what does VTPR stand for? - RC Groups
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Feb 23, 2012, 01:51 AM
chronic in training
grfcon's Avatar

what does VTPR stand for?

sorry for the rookie question. I know the flying style is similar to 3d powered flight

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Feb 23, 2012, 01:55 AM
Just Toss It !!!
MATIN's Avatar
Very Poor Tail Response.
Feb 23, 2012, 01:56 AM
chronic in training
grfcon's Avatar
very poorly typed request?
Feb 23, 2012, 01:57 AM
chronic in training
grfcon's Avatar
found it now that I typed it in correctly
Feb 23, 2012, 02:00 AM
Just Toss It !!!
MATIN's Avatar
Oh!...That is Voltige Très Près du Relief...Meaning aerobatic maneuvers very near the ground.

Feb 23, 2012, 08:01 AM
Piscine Promulgator
surfimp's Avatar
Originally Posted by grfcon
sorry for the rookie question. I know the flying style is similar to 3d powered flight
Here is what is considered the reference video for VTPR, or "voltige tres pres du relief" / "aerobatics very close to the ground," as Matin noted.

Ménez-Hom 2005 (22 min 50 sec)

VTPR as a flying style and acronym comes from France. It is especially and perhaps most notably practiced in Brittany, and the Menez-Hom site depicted above is perhaps its "mecca".

As a style it is characterized by fairly large (2.5m+) gliders that are very lightweight (usually around 1500g or less). As you can see, the Pente Nord site at Menez-Hom has a shallow grassy lip, which offers a special flying setup that lets you get really close to the ground but still have laminar flow, letting them continue flying aerobatics until parts of the glider are literally scraping on the ground. Dragging the top of the fin while doing an inverted pass is a sort of touchstone VTPR maneuver.

Here are some Air 100s playing at Menez-Hom this past year:

Vidéo Air 100 Menez Hom juin 2011.AVI (2 min 29 sec)

There has been a lot of discussion about VTPR here on RCG going all the way back to 2005 when Pierre Rondel (of Planet-Soaring) introduced us to the term. But as a flying style it has been practiced in Brittany and other parts of France for 20+ years (whether or not it had the VTPR moniker).

And of course, low aerobatics flying is popular all over the world, not just in France. Here in Santa Barbara, we also like to fly close to the pilots as well as the ground and have traditionally called it "in your face" flying. It is characterized by close interaction with the terrain features of the slope site, regardless of what those happen to be (bushes, trees, rocks, indentations, gullies, etc.)

OK, so that said, the 3D style of flying is a slightly different thing. It can be performed close and low like VTPR, but it doesn't have to (whereas it doesn't make any sense to talk about VTPR if you're flying 200' out from the slope and 400' above the ground - that's just plain ole aerobatics flying).

3D slope flying also comes from France (noticing a trend yet?) and was pioneered by Benoit Paysant Le Roux aka BPLR (acronyms are fun) with his design from the late 90s called the Madslide. It was the first slope aerobatics glider to feature a flying stabilizer with significant rotation capability (approximately 180* in total). This allowed it to do what BPLR referred to as "Madflight", and what today is often called 3D by people coming from a powered background. The tight loop figures are referred to as "flips" by BPLR:

BPLR Madslide 3Dglider (1 min 53 sec)

Interest in VTPR, Madflight and slope aerobatics as a specific type of sport flying developed here on these forums from 2006 onwards thanks to timely involvement by Pierre Rondel and other French enthusiasts. It has spawned two American websites devoted to the subject, my own SlopeAerobatics.com launched in 2007 and dedicated to all flavors of slope aerobatics, as well as Eric Johnson's (oldscooler) Slope VTPR Aerobatics launched in 2009 and focused primarily on VTPR.

