Experienced, but new to sailplanes: looking for slope/thermal plane; how to slope? - RC Groups
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Dec 10, 2001, 10:21 AM
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Experienced, but new to sailplanes: looking for slope/thermal plane; how to slope?

This post is similar to Squelch's. I've flown RC for a few years now, but I'm relatively new to sailplanes. I've only watched them in videos and from afar, but never flown one myself, unless you consider gliding a Zagi 400 to count.

I'm looking to get my first sailplane; while I plan to primarily thermal it, I would also like to try sloping too. That endless source of lift looks like a ton of fun. I bet I have a zillion hills here in the foothills that would be perfect, but I can't figure out what would be good and what wouldn't.

Anyway, I'm writing this post to ask two things: 1) Is there a good plane to start with that is a great thermaller and can also be sloped?
2) What might be the characteristics of a good hill to slope on? As I said above, I bet there are a ton in this area I could try on if I new what I was looking for. Would a Zagi 400 slope at all?

Thanks in advance.

-Dan Nash
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Dec 10, 2001, 10:46 AM
Ascended Master
Sparky Paul's Avatar
Zagi started out life as a sloper.. I recall flying one in '92 or '93..
Good slopers though don't make good thermallers.
A good thermaller will work well on the slope, OTOH.
A Gentle Lady is a good dual/triple purpose airplane.. any of the 2M gliders or electric gliders would slope nicely.
Dec 10, 2001, 11:30 AM
around Colombia
ShredAir's Avatar
Dan, and also squelchF18,

From your posts, I gather that you are fairly experienced flyers. If so, I would advise against a poly-hedral floater with rudder/elevator control only. It may be fun for a week, but then you may get bored, on the slope especially.

Instead, see if you can't find a used plane which at least has ailerons also. For slope and thermal, a used F3B-style plane would be very good, except that you will need good computer radio to program it.

One good way to see a variety of gliders and maybe pick up one is at larger events. Upcoming in January is the IMS Fair in Pasadena, CA, and in February are the Southwest Soaring Classic in Gilbert, Arizona, and the Mid-Winter Electrics in San Diego California.

Dieter Mahlein
Dec 10, 2001, 07:27 PM
Crashez-vous sans stress!
Dan H.'s Avatar
If you like state-of-the-art design and high-quality hollow-molded construction, the Jaro Muller Mini-Ellipse is a lot of sailplane for the money (but it's not cheap). It's a 2-meter full house ship that basically gives you the state of the art in a smaller more manageable size. Not a beginner's thermal plane, but not impossible to learn to thermal with. Happy as a clam on the slope. And if you decide you don't like pure soaring you can electrify it easily.

Good slope sites can be hard to find. The hill doesn't need to be high (25' can work fine), and doesn't have to be a cliff, but too gentle a slope will not work. Most important is a steady wind of 10-20 knots (for starters, unless you have a Zagi THL) that is perpendicular to the slope face or no more than 5-10 degrees off. You also need a good landing area, preferably a nice flat top to the hill with a good surface to mush in on or at least tall grass. A line of trees will get in the way and also hinder the airflow over the slope. Dave Thornburgh's Old Buzzard's Soaring Book has good discussions of the basics of slope and thermal soaring.