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Old May 07, 2013, 05:57 PM
Kurt Zimmerman ≡LSF 4461≡
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Montrose, NY
Joined May 2003
1,396 Posts
I haven't competed in the ESL since 2005 largely due to the face that I'd be facing $2k-$3k ships with something that has seen its prime. Don't get me wrong I love this hobby and would love the oppturnity to be competitive. Contesting really does improve your flying skills.

If there was an entry price point between $500 and $800 (and not someone's beat up old Supra or Perfect) I would seriously reconsider competing again.

With that said and looking back over the past bunch of years I realize the void that has been left by Phil Barnes when he decided to stop the 3m wing production.

I've seen Will's Super Supra and it is very tempting... But you are still looking at $900+ for a ship. So I truly do believe there IS a market place for a real good, competitive price point between the $500 to $800 range.

It would make a great "plan B" form of employment even though the marketplace isn't all that big... I know what I'd do if I hit the Lottery.

So I am going to watch this thread to see where it heads and hopefully we will see something come about.

Kurt
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Old May 07, 2013, 07:04 PM
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If your sole objective is winning, then yes you are going to need somewhere around $1500 for a new all up molded ship and electronics.

If you goal is to compete and to enjoy then you can get in for a LOT less than that. A Dragonfly Strong will surely do 10 minutes and land in the 80s in the hands of a skilled pilot. And it will do it for around $900 all up, brand new.

Your smileage will vary. I would rather be in the contest then home, missing it, because I didn't have an Uber glider. You clearly see it differently. That is fine for you, not for me. If I was still flying my Thermal Dancer I would still be at the contests, working on my skills and having a wonderful time.

Now back to the topic! Anyone else have any recommendations? So far we have two. Three if we count Will's Super Supra.

We need to find Kurt a new glider so he can join in the contest fun!
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Old May 07, 2013, 07:57 PM
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United States, VA, Norfolk
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The Pulsar 3200 comes in at $800 from SUSA. http://www.soaringusa.com/Pulsar-3200.html
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Old May 07, 2013, 09:42 PM
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USA, IA, Cedar Rapids
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My biggest regret with gliders was not buying a nib thermal dancer a few years ago. Doh!!

But yeah i came to the same realization as aeajr, in that the F3J market is $$erved quite well, but the 95% of us in the US that will never do a two man tow are not well represented when it comes to less expensive glider offerings. If there was a winch proof, full house, composite TD glider for under $700 i would have bought one and i think many others would too. That being said, im slowly going down the scratch built supra esque path.
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Old May 08, 2013, 12:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by burke757 View Post
The Pulsar 3200 comes in at $800 from SUSA. http://www.soaringusa.com/Pulsar-3200.html
Do you own one? Do you have any experience with it as a winched glider? Can you point out any discussion on it that would relate to it as a winched glider? That is what we are asking for.
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Old May 08, 2013, 08:01 AM
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USA, IL, Wheeling
Joined Jan 2003
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The Emerald was about $700 and was a GREAT model! I campaigned one for years and finally gave it to a flying bud who wanted a moldie.

The Falcon 880 and follow-on Thermal Eagle were great models in this genre, unfortunately they disappeared when Tim Renaud gave up on trying to make a go of the wood kit market.

Today, the labor and material expenses of producing a hand-made model are creating soaring prices ... and since people buy them at these $2K+ prices there isn't much incentive for manufacturers to try and bring a cheaper model to market.

The white foam/obechi models like the T.Eagle and Falcon have fallen out of style and would not meet that full pedal winch criteria ... you actually need to know how to moderate a winch launch with those models ... of course, that was necessary with all models until the advent of the fully molded models so prevalent today. Hardly anyone knows more than stomp and go ... pity.
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Old May 08, 2013, 08:33 AM
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To Esprit, Soaring USA and others.

You have some beautiful planes on your web sites that look really good ... on paper. And they might be perfect fits for that midrange buyer, but there are no reviews and no reports. So we don't know how good they are.

Perhaps sales are so brisk on these models that reviews are not needed to drive sales. But I doubt it.

Hopefully someone will take note of this mid range market, get some samples in the hands of reviewers. Certainly we find reviews on electric gliders showing up on a constant basis and the discussion threads run into the thousands of posts.

Soaring USA, Esprit, and others, please get a few of these out to evaluators so they can create those build threads that drive sales and allow customers to buy with confidence. If you want to sell them, that would be the way to get them moving, in my opinion. But, I am not in your business, so what do I know?

