slopeflyer.com

Requiem for a Vindy

Requiem for a Vindy

The forecast was for rain, but they made a slight correction
“Winds gusting to 30 from the westerly direction”
When picking planes for days like these I’m not a big debater
This clearly was a job for my trusty Vindicator

I drove up to the slope with a reckless abandon
and did a quick range check at the top of that green canyon
The ocean down below was wild and filled with foam
From up on top there was no doubt the Vindy had come home

This beautiful old ship of carbon, foam and glass
looked like a mighty hunter as it sat there in the grass
And as I threw her out o’er the spectacular abyss
I really wasn’t thinking of the phone calls I had missed

She made a couple passes at about 110
Down for a beach run and then back on top again
Through outside loops and dives that would make you back away
the plane just kept on cruising through this monumental day

A feeling came to me that was a rising of the soul
I’d reached a Nirvana…but then that fu*!@ng pole
I didn’t think I was that close as I setup for a turn
“Speed sucks up the ground” was a lesson I had learned

It didn’t crash as much as it just came to a quick stop
From 90 down to 0 with just a little pop
As I approached the gruesome scene I gave a little sigh
The wings just hung suspended and the v-tail fluttered by

Surprisingly I found that I was not really dejected
it was sort of cool the way the radio ejected
As I gathered up the pieces I harbored no real malice
I waxed philosophic as I searched for the ballast

I thought of glider heaven where the skies are seldom black
Combat in the front and DS’ing off the back
And out there where the lift is strong and the days are always windy
Streaks the spirit of what once flew proud, my good old trusty Vindy

JE

Erickson Architects
John R. Erickson, AIA

If you remember past iterations of slopeflyer.com, you may remember a subsection called Slope Trash Magazine. Well, in the kerfuffle of porting old content to a new system I lost that part of the site but just found, on an old computer, much of the original content! I will be rebuilding the STM section of this site over time with blasts from the past but wholeheartedly encourage new submissions! If you are Slope Trash, or know of someone who is, tell the story to greg@slopeflyer.com and see your words on the big ol’ Interwebs!

Slope Soaring Flight Log 8/29/17

I got out for some flying a couple of days ago and although the wind was minimal at least it was from the right direction to hit slopes along the Lake Michigan shore. I made it to three, two I’ve flown before and one I hadn’t!

The only plane I took was my Ahi because I need a bit of practice to attempt making a video to enter in the dream-flight Ahi One Design Video Contest, not just for flying skills but also for filming ideas. As the contest description says, it isn’t just about the flying!

The first slope I went to was Big Bay Park where the wind was coming in at about 7mph. Big Bay has seen some growth in vegetation and even a few trees over the last few years and is one of the only slopes I was getting out to but the lift is still decent and it is close to home. The flight at Big Bay ended when I landed and bounced the Ahi off my shin and separated the wings a bit! I didn’t have a small screw driver for the wing joiner screws handy so I headed back home before continuing on to a couple of other slope sites further south. This was a good thing since going over the Ahi alerted me to the fact that the servo end clevises were not holding the carbon rod all that well allowing the rod to slide a bit and throw off the elevator trim, that explained why I had a crappy flight the other day with the Ahi ballooning all over the place before I added a bunch of down trim. I thought it was a bit odd but didn’t make the connection that the push rod could be slipping. I dropped a bit of CA in the clevis clamp for good measure.

Anyway, minor repairs and adjustments made, I continued down the road. I went to Sheridan Park where the wind was hovering about 5mph and coming straight in. Frankly, at this slope in these winds, I was just scraping by. I could fly level and maintain slope-edge altitude but gaining any height was painful. I landed a few times and gave the Ahi some solid launches so I was able to get a couple of maneuvers in before I had to land but there was just not quite enough lift for sustained aerobatic playing.

I was also able to mess around with my GoPro Session 4 mounted to a bike helmet and spent a bit of time adjusting it for proper framing. Actually seem like it will work fairly well as one of the cameras for proper slope flying video making. More on that to come.

Since the wind a Sheridan was barely a puff, and the spot where I normally flew in the past seems more turbulent due to the trees that have grown lower on the hill, I decided to walk farther north along the bike path and found a spot that seems better with, basically, nothing but Lake Michigan out front. I flew around there a bit but, again, not much wind so on the the next spot! Still, it seemed smoother than our old traditional LZ.

