Performance Tuning for Gliders from Radio Carbon Art

performance tuning for gliders dvd
We’ve all had planes that fly great right out of the box or off the table and quickly become favorite planes but more often than not there is room for improvement. Luck can only get you so far. I’ve had planes over the years that never seemed to fly right and didn’t perform up to my expectations; most of the time it was simply because I never went through all the steps to really dial the glider in. Sometimes, have several favorites means a potentially great ship never gets it’s due, well, at least until it is sold and the next owner takes the time to make sure the plane is really set up right, kind of like quarterbacks for the Green Bay Packers.
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Radio Carbon Art’s F3 Building Clinic DVD

I got this 2-hour DVD on building/assembling a modern composite sailplane from Paul Naton at Radio/Carbon Art a while back and have referred back to it a couple of times after initially watching the whole thing.

F3 building clinic

Paul goes into detail about how to install radio gear, servos and receiver installation, push rods, linkages, ballast, and other building details that apply to most current F3F, F3B and F3J molded sailplanes.

As Paul mentions on his site: “Most of the kits you buy today have little or no instructions, and even though the basic building is done, there’s a lot of building still to do to ensure your plane flies at peak performance in a safe and reliable manner.” How true! It is a bit, if not a lot, intimidating to cut into a $1500-plus F3F ship even though I’ve done a bunch of them and with just a couple of tips I picked up from the video, especially soldering, I feel better about assembling my models.

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Pica Pitcheron Sloper

I finally got my Pica pitcheron sloper done and in the air. Considering it took all of about an hour to get the gear installed and the radio programmed, I am a goof for waiting so long to get this cool pitcheron slope plane in the air. The only other work I did to get it ready was to sand the leading edge a bit where the Mylars had left a bit of a ridge. From past experience with my own bagged planes as well as those from other builders, this is a good performance trick to get the most out of the airfoil and the plane.

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Viking Race 2006 is Now Complete

The Viking Race 2006, held this time in Scotland, is now complete. Looks like five rounds of racing, with one discard,  which is not what the competitiors were looking for. A minimum of ten rounds is what they hoped for. Some days of light wind, and a couple of rain, tempered the competition. Still, the results show that the cream always rise to the top.

See more complete reports at

In the end some familiar names topped the list:

Individual results:

  1. Andreas Herrig – Germany 1
  2. Martin Herrig – Germany 1
  3. Kevin Newton – England 1
  4. Helge Borcher – Germany 2
  5. John McCurdy – Late comers
  6. Espen Torp – Norway 1
  7. Arild Mollerhaug – Norway 1
  8. John Bennett – England 1
  9. Alexis Marechal – France 2
  10. Kyle Paulson – USA 1

Team competition:

  1. England 1    Kevin Newton – John Bennett – Mark Southall
  2. Germany 1    Andreas Herrig – Martin Herrig – Franz Demmler
  3. Austria 2    Lukas Gaubats – Alexander Kopecny – Arthur Frenslich
  4. Norway 1    Espen Torp – Arild Mollerhaug – Rolf Borge Retttedal
  5. Germany 2    Helge Borchert – Stefan Eder – Christian Fielder

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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WeatherBug Widget for Mac Users

If you are a Mac using slope soaring pilot this Widget for OSX is a must have! I have mine set for the data location closest to my local slope, about 6 blocks away, and check it regularly. Living on a large lake we get conditions at the lake that can often be different that just a few miles inland. Many is the day when I have been able to pop out and fly when other guys thought the wind was all wrong!
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Diamond Ridge, Washington

Posted by Chris Erikson on Jul 16, 2006, 22:40

Diamond Ridge is a satisfying, easy to access slope 40 minutes north of the Hood River area of the Columbia Gorge. The moderately open face of the slope and sub-alpine character of the trees and meadow can be rewarding to fly, and when the wind is working, the smooth, powerful, enormous air characteristic of Gorge area slopes emerges.

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1st World Sailplane Grand Prix DVD

This is a super video of the 1st World Sailplane Grand Prix for full-scale sailplanes. Of particular interest to slope soaring enthusiasts is the venue. The French Alps. The world-class pilots use a combination of thermal and slope lift for the race achieving speeds over 200kph sometimes only feet from the mountains! Very cool. Slope soaring full-scale style.

