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Old Feb 04, 2006, 11:11 AM
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Joined Jun 2005
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Several walkalong glider ideas, including some not done yet!

Hey everyone, I've been into this style of free-flight for a couple of years now, and I must say it's awesome! I just flew a 18" span flying wing from online plans last night...w/ nothing more than my hands (sometimes my head, too). It weighs roughly 6 g, and is the largest, heaviest walkalong glider I have. But what are the other possibilities? Here's some ideas I've tested, and some others I haven't done yet.

1. Smallest and lightest walkalong gliders. I've successfully flown models down to 1" span. Not sure on the weight (think mg, not grams), they're plank-style flying wings w/ winglets on the ends. Made from bandsaw-sliced light EPS foam w/ a balsa sliver out front for noseweight. They're sensitive to turbulence, and hard to launch. Avoid these if you have allergies

2. Most maneuverable gliders. Surprisingly, NOT the ones above. They're too small to penetrate the turbulence resulting from backtracking in a small space. That honor goes to 8-9" span plank-wings, which have a minimum 2.5 ft turning radius. They can be "slalomed" back and forth w/o too many problems.

3. Most frivolous glider. That honor goes to a 15" span, 3" chord plank wing with 4 sets of 4-bladed contra-rotating propellers. If I put streamers on it, then it becomes REALLY frivolous There's also some smaller, 8-9" span singles and a twin prop model. That last one shares the honor of most maneuverable glider, too! Smallest prop-glider now is 3" span, and the prop windmills decently.

4. Slowest, smallest, simplest, and lightest walkalong aircraft. These are condenser-paper tumblewings--they look kind of like plank-wings without noseweight, and they spin around their spanwise axis in flight. No framework required, spans are from 1" to 3.5". Flying speeds are around 1 mph. Weights? I did some math, and based on typical condenser-paper weights, the smallest t-wings weigh roughly 1.5 mg. The 5" regular tissue tumblewings fly slightly faster, up to 1.5 mph, and share the honor of most maneuverable aircraft, (2.5 ft turning radius)

5. Strangest, most difficult-to-fly gliders. I've made "squarewings". These are square, or more usually, rectangular pieces of foam with a couple of slots cut out of them, leaving 3 "wings" tied together by the foam around the outside. They're folded quite strangely (can't describe accurately here) and use NO noseweight whatsoever. They're statically and dynamically unstable, and flutter like leaves to the ground if you just release them. They can ONLY be flown over an angled air paddle, and require FAST reflexes to fly. They remind me of little, futuristic "flying carpets" in a way. Ringwings also work, too, but again, hard to fly! They have to be angled back to fly in the lift generated by a paddle.

6. Walkalong moths/ butterflies. Tried by a fellow walkalong enthusiast (I have NOT done these!) No, not models of butterflies made from balsa/foam and whatnot, but the REAL (albeit dead) creatures! He gets them from a butterfly garden and dries them out. He hasn't mentioned any other preparations, so I'd assume they come balanced "from the factory"

7. Scale models. Again, I haven't done these, but I've e-mailed someone who does. His models are usually stick/tissue profile replicas of t-tailed aircraft, since they fly better off paddle lift. He hasn't done the windmilling props, since they're apparently hard enough to fly as-is!

8. never-before-done ideas (to my knowledge).
Walkalong aerotowing, which requires a large "tow" aircraft with excellent efficiency, to handle to extra drag from a towed glider and thread. Might also require 2 people to successfully launch, b/c otherwise the towed glider gets caught up in the pilot's wake. The tow glider line attachment should be just BEHIND its CG, and not elevated relative to it. The towed glider's line attachment should be BELOW and in FRONT of its CG, for stability and to ensure it climbs above the pilot's wake. Its flying speed must also be LOWER than the tow-plane's, for obvious reasons
Finally, the walkalong candelabrum (candleholder). Again, a fairly large, efficient glider is needed to handle the extra drag and weight of a candle while flying high enough to keep the flame clear of your hand and the air paddle. The candle would be quite small, and likely cut down slightly, but not too much, otherwise the flame might "bite" the glider! Other glider mods; a small, square piece of foam on the glider's back to insulate the foam, , then that area would be covered w/ aluminum tape/ foil bent up to catch wax drippings and reflect radiated heat in case the candle burns too low. The candle tube could be made from aluminum foil/tape too, and replaceable in case wax melts on it. Final mod; a down-turned nose to hold the wing at positive AOA for liftoff from the cardboard paddle. This is safer than hand-release of the glider. Make sure to test this idea with an UNLIT candle at first to get used to the flying characteristics and "procedures" required, and ONLY after you become proficient at flying walkalong gliders!

Whew! I'm done.
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Last edited by Flyingwingbat1; Feb 04, 2006 at 08:27 PM. Reason: title clarification
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Old Feb 04, 2006, 11:30 AM
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Joined Aug 2003
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expanding possibilities for walkalong gliders

Yes its possible to dry dead butterflies to fly as walkalong gliders. The butterflies are dried to stiffen up the wings and achieve a weight distribution and wing configuration where the center of lift and center of gravity positions make for a carcass with a nice stable glide. The butterfly body has the most moisture and thus the most weight. By adjusting the drying time, the center of gravity is moved to the right position forward of the center of lift. If the dry time is too long, the center of gravity may be moved forward by removing aft parts of the body. More news on that at a later date when I get approval from my butterfly source.
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Old Feb 04, 2006, 11:48 AM
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My favorite R/C models over in the Indoor and Micro Forum were made from "Airsurfer" wings of the smaller variety, with a fuselage and tail attached... Pusher configuration, they make for quite the stable aircraft! I've always wanted to get into FF but I never hgad anything which I felt like putting in the air for ny given amount of time, uncontrolled.... I'm good enough getting my own planes stuck in trees WITH control :-P
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Old Feb 07, 2006, 04:59 PM
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lose the engine!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete P
My favorite R/C models over in the Indoor and Micro Forum were made from "Airsurfer" wings of the smaller variety, with a fuselage and tail attached... Pusher configuration, they make for quite the stable aircraft! I've always wanted to get into FF but I never hgad anything which I felt like putting in the air for ny given amount of time, uncontrolled.... I'm good enough getting my own planes stuck in trees WITH control :-P
Without the engine and "control" system, batteries etc. a walkalong glider wing weighs about 3g and crashes are generally a non issue. Although the paddle takes coordination to master, the glider will not get much above 1-2 feet above the paddle as the lift runs out, provided the air is smooth. Can you imagine sustaining and controlling an airplane (say, a walkalong glider) with no engine or RC control system?
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