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May 19, 2020, 08:57 PM
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Cristierra's Avatar
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Help!

Portable gliders


Hello, I've never flown an RC airplane before (I'm coming from the helicopters which I dropped a couple of years ago), and I wanted to start with gliders. I don't own (nor have I the intention to) a vehicle and so I need the whole plane to fit inside my backpack. Several years ago someone posted a thread with seemingly the same ideas in mind and the solution given was to fragment the whole plane into parts and then put it back together again — I have no idea how to do that. There is little to no information on the internet about portability on gliders and RC planes in general. The very people who suggested the project also didn't give much info about it in the end. What I wanna know from you guys is...

(keep in mind I'll build my gliders from scratch)

If I pick up the plans from a reliable glider that I know it flies, scale it down to a size that fits my backpack (less than 30cm) and build it exactly the same way I would with the normal size, will it fly at all? (Of course, I'd try to pick smaller electronic components as much as possible). Or would do I need the plans from a plane designed specially to be a micro from the start?

Are micro gliders flyable outdoors at all? Is there any other kind of solution to the portability problem?

I'm not sure if any of this is a good idea. Someone please enlight me here.
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May 20, 2020, 06:17 AM
Registered User
Gratter's Avatar
Just google Rc backpack. You will find lots of designs You can still have a full size model.
https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show...gs-F3-to-Scale
May 20, 2020, 09:34 AM
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Cristierra's Avatar
Thread OP
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gratter
Just google Rc backpack. You will find lots of designs You can still have a full size model.
https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show...gs-F3-to-Scale
Damm, thank you so much! I hadn't thought of that before! Looks like a very good solution indeed, it's just too bad that the bags expose the glider so that anyone will be able to tell you are carrying some sort of RC airplane and not some mysterious musical instrument...
May 20, 2020, 01:13 PM
the kitty litter of rcgroups
rdwoebke's Avatar
I am also a fan of small gliders. Perhaps you could give us some info on the type of planes you are interested in flying. Are you interested in electric launched gliders, hand launched gliders, high start launched gliders, or slope soaring?

30 cm is really small. You can get slightly bigger backpacks that will fit longer parts. I made a RC conversion of this type of glider:

https://www.amazon.com/Airplane-Upgr..._t1_B077VWB572

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/108790147227581440/

The box is about 50cm long and fits inside my larger sized backpack.

My all time favorite backpack model is the Red Herring. This I think isn't kitted by anyone anymore but maybe there are some plans out there? http://spieltek.com/SunbirdSoaring/M...ed-Herring.htm

Ryan
Latest blog entry: Supergee wing mount pylons
May 20, 2020, 02:23 PM
B for Bruce
BMatthews's Avatar
That thread you gave the link to shows a few good examples of building break down models. I can see why you're confused about how to do this sort of work if you have not build any balsa models from scratch before.

Small gliders can fly well in small localized thermals. Heck they don't even have to be a glider. I recently built a regular looking semi scale Taylor E2 that is 35in span and only weighs 5 oz. I've already ridden a few thermals with the power shut off with it.

And if you read down the list of current threads there's a couple about using 24 inch size micro Gentle Lady and Windfree gliders. Those that have built and flown them are very happy with the results. So small gliders built very lightly can be a nice way to fly RC airplanes.

The issue for you is that first of all it sounds like you have not built any balsa or foam model airplanes at all. And that would be a big part of why you're not sure of how to make the models so they can break down. I'm not sure how to suggest you start other than to start out with some simpler small designs and learn as you go. How about learning to work with the balsa or foam by starting with some simple free flight chuck gliders and simple rubber power models? Just a few mind you. Enough that you learn to work with the wood and tools and cutting out parts and such. And also to learn to cover the built up wings and tail surfaces. It's a lot easier to work on something rapidly built and less expensive then move on to the first RC model.

If you like this idea I can give links for two or three good "builder training" designs that will teach you a lot about model building basics. And these same models will also be used to teach you about balance and trimming which you'll also need for RC flying.

That other thread showed that a break down model can be done. But I strongly recommend that this is not a good first project... or even a wise third or fourth building project.

Does it have to fit into a soft backpack? Could you hot glue some corrugated cardboard together and fit it with carry straps to make a transport box which is bicycle, bus and train friendly? Doing it that way would allow you to make a simple model that along with the transmitter would fit into a roughly 100x30x20cm box along with the transmitter and either micro high start or battery packs for the nose mounted motor to get it into the air. Or if even that size box is too big what is the maximum you could move around comfortably?