In addition to the sailplane racing footage there are some great shots of current 18-meter class sailplanes. Whether you are into slope soaring or aerotowing there are lots of sailplanes to model your scale job after.

Pilot interviews and race a race summary are also included.


JR 9303 Sailplane Article by Sherman Knight

Sherman Knight of Team JR has another great guide for sailplane set up and JR radio control. This time for the 9303. If you have read his 347 or 8103 guides, you’ll know this is a must!
I’ve used Sherman Knight’s JR 8103 set up guide for several years now, and the 347 guide before that, and it has taught me a consistent approach that really makes programming my 6-servo saiplanes a piece of cake. For me it is nice to have a systematic approach because I am prone to trying just to get the plane in the air and worry about setting up later.

When I got my JR 9303 last year I tried to use it just like my 8103s. Not quite. I got a preliminary set of Sherman’s instructions from a friend last year and, just like the 347 and 8103 guides before it this one is excellent. His recent article about how to program the JR 9303 is more of the same, indespensible if you want to  get the most from your 9303 radio and your sailplane.

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JART Fans, Rejoice! Reed’s JART World Site is Looking Good

If you know about the JART slope plane you know it is one mean looking aircraft! Reed did a great job designing and prototyping the original and now provides plans to slope soaring legions around the world!

The site,, has lots of pix, info, interviews and videos as well as a Cafe Press store to order JART gear and one of my favorites from the past, PNF stuff.

So, go check it out!

My Presentation on Radio Control Modeling to My Wife’s 2nd Grade Class

A couple of weeks ago I did a presentation on radio control models for my wife’s 2nd grade class. All 26 of them! Her class was reading the book Mr. Putter and Tabby Fly the Plane in which Mr. Putter gets a radio control plane and flies it. Wendy reads the book to her class every year and though the kids would enjoy seeing a real R/C plane in action.

I met her class on the playground of their school. I had about 30 minutes to do the presentation so I started out with a brief overview of radio control models and the different types like sailplanes, power planes and helicopters as well as other vehicles like cars. I told them that my particular interest is sailplanes and explained a bit about how they stay in the air.


I brought a few planes to show including the RaceM which I used to show how the control surfaces work and because the size of the plane is impressive. There were lots of Oohs and Aahs when I stood the RaceM on its wingtip since the span is over 10 feet. I showed the MiniSR and explained that it is made to go fast. A lot of the kids were surprised that a sailplane could look like a jet. I also had my CombatWings XE electric wing that I brought so I could show how durable a beginning RC plane can be. I also brought it to fly because the school does not have a big field and the wind was blowing 20 to 25mph!

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Buena Vista, Newark, Licking County

80 feet, bowl

Driving Directions-Exit I-70 onto northbound Buena Vista Street.  Drive north until the slope opens up on your left.  Park at the north end on a public parking lot.

Wind Directions-West to South-Southwest.

Landing Zone-pretty decent, but with a strong rotor near the lip of the slope.  If necessary, go high and fly east across Buena Vista Street and land in the farm field.

Hazards-metal guardrail at the lip of the slope

Access-public park land.  Be considerate.

Map Link

Buck Creek State Park, CJ Brown Lake, Clark County – Slope Flying Site

Buck Creek State Park,  CJ Brown Lake, Clark County

This slope flying site is a 75 foot grassy dam face in a State Park.

(note from the editor: Dam faces often work great for DS give this one a go in East wings and let us know how it goes!)

Driving Directions – From I-70 exit onto US Route 40 just east of Springfield. Go about two miles west on Rt. 40, and then turn north on Bird Road. Follow Bird Road into Buck Creek State Park, drive along the south side of the lake, and then follow the signs  around to the park headquarters

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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)

Wind: SW to NW



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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Timberwolf Mountain, Washington

Posted by Chris Erikson on Sep 17, 2005, 15:45

Chris Erikson is back with another great slope in Washington. Timberwolf Mountain is a beautiful alpine slope located at the site of a former fire lookout at 6391′. This slope offers extremely vertical lift with the correct wind direction, unbeatable views of Mt Rainier directly to the west….and very challenging terrain if you wind up down the hill. The site is 32 miles WNW of Yakima, 8 miles N of Rimrock Lake.

