Epp Dlg - RC Groups
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May 05, 2003, 10:14 AM
Good thing balsa floats!
Rain City Flyer's Avatar

Epp Dlg

Seem like an oxymoron to you? It did to me as well until I found this plane. The Spinner from Ed Berg at Upslope Soaring.

I'm always looking for ways to keep my kids interested and have built Little Nippers and a few scratch built SAL planes for them to play with. We fly at the birthplace of DLG and they've always admired the bigger ships. But how do you hand over your favorite ship knowing it'll come back in pieces?

The Spinner is a little heavy by today's contest standards, but the thought of the durability of a Foamie DLG was just too intriguing to pass up. I sent Ed a check and my Spinner arrived shortly there after. I'll be posting some photos of the build and providing an informal review. I'll be trying to lighten the plane for my flat land flying site and will indicate anywhere I've strayed from Ed's design.

Here's the link where I found the Spinner and a photo of Ed's plane on final approach (half way down the page).


Chris in Seattle
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May 05, 2003, 04:19 PM
Good thing balsa floats!
Rain City Flyer's Avatar
Here's a snip from Ed's post with more information on the plane:

Ed Berg wrote:

You want a light-condition sloper? I've just started building an EPP 60" ship called the Spinner that can be discus-launched. You can order a kit from me at ebergsekr@aol.com for $125.00 plus $6 shipping.

A little more information: The Spinner is designed for inland slope-plus-thermal flying.


Span: 60 in Area: 390 sq in.
Weight: 14-15 oz. Loading: 5.5 oz/sq ft
Airfoil: Drela AG-44-46
Controls: aileron, flap (as flaperons), rudder, elevator

The first prototype survived a transmitter-off, full-power discus launch and kept flying. It's nearly as indestructable as a Zagi. You can tape ballast to the wing and fly in 25mph wind with no trouble. Everyone I've handed the tranny to has no trouble flying it right off.

May 05, 2003, 08:40 PM
What Canary?
KeithK's Avatar
You mentioned the little Nipper, which I think is almost the same as the Seeker kit. Why didn't you use them? Are they just not as rugged as the Spinner?

May 05, 2003, 09:04 PM
Registered User
Yep, the Seeker is the production version of the Little Nipper. I just finished my Seeker and have it flying. The Seeker flies well but is sensitive and takes some skill to fly smoothly.

I'm glad Chris mentioned the Spinner over in this area otherwise I wouldn't have seen it. I like the idea of an EPP DLG. I started DLG with a Goblin. For those who don't remember this one it was a 40" EPP DLG that was produced by Red in Seattle. It was very rugged and you didn't worry about learning to discus launch it. After several hundred flights I'm now replacing the only "weak" part, the (fiberglas covered) balsa tail. What a fun, care-free, plane it has been. I developed my discus technique on this plane before trying it on a competition plane, a Taboo.
May 05, 2003, 09:08 PM
Good thing balsa floats!
Rain City Flyer's Avatar

Chris not Ed

KeithK - Ed's the designer, I'm just a customer.

The Seeker is the probably the best small SAL plane on the market. It's just waiting to be discovered by the masses. If you want a small field flyer that you can keep in your trunk, buy one. The instructions alone are worth the cost of the kit if you are interested in quality instruction. I also have a new Red Herring (same designer, same manufacturer) in my building queue.

The Spinner is a 1.5 Meter, full house (rudder, elevator, flaperons) ship for full discuss launching. The Seeker is a sub - 4 ounce SAL plane with RE controls. As you can imagine, being under 4 ounces doesn't make for the best penetration when the wind kicks up - at least in my hands . That said, the designer is flying a high aspect version that seems to penetrate quite well, although I sometimes think Harold could find lift with a brick! He's always experimenting and the Seeker that recently hit the market has been deemed the best all around version for normal human pilots.

I wanted to add a larger plane to the stable and since the Spinner incorporates the latest Mark Drela design concepts (camber changing AG airfoil, etc.), it looks like a great place to start. I have a beautiful Enigma waiting in a box, but that thin molded wing got me looking for an intermediate step. The Spinner looks to fill the bill. Ed regularly abuses his in the rugged mountains of Colorado. It ought to hold up just fine to me and my kids tossing it around 60 Acres.

Chris in Seattle
May 05, 2003, 09:15 PM
Good thing balsa floats!
Rain City Flyer's Avatar
Keith W - Have you done the glide test for CG confirmation? The Seeker flies well when proper CG is attained and might benefit from the addition of some exponential on the elevator if you have a computer radio.

I wish Red had kept the Goblin going. I was just about to buy one when TGW closed its doors. I've been looking for an EPP glider since then and was very happy to stumble upon the Spinner. The build is going quite well. I hope to be covering the wings this evening. It's even a pretty airplane for a foamie!

Chris in Seattle
May 05, 2003, 09:37 PM
Registered User
John Gallagher's Avatar
You might remember me from the Little Nipper group. What do you plan to change with the Spinner to save weight or make it more flatland DLG freindly? Keep us informed with your progress.

