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Old Feb 17, 2005, 08:38 PM
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If people weren't bent on trying to teach themselves to fly we'd probably have a lot more fliers today. I know I had to smash one to splinters before seeking help.
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Old Feb 17, 2005, 08:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fprintf
The only way to teach yourself is with EPP. Therefore, that is the best thermal build for a beginner.

I must agree that EPP is a good way to start. For EPP you uses a totally different skill set than a stick built plane. I to wish that more EPP 2m and 100" planes were on the market. That is the ultimate low performance but hi-bounce starter for new people. If we had more the hobby would likely evolve into better flying foam planes.

John
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Old Feb 17, 2005, 08:49 PM
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RyanPSU21 I just got done looking at the info on the JD site. You are correct they do have a lot of good stuff. If a first time builder finds it and takes the time to wade thru the site he will be rewarded. It would be real nice if they would pack some of the info in printed form so the buyer would be sure to see it.

John
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Old Feb 17, 2005, 08:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrgospod
I must agree that EPP is a good way to start. For EPP you uses a totally different skill set than a stick built plane. I to wish that more EPP 2m and 100" planes were on the market. That is the ultimate low performance but hi-bounce starter for new people. If we had more the hobby would likely evolve into better flying foam planes.

John
John, I appreciate your thoughts on EPP as a good starter plane. I would somewhat amend your statement with regard to "ultimate low performance but hi-bounce". I have found that my 38 ounce EPP Highlander can thermal quite well. On my first flight ever I stumbled into a thermal and got 5 minutes. If I had an LSF voucher the guys at the field, all longtime glider fliers and LSF members, would have signed it right then.

So my amendment would perhaps be "lower performance" which is really dictated by the weight rather than the shape of the fuse or the airfoil. It is probably comparable to any other 7 - 8 ounce/sq.ft, 2 meter wingspan gliders. So then it becomes, lower performance versus what? Lower performance versus a Spirit? No way. They have very similar glide speeds due to the poor airfoil choice (for a beginner expecting a floater) on the Spirit and marginally different sink rates. Lower performance versus a Chrysalis or a Little Bird 2M? Most definitely.

As you say, the bounceability of the plane is a key to its performance. Any day a beginner can continue to fly after pounding into the ground a time or two gives them more stick time, which leads to way more success on the next plane.
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Old Feb 17, 2005, 08:54 PM
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They have good information in the instructions regarding flying, first flights and using a high start. They are tailored around a beginner.
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Old Feb 17, 2005, 09:11 PM
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Fprintf

I didnít know they still made the Highlander. The only EPP thermal glider that I remember is the one NPS has out and I have never seen it. I think SteelHead has some EPP also but more for the slopes. Iím just glad that we have kept this thread going so more new people can maybe get off on a good start.

John
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Old Feb 17, 2005, 09:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrgospod
Fprintf

I didnít know they still made the Highlander. The only EPP thermal glider that I remember is the one NPS has out and I have never seen it. I think SteelHead has some EPP also but more for the slopes. Iím just glad that we have kept this thread going so more new people can maybe get off on a good start.

John
You are right, they no longer make the Highlander. But from all accounts of those who have flown the NSP Defiant and the Mountain Toys Gentle Foamy, they fly about the same. I flew the Defiant last Spring at our fields, and except for the fact that it is just darn ugly, it actually flew surprisingly well.

There are two sets of skills needed to be a good balsa glider pilot. The first are requisite piloting skills. This is so that you can keep downtime to a minimum by avoiding crashes or stupid mistakes (e.g. cartwheels). These can be acquired either by:

1. Stick time on your own. This often means frequent rebuilds of the plane and significant summer downtime due to repairs.
2. Buddy box or pass the transmitter flying.
3. Simulator, particularly CRRCSim with a transmitter or gamepad interface
4. Stick time on a foamie

The second set of skills, and perhaps where this thread originally started from, are building skills. These are typically acquired during the first build of a first kit. IMHO there is no substitute for coming up to a problem and either figuring it out for yourself or posting here and having someone walk you through a solution. Just reading on the internet and hoping to absorb building techniques just doesn't work. Adults learn best by hands on learning, testing and repetition. Giving credit where credit is due, I have heard the Spirit instructions are superior to many others and do not require a new builder to read too far ahead. That cannot necessarily be said for others, including the build I did on my MM Glidertech Marauder. Fortunately we have a great group of people here who often offer building help. But not everyone has a PC with an internet connection close by to ask questions, nor do they even know they should be asking why not to glue piece A to piece C instead of B.

Good thread.
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Old Feb 17, 2005, 10:05 PM
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If they were still available the PMP Thermal 73 to me was an easy build and pleasing to the eye....very light and at a slope with poor lift would fly when all epp wings could not. The kit even came with build photos. How I long for the good ole days!
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Old Feb 18, 2005, 02:24 AM
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Acorns are nuts, but they're not crazy.

