Originally Posted by sneu
Given that vast majority of flights are flown other than zero lift still air it does not seem to make sense to me to optimize a design for the minority condition. The ability to search more area for lift beats a slight sink rate advantage nearly every time.
I guess one could optimize for the minority condition (zero lift, early morning) and then ballast for the other 90% of flying conditions? Personally I prefer the way a heavier wing loading flies and dont understand this push towards uber lite 60oz 4 meter ships. My beat up supra is in the mid 70's and can handle the calm conditions well enough. In XC flying here on the west coast we all fly at the max allowed 5kg (11 lbs, 176 oz) and a 14-15oz wing loading seems to be about right which limits the size of the racers. Often we wish we could add even more wieght. And our XC planes aren't a whole lot bigger than the current crop of TD models. But XC flights can last hours over a wide variety of terrian and conditions, not minutes over limited flat field terrain. Perhaps we get away with this because in sink or zero lift we can cruise down the road for miles until conditions improve. And these heavy ships are quite capable of low saves at handlaunch hieghts, sometimes 3, 4 or more over the course of a 40 mile flight.
The whole topic of wing loading for the various flight tasks is complicated, but interesting.
ps: btw, Steve, for next years ALES season I am going to pack one of your 1506 2.5D 6.7 motors into a Nan Orion. RFM 17x13, 2200 4S 45-90C... not exactly a floater. Will it be the optimum ALES sailplane? No. Will it be fun? Hell yes.