Dave Hauch Relates Some X-21 Experience

x-21 f3bI’ve got some time on this plane, just been dialing in the thermal mode right now, I’ve had poor conditions to do too much for speed runs.

This plane has no bad habits, they say it’s a knock-off of the Estrella, but the Estrella has bad habits.

It’s hard to make it tip stall, when it does, the nose just drops a little. I can go real extreme on launch set-ups and it handles it like a dream, where most planes will want to snap on you.
Read more

Wizard Compact Cross Tail

I ordered a fuse and tail only to use with my existing Wizard BPV wings. I already have the standard V-tail fuse with elevators, not the full flying stab, that I got with the wings and I was curious to see if there is a noticeable difference in how the two tails fly. The finished weights are within about an ounce so it should be down to the tail for any differences in flight.

Wizard Cross tail
Photo: ET-Air


Read more

RaceM / Racemachine – a Bit of History

This is a collection of a couple of articles that Espen Torp orignially wrote about the history of the RaceM / Racemachine project.

Here is some background on the RaceM F3F, RaceM F3B and Racemachine competiton sailplanes from a couple of articles that Espen Torp originally wrote. Some editing applied!

Joakim Stahl, Matthias Carlsson and Stefan Wahlberg from Sweden developed the Racemachine for the 1999 F3B season. It was made with European conditions in mind but they also used it in the 1999 World Championship F3B. They were not particularly successful the first year and many thought they had gone the wrong way when choosing a relatively small wingspan compared to the trend at the time. They faced some problems in the beginning but there were never any doubt in their minds that they had a winner. After the Championship they made a longer fuselage for the V-tail and then a cross-tail. The extreme wing shape gave tremendous lift for the winch start and was clearly a big factor. But the flying characteristics in both distance and speed also gave them something extra. Thermal duration was never a problem with this design. Suddenly the Racemachine became easy to master and they began to win competitions with it.

In the 2001 F3B World Championship Sweden managed 3rd place in the teams classification.

Pasi Vaisanen made the podium (3rd) at the F3J World Championship in 2002.

Before the 2003 World Championship F3B in Germany they made the wingspan 20 cm longer and both Pasi Vaisanen and Joakim Stahl came very close to winning the Championship. They ended up 3rd in the Team competitions together with Henrik Karhusaari, who also flew an old Race Machine. This surely made it clear that the Swedes once again proved their capabilities. Pasi Vaisanen holds the current unofficial F3B speed record with 13.87 set in the Eurotour in Finland in 2003. In the same competition Joakim won with the big Racemachine.

ET-AIR and Richard Frawley got the chance to buy a mould set in 2001 but were given a two year ban from using it in F3B as part of the contract. Clearly the Swedes did not want competition from their own model and the ban was respected.

So, after a long wait the RaceM is finally ready for the commercial market. There are two basic versions called F3F and F3B. Both have UMS (HIGH MODULE CARBON) in the spar. Wingspan for the F3F version is the original 296cm and for the F3B version the span is increased to 315cm. Both versions can in fact be used for both F3F and F3B, it is a matter of taste. The bigger version may prove to have advantage in the start, duration and distance. For the F3F class both types can be good but the smaller version can probably tackle more wind and rougher conditions.

The RaceM comes with a two piece wing.

Standard lay-up will be one layer Carbon 93 and balsa for the F3F and ROHAcell for the F3B version.

Two types of V-tail are currently available, the proven all moving system taken from the Compact 2 and a one piece standard V-tail with flippers. There are plans to develop a X-tail but cannot give a time estimate for this.

The fuselage is originally made from the Ellipse 3 by Jaro Muller. It was redeveloped by Milan Janek for the Wizard Compact 2 and then made longer in the tailboom and fitted with the root section of the RaceM. New all moving V-tails were made and now we also offer a one piece V-tail taken from the Wizard F3B (no longer in production).

When the fuse was first made the nose was kept as it was from the Compact. Now we use a longer nose to offer a lower overall weight and easier radio installation.

The RaceM is truly joint venture product. The wings are made by Marian Maslo and the fuselage and the V-tail are made made Milan Janek of Wizard Compact fame. Quality control, packing and shipping is also done by Milan Janek. The brand new mould for the RaceM F3B was developed and made by Marian Maslo.

Erwin 5 Build Tips

The Erwin 5 is an all carbon, 2-meter slope ship. This article has several pictures and some notes on the building of my current version.

