THERMALING 4 BEGINNERS--Help area - Page 2 - RC Groups
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Mar 13, 2004, 10:03 AM
FlattyFlier's Avatar
Wow, thanks...Im going to try andorder that book...
I do injoy getting to fly the Aspire by just motor, but I reguarly take the motor out and fly it like the normal Aspire. Thats why I love the Aspire EP, you can take the motor out and move the electrics up to the nose and add longer pushrods n about 10min.!
I know exactly what you mean when I rely on the motor too much, but I also know what you mean when all I have are thermals to keep me up.
Last edited by FlattyFlier; Mar 13, 2004 at 10:34 AM.
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Mar 13, 2004, 11:35 AM
FlattyFlier's Avatar
I have just got back in from another VERY fun and exciting flight with my GWS F4-U, and thaught I seen some birds in a thermal about 1/2-2/3 miles away..and decided to fly my Coursair around to see if I could find a thermal using that, then realised that as fast and heavy as it is, It would probably just power threw one, if I did find one. But on my way back into the house, I thaught..."Maybe I could use my GWS Slow Stick!" It is even lighter and slower than my Aspire(with or w/o motor installed) Couldn't I use it to practice and find thermals before I went threw the effort of getting my Aspire up to altitude and then ending up not finding a thing!?
Is this a stroke of genious, or stupidity?
Last edited by FlattyFlier; Mar 13, 2004 at 11:38 AM.
Mar 13, 2004, 01:45 PM
Proud member of LISF and ESL
Your GWS F4-U is certainly not too heavy to ride a thermal. It is probably lighter than the Aspire.

The 3 Meter Sailplane that I am going to maiden tomorrow weighs 80 ounces.

My Aerobird, which thermals very well is about 17 ounces.

If the plane will glide nicely, it will ride thermals. You just have to know what to look for.

The best conditions are calm air, hot sun and low humidity. Some big dark area surrounded by lighter areas. A freshly plowed field is good. A parking lot works. A large building with a black roof is awesome.

However I have caught thermals at 35 degrees F in 15 mph winds. They can be weak and they move fast, but the are there!

Here are some thoughts on the hunt!

Get your Aspire up about 500 feet working your way up wind. Then cut the motor and trim the plane for nice level flight. Now, focus on watching the plane and keeping it on a nice steady glide. Steady as she goes. Try to keep your hands off the sticks as much as possible.

Let the plane ride with the river of air giving it only occasional input to keep it going in the general direction you want to go, but don't be a stickler about it. Let it drift like a fly on the surface of the river, waiting for a trout. If you listen with your eyes, it will speak to you, but you have to listen.

Glide across the wind, not into it and not with it. Sort of a 45 -60 degree left for a while then a 45 to 60 degrees to the right. Nice and slow and easy. You want to cover the sky and search the moving river of air, like a bird looking for food.

As you are flying watch the wing tips the nose and the tail. If a wing seems to bump up, or if the nose seems to drop or the tail rise for a moment, you probably just brushed a thermal. Go immediately into a turn in the direction of the wing that rose.

Try to make a circle, but not too tight or you will lose too much altitude. Try for about a 50-75 foot diameter. Complete a couple of turns and see if the plane seems to be rising. If it is, just stay with the turn but give it a little up (back) stick. Not a lot, just a little. Maybe two to four clicks on the up trim. Just a little. We don't want to scare the thermal, we want to bond with it.

Try to observe if the plane is rising steadily, or if it seems to rise and fall. If the second, that means you are not centered in the thermal so work your way more toward the side of the circle where the plane rises.

Remember that thermals move with the wind, so you are not trying to stay in one place in relation to the ground. The air is like a river and you are trying to stay in a little whirlpool that is moving with the river.

If you go into the turn and make a couple of turns with no success, then just resume the search pattern I mentioned. Angles across the wind. Not into it and now with it.

If you are getting out too far, work your way back the same way, angles to the wind.