Why all this discussion? The top 3 balsa gliders for beginners are known by every modeler world wide. In order, they are:

1- Gentle Lady
2- Gentle Lady
3- Gentle Lady

If you are new to this hobby, and want to learn how to fly using a glider whose slow flight characteristics and light thermal abilities are unsurpassed, find yourself a Gentle Lady.

Important notes:

Why doesn't the Spirit hold a candle to the GL for learning?

1- It is heavier, and as a result, really hurts/tears your arm and shoulder muscles if you throw it hard.

2- It will not fly really slowly, and is not nearly as responsive as the GL.

3- As mentioned before, tip stalls easily. Hello tip stall...hello ground!

4- A popular method of getting a GL into the air from a field is with an .049 glow motor attached above the wing on a 'power pod'. (Try this with a Spirit and it'll rival the climb rate of an oil soaked duck).

Is the Spirit a bad plane? No. Would I ever choose to fly a Spirit instead of a GL? Yes...if the day was windy...because the Spirit does excell at flying fast (that's relative of course). Try to fly a GL fast and you'll be setting up for a landing before you know it.

All that said, do I look back with fond memories on the 100+ hours I spent repairing...and repairing...and repairing the balsa plane I learned on? Well, not really. Do yourself a huge favour and learn to fly with an EPP plane...if you have a slope handy in your area, an EPP Zagi is hard to beat. Yes it has ailerons, but hell, it flys like a Gentle Lady, so don't be scared of all the comments like, "You can't learn to fly with an aileron plane!". It's hogwash...after the first 50 crashes, you'll have a good idea of how to keep the sucker in the air. Best of all, 50 crashes = 0 damage = 0 hours doing repairs! Sorry Carl Goldberg, but that's the modern reality.

Did I mention ease of building?
Lets see now...Zagi build:

Part I: GLUE THE TWO WHITE THINGS TOGETHER
Part II: WRAP WHITE OBJECT WITH $.99 PACKING TAPE
Part III: GO FLY

WARNING WARNING WARNING
As mentioned earlier in this thread...be extra careful about deciding on a GL for your first build...it's almost as difficult to master as those shapes we played with in kindergarden...remember...S-Q-U-A-R-E into SQUARE HOLE, AND T-R-I-A-N-G-L-E into...oh no, I forgot which one.
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Old Feb 18, 2005, 07:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flystoolow
it's almost as difficult to master as those shapes we played with in kindergarden...remember...S-Q-U-A-R-E into SQUARE HOLE, AND T-R-I-A-N-G-L-E into...

And just like in kindergarten when your done you will chew it into pieces because you do not have enough info to do anything but create a new set of GL pieces. Unlike the Spirit it takes more than is in the GL kit package to be successful.

John
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Old Feb 18, 2005, 07:55 AM
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flystoolow: I think your first point about the GL vs. Spirit is a bit off. I don't know about you, but neither plane is really suited for handlaunch gliding. So for most people you just stuff it on a histart - no throwing, therefore throwing weight is not significant.

As for the Zagi, well if we could get all those in the red states to move to the coasts and inland hills we'd have a lot more folks sloping. But for those of us stuck inland or with inappropriate slopes, a Zagi is about the worst choice to learn how to thermal. Remember, the title of the thread is first thermal build and sloping is rarely thermaling. EPP is good, for sure.
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Old Feb 18, 2005, 08:21 AM
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I put my zagi 3C off a high start this past weekend. 3 meter hi start was a bit strong for the plane, but it worked. Used it to get the plane over a stand of trees so I could slope soar over the Hudson River. Fun!

Back to builds:

I think the Spirit is great, so we will leave that at that.

However since we are tossing ideas around here, what about a nice discus launched glider. Something like the Mountain Models dl-50?
http://www.mountainmodels.com/DL50.php

1.5M, no hi-start or winch needed. 50' launches are easy. 80 foot launchs are possible.

Video
http://www.mountainmodels.com/dl50.wmv

Builders Manual
http://www.mountainmodels.com/DL50.pdf
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Old Feb 18, 2005, 08:47 AM
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aeajr

I just built a Lil Bird 2 for Mini Hi-start use. No need to have a DLG wing if I don't intend to use it.

John
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Old Feb 18, 2005, 12:14 PM
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Chew-chew Trains And Air-0-planes

Quote:
Originally Posted by jrgospod
And just like in kindergarten when your done you will chew it into pieces because you do not have enough info to do anything but create a new set of GL pieces. Unlike the Spirit it takes more than is in the GL kit package to be successful.

John

I always thought it was the cat who chewed up my first GL...but it was ME! No wonder it only flew backwards and up-side-down always turning to the left! I should have worn a muzzle.
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Old Feb 18, 2005, 12:45 PM
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Excellent thread guys, maybe someone can help me decide on my first build. I have an Olympic 650, SIG Riser, and Midwest Essence to consider. The Essence is missing instructions. Also have an Electra, can that be built and flown without the motor? Anxious to hear your opinions.
By the way, all my building and flying experience has been on the Hobby Lobby ZIP HLG which has been a great learning tool but it is an ARF. Thanks guys.

Tom
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