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Old Jun 16, 2014, 12:16 AM
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learning the signs of the wing

so after a few searches, i haven't found much information on "reading the air" with a flying wing.
having a few flights on my Z1, i can get an idea when i come into a thermal but its quite different than a normal thermal ship. i did get quite a good thermal earlier today, to at least twice the height than when i shut off the motor

i still have yet to cut in my flaps, and am anxious to try out small deflections for thermalling as well as large ones for shorter landings.

so what tips and signs do you guys have?
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Old Jun 21, 2014, 01:06 PM
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please guys, i want to learn to thermal a wing and know when its in a thermal so i can get better for competition. i know someone here has some insight into this subject
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Old Jun 21, 2014, 06:26 PM
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I can't come up with any reason why your flying wing would show signs of a thermal any differently than a conventional glider. The guys over in the sailplane thermal forum will of course talk your ears off on this topic.

My method to detect a thermal is to simply pull back on the stick. If your flying through lift, it will go up, if not, it will stall.
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Old Jun 22, 2014, 01:46 AM
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because i haven't done much thermal flying other than some hand launch, i was unsure of how tailless craft react passing thermals, and being that there is no skinny fuselage to change attitude when in one its more difficult to recognize.

thanks for the tips, i will keep practicing and i'm sure i will get the hang of it. its just nice to hear from people with experience thermal flying wings

i still have yet to cut in the flaps, so in the mean time i have just been using a few clicks of up trim to slow it down a little while searching.
its nice to get 30+ minute flights with 5-6 motor runs on one pack
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Old Jun 22, 2014, 07:47 AM
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Follow gliders with skinny fuselages Also Birds, clouds of insects, and trash can mark thermals. Polarizing sunglasses help too.
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Old Jun 22, 2014, 06:34 PM
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Some times I'll look for a wing to bump, forcing a turn. When this happens, the lift is on the side of the plane that got knock up, so turn into that wing and circle.
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Old Aug 21, 2015, 06:09 AM
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Wings are no different than conventional planes, flaps or not. The wing banks away from lift unless you fly right into it on a radius. The nose tends to rise. Wings usually want to fly a little faster and they often hold a banked attitude better than conventional,especially with the weight of a motor..
And they ARE harder to see, so use colored tape to mark the top and fins, and holo tape on the elevons where the movement adds to visibility.
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Old Aug 25, 2015, 11:59 AM
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One of my hang gliding friends is experimenting with a device that uses sensitive electronic "thermometers" mounted at each wingtip.

It's supposed to alert him to where the core of the thermal is relative to him when entering the lift.

I've often thought that some form of floating raked tip could be used to urge the glider to turn towards the stronger lift. While a simple mechanical linkage might suffice, it would likely require an electronic connection.

The idea being that the raked tip would be hinged parallel to the local airflow. Each tip is connected to the opposite tip, so if one gets more lift, it rises and the other tip lowers.

This motion could be used to:

Switch on a light. Or:

Activate the ailerons to lower the wing in the stronger lift. Or:

Use telemetry to signal the flier. Or:

Fill in the blank_____________
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Old Aug 25, 2015, 04:21 PM
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Derk, what is the span and wing loading of your wing? You may be asking a lot if it's as small as I think I'm seeing and has a wing loading as heavy as it appears to be from the construction methods.

Most models signal transitions between flat and rising air and not so much once in the lift. Well, other than by going up instead of down. But I typically find that it's mostly the passage through the transition from one area to the other that produces an effect on the model. So this means if the model is a faster one that the effect will be on the model for less time and if it's a heavier wing loading the effect will also be smaller for both the reasons of speed reducing the time in the transition zone as well as the inertia of trying to move heavier wing panels that don't have as much area for the transition to work with.
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Old Aug 26, 2015, 12:23 AM
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Bruce: here is the listing from aloft hobbies

Specifications:
Span: 68 in (1727 mm)
Wing Area: 502 sq.in (32.4 sq.dm)
All-up-weight: 14 -16 oz (397 - 453 gm)
Aspect Ratio: 9.2
Wing Loading: 4.3 oz/sq.ft (13.1 gm/sq.dm)
Root Airfoil: Zup03068 (6.8% thick) Tip Airfoil: Zup04081 (8.1% thick)

now, with my power gear on its up to 19oz, so the wing loading is up to 5.45oz/sq ft. which i would still consider to be in the glider range

i haven't flown this for a while now, i should really dust it off. last time i flew it, i got to try it out on the slope sans power gear and it was glorious
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Old Aug 26, 2015, 01:53 PM
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Thanks.

And yes, that sort of wing loading is very much in the glider range. So it sure ain't that.

Not all models show thermal signs that much... well, other than by gliding uphill instead of downhill You may well just have that sort of model.

As suggested above be aware of how the apparent turbulence moves the model. A rising wing may well be due to a thermal on that side trying to turn your model away from the lift. Turning into that wing is worth a try. With time and practice you'll notice that some wing kicks result in no altitude gain while others LIFT the one side and not just give the wing a kick. This might be a very subtle thing that takes more air time with that model to learn so you know when to react and when to simply make a correction and carry on.

Bottom line is stick to it. If you have other models that signal lift more strongly it may be just a case of putting in the time to learn the new "language" of the wing.
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Old Aug 26, 2015, 06:38 PM
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yeah, I have not done much thermal flying. I have gone to a number of glider events and watched/ helped time folks and that's how I have seen many types of gliders reacting to air currents, both lift and sink. my personal experience is limited to very small hand launch gliders, and their low weight makes them really show thermal sign well and is quicker to pick up on.

so I suppose the old saying still rings true here, practice makes perfect
and honestly I could end up being better at piloting my Z1 than most of the local glider guys as I don't think too many of them get a ton of stick time between contests.
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Old Aug 26, 2015, 08:58 PM
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Practice for sure. If your wing doesn't present stronger reactions to thermals, other than tipping a wing, then this could be great experience for watching for the really subtle stuff.

I know back when I flew in soaring contests a lot of pilots would slowly walk from the launch winch to some spot out of the way. Not me. I could not be moving and see what the model was doing by any stretch. So I'd always warn the timer that once the model was off the line and heading out to the side to get away from the next one up that I'd be the one sprinting out to one side partway between the winch and the landing area. I'd dart into place and only then plant myself in position and begin the search for lift. It was the only way I could do it and see anything of what the model was doing.

I always avoided flying overhead as well unless I already knew I was in lift and it simply drifted back over me. Again it's impossible to see any vertical cues and for me I even found that speed cues were tough to see when looking up overhead. So work out ahead of the launch point and look for lift there where you have a more favorable angle of perspective. It'll pay off by making any signs that the model does produce that much easier to see. This applies to either winch or electric power soaring.

The other rule is that unless in lift or commiting to land that you NEVER turn downwind. You're losing ground if you do. Always make your turns into the wind until you find lift. Once you think there's lift all rules fall away and you do what is needed to spend the most time in the lift. But until then all turns are into the wind and all control movements are gentle and you just wait for the model to respond. Big stick motions are drag. And drag is lost altitude. And altitude is the soaring pilot's life blood. So you spend it as frugally as possible until you find lift or when between lift zones.

Once you're at a 1000 feet THEN fill your boots with some snazzy glider aerobatics....
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