Erwin 5 elevator showing the channel for the control horn


Erwin 5 V-tial half


Wing root showing 2 joiner tubes, bakllast acces in between and the wire channel aft


Hitec HS-5125 thin wing servo


V-tail control horns


V-tail control horns installed


The V-tail cradle with control horn access hole.


This is the pallet that slides up into the nose

Airtech Passion Building Info

The Passion is a 2.45-meter sailplane from Airtech in France. It is an all around plane with an eye towards slope flying and F3F but is also a very capable thermal ship. This article has tips from the building of my current Passion.

Routing out the aileron and flap channel



Scraping the wood away from the hingeline



Pushrod holes in the fuse



Gluing the pushrod housings to the fuse



Pushrods housings installed



V-tail control horns



Center mark on the V-tail



Ready to glue the control horns in



Control horn channel



Control horns installed



Control horn installed



Routed out servo pocket



Fuse setup



Receiver tucked forward of the wing



Control horn and control rod setup



Wing tip routed out



Servo leads



Ballast block and ballast tray



Ballast tray installed

First Flight With My New BPV Wizard Compact 2

I got my new BPV (Bullet Proof Version) Wizard Compact 2 in the air for the first time at the Big M in Platteville on a really decent day. The wind was about 25 mph and there was also a good thermal kick.

The Big M is about 200 feet of 70 degree slope and then another 250 at the bottom of much more gentle slope. It has always produced good lift and the day of the Wizard’s maiden voyage was no exception.

I spent about an hour and a half at the hill finishing the radio install, mounting the servo covers, redoing the aileron linkage and setting the CG. BTW I needed about 7 ounces in this BPV version of the Wizard. Next BPV I do I will leave a little more room in the nose for shot and epoxy. (Actually this will be really soon as I have a cross-tail fuse to use with my existing BPV wings that I will start on ASAP). Anyway, my original plan was to set the CG at a nice, safe 95mm from the leading edge but I just could not get myself to add even more weight to the nose and ended up at 101mm. That is about where I planned to set it anyway. I usually like the comfort of a slightly forward CG on a first flight but this is my 4th Wizard so I am very familiar with them and I figured this would pose no problem.
Read more

Washington Slope 90 Minutes from Portland

McKinnley Ridge in Southwestern Washington

This fine flying site is located in Southwestern Washington. The site features relatively easy road access, great lift, and decent landing zones. The ridge can be flown in west or east winds, although I personally prefer winds from the east at this location. The east side of the ridge has less trees and more open terrain upwind of the slope.  And when flying in an east wind, the sun is at your back instead of in your eyes all afternoon. Although I haven’t explored it, I would think there would be good potential for dynamic soaring here. The top of the ridge is rather sharp in places, which can set up quite a rotor.


Read more

Wizard Compact II Tips

Wizard Compact 2x tips

I have had 4 Wizards and flown them a lot. I also asked other owners and perused the web for tips. Here is a collection of tidbits so far…

On a plane like the Wizard go for top-notch servos. I’ve used Volz, Multiplex and JRs in my Wizards.

If you want to do a side-by-side servo setup like in my building pictures you need a servo like the JR-341 non-digital or the DS-368 digital or a servo no larger than these. If you go tandem you could use larger servos but you have to watch for the ballast tube intruding on your available space.

The flap and aileron servos can be about as big as the Multiplex Speed Digi although I am not sure what the same size non-digital is called. Micro-Maxx Xs and Micro Maxx Xps can be used and with a little finagling, you can get the Volz mount in so you have removable, serviceable servos. Recent DS versions have been build with JR DS-3421.

Read more

Mirko’s Airtech Fitness

Mirko Bodul sent in this review on his Airtech Fitness, a French made 2-meter slope or thermal plane.

I received my FITNESS early last March and have been flying it since the end of March. A very easy plane to build and fly with no bad habits; ailerons, elevator, and rudder are the control surfaces. Stalls are nothing more than the classic “mush;” no nasty spin on the wingtip or other nerve racking behavior. The plane accelerates well in dives, and “zooms” very well for height recovery as do most Airtech planes.

This fast, 2-meter, thin winged plane flies in very light lift or in howling 35 mph winds – with no ballast. I don’t bother with ballast. I get irritated if my unballasted plane does not fly in all conditions. This plane has never irritated me. For those of you who must absolutely load up with dead weight, the plans advise no more than 500 grams of ballast, that is to say, a little over a pound. The plane comes in at about 35 ounces overall weight. Airtech, the manufacturer of this fine kit, recommends using 1.5 degrees of down aileron (flaperon) in light lift to help while flying in thermals. The S7012 airfoil is exceptionally efficient in light lift.