Just a thought, a request based in frustration that I have so little to offer the step-up pilots I work all the time.
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Old May 09, 2013, 09:02 PM
Kurt Zimmerman ≡LSF 4461≡
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Montrose, NY
Joined May 2003
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aeajr View Post
If your sole objective is winning, then yes you are going to need somewhere around $1500 for a new all up molded ship and electronics.
I guess that's the rub.... I know this hobby has changed since I first started flying back in the 70's. I just have to get it set in my mind that there is a part of the hobby that I really want to participate in because I really enjoy it but probably never will due to the fact that the major manufactures are pricing some right out of that aspect of the hobby.

"Back in the day" this hobby was about not only the flying and competition but the build effort as well. That is what captivated me early on.

I have to get it set in my mind that what I guess I'm looking for is probably a woody or nostalgia event.... which is not as popular as it use to be....

As much as I want to continue designing/building I just can't compete against CAD milled wing forms, nor have a place to manufacture something like that in my condo.

What I do plan on doing is enjoying the build, which, to me, is as much fun as hooking that thermal, specking near out of sight. That is something I've been able to accomplish in the tight quarters I live in.

Keep an eye on my next build, the long awaited Sagitta 900 with minor improvements......

Kurt
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Old May 09, 2013, 11:53 PM
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United States, TX, Weatherford
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I was 4th at TNT with a Dragonfly Strong. I believe there were about 50+ competitors, flying Supras, etc... I believe that was '08 or '09, can't remember... The point is that there are good flying sailplanes out there that are not molded.
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Old May 10, 2013, 03:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kzimmerm View Post
I guess that's the rub.... I know this hobby has changed since I first started flying back in the 70's. I just have to get it set in my mind that there is a part of the hobby that I really want to participate in because I really enjoy it but probably never will due to the fact that the major manufactures are pricing some right out of that aspect of the hobby.

"Back in the day" this hobby was about not only the flying and competition but the build effort as well. That is what captivated me early on.

I have to get it set in my mind that what I guess I'm looking for is probably a woody or nostalgia event.... which is not as popular as it use to be....

As much as I want to continue designing/building I just can't compete against CAD milled wing forms, nor have a place to manufacture something like that in my condo.

What I do plan on doing is enjoying the build, which, to me, is as much fun as hooking that thermal, specking near out of sight. That is something I've been able to accomplish in the tight quarters I live in.

Keep an eye on my next build, the long awaited Sagitta 900 with minor improvements......

Kurt
I don't see the rub. If you want to join in the fun, most any glider will get you in.

However if winning is all that matters, if beating everyone is all you live for then it is the same whether you are flying gliders, playingtennis or racing cars, bikes or skateboards, you want the best and you will pay dearly for your obsession with winning.

As for the rest of us, top of the line gliders are not necessary to be in the game. Only you can decide how obsessed you are with winning and you must set your budget accordingly.
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Old May 10, 2013, 04:38 PM
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So, is this an issue with no properly priced sailplanes (in your view), or an issue with wanting to compete and compete at a reasonable level. You are correct that really, tasks have not changed in the big scheme of things for a long time (20 years or so) and the old airframes did those tasks. Do not know about anyone else, but I like flying maybe not 100% up to date airframes, but at least ones close to it.

I am not obsessed with winning, done my share, but enjoy being there more than ever. I guess I look at the price others pay for other hobbies; biking, fishing, RC, hunting, motorcycles, etc spend a lot of money to play. A guy buys 2-3 nice moldies, gear, etc, has $7K invested, a guy that flies an RC jet has $15K in one airframe, so how does our guy look compared? You can sink $7K in a bike not including gear, and folks do just to ride around, how does that guy compare?

To me, this thread has gone from being a thread about reasonable priced airframes that are really starter airframes and not about middle of the road sailplanes that have had a single owner, are on the market, you will have to spend more than a grand but you will get a reasonable airframe and servos too and not have to do a lot to have it ready to go.

There are no good answers for what is being asked and as in all activites, there is a price of admission. Ed asked a reasonable question, but I think what he wants is really not out there in the form he prefers. Reasonable step up ships will cost better than $1K to $1.5K minimum and that is just the economics of it unless a buddy takes care of you. And lets hope that folk in the position to help do help others to acquire airframes that are not being used, the more out there the better.

Marc
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