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Old Mar 11, 2004, 05:25 PM
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Mchone, Jake's Avatar
United States, KY, Berea
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THERMALING 4 BEGINNERS--Help area

Hellow, all! I have been flying my 2meter AspireEP from Hanger9(in pic) for about 2 years now, and sence its EP I havent realy gotton into thermaling until I decided to start saving up for the new Bird of Time ARF. I have been reading up on thermaling for about 3 mounths now, and after everytime I learned soemthing new I went out and tryed it, but even after 3 months, I STILL haven't been able to catch a thermal of any kind!(& yes i know of winter affects)
Am I doing something wrong or is it just luck. I have no acses to the local BSS(Blue Grass Soaring Society) club, sence it is about an hour away and I haven't a way to get there(I fly in 2 old, large corn fields RIGHT beside my house...)
I would REALY apresiate any help at all!
Please hep me out if you can...I will be very glad to tel you exactly what I have and havent done and where I have gotton all my info from.
Thanks much!
-Jake


I have sence 'retired'(ok, so i totaled it ) and found the, now discontinued -but some can still be found- , origional Aspire-G seen in bottom pic. This plane is much nicer than the EP Aspire and the sink rate and speed range is incredible compared to my EP! Im haveing much better flying luck and performance with this one!!
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Old Mar 11, 2004, 05:42 PM
Crikey never leave beer behind
steve wenban's Avatar
Mt Annan Sydney Australia
Joined Dec 2003
23,381 Posts
well Jake I fly a lot of thermal but not for competion only for fun I have not had any real problem reading the reaction from any of my 2 metre floaters .I fly big open circles flying very flat (Minimum bank angle ) and as soon as i see a change in nose attitude of the model not my nose I'll pull the bank a little tighter and if the Thermal is there the models speed increases and it climbs in the circle .There is probably a lot of the other guy here that will give you a lot more info on the how to's But the above works for me
good luck and good thermal hunting
Steve.
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Old Mar 11, 2004, 05:49 PM
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Thanks, Steve! Ive tryed that..but got bord(LOL)
I'll try it again as soon as these 20-30mph winds die down...
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Old Mar 11, 2004, 06:00 PM
Crikey never leave beer behind
steve wenban's Avatar
Mt Annan Sydney Australia
Joined Dec 2003
23,381 Posts
Well with those winds find a hill and lookat the thread corro for thermal
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Old Mar 11, 2004, 06:59 PM
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United States, KY, Berea
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Hehe, sorry, but not good sloping sites for about 50 miles from my location!(Believe me, IVE LOOKED!)
But i'll check the thred anyway.
Thanks
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Old Mar 11, 2004, 07:32 PM
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USA, CT, Hamden
Joined Oct 2002
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The rocket sites listed ARE te best source on the web for this.

I recently posted to a friend on the subject, he was asking if any one of the fields we fly at was better than the other for thermals. My reply:
It's interesting to note that if you're a flier of full sized sailplanes the
source for reporting lapse rate information that's closest to us is in Albany.
I think I have that right? The report from there is supposed to be good for everywhere nearby. Obviously one is supposed to look outside the window and see what's happening in the sky as well as what the weather channel and web info provide. In general, a good day at one field will be a good day at another. No guarantees and some days that just may not work out. A good thermal day is a day that you can go to the flying field! It's supposed to be hard work for us, its not natural and skills must be developed. The best ones to develope are having a plane trimmed to fly straight at a nice speed without constantly hitting the sticks and keeping an eye on the plane, then constantly evaluating its motion while looking at the possible reasons for the movement and making corrections or establishing a new course of action. O-O-D-A loop stuff. Evaluating sign while hanging out, retreiving the line, during flight and prior to flight will help minimize the time spent cruising in bad air, losing altitude and flight time. Good air breeds thermals, hanging out in it increases the chances of locating it and going up. Some good air may take 5-8 minutes, from the time you first enter until a thermal forms in it. If you're in the air, chances are you can find it. That was very typical of what we found in Georgia at the last F3b team selection contest, we would head out, cruise around in large circles defining the good air, and as our altitude dropped down to 150' or so a thermal would carry us to the end of the flight. We always thought we would be short and it was scary but if we were good it would work, if we chickened out and left the air, we could be in more trouble. What was it that the book says[?]...never leave good air?

I refered to reading "sign". The obvious change in air temp, sun, shifts in wind, location of birds[any kind] and what they're doing, what's happening in their flight, rustling of grass, movent of leaves or branches on a nearby treeline. All part of Thermalling 101!
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Old Mar 11, 2004, 08:21 PM
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I ALWAYS pay attention to the birds around here, but on calm days, when i most like to fly, they tend to ground themselves for some reason....only the big hawks and such, it seems, go up, anyother time, they just do some dynamic soaring, and my Aspire isnt aerodynamic/streemlined for that stuff, plus its too light, een with the motor and battery in her.
I was in some very promising air yesterday before the winds picked up and was acualy getting a little lift, but that was just heat from a nearby road drifting, not enyf to make a diference, just enuf for me to notice...i would have stayed in it, but my battery was running down, and when I came back out(30-45min later) as expected...it was gone.
Just a thaught, is the heat rising from the roads or ground give a hint as to a thermal?
I always notice that , and try to fly to it, but there just seems to be stagnate air(air that only provides enuf lift to keep my plane from losing altitude, not gain it)
-Jake
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Old Mar 12, 2004, 10:51 AM
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USA, AZ, Tucson
Joined Apr 2002
555 Posts
How did you set the CG on the plane? The most common problem for new flyers (that I've seen) is an improperly trimmed airplane. This is where experienced help is invaluable.

