RC Gliders, Sailplanes and Slope Soaring Discuss rc gliders,rc sailplanes and slope soaring in this forum. Thermaling techniques, airfoils, tips, etc

Where to start?

Old 05-24-2020, 10:39 AM
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Default Where to start?

I'm a full-size glider pilot for more than 15 years. But I'm loving so much these videos from John Woodfield RC Gliders that I started wondering if I could learn these arts too. Could anyone recommend a book, video for me to start learning how to build and fly RC Gliders?
Old 05-24-2020, 11:27 AM
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That's a REALLY big question.....

First off try key word searches on YT and generally out on the web on different questions. Like "beginner flying rc glider" or "building balsa models". Notice the second was not "building balsa rc gliders" because you would eliminate a lot of the basic builds on smaller and simpler free flight models which would provide you with easier to digest lessons in smaller chunks. As such to get a handle on the sort of tools and jigs you'll use I would strongly suggest that you start out with some simple little hand or elastic launched all sheet balsa gliders. These will teach you about different options for shaping the wood and also about how variable a wood balsa can be in terms of strength vs density. There is no other wood I know of which has as wide a range in these terms as balsa.

There are some good books on classic model building out there but they only show up rarely. There's no one text which would give you everything you're asking. But for the sake of some online searching or a visit to your local public library look them up and see if they have any model airplane titles on hand. That could be a good start.

Along with learning to work with balsa a few little 12 to 16 inch chuckies or elastic'ies will teach you gobs about balance and trim of models. By altering the balance and trim you can go from a little hand chuckie that loops tightly around and spikes you in back of the head to that same model with a few tweaks arcing up in a big wide open S turn which transitions to a floating glide at around 60 feet up and takes a good 40 seconds to return to earth... provided it doesn't find a thermal. These are lessons that will also aid you as you move deeper into the RC glider/sailplane hobby with every new design. And really they are just plain (plane?) good fun to fly anyway. How many full size planes do you know of which typically fly with 28 to 35% CG locations? There are some but it's not common. But in the model world such trim and balance is far more common.

From there move on up to something still simple that is built up so you can learn about ribs and spars and covering. Perhaps even a first very simple glider for RC. Just don't get greedy as you're only into this a little ways and I feel it's better to build something simple really well and learn more from it than it is to build something way out of your skill and knowledge range and end up with lots of problems. And simple models can still look good and fly well. Just got to pick the right design.

There are so many low cost ARF models out there which are both high start launched and electric powered that it would likely make sense to just buy a glider and learn to fly even if you still want to learn to build your own from plans or kits. That way you can work up your construction skills and knowledge base while still getting in some air hours.

And as someone that has taught other full size pilots to fly models your background will be both a blessing and a curse at the same time. So prepare to be humbled in some ways while avoiding a lot of the common beginner mistakes in other ways. It's a LOT different when your butt isn't planted in the seat behind the stick. You need to learn to "read" the airplane's attitude from your distant spot on the ground and develop a feel for working the controls where your ONLY feedback is visual. And in that respect you are on an even footing with all other new RC pilots. And typically it is the one big point that all the full size pilots brought up early in their conversion training and shook their heads at how "odd" it felt to them. So in the words of Has Solo from Star Wars "don't get cocky kid!"

Simulators can help but as you likely know already each aircraft has their own unique tricks when you get into the corners of the performance envelopes. And models are no different. So while sims can help with learning the trick of steering the model the proper way when flying towards yourself (it appears backwards but isn't. Think about it) and speed up the method of thinking yourself "into the cockpit" don't trust the sims to handle the same as the real thing in all ways.

There's lots more in this many chaptered "book" but let's start there.
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DanielBurd (05-24-2020)
Old 05-25-2020, 04:03 AM
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Hey B,

Thank you for your complete answer.

I loved the idea of having two parallel projects. One directed to learn how to build a glider and another focused on how to pilot an RC glider.

Regarding the ARF models, do you have any advice for me? Could you send me a link of one glider that you would recommend?

Is it possible to learn how to fly an RC Glider by myself, or an instructor is highly advisable?

I live in Brazil, in an area, that might be difficult to find an instructor.

Regarding simulators, could you also send me a link of one that you recommend?

All the best,

Old 09-16-2020, 07:00 AM
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i like the youtube channel AeroCraft, he builds really nice gliders. i am following his tutorial right now

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