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Old Jun 23, 2011, 05:49 PM
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EightOhMike's Avatar
United States, NC, Greensboro
Joined May 2011
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Balsa Electric/Sailplane kit recommendations, anyone?

Hi folks--

I'm a total newbie here, but looking for a quality balsa kit for an electric sailplane to build while I learn to fly on something ARF/RTF-like. I've tried a couple searches of the threads here, but you guys have compiled such a huge forum that the results have been mind-boggling.

I'm looking for something in the one- to two-meter wingspan neighborhood, that might be good for thermal-cruising or just having fun drifting down off of powered ascents. It'll likely be flown in middle Ohio (father-in-law's place near Cleveland) rather than near my home in NC., so slope soaring won't be a realistic use for it.

Thanks in advance for any help you folks can provide.

Mike
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Old Jun 23, 2011, 10:56 PM
Making wood fly since 2007
Windependence's Avatar
USA, MN, Rochester
Joined Mar 2008
2,533 Posts
Hi Mike,

Welcome to the addiction. There are many very good planes out there for builders. When it comes to first builds the list of recommended planes usually goes something like this: (in no particular order)

Sig Riser 2M
Sig Riser 100"
Oly II
Gentle Lady
Chrysalis
Bird of Time
Any of Ray's Bird series of planes
Grand Illusion

Honestly these are all fine planes and you would do well with any of them. If you are willing to go a little bigger then you could add to the list the:

Marauder
Oly III
Mirage
A bunch more planes on ray's site
Houston Hawk
Genie

I am sure I missed a few and people will add them. The bottom line is that all of these planes have proven themselves as very good balsa kits. They all have excellent customer service after the sale and you will do well with any one of them. Everyone of these have or can be converted to e-power. Now if you really want to scratch build a plane from nothing more than a plan and some wood stock... well that is another list entirely.

Not sure where you are now but you mentioned Cleveland, there is a guy in lower MI selling a Riser 100 for $35 here in the for sale section. That plane would be worth a Sunday afternoon drive to get. Maybe he would meet you halfway.

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showt...ighlight=riser

Wayne
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Old Jun 23, 2011, 11:52 PM
KC
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United States, FL, Orlando
Joined Sep 2006
4,038 Posts
Quote:
Honestly these are all fine planes and you would do well with any of them.
This is very true! But have a closer look at the Chrysalis 2-M Electric, especially if this is your first balsa build.

The kits are very high in quality, and the designer, Don Stackhouse, is always around to help with the build and the wealth of his knowledge is invaluable.

You should also find plenty of Chysalis builds (title search) in this forum for reference.

KC
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Old Jun 24, 2011, 09:50 AM
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United States, NC, Greensboro
Joined May 2011
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Many thanks!

Wayne and KC--

Thanks, guys, for the thoughtful replies, which are exactly what I needed. I'll give them all a look. In fact, I suspect I'll be in for two when I make the decision.

My father-in-law was once in the hobby, maybe twenty-five years ago, and recently retired. I want to send him a kit now that he's retired and get him BACK into the hobby. I, on the other hand, built balsa and tissue rubber-band-powered models as a kid and loved it, but for some reason never got into the RC side of the hobby. After going to Joe Nall this year I realized what I'd been missing, and can't wait to get going on it.

As I mentioned, I'll learn on a foam RTF or ARF (and lots of time on the RealFlight sim, already), then do a simultaneous build so my FIL and I can get together to fly them. So the choice of plane is doubly important .

Thanks again for the help.

Mike
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Old Jun 24, 2011, 10:04 AM
Making wood fly since 2007
Windependence's Avatar
USA, MN, Rochester
Joined Mar 2008
2,533 Posts
Mike,

Another direction to go might be hand launch gliders converted to electric. They usually run in the 60" wingspan range. Being smaller they can be used on smaller fields and the electric components will cost you a little less as you don't need as much power. Take a look at the Chrysalis 1.5M from Don at DJ Aerotech, the Zephyr II from Mark at Isthmus models and the Illusion from Merrill at MM Glidertech. Somewhere here there is a big thread on the 1.5M Chrysalis electric conversion. Its somewhere in the electric sailplane forum.

Good luck making a decision.