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Kansas F3F – August 2005

We got in a 4-round F3F race on Saturday the wind was very light, 4-7mph or so when we started and it got lighter as we went. Thermals did make the course flyable most of the time. Probably not even “legal” wind most of the time but we could fly and figured the light air practice would be better than nothing so we set up the course and proceeded to run the race.

We flew on the ENE face of Airport Hill at Wilson Lake in Central Kansas. This site has good potential if the wind comes up and is the right direction. Not real common wind direction this time of tear but it was good to see that the site will work and early season events may see ENE more often.

Ian and Andrew made the trip to central Kansas from Colorado. Greg drove from Milwaukee and the rest of the guys were local or from not too far away.

Todd and Mike both got some of the better air and that, along with some good flying, got them both their best results to date. Eric was making some really nice turns and just missed besting Jack! Watch your 6, Jack, guys are gunning for you. Chance is improving as well. Ian and Andrew got their feet wet and both showed promise. If the wind had been better I think Ian would have been very competitive. Andrew got the long walk when he landed the Discus out.

Since we started doing F3F in Kansas it has grown quite nicely. If the forecast would have been more favorable we should have had at least 12 racers, Maybe as many as 15! We are also starting to see guys running much better courses and making the commitment to get a dedicated F3F plane. I expect to see this keep growing!

Here is how they finished.

Results for 08-20-05

1 – 3846.31 – Todd Martin – Flash
2 – 3826.80 – Mike Bailey – Nemesis
3 – 3783.97 – Greg Smith – Viper/Passion
4 – 3486.39 – Jack Cooper – Mini Charisma/2.5 Meter Discus 2B
5 – 3438.21 – Erik Eaton – Banana
6 – 3360.46 – Ian – Sting
7 – 3131.99 – Merrell Anderson – Banana
8 – 2570.57 – Chance Cooper – Vortex
9 – 1980.30 – Andrew – Lumberjack/2.5-Meter Discus 2B

My Weekend at Glider Point

Eric Hvinden sent in this story.

My Weekend at Glider Point

Having previously been hooked by the slope flying bug, I had gotten away from flying after an incident several years ago involving R/C Sailplanes, Pellet Guns and a Homeowners association. Needless to say, I needed a new place to fly. Living in Southern California, with the building of new homes occurring at an all time rate, and flying sites being bulldozed, I looked for a place that was relatively close, relatively accessible, and fun to fly. Looking on the Internet, I found Glider Point in Chino Hills State Park. It is located in the Chino Hills State Park, but access is from a residential neighborhood, where they have built homes right against the park boundary. The residential neighborhood has posted signs of no parking from 7PM to 8AM. The park officially closes at dusk, but the parking is only allowed until 7PM (A problem in Summer hours).
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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.

Slope at West Rock Park in West Haven Connecticut

Bill sent in another Connecticut slope. This one in West Haven.

I have another one that is unbelievable, and I am quite suprised that I seem to have “discovered” it. It is at West Rock in West Haven CT. West Rock is a delapidated park that nobody goes to. Most people go to East Rock to gawk at the city below. West Rock is a southwest facing cliff, over looking West Haven with a large open parking lot that has suprisingly smooth air to land. I had a combination of nice slope air and old fashioned lift from the city below, specked out easily. The cliff face has to be about 2 to 300 feet high, with little obstruction from trees. The day I flew I was able to drive my car right up to the top, but I hear that the park is suppose to be closed and cars are usually parked at the bottom when the gate is closed. I will look into that.

Looking at West Rock Park from the bottom
Launch area
The parking lot at the top


Slope Site Near Mohave Valley, Arizona

Tom Chant sent us this story about a slope soaring site near Mohave Valley, Arizona.

I live just south of Laughlin, Nevada in the fast growing area called Mohave Valley, AZ. we are about 115 miles southeast of Las Vegas, NV.

Since moving here in 2002 I have found many slope sites as the wind only blows twice a year in this area, 6 months from the north and 6 months from the south.

