|Title:||Handlaunch Pro Clinic|
|Format:||DVD - 2 Disc Set|
|Manuf. & distr. by:||Radio/Carbon Art|
I taught myself how to play golf, but it wasn't until several years later that I actually learned how to swing a golf club correctly when I finally took lessons from a pro. Well, it was deja vu all over again when I took up discus launch gliders this year. Having nobody around to teach me, I ended up just teaching myself how to discus launch a glider. But just as it was with golf, it wasn't until I watched Radio Carbon Art's Handlaunch Pro Clinic video that I actually learned how to discus launch a glider.
The Handlaunch Pro Clinic is the lastest video released by Paul Naton and Radio Carbon Art. Radio Carbon Art has a whole set of superb videos for the silent flight enthusiast that cover various meets and events. The Pro Clinic video is the second instructional video. The first is the Secrets of Thermal Soaring which I highly recommend as a great companion to the Pro Clinic video.
The Handlaunch Pro Clinic video comes as a two disc set. The first disc takes place in Paul's workshop and covers everything from transmitter selection through balancing and setting up a plane. The second disc takes place in the field and includes both a well narrated launch and flight by Paul as well as segments in which we see the pros fly and talk about their planes. The DVDs are very professionally produced but maintain a homey style. Watching the DVD, you feel like you are hanging out with Paul and he's just talking to you as a fellow flyer and sharing his years of experience with you.
The workshop session starts with a good survey of equipment for RC flying in general and DLG in particular. It then ends with a thorough discussion of finishing your plane for best performance. Disc 1 is helpful even for non-HLG fliers.
Paul gives a good overview of transmitters and what to look for in terms of transmitter ergonomics and features for HLG. I liked the fact that he didn't insist on needing a high end computer radio but saw simpler radios as having certain advantages for HLG.
As with the transmitter section, Paul gives a good overview of receivers - including a short history lesson and some insight into the future of receiver technology. It should be noted that although Paul suggests staying away from single conversion receivers and sticking with dual conversion receivers, he does tout the capabilities and size of signal-processing receivers such as the Berg receiver which are actually single conversion receivers. The point is well made that not all single conversion servos are created equal.
The main message in this section is buy cheap = buy twice. Paul also addresses minimal torque requirements and points out that you want to put the best servo on the elevator, since that's the workhorse.
Paul provides a good overview that covers NiCad, NiMH and Lithium battery types. He also discusses the value of having a battery checker and looks at a couple of chargers one can use.
This section of the DVD is chock full of helpful hints and tips for optimizing the performance of your plane. Paul addresses setting dihedral in the wing, how best to place the launch peg, and setting up the servos and control linkages. Then, he shows a process for squaring the wing to the fuselage, and drilling and tapping the wing hold down screw holes. This is a section of the DVD I will revisit in the future when I need to finish and square up a wing for a model.
This section addresses installing the tail feathers and stresses the need to attach the tail feathers straight to avoid trim drag. In the past, I was generally willing to speed through these steps during a build and "fix" any problems with trim. After viewing this section, I have a whole new respect for the need to avoid introducing any drag caused by such lax practices - especially in HLG.
In this section, Paul also discusses various ways to set up the tail feather pushrods and the radio equipment. Some neat ideas with regards to saving weight by replacing the receiver antenna with thinner wire or even using a pushrod are presented.
This section discusses everything from CG to decelage and setting up control throws on your radio. This includes a very useful tutorial on setting the CG.
Disc 2 takes you to the flying field with Paul and the pros.
Paul provides a list of essential items to take along to the field. Then he shows how to do a thorough pre-flight check.
As mentioned above, I taught myself how to discus launch and, although I have only been discus launching for a short time, after watching Pro Clinic, I realized I had already started establishing some bad habits. Besides explaining the launch in detail, Paul also provides a list of common mistakes, including an example of a bad launch, which I found very useful.
Though not essential for "sport" flying, catching the plane is a fun part of the hobby, and it is important for competition flying. Paul includes tips on how to catch the plane both by the nose and by the launch peg.
Paul discusses presets and how they might be useful in certain circumstances - for example to counter yaw on launch. He also reviews the dive test for checking the plane's CG.
Paul covers a plethora of ideas and ways to help improve your performance and skill level. Everything from ballasting to using talking timers and wind streamers is described.
If you ask me, the flight session alone makes this video worth it's price! To see someone of Paul's skill level work the thermals was not only inspiring but also very educational. As he's flying, he uses terminology from the Secrets of Thermal Soaring. Although it's not necessary to have seen the Secrets video, having seen it beforehand really helped me get the big picture as I watched the flight session.
The Pro Sessions are kind of hidden on the DVD. When you watch disc 2, it appears to end with Paul's sessions and you're left wondering where are the pro sessions that were advertised? To find them, you need to go to the "more sessions" menu item on disc 2. Although I didn't find these sessions as useful as the ones with Paul, they were still interesting. The lesson with Bruce Davidson was enlightening. Similarly, watching the different pros' styles was helpful.
The above video includes both pre-clinic and post-clinic launches. The first couple of launches are from my Wright Brothers RC Gambler+ review, along with a couple of more recent launches where I try to emulate my pre-clinic style. But, then I execute launches based on what I had learned from the video. You may not notice any great increase in launch heights, but hopefully you'll see what I was feeling. I could feel that the launches were more consistent and had more power. And, I feel that I am rotating better. So, I think that increased launch height will come with time. This is much like a golf swing. Once you have a decent swing, distance comes as you get more experience. Finally, I also felt that my ability to identify and work thermals was improved and I can directly attribute that improvement to the flying session with Paul as well.
Obviously I like the Handlaunch Pro Clinic video. Given my situation where I have no readily accessible experts to guide and tutor me, this video has become indispensible. But, I think even "old pros" would find this video useful since it provides such a thorough coverage of this part of the hobby.
|Aug 18, 2004, 10:57 AM|
Great review! I particularly like the Gambler footage showing your launch height improvements....but then again I'm just a little biased!
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