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Bigger list of thermal ship choices - seeking feedback

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Old 01-05-2015, 01:51 AM
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D400webb
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Default Bigger list of thermal ship choices - seeking feedback

In an attempt to encourage more feedback, I've started a new thread specifically for thoughts on these potential choices for a sport thermal sailplane.

My preference is for something in the mid-ground between a lazy floater and a sensitive competition ship, and so you'll see that most of these are full-house ships with foils having a good speed range, and generally employ some dihedral. I prefer not to have to fly fast all the time.

I'm trying to keep the price below $1000 (-minus radio gear); my preference would be even lower (<$600; so I'm leaning away from ships like the Ava Pro, Eagle, Onyx L, Graphite 2, and Pulsar 3.2S Pro which are at the high end of my price range), but this seems to restrict my choices too much.

My field is quite large and generally quite calm wind-wise, minus the thermal activity, but that activity can create intermittent gusty conditions, so the design should have reasonable penetration.

I know these are all quite capable airframes, and everything else being equal, I'd likely be quite happy with any of them, but everything else is not always equal. So if any of you have experience with one or more of these, I'd be appreciative of insightful feedback.

In no particular order:

Soaring USA Dragonfly Strong
Soaring USA Onyx L
Soaring USA Eagle 3.6
Art Hobby Odyssey 2.7M
Art Hobby Thermic RESs 2.5M
Skip Miller Models Pulsar 3.2s Pro Competition
Kennedy Composites Graphite 2
Kennedy Composites Ava Pro RES
Esprit Models Pulsar 2S Pro
Esprit Models Pulsar 3.2S Pro
Topmodel Avia 2.5 Meter

thoughts?

Last edited by D400webb; 01-05-2015 at 11:49 AM.
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Old 01-07-2015, 01:13 PM
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I


* Soaring USA Dragonfly Strong
* Soaring USA Onyx L
* Soaring USA Eagle 3.6
Art Hobby Odyssey 2.7M
Art Hobby Thermic RESs 2.5M
Skip Miller Models Pulsar 3.2s Pro Competition
* Kennedy Composites Graphite 2
* Kennedy Composites Ava Pro RES
Esprit Models Pulsar 2S Pro
Esprit Models Pulsar 3.2S Pro
* Topmodel Avia 2.5 Meter

The ones with the * are ones that I have flown, have friends who own one or have read many reports on the plane. I can point you to discussions on some of them.


Dragonfly Strong - Based on reading many many posts about this glider, it is a very good winched TD glider with a strong spar for strong winch launches. General impression is you can't go wrong with this one as a solid midrange glider for sport or as an entry level competition full house winched glider. It is also popular with e-glider pilots as there is an electric fuselage available.


Onyx L - I flew one once at a contest. I had been timing for the pilot at an Eastern Soaring League contest and he offered me a flight. It took a strong winch launch quite nicely. How a glider flies is very subject to set-up but I was not happy with the way this one flew. Seemed very fast with a relatively high sink rate as compared to my Supra. Could not get it to slow down, even in camber. He seemed to have similar feelings. He was flying it because his primary contest glider was in need of work.


Eagle 3.6 RES. My friend has one of these and he LOVEs it. Launches beautifully from the winch and is a super floater. It is very similar to the AVA but this one may be even more floaty than the AVA as the wing is a little longer. I have never seen him fly it in windy conditions as he has a wide selection of gliders but I know he is very happy with this one for light wind conditions. If you get it I would recommend you get the ballast set to go with it for those windier days. There is a electric version of the fuse so you can launch this one both ways.


Graphite 2 - The same friend who owns the Eagle also has a Graphite 2. He has had it for several years. It has a strong spar which will take a full pedal launch. Plane is pretty fast. This seems to be his "very windy conditions" glider but he rarely pulls it out, preferring to ballast his other gliders. He owns an 4M Xplorer and two Graphite D box gliders (I also have one of these) which he likes. He has never been very happy with this one.


Ava Pro RES - Essentially the same as my original AVA but with an updated fuselage. We have a LOT of Avas in our sailplane club. I would say that the AVA is the standard against which other RES gliders are measured. The spar is very strong for powerful launches. I have full pedal launched mine, and the wing can take it, but I generally find it launches better with a little less aggression. Floats like a dream and handles well. The Ava is a super popular RES glider. You will see a LOT of these at RES contests, at the NATs and some people fly them against the full house gliders in the Eastern Soaring League unlimited class TD contests. If I know it will be a light wind day I am likely to bring this and my Bubble Dancer to the field. It will float on a wish and report lift loud and clear. With ballast it does pretty well in moderate wind. My friend flies his in 15 mph winds with no ballast. At 15 mph I would add 9-12 ounces of ballast to mine, but generally I would switch to another glider, if I had one with me, in 15 mph winds. If you get one I would suggest you get a ballast set to go with it for those windier days. I believe there is an electric fuselage available for this one if you would like to launch both ways.


Avia - I have flown the electric version which flies very nicely. We have two in the club. I have never seen the pure glider version and have no input on the strength of the spar. I am sure it would do fine on a hi-start or tapped on the winch. I am not sure if there is an electric fuselage or if the fuselage can be built as pure or electric. Either way you could have two fuselages in order to launch both ways.


Recommendation: Based on what your criteria I would recommend the Ava Pro or the Eagle if you want a true floater that can ballast up for windier conditions. I would recommend the Dragonfly Strong for a more all around TD glider.

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Old 01-07-2015, 08:56 PM
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Thank you very much; lots of helpful info here!
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Old 03-06-2015, 04:15 AM
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Let's bump this to the top so others can add their suggestions.
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Old 03-18-2015, 10:26 AM
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D400,

Did you get a glider?
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