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Sig-Kavan Riser 100 sailplane kit review

Sasha explores this lazy day motor-assisted glider, from assembly to motor testing, from covering through thermals.



 The Riser on the ground before flight.
The Riser on the ground before flight.
Wing Area:1000sq. in.
Wing Loading:9-11 oz/sq. ft.
Servos:Hitec 205 & Hitec 81
Prop:Aero-naut Cam Carbon 12x6,5
Battery:6 cells / 7 cells KAN 1050
Motor:Himax 5300 / 6,6:1
ESC:Castle Creations Phoenix 45
Available From:SIG-KAVAN, Europe

It seems that so many reviews are about serious gliders, and about powered planes, and ARFs, but seem to have forgotten the easy models. The models that, from the assembly to the flights, bring us such great enjoyment! I found it very interesting and pleasurable to build an easy model from a kit and then fly it. Sig provided a very good model - the Riser 100.

KIT Contents

As the pictures show, the model is a kit not an ARF. It was a good kit, and built a good model quickly. The kit arrived in a plain white corrugated cardboard box. Not too much, but this was all that I needed to build my model. The kit included all the main things, but of course I had to purchase my own covering.



I started with the wing. I was amazed at just how fast it went together. The process was done very quickly.

To join the panels, I installed a piece of 9/32” brass tubing wing joiner into the holes in the center section first ribs. I did the same for the wing panels. With the center joint firmly down against the workbench, I blocked up each end of the wing panels 1-1/2”. I lightly tacked glue on the 9/32” brass tubing to the first ribs and allowed the glue to dry. Then I cut out the balsa fill-in pieces from the 3/8” x3” & x4” print balsa sheet and epoxy glued them into place. Also, I added a small piece of scrap spruce, from the leftover wing spar material, at the outboard end of both brass tubes to act as a stop for the ¼” cable. To make the joiner area stronger, I covered the room between the first and second ribs with balsa.

The kit made it possible to install a spoiler option if it was so desired. I decided to install the spoiler option. Two pieces of ¼” x1”, x12” balsa trailing edge stock was provided for making the spoilers. I cut each to length in the middle of the rid in the middle of the wing. I notched the two center ribs of the spoiler bay to allow the spoiler to fit flush with the top of the wing.


The fuselage was a simple build as well. I did have to drill two holes in the top side of the formers for wing mounting.

To glue the fuselage, I connected two sides of the fuselage with simple rubber, and working from the forward I began to put all the formers in place. After all the formers were on its place I added the top and bottom part of the fuselage. Looked fine! And again I removed any rough spots, corrected formers place, and prepared for gluing. I began gluing from the outside, and then the inside of the fuselage. Then I let it all dry.


The stab was an easy, classic stick build-up. The elevators were not precut. Two 12” long pieces of ¼”x 2” balsa tapered stock were provided. I had to cut one of the elevator patterns from the plans and traced the outline onto both pieces of tapered stock. After I cut the elevators to shape I joined the elevators together by gluing them to the ¼” dia. X5” long birch dowel elevator joiner. I then block sanded the elevators flat and smooth taking care that the ¼” leading edge thickness was maintained.


I started covering from the wing. I used the usual oracover of transparent blue, with some yellow elements.


Himax 2025-5300

Gearing:6:1, 5.33:1, 4.43:1
Weight:2.9 oz. (82g)
Max Power:175W
Max RPM:60K
Max Temp:100c (212F)
Available From:Bishop Power Products

Because this plane is best suited for relaxed, enjoyable flying, using a high power motor didn't seem to make any sense. I decided to use a good hobby motor. This provided good power for 1.30 - 2.00 minute climb, on 6-7 cells. I looked for a motor for a long time before deciding on the Himax motor. It seems to suit the plane well.

Himax gear motor came with 6.6:1 gear set installed. This is probably the most common one to use. However, Himax include the 5.3:1 and 4.4:1 gear sets as well for me to test.

Here are some performance results for the motor with different cells count and propeller:

Gear : 6 cells Ni 7 cells Ni 10 cells Ni
4.43:1 10x520,4 oz 12 A 10x527,0 oz 16 A 8x636,3 oz 17 A
5.33:1 11x5.520,9 oz 12 A 10x727,2 oz 13 A 9x636,1 oz 16 A
6.6:1 12x825,4 oz 12 A 12x626.6 oz 13 A 10x738,1 oz 15 A


Castle Creations Phoenix 45
Weight:1 oz. (30g)
Cells w/ BEC:12
Cells w/o BEC:16
Continuous Current Capacity:45A
Surge Current Capacity:60A
Resistance:0.0026 Ohms
Reverse:Yes, 2 wires
Available From:Castle Creations

I used my new Himax with a Castle Creation Phoenix 45 speed controller. I used the Castle Creation controllers in my review about the aero-towing project, and in my electric models. I am happy to say that in numerous flights a Castle Creation product has never failed me. On paper this controller matched the output of the motor very well and only using could show just how compatible they would be together.