Wayne
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Old Jun 24, 2011, 03:42 PM
soaring guy
USA, AZ, Mesa
Joined Oct 2009
130 Posts
First Glider


There is a kit for a 2M glider from Stevens Aero that I have built and have 100+ flights on. It is not the sleekest looking glider but has some other
features that I liked. The laser cutting on the kit was exact, there was some thought given to wood selection and the photo instructions left little to imagine.
You can build it with landing gear (included) to fly from dirt fields or take
the gear off to fly from grass fields. Thermals well, I have had it to 2100 ft.
The wing loading with the gear off is 6.50 oz. sq. ft. It is a floater. Do not build without the spoiler. You can get about ten 25 sec. climb outs with a
2200 ma batt. I'm using the recommended Hacker 30-28s motor and the
climbs are vertical, with down elevator. Use some tape for the tips to
insure you don't blow one off as I did when I got in wing flutter. (MY fault)
It is a fun plane to fly and the ability to fly from grass or dirt made it a choice
for me. I can also say that any of the other planes I have seen recommended would also be good choices. Skybench has some great kits.
www.stevensaero.com has more info on the Helium Glider.
Best of luck,

Dee
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Old Jun 24, 2011, 04:57 PM
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Cleveland
Joined Jun 2002
2,319 Posts
I have an older 2M built up balsa sailplane (unsure of the make) that would be good for poking around the sky. It is built and covered, needs servos and a way to get it airborn. I can take pics if you are interested. I would let it go for the $20.00 I paid for it. It would be a very nice, low cost way to get back into the hobby while a build commences.

Im in Cleveland and fly around and could meet somewhere. I would be glad to help set it up if need be.

Dan
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Old Jun 26, 2011, 12:22 AM
Wood Chucker
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USA, TX, Allen
Joined Nov 2009
1,508 Posts
I don't think you would be disappointed with either the Stevens Aero Helium 2M or the DJ Aerotech Chrysalis 2M. I have a Chrysalis with both fuselages. I feel the Chrysalis is better at handling wind than most others and per the plans could be comfortably ballasted to over 50 oz. if needed. My AUW with the electric fuse is 38oz. with a E-Flite Park 450 and a 3S 1800mAh battery.

As a bonus the Chrysalis also has a pure sailplane fuse available should you be brave/confident enough to leave the onboard winch behind. That said, I really like being able to turn the juice back on and take it back up to thermalling altitude right away. I think you can learn thermal flight much more quickly when you have to walk less and can recover from poor decisions a little more gracefully.
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Old Jun 26, 2011, 11:32 AM
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United States, WI, Stoddard
Joined Dec 2009
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I must agree, any of the above represent the state of the art in wood kits.
I totally agree with lacquer head about learning to thermal faster with an electric.
But next winter will be a mirage.
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Old Jul 16, 2011, 12:59 PM
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EightOhMike's Avatar
United States, NC, Greensboro
Joined May 2011
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Well, thanks for the recommendations, guys. Chrysalis it is, times two.

The gear on the Helium make it attractive, but it's a lot more expensive, plus I imagine the gear would detract a bit from its soaring ability, so I went with the 2M Chrysalis, electric version. I appreciate your input, all.
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Old Jul 16, 2011, 06:04 PM
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craigrrr's Avatar
San Diego area
Joined Jul 2006
543 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by doc993 View Post
I must agree, any of the above represent the state of the art in wood kits.
I totally agree with lacquer head about learning to thermal faster with an electric.
But next winter will be a mirage.
doc993:

You will not be disappointed with the Mirage. You can electrifiy it and keep this 3 meter beauty under 40 oz.

A unique, low cost, very responsive thermal machine. You will have a hundred hours on it very quickly.

Craig
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Old Jul 16, 2011, 06:27 PM
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Apalachin, NY
Joined Nov 2004
120 Posts
You will be happy with the Chrysalis.

This past spring I chose the Helium over the Chrysalis due to the easier and faster build and the 3 pc wing. I elected to not use the landing gear and have had many enjoyable flights with it. Flew it in the Polecat/Soaring Circuits ALES contest this June and placed 11th on day one, 4th on day 2, and 8th overall. The plane soars great. Pics of my Helium : http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showt...m#post18129381

Matt
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Old Jul 16, 2011, 08:01 PM
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Mobile, AL
Joined Jul 2008
168 Posts
I ordered a Chrysalis last April and have yet to receive it. Have any of you folks had better luck?
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Old Jul 16, 2011, 08:39 PM
Steve
USA, PA, Marysville
Joined Nov 2009
447 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by M.Struck View Post
You will be happy with the Chrysalis.

This past spring I chose the Helium over the Chrysalis due to the easier and faster build and the 3 pc wing. I elected to not use the landing gear and have had many enjoyable flights with it. Flew it in the Polecat/Soaring Circuits ALES contest this June and placed 11th on day one, 4th on day 2, and 8th overall. The plane soars great. Pics of my Helium : http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showt...m#post18129381

Matt
I was wondering what model you were flying, You had some awesome flights with it.Besides I like seeing home builds beat fancy store bought arfs. [nothing wrong with fancy arfs tho , they won hands down]
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Old Jul 17, 2011, 07:12 AM
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United States, OH, Bradford
Joined Jun 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lloyd3521 View Post
I ordered a Chrysalis last April and have yet to receive it. Have any of you folks had better luck?
I checked with Joe. We've had some trouble with orders getting misplaced, and apparently yours was one of them. Joe is sorting it out and we will get it fixed.
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