aerobatics might not be as popular or as well-known
as powered aerobatics, but it is covered by the
CAI nonetheless. The pilots of such unpowered
aircrafts have to demonstrate their skills by
performing a series of specific maneuvers within
the boundaries of a virtual box drawn in the sky.
The plane being unpowered, relies on potential
energy (i.e. altitude) and its conversion into
kinetic energy (i.e. speed). The performance requires
a very efficient and very rigid aircraft.
Clearly, there are only a handful of aerobatic
gliders available compared to the much larger
offering of soaring and thermal aircrafts. The
H-101 Salto is a German aerobatic glider designed
and built in the 1970's and is easily recognizable
by its distinctive V-tail and 90 degrees rotating
air brakes located on the trailing edge of the
wings. Like most aerobatic gliders, it shares
a very robust and large fuselage capable of handling
the extreme forces of the maneuvers with minor
deflections of it?s control surfaces which
further enhance the precision that they provide
while performing the most intense figures.
The Salto was built by the German company Start
+ Flug in the 1970s, and was made out of fiberglass.
The glider is still in operation today, and some
may even have been lucky enough to see Bob
Carlton's Super Salto Jet Sailplane Bob Carlton's
Super Salto Jet Sailplane in an airshow somewhere
in the US or around the world.
The latest addition to MCM?s offering is
a semi-scale reproduction of this majestic glider.
The Salto MCM is a four meter electric aircraft
made of a fiberglass fuselage, and samba covered
foam core flying surfaces. MCM designed their
glider for an extremely powerful 2.2kW engine;
which, combined with the light weight, allows
for vertical takeoffs. It is not every day that
we get to see a 10lb, 157inch RC model taking
The Salto is available in three different packages:
version; where the wings and v-tail are pre-covered,
(RTF) version; where everything is installed,
including motor, battery and servos. Only
the receiver is missing (or could be purchased
separately from MCM).
we are testing the RTF version, entirely manufactured,
built and assembled in MCM's workshop in France.
a 4-meter wingspan and a 1.8m long fuselage, the Salto
is a very large plane, and it comes in a very large
box! The box is custom-made by MCM, and was especially
re-enforced for the long journey across the Atlantic.
The first thing that is striking right when you open
the box is the fuselage: it is superbly massive! The
second nice surprise is that everything is ready to
go, and the plane can be airborne very quickly.
only thing needed to complete the plane is to install
the receiver. All other components are factory installed.
For this review, I chose to install the Futaba S7008SB
for two reasons:
It operates on the FASSTest telemetry, and I
became addicted to the live altitude feedback it provides,
when coupled with the altimeter of the same brand.
? MCM used high-quality high
voltage Futaba S3172SV servos all around. The receiver
needs to be high voltage as well to prevent slow servo
provides the battery pack, which consists of 3 Robbe
batteries taped together. Two 4S3300mAh batteries are
connected in series to form a 8s power pack. The third
battery is a 2S1800mAh and powers the radio equipment.
Note that the connector on the radio battery is the
green 6-pin Multiplex kind, which is not commonly used
for radio connection. You can either buy the matching
connector (easily found at most Hobby shops), or use
the folded radio connector mounted on the harness. I
chose to install a MPX female connector on the radio
The Salto is a German glider from the 1970's.
Designed primarily for aerobatics, the Salto
can also perform as a thermal glider, which
is rarely the case for modern day aerobatic
The scale SALTO 4m MCM was designed to reproduce
the versatility of the real plane, making
it a plane that can be used in multiple
The strong and light-weight structure, as
well as the responsiveness on all axes,
makes the Salto a very capable aerobatic
The plane is also surprisingly effective
at thermal gliding, and is a strong competitor
of even the best models!
MCM proposes an ultra-powerful electrical
unit, which further enhances the plane?s
safety by making it easy to get out of a
difficult situation within seconds thanks
to a terrific climbing rate that can be
as high as 12m/s. The plane?s light
weight body combined with its powerful engine
allows for easy hand launches. The Salto
can even perform impressive and safe vertical
Landing is made easy by the implementation
of a new type of airbrakes, which makes
landing on a small field easy.
The elegant, versatile and lightweight SALTO
4m MCM compares easily with the full-composite
glider. The model is manufactured in France
with the same design guidelines which have
made MCM's success for many years.
8S 30C LiPo and
1800mAh 2S LiPo (radio)
battery slides in the nose, where MCM has installed
a nice crate to keep it from moving. The battery is
then firmly attached with a Velcro band. Radio installation
is made easy by the roomy fuselage and the very wide
canopy, which provides an easy access to the whole compartment.
The canopy is secured by a pin in the front and a very
strong magnet in the back. The magnet is VERY strong,
to the point where it can become difficult to unlatch
the canopy. This safety feature can be a bit cumbersome
during utilization. I used a clear piece of tape that
extends on the back of the canopy to facilitate its
wheel is approximately 80mm (3-1/8") in diameter. The turbo
spinner with the air vent and the carbon fiber 14x8 propeller
are both made of high quality materials. The whole spinner
assembly is pre-mounted on the motor, but it is highly recommended
to remove it prior to setting up the radio. With 2.2kW ready
to jump into action, it would be catastrophic to risk having
the motor turn on unexpectedly while programming the radio...