Unless you hit a boomer, you are not going to immediately know you are in lift, so you have to watch the plane. Sometimes it becomes apparent because you realize that your not sinking but appear to be holding altitude. The only way to do that is to be in lift.

As I say in the photo essay: " It is a hunter's game, if you are up for it."

Follow me, silently, and I'll show you where there's lift.

Good luck pilot! May your hunt go well!
Last edited by aeajr; Mar 13, 2004 at 01:51 PM.
Mar 13, 2004, 01:54 PM
Proud member of LISF and ESL
Going hunting! What will we find?
Mar 13, 2004, 02:12 PM
FlattyFlier's Avatar
How high is that plane in the pic?

Thanks a lot! I just got in from a flight and I think i hooked a thermal, MAYBE 2, but the winds it too gusty to tell if your in lift, or just riding a gust. I willl be back out with it in about 30min.(after the 1500mAh batt. pack recharges) I will TRY(althow, the 0-15mph winds might not let me)
Thank you so much, aeajr and to EVRYone else that helped me on here!
I have been having more succes then ever before, even though I have herd the same things over and over
Another idea!
Couldn't I buy a large black tarp and spred it out on the field? That would produce a boomer given the right conditions!
Mar 13, 2004, 04:31 PM
Proud member of LISF and ESL
If you get one that is about 1/4 of an acre it might have a significant effect.

As to the height of the plane, it might have been 500 - 800 feet up. I am not sure. That picutre was taken with a telephoto lense then blown up. While the shot comes up a bit grainy, I think it suites the mystery of the moment that I am trying to convey
Mar 13, 2004, 04:40 PM
FlattyFlier's Avatar
I asked the high of the plane because I can not judge high.(thats probably a bad thing seeing as I am a private pilot! )
Mar 13, 2004, 04:43 PM
Proud member of LISF and ESL
Lookint at the photo, without knowing about the history of the picture i would judge it to be about 250 feet up.

I am not sure but I think that is my Great Planes Spirit 2 M sailplane.
Mar 13, 2004, 05:41 PM
FlattyFlier's Avatar
thats about the max alt. on my up-start.
I just got in to find that I blew my battery for the EP, so Im going to take the motor and stuff out and "convert" it into the glider version.
I will try and find a tarp ( ) tomarrow seeing as how I will not be able to fly anything because of the winds! (I HATE MARCH!)
Thanks again
Mar 13, 2004, 05:56 PM
Proud member of LISF and ESL
Are you saying that the e-aspire is made to convert from electric to sailplane easily and as part of the design? I am not aware of this.

Tell me more about how this works. If you have any photos I would love to see how this is done.
Mar 13, 2004, 06:28 PM
FlattyFlier's Avatar
Nope, sorry, I don't have a digital camera or a scanner, AND it isn't "made" to convert, but it is easly done, if you have a spare set up pushrods as I do. You simply unscrew the 550 motor from the mount and slide it and the wires, safty on/off switch and etc. out and shift the servoes, Rx, and bettery(batt. goes in the motor slot) as far forward as possible and add 1 to 2 weights into the nose(thows pinewood derby car wieghts are ideal!)
and install the extra long pushrods and you are RTF!
Its easyer done than typed...
Mar 13, 2004, 08:10 PM
Proud member of LISF and ESL
That is super cool Man I would love to see you you do that.

I hope you find some thermals.

If you hit a nice one, don't get so excited that you let the plane get too high. I have seen planes just sucked into the sky. Really!
Mar 13, 2004, 09:07 PM
FlattyFlier's Avatar
When I tryed some Dymanic soaring, earlyer, and thaught I caught some lift(thermic or not) I ALMOST spected it just enuf to where I could see the tail! I cut power emediatly and cominced a search, but found nothing.
I when i went out to trim it after I too the 550 out, a BIG gust from out of nowhere(REALY!) blew me into the trees..i managed to pull around one, but she stalled and laneded at the VERY top a another, about 70-100ft up.
too high to get a later or pole(s) i guess ill be getting some sun tomarrow waiting for the wind to blow her down.
It happoned once before when eather my controler got tuned off or the plaes battery switch, and she flew in a circle until it hit a tree about 50ft up...I was able to climb up with a stick a nock it down in harmed...the the way its perched up there this time..when it does fall, it could land on its tail!
Ill have to be out there to try and catch it...but there is a bunch of very tall and "puffy: grass under atleast one side of the tree, so maybe I have some luck on my side in this occasion.

