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Old Nov 27, 2011, 07:33 AM
MaineFlyer
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Augusta, Me
Joined Feb 2005
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Sky Bench Aerotech Big Bird Finally Flies!

I finished assembling this kit last spring and set it aside for other things like flying and other activities! Just finished covering the plane this week. I spent a lot of time looking and reading on this forum as I was building looking for ideas!! Thanks!

Yesterday was a nice day for a test flight as we had very little breeze and temps above freezing.

Added a set of skis to my Super Senior launch plane since we have several inches of soft snow on the ground. Skis I had are too small but worked until the snow warmed up. This plane does a great job of carrying sailplanes up to 3M aloft. Using a 15cc gas engine.

I flew the launch plane and my buddy handled the Big Bird until I had landed. It flies very nice. Tight turns without issue. Tried the spoilers on my first landing. Work very well. We found no thermal activity. Had expected the sun to come out a bit earlier than it. Still had five nice flights, longest being 8:31.

Looks nice in the air but need to see it on a sunny day. Very pleased so far!
Joe
Sky Bench Aerotech Big Bird Maiden Flights (3 min 39 sec)
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Old Nov 27, 2011, 08:17 AM
life long racing nut & modeler
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Granada Hills Ca.
Joined Nov 2009
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Hi Joe

Neat looking Big Bird, what holds the two together on climb out then release.

Can you put a few pics and explain your set up, as i have only seen the aero tow here on the forum. Trick ski's too.

Thanks
G Don
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Old Nov 27, 2011, 09:14 AM
MaineFlyer
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Augusta, Me
Joined Feb 2005
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Glider Rider

G Don,
Here are a few photos of what we use. Several different versions. Most of ours have a plate with holes in the back for the wing hold-down bolts to go thru to hold the back end. The front end is secured by rubber bands, usually 5 or 6. Once the sailplane is placed on top, the straps go over the top of the wing and slip over the release pin in the front. Just activate the release and the servo pulls the pin back of and the sailplane lifts off.

I have one for my electric LT-25. I had to add some risers so I could clear the LT-25 vert stab. Probably have launched well over 200 2M sailplanes. Also have an electric LT-40 for the same purpose. Went to the gas Super Senior because the sailplanes larger than 2M just won't fit. Did carry a 100" Riser aloft with the LT-25 but it was very difficult to control.

Also a photo of my buddies OS70 powered Super Senior with my Riser on board. You can see the straps holding the Riser.

Here is a link to a short video and includes a slow motion section of a release.

Hope this helps. We find this a very successful way to get our sailplanes aloft.
Joe
Roland's Super Senior Test Flights (1 min 28 sec)
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Old Nov 27, 2011, 10:52 AM
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Hi Joe

Thanks for the pic's etc, thats a really neat way to get them up there.

G Don
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Old Nov 27, 2011, 11:16 AM
Registered User
United States, IN, Fort Wayne
Joined Apr 2003
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Joe,

What a great post, love your snow flying video and it seems like your aero tow in snow beats my winching and hi starting on my snow covered field. Your Bird looks terrific.

Ray
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Old Nov 27, 2011, 11:58 AM
MaineFlyer
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Augusta, Me
Joined Feb 2005
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Thanks, Ray!!
Very glad I got the kit and finally finished it. I can't wait to get it in the air again, especially on a good day.

This club used to use hi-starts and winches before the electric power line went in at the north end of our runway. Then they just stopped flying sailplanes but one of our guys got us started a couple years ago with this method. That's when I got hooked flying sailplanes. Love it. We try to encourage more members to give it a try but most don't care to.

I am going to consider getting a powered sailplane just for those times when I am by myself.

Joe
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Old Nov 27, 2011, 01:00 PM
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Hi Joe

That is what i have had to do, my legs have flamed out so all my stuff will be E powered from now on.

Walking on uneven ground is just to risky, i really like pure gliders but just have to change or no flying at all for this 70' yr old kid.

The E bird i built in the 80's was way too heavy but now we have all the new light trick motors etc, so its a new ball game now and looking forward to it.