Finally, I was on my way down to Cliffside Park in Racine as I think it is currently the best slope we have in SE Wisconsin but I took a different route than I normally do on the way hugging the lake shoreline and discovered that there has been some pretty major renovations to the slope and adjacent lands just north of the marina at Bender Park. It is starting to really take shape and, with easy access, may replace the spot about 2 miles south that we’d previously had to hike a 1/4 mile or a 1/2 mile depending on where we went to get to the slope edge. At the new spot, you can park about 100 feet away! So my Cliffside Park trip was cut short to check out this new (to me anyway) slope!

The wind at Bender Park was still just 5 or 6mph but the bluff is over 100 feet high here and the direction was good so the lift when I tossed out the Ahi was a bit better and smooth. The bluff is not only higher but has a more vertical face. I flew the Ahi around for a bit and was able to get in some loops, rolls and inverted flight but there still wasn’t enough lift for proper shenanigans so I headed home.

The wind forecast for Thursday/Friday looks better. Here’s crossing my fingers!

Announced on SlopeAerobatics the dream-flight Ahi One-Design Video Contest

I saw that Steve recently posted what sounds like one of the coolest contests I’ve seen on the RC sloping world in a long time!

Basically, contestants submit their best 3 minute video of Dream-Flight Ahi slope aerobatics (remember it is a one design contest so the Ahi is a must!) VTPR & Slope Aerobatics Facebook group by the end of of the last day of summer – Friday, September 22nd, 2017. Judging will be done by members of the group!

Prizes from dream-flight!

Check out all the details at – http://www.slopeaerobatics.com/2017/08/18/announcing-the-dream-flight-ahi-one-design-video-contest/ 

Flying at Oacoma, South Dakota

Ahi on the shore of the Missouri River
Ahi on the shore of the Missouri River.

I stayed in Oacoma, SD for a couple of days on our way to Wyoming for the Solar Eclipse 2017 and, between family sight seeing including a couple of dams and the capitol at Pierre, I got in a bit of flying.

We stayed at the Arrowhead Cedar Shore Resort in Oacoma that is right across the Missouri Rover from Chamberlain, the HQ for many a slope trip to South Dakota. Mostly just passing through but since the resort is right on the shore of the Missouri River I thought, maybe, I’d get a chance to fly a bit. As it happened, time was short but the SE wind was a decent direction for a gander op the shoe north of the resort. I hit pay dirt about 1.5 miles north of Cedar Shore on some Public Land that had about a 30 foot slope with the wind coming straight in at about 15mph.

First time flying this shoreline slope that is 1.5 miles north of the Arrowhead Cedar Shore Resort in Tacoma, SD. Notice that the shoreline bends to the right past the trees for a more southerly direction, Plus, no trees!

My first bird in the air was, of course, the Weasel. I was only moderately hesitant to throw the plane in the air, not because I didn’t think the slope would work but because I’d left the wing screws and the Blenderm tape back at the hotel! No matter, I figured the magnets holding the Weasel-Trek together were strong enough for an exploratory flight and, after about 20 minutes I was proven right on both counts. The plane held together and the slope worked!

Even though I had no problem with the Weasel holding together with no wing screws, I didn’t want to try the same with the Ahi. That, and I wanted long pants to trek through the tall grass to get a bit further down the slope. So, back to the hotel I went. 15 minutes later I was back at the hill putting together the Ahi with wing screws and tape!

As I was putting together the Ahi I decided to add 2 ounces of ballast because the lift was a bit bumpy and I wanted to try to smooth it out a bit. Seemed to work fine as the Ahi grooved right out of my hand. By this time the wind had also picked up close to 20mph. I had a good flight just getting to know the Ahi and, while the lift was OK, I think the increased wind velocity started to blow the lift band out a bit. No matter if it stays int he air I’ll fly that thing!

My final flight of the day was another Weasel flight with the full confidence of a screwed and taped bird. Wonderful!

If you find yourself in the area and don’t want to drive to the bigger slopes outside of town, this is a very flyable shoreline slope that worked well in a Southeast wind. I think 12-15mph would be ideal for the dream-flight dream team of the Ahi, Weasel and Alula!

8/17/17

Dream-Flight Alula-TREK

You all may have noticed that I am again flying slope. Maybe not as rabidly as in the past but I do have plans to make flying a part of my life again.

