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Dec 29, 2003, 06:38 PM
Thread OP

Newbie multi purpose plane

I'm interested in getting a sailplane and have some ideas of what to get but would like to run it past you folks.

The area where I live is pretty much right up against the foothills southwest of Denver in the town of Castle Rock. Outside of a few subdivisions there are plenty of open fields with large hills (300/400 feet high, 500 yards long, 100 yards wide at base) and a 10 minute drive I'm on top of the hog back (steep ridge at base of mountains). The one thing that my wife hates and I love is the wind (stunt kites).

During the day it's pretty calm, often just a nice breeze. In the morning there are west to east winds and in the evening there are east to west winds. The ridges I mentioned earlier are running North by NW to SE.

I've been looking at the GP Spirit. From what I can gather so far off this list is that I can use this plane in the middle of the day for thermalling and then ballast it up a bit and slope it in the morning or evening. Am I off base here? I have experience with powered planes and just can't stand the drive to the field, the boat load of crap I have to take, waiting for a pin, and the countless mid-airs drive me nuts (not mine). I want to gab the plane, the radio, maybe a hi-start, dive 2 miles, and fly until I have to pee.

Given the criteria above what would your suggestions be? Iíll also need an ARF. I just want to fly when I get home or need a break from tinkering on my car.

Thanks for any suggestions.
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Dec 29, 2003, 06:44 PM
Jay, welcome to the groups!

I can't help you with the plane, I've never seen the GP Spirit. I was just in Colorado though a week ago and there are some fantastic flying spots there. I dont know how close you are to Pueblo West(if close at all) but there is a fabulous point that overlooks their resevior which would be a really fun slope. Pueblo West gets quite a bit of wind too and when I was there it was blowing the right way the whole time for that slope.

Dec 29, 2003, 07:39 PM
Registered User
SchiessCo's Avatar
I actually learned to fly on the slope with a Spirit. It doesnít have ailerons so youíll be somewhat limited on what you can do with it, but for general flying in light to medium lift, it will do you just fine. I think there are a couple good threads with mods to strengthen / improve the Spirit, so you might want to check those out.

Another option is something like the Omega 2M from NE Sail - it has ailerons and is a bit more slippery than the Spirit. I use one as my current general use-not enough wind for something fast-slope beater. NE Sail seems to have it on sale fairly regularly.

Dec 29, 2003, 07:53 PM
Detail Freak
target's Avatar
I know that we're in the slope forum, but an electric motor/glider is a good way to avoid even a hi-start. Just bring 2 or 3 charged packs, and with a thermal or two, you can fly til you're bored.
I don't know much about hi-starting, but I believe a problem on release can be very bad, you're commited once you let go! At least w/ e-power, you can usually kill the power, and abort.
I think that if you get into sloping, after a very short while, you'll be tired of the Spirit, but it would make a fine electric conversion.

You'll be well served by an EPP aileron/elevator ship for your first real sloper; even though you are competent at power, some people have a bit of trouble keeping a glider in the lift band, and under control at first. The EPP planes are very nice indeed, if you find yourself having a "oopps". The Spirit won't tolerate that.

Welcome to the quiet flying experience; you're gonna wish you converted from power sooner.

Good luck,
Dec 29, 2003, 10:11 PM
VTPR & Slope Aerobatics
surfimp's Avatar
My vote for an all-around sloper that is good from very light to moderate winds and easy for a beginner to learn with is the Weasel from Richter R/C. The nice thing about the Weasel is that you won't outgrow it; it's fun to fly for a beginner and fun to fly for a more advanced pilot. There of course are tons of other options out there but I definitely would recommend an EPP wing like the Weasel because they're tough and very forgiving for beginners, and can deal with a far wider range of wind conditions (and beginner mistakes) than any built-up rudder/elevator thermaller type plane (in my humble opinion of course).

Of course, this is just my $.02, and I encourage you to try out anything that catches your interest. You'll probably end up owning many slope planes and so long as you have fun with your first one, it's a good investment!

Good luck and have fun,

Dec 29, 2003, 11:03 PM
stegre's Avatar
We have a few things for you to take a look at. The Eraser, and Eraser 60 work well and can be bungee launched. Check out our videos as well.

Dec 31, 2003, 11:03 AM
Thread OP

Thanks for the INFO

Thanks for the posts and all the great suggestions. While checking out all the posted sites as well as this forum I found the SSS simulator. It has the spirit as well as the weasel and a few others. I'm not too sure how accurate the sim is to the models but it gave me a chance to "try out" a few planes.

