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Old Nov 28, 2014, 07:33 PM
aka: Scott Ellis
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United States, MT, Billings
Joined Dec 2012
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Slope Airplane Suggestions?

(Season's) Greetings, folks!

I'm brand new to this section of RC Groups, pretty new to gliders and slope soaring, and not exactly a grizzled old veteran of RC (been building off and on since, uh, the late 60's, but never flew RC until a couple of years ago). I have a pretty fine local slope and have had several successful flights out there with my Art Hobby Sky EV 2m. The slope is backed buy a huge flat and obstacle-free field, and I've discovered that if the winds are light, you can land anyplace you want out there, easy as can be. If they're medium, it's turbulent, but still quite possible. If, as today, they're a little higher still, it is turbulent out there beyond the capabilities of the Sky to maintain controlled flight. (Luckily, the damage incurred in learning that lesson was slight.)

So as far as I can gather, the trick is actually not to try to land downwind in the rotors and such but rather to sort of crab right along the ridge and, you know, gently land at one's feet. But doing that in a higher wind is going to require something with better "brakes" than the Sky can generate with spoilerons alone. I could (and well might) add flaps to that airplane, but even if I do, it's still going to remain rather fragile. That's fine for a light-air airplane, but it brings me to my question:

What's out there for a tougher (composite?) airframe that flies well, 2m or less, flap equipped, and reasonably inexpensive? (Or maybe I mean "ridiculously cheap," but I'm thinking, say, 200 to max 300 dollars for the airframe.) I don't need (it's become clear) power on my slope when the winds are up to the point I'd want to fly this new airplane. I do want aerobatic capabilities (so aileron/elevator/rudder/flap, anyway), but "3D" isn't on the menu, nor am I big on the flat-foamie look that tends to come with that capability. Actually, as far as looks go, I'm pretty fond of the old Sig Ninja (and in fact building one of those isn't out of the question, but I suspect the fragility issue would be the same or worse than the Sky).

I welcome any comments or suggestions (including "Hey--take this to X thread!") RC Groups has been a real gold mine of information over these last couple of years and I'm looking forward to hearing what y'all might have to say.

Hope you're all digesting yesterday's feast in comfort and happiness!

--Scott
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Old Nov 28, 2014, 07:48 PM
slope'n the Colombian Andes
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Colombia, Antioquia, Girardota
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Scott, you might want to hook up with fellow Montana slopers: www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=797605

Dieter Mahlein, ShredAir
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Old Nov 28, 2014, 07:56 PM
aka: Scott Ellis
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United States, MT, Billings
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Originally Posted by ShredAir View Post
Scott, you might want to hook up with fellow Montana slopers: www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=797605

Dieter Mahlein, ShredAir
Been there, Dieter, thanks. Looks like the folks who'd been driving that thread either have other things going on or have drifted away.
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Old Nov 28, 2014, 08:10 PM
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Carlsbad, CA
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Welcome to sloping.

Can you quantify your wind low, medium and little higher wind speeds?

What are the dimensions of your LZ (The slope is backed buy a huge flat and obstacle-free field)?

The crabbing technique to use for small LZs is to fly low down towards the bottom of your slope and crab up the slope losing speed as you climb up to the ridge and once over the ridge keep you up-wind wing low and scrub speed off till you land. If you still are going too fast dive down lower on the slope and try again. The idea is to scrub off all the speed so when you pop over the ridge and drop the up wind wing the plane plops on the ground. Keeping the up-wind wing low reduces the chance of the wind lifting the wing into the rotor and cartwheeling the plane.

You may also not be walking far enough back from the Ridge to get out of the rotor. Depends on how big you LZ is.

Maybe provide a picture of your slope and LZ so people have an idea of you field size and can provide better tips.

This Rennegade is very nice sloper: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2293565
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Old Nov 28, 2014, 08:16 PM
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Scott-Your "tougher" requirement and "composite" wish are somewhat conflicting at the price point you want. The tough "composite" aircraft are usually carbon and kevlar which are pricey. IMHO the best bang for buck "full house" planes are made by RCRCM and my go to plane is the Sunbird. You can order regular glass version in your price point and the Carbon version at a bit above.

