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Jul 12, 2017, 05:03 PM
Who let the dogs out?
Phil_G's Avatar

Single-channel slope soaring

When I were a lad (™) of about 10, my Dad enrolled the pair of us to the Sheffield Society of Aeromodellers. I was chuffed to bits at first then a bit mardy (as kids are) when it turned out we'd joined a gliders-only club. Gliders? I liked noisy diesels!
This soon turned around after a couple of visits and we were hooked !
Almost everyone at the time flew either free-flight or single-channel with mostly home-made radios, but there were a few commercial S/C radios such as the Macgregors and RCS. After many home-brews with variable success, our first commercial R/C outfit was an OS Pixie, and like almost every other set it had a superregen receiver meaning only one person could fly at a time.
Strangely, there were no arguments about shared air-time, we were all very tolerant back then!
Our OS Pixie went into a John Kay "Moonbeam II" using an Elmic Commander, and flew for many years thereafter, becoming a bit of a triggers broom of fus and wing replacements. Next came a rudder-only Impala using the Pixie with a Climax Unimite motorised actuator - no more running out of escapement turns!
This Impala had its socks flown off over the years and had s/c, reeds and eventually propo, it was sloped, bungeed, power-podded, lost, found, lost again, replaced, found again ... and so on. We continued to fly S/C slope soarers for many years, well into the propo era.

As many of you will know we have quite a substantial Single-Channel revival going on here in the UK, and of course this extends to the slope as well. Recently I've been flying just two models - an Impala using an RCS Inter-6 Reeds set, and an Irvine 'Pixie' flown, appropriately, with an OS Pixie S/C set. S/C sloping is great fun, quite a challenge and hugely rewarding. My flying buddies find it perplexing and astonishing!

The point of all this rambling is to see if anyone else here is interested in S/C or rudder-only slope-soaring, I know a few fly S/C IC power or electric models on the field, but does anyone here still fly S/C slope?
On the S/C forum we have a nostalgia thread remembering 'period' S/C gliders, mostly of course of UK origin. Perhaps the US market produced S/C gliders that we've never seen over here?


Single-channel slope soaring at Callow Bank (2 min 53 sec)
Last edited by Phil_G; Jul 12, 2017 at 05:28 PM.
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Jul 12, 2017, 06:15 PM
Suspended Account
Pretty ballsy. Reminds me of the old gas rudder only planes with the buttons, one click, two click
Jul 12, 2017, 06:44 PM
Piscine Promulgator
surfimp's Avatar
It's like flying a kite... with less control


I think it's really cool to see in person (erm, via video anyways). I never, ever want to fly like this, but I'm glad to see it demonstrated and I salute you for keeping this interesting part of R/C history alive.
Jul 12, 2017, 06:56 PM
Faster is Better
I too love simplicity in this over complicated world, but I think it would be a tall order to slope without pitch control. Cheers.
Latest blog entry: LEG Fat Albert Take 2
Jul 12, 2017, 11:37 PM
EPP Extrordinare
Mr. Combat Certain's Avatar
I think id get confused with the button, was it one push for left? Or two? Wait why is it going right?! Ok push twice...nope still right!!
Jul 13, 2017, 02:53 AM
Who let the dogs out?
Phil_G's Avatar
....but back in the 60s this is how we all flew slope - rudder-only on the button!
Multi-channel radios were way beyond the average workers reach, if you flew R/C, then this was all you had!

There is an inexplicable joy in revisiting these simple days and if you know how to trim a glider, its really not that difficult - its a challenge, but everyone managed it!
Surely its not just in the UK, there must be other rudder-only slopers out there?
Last edited by Phil_G; Jul 13, 2017 at 07:01 AM.
Jul 13, 2017, 07:01 AM
Phil.Taylor's Avatar
One push two pushes - been there done that built the radio.
One push two pushes - typing on this mobile device - thats progress ?
Jul 13, 2017, 07:01 AM
Who let the dogs out?
Phil_G's Avatar
....but back in the 60s this is how we all flew slope - rudder-only on the button!
Multi-channel radios were way beyond the average workers reach, if you flew R/C, then this was all you had!

There is an inexplicable joy in revisiting these simple days and if you know how to trim a glider, its really not that difficult - its a challenge, but everyone managed it!
Surely its not just in the UK, there must be other rudder-only slopers out there?
Jul 13, 2017, 05:44 PM
Gots me a good used Hobie Hawk
Steve Corbin's Avatar
I like flying rudder-only. As you pointed out, it is quite challenging. I mostly do it with the el cheapo toy airplanes that can be had for about $30.

I was flying a throttle and rudder Chinese miracle one nice night in a well lit parking lot, 75 degrees and absolutely no wind at all.

I fumbled a hand catch and the rudder actuator wires broke off. So I pioneered a whole new single channel RC, throttle only!

I trimmed the airplane for a moderate right turn, and hand formed the foam fuselage to get the thrustline angled a bit to the left.

After a few flights I had the left-thrust and right rudder dialed in, and soon was having more fun than I did before the rudder broke!

Challenging you bet! Add power, just a little bit, and the plane flew straight, add more for a climbing left turn, then power off for a gliding right turn.