I used 4-mm gold connectors. As for the controller, the Castle Creation Phoenix 80 was a fantastic speed controller. The functions and the properties of this speed controller were great. This speed controller had three position of frequency –11KHz, 22KHz, 41KHz. This was very important, because different motors worked with different frequencies. And if the frequency of the motor was wrong, the motor or speed controller could be destroyed. Also another important feature was the timing of the controller. Different motors work with different timing modes.

This controller had a lot of functions:

  • Cutoff voltage
  • Current Limiting
  • Brake Type
  • Throttle Type
  • Timing Advance
  • Cutoff Type
  • Soft Start
  • PWM Switching Frequency.

In the past, programming of this controller could be frustrating, but there is now a PHX USB Link to do so via computer. This device had two connections. One connection was connected to the radio connection from the speed controller and the other to the computer USB port. I downloaded the program from the Internet to this port. Then I installed this program to my computer and programed the speed controller from it.

I programmed basic modes (Cutoff V., Cutoff T., Brake T., Throttle T., Soft Start). I easily selected the needed function, and then clicked the update and after a few seconds my controller was programmed. I didn’t change the Cutoff Voltage. I kept it at 5 V. because I used the OPTO function of the controller. Also I didn’t change the PWM because most of the motors were used in 11 kHz. If the controller and motor did not use the correct timing settings a couple problems could occur: The motor would not work on max watts, or have the max RPM; or the motor or/and controller would be damaged.


Cheap Battery Packs' Kan 1050

Weight:.75oz per cell
Resistance:0.0148 Ohms
Available From:Cheap Battery Packs

To find a good battery it is not easy thing. Every battery has its own positive and negative. One cell has a little size and weight but huge resistance, other low resistance but big weight and size. To choose good cells for this motor I decided to use KAN cells. These cells have extremely low weight and resistance in possible range so this is the best candidate to be main packs in my project. Pack comes already soldered and ready to use. I only needed to put a connector. Cheap Battery Packs even offered to provide me packs with connectors, but I have special connectors so I put those on myself.


Medusa Research's Power Analyzer Plus
Current:0-100A (!)
Power:0-6000 W
Available From:Medusa Research, Inc.

Ok and now to the main instrument in this project. It is the ANALYZER. I planned to use an analyzer to measure amperes, volts, and watts. In this project I used the Medusa Power Analyzer Plus. Medusa produces two kinds of analyzers: Power Analyzer and Power Analyzer Plus. The main difference in these analyzers is that the “plus” unit measures data that it can then send to the computer, and I could make graphs of the motor's workouts. It was fantastic. It was more interesting to use the “plus” because I could test the motor with different propellers, make graphics of its work, and then compare. It was very important for information gathering. How else could I get an answer to a question such as “was my motor working at its maximum or could I get more from it?" I think with the Power Analyzer Plus I could answer this question. Of course I could have sat long hours near the computer and calculated how the motor will work. But with analyzer “plus” I knew what I needed. It was great!

Static testing

Before put all in my model and fly I should test it. In this test my main instrument was the power analyzer plus. I have a perfect idea of the performance from the motor testing...the motor should work perfectly. From the tests, it appears to be a high power, good, quality product.

Here are some results of my tests:

Watts 102 Watts
Current 13,2 Amperes
Volts 9,80 Volts
Amps-hours 0,268 Ah
Watt-hours 0,1 Wh


Despite the weather, we were very anxious to fly. The wind was around 1-3 meters, and I thought it was perfect wind for this model. I flew with my friend Vladimir; he is one of the best F3J pilots in Ukraine. When we left the house the weather was rather good, but when we got to the field it was cold, rain - ugly weather. We waited, and watched the “beautiful" weather as we began to install batteries and prepared the model for flight.

After we completed installation of equipment in the model, we checked the center of gravity. It was close to the recommended CG. After everything was checked about a hundred times, we finally made the first launch. We started our first flight with a no-power hand launch. Vladimir slowly flew it, the controls were perfect, beautiful, and wonderful; it isn't possible to tell in words how great it was!!! The main thing that I liked was that he didn’t need to trim it at all. When we were going to our flying field I thought about how it would fly, how much trim it would need, what would the first flight be like? But when we launched it... no trim, nothing needed, it was flying itself.

