Catching a thermal with a paper plane! - Page 2 - RC Groups
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Jan 12, 2013, 12:47 AM
Registered User
I used to do that from a 6 story building at school. Some of them would stay up a little extra time, but only one ever vanished upwards. It flew maybe 100 yards and then disappeared going straight up very quickly.

I launched one or two from the Empire State Building, but I think I launched from the downwind side and there seemed to be a lot of downdraft, turbulence, and rotation in that air. A catapult glider would probably be best but I bet it would be very tough to sneak one up there these days.

I've lost several catapult gliders to thermals after launching from fairly level ground.
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Jan 12, 2013, 01:02 AM
On our first trip to NYC in the late '90's to promote the Sling Wing at the International Toy Fair we took the tour of the Empire State Building.
There were signs prohibiting the throwing of objects from the roof, but no signs prohibiting the catapulting of objects, so we fired off several Sling Wings.
Used to have a photo of one circling up over the Dirigible mooring mast, but haven't seen it in a long time.
Had great fun demonstrating the glider indoors at the Javits Convention Center. 45 second flights were common once they were tuned properly.
Feb 01, 2013, 05:36 PM
prefer lift over drag anyday
flyzguy's Avatar
Here's a video of slope soaring a paper plane. Hard to get it to stay in lift for many passes...

Slope Soaring a Paper Plane (0 min 21 sec)
Aug 04, 2014, 06:37 AM
Registered User
When i was a little kid i was playing with a paper plane in a recently plowed field on a hot summers day (perfect for thermals), when suddenly it just soared higer and higher until it was a tiny spec. Finally i lost sight. It felt like a witnessed a miracle, truly magical, especially for a small boy with his imagination not hampered by knowledge.
Aug 04, 2014, 12:21 PM
B for Bruce
BMatthews's Avatar
Yep, it's that magic that keep me flying free flight models and RC sailplanes. We just don't realize what the sky is like until we fly such models.
Aug 12, 2014, 10:49 PM
Registered User
I still remember one of the early thermals I caught at Franklin Park in Boston with an RC glider. Even though I more or less understood what was happening, it was still magic!

Does everyone here know about F1E, i.e. magnetically steered ff gliders? Start at 2:30 if you want to skip the explanation and just see the flight:
A Flight with an International Class F1-E Slope Soaring Glider (3 min 34 sec)

some beautiful footage of odd combinations of F1E parts in this next one. However, parts of this video are in questionable taste, especially the part between about 4 minutes and 4:40, and a lot of the captions. It's kind of funny, though, in addition to the beautiful footage:
F1E Bastard Gliders Part One (9 min 22 sec)

For the impatient, flights start a bit after 2 minutes and around 5:30. Again, beware of the part that starts around 4 minutes!
Aug 12, 2014, 10:51 PM
Registered User
P.S. I meant to mention that I'm sure these days a miniature steering mechanism appropriate for paper airplanes would be possible. Perhaps with a photosensor and a nitonol wire (aka muscle wire).
Aug 12, 2014, 10:58 PM
Registered User
P.P.S. Watch out for that second "Bastard Glider" video. Some people might be uptight enough to give it an R rating.

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