This past summer my friend "Swiss Peter" and I were able to take a couple threads of development and put them all into one airframe. We used my Le Fish design - which was directly inspired by the previous French VTPR Minitoons model as well as my experience with the Voltij and other unrelated influences - and, thanks to Peter, combined it with ultralight laminating film covering (pioneered here in the USA by Karl ThePredator of Colorado) and Depron control surfaces, along with something I'd wanted to try for a while, a Madslide-inspired full flying stab. The ultra light weight of these planes (they are 1.5m and weigh about 16-17oz vs the original Le Fish weight of 35-40oz+) combined with the radical movement of the stabilizer allowed us to perform a VTPR / in your face / Madflight hybrid which is really fun. Pierre Rondel called it "ultimate VTPR" but whatever you call it, it's a good time:

Ellwood Compilation (8 min 13 sec)

Perpetual Motion II (4 min 28 sec)

(There are a bunch more - just browse through my Vimeo for more examples)

Those experiments led some really talented American pilots to also give ultralightweights a try, including Dawson Henderson of Arizona, who was the first to successfully perform and document multiple consecutive flips in the style of BPLR. He also used a modified version of the Le Fish kit:

Le Flip... beyond the double (0 min 15 sec)

Paige Anderson of Future Slope Designs has started offering a number of VTPR and Madflight -capable gliders, including the Axis 60 and Axis 72:

Riding the Crest - Axis 60 (2 min 26 sec)

There is another line of gliders offered by Dan McCleary of XG Extreme Gliders here in SoCal that are also inspired by the Madslide but have PSS (power soaring scale or power slope scale, depending on who you ask) lines:

Dan's 40" 12oz. Extra (2 min 2 sec)

John "Big Gas" Scahill, a friend of Dan McCleary, is working on his own design idea beginning with the DoDo:

Dodo Slope Aerobat (2 min 17 sec)

And Eric is working on his own lightweight, wooden, profile designs which are showing a lot of promise. Here is his latest, the Stiction:

STICTION PSP Glider (4 min 16 sec)

And lastly Swiss Peter is working on his own development design he calls the Swissfish, which is now about 66" wingspan and does not have a "Mad" elevator though it does have very large control surfaces capable of 3D-style deflections:

Natural Mystic (3 min 36 sec)

So anyways, that's a brief history of VTPR, Madflight, and the US slope aerobatics renaissance in a nutshell

Give it a try, it's a lot of fun!

Last edited by surfimp; Feb 23, 2012 at 08:50 AM. Reason: Links, typos, the usual
Feb 23, 2012, 10:43 AM
chronic in training
grfcon's Avatar
thanks Steve, I am up to my ears in projects at the moment but after I get everything cleared (which will be some time) I will add one of these to my quiver..thanks for providing all the video links appreciate it

Feb 23, 2012, 11:04 AM
Piscine Promulgator
surfimp's Avatar
Happy to help Gary. Getting into slope aerobatics - whatever flavor - will make you a better pilot and give you endless fun on the slope. We can't all be DS heros, but anyone can improve their flying through practicing aerobatics (that's why aerobatics were invented, after all. Well, that and showing off )

More examples of the many different flavors of slope aerobatics beyond VTPR and Madflight. There's something that will work for every site, glider and pilot. The only important thing is to have fun and explore new challenges in flying.

"Voltige totale" - "Total Aerobatics" (means the glider flies just as well upright as inverted and can do all figures in either orientation). This video won the 2011 SlopeAerobatics Video Contest. Great flying!
2011 Slope Comp. Entry-Jedi in the Welsh mountains. (3 min 0 sec)

Alpine "death dive" aerobatics (climb in a thermal to speck height, then cut loose). The inimitable WingsAndMore Stingray at Fiss:
Fiss Stingray Video (3 min 38 sec)

PSS-style ballistic "bank and yank" (2 axis, aileron/elevator) aerobatics in big lift. Awesome speed and moto-tool roll rate. By the master Reed Sherman!
Aircobra Over the Pacific (4 min 44 sec)

Flying wing 2-axis "bank and yank" aerobatics with a Weasel in very light lift. This is "Ellwood Style" or "In Your Face", depending on how you want to call it. By some kook named Steve.
Weasel-Evo at More Mesa (2 min 40 sec)

Feb 23, 2012, 11:08 AM
Registered User
Slope P's Avatar
holy videos!!!

Guess I won't be getting any work done today since all these vids are in one place.

Feb 23, 2012, 11:38 AM
Ask me about VTPR
oldscooler's Avatar
Even more information here -
-Slope VTPR Aerobatics-

A site dedicated to the exposure and advancement of the style. Give it a try...

Feb 23, 2012, 04:39 PM
Abundantly deficient.......
CptMike's Avatar
Wow.......don't ask Steve what time it is......he'll build you a watch!!