This spring I was at an inter-club fun fly at Kingman, AZ. We stopped flying the gassers for lunch and the Kingman group fed us burgers and hot dogs with all the trimmings and comforts of home. While sitting at lunch I happened to try to explain the fun of slope flying to some of my gasser buddies. They were somewhat interested and one of the wives spoke up and said that she had just the spot for that kind of thing!!! Well, I listened and she gave very precise directions to a Department of the Interior US Forest campground that had recently had a fine road built to give better public access.

I found the location that afternoon and it is spectacular!! to say the least, the hill is at 6700 ft. above sea level so it gives a cool spot for summer flying.

Stop it! How do you get there! Well first you have to dream, then you have to pray, and then be willing.

Take Hwy 93 north from Golden Valley of Kingman toward the Hoover Dam and Vegas, go past the turnoff to the town of Chloride about 1.5 miles to Big Wash Road, turn right 11 miles to Windy Point Recreation Area, the road continues onto Cherum peak. The road near the Windy Point has been great with the southwest wind of spring and summer and the campground is great with a north wind.

I am always available to fly. If you are in Vegas or on the river at Laughlin give me, Tom Chant, a call and put this location on the site locator.
Home 928-788-0335
Cell 928-542-5167

If you are in Vegas and are headed here take Boulder Hwy to Hoover Dam, cross the dam go about 70 miles to Big Wash Rd. turn left go 11 miles on the dirt road, the dirt road is well maintained and any two wheel drive car can make it without any problems.

One thing I missed is the campground has restrooms fire rings picnic tables area for tent camping and RV s have fun and call me if you come up.

I remember this story that the guy that sold me my home, he said that I was going to have all my toys and no one to play with, well I am having too much fun to worry about you guys but come, hang out, have fun and fly a great site in northwest AZ.

Kansas F3F – July 2005

We had a good day of racing in central Kansas on Saturday. 10 rounds of action at two different slopes made up the competition.

We started the day with a southwest wind and raced 4 rounds of thermal lottery at the German Caves. The Caves are a 200 plus foot limestone bluff facing southwest. Jeff had good air and a good plane in his Image for the light, thermally conditions and set the early pace. If the competition had ended there he’d have been the king.

Erik’s Banana at the Caves.

Merrel rounding Base B at the Caves.

About 2PM the wind had shifted enough southeast to go the main slope at Wilson Lake, site of the Midwest Slope Challenge, and resume the competition. We flew an additional 6 rounds there and for the final standings combined both venues into a single score. 10 rounds with one throw out. At the end of the day Greg narrowly edged out Jack with Mike third.

Kudos to Jack who was really competitive with a 60-inch MiniBlade. He was consistently flying the shortest course possible and wringing that little plane for all it was worth and if that weren’t enough for the MiniBlade, he proceeded to wrap it up fast in the DS groove at the dam after the event.

Merrel and Mike both broke into the 50’s with Mike having a fastest round.

Pat and Randy traded off with Randy’s Nemesis after Pat’s Tragi suffered a cracked tail boom while Pat also used his ODR Fun-1 for some good times.

Erik and Chance flew fast but a bit long on the course. With some practice they will be in the hunt.

All Jeff needs to be very competitive is a more capable plane. The Image shined in the light air but suffered when the wind at the lake came up and was crossing the slope at up to 30 degrees.

Me missed Mr.Clean at the Lake slope but he will be back for the next one!

In 10 rounds there were 5 guys who had fasted time for the round. Everyone had a blast and this was the largest turnout we’ve had for an F3F in Kansas with 12 registered and 10 actually racing. Several guys experienced their first event and showed marked improvement over the day. Here’s hoping for more participation in the future.

We are going to try to get in more racing on Sunday. We’ll see how it goes.

Scoring Results For: Kansas July F3f

10 Rounds Flown
1 Throw Out Allowed

Fastest Time: Greg Smith – 55.36

Overall Pilot Name Total
Rank Points

1 Greg Smith 8518.74
2 Jack Cooper 8501.75
3 Mike Bailey 8242.41
4 Pat McCleave 7955.51
5 Jeff B 7914.71
6 Merrel Anderson 7830.27
7 Randy McCleave 7757.26
8 Erik Eaton 7530.07
9 Chance Cooper 6700.38
10 Bill Crane 3141.91 (4 rounds)

Midwest Slope Challenge 2005 Report

All the elements for a great Midwest Slope Challenge were in place. Over 50 pilots, a great site, lots of planes. Only one real problem, not much wind on contest days. No matter, that did not keep the assembled slopers from having a great time, with most vowing to return next year.