Once we know a little more about your transport methods and how big of a container you can take with you without causing trouble we can suggest better options that would be suitable for a beginner builder and flyer.

Would you be joining a local club where you can get instructor assistance?

Once we know a bit more about how big a box or other transport container you can get away with using comfortably we can point you towards some options. Note that while it is possible to learn on your own it will take a lot longer and very likely result in some repairs. Joining a club which has instructors to help you out would be far preferable.
May 21, 2020, 10:58 PM
Jim C Patrick
jcpatrick's Avatar
Does it have to be a backpack? If not, how about a golf bag? I picked one up at a thrift for $10; every thrift store I've been in seems to have at least one. Some have two straps for knapsack carry, but mine only has a single padded shoulder strap.

Either way, with only an RC plane in it they don't weigh enough to bother. Most have dividers at the opening you have to saw out to get a medium-to-large glider in it, and the ones with full-length dividers just slide out.
May 22, 2020, 10:45 AM
マジ卍
Cristierra's Avatar
Thread OP
Quote:
Originally Posted by rdwoebke
I am also a fan of small gliders. Perhaps you could give us some info on the type of planes you are interested in flying. Are you interested in electric launched gliders, hand launched gliders, high start launched gliders, or slope soaring?
Hard to tell, but I strongly wanted something that would fly without any sort of motors or self-propelled mechanisms. I'm tired of having people complaining about how the dammed RC helis are loud, how they fall into people who had nothing to do with it but got too close to it from behind the pilot's back, how they fall into trees on forest clearings because flying them in urban areas is terrible and all... Ugh. No more helis for me.


Quote:
Originally Posted by BMatthews
That thread you gave the link to shows a few good examples of building break down models. I can see why you're confused about how to do this sort of work if you have not build any balsa models from scratch before.
Exactly


Quote:
Originally Posted by BMatthews
Small gliders can fly well in small localized thermals. Heck they don't even have to be a glider. I recently built a regular looking semi scale Taylor E2 that is 35in span and only weighs 5 oz. I've already ridden a few thermals with the power shut off with it.
Actually, I'm still scouting for a decent location to fly RC airplanes. There aren't many slopes or tall mountains here, just a few hills covered by the forest here and there, most open areas are rural sites where lots of cattle stay at... but I believe I can still find a place, so I'll keep on the lookout.


Quote:
Originally Posted by BMatthews
small gliders built very lightly can be a nice way to fly RC airplanes.
Nice to know


Quote:
Originally Posted by BMatthews
The issue for you is that first of all it sounds like you have not built any balsa or foam model airplanes at all. And that would be a big part of why you're not sure of how to make the models so they can break down. I'm not sure how to suggest you start other than to start out with some simpler small designs and learn as you go. How about learning to work with the balsa or foam by starting with some simple free flight chuck gliders and simple rubber power models? Just a few mind you. Enough that you learn to work with the wood and tools and cutting out parts and such. And also to learn to cover the built up wings and tail surfaces. It's a lot easier to work on something rapidly built and less expensive then move on to the first RC model.
That's an excellent idea


Quote:
Originally Posted by BMatthews
I can give links for two or three good "builder training" designs that will teach you a lot about model building basics. And these same models will also be used to teach you about balance and trimming which you'll also need for RC flying.
This would be extremely helpful. So far I haven't been able to find many plans around, nor do I know how to use them. A simple basic free flight glider would be the go-to to learn the basics of the construction process. Flite Test seems to have one of these with a detailed tutorial. Might be the starting point


Quote:
Originally Posted by BMatthews
Does it have to fit into a soft backpack? Could you hot glue some corrugated cardboard together and fit it with carry straps to make a transport box which is bicycle, bus and train friendly? Doing it that way would allow you to make a simple model that along with the transmitter would fit into a roughly 100x30x20cm box along with the transmitter and either micro high start or battery packs for the nose mounted motor to get it into the air. Or if even that size box is too big what is the maximum you could move around comfortably?
While I could definitely do that, it's not a very good idea. I mean, it is, but where I live now, to go out on the streets or ride any sort of public transport carrying unusual shaped and suspicious-looking packages is a very bad idea. Let's just say that anything that looks odd is already out for "safety reasons".


Quote:
Originally Posted by BMatthews
Once we know a little more about your transport methods and how big of a container you can take with you without causing trouble we can suggest better options that would be suitable for a beginner builder and flyer.
I commute by public transport, trains, buses, the usual stuff. But to get to a decent flying zone, you usually need to go on foot. As I said above, I'm still scouting for an open area with a slope that I could possibly use, but I'm running out of options. Most areas that fit these criteria are rural fields with lots of cattle. Next thing would be to climb the mountains through the forest and hope to find some kind of forest clearing on the slope of the mountain. No land vehicle will make it through. For now, let's consider that'll always be walking.


