AG foils)
- Art Hobby Odyssey 2.7M (price, wing load, AER, but concerned about speed of SD7080)
- Art Hobby Thermic RESs 2.5M (price, wing load, spoileron + ER, minimum size pref., like to try HN 1033)

I'm surprised at how short this list is, but I'm probably missing some major models and manufacturers(?). I'm trying to keep the cost under $1000, but I really expected there'd be more variety to choose from below that price point. It seems that the real variety is in the pricey competition ships, and that there are limited offerings in sport models. I doubt that this is healthy for the hobby.

My preference for this plane is for an open class (or min. 2.5m) with a good range of speed, but with good, low-speed handling for coring thermals with minimal bank/roll, and low-speed landing.

You'll likely notice that my list only contains dihedral wings; while I generally find this a preference, it's not necessary if the airframe otherwise permits relatively flat, low-speed turns, and its lift characteristics are right (my older Thermal Eagle, Legend, and Modi were good this way).

Last edited by D400webb; 12-31-2014 at 04:00 PM.
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Old 12-31-2014, 12:42 PM
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Thanks Allen. I actually had examined the JR XG11. It looks like an excellent radio and it'd be on my list except that I'm trying to keep the cost under $500. If I were flying competitions, it'd be a top contender, but for this sport flyer, the $800 price tag is a tough sell, especially considering the capabilities of some of the radios under the $500 range.
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Old 01-03-2015, 04:57 PM
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Default FrSky Taranis

I was contacted by pm with a suggestion to check out the FrSky Taranis radio, so I spent the day reading reviews, forum comments and discussions, and watching videos about the system. While there are some detractors (almost none of whom seemed to actually have experience with the system; go figure), the overwhelming consensus of those who have actually used the Taranis is that this is a decent radio, and the OpenTx software simply isn't matched by anything being offered by the popular name brands.

Are there any sailplane folks here that have experience with the X9D or latest X9D+?

I'd be interested to hear about any and all of your experiences with this system.

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Old 01-04-2015, 11:10 AM
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The Taranis programming uses a very different approach from that used by JR and the other major brands. JR approach is function oriented. You define the aircraft configuration. It has premixes such as differential that modify the sticksí behavior. There are also a limited number of program mixes left for the userís use.

While there are templates you can use as well as a computer program for setting up the Taranis, the transmitter is basically programmed channel -by-channel. There are no premixes. Each channel is programmed separately from the others. The user creates mixes that specify what device or variable is used for the channel input and how that deviceís output is to be modified.
 
For example if you want a V-tail. You first pick any two channels for the left and right ruddervator. Commonly when setting up a V-tail, the two servos move in the same direction for rudder command while they move in opposite directions for the elevator command. For each ruddervator channel you will create two mixes, one for the rudder stick input and another mix for elevator stick input.
 
When you create the four mixes, you will probably want to adjust the weigh or rate amount for each stick in the mix so the servos arenít over driven when both sticks are positioned at their extreme. If you need elevator correction for rudder input, there is no premix that will affect both channels. Instead, for each channel you adjust the differential attribute in each rudder mix. It may require positive differential for one ruddervator channel and negative for the other. If you want elevator compensation for landing when using the throttle stick for crow, then you add another mix with the throttle stick as the input device to each ruddervator channel.
 
The power of this programming is that you can modify each channel separately even if it is paired with another. You can couple as many channels together as you wish by using the same source or input device. It does take more work as you have to create each mix and figure out how it should function.
 
Programming my JR transmitters without the aid of a computer is a pleasure but programing the Taranis is not. To be fair, Iíve years of experience with JRís. I know where the menus are located and what they do. I may also be button challenged. Navigating the Taranis menus requires knowing which button to push and how long to hold it. To enter names or to make a selection, you have to navigate sequentially through a long list . I havenít and I doubt that I ever will memorize where in the sequence each variable I want is located. It also doesnít help that some of the menu items are abbreviated and I have to refer to the manual to find out their meaning.
 
On the positive side, the transmitter has performed well. I have yet to encounter a range problem even though Iíve read its power output is less than some other transmitters. Its construction is acceptable. The only flaw Iíve detected is the case bottom is not flat. The transmitter rocks a bit when set upright. It has features which still are not available on the JR line. The price for it, the receiver and the sensors are very reasonable. The service I had from Aloft, the US distributor, has been excellent.
 
Allan
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Old 01-04-2015, 03:11 PM
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Thanks Allen!