While I do have a BUNCH of slope planes that I still own from the past, my current need for a sloper is to have a plane that is easily transportable when I go for bike rides. The portability of Dream-flight’s Alula-TREK looked like just what I needed to get back into flying more regularly. I’ve owned a bunch of Michael Richter’s planes in the past, and still own 4 Weasels, so the choice of an Alula-TREK seemed pretty easy!

There are several good build threads out there on the Alula-TREK and, truth be told, there is a lot of prefabrication on this plane along with the excellent instructions we’ve come to expect from Michael so I’ll dispense with the steps except to say that this plane goes together very easily and took me 3 hours or so to complete including the purple and orange paint!

alula-trek-slopeflyer 2

For the flight pack I went the easy route and ordered the Alula-Trek flight pack along with the plane and used a Spektrum AR610 receiver to go with my fancy DX9 Black Edition that I picked up when my favorite local hobby shop was heading out of business.

Obviously, the flight pack works great with the plane. I’d go for a receiver with end plugs if I need to build one of these again. To that end I picked up a couple of Lemon RX’s small receivers and I’m inclined to add a dream-flight Libelle to my new fleet where I’ll use one of those.

Not withstanding that it is 9-degrees outside this week, I did get a bit of flinging and test flying in. Seems to be a good plane and I’ m now just waiting for an easterly breeze!

If you own an Alula-TREK, would you leave a comment below if you’ve covered the leading edge with anything and, if so, what did you use! Thanks!

Dave’s Report on the McLean Vector2

For a number of years now Greg and I have been talking about designing and building planes for sale. On those long slope safari trips we’d go over what we’d want to see in a plane. Greg’s got a lot of great ideas which are top secret right now 😉  One thing that was paramount was we weren’t going to sell anything that we didn’t like flying ourselves.

Then a couple months ago an opportunity presented it self in the form of the Brian McLean Vector2. Greg called me up and said he’d found a plane that fit’s what he was looking for. Great flyer, sleek lines, super reputation and a twisty wing ta boot. Well, sign me up!…Greg is a great pilot and if he says “this is the one”…well, I got to believe him.

Brian McLean produces kits for the Vector2. It includes the wing cores, the fiddly bits for the wing mechanism, a superb glass fuse and a molded carbon rudder. Everything in the kit is of the highest quality and finish. Looking over the plans I broke it down into building the wings and everything else.;-)  So let’s start with the wings.

The wing cores are cut from surfboard foam. This stuff is dense! I mean solid! These will make a very nice wing. The two panels per side fit together with only a minimum amount of sanding required. Following the plans, I made some cuts in the root for the wing rod and actuator pin. Then attached the root rib. A little more sanding and were ready for bagging.

Most of the wing’s I’ve made have been for DLG’s so making this wing used a LOT more epoxy than what I was used too. A full carbon skin can really soak up the epoxy! Everything’s ready and into the bag it goes. 24 hours later the Mylars come off and I stand back and admire carbon goodness.

Now for the fuselage. Brian’s done an excellent job molding the fuse. There’s plenty of room inside, pre-drilled holes for the wings and stab and a superb finish outside. The rudder fin is molded as part of the fuse so that is the reference for setting the wings and stab.

This is a wingeron so there’s one servo moving the wings. It sits in front of the wing rod and actuates two cams that pivot on the wing rod. The cams are pre assembled and the other bit’s that make up the mechanism are pre cut ready to be installed. Setting the wing servo takes some careful planning. The links connecting to the cams are quite short and need to be positioned correctly to ensure proper movement of the wing. The fuse has marks molded into it showing where to set the wing neutral position. It’s a full flying stab so it’s not SO critical to get the wings exactly on the marks, but it puts the fuse in a pleasing orientation while flying (tail high not low).

The stab mechanism is glued into the fin then the rudder is installed. Trays are glued in for their servos and the linkages are connected. Everything is tested and we’re ready to fly.

I was able to finish building the plane just a week before we headed out to South Dakota for several days of uninterrupted flying. South Dakota is a great place to maiden new planes. Nothing to hit out there.

This was the first time Greg had seen the plane all put together. We set it up in the hotel parking lot to check the throws. Everything looked good so we headed out to the hill. The winds were maybe 10 – 15mph. We had about a dozen guys flying all sorts of craft, most were having success. I handed Greg the radio and stepped up to the lip. A wiggle of the sticks to confirm it was on and a nod from Greg, then I gave it a firm toss….SUCCESS!!  A few clicks of trim and it was FLYING!

