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Old Oct 26, 2006, 12:15 PM
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svracer's Avatar
United States, OH, Dayton
Joined Jul 2006
10 Posts
Question
Best thermal ship for backpacking???

What recommendations do you have for a thermal bird with the following criteria:

--Must be rugged enough to backpack with
--Must have a shorter wing or a 2- or 3-piece wing that will fit on a backpack
--Prefer a V-tail
--Price is a consideration ($100-300)

Any recommendations?

Thanks!
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Old Oct 26, 2006, 12:28 PM
I'm all about that bass
rdwoebke's Avatar
United States, IN, Indianapolis
Joined Feb 2004
15,322 Posts
An interesting question indeed!

I have backpacked with this plane, although it is a hand launch. It folds in two and fits nicely:

http://www.liftworx.com/pages/redherring.html

I suspect if you are talking something big, like a 2 or 3 meter plane, the fuselage length can come into an issue. Unless you are OK with it sort of sticking out the top of the backpack. The Allegro Lite is small enough that it fits in a gun case.

So what kind of hiking are you going to be doing and where do you think you will fly your thermal plane?

Ryan
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Old Oct 26, 2006, 02:24 PM
Dan Murphy
USA, MA, Hopkinton
Joined Mar 2006
417 Posts
Cool, I've been thinking of the same thing. I live in New England and hike in the White Mts of NH (think Mt Washington) and want to bring a plane with me sometime to fly above treeline. The last couple of times I went hiking were beautiful days and I would have loved to have chucked a plane in the air.

I've primarily been attacking this from the sloping point of view, using my Weasel and Alula. Since anything above treeline is granite, foamies are the only way to go. I'm looking to scrounge a good, stiff cardboard box here at work, and make up something that can hold one or both of those planes. Then, I can either fit the box in a pack or strap the box to a pack.

If your turf is a little more forgiving than granite, maybe a small handlaunch like a Swyft would work. It breaks down fairly small, but you'd still need to make some kind of box for it, mostly to protect the tail section.

I also saw these planes billed as BSS - Backpack Slope Scale - at Tom Martin Radio control:
http://www.tmrcsailplanes.com/epp-sailplane-models.html

Dan
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Old Oct 26, 2006, 02:53 PM
I'm all about that bass
rdwoebke's Avatar
United States, IN, Indianapolis
Joined Feb 2004
15,322 Posts
Dan,

You can easily make any size box you want from corregated plastic.

http://www.thelocust.org/soaring/boxen/

That might work out well for putting inside your backpack. I pack my Red Herring inside one of those "hard case rolling carry on bags" for airline trips (recently I flew in Rhode Island from the beach in a town called Westerly).

Ryan
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Old Oct 26, 2006, 05:14 PM
Throw Caution to the Wind
Lavawing's Avatar
Grand Junction, Colorado
Joined Feb 2004
2,651 Posts
Swyft from www.liftworks.com would fit the basic bill very well. Or build you own and share your ideas with me.

I'm working on this. (very, very slowly -- I've yapped about this before...) I've decided I want something similar with flapperons and more weight, leaning toward the slermal/slope end of things. I've challenged myself to make a plane that not only breaks down, but is so easy to put together and take apart that I don't ever balk at doing it. Something like: Snap, snap, click, snap, FLY. Breaks down to the profile size of a wing panel.

I'm starting with a 48" DLG (Thistle) and modifying to suit. Almost all on paper and in my head so far. I'm probably going to loose the DL capability for simplicity. No rudder. And I really, really don't want to have to use tape or to mess around with tiny screws. Probably will have to plug in the servos.

My wing joining system idea: joiner tubes/rods and a click-fit lock made from a thin metal tube and a wire, reminiscent of the lock that holds an umbrella open. Probably a fixed center section that's bolted on with nylon bolts -- that stay in place ordinarily, but will break and dissipate energy when I "land" firmly. Boom will come apart, not unlike a fishing rod. Elevator push rod held together with rare earth magnets.

