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Basic sailplane question

Old 10-29-2007, 09:10 AM
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rc_heli_flier
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Default Basic sailplane question

Hi guys,
I've been looking at getting a sailplane and have some basic questions. I've been flying rc for over 30 years (helis and planes) but have little experience with sailplanes. I would prefer getting one that has ailerons as opposed to rudder only like a Spectra (which I have now). I not only want something that looks nice but flies nice as well. Here are two ships I've looked at:

http://www3.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...?&I=LXJYP9&P=0

http://www.hobby-lobby.com/asw28.htm

Now, I know those are vastly different types of ships, but that's really what I need to know - just how different are they? The one from Great planes has about the same wingspan but has over twice as many sq. inches. That obviously results in a lower wing loading, but is that generally a good thing with a sailplane? I would think the Great Planes one would be much more of a floater and the one from Hobby-Lobby would probably be less forgiving but probably penetrate better.

So, that's basically what I want to know - what do I need to start with or what would be good to start with, being a novice at sailplanes but I suppose an expert with other types of rc aircraft?

Thanks!
Old 10-29-2007, 09:47 AM
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glover1482
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Default RE: Basic sailplane question

Since sailplanes are frequently more "special purpose" than other airplanes, questions you should answer are:

1) Do I want to thermal soar?
2) Do I want to slope soar?
3) How strong is the wind where I'll typically fly?
4) Will I want an electric motor with folding prop?
5) Do I want to hand launch or "string launch" (aerotow, hi-start or winch)?
6) How fast do I want the sailplane to fly?

Fly safe, Glover
Old 10-29-2007, 10:00 AM
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kamakasi
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Default RE: Basic sailplane question

good to see your interest in silent flight. The spirit is some what of a floater. meaning it does not fly really fast but from experience it will thermal until out of sight. The asw-28 will take a bit more flying to keep it in the air as it will need to be flown faster to maintain a decent l\d. with your flight experience neither plane would pose a problem. I would however suggest a plane that has spoilers or flaps to help shorten the landing. with a glider you only get one shot to put it down, unless you like down wind landings. or alot of walking
Old 10-29-2007, 10:53 AM
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Default RE: Basic sailplane question

Looks like you want an ARF rather than a kit. I ask because the Spirit 100 kit is lighter than the 100 ARF.

Lower wing loading is desireable in a sailplane but not mandatory. Typically under 10 ounces is preferable and most of the higher performing planes are under 9 oz/sq ft. Many RES planes are under 7 oz/Sqft.

How did you pick these?

Price?

Someone else has one?

Random?

What is your budget?

How will you launch? - electric motor? Winch? Hi-start? Toss it off a cliff into slope lift?

What is your landing area like? How big? Rocks? Soft Grass?

What transmitter will you be using? ( goes to mixing and such )

I presume you are thinking thermal soaring as opposed to slope soaring, but you do not say. Different criteria.

Both are about 100 inches. Anything magic about that number? Why not 2 meter, 3 meter, 4 meter?

If you had the perfect plane and it did exactly what you wanted .... describe it. Three are dozens, and perhaps hundereds of planes to choose from. I still don't know how to guide you.

================================


Maybe this will help:

Many new sailplane/glider pilots start with 2 meter foam or
wood planes. If you are one of these and have found you
love thermal soaring, and who wouldn't, you may be wondering
what your next step up plane might be. This is written for you.

If you feel you are ready to add that next plane to your fleet, there are
all kinds of kits and ARFs out there. I am going to bring a few to your
attention. These will traverse a wind range of wing spans, materials,
control surface choices as well as kits and ARFs and a big
spread on prices. There are no RTF planes in this discussion.


Bigger Flies Better

There is a saying in the sailplane field that bigger planes fly better.
New pilots are usually started on 2M planes because they are
typically lower in cost, easier to handle on the ground and less
intimidating than larger planes. Also they are easy to transport.
And, there are even some RTF or receiver ready 2M planes
making it easier for the new flyer to get started.
And let's not forget that they are fun to fly!

However, like a small boat vs. a large boat, the larger planes tend to fly
better across a wider range of conditions. In addition, if you plan to
range out from the field in search of lift, or to continue to work the lift
you have, a larger plane is easier to see farther away. So, there can be
many good reasons to consider larger wing span planes.

