Best Discus Launch Gliders (DLG) for First Timers - RC Groups

Best Discus Launch Gliders (DLG) for First Timers

There are plenty of great DLG's available that you can have fun with and not blow your hobby budget. I wanted to highlight a few of the planes that I've recommended in hopes that other might see this and make a decision to get a DLG...

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Get Started in DLG's

Everytime I fly my DLG (Discus Launch Glider) two things happen, people are amazed at how high they can be thrown and then they ask me which one they should buy to get started. When they hear they that my Snipe cost about $1200 for everything, it can be a little off putting, but I tell them you don't have to start with a top of line competition model. There are plenty of great DLG's available that you can have fun with and not blow your hobby budget. I wanted to highlight a few of those planes that I've recommended in hopes that others might see this and make a decision to get a DLG.

I got the bug several years ago after seeing Peter Goldsmith and some others flying DLG's in the evenings at the SouthEast Electric Flight Festival (SEFF). They were launching these things a couple hundred feet in the air and then they would just hang up there forever. It was amazing and I knew I had to have one. I did some searching and you can actually find some great used DLG's in the RCGroups Classifieds. I found a used Neo that happened to be set up for a lefty which I needed and bought it. I was thrilled on the first launch and have been hooked ever since. Flying DLG's is one of my favorite segments of the hobby now and it's great fun to share with others. Feel free to chime in and post your stories about your first time flying a DLG and what planes you would recommend someone start with.

Go Mini

This is a new plane from ArmSoar and the thing I like about it is that it is a smaller 1M plane that launches nearly as well as a full size 1.5M ship and flys just like one. The smaller size and form factor makes it easier to travel with and it keeps the cost way down. The servos in my competition Snipe cost around $50 a piece times 4 where the servos for the Go Mini are $5. This thing sold out pre-orders fast, but they should have inventory to sell in May.

  • Wingspan: 965mm
  • Wing Area: 13.25dm2
  • Weight: 145-155 grams
  • Price: $238-$300 (fiberglass or carbon)
  • Link: ArmSoar Composite Gliders

Elf

The Elf is another 1M class DLG that is great for starting out. The wing is made of balsa wood that is capped in carbon for strength to hold up during the launch. It's a simple rudder elevator control setup which makes it easier to fly for newer pilots.

  • Wingspan: 1000mm
  • Wing Area: 11.68dm2
  • Weight: 93-100 grams
  • Price: $199
  • Link: Kennedy Composites

Go 2

The Go 2 is another one from ArmSoar, these guys are passionate about the sport and want to help make it affordable for everyone. This is a full size 1.5M class plane that will cost a little over half of what a high end purpose built competition plane would cost. The quality is nice and this is a great plane to get if you are looking for a full size DLG.

Whipit

The Whipit is a tiny foam DLG from E-flite. It doesn't launch nearly as high as the others in this list and getting long flight times on a launch takes great skill. Still it is fun to toss around and try to catch low level thermals with. I'd really recommend you start with any of the other planes I mentioned above, but if money is a huge barrier, then the Whipit will do.

  • Wingspan: 620mm
  • Wing Area: 5.3dm2
  • Weight: 43 grams
  • Price: $69
  • Link: Horizon Hobby

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Mar 21, 2017, 03:40 PM
I just wanna fly, fly, fly
Brainstorm's Avatar
Excellent topic and recommendations, Jason!

The Whipit is affordable and fun. As somebody who'd never seen or used a DLG before, it launched surprisingly high. However, as you say, it "doesn't launch nearly as high as the others," i.e. real DLGs.

The Elf looks nice, and is reasonably priced. I wonder how the film-covered balsa wing does on durability. I also wonder how it will throw, compared to the solid composite wings.

The Go Mini looks like the top pick of the litter, at least to me as a DLG newbie. Kind of a shame that it won't be available again until May, for those who missed the pre-order. Guess I'll be able to save my pennies until mud season is over.
Mar 21, 2017, 05:02 PM
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rdwoebke's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brainstorm
The Elf looks nice, and is reasonably priced. I wonder how the film-covered balsa wing does on durability. I also wonder how it will throw, compared to the solid composite wings.
My family has both an Elf and a Whipit. The Elf is quite durable (disclaimer I live in the Midwest and fly from grass fields). I think a lot of that has to do with it being so light that it doesn't have the mass to damage itself all that much. It holds up to launches fine. I have seen people throw it pretty hard. Launches for most folks will probably be in the 80-120 foot range and no thermals still evenings flight times will probably be in the 50-90 second range.


Ryan
Mar 21, 2017, 06:02 PM
I just wanna fly, fly, fly
Brainstorm's Avatar
Thanks, Ryan! 80-120 feet and 50-90 seconds on a calm day sounds just about enough for starters. We'll see what's in stock when I'm ready to kick it up a notch from the Whipit.
Mar 21, 2017, 08:02 PM
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flyinghedgehogs's Avatar
Jason, I built my Snipe for under $1000. It all depends how cheap you are
Mar 21, 2017, 08:28 PM
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rdwoebke's Avatar
Those duration estimates were meant to give estimates of not working thermals. The Elf is a thermal flyer for sure. My daughter had a 4:30 with hers last summer and she can only throw it about 40 feet. The elf suffers a bit in wind (it is very light) but on those muggy summer days it is magic.


Ryan
Mar 22, 2017, 02:56 AM
Registered User
The Libelle by Dream-Flight is a great option. Whenever someone asks me how to get into DLG flying I get their email and send them a list of the Libelle, all the needed parts, battery charger, TX etc. It's a great forgiving starter DLG, robust enough to survive some significant crashes, and cheap enough that if you destroy your first one while you're learning it's reasonable to get another. I try to have one in working shape around the house in case a guest is interested in heading to the beach and trying it out.

