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Soaring USA's The Bat Glider ARF Review

Alex Neigher reviews The Bat and finds a super light air sloper for those weak days at the slope, or even for some HLG at your local field or park.

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Introduction

 The Bat quickly gains height after launch.
The Bat quickly gains height after launch.
Wingspan:1350mm
Wing Area:306.16 sq. in.
Weight:16.9 oz.
Length:900mm
Wing Loading:7.94 oz/sq. in.
Servos:HS-56BB( Karbonite Gears)
Transmitter:Futaba 8UAF
Receiver:Hitec Electron 6
Battery:NiMh 720AAA
Motor:N.A
ESC:N.A
Manufacturer:Soaring USA
Available From:Soaring USA

How many times have you trekked up to your local slope, only to be greeted by wisps of wind and return home after a day of 0 stick time? I know I sure have more times than I would like to remember....The Bat from Soaring USA was the answer to my prayers. It is a super light air sloper for those weak days at the slope, or even for some HLG at the local field or park.

Kit Contents

Assembly

The assembly of this model was fairly straight forward, as are most molded planes. There were very few things that actually needed to be built, most steps were radio installation. This was a mixed blessing. Yes, it made it easier to get the plane flying, but to a novice or inexperienced builder, the lack of instructions can it an unnecessarily tricky plane to build.

Wing

IMPORTANT Make sure you get the servo(s) centered before installing them in the wing.

Once the servo well was open, I had to route all the wiring through the wing, which was really easy for two reasons: the wing was hollow, and there was a pre-made hole cut in the wing that aligned to the pre-cut hole in the fuselage. This was a huge plus in prefabrication.

The following step was to make some control horns for the ailerons. In most cases the distributor will supply these, but not for this plane, so I ended up making my own. These were made from a hard plastic that I found lying around the house, similar to a Compact Disk, only a little stiffer. It was important to get the holes on each horn lined up for both sides to insure equal deflection but as long as they were close it was not a big deal. These were made from a similar template I cut out and then sanded to size.

Fuselage

Unlike most fiberglass fuses, the Bat did not include a servo mounting tray.

Making a tray:

  • I started with uncut carbon, planning to back it with ply to hold the servo screws.
  • I applied the epoxy like I would normally
  • I used an empty can to press all of the extra out of the cloth.
  • I let it cure under as much weight as I could stack on it over night. Once I took all of the weight off the carbon the next day I got a smooth, yet strong slab of carbon.
  • I attached a few pieces of plywood on the underside where I wanted the servos to go, giving the screws a good, solid grip on the tray.

Lastly, I got a good position in the fuse where I wanted the tray to reside and glued it in using 15 minute epoxy.

Tail

This is one of the most important things to get absolutely right on the plane. I made sure to check, re-check and even triple check my measurements to make sure it was dead on.

It was very important, especially on a model with a small tail, to sand the ends of the elevators to give enough working room to attach the clevis once they were glued on. This was done by having a slightly obtuse outside angle. The only downside to this was I had to shave off a little of the bottom of the end of the fuselage to allow free travel of the pushrods to the horns. This was not something I would normally have to do, but on this plane it was the best way to get free movement of the pushrods without binding. Because I was shaving off such a little amount, I felt that no structural integrity was sacrificed.

After this, I went ahead and started to install my pushrods. This seemed simple at the time, but it turned out to be one of the hardest and most time consuming parts of the entire build. This was because the rear part of the fuse was so narrow. I was able to route my gold-n-rod snake pushrods through the fuse and had them attach to the tail by shaving off the bottom and sides of the rear fuselage.

Radio Installation

Weight and Balance

The center of gravity on gliders is a very funny thing, everyone has their own personal preferences so you don't have to stick to what I am flying. The sheet that came with the plane did not indicate where to have the CG, which made getting it close a real challenge. The way most designs are laid out, I like to start with the center of gravity just behind the back of the main spar....Which came out to be around 2-11/16 inches behind the L.E of the wing. I knew it would fly, but I wasn't too sure that this was the final location. After some flight tests(dive and inverted) I found that I was VERY close. At the end of the day I re-measured and found that I had moved it to 2 9/16 inches behind the leading edge. With the lead needed for balance, I ended out with a total weight of 16.9 oz., which was awesome for a light air sloper. Let's go fly!!

Flying

The maiden voyage of this ship took place on an extremely light North East wind. If this were any other of the planes in my quiver, I never would have even thought about flying them in these conditions. Perfect wind for the Bat.