If you want something that can fly in lighter wind I would suggest perhaps the Mephisto. The Mephisto has toughish poplar skinned wings and a light glass fuse. The Mephisto is not really that tough but it is beautiful and the price is ridiculously cheap : http://www.alofthobbies.com/mefisto.html
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Old Nov 28, 2014, 08:24 PM
aka: Scott Ellis
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United States, MT, Billings
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rockbus View Post
Welcome to sloping.

Can you quantify your wind low, medium and little higher wind speeds?

What are the dimensions of your LZ (The slope is backed buy a huge flat and obstacle-free field)?

The crabbing technique to use for small LZs is to fly low down towards the bottom of your slope and crab up the slope losing speed as you climb up to the ridge and once over the ridge keep you up-wind wing low and scrub speed off till you land. If you still are going too fast dive down lower on the slope and try again. The idea is to scrub off all the speed so when you pop over the ridge and drop the up wind wing the plane plops on the ground. Keeping the up-wind wing low reduces the chance of the wind lifting the wing into the rotor and cartwheeling the plane.

You may also not be walking far enough back from the Ridge to get out of the rotor. Depends on how big you LZ is.

Maybe provide a picture of your slope and LZ so people have an idea of you field size and can provide better tips.

This Rennegade is very nice sloper: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2293565
Interesting, Rockbus--thanks. I had a photo somewhere but can't find it. The slope is a grass hill that's just about as steep as you can possibly walk/crawl down--45 degrees or more--and extends for a mile or more north and south. (Prevailing wind out of the west.) The LZ is huge--essentially flat and unobstructed for at least half a mile back. I have flow approaches from what seems like WAY back there and still been in pretty significant turbulence. I should, as someone suggested, just go walk all that. In any case, I'll keep experimenting--having way too much fun not to!
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Old Nov 28, 2014, 08:28 PM
aka: Scott Ellis
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Originally Posted by Douwe View Post
Scott-Your "tougher" requirement and "composite" wish are somewhat conflicting at the price point you want. The tough "composite" aircraft are usually carbon and kevlar which are pricey. IMHO the best bang for buck "full house" planes are made by RCRCM and my go to plane is the Sunbird. You can order regular glass version in your price point and the Carbon version at a bit above.

If you want something that can fly in lighter wind I would suggest perhaps the Mephisto. The Mephisto has toughish poplar skinned wings and a light glass fuse. The Mephisto is not really that tough but it is beautiful and the price is ridiculously cheap : http://www.alofthobbies.com/mefisto.html
Thanks, Douwe. I've been eyeballing the Sunbird--might well do that. Would probably bite the bullet and upgrade to the carbon version. The Mephisto is (except for the lack of a motor) very, very similar to my Art Hobby Sky. Really a nice airplane, that.
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Old Nov 28, 2014, 08:38 PM
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Scott-Definately some similarity of Sky and Mephisto. The Mephisto, when bought from Aloft, has flaps . What mostly amazes me about the Mephisto, however, are the turned up wing tips. The way the poplar wing skins follow the the compound curve of the tips really sets this plane apart from any other I have seen.
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Old Nov 28, 2014, 08:44 PM
aka: Scott Ellis
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United States, MT, Billings
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Originally Posted by Douwe View Post
Scott-Definately some similarity of Sky and Mephisto. The Mephisto, when bought from Aloft, has flaps . What mostly amazes me about the Mephisto, however, are the turned up wing tips. The way the poplar wing skins follow the the compound curve of the tips really sets this plane apart from any other I have seen.
That is a good trick (this from a cabinet maker who likes to think he's pretty handy with wood!). I'm planning to add flaps to the Sky whether or not I add a "moldie" to the hanger. I have them on a couple of power planes and if nothing else they're fun to play with.
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Old Nov 28, 2014, 08:58 PM
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Yup-Flaps on a sloper are definately fun to play with. With flaps, the way I land, is I usually keep my plane well out in front of me then put in full flaps and sometimes crow on the ailerons ( you will want to couple in quit a bit of down on the elevator on most planes) and pretty much let my plane float backwards while it loses lift. The nice thing about landing that way is by keeping it in front of you there is no worries about getting caught in a rotor.
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Old Nov 28, 2014, 09:04 PM
aka: Scott Ellis
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Originally Posted by Douwe View Post
Yup-Flaps on a sloper are definately fun to play with. With flaps, the way I land, is I usually keep my plane well out in front of me then put in full flaps and sometimes crow on the ailerons ( you will want to couple in quit a bit of down on the elevator on most planes) and pretty much let my plane float backwards while it loses lift. The nice thing about landing that way is by keeping it in front of you there is no worries about getting caught in a rotor.
That's the trick I want to be able to do. The Sky with the current setup (modest spoilerons) is just too slippery.
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Old Nov 28, 2014, 11:18 PM
guamflyer - Avid Sloper
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I Hear Scale Birds LZ

