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Old Aug 28, 2013, 04:16 PM
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Tips on catching Thermals?

So, I took up Hang Gliding and the key to a good Hang Glider is to be a master at catching thermals all day long.

I also bought my first pseudo sail plane, the Radian.
I'm catching some thermals and staying up for a little bit but I'm not reading them the way I should to be keeping on them.

Anyone have tips or a read me to mastering the thermal?
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Old Aug 28, 2013, 05:01 PM
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I'm sure you'll get a truck load of answers... here's a good place to start learning. Watch this then go out and practice 10 days a week.

http://www.radiocarbonart.com/secret...ermal-soaring/


* also lots of great links and info in the Thermaling For Beginers thread at the top of the Thermal page
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Old Aug 28, 2013, 05:48 PM
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This is what I've experienced at my field regarding guys with Radians and the like and recognizing when they're in lift. Keep in mind that I fly pure sailplanes , launched from a winch and I get what I can find in a limited amout of time as dictated by the glide ratio of my sailplane and flying it as smoothly as I can so as not to dilute that ratio .
The Radians will actually thermal but what's marginal for them is a boomer for me . They're a bit heavy and draggy and I'm really not too sure of the efficiency of their wings .they will not respond to light lift .
I've heard "I'm in big lift " and i look over just to see they're at 3/4 throttle and in denial that has any influence on the performance .
If you want to learn about the air you fly in , get a Olympic from Skybench , build it exactly per the instructions , no motor, get some kind of useable high start and go for it . Personally , I watch the birds , my best friends, they had it figured out about a million years ago .
One word of caution , this is crazy addictive once you catch lift you have to think about how youre going to get out of.
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Old Aug 28, 2013, 05:58 PM
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Practice a lot. Learn to read what your glider is doing in the air. Find the strongest part of the thermal and try to circle in it. If you're getting kicked out of a thermal, try circling the opposite direction.

Learn to read the surroundings -- trees, birds, bugs, floating seeds, etc. Changes in wind direction can point to thermals.

Above all, practice a lot and you'll learn from experience what to look for and what it means.

BTW, have you looked here? (It's a sticky)

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=208889
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Old Aug 28, 2013, 07:00 PM
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Scotty T,

In addition to the R/C book "Old Buzzards", start with these 3 books about full scale soaring (will help the hang gliding too):

1. Bob Wander's "Gliding Mentor Series - Thermals"

2. Helmut Reichman's "Flying Sailplanes"

3. Helmut Reichman's "Cross Country Soaring"

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Old Aug 28, 2013, 07:33 PM
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I seriously second the Bob Wander's books , I fly full scale as well and his books are not optional , they're mandatory .
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Old Aug 29, 2013, 05:16 AM
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Thermal shape

Since you are a hang glider pilot I assume you probably understand that thermals can have different shapes and sizes. Figuring out what kind of thermal you are working helps to make it work for you.
I agree a pure glider will be easier to thermal than anything with a motor. Wing loading will be less so it will fly slower with less drag. I would suggest something in the 2 meter range for you first pure glider. It will be more responsive.
I think and audio variometer is key to being able to work lift, especially if your model is overhead. You can add one for as little as 60 bucks. My best hi-start flights have been the result of clues from my audio vario.
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Old Aug 29, 2013, 06:59 AM
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Wow, I did not know there were varios for R/C's. I'm mostly a heli guy and we never pay attention to that, we are too busy chopping the air in half.

Thanks for all the responses guys, that gives me a bit to go on.

A few times I have found a thermal and just keep rising, and no I'm not at 3/4 throttle, I'm at zero. It's quite an awesome feeling when the thermal just takes you away. I had a few where I had to take it down, it just kept going up and up.

The issue I'm running into is when I'm much lower into the gradient, I can't seem to find a whole lot of lift. I typically try to shoot up above the trees and cut the throttle.

But, I do find myself searching a lot, should it be that difficult to find a thermal?