Greg worked it back and forth a few times getting a feel for it. It looked great in the air!  The fuse has a sexy shape and I set it up so it has a tail high attitude so it looks like its going fast!  He gained some height and did a short dive followed by the smoothest axial roll you’ve ever seen. A quick roll inverted showed we could take a little weight out of the nose. He brought it around and landed on the top. We had thought this plane would land hot, but it slowed down nicely and settled down into the short grass.

Now it’s my turn! Greg gives it a heave and I fly off into the sky. A left turn then start working the lift to gain altitude. The wind wasn’t what I call rippin’. It’s enough to keep it in the air plus a little more. What surprised me is the way this plane effortlessly responded to the lift. It seemed to fly like it was lighter that it was. It’s not overweight by any means, at 49oz, but I just didn’t expect it to do as well as it was. I was as high as the wind would take me so I put it in a dive and pulled up into a loop. It tracked through the loop like it was on rails!  At the bottom of the loop I pulled up and gained almost all my altitude back! This thing is going to be a favorite. Some fast runs along the top of the hill showed that this plane is silent!  With no servos sticking out of the wing there’s nothing to make noise. It’s almost eerie.

A few more rolls and loops and I setup for a landing. Come around from behind and line it up…It wasn’t as pretty as Greg’s landing but it was level and settled into the grass just fine.

This is going to be a fantastic plane to have in your quiver. Like I said, Brian offers the kits but unless you’re an experienced builder it might not be the kit to start with. Properly built, this plane will perform beyond all expectations.

Richter Weasel from Dream Flight

Greg flying a Weasel close in at Big Bay Park.

Wing Span: 36 in
Wing Area: 375 sq in
Weight: 11.5 ounces

Controls: Elevons
Minimum radio requirements: Elevon mixing with dual rates and/or  ATV (Adjustable Throw Volume)
Installed Radio: Hitec Electron 6 receiver, HS-81MG servos and 270 mah NimH battery. JR 8103 transmitter.

The Weasel is a breeze to build. It took me about 4 hours. I think I could have shaved a good hour off that but I used UltraCote (Oracover) to cover it. The tape method is faster although I much prefer the finish of the Ultracote. If you have built a foam wing in the past this plane will present no problems. If this is your first EPP plane then the instructions are some of the best I have seen. You can preview the plans on the flyweasel.com website.

What’s it made of?

  • The Weasel wing is made from 1.3 lb per sq/ft density EPP foam The wing set has the servo bays and spar notches pre-cut even the hotwire residue has been removed!
  • The nose pod is made from 1.9 lb per sq/ft density EPP foam with factory-cut battery and receiver compartments.
  • The balsa elevons are delivered pre-beveled for hinging.
  • The kit also includes, wood spars, a CoroplastTM fin, a hardware package and a very thorough construction manual (also available on line at www.flyweasel.com this came in handy when I took the kit on vacation and forgot the instructions)!

As noted on the Weasel website: In order for the Weasel to maintain the flight characteristics, micro size radio equipment is required to keep the weight down. The Weasel is a very pitch sensitive aircraft and therefore requires dual rates or ATV (Adjustable Throw Volume) on at least the elevator channel (channel #2 in most cases). Most computer radios have this function. Unfortunately, the inexpensive 2 and 3 channel radios with just v-tail mixing do not have these sensitivity adjustments, making it difficult to fly the Weasel with them. So please invest in a radio with dual rates and/or ATVs. If you already have a Hitec Focus III and are determined to use it, there is a modification that you can make that will cut down the control throws on the elevator.

Flying the Weasel

Bottom line for the Weasel is does it perform? Yes! Michael Richter designed the Weasel as a lightweight flying wing that is extremely maneuverable, yet forgiving. The Weasel’s design features give it a wide speed range, great hands-off stability, and agility.

I have flown the Weasel in winds conditions ranging from about 4 to 25 mph. One addition I still plan to do is make provisions for ballast. I have flown it on a lot of hills from 15 foot high “speed bumps” to 500 foot pristine slopes in South Dakota and it handles them all well.

The Weasel is very aerobatic in the hands of an accomplished pilot. Inverted flight is excellent, roll rate is fast loops are great both inside and outside. This is a super plane! With the control sensitivities turned down, and the CG moved forward, it can be great for beginners as well. It lets me fly when I otherwise could not and at slopes that are not suitable for any other plane. All this in a 36-inch span glider that stows anywhere!