Thursday, before the official start of the event, was great, 20-25 mph winds and lots of flying. I flew a ton of stuff. ‘Cuda, Erwin 5, Opus, RaceM and Fun-1 to name a few. Pat McCleave had his new LEG Reno Racer Mustang out and it looked great. The extra detail the sponsor words provide make it look excellent in the air. Todd had his LEG P-63 going well. Jack flew the heck out of his 72-inch design, the Corssover. Lots of other guys were out flying all day the lift was really working well and as the evening progressed the air smoothed out for a super finish to an awesome day.

Friday was a rain out with a few flights thrown in between the drops. Lots of building happened at the LEG shop. Electrics and DLGs were seen in abundance. Jim Porter got out his big, honkin’ bungee and was launching his X-21 into the thermal lift.

Pat McCleave’s LEG Mustang


Saturday started with the Combat event. There was little wind at the end of Airport Hill but I like a low wind combat event. It keeps every one down low where Combat belongs. That said another 5mph would have been perfect. Somehow I managed to win with a CombatWings XL. Because the MWSC rules allowed for it I switched to a Weasel for round 3 to try it out! Pretty fun. Emil Weiler took 5th with his Weasel with which he flew every round!

Saturday afternoon we moved to a better hill and had the ODR competition. Light but flyable wind most of the time. If a thermal came through during your heat there was some pretty good racing. Other times it was a survival event. Again, I managed to win this one despite there being some really good pilots nipping at my heels. The light conditions favored  lighter models and building straight and true is never more important than when the lift is light! Don’t worry, the winning Fun-1 will not be back in the same form. I folded the wing DSing it on Monday. The fuse survived though so Son of Fun-1 will return with a change I’ve been wanting to make anyway.

Todd Martin’s P-63


Sunday started out dreary with light wind so the Unlimited and Warbird races were cancelled. For those who stayed the wind turned on about 2 PM and the conditions were great!

In any case it was fun to see old friends and get to fly with them again. For me this contest is as much or more about the people as it is about the flying. That said I’d like to have had a shot at those other two trophies!

Monday was an epic day as we had 40mph plus winds hitting the DS slope dead on and then, after most of our planes became unflyable for one reason (tree) or another (stripped servos, etc.) we headed to a super secret slope on a private ranch that is 300 feet high with the last 100 shear limestone. Truly spectacular!

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.

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:

Sad News – Slope Pilot Eric Molstead Perished in a Full Sized Plane Crash

The RC soaring community suffered a tragic loss with the death of Eric Molstead in a light plane crash near Vancover Washington’s Pearson Field. Very sad news indeed.

There is a thread at RC Groups that may help if you feel like talking about Eric and your memories of him.

After corresponding many times via email, I had the opportunity to meet and talk with Eric at Soar Utah 2004 and found him to be a really super guy. As you all may know from other posts, his build quality was fantastic and his knowledge was an asset to the soaring community. Eric contributed to this web site several times and was a genuinely nice guy. I will miss him.

My next in person meeting with Eric was to be at the Tri-Slope in only a couple of weeks. I am sorry that I did not get to know Eric better and send my heart felt condolences to those of you who were lucky to know him better than I, as well as to his friends and loved ones outside the RC soaring community.

Eric, I hope the slopes are big and the wind is in your face. So long.


Allan’s NoCal Site in Sonoma County

Allan Carstensen sent in this story.

Hi Greg. I noticed that you don’t have many flying sites listed in Northern California. Well I’ve got a great site for you. I’m usually the only RC’er there and once in a while I get to fly along with an occasional hang glider or paraglider, as well as hawks, osprey and gulls.

The spot is Goat Rock State Park on the Sonoma County coastline, where the Russian River empties into the Pacific. You can fly in winds from  the north-west to the south.

