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Jul 07, 2003, 07:13 AM
Registered User

Yet another what to buy thread... (SAL/DLG, long post)

I feel almost guilty having to post yet another one of these posts here but making the choice for the right task is never easy, and sometimes these kinds of posts can generate some new suggestions that I have not come across with...

My experience is EPP sloper and HLG bug built to RCM plan.
I grew to like the bug a lot and would like something with better performance.

The reason I like the bug is because it flies off a flat field or a small embankment. It is very durable and after so many nose-ins and crashes I only managed to have the control horn pulled off from the V tail. Easy to fix with CA.

The reason I want an upgrade is because the duration is real short. This is partly because I have added quite a bit of FG to reinforce the pod structures (heavy). Of course my dumb thumb is a big part too.

I want something that has better hang time than the current bug on a flat field / small embankment, about the same if not more durable than the bug. Being able to be flown off a slope is an added bonus but not essential. My EPP slopers are better (my Zagi clone is quite good in weak slope lift).

I have read more than thousands of posts and have come to the following choices. I cannot really consider any other because I live in NZ and shipping can be a problem (i.e. I can never buy from NES, Art Hobby, Hobby-Lobby, Hobby-People, etc)

1. Allan Wright's Gambler
2. Modified RCM bug with extended wing and cruciform tail
3. Miniweasel
4. Red herring
5. Seeker
6. Spinner

This is what I have found about them:

1. Gambler. Structurally very much like the bug. Similar fuse. Built up structure makes it repairable and reproducible. Cost US$70+shipping. Purpose built for flat field

2. RCM bug with extended wing - completely scratch built. Most labor intensive with no "guaranteed" success. Performance may not be that much better. Cost minimal (just need new CF tube). Purpose built for HLG modified for SAL/DLG

3. Miniweasel - different planform all together. Tough. Cheapest of all the above foamies. Really designed for slope not flat field, so flat field performance doubtful. Cost $60 shipping included

4. Red herring - Similar to miniweasel. A bit more expensive. Really designed for SAL rather than slope. Performance data scant. Tough if EPP (but heavier)

5. Seeker. Seems to be tailored for flat field DLG / SAL. Light wing loading. Read somewhere that the wing is fragile and breaks in short notice. Cost about the same as gambler. Performance data scant. EPS.

6. Spinner. Full house. EPP so tough. Most expensive of the bunch. Really designed for slope, but may be flat field launchable. Flat field performance data scant. Would mean quite a lot more investment c.f. the other options. Top Limit of what I would spend

If I have unlimited funds I would have bought all of them but of coz I don't Just don't know which to buy. Does someone have 2 or more of these and can offer some comparison with respect to 1. flat field performance and 2. durability?


Last edited by dimple; Jul 07, 2003 at 07:25 AM.
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Jul 07, 2003, 09:30 AM
Registered User
John Gallagher's Avatar
If you're looking for flatland thermals, I'd put the miniweasel at the bottom of the list.
I'm building an extended wing Bug, built a Little Nipper (homebuilt version of the Seeker), and built a Red Herring.
If you go with a Red Herring, you need to build it light. That means the EPS version. My Herring was 6-1/2 ounces so it didn't do much thermalling.
I enjoy flying the Nipper. I'm short, and weak, so I haven't broken the wing, but I do manage 60+ foot launches and 5 minute flights on a good day.
Last edited by John Gallagher; Jul 07, 2003 at 07:44 PM.
Jul 07, 2003, 06:19 PM
Registered User
I've been flying a Seeker for a month or so now. I'm very happy with its overall performance as compared to my standward wing Bug. It's more durable than you might think - haven't had any major breakage yet.
Jul 07, 2003, 07:46 PM
Registered User

So tell me more about Seeker / Lil nipper

So can you please tell me the kind of structure the Seeker wing has? Is it plain EPS foam with a spar or does it have a skin? Does it take my existing equipments:

Hitec 555 or JR610 or Hitec feather, HS 55 or HS 50, 4x150mAh NIMH

Dead air hang time / launch height?
If it ever breaks, which part breaks?
If it breaks, how easy is it to repair?
Jul 07, 2003, 08:13 PM
Senior Member
LWThompson's Avatar

Flat Field...long hang time...DLG/SAL?

If you were looking for max performance and like to build, you should consider one of Dr. Mark Drela's designs. yahoo groups SALGlider and Allegro-lite.

