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Old Jul 10, 2013, 09:40 AM
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Caught my first thermal

So my father in law and I went flying down by the elementary school last saturday, and it turned out to be a great day! He has a calypso, and ive got an Odyssey EP that i tore down and rebuilt with a brushless motor, lipo battery, re-did the control surfaces ect.

Anyhow, we were about to come down for the last time, and i came around about 150' over the school and my plane "bumped". so i said, well i'll try and ride this for a couple minutes and then i'll be done. Long story not quite so long, i ended up riding that for about another half hour! ive never been in lift like that before. i would come into the collum, and give a little up elevator then level out, up elevator and level out. it was just like walking up stairs. then it would start to sink, so i would swing around again, and do the same thing. I had a hard time keeping track of it by the time i was done (and i have better than 2020 vision) comming down was harder than i was expecting too... i ended up having to hard up elevator and hard left rudder to get it to do anything remotely close to comming down.

I'm not trying to brag, but this was the first real thermal that ive ridden from low level up to almost loosing sight of it. ive hung out in bubbles before, but nothing like this! Not sure if this was the best way to ride a thermal, but it seemed to work. is there anything that i could have done different that would have worked better? or that will work better in less favorable conditions?

Thanks for listening, i just needed to tell somebody that understands what it feels like! By the way, im officially hooked...

Phil
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Old Jul 10, 2013, 09:51 AM
Full Scale Piper Cub Driver
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Hinckley, Ohio
Joined Nov 2008
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Good to have you on board - enjoy the addiciton... Of all the aspects of RC flying - fixed wing slime and elec, micros, indoor, helicopters, multicopters, night flying, etc., I enjoy the pure flying of a sailplane the best. Last season and this year I have been flying 3m electric sailplanes exclusively. My goals are altitude (3200' last year) and still trying for one hour flight with a single 30 sec climb. Enjoy and report back often.
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Old Jul 10, 2013, 09:59 AM
R2R
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St Johns, FL, USA
Joined Nov 2009
608 Posts
Awesome! Congrats, Phil.
Whatever it takes to stay in the lift, conventional or not, is always better than falling out of lift.

Allan
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Old Jul 10, 2013, 10:21 AM
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United States, CO, Colorado Springs
Joined Aug 2003
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Congrats and welcome!

First trick is locating and staying in the lift. Next is turning smoothly so you don't lose more altitude or airspeed in the turn than you gain in the lift.

Ideally you'll be able to set up a steady-state turn around the center of the lift so you're rising uniformly through the whole circle. That's what people are referring to when they talk about "coring" a thermal.
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Old Jul 10, 2013, 10:50 AM
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Thanks guys, rdeis that does make sense. Ive been flying for a year now, at least once a month since last july, and i soloed on my third flight. Now having said that, im not the smoothest pilot, and this glider is a bit different than the other planes ive been flying (telemaster 40, stinger, small se5a, u-can-do, night vapor) so it doesnt circle as nicely for me, which i know is making me loose some altitude. (although the telemaster does float almost as well as my glider) Ive been flying the odessey for about 2 weeks now, and it keeps getting better and better, so i think im starting to get the hang of it. and i have to say, out of all the flying ive done, i like soaring the best. honestly the hardest part of this thing is trying to get it to land. at about 40ft and about 4ft it just hits a brick wall and wont come down without some serious down elevator.
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Old Jul 10, 2013, 02:30 PM
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United States, WI, Stoddard
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That's a hat sucker. I caught my first one last year with my Electra.It's truly an awesome experience.With no spoilers it's a lot of work to get it down. Congratulations, I don't know about you but I'm hooked.
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Old Jul 10, 2013, 06:13 PM
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United States, WA, Puyallup
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Addicting isn't it? Before you know it you will be getting into stuff that will start to get you concerned if you are going to lose your plane. I got my Bird of Time into a pickle last weekend, spoilers and nose down attitude and the plane was still climbing. I ended up spinning it to get down. The onboard video turned out pretty cool.

Brian


Sucked up into a Thermal (15 min 31 sec)
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Old Jul 10, 2013, 09:35 PM
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United States, OR, Corvallis
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Good One!

Pretty cool stuff, those thermals! Usually they happen when I'm at work but once in a while when they're not looking I bag one.