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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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Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper

Hey, y’all sorry for the delay with the report. I recently spent several days with Jack Cooper of Leading Edge Gliders working on a video project that you will see in the not too distant future. We are at the editing stage which often takes longer than I expect but I think the effort will be worth it. Jack is a super builder and we got a lot of his most prized tips on tape. As you probably already know, Jack is a great guy and really knows his stuff.

Of course the shoot went longer than I’d planned which meant that I was way behind when I got home. Been catching up since. Well that and we have had a couple of days of flyable weather here and that almost always tends to derail my plans. As you know, you gotta fly when the conditions permit!

The plane in the sunset shots is one of Jack’s Hughes H-1s and it flies pretty much like all his 60-inch planes which is to say really sweet. This one is actually belongs to and was built by Erik Eaton but he let us borrow it for some pix. Erik did a really sweet job shaping and finishing the plane. He is somewhat of a perfectionist and it shows. Well, that and access to Jack’s shop can’t hurt! The wind never really got blowing but the Hughes works well even in 10 mph of wind.
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SkyKing RC Products Reintroduces DAW 1-26s

Dave’s 1-26 is one of the best “do it all” EPP planes available. This may be the most popular EPP 2-meter ever made. Beginners and experienced pilots alike LOVE this airplane. Sky King is bringing back both the 2-meter and 60 HLG versions of this classic plane.

Sky King RC Products has spent the past year or more reintroducing some of the most well known slope planes of the last 20 years. The classic DAW 1-26 is no exception.

The 2-meter DAW 1-26 is one of the best all around planes out there. Many evenings have been spent flying in close formation with 4 to 6 of these tough birds in the “magic” air at the end of the day during the Midwest Slope Challenge. The air gets calm but there is just enough lift for these super planes to fly endlessly 2 to 25 feet over the edge of the slope. It is a riot to do low speed pylon racing with the inevirtable shunt only requiring a toss back into the action. Add a tree and a figure 8 pattern and you have somem of the most fun sloping I’ve done!

DAW 1-26 2-meter


When the wind comes up the fun with the doesn’t stop with the 2-meter 1-26. This plane makes an excellent first aileron ship as well as an really nice aerobatic trainer fro those just getting started flying at odd angles!

DAW 1-26 60-inch HLG


The 60-inch DAW 1-26 HLG is a fantastic plane to have in your car. It is always ready for action and with an aileron or polyhedral version available this plane can be enjoyed by pilots of all skill levels.

Check the both out at Sky King RC Products.

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.
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Review of the SkyKing RC Products Lost Model Alarm

Anyone that has flown on a slope before knows that sooner or later your plane will go down but where it lands sometimes can be a real mystery. Most of us have spent more time than we’d like to admit walking around aimlessly hoping to find our missing airplane. I hate when that happens and if you don’t find your plane it’s enough to get a guy really angry or depressed or both.

Several years ago I discovered a lost model locator made in New Zealand. I ordered them from a web site that is no longer in business. In fact, the company in New Zealand quit making these fantastic lost model locators all together.

I have tried similar products made in South Africa and China but none of them measured up to the New Zealand screamers. They were either too weak sounding or they just produced a series of beeps that were hard to hear with all of the other noise typical of most slope locations.

SkyKing RC Products has just introduced an American made lost model alarm that retains some of the great features of the NZ alarms but with an added feature of a low voltage alarm.

You can easily install this alarm in any EPP model by sharpening the end of a ½” OD brass tube. You just drill a hole and insert the alarm in it. No glue required. It’s a perfect and tight fit. It also makes it easy to remove and use in a different model. In a crunchy, you can just glue the locator to any convenient location inside the fuselage.

In order to use the alarm you just plug it into a spare receiver channel. It doesn’t matter which one. If you don’t have a spare channel the alarm has a built in “Y” harness feature. Just plug your servo into the lost model alarms and plug the lead coming from the alarm into your receiver. The signal will pass through the alarm and go straight to your receiver.

When you turn your transmitter off, the lost model alarm signal will begin to sound. It uses the receiver battery pack for power. A fully charged pack will allow the alarm to run for nearly three full days, which hopefully will be more than enough time to find your model.