Related Links

Richter R/Cwww.flyweasel.com
Hobby-Lobby (Ultracote/Oracover) – http://www.hobby-lobby.com

Weasel Pro

While this review is a couple of years old I felt it still needs a place on the site. Note that the release of the New Weasel EVO is coming very soon! Happy Days!

If you read these pages at all you’ll know that the Richter Design Weasel is among my favorite RC slope planes. Every RC pilot ought to own at least one. I now have two with the recent completion of my Weasel Pro.

I picked up my Weasel Pro on the way through Santa Barbara last year when I stopped by at Michael’s then shop in the garage of his family’s home. Recently Michael built a standalone shop to improve production and to keep us all in Weasels!

Michael updated the original Weasel design a while back bringing us the Weasel Pro. He uses new materials and construction methods to make this little sloper even better. Some re-working of the original Weasel design seems to have improved both the axial roll and the inverted flight characteristics when compared to my original Weasel.

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Midwest Weasel Fest 2009

The event was held the weekend of April 25th and 26th in and around Milwaukee, WI mostly at the AstroWings Omega Hills, Germantown Slope.

We a GREAT Pilots Raffle with domations including:

  • Jack Cooper of Leading Edge Gliders kicked of the “Generous Donation” portion of the 2009 MWWF pilot raffle prize list. After initially offering a size SMALL 2007 LEG Slopefest shirt, we beat him up and he is now graciously donating a 48-Inch Fat Albert! Thanks, Jack!
    $79 value with shipping!
  • The good folks at Off The Edge – makers of the Zipper, Scorpion, etc.- have donated a Wasp kit.
    $80 value with shipping!
  • AstroWings of Wisconsin is donating an LEG Prairie Dog Combat Wing.
    $49.00 value with shipping!
  • Plus more, probably!
  • Wyoming Wind Works – Slope Monkey Kit!
    $61.95 value with shipping!
  • slopeflyer.com and LEG – 4 disc DVD set – “EPP Building Clinic”
    $59.95 value with shipping!
  • Bad Brad Graphics – $50 Gift Certificate for Vinyl cutting
    $57.00 value with shipping!
  • Paul Naton / Radio Carbon Art – 2 Slope Soaring Videos!
    $50 Plus value with shipping!
  • Ed from SkyKing RC Products is donating a 60-inch DAW 1-26 kit as well as some Lost Model Locators.
    $154-plus value!
  • Michael Richter / Dream-Flight – 2 Weasels! $150 value!

In additon to the generous donations from our supporters slopeflyer.com is donating a bunch of banner ads as rewards for the companies donating items.

$490 and counting of ad space to companies who donated product!

Gulp – 60 inch DS Wing – Its Bigger than a Swallow!

GULP

The GULP is designed and kitted by Steve Drake. It is an 60 inch flying wing with a cool fuselage shape. It is an EPP model designed for maximum DSing. Steve uses the proven MH-45 airfoil on the GULP.

The fuse is large enough to house all the radio gear internally. I used Hitec HS-225 servos and strip aileron controls to keep everything clean.

Specs

Airfoil: MH-45 modified
Span: 60 inches
Area: 570 sq/in
Surface loading: 9.1 oz/sqft
Weight: 36oz
Control: Elevons
Radio: GWS 8 channel receiver, Hitec HS-225MGs, 1400 mah pack.

Here are pictures of Greg’s GULP. Gotta make sure you know which side is which when DSing!

04/06/02 – Update
I got the new Gulp from Steve and he has added a nice touch to the kit. It now has the spar cavities routed out. Should make building faster and because they are the exact size for the included spars it may save a bit of Goop weight.

I’ve had a couple more days on the original and I am still very happy with it. I had a rude landing at Warnimont Park with it and walked away with no damage. Tough slopers rule!

03/22/02 – Update
Well, the minor repairs from the DS sessions in Kansas have been made and I have flown the Gulp several times in the last few days. It continues to impress me. It is nearly as fast as a 60 inch composite plane yet will hang in relatively light lift. On our hills it likes about 10-12 mph at least so it isn’t quite a Zagi THL but it is a heck of a lot better flying plane! I’ve got a DLG for when the lift is real light anyway. When the wind pick up the Gulp is just a joy to fly and that along with the incredible durability has put it on my “must have” list. I have already ordered another from Steve Drake. I wouldn’t want to be without one.

