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Archive for March, 2009
Posted by schrederman | Mar 16, 2009 @ 12:26 PM | 10,159 Views
Once upon a time, there was a glider boom... It was the '70s and sailplane popularity rose to unprecedented hights. This was spurred on by the likes of Lee Renaud, Cecil Haga, Ed Slobod, Hugh Stock, Mark Smith, Bob Dodgson, and many others. There were many choices available, and everyone that flew, had to learn to build. Recently I learned how many kits were sold in that era and it's staggering. However, along came bagged wings, molded models, and ARFs in general. There are holdouts, in fact quite a few of us, but enough to support a new kit business? I think not. With the few kit manufacturers left, the builders have fewer choices than in the past, but the market just isn't there. Now, if a modeller wnats to build something that's not available, he either designs and builds it, or orders plans and scratches it out.

The new modellers, and in fact, the majority of the old modellers no longer want to build. Many won't even install radio gear in their new moldies. They buy it and have it shipped to someone that will do that for them. That's not some kind of negative remark, just the facts... that's just the way it is. In the olden days, the builders would modify kits in the process of building, and some of those mods became improvements that we all enjoyed. Now, with moldies, if you modify it, you get labeled as some kind of nut... See some of the "winglet" thread comments if you don't believe this.

The unfortunate piece of this is that innovation suffers. When...Continue Reading
Posted by schrederman | Mar 07, 2009 @ 09:01 PM | 10,878 Views
Well, I have to admit that I wasn't all that impressed with my first molded sailplane. I had a built-up ARF that I liked just as well at half the money. I had a Dragonfly Strong that flew at least as well as my Onyx JW. Unfortunately, at first I made the mistake of judging all moldies by this one. I was ready to give up on the molded model thing all together. Then I had an epiphany as I was remembering the old days of Legionairs, Grand Esprits, and some of the other stuff. It was obvious then that some models fit my flying style and some just didn't. I remember guys talking about how great their Vikings were, but I built one and flew it 10 times, before selling it. It was a fine sailplane, but I didn't like it.

Flash forward to 2008 and I placed my Onyx JW up for sale. I thought I would maybe try the hottest brand going and see if I liked it better. I crashed it instead... Amazingly enough, I almost crashed the new Xplorer right out of the box. I had tried hard to diagnose what happened to my JW and thought I had a wiring chafe. It turned out to be a bad servo on the right aileron, and I had installed the same thing in my new Xplorer. I got lucky. On the first launch, I could tell I had everything very close to right. I flew for 25 minutes from a 150' launch. However when I touched down, the right aileron went full down and locked. When the JW crashed, it had entered a left turn that I couldn't coax it out of... and it went in hard from about 100'. Well, I went through my...Continue Reading