The second flight I fired the motor and flew it. It began to gain altitude, and we found that the motor worked around 30-35 seconds. After the motor turned off I began to accurately fly to see what the model could do. After a few minutes of flight, I found a thermal; it was not strong a start. I made one round to be sure that this was a thermal and began to slowly fly by rounds, one, two, another... Suddenly, when I started flying in the thermal, it began to rain, and I was forced to land. I didn’t want to land it! But it was a good chance to test the spoiler. After just a few seconds the Riser neared ground, moved back, and landed itself without my help at all! Okay, maybe a little.

As for thermal properties of this model, it found them easily. Even in such bad weather it found one! It was also easy to round in thermals. It made every turn very easily because of the big, square rudder.

Another flight option would be to convert this model into glider version. I combined motor, batteries and other equipment very light so if I try this model as a glider I am 100 % sure it will fly wonderfully. I used the motor because it was convenient, to find thermals for example. I only had to turn the motor on and move it to place I wanted.

I want to say that, after building the Riser 100, I am glad I chose to exactly follow the drawings and instructions. I got a model that flew itself.

Photo/Video Gallery



The most interesting thing about this model was area. It was, and with loading only around 9-11 oz/ sq.ft., this model would fly long hours. This was a standard class sailplane that was designed with the beginner and sport flyer in mind. The Riser proved to be one of the best floaters around. Its outstanding flight performance put it right at home riding the thermals on a lazy afternoon. A modified Eppler 205 airfoil would let The Riser 100 be launched to ultimate heights from a standard high-start, while still allowing excellent penetration into the wind on those blustery contest days. I recommend this model for beginners and for those who want to enjoy a relaxing flight.

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Old Jul 23, 2005, 01:06 PM
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My Riser 100

I'm an unexperienced pilot, and my first plane is the Riser 100.
It has a geared electromotor (4:1) a Graupner 12,5/6,5" prop.

At first I had an batteriepack of 8 cells (2000 Mha), but the Riser just wouldn't rise .

Now I fly with an 10-cells (2400 Mha) pack and the plane still flies very slowely, but it climbs in about three minutes to a hight that's acceptable.

When I cut off the engine, the true nature of the Riser 100 arises.
The plane just won't come down, it's fantastic!
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Old Feb 02, 2006, 05:00 PM
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Sig Riser 100 Spoiler?

I have a Sig Riser 100 with the spoilers that was built several years ago but I don't have the plans. I am trying to figure out how to hook the spoiler threads to a servo arm. I need either the plans or information on how to hook them up. The spoilers are installed and the threads are coming out of the wings with the loops. Any help?

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Old Dec 29, 2006, 12:06 AM
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Great article.
I have the kit and would like to built an electric version.
You list the weight as 43 ounces. Is that the glider version weight or the electric version weight?
It's hard to believe that a 100" span electric glider could be so light.

Do you have any difficulty seeing a transparent blue covered glider at altitude?
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Old Dec 29, 2006, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by John Gallagher
Great article.
I have the kit and would like to built an electric version.
You list the weight as 43 ounces. Is that the glider version weight or the electric version weight?
It's hard to believe that a 100" span electric glider could be so light.

Do you have any difficulty seeing a transparent blue covered glider at altitude?
My Riser was 63 oz (1800 gram) flyingweight including 10 cells.
Now I've reconfigured it with a Typhoon 15/10 brushless engine and 3c/2200 lipo's. This resulted in a weightloss of about 11 oz (300 gram)

The brushless makes the Riser climb mutch faster now, and the reduced weigth makes it stay up even longer than it did.
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Old Dec 29, 2006, 04:01 PM
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Hello Guys,
It is nice to hear that many peoples fly on the Riser.
My was really 43 oz. Blue color in the sky is ok, i see a model very good.

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Old Sep 25, 2012, 04:41 PM
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Help Pls


Superb article. Convinced me to alter my Riser to Elec.

One problem encountered is hooking up the strings for the spoilers to the servo to activate them. Could you explain how you did that and/or post a pic or 2 please?

Am seriously considering installation of two micro servos with Y connect instead of strings.

Comments would be very appreciated.


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Old Sep 25, 2012, 07:59 PM
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Hey KC, I have a Riser 100 with servos in the wings for spoilers. Do a search with the word "spoilers" and the member name "VegasRay" and you'll find a great little how-to. And, some other ideas thrown in as well!
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Old Sep 25, 2012, 09:04 PM
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Holy thread revival Batman!
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Old Sep 26, 2012, 08:26 AM
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TX for that link. It DID solve my problem (and then some)
Ain't thread revivals great?? LOL
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