Overall, would you recommend this radio for a glider pilot?

I'm curious Allen, which Taranis model you have? Could you make use of stick-on rubber feet to address the tippy base?

I'm particularly happy to hear that you have no range issues with the Taranis. I'm also glad to hear that you have no serious concerns about the mechanics of the system. There was some concern with the mounting quality of some of the switches on the early units, as well as the quality of the stick centering. Do you have any comments on the latency?

Indeed the highly flexible programming seems to be the thing most folks identify as a negative issue. It may really be an issue of 'too much of a good thing' though since, if I understand correctly, flexibility was originally identifyed as the necessary element for an OpenTx platform.

As someone who got involved with programming languages starting in the 80's, I think I understand the general trepidation though. If a piece of code fails in most test/evaluative situations, it's just the code that crashes, but in our hobby, if we've made code changes it could be our airframe that crashes. Although I haven't delved into the computer interface system yet (I plan to ASAP), it seems to me from general discussion threads that what is lacking is sufficient 'pre-packaged mixes' to make most folks confident that they will get something that meets their needs out of the box (though I also understand the interface wizard provides some of this). I'm relatively confident that this will come in time though, perhaps in the form of 'emulation' mixes and wizards that match the pre-mixes of popular radio choices. This would certainly make the transition to OpenTx more seamless, and get folks in the air quickly.

I'm relatively certain that this is the direction I want to go. In fact, I'm waiting on a notification from a Canadian distributor of when the X9D+ will be back in stock (seems they are perpetually sold out).

Now to settle on a new plane....

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Old 01-05-2015, 05:49 PM
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My transmitter is the XD9, not the plus edition. It was manufactured in March 2014. The deficiencies that I read about had been corrected. The side sliders are the upgraded ones. They added strain reliefs for the wires coming from the stick pots and then glued the wires to the reliefs. I haven’t had any problems with the switches. The right slider centering is off slightly. I don’t have any complaints about the stick centering but I’m not really critical in checking them. For sailplane work, I can tolerate some imprecision. That also applies to latency. I don’t fly really high performance aircraft where latency is an issue. I haven’t noticed any lag in the controls.
 
I should be more definite about the range. The plane that my Taranis (with the X8R receiver) is used in is a 2–meter motor sailplane. While it has more than the normal 2-meter wing area, the color scheme is not the best for visibility. Last year I flew it to where I was becoming uncomfortable in controlling it but the signal strength that the radio reported back was still in the acceptable range. I hesitate to guess how far it was but it was less than what I have flown my open class sailplane. I’m putting together a 2.9M Mystique to range test the Taranis further. In ground range testing, I’ve found those paddles on the end receiver antennas do help to increase the range modestly.
 
If you worked with computer languages, you’ll have no problem with OpenTX. My main complaint is navigating the menus on the transmitter to find or change an item I want. It just takes me much longer to set up a plane with the Taranis compared to my JR transmitters. Companion with its wizard is helpful but it isn’t practical for making modifications while at the field.
 
Allan

Last edited by AWorrest; 01-05-2015 at 06:01 PM. Reason: Added receiver model
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Old 01-05-2015, 05:56 PM
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While I suffered thru very expensive receivers in the beginning, I have never had one single glitch on my Futaba 2.4 fasst radios (2 of them)

However if you see yourself being drawn to the bind and fly arfs, go Spektrum compatible.
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Old 01-05-2015, 06:03 PM
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Default Sold on FrSky Taranis X9D+

So I bit the bullet today and ordered a FrSky Taranis X9D+. I'm feeling a bit like a kid in a candy shop; really looking forward to this radio.
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Old 01-06-2015, 02:18 AM
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Best of luck with the Taranis. I don't have one but as I understand it this will be one of those situations of frustration and then there is that "I get it" moments and it all falls into place. There is a large sailplane community using the Taranis for sport and competition and the feedback is generally positive. Don't hesitate to reach out for help.

The key with 2.4 GHz is that the antenna are fairly short. In the days of 72 Mhz you had an antenna that was 40 inches long. It is hard to block an antenna that long unless you put it inside the glider inside a carbon fuselage or boom. The antenna on a 2.4 GHz system is only 30 mm, a few inches. So if you burry the antenna inside a bundle of servo wires or inside a carbon fuselage or under a battery you can block the signal. The full range FrSky receivers have an excellent reputation so work with confidence. But do your very best to be sure that you follow the instructions on antenna placement and don't block them. They are long enough that you can run them to the outside of the glider so you have some flexibility. Just remember that the actual antenna is the 30 MM tip. The rest is just there as an extension.