Adios - Paul
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Old Jul 10, 2013, 10:13 PM
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Nice flight! It's nice to have on board video, I always learn something watching them.
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Old Jul 10, 2013, 10:48 PM
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United States, WA, Puyallup
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Ahhh I see you are in Corvallis. There is some really good thermals around there in the summer. I bagged a bunch when I lived there while in college. I used to fly out by the fairgrounds in the east side of the campus.

Brian



Quote:
Originally Posted by Pauliwog View Post
Pretty cool stuff, those thermals! Usually they happen when I'm at work but once in a while when they're not looking I bag one.

Adios - Paul
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Old Jul 11, 2013, 01:18 PM
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United States, MA, Waltham
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Feels like magic that first time, doesn't it?

I think you're allowed to brag. I was curious about your glider. If these specs are correct, including the 52 to 55 oz. figure:
http://www.e-fliterc.com/Products/De...ProdID=EFL1050
then your glider has almost twice the wing loading (13 to 14 oz. per square foot!) that the slightly overweight Olympic 650 I learned on had (just over 7 oz. per square foot).

If you tried something like an original Radian, or, better, an Olympic II, then I think you'd really be amazed at how much easier it is to catch lift and to land. Particularly with rudder elevator as opposed to using ailerons. You're likely flying about 40 percent faster than something with half the wing loading, and your model will have twice as much kinetic energy per oz. to dissipate when slowing down from those higher speeds. WIth the kind of power it takes to loft your Odyssey, you could probably give a Paragon an adequate climb. And the Paragon is a super floater. Ever think about building something like that?

BTW, sounds like you did ok in the father in law lottery.
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Old Jul 11, 2013, 02:15 PM
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Oh Oh! That is going to cost Ya!! Congratulations....
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Old Jul 21, 2013, 06:48 AM
Balsa addiction since age 3
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Upstate NY
Joined May 2005
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Welcome to the addiction!

I caught my first thermal with a home built "glider" that I built on my dorm desk! It was 11' wing with flaps and powered with a cox .15. That was in 1982

Scott
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Old Jul 21, 2013, 09:05 AM
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Harbor City, CA
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If the plane that you are flying hasn't shown you any signs of thermals in the past, it may be nose heavy.
If its got "decalage" that is more than needed (LE of the wing raised relative to the stab), this will help encourage you to set the plane up nose heavy if you try to get the plane trimmed with neutral elevator.

A moderately nose heavy plane will fly through thermals without indicating them well.
Thermals are shown to you by the plane a few ways-

1. Plane banks left or right on its own.
2. Plane noses up on its own or raises and speeds up on its own.
3. plane yaws to one side on its own.
4. Planes control functions become very sensitive or gain effect for the given airspeed.

All of these usually indicate a thermal for me. What you need to remember is that a thermal "pushes" your plane away from it. So, you need to fight that push to stay in it normally, especially if the thermal is small (which they usually are closer to the ground).

Try to "mark" the suspected thermal by making a couple figure 8's in the area, so that you have 4 loops. Which loop has the plane going up? Circle in that quadrant.

When you circle, you will likely go up better on one side than the other, if you have not given too much input (which will mask what the plane is trying to show you). So, if one side is better than the other, favor it by stretching your circle in that direction a little. Make your circle an oval.

Most beginners that find a thermal end up up wind of the thermal. Thermals usually (but not always) drift with the wind. So you should drift with it. A thermal in a 5 MPH breeze would travel a MILE in twelve minutes.....

Have fun, thermalling is addictive!
Don't get so high you can't see your plane. Once at a good altitude, fly straight and get out of your thermal and search for another.

R,
Target
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Old Jul 22, 2013, 07:05 AM
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Target that is an excellent post on the subject of detecting thermals. Couple of other things that can go on though. If the thermal source is stationary like a parking lot or a spot on a ridge then the base of the thermal won't move and the thermal will slant. What will happen then is that the glider will get blown out the downwind side of the thermal. So you need to continue to work this kind of thermal upwind. If you watch the buzzards on a windy day you will see them do this. They take a longer upwind leg to stay in the lift.
Something else that can happen with wind is that the thermals will "street", so that they can be worked straight up wind without turning.
Sometimes if you are working ridge lift and thermal takes off it will push the outer wing upwards and no matter how hard you turn into it you can't get the glider to go that way. In this case you need to make a 270° correction turning into the ridge. This is counter-intuitive to standard ridge soaring (i.e. always turn upwind) but it will put the glider right in the thermal lift. Fighting against the thermal off the outer wing may actually cause loss of control. By turning into the ridge the glider is turned more quickly and thus may actually avoid a crash.
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