I really had to turn the wind down to get any type of performance out of the polyhedral winged planes like the Spirit. They just hung like a kite and I have enough of those already. With the true delta wings I had some pretty bad orientation problems. Not sure if it was the colors or silhouette but was often upside down and would give big elevator at the peak of the ridge and would get a big piece of dirt instead of lift. Then after a loop or two at distance I couldnít tell if I was going or coming. The weasel was fun to fly in all the different wind conditions I set up. I have an old school roller ball at my desk and with the sensitivity turned up is much like a single stick controller if I hold it in my hand and use my thumb on top.

I also took a walk after work last night and scoped out the sites I would be flying. Lets just say that any grass for a nice plane to land is non-existent. Until Iím a little more versed at hand launches and catches I have a feeling I would be spending as much time on the bench making repairs as would be flying. The whole purpose of the plane is something to relax with after working on my little Italian pain in the ass. I love my Lancia but she is one fickle little car.

Bottom line is that Iíll be placing in order shortly with Mr. Richter for a Weasel. Thanks again for all the help.
Dec 31, 2003, 11:14 AM
Detail Freak
target's Avatar
Good luck Jay. I think you'll like sloping better than power!

Dec 31, 2003, 11:32 AM
Thread OP
Thanks TARGET. I think I will too. I got into power with the hopes of pattern flying. After getting into it I just couldnít handle the egoís and in the end the thought of having to buy a trailer and the possibility of dumping a $3K plane was out of the question. The top of the line slopers Iíve seen donít even come close to that. The slopers here seem like good group of down to earth folks.
Dec 31, 2003, 11:43 AM
VTPR & Slope Aerobatics
surfimp's Avatar
Right on, Jay! A Weasel is a great choice, and slope soaring enthusiasts are SUPER COOL people in my experience. There are so many awesome kinds of airplanes to fly, great builders and pilots to introduce them to you. I think you'll really enjoy it.

I created the Weasel model for SSS, and I feel it flies pretty much like a real one with the aileron rates turned down a little bit from what I like (my Weasel rolls like a skateboard doing a kickflip when I give full aileron). Anyways the Weasel is a really tough little plane and I agree that it's much easier to orient than the flying V type delta wings--looks more like a "real" airplane because of the central pod and fin, IMHO.

Please feel free to post any questions you have, there are many people who've built the Weasel on this board and in the Yahoo! flyWeasel group and they can give you great advice on getting it built, balanced and trimmed for maximum pleasure. Enjoy!

flyWeasel Yahoo Group:

Last edited by surfimp; Dec 31, 2003 at 11:46 AM.
Dec 31, 2003, 01:26 PM
Registered User
Daemon's Avatar
Here's a link to all the stuff I have flown or am flying on the Colorado front range.
And all the places I fly.

I still think a combat wing is the best bet for learning because it takes bashing into the ground better than anything else, and it'll still teach you all the fundamentals of flying an aileron ship, plus can do all the aerobatics you'll want.
I don't know about the Weasel Pro, but I know the Mini Weasel is not for beginners. Being small, it is visually very fast, and has lightning quick responses, meaning you have to be actively flying it 100% of the time, so a moment of disorientation and it's on the ground. Colorado has good winds often, but they're ever changing. Different speeds, directions, thermals mixed in, dead air too.

BTW, It's easy to get disoriented flying a simulator because among other things you lose sight of the slope when it pans up, and when it gets far away the glider gets small and pixelated.
My recommendation for our conditions would be something like a Wing Warrior Raider, or Frank Cavazos Boomerang.

Sep 14, 2004, 10:42 PM
Registered User
Good evening gentlemen,

This is my first post in this news group... On a whim one afternoon earlier this summer I purchased a Spirit ARF and proceded to build it. I had never built an R/C aircraft, but I had flown a buddies once or twice. After finishing the aircraft and learning quite a bit in the process, now it was time to fly. I took it out to a middle school football field here on the East part of Colorado Springs, and did a lot of toss's and landings. Teaching myself how to land wasn't to bad on the aircraft, but I was pretty white knuckled each time I went to toss it. Well the next thing to do was get a "Hi-Start". A buddy and I purchased a "hi-Start" (he had no flying experience at all), and we took it to a big field on the Academy and flew it off the hi-start for awhile. We got fairly good at launching it, but we found out that it didn't like wind over 8mph on the launch. We were getting hung up on the release, and sometimes it would start to drag the plane down. Any ways we got in trouble for flying the "Unauthorized Unmanned Aerial Vehicle" where we were flying it. So I didn't know af any place with a large enough field to use the highstart. Then it hit me... I remembered reading about slope soaring in the spirit instruction book.