The other key is power. 2.4 receivers are little computers. They don't fade out or glitch like 72 MHz receivers did when the power got low. They work and then they don't. If the voltage falls too low they reboot like a desktop computer. They come back fast but if your power system is inadequate this can happen over and over again. Based on how you describe your flying plans you should not be taxing your batteries very hard but this is a key consideration.

Also 2.4 Ghz receivers draw more power than the 72 MHz receivers. A 72 MHz receiver might have pulled 20 ma while it is not uncommon for a 2.4 GHz receiver to pull 100 mah. THAT was part of the reason why the early pioneers ran into "brown out" problems. They pulled a 72 MHz receiver out of a power system that was adequate for that receiver but did not have the current flow to support the 2.4 receiver. Or they ran the battery down sooner than they were used to and got reboots of the receiver. Lousy receiver and radio system? No! The need to provide more power.

Today's NiMh, Lipo and A123 receiver packs are smaller, lighter and can provide more power then the old 500 mah NiCd packs so you should not have a problem, but plan to oversize your receiver pack to avoid issues. If you get into full house glides, full of digital servos is where you place the most demand. Get 5 servos moving at once, providing crow, as you dive from the sky at high speed and you will be pulling several amps. I use a 5 cell 1500 mah 2/3A NiMh pack in my Supra. Drain is about 350 to 400 mah per hour of flying. Your mileage will vary.


Gliders:

Just background on myself. I fly thermal duration competition, though I am not very good. I fly off strong winches and push my gliders hard. My primary glider is the Supra from www.kennedycomposites.com which I highly recommend. I have 3 of them and love them. But they seem a bit out of your price range.


Based on what I am reading, your preference is for pure gliders rather than electric launched gliders. What will you use to launch them? Hi-Start? Winch? OneWinch?

What are your weather conditions like at your thermal soaring field? Wind speeds generally under 10 mph? Usually over 10 mph? Lots of near calm days? Always windy?

There are so many good gliders out there. You seem to favor the ARFs so I presume you are not looking to build a kit. Are kits out?

The Dragonfly Strong has been around a while and has a good following. It seems to be a good midrange thermal glider. I don't think you can go wrong with that one. Will do well on the winch, if you have one.

The Art Hobby planes have a good reputation as midrange performance gliders using somewhat older airfoils. Note that they will not take full pedal winch launches but if you can tap the pedal or are using a hi-start you should do fine.

The AVA, www.kennedycomposites.com is probably one of the most popular high end RES gliders on the market and seems to be in your price range. I have one and love it.


Now that you have your radio, give us more feedback on gliders and we can continue to recommend options.
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Old 01-06-2015, 09:38 AM
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Thank-you for the info on what to expect with the 2.4GHz radios.

I live in a wide, east-west oriented valley in a plateau region with a semi-arid climate. There's a flat, 15 acre hay field within a few hundred feet of my house that I'll probably use for launching/landing. I have a standard hi-start, but I may build a winch. I have no experience with a OneWinch, but it's intriging, and I may fiddle with building one from scratch.

Winds here are generally very light (or non-existent) during most of the day, except for occasional windy days during late fall and early spring; daytime winds reaching 10 mph would be uncommon after mid-April and until mid-October, and quite rare between mid-June and mid-September. The exception would be highly localized winds from extreme thermal activity, but these come and go from one minute to the next and are often restricted to the later afternoon. Summertime winds pick up in the evenings, however, as the sun drops lower and the temperature drops, allowing the cooler plateau air to rush down into the valley (making evenings best for sloping).

While I've built several planes from kits and even scratch-built, you're right that I'm leaning towards an ARF for this model; particularly the Art Hobby Odyssey 2.7 (probably a full-house variant with dihedral, or perhaps mild polyhedral). I realize the SD 7080 foil is considered older today. It is (theoretically at least, when one compares polars) relatively similar to the mainstay SD 7037 of a decade or two ago, but with slightly better lift characteristics at cruise speeds, and it trades less drag for slightly more speed during thermaling (again, relative to the SD 7037). By comparison, the AG blend of foils used by ships like the Ava produce even greater lift at cruise speeds, but also require more speed than the SD 7080 during thermaling, which is less suited to my style of flying. The SD 7080 should (theoretically speaking again) out lift the AG 24 (blend) during calm day thermaling (but not during cruise). The AG 24 should also be a more sensitive foil to fly, requiring a larger tail group; again, not the best match to my lazy flying style. I have no data on the AG 40-43 (Supra) from which to judge theoretical performance.

