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October 22, 2020, 16:11:40 pm

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Starter slope soarer for experienced power flier

Started by Dave_S, September 07, 2020, 15:56:22 pm

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Dave_S

Can anyone suggest a suitable glider (non-powered) so I can indulge in a little slope soaring when I fancy a change? I've been flying power models for years, have held FWP A & B certificates for over 30 years, but realise that slope soaring is a whole different game.

I live close to the Cotswolds, and also fairly close to White Horse Hill at Uffington.

I have done very little sloping in the past, used to fly a 2 channel thermal soarer at the Long Man occasionally, but that's long gone.

Being inherently lazy and impatient, ARTF is preferred. I am not keen on all-foam models, but realise that they are likely to survive a bit longer than an all-wood model in the hands of a slope novice.

All suggestions gratefully received.
Dave S in West Oxfordshire

PDR

There are no shortcuts on the long, hard road to success. But if your dad's rich there could a limo service...

SteveBB

If you don't want to build and not keen on foam, you're looking at fibreglass/carbon fibre and there are a few such as far as I know that you can buy though I haven't had one to learn on. They tend to be quite fast too, though ballast can of course make the difference. One great/bad way to learn slope soaring is a foamy but one of the wing variety, such as a Wildthing. They are incredibly easy to put together and fly, some of the best days were a dozen of us flying them. They're very forgiving but they won't teach you to fly a 'proper' glider, wind penetration can be a lost cause and you can't do a proper pattern approach or land as you would with a conventional glider. One of the best gliders I ever owned was a Simprop Sagitta, which sadly is no longer made, but that could be as docile as a kitten or ballasted up and making the wing 'work' carve the sky at silly speeds and climb inverted to the same height it dived down from.

On the flying part, gliding is dead stick flying all the time, and all those I know who fly different disciplines (including jets) say that gliding makes them far better flyers overall. Searching for thermals, and detecting the tiny changes by watching grass on the slope to gain height is very rewarding.
Rimmer: Step up to Red Alert!
Kryten: Sir, are you absolutely sure? It does mean changing the bulb.

SteveBB

Rimmer: Step up to Red Alert!
Kryten: Sir, are you absolutely sure? It does mean changing the bulb.

paulinfrance

Quote from Steve,,

On the flying part, gliding is dead stick flying all the time, and all those I know who fly different disciplines (including jets) say that gliding makes them far better flyers overall. Searching for thermals, and detecting the tiny changes by watching grass on the slope to gain height is very rewarding.

Yes I also take off with the turbine in my 7+ kilo Rafale and then thermal it all afternoon,, :D
Mode 2 THE only way to fly

FrankS

Check out the BARCS website for 2nd hand gliders.

You can't go wrong with a Chris Foss Middle Phase or Phase 6. I've just bought a 2nd hand Phase 6 as I hadn't had one for almost 30 years, still a delightful flier, maybe not the performance of a mouldie but still very satisfying and not expensive.

We've just had an influx of power fliers to our local slope, most of them have now acquired at least two gliders...............

PS I 2nd SteveBBs comments on the Wildthing too.

pooh

and a third thing for the WildThing

even I haven't managed to break mine, though East Anglia is a bit lacking in slopes (or cliffs with the wind blowing the right direction  :'(  ) so all my experience was with the MFA holidays in Yorkshire and Devon.
Confucious he say "more than one aircraft in the same airspace leads to structural failure"

SteveBB

Quote from: paulinfrance on September 07, 2020, 17:27:03 pmYes I also take off with the turbine in my 7+ kilo Rafale and then thermal it all afternoon,, :D


Someone on this forum (though I haven't seen him for a while) flies his jets near Leeds. He's also a very capable glider flyer both slope and aero tow. The story goes he took off with his scale Tornado and as it climbed out, it flamed out. Those behind watching him, turned away expecting the inevitable crash and burn. Instead he dropped the nose, brought it around, dropped the undercarriage and landed on the runway. It came naturally because that's what you do with gliders. It amuses me somewhat when I've been at powered fields and it's a kind of major event when 'dead stick' is shouted out. It's only flying the aeroplane.
Rimmer: Step up to Red Alert!
Kryten: Sir, are you absolutely sure? It does mean changing the bulb.

paulinfrance

Yes it's happened to me a few times, last week downwind with my 2.08m 8 kilo Stuka,, the big end went, and I sailed it in,,
Mode 2 THE only way to fly

Dave_S

I've been a contributor to Mr. Foss's pension scheme for many years now - but have never built or flown any of his gliders. I've flown thermal soarers, so no stranger to unpowered flight - the only thing that worries me slightly is getting the hang of landing on the slope.