So, before we continue on this great odysse about my slope experience, let's recap.
1. About 35 hand launch landings in a football field. Some slight repair to the aircraft.
2. About 15 Hi-start launches. Some major repair to the aircraft.
3. Almost getting disciplinary paperwork from my commander at the time for flying "Unauthorized Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in an Unauthorized area". The military can be fun some times.....
So back to the story... After losing my flying area, I remembered about slope soaring. Now where is there a good hill on the east side of Colorado Springs? Well the nearest one is an old landfill near the house. It had a pretty good slope facing the South (predominant summer wind direction). So I thought "what do I have to loose"? I took the plane up there and threw it off... Low and behold I was flying in a 10-18MPH breeze, and it was flying very nicely. I was only able to get it about 75-100' up in the air with the slope lift, but it was longer flights than I was ever used to (10 -15 minutes), and it wasn't as scary as the hi-start, but I was really learning a lot in flying it. The landings left quite a bit to be desired though as one landing kind of destroyed the aircraft. I havn't yet rebuilt the plane, and I don't think my inferior modeling skill will beable to rebuild this plane, but I really had fun with my one afternoon of slope soaring. So if you guys know of a great place to learn soaring in Colorado Springs, and maybee some instructors, I would love to hear from you. Oh I will probably need some input on a new glider too.

Jay, I have seen the hills that you speak of in Castle rock, and they looked promising from I-25, but I havn't seem them up close. There has to be something between Castle Rock and Monument...

Spizzzarko the Spirit ARF destroyer!
Sep 15, 2004, 01:48 AM
plane obsessed
Cody WIlson's Avatar
Ditto on the hills around Castle Rock. I had a job in Larkspur last week, and I was practically drooling on some of those hills.. I mean my steering wheel... There should be some very nice local- and I mean local sites to fly. You should have a flyable slope for EVERY wind direction within 5 miles of Downtown CR. You might have to hike it, but some nice topo maps should show you some nice Mesa's with access roads. If you find some nice ones let us know!

Spizzarco- Sounds like you are actually doing quite well- I learned on a Gentle Lady (fore-runner of the Spirit) much the way you are. It would be a good idea-as mentioned above- to try something EPP. You can use your current radio gear (standard servo's etc...but you do need mixing) in a nice combat wing. I like the WingWarrior Raider. Sweet combat ship (Ian might tell you otherwise though... but never trust the competition LOL )...

Anyway, With a combat wing you would be hard pressed to hurt it, and they are way more aerobatic than your Spirit.

Hope you find some nice sites in your area- look for steep hills with on side wind (duh) and minimal trees. Brush can be nice to crash in, but a pain to find your glider in.

Welcome to the Groups! Sloping is addictive- consider yourself warned

Last edited by Cody WIlson; Sep 15, 2004 at 01:56 AM.
Sep 15, 2004, 02:25 AM
Registered User
McGrrr's Avatar
Definately get a bungee. ~25 feet of UV resitant surgical tubing, a heavy duty tent stake or one of those corkscrew dog tie down stakes, and some key chain rings. Then grip and rip.

Check out the "Some Bungee Fun" thread for a video.

For the tubing go to ant medical supply store, or has some quality stuff.
Sep 15, 2004, 12:15 PM
It could happen...
InTheLift's Avatar
I think you'll tire of the Spirit quickly. Not knocking the plane, but it is kinda a stringless kite...very relaxing though, lounge chair type flying. EPP has opened up a whole new avenue of slope flying. Thanks to the "bounceability" of EPP, the need for using the 2ch polyhedral r/e planes for training is gone. The Weasel Pro as suggested, combined with a bungee launcher will have you covered for both slope and flat-land fun.

Flew a little Pattern at the club level myself for a while. Spent a whole bunch of money and found it to be more work than fun. Slope flying is all about the fun and you need not spend all that much money to enjoy it...of course you will end up dumping as much as you can bear into it like any hobby you enjoy before long!

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