On the other hand, you have to store and transport your plane. My
largest sailplane has a wing span of 3.4 meters. With the wings removed,
they "just fit" in my car with the back seat knocked down and the wings
going from the back of my trunk to the back of the passenger seat. That is
as long as I want to go, at least with this car. I have two 2M planes that
has a one piece wing which must stretch from the trunk through the open back
seat and up between the front seats. If you are going to have a 1 piece
wing, then storage and transport space is more of an issue. So consider
transport and wing construction. I prefer my planes to have two piece or
three piece wings for easier storage and transport.


Sport or Contest?

If you are flying strictly for the joy of soaring, then make your choice for
your next plane according to your desires. However if you have gotten a
taste of contest flying and you love it, as I do, this will influence your
next choice.

Contests are usually broken down into 2 M, Standard Class which goes from 2
M to 2.5M or about 100 inches, and Unlimited which includes all wing spans,
but usually involves planes with 3M wing spans and above. Note that most
unlimited contests don't mind if you enter a smaller plane.


Control Surfaces

Then there are the control surface competition classes. Typically there is
RES and all other. RES contests are restricted to planes with rudder and
elevator controls with spoilers optional. Some RES classes may allow OR/E
flaps, but check first. Usually, if a contest is not specifically RES,
then you can fly whatever controls you like, with OR/E/A/F
being most common.

One advantage of RES is that you can use a simpler radio system as only
three channels are needed. A standard 3 channel radio can fly the plane,
but you will be better served with at least an entry level computer radio
that has elevator compensation for the spoiler. It may be listed as flap to
elevator compensation in the manual but it can be used with the spoiler.

Planes with ailerons or ailerons and flaps will require at least a 4 channel
standard radio and typically you will want a 6+ channel midrange or
advanced computer radio to take advantage of the plane's ability to
change the shape of the wing by moving the flaps and ailerons to new
positions during flight. If you go OR/E/A or OR/E/A/F, at
some point you will want to consider investment in this kind of radio
system.


Construction

Finally there is construction to consider. Are you going to fly in woody,
nostalgia or perhaps builders class contests. Each of these have guidelines
as to materials, perhaps the date of the design of the plane and there may
be a requirement that you build it yourself from a kit or from plans. Know
your guidelines before you buy your next contest plane.

The message is, if you are flying for your own enjoyment, then fly what you
wish. If you plan to fly competition, whether serious or just for the fun
of it, like me, know what is permitted so you don't find out your beautiful
new sailplane is not permitted in the contest you plan to fly.

Over time you may accumulate several planes so that you can fly in a variety
of events. Or you may choose planes according to weather conditions.
Whatever the case, they do tend to find their way into your hanger over
time.


An Example

Our club sponsors monthly contests for 2M and unlimited gliders. I am also
a member of the Eastern Soaring League, so I also take their contests into
consideration when selecting a plane.

For the club 2M I fly a Spirit RES, which was my first sailplane, and a
Sagitta 600 RES. I have a 2M full house plane awaiting completion that I
will eventually fly for fun and for our club 2M contests.

The ESL organizes two classes of competition that I enjoy. One is for hand
launched/discus launched planes up to 60" in wing span. I have two low cost
simple planes that I fly in these. I won't win but my
skills are growing as I fly with the accomplished pilots.

The other ESL contests are winch launched planes of unlimited span and any
controls. As long as it can be launched from a winch, you can fly it. You
will see wood and foam 1.8 M planes all the way to 3.7 M full house molded
planes, and larger is permitted.

Over the last four years my contest planes have progressed. In my first ESL
Unlimited contest, I flew a used 2M Sagitta 600 RES as my contest plane.
Then I added a used 2.9M Airtronics Legend R/E/A/F woody,
which became my contest plane, and the Sagitta became a back-up. I recently
added a new Polecat 3.1M R/E/A/F Thermal Dancer as my primary contest
plane with the Legend as back-up. It is nice to have a new plane that no
one else has flown, so my Thermal Dancer was purchased new. It is all
mine!


Planes for your consideration

What follows are planes that are available new. You can always look at used
planes, but since their quality and availability are not reliable, that is
not the subject of this discussion. There are always deals available on
used planes, if you can find one. Just make sure you know what you are
buying.

I group the planes according to common contest wing span sizes.

Up to 2.0 M
Up to 2.5 M/100" - also called standard class
Any size, but typically over 2.5M, is the unlimited class.

I have the various materials and control surfaces mixed together but I do
mention what they are. These planes would be good step up
planes from the starter planes. As you go up the price ladder, you get to
more advanced sport planes or intermediate contest planes for American
style winch launched thermal duration contests. You will likely find
something here for whatever class you wish to fly and whatever your budget.