Quote:
Originally Posted by BMatthews
Would you be joining a local club where you can get instructor assistance?
Probably not. The closest ones are in the capital and that's at least 200km far out. Mind you, in my heli days, I've never liked flying in the club 'cause there were always so many people around and standing way too close the dangerous helis and VTOL craft don't really need airstrips. But I've never even seen a single glider (without motors) on a club. I thought people only flew them on mountains and slopes.


Quote:
Originally Posted by BMatthews
Once we know a bit more about how big a box or other transport container you can get away with using comfortably we can point you towards some options.
For the moment I'll have to limit that to the size of the standard hiker backpack. I could get a bigger backpack but that's that. As someone mentioned earlier, transport bags dedicated to carrying gliders would solve the problem but look suspicious, that's why I want, but all means, to make the whole glider fit inside the bag and stay out of sight. Even if that means spending a lot of time on the bench working on building planes until I can make some sort of big craft that can be disassembled just like shown on the mentioned thread.


Quote:
Originally Posted by jcpatrick
Does it have to be a backpack? If not, how about a golf bag? I picked one up at a thrift for $10; every thrift store I've been in seems to have at least one. Some have two straps for knapsack carry, but mine only has a single padded shoulder strap.
While the "alternative" bags for carrying this stuff may be a good solution for transporting the plane itself, they probably won't be very good to carry around on the back while traversing the forest on foot or climbing boulders to the mountaintops. Unless by the grace of some miracle I somehow find an open area that I can use freely and that has easy access to it.
May 22, 2020, 11:57 AM
Registered User
joao's Avatar
The Multiplex FunGlider is very portable and can be transported in the original box. I got one and flies great
Multiplex FunGlider Electric Sailplane Review (7 min 29 sec)

Cheers
Joćo
May 22, 2020, 05:41 PM
B for Bruce
BMatthews's Avatar
If you can't readily move around with even a reasonable size box and want it in a backpack the first thing would be to make an insert for the pack to make it "crush proof". No way you can transport a model airplane in a back pack day in and day out if there isn't a protective and rigid insert. So that would be one place to start. The insert might just be made from corrugated cardboard used smartly and with separators that form slots for each part to slide into. And those separators would aid the stiffness to prevent accidental crushing.

As for your options on what manner of material to use there's balsa with various covering options or if you wish you could use a mix of foam with various options for skins over the foam that stiffen them up or you could fly using paper clad foam board gliders.

If you're keen on going with balsa the first thing would be to check your local larger size libraries that might have a book on traditional model construction from balsa.

In the meantime have a look at the plans shown in THE FIVE GIANT STEPS series of models. I know it's pretty basic but I'd still start with Project 1 which would give you some basic skills at not only working with balsa but also with simple trimming. Don't just slice it out and toss it. Do a nice job of working the wood down silky smooth and sanding in enough of an airfoil as the 1.5mm thick balsa will tolerate. Not only will this make it a touch less draggy but it'll also reduce the weight. You're trying to learn to work the wood with skill, not just get something that flies right away. So while simple if you approach each design with the idea that you will do the best job overall as possible and learn to pick the wood to suit the work you'll learn skills and knowledge that will allow you to do a better job on bigger and more complicated models. Basically I'm saying that what looks simple at first glance can teach you a lot more than you might think at first.

I'd suggest projects 1, 2 and 3. Project 3 in particular will help you with wing joinery and covering. If you don't want to make them rubber powered then just leave the prop and landing gear off and fly them as gliders. I think you'll find that they are a lot of fun.

If you prefer you could also have a go at THIS RATHER CUTE AND FAIRLY SIMPLE GLIDER as your "Project3"

I can understand the noise issue with an engine be it even a small glow or diesel. But would you have the same issue with an electric motor on the nose with a relatively slow turning prop that makes very little noise? It does not take much power to lift a small model up rapidly to a height where you can glide around and look for thermals.

You keep saying "slope". Yes, slope soaring can get away with a smaller model and you don't need any launching equipment at all. The downside is that it needs to be a pretty special place with room to land. I live in an area where there are hundreds of suitable slopes. But they are all covered top to bottom with trees which leaves me with no place to stand and fly or to land at the end of a flight. So slope soaring for me isn't an option.

But you can find and ride thermals on flat land just fine. You simply need to either use a sidearm thrown glider, a smaller size light duty high start or an electric motor and prop in the nose.