A plane with the CG too far forward can plow right through lift and you'd never even know it was there.
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Old Mar 12, 2004, 02:55 PM
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CG of Aspire EP

I have experimented with it by as much as 1" fore and 1" aft of the recomended CG of 3&1/2 to 3&3/4 inches from leading adge.
The forward CG did nothing but keep her more stable in the wind and make me have to add more up trim, and the rearward CG helped in a tail high attitude when I did managed to find lift once or twice(but was unable to catch it after I circled back around_ i.e. kept falling out of the lift)
So to answer your Question, no I do not think it is the CG as being the problem, But I would love to see you prove me wrong.
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Old Mar 12, 2004, 03:08 PM
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United States, AL, Madison
Joined May 2002
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About the articles, all are good. The 2nd one is golden. The sections on wind and temperature are well done. Notice the wind vector diagrams. Do you ever notice the wind shift? If there's a steady breeze, notice when it increases/decreases, or pulls to one side. That is a sign of a nearby thermal.

Also, ever notice if the wind slows down and at the same time, the air feels a bit warmer. There's a thermal just upwind of you.

Forgetting all the vector stuff, fly towards where the wind has shifted. If there is a breeze, fly upwind of that spot a little.

If you are comfortable flying with your CG more rearward, then put it there, and leave it.

Where you are right now, it would greatly benefit you to spend an entire afternoon with the club an hour away. You can learn a lot just by seeing for yourself what others are doing and saying.

Let one of their club experts help you trim/balance your plane. It may fly fine to you, but you are used to it. An expert can tell you if the plane is trimmed well or not. You might be "fighting" against a poorly trimmed plane, which might hamper your thermal finding search.

Keep at it, don't give up. This thread is a GREAT idea !

The ever going hunt for thermals and the wonder of flight fascinates me.
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Old Mar 12, 2004, 03:28 PM
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Thanks, Jon, but the winds around here are so unpredictable, it is hard to deturman if it is a thermal, or just a normal/regular shift in the wind velocity or speed(it tends to accure VERY often around here, but I have yet to find a thermal using that method).
I have managed to find lift(wether it be a thermal or not) when I feel it suddenly get warmer, but was unable to stay in it, or find it fast enough before it got too high, or just died off.
Any recomindations on that, as well?

And to anyother Newbies out there scanning threugh this thred...Please feel free to jump right in if you need a question answered!
-Jake
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Old Mar 12, 2004, 04:03 PM
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Thermals drift with any wind present. Your plane should drift with them. What I do is try to cirlcle with a constant bank angle on the wings. Then let the plane drift wherever it wants.

If you are in lift and circling, take special notice. If one part of the circle, the plane climbs better, expand your circle towards that side. Move towards the area of strongest lift.

These constant wind shifts are likely indicators of lift moving through. It is especially easy to read, if the winds are < 5 mph.
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Old Mar 12, 2004, 05:50 PM
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The Wild, Wierd Weather of the Bluegrass

No, we don't get everymany thermals from my field...Kentucky's weather is just wierd and unpridictable like that, no matter how good or bad the conditions for thermals are, the wind still does the same thing, I know it sounds like im missreading the signs, but im not. It can be overcast or full sunshine, the wind will still go from a northerly heading to an easterly, then back to northerly heading then westerly....0 to 5, back to 3 to 11mph in less than 2 minutes, or upto an hour for all that stuff to take place...it just depends on the pressure systems and Jet streem that determands it. It has nothing to do with thermals being presant...but please don't get me wrong, I am not trying to start an agrument of expertise and/or knowledge, I am meirly trying to explain Kentucky's wild, wierd weather patterns to you, so I can save you your time and energy, so you can help me further.
I am a full-sized pilot with extinsive weather training...so I generaly know what im talking about when it comes to weather and such.
-Jake
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Old Mar 13, 2004, 05:45 AM
Proud member of LISF and ESL
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Sounds like you need to understand more about what thermals are, how to detect them and what to do when you find one.

I have to admit that if I were not part of a sailplane club I probably would not have caught a thermal if it hit me in the head. These guys taught me what to look for.

There is no reason why you can't thermal your EP plane, but you may be depending too much on the motor. When you fly a pure sailplane your only way to stay in the air is to find a thermal. The motovation is different.

A light weight floater will also make it easier to detect those thermals. The extra weight of the motor/battery means your plane is flying much faster and you could be flying right through the thermals.

Something like the regular Aspire, A great planes Spirit or a Gentlle Lady would be more sensative and more responsive to thermals.

Let me recommend a great book.

Old Buzzard's Soaring Book
http://www.carstens-publications.com/hangar/a11560.html

Great reading, very funny and chock full of good info. Written by the designer of the Bird of Time sailplane.

I love sailplanes. Did a photo essay on the subject:

Sailplanes are wonderful
http://www.rcezine.com/cms/article.php?cat=&id=18
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