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Old Aug 15, 2009, 06:33 PM
planepainter
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Mt. Juliet, TN
Joined Sep 2008
2,004 Posts
Yippee!
First thermal at Peeler Park.

Hi guys. Just wanted to let you all know that I finally caught my first real thermal yesterday morning at Peeler Park in Nashville. Since I started flying rc sailplanes last March, I had been flirting with rising air on and off but nothing that really made for extended flights. I know that that is mostly due to my beginner status. After setting up my hi-start I launched my Spirit 2 meter several times with one flight being about 12 minutes with the plane gaining some altitude but staying very local. I thought that was great. Then, under the expert eye of Bruce, a long time local sailplane pilot, I launched again. Under his coaching I hit very good lift almost immediately. He suspected where the lift might be forming and directed me to it giving me instructions on how the plane was reacting in lift and how to turn to take best advantage. The plane just contunued up. I kept repeating to him "I wish I were timing this"! We flew from one area of sky to another still rising and by mid flight I had covered all four points of the compass. The plane flew totally hands off for much of the flight just doing gentle circles by itself staying in the lift. I must say that it was a very beautiful sight wathching something I had built with my hands flying so well doing gentle ballet with the thermals! At one point the plane was so small that I almost could not see the orientation. I am sure the flight had to be close to 45 minutes and I am sure it would have stayed up indefinitely. We had to bring the plane down as my neck was starting to cramp and I wanted Bruce to demonstrate how to coax it back. I love this little Spirit and found that it is a very good and stable plane. But it is 2 meter and a bit hard to see when it was out there. I know now that my eyesight demands that I get a bigger plane.I do have a Riser 100 and look forward to launching it up there but I need to order a new wing rod.I know that this account was a bit long winded but I know all of you will forgive me. I am no longer a virgin!

Thanks, PP.
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Old Aug 15, 2009, 06:46 PM
Thermal Naked!
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United States, AL, Mobile
Joined Dec 2007
1,645 Posts
Congrats PP!!

I'm envious. The weather down here won't cooperate with my schedule at all and I haven't flown in a week! Couldn't even catch a decent thermal with my planes and then test flew (from a hand launch) a 2 meter for a friend and got a 4 minute flight.
Tell Bruce I said "Hi" also. If it's the same Bruce I remember, then we started flying about the same time and were the first two guys to buy the CR Aircraft Climax kits. You know that now you're honor bound to post pics of the flying out there from now on? Oh, also tell Bruce that I'm still flying a Climax and a Skeeter. My two standard planes when flying at the dam all those years ago.

Hoss

PS-- Ask him if Emerson Ford is still alive and flying please.
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Old Aug 15, 2009, 07:11 PM
planepainter
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Mt. Juliet, TN
Joined Sep 2008
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Hoss, I will do that. Curiously, I mentioned you to him yesterday. I did though use your user Hossfly and he remembered you and flying with you. He said he was also the one to post video of sailplane aerobatics at Percy Priest Dam on youtube. Don.
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Old Aug 15, 2009, 08:09 PM
The Lone Blue Plaid Flyer
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Seattle
Joined Jan 2003
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Congrats PP !! Your never gonna forget the first one. Now the hunt begins. Once you have tasted the lift, your hooked. Keep up the good work.

Bob in Seattle
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Old Aug 15, 2009, 10:16 PM
planepainter
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Mt. Juliet, TN
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Thanks Bob! I can hardly wait to get back out there. PP.
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Old Aug 16, 2009, 12:23 AM
Thermal Naked!
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United States, AL, Mobile
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I have to get home someday soon! I miss those guys! Off to youtube to find those vids now! Thanks Don!
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Old Aug 16, 2009, 07:09 AM
planepainter
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Mt. Juliet, TN
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Hey Hoss, when you get back this way, PM me. I would love to meet you and talk flying. Don.
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Old Aug 16, 2009, 09:06 PM
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planepainter:

Now, go back out there and find another one!

Yours, Greg
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Old Aug 17, 2009, 12:01 AM
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United States, MA, Waltham
Joined Dec 2001
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Planepainter:
You are in danger. Give away all your planes or throw them out, or else you will be hooked for life. Do it. Now! ;-p

If you give up and stay with your addiction, then if your Riser has a 1/4" wing rod, just get 1/4" music wire (NOT some other kind) from the hobby shop or maybe even the hardware store (they might have, for instance, a K&S display). Use a Dremel cut off wheel, if you have one, to cut it. If it has a 5/16" wing rod, you can order an ejector pin from McMaster Carr or Dixie Pins and cut off the head with that Dremel. McMaster, I think, has music wire too, and they ship very quickly. If you are close to New Jersey, you may be able to order by 3 or 4 in the afternoon and get the item, with regular shipping, the next day! (I live near Boston and that works for me, 95% of the time.)

I think you will find, although I haven' t flown one, that the Riser is a much better glider. I've flown the Spirit 2M and it was mediocre at best. Got twitchy when trying to turn tightly in narrow thermals.

As far as your eyesight goes, you may find that with more practice, you are seeing better even though your eyes test out the same at the optometrists. Obviously, if you need it, you want the best vision correction you can get, but there's also a skill to seeing stuff in the sky and figuring out what it is doing. I can fly a glider sort of ok even if it vanishes for, say, half the circle.

I used to use soft contacts, but I found for flying my glasses were much better. I tested out 20-20 with soft contacts, but maybe 20-15 (or is that 15-20?) with glasses. Hard contacts can be amazingly sharp but I couldn't keep them on my eyes right. Sometimes it seems that certain color sunglasses (blue blockers??) can sharpen up my vision, but somehow those colors make me cranky after a while! I can see well enough with grey, though.

