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Dec 02, 2020, 01:45 AM
"I will return" Federico
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Back to Gliders: Success with Soaring!


I got started in RC by flying gliders on the slopes along the Southern California coast. A Mark's Models Wanderer was a great trainer and provided hours of fun. I soon advanced to more aerobatic gliders like the Ridge Rat and Divine Wind.

When I turned inland to hunt thermals with an MFA 2m High Sierra I was quickly disappointed. It was a lot of work setting up a bungee high start for a very short glide back. Thermals seemed out of reach every time, even after studying what to look for in the sky and on the ground. I put the High Sierra away and took it out only once, years later, for a single demo flight on a very windy day.

After nearly thirty years sitting in my basement I took it out for another spin recently. (See pics). The High Sierra was the only sailplane I had in my hangar. I was motivated to try it again when a new guy had moved into town and joined the club. Mark has over thirty years of experience in soaring and can ride a thermal out of sight with anything from a large open 4m ship down to a small 1.5m DLG.

He lent me his copy of Dave Thornburg's Soaring Book and shared many great tips for finding and riding thermals. After all of that I wish I could say I had success with the High Sierra. It just wasn't happening. That glider is a lead sled and just wants to get home as fast as possible.

When Mark offered to sell one of his 2m Art Hobby gliders I jumped at the opportunity. The Serena 2m (see pic below) is much lighter, has a motor up front to reach the base of the thermals, and loves to soar! It is fast and maneuverable with ailerons, yet slows down and loiters well with a bit of camber and up elevator. It's set up with flaperons, rather than separate ailerons and flaps, so two less servos keeps it light.

My first flight with it, just five days ago using Mark's radio, was a fantastic success. It helped to have great thermal activity that day, even though it was only about 50F out with a good breeze from the southwest. After a climb on power to about 250 feet I was soon in good air and riding a thermal up to 400 feet, diving with full flaps back to a soft landing after 20 minutes. A second flight went just as well. I wish I had remembered to take some pictures.

It was exciting to finally have some success with soaring. The Serena will be a good trainer for learning where to hunt those ever elusive thermals.

Serena-EC 2M
AR1300 motor
Low-Drag Spinner and folding prop
Talon-25 ESC with BEC, XT-30 connectors
MKS servos
850 mAh 3S Lipo
Last edited by rclad; Jan 03, 2021 at 01:29 PM.
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