Competitive Altitude Limited Soaring on a Budget - RC Groups
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Apr 27, 2012, 05:21 AM
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Competitive Altitude Limited Soaring on a Budget

Having competed in Height limited soaring for a few years I find that the latest "hot" planes are too expensive for me , Pulsar, Ava and the various moulded planes.
I undertook a bit of researching to try to find a model with which to compete yet not break the bank.
The following is my attempt to do this use parts from various manufacturers. Pod Gracia wing and Diva Tail plane Ava boom and tail mount

This will produce a model of about 3m span.

I am very pleased with the parts bought so far, good quality from all the manufacturers.

The fin and rudder will have to be home produced.
The total cost to date for the above is about 272 ex post and packing; that is around 425 US dollars less than half the cost of a Pulsar for us in the UK.
My weight estimates on this thing are circa 1600 gms
There will be some modification of the wing and tail in order to fit the pod and to accomodate all my ideas of how the job should be done.

I am most definitely open to suggestions from any of you of how to carry out any of the work, that's what RC Groups is about I think. I really look forward to your input.

When I first worked this out and produced cost and weight estimates I asked a few fellow competitors for their views on my weight estimates etc just to make sure that I was on the right track. The result of that consultation is that there are now 4 of the full house models being produced plus 1 as an RES version using a different wing.

Now the good part get on with building it. Wish me luck !

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Apr 27, 2012, 11:12 AM
Full Scale Piper Cub Driver
Piper J3's Avatar
Sandist -

I am planning to do a similar build of a hybrid Bubble Dancer with the thought of reduced cost. I will buy pod, boom, and completed tail feathers for an AVA. I plan on building the Bubble Dancer wing from plans. Cost should be less than $500 USD. I currently fly a E-Pulsar 3.2 polywing REF and want to duplicate the flight performance at less cost and enhance the building experience.

Piper J3
Apr 27, 2012, 11:32 AM
Red Merle ALES VI
Curtis Suter's Avatar
I love it! You'll have an amazing flying glider that you can certainly be proud of.


Apr 29, 2012, 10:31 PM
Proud member of LISF and ESL
Listening in.
Apr 30, 2012, 04:39 AM
Registered User
I have now drawn up the fin and rudder profile I have taken the leading edge profile of the tailplane to give the leading edge shape for the fin and a simple rudder profile to give the area I feel is appropriate.
The rudder has been built and I am starting on the fin today.

To turn to other matters - power
for about 4/5 years I have been using the Mega 16/25/3 allied to either a Kontronik or Maxon gearbox. Based on what I have already; it is getting a Mega with a Maxon gearbox.
I also have a 50 amp esc. I estimate that on 3s Lipo it will draw circa 30 amps on 17 x 13.
This should give a climb rate which will be around 13/1400 ft per minute which is ok for our events which require a climb of about 650 ft (200 metres).
I have dug out servos from various retired airframes and have only 2 Dymond D60s that I would trust to this new model so back to the local model shop to see what is available.
I know I can use the Internet as I did to buy the airframe parts but as a rule I try to buy as much as possible locally.
well back to the building board.
Last edited by sandist; Apr 30, 2012 at 06:32 AM. Reason: Spelling
Apr 30, 2012, 12:40 PM
Registered User
Budgets rule, A local archery guy stopped past our flying field and left us with a pile of arrows which had shattered.
I took one of the shattered arrows and split it all the way and have several slivers of arrow .
I have sanded the internal part of the tube and ended up with a section of a carbon tube with an arc and a flat internal face. I intend to use this as the face of my fin, bonded on to a balsa sub core. It should help produce a light strong structure. I have not seen it done before, any helpful ideas out there ?

The hold down bolts on the wing are in the wrong place for me so I am cutting out the bottom wing sheeting and examining the structure Picture will be on my next post.
May 01, 2012, 08:48 AM
Registered User
Rudder completed 8 grams so far.
I have opened up the bottom of the wing and I propose to block in the area behind the spar between the two ply ribs and again further back to take the hold down bolts.
The cut outs in the wings for the servos seem a bit on the big side so I will close them up a bit too.
The section of sanded carbon arrow shaft can be seen in the photo as can the cut in the bottom of the tail for the ava mount.
May 06, 2012, 05:37 PM
Mesa AZ, it's a dry heat!


Thanks for the link to Kristoffair.
I will be meeting with Chris later this month and purchasing one of his pods.

May 10, 2012, 09:38 AM
Registered User



Managed to make some progress in between distractions.

I am changing the wing hold down bolts to a central position. The centre rib is 5mm balsa so that will need some reinforcement.
I have stripped off the lower sheeting and put in two lite ply ribs sandwiching the centre rib and blocked in the area between the ribs in the centre.
In order to provide a more secure hard point for the hold down bolt I have also let in a 2mm ply plate on the bottom.
I will remove the top sheeting and do the same then drill down through and fit a tube to take the vertical crushing force when I bolt on the wing.
The rear hold down bolt is more or less just a locating peg so I will do much the same but omit the ply top and bottom.
Now I have to tidy it up a bit do the same for the rear hold down bolt ,and refit the lower sheeting.
The wiring is complete but for the plug on the wing wiring.

Sorry about the poor picture quality.

Last edited by sandist; May 10, 2012 at 09:39 AM. Reason: addition
May 10, 2012, 10:04 AM
mostly gliders
liukku's Avatar
Hello Ian
I belive I will like your build thread a lot. Very good and wise initiative.
Thumbs up!

May 17, 2012, 01:16 AM
I do this for fun!
I'm sure there will be a lot of good info here.

I'm not clear on the reasoning for not simply buying a Gracia? Costs would seem to be about the same.
May 17, 2012, 01:02 PM
Registered User
Reason for not buying Gracia ,I expect to come out considerably lighter

Some progress today, finished wing modifications, cut aileron and flap horns out of epoxy board, made servo tray for fuselage and fin.
Next job, cut out a hatch in the pod.
May 18, 2012, 07:45 AM
Registered User
Some more progress, tips covered, hit a problem with a roll of Oracover ,nicks and cuts inside the roll,so not able to cover main panel without patches,not on a new plane! More ordered.
Still haven't the nerve to start cutting out the hatch in the pod !
May 23, 2012, 04:49 PM
Registered User
Hi Ian,
I’m watching your build with interest it certainly looks like you will have a nice model at the end of your build. Thanks informing the visitors about my products at kristoffair.
I’m building a model myself please take a look if you’re interested.
Last edited by kristoffair; May 24, 2012 at 03:29 PM.
May 24, 2012, 02:46 PM
Registered User
Hi Chris,
I have been watching your build with interest, I am always looking to learn something.

I have made further progress with the "BUZRD"
Tail group now completed, tail-plane,fin and rudder finished weighing 50 grams . I am pleased with that.
I have cut out the hatch in the pod, in the photo you will see two sets of lines marked on the hatch blank, the inner set are for the hatch itself and the out lines will provide the ledge on which it will sit in the pod.
Now finished, you can see it in the photo.
Wing tips covered and our local model shop Marionville Models in Edinburgh have lived up to their usual high standards and got me replacement Oracover for the damaged lot.
One minor hitch. One of my friends who was in the wing buying group has finished his and finds that the ailerons are really very bendy root to tip, so following Peter's advice I am now installing diagonal braces in the ailerons, a very fiddly job in view of the construction.
Next post will have photos of that job.
Last edited by sandist; May 24, 2012 at 02:46 PM. Reason: spelling

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