Here's what I need help with: Tail group attachment! Fin will be "fixed" when flying, but if it would come off/pivot, it would save me a couple inches of packing case width. Horizontal? Bolts are simple, effective and also easy to loose and annoying to use. Perhaps a keyed slot and toggle screws similar to Scobie's pod on the Swyft? --except the horizontal needs to be secured more firmly than the Swyft pod. Square carbon rods indexing into the boom?

Can anyone think of a snap/click way to get the tailpieces on? One that isn't so precise and delicate that it breaks on every landing and requires a shop fix?

Some potential mods that might help:

*Fin could be stretched longer/shorter so it wouldn't pack wider than a wing panel, then fixed to the boom.

*Horizontal could be moved behind the fin (not DLG, so the fin wouldn't need to be the aft-most surface) with the elevator hanging off the back and no pylon.

Don't forget your packable transmitter, too. The small Hitech 3 channel units would work well for R/E. I use a Multiplex Cockpit which is a small, light computer tx that packs well. Only 6-cell battery, so that saves weight, and the antenna packs into the back of it. Nice. And reasonably capable.

--Greg
All type and no action.
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Old Oct 26, 2006, 10:25 PM
I'm all about that bass
rdwoebke's Avatar
United States, IN, Indianapolis
Joined Feb 2004
15,322 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lavawing
Can anyone think of a snap/click way to get the tailpieces on? One that isn't so precise and delicate that it breaks on every landing and requires a shop fix?
How about masking tape? You could have square holes in the horizontal, so that it sits down on a platform with squar parts popping through keeping it solid on a "twist left and right" standpoint then since you have it sitting on the platform you could use masking tape to wrap around the thing and keep it together.

Masking tape works great on the Herring...

Ryan
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Old Oct 26, 2006, 10:41 PM
Registered User
Joined Nov 2004
851 Posts
Well, after hiking up many mountains to fly in thermals, I think the best you can do is take two planes. One tough EPP wing for unexpected wind, and a very light, cheap, 2m thermal plane.

Why 2m?

Simply because anything smaller disappears mighty fast in a good mountain thermal (we often gain 3000' above launch).

So, even though I really dislike wings, an epp Zagi is hard to beat....and for the thermal plane, a two piece wing Gentle Lady or similar is the best. Light planes rarely damage themselves badly even when landing of rocks. The same cannot be said of heavier planes........As for the thermal performance, it's hard to beat a GL in light thermals, and you certainly don't need a fast plane as all the thermals will come up to you.

Good luck.
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Old Oct 27, 2006, 01:27 AM
Throw Caution to the Wind
Lavawing's Avatar
Grand Junction, Colorado
Joined Feb 2004
2,651 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by rdwoebke
How about masking tape? You could have square holes in the horizontal, so that it sits down on a platform with squar parts popping through keeping it solid on a "twist left and right" standpoint then since you have it sitting on the platform you could use masking tape to wrap around the thing and keep it together.

Masking tape works great on the Herring...

Ryan
No Tape! At least that's my hope. I see how your plan would work fine. But this: what happens when I catch the horizontal on landing? What breaks, and how easy is it to fix? You've got me thinking, though. Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by flystoolow
...I think the best you can do is take two planes.
I don't mind flying my "combat" wing (Predatorized Bee at 17.5 oz) in these conditions. Does light lift and thermals pretty well. Can go fast and fly in 40 mph +. Tough. But it's about the last thing I want stuck to my pack for getting there. I don't backpack as much as mountain bike, and it catches wind and hits branches and rocks and is generally annoying. And if it rains, its hard to have anywhere to put it to keep the electronics and the balsa dry. (And it does look like a wing instead of a cool plane...)

I was thinking along the lines of one light, stiff plane and a ballast option. ?? Taking a 2m plane to a slope in a backpack is fine. But different than going backpacking/mountain biking and having a plane along...

Inflatable? Dehydrated? Roll-up, and use tent poles for spars?

--Greg
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Old Oct 27, 2006, 11:25 AM
I'm all about that bass
rdwoebke's Avatar
United States, IN, Indianapolis
Joined Feb 2004
15,322 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lavawing
No Tape! At least that's my hope. I see how your plan would work fine. But this: what happens when I catch the horizontal on landing? What breaks, and how easy is it to fix? You've got me thinking, though. Thanks!
Tape is your friend...