I set a price limit of $500 for the 2M planes. Larger planes are capped at
$700 in this arbitrarily "midrange" class of planes. This is the cost for
the kit or ARF alone. This does not include electronics or accessories.
However there are planes on the list for under $200, so there is
something for everyone.

If you have the budget, the leading contest planes, like the Sharon, the
Supra, the Icon typically run over $1000. Everyone talks about those. This
list is more for the person that wants to step up from their entry level
plane but is not prepared to spend that kind of money for just the airframe.

If you have recommendations for planes that are available NEW, please feel
free to post your recommendation, a link to the source of the plane, and why
you recommend it.

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showt...=2#post6925057


Up to 2.0 M

Spirit Elite - 2M Kit or ARF $60-$100
http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...?&I=LXNH96&P=7
http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...?&I=LXAVR0&P=7

Skybench Lil Bird - $108
RES - 2M Kit
http://skybench.com/slbird.html

Rogue from E Whyte - 2M
RES $175 kit, $350 ARF
http://www.hilaunch.com/Models.htm

Renny - 2M ARF $239
I have my eye on this one for myself
R/E/A/F - built up wing with composit D box construction
http://www.nesail.com/detail.php?productID=1185
Build Thread
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=623471

Gabby - 2M $309
R/E/A/F Moded wing construction
http://www.nesail.com/detail.php?productID=5288

Enigma 2 M ARF - $339
R/E/A/F - built up wing with composit D box construction
http://www.nesail.com/detail.php?productID=1184

Mini Graphite - 1.9 M $400 ARF
R/E/A/F - Hollow Molded wing with carbon capped spar
http://www.kennedycomposites.com

Hyper 2M ARF - $449
R/E/A/F - built up wing with composit D box construction
http://www.nesail.com/detail.php?productID=5125

Alto - 2m $469 ARF
R/E/A/R - built up wing with carbon D Box and carbon capped ribs
http://www.soaringusa.com/products/p...ategory_id=258

Laser 2 M ARF - $479
R/E/A/F - Bagged carbon wing over foam
http://www.nesail.com/detail.php?productID=59

SiSu C 2M - $464
R/E/A/F - Carbon Fiber/Kevlar sheeted wing
http://www.nesail.com/detail.php?productID=65

This thread has some other opinions on good 2M gliders
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showt...=6#post7076175


2.01 Meter to 2.5 M or 100 inches - Standard Class

Spirit 100 - Kit or ARF - $90 - $140
2.5M all wood wing - the kit can be RES or R/E/A/F with
optional spoilers
http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...?&I=LXJ598&P=7
http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...?&I=LXJYP9&P=7
Review
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=444966

Skybench Big Bird - $138
2.5 M built up RES wood kit
http://www.skybench.com/slbird.html

JK Thermik - $179
2.5 M R/E/A foam core wing sheeted with black poplar wood -
ARF
http://www.arthobby.com/shop.html

Sierra - $220
2.5 M R/E/A/F foam core wing sheeted with black poplar
wood - ARF
http://www.arthobby.com/shop.html
Review
http://www.arthobby.com/shop.html - Under Review tab

Wisper - 2.04 M ARF - $359
R/E/A/F - hollow molded wing with carbon spar -
Probably too big for most 2M events
http://www.soaringusa.com/products/p...ategory_id=258

Opus $525
2.5M R/E/A/F bagged foam core wing
http://www.nesail.com/detail.php?productID=69

Organic - $595
2.5M Built up wood/Kevlar wing - R/E/A/F ARF
http://www.kennedycomposites.com


Over 2.5 M or over 100" = Unlimited Class

Majestic 110" - $129
110 " 2.8M built up wood RES plane - Kit
http://www.mountainmodels.com/produc...roducts_id=175

Marauder - $125
115" 2.9 M built up wood RES plane - Kit
http://www.mmglidertech.com/marauder.html
Build Thread
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showt...=571430&page=5

EZ Bubble Dancer - $320
3M built up RES - built up wood wing with carbon/Kevlar
caps - kit
Like to build one of these someday
http://polecataero.com/products/ezbd
Build manual
http://www.polecataero.com/uploads/e...docs-DRAFT.pdf
Build page
http://thelocust.org/soaring/ezbd/

Pelican - $550
Have seen this one fly - Excellent
3.2 M R/E/A/F bagged wing ARF
http://www.nesail.com/detail.php?productID=80

Dragonfly Strong - $599
3.5M R/E/A/F composite fuse with wood buit up wing. ARF
May qualify for Woody events
http://www.soaringusa.com/products/p...ategory_id=259
Build Thread
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=591423