Now if you're just cruising, it's no big deal. But now go for a "precision landing", where you stand firm and insist on guiding the little bugger right into your hand. I can tell you it's far from easy, but a heckuva lotta fun. Almost there! Oh no, I'm low, gotta add power, but that turns the plane left, gotta go around! Etc. Etc.

Some where around here I have a UMX brick with bad servos, but the throttle works, I think I'll re-visit this game.
Jul 13, 2017, 05:57 PM
Registered User
timmig's Avatar
I flew a rudder only Sinbad sailplane with rubber powered escapement servo and a button radio from Orbit!! Later, we also acquired a Kraft radio. I sill have the Kraft and servo ---AND the Sinbad from that time frame. 1961-62. It's up in my garage right now--- I updated the servos to Hitec 10 years ago and cut the elevator loose and added the second servo for 2 channel. It still flew great. Lots' of fun---but I have NO desire to go back to those days. I like actually having total control of my glider better!! But have FUN---to each his own!!
Last edited by timmig; Nov 07, 2017 at 07:14 PM.
Jul 13, 2017, 06:12 PM
Gots me a good used Hobie Hawk
Steve Corbin's Avatar
Hey, I don't wanna be a thread hog but I just remembered flying a Sig Ninja on the slope with only ailerons for control. Thought somebody might wanna hear it.

Flying at a scenic overlook near Branson, Mo. My good friend Jim was flying a Ninja that we had pieced together the night before using the remains of three to get one. I was flying my well-used and often not-so-well flown Hobie.

Jim yells out "I got no elevator!" I stuffed the Hobie into a big soft bush and went over to him. The elevator was stuck in a slightly up position, and with the wings level the glider was performing a series of big stalls. Suddenly I was back in 1974, flying RC for my first time, flying a friend's "Dick's Dream", a cute little airplane with a single channel radio, rudder only, and if I remember right she was pulled with a Cox .020 Pee Wee.

This little plane was trimmed for a very slow flight with the wings level. If you held it in a turn, it would speed up and if you then went to neutral rudder, it would roll back to level, and with that extra speed would nose up a lot, If you gave it a command before it slowed too much you'd get a wing-over or something similar. If you held in rudder long enough it would get going plenty fast enough to loop. Immelmans were a real treat, allowing a steady increase in altitude if you did it just right, building up only just enough speed to make it to inverted, then rolling back to level.

So I flew the Ninja for awhile, getting some feel for it. As long as I had about 30 degrees of bank angle I could maintain altitude and stay out front, and once I felt that we were gonna get her back I started doing aileron only aerobatics. The up-trim wasn't quite enough for good stuff, on later flights I practiced using lots of decalage and a fwd CG. Some gliders do better than others, polyhedral types roll back to level quickly if your vertical fin isn't too big, but the aileron slopers have to be told what to do.

This is so easy to try, you guys oughta give it a whirl next time you get bored doing regular flying. I recommend moving the CG fwd and adding up trim until you get good slow flight, then simply crank in some bank angle. As the bank steepens and the nose drops, you'll see a speed build-up. Now level the wings and as she zooms you can do a roll, it's fun to try and hit a bank angle/fuselage attitude that results in a steady flight, at just the right speed and heading.
Jul 14, 2017, 05:25 AM
Who let the dogs out?
Phil_G's Avatar
There were a few dedicated aileron-only S/C models Steve - X-Kraft, Banker, Quest, Little Snort, plus of course the Ki61 Tony...
But does anyone currently fly S/C slope-soarers, just like back in the day?
Last edited by Phil_G; Jul 15, 2017 at 03:55 AM.
Jul 14, 2017, 01:13 PM
Silent Flight
Twyl's Avatar
Last edited by Twyl; Jul 17, 2017 at 05:40 PM.
Jul 14, 2017, 01:50 PM
Who let the dogs out?
Phil_G's Avatar
Well Jonathan I'm sorry you feel so strongly that you have to criticize in such graphic terms. Whilst I accept that it isnt in your "Joe Nall" league the fact is that many of us are enjoying flying single-channel and our annual S/C & Retro R/C event attracts well over a hundred flyers every year. Our event videos bear witness to many S/C enthusiasts thoroughly enjoying themselves.

You are correct in saying that "you dont understand", that is quite clear. We don't 'remove controls', we fly models which were designed for single-channel radio, ie mostly rudder-only, using updated single-channel radio of 1960s origin.

The purpose of my post was to ask whether S/C sloping was enjoyed outside the UK, not to attract ridicule and criticism from those who 'dont see the point'.

Quite why some people feel the need to trash a friendly thread is beyond me.

Last edited by Phil_G; Jul 24, 2017 at 01:33 PM.
Jul 14, 2017, 03:48 PM
Registered User
After coming across Phil and Shaun's single channel website I fancied building one of the SC transmitters. Once complete and working I installed it in a westwings swallow free flight glider but added a rudder.
I can tell you it's the best and most rewarding flying I've ever done, and to be honest it wasn't that difficult either flying on the button.
When you've had a sucessful flight and you actually manage to land it safely it's the best feeling ever.
I've virtually gave up on propo radio now and to date have probably built around 30 SC transmitters. Great fun and much more rewarding than modern aeromoddeling.
If anyone has not tried single channel slope soaring then trust me you are missing out on the best part of the hobby.
Last edited by ronstv; Jul 15, 2017 at 01:58 PM.

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