RCU Review: ST Model Salto

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    Contributed by: Laurent Caekebeke | Published: November 2015 | Views: 16008 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon
    Salto ST Model on RCU

    • The EDF retract system is compact and robust
    • The single servo for the aileron makes the wing quick-connect feature much less attractive
    For the latest addition to their glider offering, ST Model decided to reproduce a popular aerobatic glider of the 70's: the H-101 Salto. The original was a pure glider, designed to withstand the most extreme aerobatic figures. The good and robust design of this aerobatic glider inspired Bob Carlton, who decided to fit a (rather massive!) jet engine above the fuselage, and nicknamed his creation the Super Salto. ST Model must have appreciated Mr. Carlton's self-launching Salto, and incorporated a electric powered ducted fan (EDF) on their rendition of the Salto.

    But they didn't stop there: they went one engineering step further and made the EDF unit mounted on a retractable arm. When the motor is not activated, the turbine sits inside the streamlined fuselage behind articulated doors. That reduces the drag of the airframe, and enhances the performance. There is no denying that first and foremost, it adds a lot to the "cool" factor of this glider!

    The ST Model is an EPO foam 1.8m glider, available in the US in Ready-to-fly version only.

    Product Details

    manufacturer picture
    Manufacturer's Description:

    This receiver-ready self-launching glider incorporates a dorsal-mount electric ducted fan unit to power the glider into the sky. Once it has achieved sufficient height, the motor can be retracted to clean up the aerodynamics of the model and increase your soaring time. All finishing and most assembly is done for you.


    Manufacturer: ST Model
    Wingspan: 71.1 in (1806 mm)
    Length: 31.9 in (810 mm)
    Wing Area:  341 in² (22.1dm²)
    Weight Range: 31 oz (880 g)
    Wing Loading:  13.1 oz/ft² (39.9 g/dm²)
    Battery 3S 1800mAh LiPo battery pack
    Requires:  5-channel radio (AIL-ELE-RUD-THR-RMS)
    Price: $130 (at time of review)

    First Look and setting

    The box is well decorated and designed to bring the plane safely from the manufacturing plant to your favorite hobby shop It bares the usual indication we find on ST Model box, including the surprising "2.4ghz R/C system" and the description of the material used to build the plane which is sold as "crash resistant". We will see!

    The model is delivered Ready-to-fly, and there is really not much left for the user to complete the assembly.
    The V-tail surfaces simply screw on the fuselage. The pushrod linkage are factory installed in the fuselage. Make sure to turn on the radio, and center the servos before tightening the linkage set screws.

    The wing attachment was designed for easy removal at the field, with no tool required. The wing is inserted on the carbon wing tube, and a quick rotation engage a pin at the wing root. A plastic tab underneath the wing prevent the wing from rotating back out. This is original and well made.

    Here is caveat: there is only one aileron servo, located in the fuselage, so every time the wing are removed, the control linkage must be set loose. That means that not only that the tool-less quick-connect feature of the wing becomes pointless, but also the aileron's neutral trim will have to be readjusted every time the wings are removed.

    The fuselage is equipped with the foam main wheel in a front and a smaller plastic wheel in the tail. These wheels are great for landing on concrete runway, and they also allow the Salto to take off on its own, as long as the glider can be pointed into the wind.
    The nicest and coolest feature of this plane is the retractable EDF mounted behind the canopy. The system is fast, and appears robust enough. It doesn't look serviceable, so it is better to handle this unit with caution.

    Used for the review

    The light  6 channels R6106HFC is a good match to the St model Salto.
    We used the recommended battery: Flyzone LiPo 3S 1300mAh 15C. The model is not power hungry, despite the EDF unit used to bring it to altitude.

    Flight Report

    Hand launch:
    This is the method used for the first couple of takeoffs, until we got the plane correctly trimmed. It is a very easy process: full power is applied, which extends and activates the EDF unit, and the glider is launched as horizontal as possible. On a windy day, the relative airspeed makes it climb very fast the first few meters and then it stabilizes and enter a normal ascent rate. On a calm day, it will be important to keep the plane horizontal until it gains enough speed to avoid any premature stall.
    Self launch:
    Very much like its scale counterpart, the ST Model Salto is capable of taking off on its own, as long as the friction against the runway is low enough. That means basically that it won't take off from grass, but will have no problem to take off on a concrete runway. As long as the plane is on the ground, there is limited rudder control, and the Salto may easily be pushed around by the wind. The rudder does not have enough authority for a crosswind take off, but if the nose is directed 
    straight at the wind, the Salto will have no problem taking off on its own. This is a very nice feature, and not very frequent for a plane of that size (although ST Model has an unusually large offering of self-launching gliders in the 2-meter-wingspan range.)

    The Salto hold a steady 20-30 degrees ascent to altitude. The 
    moderate climb rate is consistent with the low power used by the EDF unit, and the small battery required to fly. That makes for a lighter plane, which improves the glide performance. The Salto doesn't have any tendency to pitch up or down when the power is applied. The down thrust (or in this case, "up thrust") imbedded in the EDF mount by design is correctly adjusted. That is less work for the pilot, as there is no correction to apply during flight.

    The stall only appears a very low speed but it is brutal, with a tendency to roll over on one wing. The plane recovers easily in less than 30 feet, thanks to a very light weight airframe. This is to be watched on landing, as it better to come with some speed, even if the plane ends up rolling over a long distance.

    All the classic aerobatic maneuvers can be performed with ease, as long as it doesn't require too much vertical momentum. The Salto energy retention is correct for being a foamy, but the light weight and the slight airframe deformation under load are detrimental for this type of flying. The aerobatic glider tends to have a higher wing loading, and they are as rigid as possible. That has a direct consequence on the diameter of the loop, which must be kept tight and will be preceded by a slight descent to gain momentum. The Salto is very stable in all condition, will not surprise its pilot with a dynamic stall, which is a big plus for learning glider aerobatics.

    Bringing the glider to earth is as easy as it gets. The fuselage and wings are kept parallel to the runway almost until touchdown. A small flair at the end brings the 2 wheels to touch at almost the same time, and reduces some the rolling distance. The Salto keeps a good aileron authority even at slow speed on the runway, so it is easy to keep the wing tips from rubbing against the pavement while the plane is still moving.


    ST Model brings us a fun aerobatic glider with the H101 Salto. The self-launch electric glider has no bad tendency and will be the perfect plane for fun and relaxing flights. The retractable EDF unit is well designed and feels robust enough to last the life the plane.

    Designing a glider with all of these features and qualities and be able to bring it at a sale price of $130 ready-to-fly is quite an achievement from ST Model.

    References and links

    Comments on RCU Review: ST Model Salto

    Posted by: SigMan on 05/16/2016
    i want it.
    Page: 1
    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.

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