I find the Trek (also by DF) to be more twitchy in pitch response and less suitable for a beginner. It's great for someone who has had a bit of time on the sticks; I have had a lot of fun with mine (though recently a friend flew it into the ocean and she's been out of commission since).

Often people haven't flown anything before and I've found that my friends will often destroy their first Libelle if I leave them to build and figure out how to fly it. A couple of hours of helping them through the basics generally saves frustration.... and the plane.
Mar 22, 2017, 10:44 AM
Registered User
Alistego's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by drodr7
The Libelle by Dream-Flight is a great option. Whenever someone asks me how to get into DLG flying I get their email and send them a list of the Libelle, all the needed parts, battery charger, TX etc. It's a great forgiving starter DLG, robust enough to survive some significant crashes, and cheap enough that if you destroy your first one while you're learning it's reasonable to get another. I try to have one in working shape around the house in case a guest is interested in heading to the beach and trying it out.

I find the Trek (also by DF) to be more twitchy in pitch response and less suitable for a beginner. It's great for someone who has had a bit of time on the sticks; I have had a lot of fun with mine (though recently a friend flew it into the ocean and she's been out of commission since).

Often people haven't flown anything before and I've found that my friends will often destroy their first Libelle if I leave them to build and figure out how to fly it. A couple of hours of helping them through the basics generally saves frustration.... and the plane.
The plane or the friend?

Sorry, couldn't help myself.

Dale
Mar 22, 2017, 11:05 AM
RCG Admin
Jason Cole's Avatar
Ha, I thought the same thing! I didn't really like the Libelle when I flew one, but that was just one time.
Mar 22, 2017, 09:27 PM
I just wanna fly, fly, fly
Brainstorm's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by rdwoebke
Those duration estimates were meant to give estimates of not working thermals.
Thanks. Definitely understood that. I'm going on the assumption that I won't be able to catch any thermals, at least at first. Once you learn how to work thermals, I suspect the sky's the limit.

Quote:
My daughter had a 4:30 with hers last summer and she can only throw it about 40 feet. The elf suffers a bit in wind (it is very light) but on those muggy summer days it is magic.
Hopefully, by the time my kids are old enough to throw a DLG, I'll have enough practice to show them how. If they maintain interest, I'm sure it'll only be a matter of time until they beat me.
Mar 22, 2017, 09:51 PM
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rdwoebke's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brainstorm
Thanks. Definitely understood that. I'm going on the assumption that I won't be able to catch any thermals, at least at first. Once you learn how to work thermals, I suspect the sky's the limit.
It can actually be pretty easy to luck into them at first. When I first started i thought thermals only existed on some days. Then later thought they only existed a few times a day. The difference is with experience you will find there are more and more thermals than you previously thought.


Ryan
Mar 22, 2017, 10:10 PM
Registered User
Alistego's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brainstorm
Once you learn how to work thermals, I suspect the sky's the limit.
It will come. Early on in my soaring career, I was flying an Olympic II that I had added a few extras to, electric power, retractable landing gear, etc. You get the idea- this was a heavy glider! Well, I got into this really strong lift and gradually became alarmed as the model drifted downwind but try as I could, I could not get out of it. Finally, I popped out the spoilers but it barely helped at all, so I dropped the gear to add drag, but that had little effect. Finally, some steep, inefficient turns, spoilers, and a bit of down trim got her moving back down. I was almost going to spin her out of the lift but was not too sure about what recovering at that distance might be like.

Then there are those days where you can't buy any lift. It's all part of the fascination.

Dale
Mar 24, 2017, 10:32 AM
Registered User
Skizeks's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by drodr7
The Libelle by Dream-Flight is a great option. Whenever someone asks me how to get into DLG flying I get their email and send them a list of the Libelle, all the needed parts, battery charger, TX etc. It's a great forgiving starter DLG, robust enough to survive some significant crashes, and cheap enough that if you destroy your first one while you're learning it's reasonable to get another. I try to have one in working shape around the house in case a guest is interested in heading to the beach and trying it out.

I find the Trek (also by DF) to be more twitchy in pitch response and less suitable for a beginner. It's great for someone who has had a bit of time on the sticks; I have had a lot of fun with mine (though recently a friend flew it into the ocean and she's been out of commission since).

Often people haven't flown anything before and I've found that my friends will often destroy their first Libelle if I leave them to build and figure out how to fly it. A couple of hours of helping them through the basics generally saves frustration.... and the plane.
I think it's a great idea to list what's needed to get set up!
Mar 24, 2017, 11:02 AM
Registered User
I'm a fan/graduate of a couple of Libelles -- even though they're a slope plane with a peg. They're comparatively bombproof, dead-simple to repair with zero building skills, replacement parts are available, it flies super well for what it is, and since it's impossible to throw very high without shredding it, 40-70sec flights are great practice in the mechanics of getting the thing launched and putting it back in your hand. And they're ideal for passing off to someone interested in DLG once you're done with it.

These days though I would try the Techone Hobby DLG-1000 instead, which everyone seems to say is pretty much the same idea, but launchier and floatier. Seems more aRf, too. There's a thread on it here; looks like Armsoar has some. I'd buy two.
Mar 24, 2017, 01:22 PM
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flyinghedgehogs's Avatar
My best use for a Libelle is to drill holes in the tips, cover them in wax paper, and light them up. It is my (indestructible) night flyer.


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