The Ava Pro seems an incredibly capable airframe, but (and maybe I'm just old-school) I really like the look of the sheeted wing cores of the Odyssey, and since I'm not into competition, it seems unnecessarily expensive to spend $1000+ on a model. Plus, this way I could put the saved funds into updating radio gear for other planes, or maybe even buy a new HLG (or just finish off a HLG project I'd started many years ago!), or try DLG.

I realize it may sound like I've pretty much made my choice here, but I'm still open to input, ideas, and suggestions.

Last edited by D400webb; 01-06-2015 at 11:26 AM.
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Old 01-06-2015, 04:50 PM
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I think you found the glider for you. I am sure you will enjoy it.

I have no need to argue with you about the AVA when he Odyssey seems to suit you so well.

DLG is way better than the hold HLGs. Way better!
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Old 01-07-2015, 12:02 AM
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Default A lot to consider, and even more to learn.

Of course, some of the unknowns in choosing a model to purchase (as opposed to scratch-building), occur when the manufacturer uses a modified foil (especially if they've blended that foil several times along the wing span); how they set decalage; tail moment and sizing of the tail group; etc. All of these things have a significant impact on flight characteristics, efficiency, and performance beyond simple choice of airfoil(s).

Although it may sound like I've settled on the Odyssey, this is merely because the limited data available to me (essentially, foil type and wing loading), and the price, seem suitable. Your comment that the Odyssey is not suited to a full winch launch is significant; I would prefer a model with a stronger wing, if only to eliminate any worry about overloading the wings during winch launches in gusty conditions. For this reason alone, the Odyssey may not in fact suit my needs.

It seems that a lot of highly efficient designs have evolved out of the development of a few families of thin, high-lift foils that permit extremely light-weight airframes that still have very good penetration, and thus it seems the dramatic change from polyhedral RES ships being primarily for beginners, to RES today being extremely competitive TD designs. This is a bit different from what I was used to 15 years ago. I knew that Selig (for example) was working with new foils (I even helped build wing models for his UIUC low speed airfoil wind tunnel tests), but it was all still fairly new, and mostly theoretical at the time. When I was flying, the SD 7037 was the foil of choice. It was a relatively slow foil that thermalled extremely well, but benefited from reflex and a higher wing loading than I generally see in today's designs, in order to cover ground efficiently between lift. Modern RES (and full house) designs today should easily out-climb the most efficient full house SD 7037 competition designs of 15 years ago.

So it's obvious to me that I have a lot of catching up to do in this hobby. It's for this reason that I ask for feedback from folks who have flown the models; pilots can usually provide an empirical assessment of a plane's performance far beyond simple assessments of airfoil polars and wing loading values.

So I would still be most appreciative to hear any feedback on what folks think about the thermal ships they are flying in the 2.5 to 3m range.
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Old 01-07-2015, 03:06 AM
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Based on my fleet I have a strong preference for the Drela Airfoils. The Supra is a Mark Drela design you can build at home if you can bag wings. Or you can buy the hollow molded version from www.kennedycomposites.com. The Supra is a highly competitive glider on the competition circuit and at international events in the hollow molded version.

The Ava, also available from Kennedy, is basically the commercial version of Mark's Bubble Dancer. The Bubble Dancer is a winch proof built up RES glider. There are no kits available but there are short kits and the plans are available at the Charles River link below. I have both an Ava and a Bubble Dancer. Both are competitive today.

And many of the bagged wing DLGs we see today are evolutions of the Mark Drela design, the Super Gee II. You can see the originals here. You will see the Bubble Dancer and AVA being flown at RES contests and occasionally at unlimited contests. The Supra is very popular among contest pilots.
http://www.charlesriverrc.org/articles.htm

If you have some kit skills you might want to look at the Oculus. Fuse and spar are already built. Basically you built the rest of the wing and the tail sections, cover it and you are good. Strong Spar though perhaps not totally winch proof, but I think it will easily meet your expectations. Very good reports on flying characteristics. They have a winch and an electric fuselage so you can fly the same wing both ways. It has been out for about 18 months so the bugs have been worked out. Extensive build threads are available and it has done pretty well at contests.
http://mmglidertech.com/oculus.php

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