Espadita, a new for me - RC Groups
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Sep 08, 2010, 12:31 AM
Registered User

Espadita, a new for me

Just finished an Espadita from Skip Miller Models. I can't say I'm happy with the weight, but the quality of the fits and finishes along with what has to be one of the strongest 2 Meter TD planes I've ever built bodes very well for a lot of fun on the slope and some interesting thermalling when the wind comes up. Of course some light air thermalling may prove the weight to be a non issue.

I'd have to say that this is the fastest six servo sailplane build I've ever done. I believe I could build the next one in eight hours or less, and I'm pretty anal about my builds.

If you need an allaround plane for the slope this may be one of the best out there.

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Sep 08, 2010, 08:15 PM
Registered User
f3bsoar's Avatar

Flight report

Looking forward to a flight report on how your new plane fly's. Wish I could join you. I would like to see one of these in person. Only seen the pictures so far. Let us know how you like it!
Jim DeGroot
Loveland, CO
Sep 08, 2010, 08:21 PM
WINS - Winch In Nose Sailplane
jaizon's Avatar
From what I've seen it likes to go fast....very fast.
Sep 10, 2010, 11:54 AM
70 is the new 50
bobthenuke's Avatar
I haven't had much time on mine yet but I have no doubt that it'll thermal well (of course bricks thermal well in this part of the country) and as mentioned it's a little rocket. Comparing it in weght to my Mini Graphite it's about the same but with less wing area. Speaking generally, I don't think that any other glider in it's class is as strong or so exact in fit and finish - typical JM quality. Of course the important thing is flight performance and I don't have the experience with mine to be able to quantify it at this time. Sorry; didn't intend to hijack your thread and I'm looking forward to reports myself.

Sep 12, 2010, 11:53 PM
Registered User

Flight experience

Saturday the EISS held their annual contest on the Antique Airfield near Blakesberg Iowa and I was able to fly my new Espadita for the first time. Unfortunately the weather and my arrival time on Friday was such that I did not get a chance to test fly the plane and try some programming and trimming variations. So, Saturday the first flight was my first flight of the contest. If I remember correctly my score for this flight was 10:02 and 78, so not too shabby for the first time around. The wind was blowing 12 to 16, gusting to 20. My performance in the later rounds was not as good, but mostly because I was badly out of practice.

The Espadita moves around very well, is reasonably stable yet is very responsive. Although the CG listed in the setup instructions appearred to be very close, I was disappointed in the towhook position. Fortunately, if you purchased the ballast system, moving the hook is just a matter of drilling another hole in the bottom of the fuselage and moving the hook and the ballast compartment back. I have not checked to see how this will affect the CG when ballast is loaded, but I suspect the hook is on the CG of the ballast compartment so it should work out OK.

Next is a trip to the slopes to see how it fares there. More in a week or so.

Sep 13, 2010, 10:24 AM
Registered User
What is the flying weight? I heard they are coming in at 43oz, that's a half pound over advertised weight. while a beauty, that weight is going to hurt on any morning comp flights.
Sep 13, 2010, 11:45 AM
around Colombia
ShredAir's Avatar
AUFWIND-english 6/2009 has a thorough review of the Espadita glider and electro versions. Flying weight of the glider version was 1,110 grams or 39.15 ounces. The review considered this to be very light and reports that the plane responds to thermals very well. For the slope, they liked it much better when ballasted.
The Aufwind issue is sold out, but you can still order a PDF of the Espadita review:

Dieter Mahlein, ShredAir
Sep 13, 2010, 02:56 PM
Registered User
MIne came in at 1165 grams (41.1 ounces). Had I any of the Futaba 9155 servos I could have saved 15 grams as these servis use aluminum gears instead of brass, and are a bit faster with less torque - perfectly acceptable for ailerons and elevator. And because I like to have a speed hook in all my planes I did not use the battery configuration listed in the build instructions. This 'might' have cost another 5 to 10 grams because the battery pack is a little farther back.