03/07/02 – 03/10/02 Flying at Wilson Lake in Kansas
I tried to do the Gulp in this weekend DSing at the dam at Wilson Lake in Kansas. It was howling at 35 to 40 and I had 22 ounces in the custom ballast tube in the wing.  The DS circuit is about 10 feet off the deck in some places and meetings with the ground were inevitable. Besides blowing off the epoxyed on carbon wing tips, damage was limited to torn Ultracote and a slightly compressed nose. Did I mention that the lake side of the dam is all sharp boulders? I am replacing the carbon tips with EPP and covering with tape and Ultracote.

We also had a brief foamy pylon race. I races 2 regular JW’s and a new JW XL. The GULP smoked them. It turns better and pulls them on the straights. Steve, you may be getting an order or two out of Kansas. Everyone who saw it fly was very impressed.

02/10/02 – The first flight of the GULP in 25 mph winds with blowing snow and 30 degree temperature! It flies very well. I set it up per the instructions and they seem to be pretty close.

Super Talon Conversion

super talon Kevin McDonald, who did the prototype balsa version of the Talon as it was converted from a limited production glass loper in the early ’80s, sent in a great document to address some of the concessions made when the kit went into production and help make the Talon perform more like the plane it cold be. The Super Talon!

Kevin McDonald, who did the prototype balsa version of the Talon as it was converted from a limited production glass loper in the early ’80s, sent in a great document to address some of the concessions made when the kit went into production and help make the Talon perform more like the plane it cold be. The Super Talon!

Download the 1.4MB Talon to Super Talon Conversion PDF Here

Orca Pitcheron Slope Ship

harley's orca

Harley Michaelis of Genie TD ship fame, with help from Jay Decker, Eagle Butte regular, have made available a new version of the ORCA “pitcheron” sloper with plans and parts kits. The original version appeared in the November ’89 issue of Model Aviation while the new plane has been updated to reflect current slope trends. If you like speed, agility and something different in looks, check out this easy-to-build machine. http://genie.rchomepage.com

Predator Bee – A Tougher, Stiffer Bee!

predator bee I just finished up my Predator Bee and while it has been languishing around the shop for a few months the build actually went pretty fast. (The Predator Bee is a modified version of the popular Windrider Bee combat wing).

I just finished up my Predator Bee and while it has been languishing around the shop for a few months the build actually went pretty fast. (The Predator Bee is a modified version of the popular Windrider Bee combat wing). I went with internal pushrods, taped the heck out of it and added a couple of layers of goop. It seems really strong and is the stiffest combat style wing I’ve owned. This one came in just under 24 ounces. Looks like I may want to build a lighter one in the future!
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Ellipse 2V First Impressions

I’ve wanted a Jaro Muller Ellipse 2 for a long time. It has always been a very highly regarded plane and is still competitive something like 10 years after it was introduced plus, for me, it looks great! It has some shape to the fuse instead of just being a broomstick and, like all Jaro Muller planes, it is superbly built and tough as nails.

My Ellipse 2V is 2.86 meters or about 112 inches. Mine comes in at 86 ounces. It has provisions for a bunch of ballast and a hook on the bottom if one feels the need for a winch launch. Jim Porter, the builder and previous owner, put a speed hook tube in the nose as well.

Greg’s Ellipse 2V

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Slope Scale Aircobra PSS Plane

This Slope Scale kit can be made to resemble a P-39 Aircobra or a P-63 Kingcobra. I use the terms interchangeably for better or worse. My plane leans towards the Kingcobra if only because I opted for a more Kingcobra like vertical fin because it is a bit taller. I figured the extra stability couldn’t hurt.

My current P-63 is a standard layup and with normal balsa sheeting/solartex/paint type construction. It is flying at 38 ounces. I recently picked up a heavy layup short kit that I will build heavier for the big wind days. I am going to use 1/32 ply on that one.
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Predator Bat EPP DS Wing

What do you get when you combine an inexpensive EPP plank wing from Windrider called the Bat and the modifications from pilots with experience wringing to most out of this plane? You get the Predator Bat.

I got my Predator Bat from Karl about a couple of months ago but just go to building it this past week. Didn’t take long, probably 6 hours total and I’ll bet I could do the next one in 4 or so.

