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Aug 07, 2019, 07:49 AM
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Thread OP

Affordable balsa thermal ship?


I'm looking for an affordable thermal ship above 2m wing span for FPV purpose.
To be more precise,

- Balsa built (No Foamies)
- Less than $250 for ARF (Cheaper the better!)
- Wingspan larger than 2m
- Ailerons are must
- Affordable gears

I'm a medium to experienced DLG and F5D pilot but know nothing about electric thermal glider.
So far, I have found Astra 2.15m from Topmodel but if anybody else has better ideas please feel free to share!

Last edited by MAC_FPV; Aug 20, 2019 at 10:29 PM.
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Aug 07, 2019, 03:52 PM
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grossiman's Avatar
From top model there is also "Avia" as ARF model, which has 2.5m wingspan and is still in your budget:

Greetings Andreas
Aug 09, 2019, 12:57 AM
Registered User
Yet another alternative is E-Phnix from Modellbau Claus Thiele ( I had its larger sibling E-Klapperstorch a couple of years ago and loved it. The Klapperstorch wasn't particularly found of winds above 4-5 m/s, but the Phnix is smaller and could probably deal with slightly more.

Their homepage is only in German but they answers mail promptly in English.
Aug 13, 2019, 02:24 PM
Toaster, not Toast
I am building an FXj from RS-Aero, another European design. It is a little bigger than 2.5m with flaps and ailerons. I am currently writing instructions in English as I build. The designer is on RCGroups as Romeo Sierra. He has been pretty responsive to communication thus far and has some nice designs. Check out his designs:

Here is where I am in the build:
Latest blog entry: Evolution Woodie
Aug 14, 2019, 09:30 AM
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kuiperJ's Avatar
I'm interested in seeing someone reviewing that el-cheapo "Large Wingspan Glider" Gearbest started selling and see if it's any good.

I heard the Fly Fly Geronimo is a good cheapie glider if you take the time to re-build the kit proper.

Personally it's only been foam sailplanes with the exception of "Mark's Model Wanderer" way back in the day. My foamy Heron outperforms my Wanderer by a long shot.
Aug 15, 2019, 09:54 PM
Registered User
many of the current crop of F3RES gliders almost meet the specs: Mostly balsa, 2M, easily adaptable to electric power (and in some cases, with fuselages designed for power). Kit prices range from $200 to $154, plus shipping. There is even the Yellow Jacket, made by Sonoran Laser Arts right in good ol' Phoenix, Arizona.

They are designed to be RES, but wing designs seem to me suitable for conversion to flaps and ailerons.

Yours, Greg
Aug 15, 2019, 10:36 PM
Sonoran Laser Art
I'm not sure where the OP is located so that and shipping would be a consideration. Depending where, some areas could be 1/4 to 1/3 of the budget. Doesn't leave much. Maybe the Inside F5J. I suspect Romeo Sierra at RS Aero has something that would fit the bill nicely for FPV, running under power in varying conditions. I think he has a new full house 2.5M that looks to do nicely on the slopes, not sure what the price is though.
Last edited by CloudSniffer; Aug 15, 2019 at 10:57 PM.
Aug 16, 2019, 04:07 AM
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grossiman's Avatar
Does it necessarily have to be an ARF model or a kit?
What about a blueprint model, there are some good models. For some of them there are even milled parts to buy, the kit then contains the most important parts such as wing ribs and frames.

Greetings Andreas
Aug 16, 2019, 09:14 AM
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kuiperJ's Avatar
Yeah those 3D printed wings are cool! 3D print your own wing then insert your own CF tube, monocote over the top.
Aug 20, 2019, 07:33 PM
Registered User
Thread OP
Thanks everyone.

I'm living at S. Korea and looking for mostly ARFs. I used to design my own crafts to suit my nees (mostly EDFs) but I'm tired of balsa kits. It's too much work and I don't have my workshop so sanding balsa at home is too much mess and bad for my lungs.

Anyway, you guys have suggested excellent models. Maybe I'll get one of topmodel gliders or Fly Fly model.
Thanks for all the suggestions!
Last edited by MAC_FPV; Aug 20, 2019 at 10:22 PM.

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