Wish me luck! lol
Mar 13, 2004, 10:34 PM
Proud member of LISF and ESL
I don't know if trees and planes are attracted to each other like magnets, but
somehow we seem to be pulling someone out of a tree every few weeks.
Fortunately it is not me these days, though I am sure I will find one again.
I can see them reaching for the plane as I fly by. The guys tell me it is the
wind, but I think they are calling my plane.

So, how do you get your plane out of a tree? Here are some methods I use, or
have seen used. Some are simple and cheap. Some are complex and some are
expensive. You have to decide which to use and when.

In my book, chain saws, axes and things that will kill the tree are not an
option. Call me a tree hugger, but I just can't see cutting down a tree to
get a plane. There is usually a better option.

I am going to list the ones I know, roughly in effective range. I hope you
can provide some others, preferably before I need them.

8-12 Feet (2-4 meters) -

Good old hand reach combined with anything to stand on and maybe a local stick
or branch - Cost $0

10-30 Feet (3-10 meters) -

When I fly I bring a 6 foot extension pole for a paint roller that I purchased
in Home Depot for $14. It extends to 12 feet. I have seen 4, 8 and 10
footers that double as well. I also saw an 8 footer that almost triples to
about 22 feet.

15-50 Feet (5-16 meters) -

I carry a spool of 130 pound test mason's line in my field box that has an 8
ounce rounded fishing weight attached to it. Costs about $5 total. With a
good throw I can usually get it up and over the branch holding the plane so I
can shake it free. Hitting the branch can take lots of throws and hitting the
plane is a real risk, but it is better than leaving it there. If your plane
is sitting on a very strong branch, use the lighter line to pull up a heavier
line. -

30-100 feet (9-32 meters) -

A bow and arrow work well at this height, but you have to develop some skill
in order to get the needed accuracy. I estimate this at $50-$100 - One
problem is that you can get the arrow stuck on a different branch which only
compounds your problem. The line will have to be light, so use it to pull up
heavier line or so you can break it if the arrow gets stuck.

A spinning rod with a weight also works but again, the line is light so you
carry stronger line that you pull up to the branch using the lighter line.

Other methods I have heard about but never used or witnessed.

Tree climber - Somehow every RC club has the phone number of a guy who climbs
trees for a fee.

Helo - I heard of one guy who used an electric helo to fly a line and weight
up and had some kind of release to drop it onto the branch. Sounds like a
good justification for a helo when I speak with my wife.

A really original idea

Control line kite - This one surprised me, but one of our members got his
plane stuck in the top of a high tree, over 100 feet up. He also flies the
large kites that look like arc shaped parachutes. He has two control lines on
the kite that let him direct it, dive it and move it around the sky. He used
it to attack the tree until the tree gave up the plane. I like the idea of
attacking the tree!
Mar 14, 2004, 08:16 AM
FlattyFlier's Avatar
I got up this morning @ 7:30(its 8:30 now) and took my fishing pole and after losing 1 lead wieght, 1 hook, and 2 nuts(ove the matel variety) and about 50ft of line....I just came in cause it started to poor tha rain. :'(
The winds are supposed to be pritty high today, im just hopeing the wind brings it down. But thats slim and non from the way its perched inverted setting very nice and comfterbly on 2 or 3 of the strongest and hardest to get to branches @ the top of the tree.
The only good that came of it is that it is the rain cannot get to the electronics.
Any other ideas(ive tryed climbing the tree, but its a dead NON of the branches can hold my wieght.)
I think im going to try throwing sticks(it worked last time...)

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