Best conditions for sailplane use? - RC Groups
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Oct 16, 2012, 02:53 PM
Couger/ merlin mavrick / goose
Kylejazz123's Avatar

Best conditions for sailplane use?

Whats up everybody long time 3d flyer here , brand new sailer! So basicly i picked up saweeet new v tail glider , no idea what kind but is very light and has a ffolding prop. Basicly my quesion is , can i fly this glider in very windy conditions? Or what type of conditions are we talking about like completly calm ? My thoughts would be that windy would be the right conditions but maby im wrong , can you guys help a noob out with a little bit of soaring info? Would be so greatly appreciated!

Thanks in advanced for any help.

Last edited by Kylejazz123; Oct 16, 2012 at 04:40 PM.
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Oct 16, 2012, 02:57 PM
dwells's Avatar
Light winds (5-9 MPH), cool in the morning, warmimg rapidly by noon from the sun....oh yeah!
Oct 16, 2012, 03:29 PM
Couger/ merlin mavrick / goose
Kylejazz123's Avatar
So best time is when its starting to warm up?
Oct 16, 2012, 03:51 PM
dwells's Avatar
Well, yes, I suppose. Different textures and color of the surrounding land warm at different rates, this is what creates a bubble of rising air. This picture shows a dark area to the north east of the field. If you get a light breeze from that direction, it will probably have lift as the dark area has produced warmer air than the surrounding area. This is one of the "house" thermals of this field.
Oct 16, 2012, 04:27 PM
AMA 73386
jzanutto's Avatar
welcome over to the rewarding side of RC flying.

I see you have drank the koolaid though, my personal opinion is that a sailplane does not have a motor, esc and battery pack. chuck it off a slope or winch it up and then find lift.

I'm just busting your chops, fly however you want. Welcome to sailplanes, they are really fun and relaxing.

If you dont have a ridge or slope then you thermal, the choice is already made for you. I have both available to me, a slope and some good open fields for thermaling. I like both, but tend to favor slope.

Wind can mean a couple things. On a slope it means you have slope lift. In open areas it can mean you have active convection- rising air is pulling the ground layer air toward it. Or it could mean that your thermals are being blown away or not being allowed to form properly and you have no lift.
Oct 16, 2012, 04:47 PM
Couger/ merlin mavrick / goose
Kylejazz123's Avatar
Ahh . Its starting to make sense , and i hear yah about the motor thing but being a noob to it i wanted to be able to get "up there" with out fustration (thats what she said) anyways , my clubs field is right on the edge of a river (fraser river , biggest in bc canada)and in a huge valley with mountains all the way around the valley . Were talking hundreds km inbetween the mountains but i just thought ide mention it , its called the fraser valley and its a long valley coming out of vancouver bc canada and going into the rocky mountians , is this going to be a good place for lift?
Oct 16, 2012, 05:39 PM
dwells's Avatar
Sorry, KJ, I assumed thermal soaring....
Oct 16, 2012, 05:52 PM
Registered User
What dwells said, enjoy .
Oct 16, 2012, 11:41 PM
Couger/ merlin mavrick / goose
Kylejazz123's Avatar
what the difference in between thremal soaring and flying up to height and gliding down? for thremal soaring do you have to catch thermals all the way up with out the help of a motor for it to be consider as so?
Oct 17, 2012, 12:38 AM
AMA 73386
jzanutto's Avatar
ahh glider philosophy. The aim of soaring is to stay up on the lift that you find, whether its a slope, or a thermal, or a convergence line, etc.

Stay up as long as you can, till its time to come down and change a pack. In full size soaring, only a very few have engines and they are referred to as self-launchers. ie, they dont need a tow plane to get up. The engine is shut off and it retracts, then they look for lift like anyone else who got towed up.

