Radio Carbon Arts Handlaunch Tech Lab DVD Review

Paul Naton has been hard at it creating a companion DVD to the "Hand Launch Masters 1" DVD. George Voss reviews the new "Hand Launch Tech Lab" DVD and learns some new things along the way.



Media:High Quality DVR "
Format:DVD from Digital Master
Packaging:Standard DVD Case w/Color Artwork
Run Time:~ 1 Hour 50 minutes
Manufacturer:Radio Carbon Art
Available From:Radio Carbon Art and selected dealers

This is the fourth DVD in the Master Class series. Hand Launch Tech Lab with Paul Naton, is nicely packaged with a full color label and standard DVD case. As with the previous DVDs, I learned several new techniques and found out how to properly setup a new all molded F3K sailplane. Momentum Model Technologies Sirius sailplane is the main focus of the DVD. However, Paul shows you how to make older, bendy DLG sailplane stand up to the rigors of current competition.


Viewing Requirements: ēThe DVD is an "All Region" DVD and should play on most current computers and DVD players.

The DVD opens with some cool DLG flying along with some teasers about whatís included in the DVD. This isnít a rehash of the Hand Launch Building DVD, and some of the basics are left out due to nature of the model.

Paul then discusses the new Sirius DLG from Momentum Model Technologies and explains the features of construction and how it affects airframe stiffness. The Sirius design philosophy is different from the typical DLG airframes designed in the US. The designers wanted a plane that could out launch any other DLG and then allow the larger area wing and slightly heavier airframe work the air.

Construction starts on the one-piece molded Kevlar/carbon wing. The pluses and minuses of a one-piece wing are covered. Hyperion DS09 sub-micro servos are the hot new ticket for DLGs, and Paul shows how to set up the top driven flaperon linkage. This is different from most US designs. The joining of the top and bottom skins via the use of some small balsa blocks is one of the best pieces of advice to make a nice strong aileron servo installation.

Paul expounds on the necessity of making the symmetrical wing servo linkage installation. Getting the radio programmed before gluing the servos in is paramount to getting a properly set up linkage system.

The current trend in the US to operate the elevator is either a pushrod or a pull-pull system. The pushrod system works fine, but it puts most of the weight behind the CG. The pull-pull system is light, but can be a bugger to set up and keep functioning properly. Consequently, the Sirius uses a torsion spring which means you only need one pull cable making for a very light and accurate setup.

Now youíd think a rudder is a simple enough thing: just take a piece of balsa or foam, vacuum bag some carbon on it and then glue it on. Well, the Sirius uses an asymmetrical rudder and itís nonfunctioning. Thatís right, the fin/rudder is asymmetrical and fixed... more on this later in the DVD.

The electronics chapter is the most informative of its kind in any DVD Iíve seen or reviewed. The info included in this chapter isnít specific to DLGs. The electronics information covers alternate batteries than NiMh or Nicad, the Ram 3 altimeter, Hyperion DS09 servos and Paul Danielís electronic switch jack.

JRís new 6250 receiver was designed for carbon fuselage installations. Some basic information is given here on its proper installation but much more is included later in the DVD when we get to the field and range check the model. JRís new DS188 is used for the elevator servo and the Rhino 360 LiPo is introduced as the hot ticket for receiver batteries. Paul Danielís electronic switch jack is also introduced and itís features are extolled. Paul Naton makes it a point throughout this DVD to be weight conscious and typically includes weights of the different items he uses. The Ram 3 altitude tracker is introduce right after the LiFePo4 and A123 batteries. Paul spends plenty of time showing how to properly install all of the above equipment next.

Battery Lab:

Why use batteries other than NiMh cells? The goods and bads of different types of cells are discussed and how to wire up a system properly. Also, proper charging and handling of LiPo batteries is discussed

Harley Michaelis designed Rotary Drive System (RDS) a number of years ago. This system has no external linkage making this the most aerodynamically efficient drive system designed. It takes some new skills to install and different thinking to understand but the system looks to be completely positive and accurate. Getting it adjusted properly is the most time consuming portion of installation, but once itís set up, itís slop free and accurate. The system is shown installed in an older DLG.

So what do you do if you have a couple of good condition older DLGs? Well it can be updated so itís still competitive. The huge improvement in servos from analog to digital is the first place to look. Once youíve used digital servos I doubt youíll ever want to go back to analog servos. Boom stiffness is another issue where large improvements have been made over the years. Current new booms are significantly stiffer and this translates into higher launches. Weight loss systems start with replacing typical 11-13g tail groups with 6-7g units and a nonfunctioning rudder eliminates an entire pushrod system.

Proper 2.4gHz installation is still new for many people. Carbon fuselages and wings can cause signal loss when using 2.4gHz systems so spending some extra time should be taken to make sure your installation is correct to keep the receiver from going into lock during the flight. Paul spends plenty of time going over the proper way to range check a 2.4gHz radio installation in a carbon airplanes.

With rudderless planes now in favor, flaperon differential is paramount to getting the plane to fly correctly. It takes extra time to set up and Paul recommends beginners wait until they have plenty of experience before going to a rudderless model. However an experienced pilot should really consider a rudderless model

As always, the end of the DVD is spent at the field showing Paul wringing out the subject DLG. The flying portion included tips and hints on reading the air, which is the most important factor in RC soaring in general.

Youtube video:



  • Professionally produced
  • Current information
  • Informative and entertaining
  • Information applicable to all forms of thermal soaring


  • Subject airplane may be out of beginnerís price range
Last edited by Angela H; Mar 08, 2010 at 08:44 PM..
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