OH! and for the record I'm a beginner hang glider pilot still in training, this is why I'm researching thermals, I'm going to want to know them well.
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Old Aug 29, 2013, 07:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Scotty T View Post
But, I do find myself searching a lot, should it be that difficult to find a thermal?
I have caught thermals out of ridge lift from 20 feet off the ridge and worked them up to several hundred feet with a Wanderer.
I fly full scale and have worked thermal streets that have lasted for 30 miles or more.
Local rocket model flyers told me about catching a thermal with his rocket as it descended on parachute.
Yesterday there were thermals all around me but I could not get into one and off a hundred foot of rubber hi-start at that. That hundred feet of rubber with 350 feet of line was putting the glider at least 400 feet in the air. Launches were spectacular but I was hearing hardly anything but down tone after I got off, and I was looking.
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Old Aug 29, 2013, 07:38 AM
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The best and most productive thermal hunting normally happens soon after launch .you may want to get a whole lot higher , 500' or better and start there . The air in the gradient above the trees , if you could see it ,would look like its in a blender.
The full scale "soaring index" doesn't even consider the lift below 500' .
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Old Aug 29, 2013, 07:57 AM
MMR
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I've been trying to catch one of them squirrelly thermals myself, but they just won't stay put. Always squirming & shifting, moving and twisting! And just when I have one circled in - poof - it disappears! Darn critters just won't stay in their cage!

You have to feel the thermal Grasshopper - make sure you stay in contact with it at every turn - turn your 'logical' brain off and react to what the sailplane is telling you, always guiding the plane into the lift.

Martin
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Old Aug 29, 2013, 08:48 AM
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Originally Posted by jetmaven View Post
The best and most productive thermal hunting normally happens soon after launch .you may want to get a whole lot higher , 500' or better and start there . The air in the gradient above the trees , if you could see it ,would look like its in a blender.
The full scale "soaring index" doesn't even consider the lift below 500' .
I find the same thing. I have 10 meters of rubber with 150 feet of line, and I have never got into a thermal with that hi-start. If you can get into lift soon after launch, even at 500 feet, it will be workable but if you have to search the chances of getting into something diminish rapidly. I think hi-start placement is critical unless you have really good performance.
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Old Aug 29, 2013, 09:16 AM
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You can catch thermals at any height. Hand launch glider pilots do it all the time. I've specked out DLGs and 2-meter gliders from thermals as low as 20 feet off the ground. There really are no strict rules.

I disagree with George about hi-start placement. I wouldn't consider it "critical" at all. As long as you have some air underneath your glider, it's possible to reach speck altitudes within a matter of minutes if the air is good.

Best bet for thermal activity is between late morning (maybe 10AM) and mid-afternoon (maybe 3-4 PM). I've found great thermals as late as 6-7 PM around here, but they're rare.
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Old Aug 29, 2013, 02:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by George Franklin View Post
Since you are a hang glider pilot I assume you probably understand that thermals can have different shapes and sizes. Figuring out what kind of thermal you are working helps to make it work for you.
I agree a pure glider will be easier to thermal than anything with a motor. Wing loading will be less so it will fly slower with less drag. I would suggest something in the 2 meter range for you first pure glider. It will be more responsive.
I think and audio variometer is key to being able to work lift, especially if your model is overhead. You can add one for as little as 60 bucks. My best hi-start flights have been the result of clues from my audio vario.
I used to think this way until I bought a Radian. The stock Radian weighs just over 22 ounces without battery pack. Add three or four ounce battery pack and it still weighs about the same as a Wanderer without a motor and has about the same wing area. The Radian thermals very well with the motor off. I use the motor only for launch to altitude (the highstart in the nose). As long as you have someone teaching you, the Radian is a good thermal trainer.
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Old Aug 30, 2013, 04:41 AM
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put a streamer on your radio antenna... And follow the streamer

it will essentially point you in the direction of the llift.
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