So however you get your rc glider up into the air is your choice, then the fun starts as you hunt for lift and learn how to use it.

there are all kinds of events based on the type of sailplane you choose and how you choose to launch.

theres an old saying that says "its a sailplane when its climbing, and its a glider when its coming down." nobody really wants to launch and then just come back down, you try to stay up as long as possible

with thermal flight, you stand at your base and look up at the plane as it gets smaller and smaller. You continuously circle in the thermal as you climb. with slope flying the sailplane can be flown right in front of you at eye level, following more of a straight course as you fly up and down the slope or ridge

my personal favorite is to just toss it off a slope and watch it climb right in front of me. our little slope is not even 100 feet high but I've managed to fly out my RX pack at 2 hours 45 minutes on several occasions
Oct 17, 2012, 02:01 AM
Registered User
If you are skilled, the glider is not too light, and it has a fast airfoil, then you can fly in the wind. But that comes later. Gliders will handle totally differently than a 3d plane and you'll need to get used to this.

Ideally you want a sunny day when the wind is light and shifts around a lot, because that means there are thermals. Watch the birds. When they circle, don't flap, and go up, they are showing you how and where to do it. Get a copy of the Old Buzzard's Soaring Book. (Carstens may have it). It's very good on finding thermals.

If you have a steep, long hill facing the wind, with no obstructions upwind of it, you can slope soar. Sometimes for as long as you can stand it. I have a hill like that near my house and I've been up for an hour a couple of times, but it's boring and there's no good place to land! With skill, you can slope soar much smaller features. I've slope soared a bump in an ocean beach that was maybe two feet high. I didn't get far above it, but I could stay up. Of course, that nice steady wind coming off the ocean makes it easier. As a 3D flyer, you might enjoy this close proximity flying, although it will get sand in the motor when you land!

What is wing span and weight? Can you send us a picture? If it's too small, it may be frustrating. A two meter that weighs 25 to 35 oz. is probably about right, although I've seen a few lighter ones that work well. For a 1.5 meter, no more than 11 oz. or so is best, IMHO. But a 1.5 meter has to be a reasonably good one or it will be frustrating. A 2.5 meter can weigh quite a bit more, maybe up to 45 oz. There are gliders which weigh more but they will have to be flown with more finesse.
Oct 17, 2012, 12:13 PM
Proud member of LISF and ESL
Gliders and Soaring - several types

Thermal Soaring - generally a flat land type activity, meaning you don't need hills or wind. Sun warms the ground, creates thermals. This is like fishing. You launch and you search for the thermals. When you find one you work it so that you can stay in the air as long as you like before you land. Very much a finesse type of flying.


Launch can be via motor in the glider, hi-start, OneWinch, Electric Winch, Hand Launch, piggy back on a power plane or aerotowing which is being pulled up by a power plane.

Slope soaring - needs a hill/slope and wind that is blowing directly into the hill. Now we know where the lift is. In most cases you just toss the glider off the cliff/hill and into the lift. Fly as long as the wind blows and comes from the correct direction. This can be highly aerobatic, very fast, or it can be smooth and relaxing.

How Slope Soaring Works

Slope Soaring - over the rainbow - may favorite slope video ever

Hotliners - basically high speed electric gliders that are being flown more like aerobatic aircraft. Aerobatics are typically power off with the motor being used to climb high and fast. Then turn to the dive and go wild!

Not my thing, so I don't have resources on this one.

So, which are you thinking about?

And, it would help if we knew more about the glider.
Last edited by aeajr; Oct 17, 2012 at 12:39 PM.
Oct 17, 2012, 04:04 PM
Intermediate Multi
Trisquire's Avatar
I'm told the presence of cumulus clouds is a good indicator.
Oct 18, 2012, 12:30 AM
Registered User
That CAN be an indicator, but more likely for full scale than for models, unless they are VERY low.
Oct 18, 2012, 06:09 AM
Intermediate Multi
Trisquire's Avatar
So for our purposes, a cloudless sky is as good as a cloudy one?
Last edited by Trisquire; Oct 18, 2012 at 08:26 AM.

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