I’m heading to South Dakota in a couple of weeks and I needed some EPP DS planes to get my groove back before I commit to the glass planes.

 

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Crane Mountain, Oregon

Crane Mtn, OR
Copyright Chris Erikson 2005

Location: 10 miles SSE of Lakeview, OR

Coordinates: (NAD83 / WGS84 datum)
N42.0743
W120.24388

Wind: SW to NW

Weather:
http://www.weatherunderground.com/US/OR/Lakeview.html

Terraserver:
http://www.terraserverusa.com/image.aspx?T=2&S=11&Z=10&X=1820&Y=11654&W=2&qs=%7clakeview%7c%7c

Ready to launch, view to South

 

Access: Dirt Road, medium clearance, rocky

Season: June to mid October, limited by snowpack

Vertical Relief: 4000’+

Skill level: High Intermediate

Background: Crane Mtn is a former lookout site at 8347′ in south central Oregon, a few miles from Lakeview. This enormous ridge consists of a single narrow ridgeline at least 2000′ taller than the surrounding peaks. The ridge runs nearly perfectly north to south and the flying site is located at it’s northern terminus.

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Airtech Dynamic in Flight

This easy to build, easy to fly, plane has been mine and flying since January 1, 2004. The Airtech DYNAMIC comes with up-curved pre-formed fiberglass wingtips that are one of the nice features of this well designed glider. Flaps are also very nicely precut, as well as the ailerons. Aileron and flap hinges are all pre-set in the wing. The only things to install in the wing are the servos and the wing tips. The full flying stab and rudder are also ready to mount with the stab linkages already pre-set in the fuselage. This 100-inch plane weighs in at about 55 ounces.

I bought this plane for light lift conditions, after I had an almost disaster with my WIZARD in light air in South Dakota. I have had very good flights in very light air in Kansas, South Dakota, Utah, and here in the Milwaukee area. Many is the time when I have thrown this plane off a hill with almost nothing out there for slope air, but managed to work this up to huge altitudes. This plane has a “nose” for thermals.

Over and over I have “specked out” this plane then come down in a good dive at high speed, regaining huge altitude on the zoom. The best way to fly this very stable plane in light lift is to set the transmitter to low throws on the ailerons. Trying not to turn too much, keeping the plane level with the low throw, (cutting aileron drag) maintains the speed of the plane, and hence works the light lift much better. I generally tack the plane like a sailboat into the wind at lower altitudes, and save circling for much higher altitudes. The tremendous stability of the Airtech DYNAMIC, allows for a fair amount of time in the “hands off” mode during flights, letting the plane range and search by itself, hardly touching the sticks. This makes for a very dynamic plane in flight. (Pun intended.)

A couple degrees of flap can be helpful while searching for lift, and of course full flaps for the final touchdown if you are short of space, coming in too hot, or trying to spot land at some infernal contest. This plane is very easy to land, even without flaps.

Cape Blanco State Park

Made famous in such classic soaring videos as Lift Ticket this is a great spot on the coast of Oregon. There is a DS groove here and pilots from all over attend several events each year.

For those on a family vacation (like your humble webmaster in the Spring of 2002!) you can check out the Cape Blance Lighthouse and other area attractions. See the Oregon State Parks website for more info.

http://www.oregonstateparks.org

Directions: The flying site is located at Cape Blanco State Park in southern Oregon. It is located 8 miles north of Port Orford, one hour south of Coos Bay, and 5 miles west off of Hwy 101. Check the club site at: http://www.clubsos.itgo.com

Finished and Flew the Airtech Fitness

After a nearly disastrous start to my Airtech Fitness’s life I got the maiden flight out of the way and found the plane an excellent flyer.

 

Fitness ready to go

The disaster nearly happened on my first maiden voyage attempt at Big Bay. The wind was coming in at about 20 and I felt it would be a good first flight day. Plenty of lift! So, I range checked it and tossed it off the hill. Got about 70 feet. Looks good! In the next few seconds I had visions of the Wizard going in the lake as the Fitness was not responding to control inputs and threatening to follow suit. Wait, there, it turned back towards the hill. Oh, no input, not responding and it is heading over my head! More mashing of the controls and the plane dives into the ground going 40 or 50 mph. I got that sick feeling you get when a plane crashes and it seems like it will be toast.
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