Always wear something to block UV, unless you want a cataract operation.

I still remember what I think was the first time I got my glider in a good thermal. I found it a bit hard to believe. Seemed like magic.
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Old Aug 17, 2009, 12:53 AM
Be an organ donor
Little Rock, AR. U.S.A via U.K
Joined May 2004
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Congrats Donald,

That's it now, you are a cooked goose. Yesterday I took my (oops, the day before yesterday) I took my newly obtained Merlyn (big bugger) out for the first time. Had some issues with the captured tow hook, pop off's on launch, so didn't get too much flying in. I will probably remove the hook and replace it with a standard one. However, while it was sitting on my launching trailer, a thermal of all thermals came by and wanted to take it flying on its own. It was all I could do to keep it down, in fact I was holding the plane down on the wrong side and it picked up the other wing and pushed the plane and me away from the trailer. A friend of mine was there and couldn't believe his eyes. God only knows what the outcome would have been had we been in the air.

Keith
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Old Aug 17, 2009, 07:15 AM
planepainter
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Mt. Juliet, TN
Joined Sep 2008
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Hi Lincoln. BTW, thanks for all of the great info you and so many others have shared with me to get me to this point. Luckily I have the same pair of sun glasses that I wore when I flew general aviation. I can see very well out of them. But the Spirit is a small plane and it was out there a long way. It all turned out ok though. I know what you mean about twitchy. It took very little movement to keep it going in a nice circle but the plane can be sent into interesting maneuvers with little coaxing. It is definatly a plane you want take care with. Thanks for the info on the joiner rods. I think I am going to order it from Vintage Sailplanes. They will cut it to the exact length I need. I plan to order two of them. I also plan to build a scratch design over the next several months and will be needing something like 5/16 or 3/8.

Hi Keith. I DID IT!! Man was that so cool! But I must say it was good to have someong like Bruce there with the experience to know how to get it back down. It has no spoilers. That is the last plane I will make that mistake on. Now that I am in Tennessee, I still want to come out there sometime to fly at your field! Don.

Greg, just as soon as I can! Thanks, Don.
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Old Aug 17, 2009, 07:25 AM
Be an organ donor
Little Rock, AR. U.S.A via U.K
Joined May 2004
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Quote:
Originally Posted by planepainter
Hi Lincoln. BTW, thanks for all of the great info you and so many others have shared with me to get me to this point. Luckily I have the same pair of sun glasses that I wore when I flew general aviation. I can see very well out of them. But the Spirit is a small plane and it was out there a long way. It all turned out ok though. I know what you mean about twitchy. It took very little movement to keep it going in a nice circle but the plane can be sent into interesting maneuvers with little coaxing. It is definatly a plane you want take care with. Thanks for the info on the joiner rods. I think I am going to order it from Vintage Sailplanes. They will cut it to the exact length I need. I plan to order two of them. I also plan to build a scratch design over the next several months and will be needing something like 5/16 or 3/8.

Hi Keith. I DID IT!! Man was that so cool! But I must say it was good to have someong like Bruce there with the experience to know how to get it back down. It has no spoilers. That is the last plane I will make that mistake on. Now that I am in Tennessee, I still want to come out there sometime to fly at your field! Don.

Greg, just as soon as I can! Thanks, Don.

Spoilers really are a must, I think anyway. Look forward to meeting you some time in the future. Are you settled in and enjoying the southern hospitality AND HEAT/HUMIDITY.
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Old Aug 17, 2009, 04:38 PM
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Bedford, TX
Joined Oct 2007
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Way to go PP! I'll never forget my first really big one, kinda humbles ya a little don't it. Mine was with a 2m Spirit also. Since you know what to look for now, it just get's easier. There will be those days when the activity is just plain dead and you'll know it. These type days are great for landing practice though. Now you can change your handle from planepainter to skypainter .

Don
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Old Aug 17, 2009, 05:13 PM
planepainter
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Mt. Juliet, TN
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Skypainter...now that really has a nice ring to it!!
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Old Aug 17, 2009, 07:25 PM
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Minnesota
Joined Jan 2005
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Congratulations!

Congratulations on that first big flight! You will really be hooked now. Even when you have seen other guys do it right before your eyes, its still special the first few times your own model goes up on its own and soars like you hoped it would.

You mention you had a flight or two around 12 minutes. You are definitely in lift to keep a model up that long. In dead or sinking air you are usually down in 2-3 minutes. At least that has been my experience.

The first big thermal of any size I caught was after a whole summer of 3 minute or shorter flights. All of a sudden it happend one morning. I was flying an old Oly 650 I bought used. After 4-5 minutes I knew something different was going on. It started going up and up. I was going to ride it as high as I could. As I was getting congratulation guys were telling me to bring it back before I lost it. I said that wasn't possible! Thats just a myth. A few more minutes and I really did start having trouble seeing it. A few minutes later I realized I was going to have a little trouble getting it back! No spoliers or flaps on this, just two channels.

After a bit it came down to a reasonable altitude. When I stopped trying to bright it down, it went right back up to almost the same altitude again. Before I knew it, sink came in and 8 different models of all shapes and sizes were all coming down fast. It didn't seem to matter what the model was or the skill of the pilot. I ended up with a 23 minute flight for my first thermal. What a great feeling.

After a couple of years and a few new models I have found quite a few thermals. I have yet to have a flight of more than 30 minutes though. I probably have five that were greater than 25. That first flight is still one of my best.
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