If you are looking for long hang time in a flat field and have overcome the nose-first landings, I would steer you toward one of the Art Hobby DLGs. The Bobolink is a 1M and the Hyper is the 1.5 m.

If you are still hitting things, especially the ground, then I would steer you toward the Spinner or the Javalin from Bowman's hobbies.

If you are just looking for a better delta wing foamie to throw, look at the new Boomer in this section of RC Groups.

It sounds like I may have just added to your confusion but narrow down your criteria and then prioritize them for us. Kinda like a decision tree(flowchart).
If I hit(or like to hit) the trees, rocks, people and ground...go EPP.
If I can plan and execute hand catches...go chrunchie.
If I like the wing thing best...get a better wing.
If I only have X to spend, what will be needed to complete the kit. EPP must be covered~$15.00; Art Hobby's do not. Extra servo(s)@$20.00 if ailerons and rudder, elevator. New receiver with 4-6 channels@$60.00. Strapping tape, 3M 77.

I hope this helps. Keep us informed. Good Luck!
Jul 07, 2003, 10:06 PM
Registered User
Thanks LWThompson

Yeah flowchart approach is good.
I can fly alright but I can't really handcatch yet. At the moment I just fly the bug low enough and then stall it to land. Most times it lands on its belly but 1 out of 10 the nose may hit the ground first, but at less than 1/2m height. Hitting trees are rarity now thank goodness.

I really like the traditional wing-fuse-tail design rather than flying wing. Of coz if flying wing is imminently better than I will go for it.

The bug is great because with the few hard landings I have had the only damages are at the tail/control horn bond. Granted, I have glassed the fuse. The wing is indestructible, at least up to now.

I really like the planes on Art Hobby too but as I said, shipping is a problem.

Thanks again
Jul 07, 2003, 11:47 PM
cobalt's Avatar
The minWeasel can be built to as light as 3oz. AUW. I wouldn't dismiss it without seeing the videos at least...

The kit materials, design and support are top-notch.

You might want to ask on the Weasel support group about thermalling the mW:

Lot's of good general SAL/HLG info here too if you haven't already seen it:

Hope that helps,
Last edited by cobalt; Jul 08, 2003 at 04:20 AM.
Jul 08, 2003, 02:35 AM
Registered User
John -
I would be interested to hear from you how the extended wing bug compare to the Seeker.

Jason -
Thanks. I have seen some of the video and they are very interesting but I cannot tell if the miniweasel can stay aloft for any long period of time on a flat field. Hence my question here.

All -
So so far collating the above info I would rate:

Flat field thermalling ability:
1. Seeker
2. (Gambler)
3. Extended wing bug
4. EPS red herring (not EPP)
5. Miniweasel
6. Spinner

1. Miniweasel / Spinner
2. EPS red herring
3. Seeker / Extended wing bug
4. Gambler

Repairability -
I would like Gambler and the bug are more repairable? (foamie repairs badly?)

Low Cost
1. Extended bug
2. Miniweasel
3. Red herring
4. Seeker
5. Gambler
6. Spinner

Any changes to the order?
Jul 08, 2003, 08:32 AM
Gambler-AG DLG Designer
Allan Wright's Avatar
I think you'll find the Gambler as durable as your Bug. I've seen them cartwheeled many times with no damage. With the glassed pod I've even lawn-darted one into the soft spring sod and buried the nose 4" in the turf with no damage (can you say forgot the preset switch?)

You say the extended wing bug is an unknown quantity, but enough people have had success with it (me included) that I would call it a 'sure thing'. It's a good improvement over the original bug, and you can put the new wing on your existing fuselage.

Given your desires and requirements I'd go for the extended wing right off, and go from there.
Jul 08, 2003, 09:52 AM
Piscine Promulgator
surfimp's Avatar
Originally posted by dimple
JI have seen some of the video and they are very interesting but I cannot tell if the miniweasel can stay aloft for any long period of time on a flat field. Hence my question here.
The miniWeasel may not be as good of a flat field performer as some of the more exotic HLG/DLGs, but in my experience it does indeed thermal quite nicely...especially considering the price ($31 + shipping of about $8 unless you're international). And it's a very, very tough little plane. As long as it is built light--around 4oz.--then it can be an extremely good thermal performer. The size and portability are great, too. Definitely one of the most enjoyable planes in my quiver.