Topaz - $649
3.0 MRES built up composite wing ARF
http://www.hobbyclub.com/topazRes+.htm

Danny $649
3.0M RES Built up Composite ARF
http://www.hobbyclub.com/Danny-RES.htm

SchpotDorker - $649
2.9M R/E/A/F bagged wing composite plane
http://www.nesail.com/detail.php?productID=83

Condor - $649
3.2M R/E/A/F Built up wing wood/carbon/Kevlar with Kevlar D
tube - ARF
http://www.soaringusa.com/products/p...ategory_id=293

Thermal Dancer - $650
I own this one. Love it!
3.1M R/E/A/F Composit bagged wing, pod and boom design.
ARF/KIT
http://polecataero.com/products/thermal-dancer
Build Thread
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=281614

Soprano - $650
3.1M RES built up wing w/ carbon/Kevlar caps and D tube
design - ARF
http://www.isthmusmodels.com/product...products_id=97
Review
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=349693

Ava - $680
3 M RES built up wood, carbon Kevlar wing ARF
I want one of these!
http://www.kennedycomposites.com

Psyco 3 LT $689
3.2M R/E/A/F bagged wing ARF
http://www.nesail.com/detail.php?productID=81

Hybrid - $700
3.0 M R/E/A/F carbon/Kevlar D tube built up wing ARF
http://www.nesail.com/detail.php?productID=74

As stated above, there are many many other planes, but these
should give you enough of a start and the opportunity to sample
a wide range of planes.

Clear skies and safe flying!

Old 10-29-2007, 12:44 PM
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rc_heli_flier
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Default RE: Basic sailplane question

Well, I guess I need to give more details!:

How did you pick these?
No special way, except that they are a few options I've seen for the price range I had im mind, and I was thinking about using a hi-start instead of having a motor on it to keep it more simple, but that hasn't been 100% ruled out yet.

How will you launch? - Toss it off a cliff into slope lift?
Our flying field is on a hillside facing west, so most of the year we get good conditions for thermals.

What is your landing area like? How big? Rocks? Soft Grass?
Our fild had nice smooth grass runways - no rocks.

What transmitter will you be using? ( goes to mixing and such )
I have a JR 9303, so any mixing I need to do is possible.

I presume you are thinking thermal soaring as opposed to slope soaring, but you do not say. Different criteria.
We actually at different time of the year can have both conditions at our field, but mostly thermaling, since that's what we get most of the year.

Both are about 100 inches. Anything magic about that number? Why not 2 meter, 3 meter, 4 meter?
No, just a good size to see that are resonably priced and easy to transport. I'm not really opposed to any size, just want to keep it easy to see, so I thought around 100" would be a good starting point.

Old 10-29-2007, 12:57 PM
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aeajr
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Default RE: Basic sailplane question

Great info. Thanks.

Actually 100" planes are not that common anymore. Most gliders are 2M or close to 3M and above. The list I posted should offer you a good cross section. Those are thermal planes but any of them can be flown on the slope.
Old 10-29-2007, 12:59 PM
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jooNorway
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Default RE: Basic sailplane question

The Spirit Elite have a flat bottom airfoil. This plane would propably be the best for bungee and thermal flying. Also performs OK on the slope, but have limited speed and acro abilities.

The ASW have a modern HQ airfoil, quite thick but good for allround flying. This plane would both fly good in thermals, and will also be alive, fast and agile on the slope. But I have a feeling you won`t get same height on a bungee as the Spirit. If you use a winch it will be opposite, since you propably would be able to zoom the ASW much higher. If the airframe take the stress
Old 11-01-2007, 12:34 AM
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Default RE: Basic sailplane question

HI! Aeajr! you missed one Majestic 110
http://www.mountainmo dels.com/product_info.php?cPath=25_28&products_id=175&osCsid=036777045468752cd9a0a350e5e09588

Late!

Borrrow Money from a Pessimist, they don't expect it back
Old 11-01-2007, 12:37 AM
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slopeboy
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Default RE: Basic sailplane question

that's http://www.laserartco.com/
Old 11-01-2007, 02:19 PM
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Default RE: Basic sailplane question

Good luck, you'll love it. I love to relax glider flying after a few stressful heli flights. My fellow heli pilots snicker and call it boring though, I prefer to call it being versitle.
Old 11-07-2007, 11:52 PM
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Default RE: Basic sailplane question

If you already know how to fly aileron planes and by a slope floaters are fun but look into slope combat epp ships. Bullet proof and they can hook up on a lift and sky out or you can fly the face of the slope for a huge rush.
Good luck Mark in Alta Loma

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