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Old Jul 09, 2013, 03:51 PM
Cut it twice, still too short
dglo's Avatar
Bay City, MI
Joined Oct 2007
648 Posts
New to sailplanes

Hello everyone. I'm a regular on another forum (scale electric) and am considering my first sailplane and would like some advice. I'm looking for a model to fill a specific purpose and thought this would be a good place to start. I fly at the club field usually but have a big farm field right behind my house, and would like a mid sized electric powered sail plane to take advantage of it. The problem is landing, I have to come in off the field, currently with 8 foot tall corn in it, and put the plane down within about 80 feet. Is there a fairly inexpensive, durable model out there with spoilers or air brakes that would let me do that? I don't care if it's an ARF, RTF or kit, as long as it can take some abuse, and size isn't as important as it's ability to come in slow and get it down in a hurry. Any advice is welcome, even if it's to tell me I'm crazy, not possible . Thanks in advance, Doug

PS - I need ailerons also, never flown anything rudder only.
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Last edited by dglo; Jul 09, 2013 at 03:57 PM.
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Old Jul 09, 2013, 04:21 PM
Registered User
United States, CA, Pleasanton
Joined Apr 2002
577 Posts
I'd recommend that you get a "standard" Radian e-glider (not the Radian Pro) and then add spoilers.

Many pilots will tell you (and I completely agree) that the Radian is, hands down, the best bang for the buck in a great flying and durable e-glider.

Here's a link for the spoiler mod that I did to my Radian:

ps...took more time to take the pics and do the write-up than idt did to actually install the spoilers

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Old Jul 09, 2013, 04:42 PM
Woodstock 1's Avatar
Ireland, County Kerry, Kerry
Joined Dec 2005
7,027 Posts
Um, the OP does want ailerons. For landing in a restricted area, flaps + ailerons (for "crow" braking) are your best bet.

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Old Jul 09, 2013, 05:58 PM
Fight On!
mario alvarez's Avatar
San Salvador, El Salvador
Joined May 2001
605 Posts
Are you looking at 2M, 3M sailplanes? Is your eyesight still good? I started with 2M and now at 60 years, I'm flying the bigger sailplanes for thermal flying. At the slope I can still manage the 2M models.
I've never flown a Radian, but I did fly a Cularis and it bored me after awhile. Flaps were inefficient and most of all, I really don't like foam. My favorite for a long time was the Renny. I believe Skip Miller sells it as the Avenger. It does everything well.
Any model with flaps will let you land in a short distance. You can start your sailplane quest at Soaring USA or Esprit Model.
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Old Jul 10, 2013, 05:30 AM
Registered User
Sweden, Stockholm County, Sollentuna
Joined Aug 2010
223 Posts

As a first electric glider I can recommend a Phoenix 2000 pnp (I have linked to Hobby King Global, but there are several other sources and it's also available from several local HobbyKing warehouses which saves on total cost). It's not the 'floatiest' glider in the world. It's not the most robust glider either. Neither are the included motor, esc and servos of the highest quality. But all in all it's a quite successful compromise and I'm satisfied with it and use it as my backup-glider.

On the positive side:
  1. It comes in a pnp-version which saves you the hassle of finding suitable components which have both size and performance to fit your needs.
  2. The pnp-version have decent performance out of the box. Mine will climb at 4-5m/s and sink at 0.9m/s. The only time I have measured power consumption I got it to approx 5 mAh per second of (wide open) throttle. With a bit of margin I'll get 200 seconds motor run from a 1300mAh battery. That gives me at least 15-20 minutes of flight per battery in calm conditions (without thermals).
  3. It's rather robust, but as I said in the ingress there are others that might be better. So far I've only had one crash and it was fixable in half an hour. That being said, the fuselage is from some kind of moulded nylon (or similair) which is very robust and scratch resistant.
  4. It's comes prepared for flaps. All you need to do is to cut the side edges of the flap free from the wing and install your flap servos. The servos is not included in the kit, but the servo-wells are moulded in the wings and the linkages for flaps are included.
  5. When both ailerons are deflected upwards (spoilerons) the glide path gets rather steep so I would say it's quite possible to land within the 80 ft you have available (at least after some practice). The glide path is reported in the looong thread here in the forum to be even steeper with flaps deployed, but I have no first hand experience of that. In fact, I don't think I will install flaps within the nearest future, it's good enough (for me) even without it.

On the negative side
  1. It is a little more fiddle to attach the wings than on an Muliplex Solius (at least that's what I've read - I have not tried any Solius). The phoenix reguires two small screws to connect the wings (actually there are four, but the other two I keep in place permanently). There are also four screws for attaching the wing to the fuselage.
  2. In calm wheather there are other planes that floats better. As an example my (electrified) Fling 2M is an excellent floater with a sink rate of approx 0.6 m/s. On the other hand is the Phoenix very stable and nice flyer when it's a little bit windier outside.
  3. The battery tray is a little bit to far forward. I've read that it could be corrected by just unscrewing it, turning it the opposite way around and rescrew it, but I haven't got that far yet.
  4. The nylon(?) in the fuselage is said to be resistant to most things, unfortunately that includes glue. So if the fuse is somehow broken it is said to be hard to fix. But on the other hand it's so robust a crash that's hard enough to brake the fuse would probably have completely demolished other planes.

Regarding your wish for ailerons I think you don't need to worry about some planes lacking them. Two of the criterias in glider design is stability and ability to curve. That means that most rudder-elevator gliders have plenty of dihedral which makes them bank a lot when curving, so you'll probably not feel very unfamiliar when flying a rudder-elevator glider for the first time. Have a test in a simulator. If it feels comfortable you'll have even more models to choose from (not that it makes the choice a lot easier....).

Good luck to you in both your choice of glider and in the maiden

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Old Jul 10, 2013, 07:14 AM
Registered User
United Kingdom, Ilford
Joined Mar 2013
46 Posts
+1 with the Phoenix
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Old Jul 10, 2013, 09:59 AM
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Joined Apr 2012
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Another one to consider is the Calypso. You can read all about it here:
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Old Jul 10, 2013, 10:02 AM
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6Sally5's Avatar
United States, CA, Lincoln
Joined Jan 2011
736 Posts
Originally Posted by harrye View Post
I'd recommend that you get a "standard" Radian e-glider (not the Radian Pro) and then add spoilers.

Many pilots will tell you (and I completely agree) that the Radian is, hands down, the best bang for the buck in a great flying and durable e-glider.

Here's a link for the spoiler mod that I did to my Radian:

ps...took more time to take the pics and do the write-up than idt did to actually install the spoilers

Harry...that is simple and ingenious! I assume the wind pressure just pushes them back against the servo arm? Glad I peeked into this thread!
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Old Jul 30, 2013, 10:41 AM
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Westranm's Avatar
United States, AZ, Chandler
Joined Jan 2011
476 Posts
+1 for Calypso. I use it as my primary ALES competition ship because I don't have any molded or built-up planes yet that can match its wide range of performance in calm to 15mph winds and light to strong thermals.

I use variable crow on my left stick if I'm coming in a little too hot. The Calypso lands and stops easily within the 10 meter radius target.

The Calypso foam is very durable in my experience compared to other foamies. Is really difficult to tip stall, too. I would highly recommend it as a first sailplane with ailerons. Note that the plane is designed for separate flaps but comes out of box with flaperons. That is good if you want to start out with a simple setup, first.

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