I used to be able to knock out a Wot 4 or an Acro Wot from a kit in about a week  -now it takes me longer than that to prepare an ARTF!

I suppose i should just bite the bullet and buy a Middle Phase kit and try to remember that I was a real modeller back in the dark ages.

The last Acro Wot kit I bought had some problems with the veneer on the wings - I assume that was a one off and his current kits are worth buying?

And Pete - you've got me over to the dark side with these amps and volts and magical spinning magnets, a bit of sloping now and then is hardly worth mentioning now I've turned my back on the great god of glow.
Dave S in West Oxfordshire

Dave_S

I had my first flying session in five years last week - with my new electric powered Wot 4. Third flight was cut short by a dead stick - the other chap at the field was surprised that I simply flew it back and landed on the strip.
I replaced the burnt out motor this afternoon!
Dave S in West Oxfordshire

FrankS

Quote from: Dave_S on September 07, 2020, 18:58:45 pmthe only thing that worries me slightly is getting the hang of landing on the slope.


While it would be best to maybe go with somebody who flys from that slope and can show you the best approach etc, the thing to remember when landing on the slope is to be positive, you're not looking to float it in like a power plane or thermal glider on a nice flat field. Plus if you go too far back then you'll find you be in the rotor and it will come down very quickly. Any landing you can fly from again is a good one, plus there's no undercarriage, prop, engine etc to rip off :)

SteveBB

Quote from: Dave_S on September 07, 2020, 18:58:45 pmI've been a contributor to Mr. Foss's pension scheme for many years now - but have never built or flown any of his gliders. I've flown thermal soarers, so no stranger to unpowered flight - the only thing that worries me slightly is getting the hang of landing on the slope.


There's lots of help out there if you have to land on a slope rather than behind it on a dedicated strip/landing area. Practice and practice more, a series of S shapes across the slope (Five mistakes high) each time turning into wind, so as it comes across to the right of you, left stick into wind, to the left, right stick and so on. Keep doing that until you can do it without really making the conscious effort and letting the glider fly itself. As you let it descend gradually, pick one or two spots in front of you in either direction that you're going to drop it onto. And as it gets lower and lower, it will lose lift in the dirty air and if you plan it right land less like a tent peg and more like a pancake.

If you do have a landing area on top of the slope, make sure it isn't too far back otherwise you'll get rotor, bad lift and a bad day, no dry stone walls either if avoidable, they too can make you doubt the wisdom of doing this. Keep as much altitude as possible for as long as possible, and when it comes downwind past you let it keep the energy because it will all drop off as soon as you turn unless you drop the nose. Some let it land across them like a power aircraft but most glider flyers I know stand and face it coming to them. With a Middle Phase it will slow down very quickly so allow for that and don't make your base leg turn too far away from you, keep practicing it and flying back out again and gain altitude until you decide you can land it the next time. Too far back from the slope and you'll have zero lift and a long walk. Ask me how I know that.
Rimmer: Step up to Red Alert!
Kryten: Sir, are you absolutely sure? It does mean changing the bulb.

SteveBB

Quote from: Dave_S on September 07, 2020, 18:58:45 pmI suppose i should just bite the bullet and buy a Middle Phase kit and try to remember that I was a real modeller back in the dark ages.


I had a build log on here of the one I still have, but looking it up it seems it suffered from the loss of images and  although you might find the text useful the pictures sort of clarified it. If you do get a MP, then I'd be happy to photograph the bits I modified to make it a better glider and more robust.
Rimmer: Step up to Red Alert!
Kryten: Sir, are you absolutely sure? It does mean changing the bulb.

Dave_S

Thanks, Steve - I think I'll drive over to the White Horse on a likely soaring day and see what people there recommend. There might be some secret slopers in the local club I have recently joined - I'll ask next time I am at the field.
Dave S in West Oxfordshire