Sidearm launching needs no equipment other than the glider and transmitter but until you learn how to spot lift from thermals the flights can be quite short.

A small glider only needs a small high start. A "high start" is a combination of line and rubber that you stretch back and throw the model and it rides up the line thanks to the line tension from the stretched rubber much like a kit going up in a nice breeze. Very low effort. And for a smaller glider not expensive. But you will need to find a source for the flat strip rubber used by free flight fliers for rubber power flying. And you'll need about 50 meters of very light fishing line. The downside to a high start is that the field needs to be somewhat smooth and with all the line and rubber on the ground while you fly if there are other people around they can get tangled in it.

Electric motor power in the nose or on a pylon has a lot to recommend it. You can climb higher and search longer for lift. And you don't have all that rubber and line out on the field.
May 22, 2020, 06:02 PM
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Cristierra's Avatar
Thread OP
Quote:
Originally Posted by joao
The Multiplex FunGlider is very portable and can be transported in the original box. I got one and flies great
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mVqmH-nQvvQ
Cheers
Joćo
My my, that looks fine indeed... but it doesn't really seem to be something I'll be repairing if I crash it like I will be doing a lot in the beginning.

The thing that drew me here was precisely the maintenance part of things, to be honest. In the field, I've always seen people flying homemade planes and crashing them into two, three, or even four. And then they were always like "ok, I'll just repair this for the next weekend" or "screw this plane! I'm gonna make a new one just like that!". That isn't really the case with helis. When you crash, your craft is reduced to a million fragments, and in the occasions where you're lucky enough to not get a total destruction you'll be waiting 3 - 4 months until your parts arrive overseas 'cause your country doesn't support the brand you're flying. Gah!! I hate that so much!

So yeah, I really intend to make, destroy, and repair everything by myself. Maybe when I'm good enough not to crash everything I'll get myself one of those. Doesn't really look like I'll be able to replicate that wing-clipping mechanism though...
May 22, 2020, 06:54 PM
Sonoran Laser Art
If you can get covering, balsa and CF tubes I think you might like the Bug. It can be scratch built pretty easily if you can get what you need. Plans and drawing are all available free and there's a users group. I have watched some videos and they look like they fly pretty good. Not sure where your at and what resources you have but this sounds like the size your looking for.

Best Wishes

https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show...ck-the-Bug-DLG
May 22, 2020, 07:50 PM
マジ卍
Cristierra's Avatar
Thread OP
Quote:
Originally Posted by BMatthews
If you can't readily move around with even a reasonable size box and want it in a backpack the first thing would be to make an insert for the pack to make it "crush proof". No way you can transport a model airplane in a back pack day in and day out if there isn't a protective and rigid insert. So that would be one place to start. The insert might just be made from corrugated cardboard used smartly and with separators that form slots for each part to slide into. And those separators would aid the stiffness to prevent accidental crushing.
Looks like that's exactly what I'll need.


Quote:
Originally Posted by BMatthews
As for your options on what manner of material to use there's balsa with various covering options or if you wish you could use a mix of foam with various options for skins over the foam that stiffen them up or you could fly using paper clad foam board gliders.
I think starting with foam would be suitable... I understand that it is somewhat resistant to impact, easier to repair, and cheaper. Balsa strikes me as adequate for some high-end build that you won't be crashing around.


Quote:
Originally Posted by BMatthews
I can understand the noise issue with an engine be it even a small glow or diesel. But would you have the same issue with an electric motor on the nose with a relatively slow turning prop that makes very little noise? It does not take much power to lift a small model up rapidly to a height where you can glide around and look for thermals.
Motors and engines aren't a problem themselves, but they increase the level of hostility and suspicion of which the lay locals act towards you. For them, anything that possesses some kind of motor (or worse, engine) onboard is an extremely dangerous "drone". Yes, there is no escaping the "drone" anymore. Once they discover you're operating them they'll act against you, even if you are within your rights and within your property, mainly because they're afraid of "drones" and the terrible things the media told them they are capable of, I believe . They will not rest until their justice is served. However, if the model has no motor it becomes just a "stupid toy" or a "kite", no matter the size. The later causes them to laugh on your face and permanently leave you alone. Thus, I'll try to avoid the motor at all costs, at least while I remain living here. Damm work got me into an ass of a third-world country filled with just the worst kind of locals.