G Don
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Old Nov 28, 2011, 01:35 AM
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Congrats on your Big Bird! I really like mine. You won't believe how nice it will thermal.
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Old Nov 28, 2011, 10:00 AM
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Joe-

Those were most entertaining posts in a while. The Big Bird is beautiful and the snow ski gear on the ride is extremely cool. Thanks for the pics and the vids!

Don
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Old Nov 28, 2011, 02:26 PM
MaineFlyer
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Augusta, Me
Joined Feb 2005
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More Glider Rider Info

Thanks for the kind words, Don.

I added a couple photos extracted from the video showing the Big Bird mounted on the "Glider Rider" as I call it. This gives a better view of the hold-downs for the sailplane. Each hold-down has a loop in the end that slips over the release pin.

Presently, three rubber bands are used to attached each hold-down to the rear of the frame. That is perfect for 2M sailplanes but 4 would be better for larger like the Big Bird and BOT's we carry up.

Also, once cold weather sits in, we usually change to springs as rubber bands don't do such a great job when cold.

Joe
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Old Nov 30, 2011, 12:04 AM
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USA, MN, Blaine
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Joe

I am really intrigued about your Glider Rider. I noticed you used larger gas powered planes to mount it on. Could you answer a few more question based on your expererience?

1. Could I use my Eagle 63 as the support plane for a 2M glider like a Gentle Lady?

2. How large of a glider do you think I could support with the Eagle 63? I was thinking going up to 100+ wing span, say like an Oly II or III. Would that still work or does the power plane become to hard to control?

3. The pics of the Glider Rider probably could be used to fabricate a reasonable fascimile of it but is there a plan for the Glider Rider somewhere, or is it something you and your flying friends created and perfected over time?
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Old Nov 30, 2011, 07:19 AM
MaineFlyer
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Augusta, Me
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Newman12 View Post
Joe
1. Could I use my Eagle 63 as the support plane for a 2M glider like a Gentle Lady?

2. How large of a glider do you think I could support with the Eagle 63? I was thinking going up to 100+ wing span, say like an Oly II or III. Would that still work or does the power plane become to hard to control?

3. The pics of the Glider Rider probably could be used to fabricate a reasonable fascimile of it but is there a plan for the Glider Rider somewhere, or is it something you and your flying friends created and perfected over time?
Hi Newman..
Yes, I expect you could use your Eagle to carry 2M planes. One of the issues I ran into with my LT-25 is to clear the vert stab and rudder, I had to add risers so the plane sits higher. That is a big limiting factor on that size plane.

I tried a 100 Riser once with the LT-25. VERY hard to control. BTW, you need to use the rudder for best control. Works better than using the ailerons.
Most 100" planes are simply too long to fit, even my LT-40 can't fit some 100" planes. I would need to add risers to that "Glider Rider" also.

It wasn't designed here but something picked up off the Internet by one of our guys that got us started. He just made it work and we copied his. Just be sure the incidence of the sailplane wing is about the same as the rider plane when you build the cradle. I don't have the plans for it but will ask around.

The larger Kadet Sr. (the Super Senior is a clone of that plane) is ideal and carries 3M planes with ease. Even the BOT ARF that several guys have is carried easily and that plane weights a ton! I went with a gas engine since I sold/gave away all my glow stuff 3 yrs ago. And gas is far more inexpensive to run. And inexpensive to buy. I got mine at BP Hobbies.

HTH,
Joe

Here is a thread about others building these.
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1151722
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Old Dec 01, 2011, 01:23 AM
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USA, MN, Blaine
Joined Feb 2011
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Thanks for all the info!

As a matter of coincidence I was just given a PT - 40 that was crashed at our field. It had already been modded with nearly a flat wing and done up as a tail dragger. The wing is good still but the fuse was broke 1/2 between the TE of the wing and the rudder. Just a crazy thought... maybe as I'm rebuilding her I could give her a little stretch in the fuse and add more rudder surface???? I was planning on putting a used Saito 72 four stroke that I have lying around so I'd guess I'd have plenty of power.
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