Feb 23, 2012, 05:51 PM
Ask me about VTPR
oldscooler's Avatar
Let's not forget the True meaning...lol

Originally Posted by CptMike

French VTPR - "is to not try to define precisely what is or what is not VTPR, just fly and enjoy"

Watch videos
Talk to yer friends about it
Analyze it
Build 3 new planes
Analyze it
Debate about it
Argue about it and loose a little sleep
Make lots of rules on everything
Over-analyze it
Call your lawyer friend about the legalities
Design 2 more models
Try and patent it
Find a way to market it as "American VTPR"
Re-analyze it
Make a movie about it

And oh yeah......... fly it, if there's any time left.

Feb 23, 2012, 05:52 PM
Piscine Promulgator
surfimp's Avatar
I have a feeling I might not be the only obsessive compulsive around here (EDIT: lol Eric and I posted within seconds of each other... I rest my case!!)

@CptMike: Just teasing. It's such a cool thing to see you and Eric so into this. I wish you both the best of luck with your efforts and want you to succeed. We don't always see eye to eye on some things, but I know *for sure* we all love flying and talking about our gliders, and that can't be so bad


Feb 23, 2012, 10:25 PM
Definite Flight Risk
FSD's Avatar
Thanks for posting all of the "definitive" VTPR vids Steve. I've bookmarked this thread so I can look at these on a regular basis.

I remember the last time we got into one of these "what is VTPR" threads. There were so many differing opinions and so on that I'm not sure how productive it was. If nothing else, it certainly demonstrated (at least to me) that VTPR isn't easily defined. As a style, it has some pretty specific requirements such as being low to the ground and smoother more graceful aerobatics. Having said that, I'm not always sure that I'm actually seeing VTPR proper. I mean, the difference between the Menez-Hom video and the BPLR Madslide video seems pretty dramatic to me. But they are (I guess) both considered VTPR. I suppose it just goes to show that even within VTPR, there can be differing styles.

Latest blog entry: Flow 3.5 Maiden With Aeros
Feb 24, 2012, 08:25 AM
Piscine Promulgator
surfimp's Avatar
I really don't get the confusion, to be honest. VTPR means exactly what it say it means - aerobatics very close to the ground. Like, within a wingspan or so on the straight lines connecting vertical figures. This is clearly shown in the Menez-Hom video from 2005, or that newer one of the Air 100s. LIkewise in the Madslide video, BPLR does an amazing 8 point roll about 3' off the ground. That's VTPR, for me.

But that being said, how that expresses itself at any given site with any given airframe is another question, and I follow the French lead there - it's not so important to spend time trying to define it, but rather, just to do it. Aerobatics. Close to the ground. How hard is that to understand, really? (I'm not capping on you Paige, but, in reference to the confusion that can arise, I think it's best to follow the simplest definition possible)

Suffice to say, if you want to fly just like they do at Menez-Hom, you should go to Menez-Hom, fly a 2.5m lightweight composite glider, and do figure Ms with fin and belly drags in the middle. Voila, you are flying VTPR a la francaise!

Madflight refers to a capability of the glider to do flips and other "radical" 3D-style movements. But that doesn't mean it's VTPR - it's not, unless it's done close to the ground. You can see in BPLR's original video he did his flips up a bit higher, but it is certainly possible to do them quite low, too, and this has been done and documented, meaning that it is possible to synthesize VTPR and Madflight flips. Pierre Rondel referred to that as "uVTPR" but really, who cares what it is called. The point is that by adapting the now very old Madslide elevator setup, we can do even more fun stuff down low.

I will let Eric speak for himself of course, but I know he has further ideas for refining what VTPR means within the competitive context he hopes to create, including criteria for judging. As such, he will by definition have to be more rigid in formalizing what does or does not constitute "VTPR" - within the context of his contest structure. Maybe it needs a new name of its own, just to avoid muddying the waters? eVTPR? Hehe

Anyways, I hope that can be laid to rest. It's really quite a simple thing, and a shame that so many pages of threads have been devoted to the subject which is really quite simple to understand.

You know, when I go on the French forums and say "Hey look at this VTPR video from California", I have never, ever had someone go, "That's not VTPR!" That has only happened here on RCGroups... LOL!! The irony, on so many levels.

It's all good though, really, people just get passionate and that is not in itself a bad thing.

So: VTPR = Aerobatics Very Close To The Ground

Just like the name says

Last edited by surfimp; Feb 24, 2012 at 10:55 AM.

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