Airtech Fitness at Platteville, WI


Read more

Slope Scale F-20 Building Pictures

These are pix of the building of my Cavazos Sailplane Design Slope Scale F-20. This was my first Slope Scale plane but will not be my last. I really enjoyed building it. The ship turned out well and I learned a lot about building as well as finishing. I may do a few things different on the next one (a CSD P-51B) but, mostly, I am happy with how it turned out.

Special thanks to Dave Garwood for answering several questions. His experience made my job easier!

The first thing I did was to sheet the wings. I vacuum bagged them with epoxy and a layer of 1.7 glass in between the 1/16 balsa skin and the core for good epoxy adhesion.


The vertical stab was reinforced with basswood leading and trailing edges then sanded to an airfoil shape.

Same idea on the horizontal stab.
Read more

Pictures of Rob’s Gulps

I built the SR in a hurry, so didn’t add a ballast tube.

Gulp SR

I did put one in the Big Gulp, and when full, puts total weight at 4 1/2 pounds. Then I added another 1/2 pound externally, and it still worked great in a 25 MPH breeze. If I figured correct, that still only puts loading at 19 oz/sq.ft. Next time, I’ll add lead till I can’t launch it!


My First McLean Vindicator

I bought this Vindicator used on eBay and really like how it flies. It has been through a lot and is a bit heavy from several repairs but when the wind comes up, it is a blast!

Vindicator (old)

My first Vindicator. This one has a hatched fuse, big tail and 6062 airfoil.


Airfoil: modified 6061
Span: 60.0
Area: 395 sq in
Surface loading:
Weight: 43 oz (it has been repaired a few times!)
Control: Aileron, Rudder and Elevator
Radio: Hitec Super Slim, JR-341s in the wing and HS-81s in the fuse. 5 cell 600ae sized NiMh pack, which is more like 1000 MaH.
Read more

Brisk 20-25mph winds at Atwater Beach put the Barracuda in its element

I had the ‘cuda out in 20-25 mph winds today and it was really in its element. I just love flying this plane. The lift at Atwater Beach was awesome and Mirko and I both agreed that it was the best day of the year and we have already had a bunch of good ones. I thought the ‘cuda was fast the last time I was here but today it was a whole new level of speed. Halfpiping this bad boy is the most fun I’ve had sloping in a while. It has a scary fast roll rate and loves to come tearing down from several hundred feet and show off its speed. I would say screaming but the plane is very quiet. All internal linkage, a thin wing and a relatively small size don’t disrupt much air. I can’t wait to fly it again.

I love my Barracuda!

Posted by Greg Smith on Jul 11, 2002


reel barracudaI got the plane from Keith McLellan and he did me a great favor by selling this fantastic sloper. Keith had Doug Reel build this plane and speced flaps, which come in handy at our limited space LZs at our slopes. Without them it would come in pretty hot.


Span 66″
Airfoil: Don Ayres Custom
Weight: 50 ounces

After an unreasonably long time for the post office to get around to delivering this awesome plane, I finally got one of the objects of my desire! I’ve already had it out 3 times in the 4 days I’ve owned it.
Read more

Mirko likes the Pixel so much he now has 2

This 60 inch sweetie is my favorite small plane. It is a very simple build. The fixed stabs, means a very simple twist wing plane.

I have now been flying my Pixel since March 15th. In this month and a half, I have found this plane to be very versatile for a variety of conditions: from 40 mph winds to light wind conditions with pulsing thermals. In France, I have flown high winds with absolutely no ballast. I flew this plane almost every day for three weeks during the vacation in Brittany.

airtech pixel
Mirko with one of his Pixels at Warnimont Park


Read more

The Hammerhead – a new ODR from Polecat Aero

Posted by Dave Hauch on Mar 12, 2002

polecat hammerhead

from Polecat Aero

Finally got to fly my Hammerhead “One Design” 60” sloper from Conditions where on the light side , but good enough to show me this thing works!

First the fuse; lots of room for gear and ballast, and it’s beefy. Love the tail, it’s glued to a carbon tube that slides over the rear of the fuse.  Just remove two screws and it comes right off. If you happen to break a tail,  just make up another and slide it on. (I already have a backup coming, just in case)
Read more

Scroll To Top
Skip to toolbar