How about a single post then, and rubber band on horizontal?
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Old Oct 27, 2006, 12:09 PM
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Broomfield, CO
Joined Nov 2004
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I would think with some ingenuity and that price range you could do something quite nice with a model from Arthobby. any of their 60 inch range like the Hybrid and the Hyper come with removeable horizontal tails and you would need to modify/create a joiner system.
Just a thought!
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Old Oct 27, 2006, 06:28 PM
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davidjensen's Avatar
Bellevue WA,
Joined Dec 2003
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Easy Glider. Hobby Lobby has them for $64
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Old Oct 28, 2006, 02:58 AM
Throw Caution to the Wind
Lavawing's Avatar
Grand Junction, Colorado
Joined Feb 2004
2,651 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by rdwoebke
Tape is your friend...

How about a single post then, and rubber band on horizontal?
Tape is not my friend so much. Offends my minimalist ideals to carry a whole immense roll of it. (Though you're right. It is my friend. But I'm trying to move onward.) I like the rubber band idea! There may be something there. I'm percolating...

Thanks, all, for the stimulating ideas. Boy am I glad I'm hijacking this thread!

Speaking of which, we haven't heard much out of svracer, now have we?

It does look like the Art Hobby planes would do well if modified for backpacking. And they come with V-tails if you want them.

Easy Glider would meet the Tough category and the two-piece wing requirements, but it's pretty bulky for my idea of what a backpacking plane would look like. I'm imagining something that would fit into a hard-shell case about 25"x6"x3". (Which might take longer to build than the plane.)

By the way, I guess I've never mentioned that I've HAD a backpack thermal DLG. Same model I'm modifying (48" Thistle -- no longer available). I pre-wrapped the spars when I built the wing, then cut off the non-throwing wing. Tail pieces were glued in this pic, but later bolted and taped so I could take them off. I laid the wings flat against either side of a piece of thick cardboard with slots cut in it to accommodate the pushrods.

And I guess I still HAVE a backback DLG. I've done all the same mods on my Spinner 60" (www.laserarts.com) so it breaks down. All the things I'm looking for now, are the result of my experience with those planes. I want it to be quicker, easier, and smaller (ie packed boom length). If it works on this 48", I'll probably do it again at 60".

(BTW, the modified Spinner might be a great choice. Tough, once you get used to not landing on the tail. Quite capable, and very fun! Plus you can DL it.)

--Greg
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Old Oct 31, 2006, 09:52 PM
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United States, OH, Dayton
Joined Jul 2006
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All, thanks for the responses. Sorry for not replying earlier... I went into emergency surgery on Thursday and just got home... looks like I've got more time than I thought to sort out this thermal hiker project.


Thanks.
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Old Oct 31, 2006, 10:13 PM
Throw Caution to the Wind
Lavawing's Avatar
Grand Junction, Colorado
Joined Feb 2004
2,651 Posts
Yikes!

Heal quickly! (and build while you do it...)

--Greg
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Old Nov 01, 2006, 03:02 PM
Registered User
Pensacola, FL, USA
Joined Dec 2000
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More:

Quote:
Originally Posted by svracer
What recommendations do you have for a thermal bird with the following criteria:--Price is a consideration ($100-300)Any recommendations? Thanks!

Svracer,
You're getting some good suggestions here. However, you did specify break-down and thermal, and the Swyft is great for light conditions and fits the shipping box with slight mod on one end of box. You didn't mention how long you'd be away from AC power so charging may be an issue.

The Swyft taught me to use non-rechargable CR-2 camera batteries, and now I use them in all my 2-servo planes. I get 22~24 flying hours which if you have more than one plane last six months. The planes are always ready to fly, and I find it safer than small NiMH's that give typically 1-1/2 hours.
I don't know how long non-rechargeable Duracells would last in the Tx.

Take care on healing up, and thank God for the computer.
John
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