How old and more to the point, how big are your kids? Do you think they will be physically able to discus launch a 15 ounce glider? We have a 14 year old in our club (www.sjsf.org - see shed photos) who is able to discus throw my builtup dlg (see avatar at left) about 40 feet high, but that weighs about 10.5 ounces with ballast.
May 05, 2003, 09:53 PM
Registered User
Daemon's Avatar
Hmm.. I've never given much thought to the physical requirements to launch a heavy DLG, tending to believe that technnique wins out over strength most of the time. A good DLG launch is all in the legs and torso anyway. My built up DLG is over 14oz, and I huck that thing into the sky dozens and dozens of times in a day (not a particularly good day obviously.. ) I'd be more worried about a shorter person catching a wingtip on the way around.

I can attest to the Spinner's strength though having seen it take some rough landings. It has popped the heads off one of its nylon 8x32 wing bolts a couple times, but that's about it.

May 05, 2003, 10:15 PM
Registered User

Scobie was very helpful while I was getting my Seeker dialed in. At my contest field, where there is real air, it flies great. But as Scobie puts it, "... the Seeker WILL over time, make you a much more sensitive flyer, especially on the elevator." At the lawn next to my condo, where the air is often quite challenging, I wouldn't put a beginner on this plane.

I'm looking forward to hearing more about the Spinner. When you have it finished I would be interested in hearing what the weights of the wing and fuselage are. I'm curious to see if my Goblin fuselage is lighter and therefore would save weight if I used that with a Spinner wing. As John pointed out, attempts to save weight. ;-)

Keith W
May 05, 2003, 11:41 PM
Registered User
John Gallagher's Avatar
The Goblin only had a 40" wingspan. Wouldn't you have to make the tail length a lot longer to handle a 1.5 meter wing?

May 06, 2003, 12:31 AM
Good thing balsa floats!
Rain City Flyer's Avatar
John - Good to hear from you.

I'm doing a couple things right off. I've skipped the cable pushrods in favor of .030 CF in some Kavan ultralight sleeves. I've done the "Poly" treatment on the tail feathers and skipped the covering there as well. Both will substantially reduce the tail weight, therefore nose weight to balance it out. I've also used the Seeker-style control horns to add some stability to the thinned rudder and elevator. I'll likely use my 1.6 mil tape on the flaperons and skip a lot of the biaxial strapping tape (wing spar covers) and reduce the LE tape to 1" rather than 2".

This is one tough airplane. Ed has been sharing his exploits with me and I'll bet my Spinner will never see the punishment his prototypes have handled. I fly from a beautiful grass field. He tosses his off of mountains. I have his blessings to mess with his baby (I have kit #1!). The wing spars (Avia SUL) along with the EPP should make the wing just about unbreakable.

I've also routed the control rods inside the boom, let a .030 CF rod into the LE of the subfin for durability. If I were to do it again, I'd go with thinner plywood fuse doublers since I don't need the strength (see his post about flying fully ballasted into the side of a pick-up!) and could save a little weight.

My 14-1/2 year old is getting close to 6 feet (dad is 6'-3" & 250#). He's plenty big enough. My 12 year old is much smaller, but gaining. My 3 year old daughter will have to be content with being my cover model for now (picture a 3' girl holding a 5' glider!) Besides, Dad will have to do many tuning flights before the kids get to play with it.

Keith - I'd agree with John - The Spinner wing is too large for your Goblin airframe. If you want a 1.5M EPP DLG, you've found the one and only. Ed's done his homework, the Spinner is a great package. You are correct, the Seeker is a handful in less than ideal conditions, but in a good way. It forces you to be a better pilot. I wish you could see the finesse that Harold and Scobie use to fly. It's certainly something to aspire to. A total economy of movement, followed by radical inverted flight. I've seen Harold launch, push inverted and circle the field as he pleases, even landing upside down. Scobie helped me trim an early scratch-built on some light slope lift at Gasworks Park, an amazing site to see that little plane against the Seattle skyline. It was awe inspiring.

The way I see it, I'm a long way from competing with the guys who started this whole game, so why not just relax and have some fun? I really supported the Little Nipper since it was a total divergence from the pack. I think that Ed's the next guy to toss the rules. EPP, 1.5M? I'm sure people must have thought he was kidding. I wish him great success.

Chris in Seattle
May 06, 2003, 12:53 AM
Good thing balsa floats!
Rain City Flyer's Avatar

Kit Contents

Here's how it looked when I opened the box (minus packing material):
May 06, 2003, 01:00 AM
Good thing balsa floats!
Rain City Flyer's Avatar

Kit Parts

Here are the parts broken out. This kit is very complete:
May 06, 2003, 01:07 AM
Good thing balsa floats!
Rain City Flyer's Avatar

Spinner Sub-Assemblies

Here are the parts prior to final assembly and covering. I've always wanted to try Robertson trilerons. Note the unusual sub-fin shape to help keep the vertical fin from getting knocked off.
May 06, 2003, 05:19 AM
Registered User
mattg's Avatar
The EPP cores seem to be in 2 pieces per wing, were the cores supplied to help glue them properly and how do you place the spars?

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