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Dec 26, 2020, 09:36 PM
Registered User
Thread OP

as of 2020 your pick for best f5j model

I'm reentering the hobby and it has been difficult, to be honest, more difficult
even with computers finding much on f5j.
I am researching a myriad of planes i.e neutrino, voyager, pike, and would like
other opinions for the best flying, competitive, durable sailplane that is in production right now and why you feel that way. Pictures are optional but if you got em feel free to post em

Thinking 3 meters or more.

Thanks in advance!

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Dec 26, 2020, 10:08 PM
Registered User
eitanro's Avatar
You've opened a Pandora box...
Each pilot will probably recommend the model that he is flying, and why it is the best.
From reading in the Forum you can see that the selection is huge - Ultima2, Plus S, Pike, Volo, Xplorer and many others that I probably forgot, all of them are good in the right hands...
The only thing that I would warmly suggest has to do with durability - I DO NOT recommend getting a model that it's wing is hollow instead of having a foam core, after seeing and hearing about the outcome of mid-airs (that are pretty common in low altitude), there is a very big advantage to foam core wings, they are much much more durable and easier to fix in the field (vs. scrapping a hollow wing).

Team Vortex
Dec 27, 2020, 01:53 AM
Registered User
Thread OP
Dualy noted, thank you for the tip. You are correct I’m sure but it’s a way to learn I feel from others experiences with Different models. The price range is enormous and trying to figure the pros and cons
Dec 27, 2020, 02:09 AM
DS Junkie
Screamin' Eagle's Avatar
I have an ultima 1. Couldn't be happier with it. But I'd recommend anything that's 4m, solid core, and a at least a medium layup.
Dec 27, 2020, 09:08 AM
Registered User
For 90% of us durability is near the top of the list.
Dec 27, 2020, 09:43 AM
Registered User
Aaro's Avatar
You will learn, that all the gliders and their versions are "top notch", "second to none", "optimized especially to everything" and they all "go up in whatever smallest bubble".

Structures are quite secondary. Most of us are able to handle even fragile structures without problems, but of course if you like to kick the models around or if you are going to cope with only one model also in windy condition you should buy something that is not the lightest version.

After that you might concentrate on following:
  • Is the glider available?
  • Do you have enough money? Remember that it takes ~500 € to add the necessary equipment.
  • Is ballasting the glider possible and easy? Is it still possible and easy if you (for some reason) end up filling the fuse with all kind of extra stuff like separate rx battery or GPS Triangle -equipment?
  • Is there a local dealer or are you going to do business with the manufacturer?
  • Are spare parts available? Is the manufacture "just a nice guy somewhere": what is the history of the manufacturer, what are the volumes he/they produces?
  • Does your friends / club members / community have already these gliders, hence are typical flaws already known or do you have to find them out by yourself?
  • Are you going to travel with the model? Is it ok to have eg. 160 cm parts like wing panel or fuse, or is it important to get everything packed to compact box?
The performance of all the most common models is quite identical, so buy something that is already well known, supported and available.

Dec 27, 2020, 10:36 AM
Registered User
How much money do you have ? Buy the one you can afford.
10 different people will give you at least 15 answers. Buy this one but on the other hand buy this one.
Dec 27, 2020, 12:42 PM
Registered User
Thread OP
Thank you aero, very helpful
Dec 27, 2020, 02:14 PM
Registered User
Thread OP
I actually have been looking at the ultima. Is is it a steady model and how about the breakdown size. I’m learning to look for something that can travel
Dec 27, 2020, 02:17 PM
Registered User
Thread OP
Yes Irish it is confusing to choose, heck go to soaring USA and hundreds to pick from. I’m on the same page as y’all, durability and breakdown size
Dec 27, 2020, 04:38 PM
NorCal Electric Soaring (NES)
SoaringDude's Avatar
Hi Ken,

Welcome back into the hobby /sport. Honestly if you are just getting back into it you may want to consider a used F5J plane for starting out. Once you get some flight time and contests under your belt you will have a much better idea of what the "ideal" plane looks like to you. I'm fairly confident there are quite a few used F5J planes that are available even tho' they are not listed. I would put a wanted post in the For sale-Sailplanes section.

In your original post it sounded like you were having trouble finding info about F5J in general. If that is the case you will find lots of info on USA F5J on this website: (I happen to be the web guy for that site ).

So if you decide on a used F5J plane here are things I would look for:

--a 4 meter wingspan (better thermaling performance and better visibility at distance)

-- Starting out I would not worry about whether the wing is a newer thinner F5J wing, or whether it is a thicker/older airfoil. Even the thicker wings penetrate pretty well with reflex and a little ballast in the wind.

-- A conventional X-tail i.e. not a v-tail. You will find lots more X-tail setup help from guys that you fly with.

-- A low enough all-up weight (AUW) where it would be competitive in light to moderate breezes. I would look for a 4m plane under 48oz (and lower is better in F5J). AUW includes a normal sized battery such as a 3S 850mAh lipo pack.

-- Nice to have: if the plane is set up for 6-8oz of ballast or more all the better

Hope this helps and welcome again to F5j ! You will find that USA F5J is filled with guys who enjoy helping.
Dec 27, 2020, 05:04 PM
NorCal Electric Soaring (NES)
SoaringDude's Avatar
F5J model comparisons

If you want to see a comparison of actual F5J model builds you can take a peek at this spreadsheet: F5J Model Comparisons

If anyone wants to contribute details for their F5J model(s) to this sheet please post or PM it to me. Thanks!
Last edited by SoaringDude; Jan 08, 2021 at 03:22 PM. Reason: Updated link
Dec 27, 2020, 05:13 PM
Team Futaba
Silent-AV8R's Avatar
Best advice so far is to find what is actually available and can get parts if needed. The Volo fits that description. As does the Ultima and a couple of others. Don't get too hung up on specs. Get a 4 meter plane in the mid to upper 40s on weight and go fly.
Dec 27, 2020, 06:51 PM
Registered User
Thread OP
Thanks Chris super useful, y’all talked to me about clubs earlier and I will be there on the 16th. Yes I’m tending towards a used setup, yes there’s not a lot on here and can’t find anywhere else, fun looking and learning though. 4 meter is where I have been looking and something that breaks down into a transportable size. Neutrino?
Dec 27, 2020, 07:08 PM
dnbarrie11's Avatar

All great points

Everyone has offered great points. All of the current list of planes are competitive. Most are trending toward multiple pieces for transport.

To me the real key for you getting back in is to find out what others are flying and then the availability. Look at Chris's comparison list. It will be a good indication of what's being flown. As far as the Neutrino goes, I don't think I've ever seen one. (that might be a clue)

Current list of planes that you'll see in the top 10. (This is based on the top 8 at the recent F5J in the Desert held earlier this month.

Vertigo (2), Plus, Ultima 1 (no longer available) , Volo (2) , PlusX, PK. There were a few Ultima 2's flying and I believe an Explorer or 2.

Now research and find what you can get and get parts for.

This is such a great time to be in the hobby!!!

Darwin N. Barrie
Chandler, AZ
Team Futaba

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