The Euromodell website lists the flying weight as 1,125 grams (39.7 ounces), but the Skip Miller site lists the flying weight as 990 grams (35 ounces). I don't see how it's possible, at least with the airframe weight I started with, to get even close to this weight. As for the Aufwind reviewer finding that 1,110 grams makes for a light two meter I think his view is more than a little out of date. Even my old Maple Leaf Image only weighed 1,073 grams (37.8 ounces) and if you're going for really light, try a Pulsar 2MS at 527 grams (18.6 ounces). Of course there are a few options still avialable between these two extremes.

Still, it's a VERY nice plane, VERY strong, and like most thermal planes, it will go up when there's lift present, although not as fast as a lighter plane. Where the Espadita is at a disadvantage is in light lift, but if you're truly serious about TD contest work, you'll probably have a second plane for light air days. When it's windy, the Espadita will probably be my choice.

Sep 21, 2010, 02:35 AM
Registered User
I had the chance to go slope soaring with my new Espadita this weekend. What a blast! The Espadita works quite well in light slope lift, but it really shines when the wind starts to come up. It's a fast little bugger and holds it's energy very well. Aerobatics, considering it's supposed to be a thermal duration plane, are very clean and easy to execute.

The Espadita could certainly be one of the best all around slope planes I've had.
Nov 22, 2010, 03:18 PM
Registered User
gavoss's Avatar
Jim, where are your CG and tow hook locations? The standard location for the tow hook I'm told is a little conservative and using the ballast box, that can create a secondary problem when ballast is added.

TIA. George
Nov 22, 2010, 03:46 PM
Registered User
I initially flew the Espadita with the hook and CG as indicated in the setup instructions. The hook position is VERY conservative and makes a good winch launch impossible. On the other hand, the CG was only a little bit conservative. As the ballast container is located by the tow hook, moving the tow hook also moves the ballast container the same amount, which, I believe, places the ballast container closer to the correct CG location. I moved the tow hook back 8mm, which places the contact point for the tow ring right on the suggested CG, 74 mm from the wing leading edge.

Since making these changes I have not been able to verify their affect on the launch performance with a winch or high start.

After moving the tow hook I have flown the Espadita off a slope with and without ballast and find the CG pretty neutral in both cases. This confirms the ballast container location with the rearward towhook, but I need to get on a winch to confirm the towhook position.

Nov 24, 2010, 07:49 PM
Registered User
gavoss's Avatar
How do we lose weight on an Espadita?

There are a couple of things I've noticed on the Espadita that can be modified to lose some weight on the plane, without compromising strength. I weighed the stabs and I don't think you can build a bagged set any lighter unless they have a really light skin on them which of course will be subject to finger dents. I don't have the plane in front of me and I don't remember the weight of the stabs but I think they were about an ounce each.

That said, the only way I can see lightening the plane in the tail is to make a lighter rudder and possibly the elevator pushrod. It uses a carbon rod for each and I'll pull my rudder pushrod out and see if I can find another rod that is lighter. If we can get 15 grams out of the rod it should be worth the change.

Next, the servo tray is a) heavy and b) farther back than it needs to be. Also, it doesn't contact the sides of the fuselage and it looks like repeated spot landings can/will cause the fuse to break at the aft end of the canopy. This of course is going to take time, but I'm pretty sure a 1/8" ply tray installed in the normal manner will put more weight forward and stiffen up the fuselage considerably. However, this means you will have to extend the pushrods to reach the new servo location. If you plan on using the supplied servo box, you can sand some the ply to remove a little bit more weight.

I plan on using the Airtronics 94809 servos which are lighter than the Futaba units Jim mention. If I remember correctly, the overall weight difference of 6 servos is about an ounce. 4 of them are mounted just mm's behind the CG.

Then we have the ballast box. It's a very slick unit and I don't know if we can do anything to it to lose some weight. We could drill some lightening holes in it but I don't think the weight loss is going to be worth the strength.

We can use one power and ground wire instead of two for the aileron wires in the fuse so you only have 4 wires going forward from the aileron/flap hook up in the fuse going to the servo instead of 6. Using a minimum length of wire is best too.

I don't see a way to lose ounces at a time so we have to attack it a gram at a time.

Let me know what you guys think. George

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