I love flying. Some days, I like to fly a fast plane, while other days I like an aerobatic plane. While there are many different types of flying, very few aircraft can provide the leisure and relaxation of a sailplane/glider.
Think about it; there's no engine to keep tuned, and the only battery to keep charged is for the receiver. No propeller cutting through the air, just pure, silent flight.
Now, I'd like to introduce you to the Gentle Lady ARF. The Gentle Lady is a sailplane that was offered by Carl Goldberg for a number of years. After Carl Goldberg went out of business, Great Planes Model Manufacturing purchased all of the Carl Goldberg designs as well as their accessory lineups. Great Planes has brought back some of the Carl Goldberg designs, and one of the newest is the Gentle Lady ARF.
I'm excited to get going on this silent flyer, so let's dig in!
Wingspan: 78.25 in. (1988 mm) Wing Area: 663 in² (42.83 dm²) Weight: 25 oz (709 g) Length: 41 in (1041 mm) Radio Used:Tactic TTX600 Servos Used: (2) Futaba S3004 Servos. Channels Used: 2 total - Elevator and, Rudder
Items Needed To Complete
2-channel radio with two standard servos, receiver
Small Drill bits
Various Standard Shop Tools
The Gentle Lady arrived well packed. To put it mildly, I was very concerned when it arrived, due to the end of the shipping box being completely smashed in. Even though the 'Big Brown Truck' guys tried to play rugby with it, the contents were completely unscathed!
There are only four major parts to this sailplane, so I'm imagining it won't take long to get her in the air.
There were a few things that I really liked about this plane. The bright, multi-colored, MonoKote trim scheme should make it very easy to see in the air. Both the elevator and rudder are pre-hinged and glued, and the spacious compartments make it easy to install standard radio gear. It seems to me that most planes in this size range have gone to mini and micro sized equipment to save room/weight. I was pleased to see that the Gentle Lady uses standard servos.
The instruction manual lives up to Great Planes' usual high standards. The written instructions are clear and easy to understand for even the newest beginner to follow, and the illustrations do a great job of showing the builder what the instructions are saying.
Assembly begins with joining the wing halves. After trial fitting the joiner, 30-minute epoxy was applied to the wing roots, as well as the joiner pockets. Once the panels were slid together, I used tape to keep them together until the epoxy had cured.
The trailing edge doubler was added next. I traced the outline of it onto the wing, cut and removed the covering 1/16" inside the line, and glued the doubler in place using medium CA. That completed assembly of the wing!
The wing dowels were then installed and secured using a few drops of thin CA. Once the CA had cured, the wing was aligned and attached to the fuselage using two rubber bands. After centering the horizontal stabilizer, lines were traced on the stab. The covering was cut and removed, and the Stab was secured using 30-minute epoxy.
I added a 'little' weight to the stabilizer to make sure it stayed in place while the epoxy cured.
After tracing the vertical stabilizer position on the fuselage, I cut and removed the covering, and epoxied it in place using 30-minute epoxy.
The assembly was held in place (perpendicular to the horizontal stab) using masking tape, until the epoxy had cured.
SERVOS AND PUSHROD INSTALLATION
The two servo horns were prepared per the instruction manual, and set aside for a few minutes. After turning a servo screw into each of the 8 holes, a drop of thin CA was added to each to harden them. The two standard servos were then installed.
The two nylon clevises were installed on the pushrods, and then attached to the control horns. After sliding the rudder pushrod into its guide tube, the horn was lined up and marked. The control horn was pulled back out of the way, the holes were drilled and hardened with a drop of thin CA, and then the horn was put in place and secure using the included screws and backing plate.
I repeated the process for the elevator, and then marked the proper length of both pushrods. Once marked, I cut the pushrods to their approximate length, made Z bends in each pushrod, and attached each to their respective servo.
We're almost done! The tow-hook was installed in the bottom of the fuselage - there are two threaded inserts - and the manual suggests using the forward insert for beginning flights, so that's the one I chose. The latch for the front hatch is then secured with a small wood screw, and the battery and receiver are place as far forward as possible in the fuselage
All that was left was to balance the plane. I marked the center of gravity (CG) per the instructions, and found that my sailplane was tail heavy. Six ounces of lead were melted and formed into a cube that would fit in the nose of the plane, then the battery and receiver went in behind the lead.
With the front hatch reinstalled, it was time to take some photos and go flying!
The day for the maiden flight arrived over the fourth of July weekend, and the weather was perfect! After checking the wind and stretching the Dynaflite Up-Start, the Gentle Lady was attached and ready for launch.
Launching a glider is a really neat experience. You simply point the nose of the glider up at about a 45 degree angle, and release. As the Gentle lady was climbing, I used the rudder to keep her climbing straight as she gained altitude quickly. When the Up-Start went slack, the ring came off the launching hook on the plane, and I was soaring!
I was able to find thermals very easily, as our flying field has a large farm field adjacent to it. Flying the Gentle Lady is nothing but pure relaxation. After just a few minutes of flying, though, I was wanting a lawn chair to sit in and just "chill" while watching/piloting the sailplane. Then I remembered that I did, in fact, have a lawn chair, so I asked my buddy to grab it out of my truck. After he had set up the chair, I sat back, and relaxed even more as I enjoyed flying the Gentle lady.
After a very enjoyable 15 minute flight, I decided it was time to bring the plane back down. Losing altitude was not difficult, but she (the plane) really wanted to keep flying! I got it back down by circling slowly, lined her up over the runway, and brought her in. What a glide path! She'll float forever down the runway if you let her, so with a little down elevator, I brought the sailplane in and landed smoothly in grass.
Reviewer's Note: My buddy, and videotaping partner, Mike Buzzeo is piloting the Gentle Lady. Mike flew so I could shoot footage for the video. On the day we shot the video, there was absolutely no wind and thermals were non-existent, so our flight times were a little short.
Check out the video to see her in action!
Gentle Lady ARF Or, Download the Video (24meg) CLICK HERE
I'd like to end this review by saying this: No matter what kind of flying you like to do, there is always room in your heart (and hopefully your vehicle) for a sailplane.
The Gentle Lady was a breeze to assemble, and a purely relaxing, enjoyable plane to fly. I'm happy that Great Planes decided to release the Gentle Lady as an ARF- I'm guessing that she'll bring about another generation of 'silent flyers'!
The comments, observations and conclusions made in this review are solely with respect to the particular item the editor reviewed and may not apply generally to similar products by the manufacturer. We cannot be responsible for any manufacturer defects in workmanship or other deficiencies in products like the one featured in the review.