Quote:
Originally Posted by BMatthews
You keep saying "slope". Yes, slope soaring can get away with a smaller model and you don't need any launching equipment at all. The downside is that it needs to be a pretty special place with room to land. I live in an area where there are hundreds of suitable slopes. But they are all covered top to bottom with trees which leaves me with no place to stand and fly or to land at the end of a flight. So slope soaring for me isn't an option.
I really want to do that kind of flying, though I'm not so sure now. I've already done a lot of scouting around. Aside from the residential areas, the industrial district and downtown, I'm left with isolated mountains that you can see all around on the horizon. In there, it is very likely that I'll find just the place I need, but the thing is that these very mountains mostly filled with rocks and trees are supposedly "private property". I honestly didn't know someone could own the mountains where it is impossible to develop any kind of economic activity or build anything since they're protected by the local ambiental laws. So far I haven't been able to contact whoever might be the owner of the mountains, all I did see was the rotting half-assed planted fence and the "trespassers will be shot on sight" sign from many years ago with the letters fading away.


Quote:
Originally Posted by BMatthews
A small glider only needs a small high start. A "high start" is a combination of line and rubber that you stretch back and throw the model and it rides up the line thanks to the line tension from the stretched rubber much like a kit going up in a nice breeze. Very low effort. And for a smaller glider not expensive. But you will need to find a source for the flat strip rubber used by free flight fliers for rubber power flying. And you'll need about 50 meters of very light fishing line. The downside to a high start is that the field needs to be somewhat smooth and with all the line and rubber on the ground while you fly if there are other people around they can get tangled in it.
This is a great idea. If I use the line to get the glider up the locals will dismiss any suspicions since they'll think I'm flying "airplane-shaped kites".


Quote:
Originally Posted by BMatthews
Electric motor power in the nose or on a pylon has a lot to recommend it. You can climb higher and search longer for lift. And you don't have all that rubber and line out on the field.
Tempting, but it's really just asking to get into a very bad fight with the people here.


Quote:
Originally Posted by CloudSniffer
If you can get covering, balsa and CF tubes I think you might like the Bug. It can be scratch built pretty easily if you can get what you need. Plans and drawing are all available free and there's a users group. I have watched some videos and they look like they fly pretty good. Not sure where your at and what resources you have but this sounds like the size your looking for.

Best Wishes

https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show...ck-the-Bug-DLG
Thanks for the link! Very useful thread!
Last edited by Cristierra; May 22, 2020 at 09:56 PM. Reason: Typo
May 22, 2020, 09:15 PM
Registered User
mdickey's Avatar
Some good ideas for you (possibly)

If you can get a 2 meter radian, it would be excellent for thermal and slope. It is made of tough foam and comes apart into a packable pieces. The flyzone calypso is another similar model, but is full house. I personally don't like it as much as the radian but it would be worth looking at since the radian isn't readily available anymore.

Another option is a weasel or alula trek. those are both great slope soarers and are nearly indestructible. They don't thermal well though.

A micro radian might be a decent option if you want to have something really easy to pack ut it is more fragile.

Good luck on your quest to find the right setup! Eventually you just need to buy something and try it out. Foam is very forgiving
May 23, 2020, 02:20 AM
B for Bruce
BMatthews's Avatar
If you are in this sort of place can you even get balsawood?

Foam comes in a wide variety of types from the cheap white beaded Styrofoam which is not at all durable by itself to EPP (Expanded PolyPropylene) foam which is a bit soft and squishy but which is nearly impossible to destroy other than in a fire. So what you find locally to use for making a model plane will really set the stage for what you build with and to some extent the sort of model design you can build.
May 23, 2020, 11:03 AM
マジ卍
Cristierra's Avatar
Thread OP
Quote:
Originally Posted by BMatthews
If you are in this sort of place can you even get balsawood?
Yes, both balsa wood and foam are readily available in large quantities within national boundaries, which means I can get them shipped to me in less than a week. Airplane electronics, on the other hand, seem to be quite limited to older or low-quality stuff. Might have to buy them overseas.


Quote:
Originally Posted by BMatthews
Foam comes in a wide variety of types from the cheap white beaded Styrofoam which is not at all durable by itself to EPP (Expanded PolyPropylene) foam which is a bit soft and squishy but which is nearly impossible to destroy other than in a fire. So what you find locally to use for making a model plane will really set the stage for what you build with and to some extent the sort of model design you can build.
Interesting... so there were different types of foam then. Well, after some research here (I don't know much about foam, I might've mixed it all up) I realized the only kind of foam available here is XPS (Extruded polystyrene), which should be different from EPP (Expanded polypropylene) and EPS (Expanded Polystyrene), that were the two types you mentioned, I believe. Not sure how this makes things worse, or less worse (you never know, right?)


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