Now, how does it compare to those other planes you've mentioned? I have no idea...but I know the miniWeasel is nice!
Jul 08, 2003, 12:29 PM
Registered User
Looking at your rankings I'd be really surprised if the Spinner came out last in flat field thermaling performance. In fact, if it does build out at 15 ozs I'd be inclined to put it at the top of this list. Considering its airfoil, 60 inch span and ability to use camber and reflex I would expect it to outperform the other models you mention over a wide range of conditions. I own a Seeker and have seen Red Herrings and Bugs (not extended wing versions) in action at my flying field. The wingloading is a bit high (but not unworkable at 5 oz pr. sq. ft) on the Spinner but everything else about its platform suggests that it will outperform the other models on the list. I love one meter hlgs (if the span gets any shorter than this I notice a big fall off in performance) and flying wings but a 1.5 meter hlg with the proper platform, airfoil and flying weight is hard to beat. If you're a skilled pilot you could get alot of performance out of the Spinner in my opinion despite the fact that it is a bit heavy. If you're more comfortable with R/E only I'd go with the Seeker, Gambler or extended wing Bug (which hopefully is extended to at least one meter). None of these will penetrate like the Spinner or match its ability to range over a field looking for lift however.

Last edited by greg morrison; Jul 08, 2003 at 07:04 PM.
Jul 08, 2003, 05:58 PM
Registered User
Greg -

thanks. Indeed spinner was the first I have ever considered among the 6 listed above after I read the long thread "epp dlg". EPP construction is very attractive indeed. I get discouraged thou when I read it does not perform "well" on flat field. I don't know if I am wrong but I am under the impression that to really thermal you need a wing loading of less than 3 oz/sq in really. I guess when people comment on how "well" some plane performs it really depends on the level that person is at. A plane that performs really "well" for a beginner may perform like a brick for the experts.

I am a beginner and I really just want some fun, and hence I post here to find out what people's experience are. All I want is something that I can chuck up into the sky in my neighborhood and can stay aloft for a minute or so or more if the condition is right. I don't care much about aerobatics all I will do is loops and roll anyway. I just want something I can do to unwind after work as I have no intention to drive 20-30min to get to a slope all the time.

I learnt my first plane on aileron / elevator so I am actually more comfortable with aileron than with the rudder. But the bug has V-tail so I guessit performs like a rudder plane any way.
Last edited by dimple; Jul 08, 2003 at 06:05 PM.
Jul 08, 2003, 06:04 PM
Registered User
Allan -
Thanks. I gather that the Gambler will be similar to the bug in terms of durability, since the construction is so similar. I wonder where these 2 planes (Gambler / extended wing bug) will be placed in terms of thermal / duration ability on the above list. I guess it is hard to judge without actually flying them all. I presume the Gambler will outperform the extended bug in terms of performance but the bug will be more durable?
Jul 08, 2003, 06:10 PM
Registered User
Surfimp / cobalt -

re: miniweasel

Miniweasel is certainly the second most economical option (after the bug) because I have all the electronics / radio already. It is durable which is a real plus but how easy is it to achieve that low weight? If I want another sloper I would not have hesitated and would haveprobably bought a weasel / miniweasel by now. But flat field is my main goal otherwise it just defects the whole purpose.

Do you fly the miniweasel on flat field regularly?
Jul 08, 2003, 06:37 PM
Registered User
John Gallagher's Avatar
The miniweasel only has a wingspan of 24 inches. You would probably have to get the weight down below 2 ounces to get flatland thermaling performance. Wingloading only determines how slow a glider will fly, but the span loading is a better indicator of the minimum sink of a glider. The higher the minimum sink the stronger the thermal you need to stay up - If the minimum sink of a glider is 100 feet/second then you need lift that is travelling 100 feet/sec up just to stay at the same altitude.
Span loading can be measured by taking the weight of the glider and dividing it by the span squared. The lower the result, the better the glider will thermal. You can see that the greater the span the easier it is to get the weight low enough for a good minimum sink. That's what greg was talking about when he said 'if the span gets any shorter than this (one meter) I notice a big fall off in performance'. As the span gets shorter, the weight must be disproportionatly lighter to get a decent minimum sink.

Last edited by John Gallagher; Jul 08, 2003 at 06:45 PM.

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