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Mountain Models DL-50 Glider

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Old 01-10-2015, 06:56 AM
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bradywat23
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Lightbulb Mountain Models DL-50 Glider

Hey guys I just want to share my experience with the Mountain Models DL-50 DLG. Almost exactly a year ago I decided I wanted to get into some gliding and thought there is not a more simple aircraft than a DLG, so the search began...

After an afternoon of searching I found the DL-50. It looked simple and at around $90 I thought it was a great way to start. The glider uses a foam core wing that is glassed over with some thin fiberglass cloth and a laser cut pod with a CF boom. The tail is constructed out of balsa with some glass and CF tape reinforcements

Upon receiving the kit I proceeded to unbox and go over all the components. The hot-wired wing was great. There wasn't any big grooves and the slots for the carbon were clean. Next were the laser cut parts. Wow! The precision of those parts was incredible, easily the best I have seen. Hardware was very nice also. That's when the problems start.... First off I was missing one of the sheets of parts which included the wing bolt reinforcements (pretty important) but that wasn't too big of a deal as I was able to fabricate those with some light ply. Second, The carbon fiber tape that was included was absolutely awful! The strands were frayed everywhere and there was no real "tape" about it. It looked as if someone just grabbed a big handful and wrapped it on the roll. For all intents and purposes it was unusable. After a couple calls to Mountain Models it was determined that instead of using the proper 1/2" that is normally supplied that on this kit they cut 1" in half... Yeah, that doesn't work... So I was told that I would be sent the right tape and missing parts. It is now almost a year later and still have not received those or heard from them...

Now the build.
The glassed wing is what really sold me on the DL-50. I have always wanted to try glassing so I killed 2 birds with 1 stone. I used the recommended water based polyurethane and the glass went on smooth. It was my first time working with glass and I think that it went very well. After the wing is glassed the peg is installed. The peg is just a small slab of plywood wrapped and attached to the wing with the CF tape. With the correct tape I would assume it would be a simple task but with the tape I had it was probably the hardest job on the build. Trying to apply epoxy to the tape like the manual states was next to impossible. The strands would not stay together and just pulled off when the epoxy was spread. I even tried to heat the epoxy some to thin it out but no luck. Like I said earlier with the right tape it wouldn't be a problem.
The rest of the build was pretty uneventful and simple. There were only 2 other hiccups in the kit. First, The holes in the pod formers that accepted the boom were slightly small so a lot of time had to be spent sanding on the boom to get it to fully seat. Second was applying the CF tape to the tail pieces. (more on that later).
Overall the build wasn't too bad and I can imagine it being much easier with the right components.

Flying.
The DL-50 flies great! It is very light in the air and on the controls. I Was getting launches around 100' and this led to flight around 45 seconds with no lift. The only thing that made it struggle was high wind. It is so light that it doesn't penetrate as well as a heavier glider but that also means it doesn't require as much lift either.

While I was flying the whole tape issue arose again....
Whenever I flew in humidity about around 70% the balsa in the tail would noticeably warp towards the tape side. I believe if the tape was right and could be applied correctly then that probably wouldn't be a big issue. It was this that finally retired the plane. After about 100 launches the vertical stab snapped in half on launch.

Overall rating: (1-10)
Price: 8
Quality of components: 4 (with right CF 7)
Flight: 7
Ease of Build: 5
Value: 8
Overall: 6

The DL-50 Is a really nice beginner DLG and a great platform to learn how to glass. Would I buy another... No. The parts missing and the lack of support after I told them of the issue left a sour taste in my mouth. Honestly I would rather save a little longer and buy an Elf from Kennedy Composites and I would recommend that if you have the funds.
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Old 01-16-2015, 08:32 PM
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Sorry to hear you had a less than positive experience. Mountain Models has had a very good reputation for the quality of their kits and for their customer support. However I guess from time to time anyone can fall short of the mark. I have built 3 of their kits and was happy with them all.
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Old 01-16-2015, 08:40 PM
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I have always heard good things about Mountain Models and I'm not trying to bash them at all. I agree I must have just received a bad kit which does happen. If I remember right I think they do all the stuff for the dl50 in-house.
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