V-tail stabilizers are secured onto the fuselage with
two small metric size set screws. The tail servos are
connected to the receiver with two long extension cables.
The servo installation is simple: the servo tabs have
been removed on both sides, fitted tightly between two
pieces of hardwood, and further secured with glue. The
control surfaces are simply hinged with tape.
The wings are connected to the fuselage with a large aluminum
tube, and secured with two set screws. The ailerons servos
are fixed in the wing in a similar fashion to the tail
real H-101 Salto is equipped with four 90 degree rotating
airbrakes mounted flushed on the trailing edge as shown
on the picture on the left, courtesy of Airliners.net.
MCM decided not to reproduce this complex mechanism
on their semi-scale model. The air brake function is
successfully accomplished by lifting both ailerons at
a full 60 degrees upwards. To achieve this, MCM implemented
a non-conventional kinematics, by using a far reaching
control horn, which brings the pivot point ahead of
the aileron hinges. That creates an uneven displacement,
and allows for a large up-movement.
The MCM Salto is a big plane, and in spite of its size it
is not difficult to transport. The wing splits into two
2-meter halves, and the fuselage is approximately 1.8 meters
long. The plane easily fits in a transportation bag. I highly
recommend a bag or a similar protective method for the wings.
The fuselage is fiberglass and gel coated, which makes for
a very hard surface finish, which will support a rougher
handling that the wings. The samba is a relatively hard
wood, but it is still soft enough to mark easily during
"Conventional" Hand launch:
For the first few flights, and until the plane is perfectly
trimmed, a helper should launch the plane so the pilot can
have both hands on the remote to be able to react swiftly.
The Salto is impressively large, but not as heavy as one
might think. The plane is easy to grab towards the rear
of the wheel, for a successful horizontal hand launch. The
power available from the installed system makes the launch
very easy: the plane is pulled forward and is very responsive
right from the start. I setup the motor on a three-position
switch, as recommended by MCM. I use full power to get the
glider airborne, and then switch it back to a medium power
when the glider reaches a safe altitude, which is only a
matter of seconds really. MCM recommends keeping the high
power burst under 8 seconds in order to prevent over stressing
the power unit.
Vertical Hand Launch:
The Salto is equipped with a very powerful engine, capable
of delivering enough thrust to lift the plane vertically
from a static position?.very impressive. That is no
easy feature, and you can imagine that the plane had to
be built extremely light to achieve this performance. Even
though we knew vertical takeoffs were possible from watching
MCM?s video and also from the many encouraging words
from the company?s owner Michel Clavier, it was not
without a little bit of apprehension that we attempted the
first launch. We followed MCM?s instruction precisely,
and we pointed the nose towards the sky, while bending the
knees, in order to make sure we were not in the propeller?s
plan. Full power was then applied, and ... the plane basically
took it from there! It just climbed up until the power was
Thanks to the power package, the glider rapidly reaches
a good altitude for gliding. The plane is large, and moves
very fast. It can cover very large ground in little time.
The high speed, low passes are beautiful and will please
both your sense of sight and hearing. The "swoooosh" sound
that accompanies the high velocity maneuvers is so enjoyable
that I found myself having flights were I would do only
that: high speed dive, low pass and climb back up!
To be able to perform as an efficient aerobatic glider,
an aeromodel has to show a good conservation of the energy
as it maneuvers. If most of the energy is lost to friction
with the air, then the glider would do not gain enough speed,
and could not complete the attempted maneuver. The Salto
shows a very good ability at saving the unique source of
energy - altitude - and converting this into speed. Loops,
both inside and outside are very straight forward, and can
be made nice and large. The Salto returns the energy efficiently,
and it is very impressive to have a couple of rolls on the
way up after a 5/8 outside loop.
The stall turn requires practice, as it not possible to
use the engine to help with the turn on the top (that would
be cheating!). The rudder has to be kicked before the glider
stops in the sky, or the figure easily becomes an unwanted
The plane flies fast, and it would be very difficult to
land without the effective airbrakes. Both ailerons can
be lifted 60-degrees which has two immediate consequences:
it increases drag and reduces lift. The sink rate increases
suddenly and horizontal speed drop significantly. We found
it easy to bring the glider from some distance, and adjust
the angle of approach using the air brakes, which are conveniently
located on the throttle stick. Once the glider is only a
few feet above the runway, the air brakes are reduced to
a minimum which avoids touching the ground with too much
vertical velocity. The Salto can land on its main wheel
and roll for a few feet before coming to a complete stop.
over two decades of experience in manufacturing
high quality gliders, MCM demonstrates exceptional
craftsmanship and the Salto is no exception to
their offering. The glider is impressive not only
aesthetically, but also in design and high quality
The extreme power developed by the selected power
setup combined with the light weight of the air
frame allows for exciting maneuvers. The vertical
takeoffs are guaranteed to wow the crowd no matter
where you live.
The Salto is enjoyable in every aspect, and will
satisfy the scale amateur and the aerobatic flier
Clavier Modelisme Conception
de modèles réduits
73170 ST JEAN DE CHEVELU Tél. 04 79 36 80
20 Fax 04 79 36 87 88
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.