The launch went off without a hitch. It flew straight out of my hand with only a few clicks of up trim needed. I headed out into the lift band and the Bat made it very obvious when it was in lift. I could see a significant altitude gain when flying through a bubble.

The Bat was very forgiving when stalling. The controls would go mushy and the nose would pitch over just to gain enough speed to recover, losing minimal altitude. I left the safety of the slope and went thermal hunting. The first thermal I caught was around 150 feet out from the hill. I knew right away that I had caught it because the Bat's left wingtip bumped. I turned into a decent thermal that I rode back to the hill. With this extra altitude I was able to see how the Bat would perform with some speed. I pitched the nose down and heard a familiar molded plane whine as the Bat zipped passed me. This whine, heard on almost all molded planes, was the wind flowing through the hinges.

Rolls were as expected, not blurry fast, but decent. Inverted flight required only a pinch of down elevator. Landing was simple due to the fact that a light plane like this stops nicely when pointed into the wind. I was able to hand-catch it on the second go-around.

Is This For a Beginner?

I would say that this plane is not for the inexperienced builder. First off, there were NO instructions on how to build it. Second, due to the small size of the plane, getting parts in and out of the small areas was very tough. The flying was a bit more user-friendly, as long as the nose was pointed down and the plane was moving. This model also has none of the self-righting characteristics of a trainer. For someone looking to learn to find lift, however, the Bat would be a great choice! Only a few hours behind the sticks will have anyone proficient at flying the Bat.

Flight Video/Photo Gallery

Downloads

Conclusion

The Bat from Soaring USA is a plane I will enjoy having in my quiver to fly when the rest are on the ground waiting for wind. While intended for experienced modelers, the Bat would still benefit from having some basic instructions and photographs for assembly. Thanks to the light construction materials and techniques, the Bat was able to maintain a light weight and would be perfect for a smaller slope or a slope that gets minimal wind.

Discussion

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Old Dec 21, 2005, 08:40 PM
Launch the drones ...
Ashtabula, OH USA
Joined May 1999
3,122 Posts
Hmmm - that wing looks exactly like the one on the discontinued Falcon all molded hotliner. Same shape. Same airfoil. Same wing span. Same Servo housing outlines.
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Old Apr 07, 2006, 09:59 AM
Registered User
Aio_1's Avatar
Ireland, Kildare, Leixlip
Joined May 2002
6,441 Posts
StratAir sell both the BAT and BAT Elektro. The "Elektro" which may be the same as the Falcon of which you speak!
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Old Apr 07, 2006, 10:43 AM
Launch the drones ...
Ashtabula, OH USA
Joined May 1999
3,122 Posts
Their EXCITE F5D looks pretty close to what my Falcon is. With the short nose cone. Which was the Falcon's biggest drawback insofar as being able to balance it. The short nose the Falcon was sold with required lots of weight to make it balance - and it flies like a rocket. Landings are always heart pumpers. And if you even think about slowing it down, it seems to tip stall. But, after all, it is a hot liner. If I could get a longer nose, I would. Then I'd put a lighter motor in it, to slow it down a bit during glide.

Their Laser also looks like the Falcon.
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Last edited by Tim Green; Apr 07, 2006 at 10:52 AM.
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Old Aug 09, 2006, 01:52 PM
mwahl
Joined Aug 2006
1 Posts
Bat Review - Control Surface Throws?

Thank you for your concise review. (I like reviews that focus on the essentials).

Yesterday I was relegated once again to watching my buddies fly while my plane was grounded due to insufficient wind speed/lift.

So I picked up the phone and ordered a "Bat".

I wondered whether you could please share the control surface throws you used? Also, are you using flapperons/spoilerons? And if so, what elevator deflection did you mix?

Thank you.
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Old Aug 09, 2006, 04:08 PM
Launch the drones ...
Ashtabula, OH USA
Joined May 1999
3,122 Posts
Sorry, but I've replaced the Falcon radio setting with another plane (haven't flown it since 2004).

I can tell you this much though - they were modest throws, I used aileron differential, and I sometimes used spoileron for landings (both ailerons up).

Try: 5mm up/down elevator, 5mm down aileron 10mm up aileron and spoilers about 10mm up both ailerons.
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Old Apr 14, 2009, 07:15 AM
Registered User
Sydney N.S.W Maroubra
Joined May 2007
81 Posts
Great review
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