With a slope like that, larger scale birds would look awesome flyin by.. and the landing..well from what you described sounds beautiful...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xeric View Post
Interesting, Rockbus--thanks. I had a photo somewhere but can't find it. The slope is a grass hill that's just about as steep as you can possibly walk/crawl down--45 degrees or more--and extends for a mile or more north and south. (Prevailing wind out of the west.) The LZ is huge--essentially flat and unobstructed for at least half a mile back. I have flow approaches from what seems like WAY back there and still been in pretty significant turbulence. I should, as someone suggested, just go walk all that. In any case, I'll keep experimenting--having way too much fun not to!
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Old Nov 28, 2014, 11:56 PM
aka: Scott Ellis
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Originally Posted by guamflyer View Post
With a slope like that, larger scale birds would look awesome flyin by.. and the landing..well from what you described sounds beautiful...
Forgot to mention that it's at least a 300-foot vertical drop from the ridge to the valley floor below. You can easily do loops that are entirely below eye level. The downside of flying really big stuff there would be that you do have to walk in a quarter-mile or so, but other than that . . . . I'll get some pictures next time I'm out. It's a spectacular spot.

Wait--maybe I can add an image. Good, looks like I can. The ridge actually runs northwest-southeast (I simplified in my original entry) but that works just fine with prevailing winds that are actually often from the SW or SSW. My Google Earth pin is centered east and west in an entire section of state (public) land, north/south the pin is about 1/3 mile from the southern boundary of the public land (the dotted green line). Amazing place. Oh--for scale--the image covers about two miles east-west, so that square mile of state land includes a bit more than half of the obvious ridge, there.
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Last edited by Xeric; Nov 29, 2014 at 12:20 AM. Reason: Add image.
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Old Nov 29, 2014, 01:19 AM
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Found it on Google Earth. With an LZ like that you should be able to land anything. At Torrey pines glider port the bluff is 300-400 ft high and the LZ is a slight rise from the bluff and at least 300 yards to where cars are parked and there is plenty of area to land any plane for any wind conditions. Avg day at torrey is 8-10 mph good day is 15 and great day is 20+.

I'd fly way back and head straight into the wind pulling flaps/crow/spoileron what ever you have and land. Maybe you're coming in too slow trying to float it in.

Good Luck.

Ray
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Old Nov 29, 2014, 10:45 AM
aka: Scott Ellis
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Originally Posted by rockbus View Post
Found it on Google Earth. With an LZ like that you should be able to land anything. At Torrey pines glider port the bluff is 300-400 ft high and the LZ is a slight rise from the bluff and at least 300 yards to where cars are parked and there is plenty of area to land any plane for any wind conditions. Avg day at torrey is 8-10 mph good day is 15 and great day is 20+.

I'd fly way back and head straight into the wind pulling flaps/crow/spoileron what ever you have and land. Maybe you're coming in too slow trying to float it in.

Good Luck.

Ray
Thanks, Ray--you may well be right. My approaches have been pretty floaty, and I've tried to keep it flying until it was back up pretty near to me/the ridge. I'll try faster, lower, and further away!

Oh, and I didn't answer an earlier query about windspeed, and at this point all I can do is guess, but I think the above numbers in this post are pretty close to what I've seen here. I'm hoping that Slope Santa brings me one of these: http://weatherflow.com/windmeter/
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