Here’s what sets these alarms apart from all the others I’ve tried. They are really loud and the signal is a series of rising and falling tones that are not easily masked by wind or bug noise. The others I’ve tried use a beep tone that does not change in pitch so they are not nearly as effective at providing an easy to hear and follow directional signal path.

The alarm’s low battery warning is really quite sophisticated. YOU CAN USE 4 OR 5 CELL PACKS with this locator. All the other alarms with low battery detection only allow you to use four cell packs. The SkyKing locator’s circuit can detect the cell count difference.

When you first turn your RX on the locator will emit either 4 or 5 beeps depending upon what number of cells are in your receiver battery pack. If your pack is within the safe limits of flight the alarm will remain silent. But, if your pack is too low for safe flight (below 1.15 volts per cell) the alarm will emit a very annoying sound that reminds me of the music from the shower scene in Psycho. You can test out these two sounds at:

In flight if you should hear the shower scene music you know you better land. The other alarms have you count beeps in order to determine your battery condition. Try that sometime on a windy day. Was that two beeps I heard or three or was it four and what do those different beeps mean again?  Well, you get the idea. It’s a lot easier to hear nothing or an easy to identify signal.

I liked all the features of this product. I also liked the fact that it was made in the USA and I liked the price. This is a very cheap insurance policy. If you lose even the most basic plane you’ve probably lost at least $250. I put one in every plane I fly on the slope. That’s how much I believe in the concept.

But that’s just one mans opinion.

Perecman Router Base And Templates

I’m a sucker for tools and gadgets. I’ll admit that up front. I buy a lot of stuff that looks good in the ad but when I finally get it and use it I am often disappointed. When I saw a write up about the Perecman router base and template set a bell went off and I placed my order. Everything arrived  from SkyKing RC Products ( about four days after I placed my order. That was a good start.

The first thing you need to know before rushing out to buy this tool is that you will need to own a Dremel Router base. You will be using some of the parts from the Dremel base along with the Perecman items. Here’s what the $29.99 kit consists of. A clear Plexiglass base that replaces the base that comes with a Dremel router attachment, a router bit and five clear Plexiglass servo templates.
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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

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Dremel 8000-01 10.8 Volt Lithium-Ion Cordless Rotary Tool

I bought this model while I was attending Soar Utah 2004. I left my trusty 7.2 volt Multipro at home and REALLY needed a Dremel to finish up the installation of the radio gear in my RaceM. I bought the tool at Lowe’s but you can get this model a lot of places.

This Dremel is a 10.8V rotary tool with variable speeds from 5,000 – 35,000 rpm. This is the first Dremel with a Lithium-Ion battery. If you are into electric models you know this means more voltage and longer run times in a nice, compact package. Lithium-Ion batteries hold a charge up to six times longer in storage than Ni-Cad batteries, so it’s ready when you are. The manufacturer says the new Lithium-Ion Cordless is the strongest, fastest, highest performing cordless rotary tool on the market. From my experience I don’t doubt it!
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Dremel 7700-01 MultiPro Cordless Tool Kit

Posted by Greg Smith on Nov 18, 2004

Dremel 7700-01 MultiPro Cordless Tool Kit

dremel 7700The 7700-01 is an update of one of my most used Dremel tools, my original red and black, 7.2 volt MultiPro model 770. In fact, when I went to buy this new tool I thought I was just getting another one like I already owned. I wanted a second unit and there was a good sale at the local Ace store. I travel to different flying spots in different states quite often and previously had forgotten my Dremel while hastily packing the flight box. No more, I wanted a tool for the road and this is the one!
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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.

Hangar 9 Double Vision Fast Field Charger

I’ve been using this charger for several years and it is a super unit. I have both JR and Hitec radios and the ability to have one field charger do it all has been great.

The Double Vision will reliably peak charge all types of transmitters, regardless of brand, polarity, or if the transmitter has a built-in diode. A “TX Polarity” switch located on the charger is switched to match the transmitter being charged. Choose either the “JR” position for JR radios or “STD” (standard) for Futaba, Hitec, Airtronics, Multiplex, or other transmitters. If the switch is accidentally left in the wrong position and you push the “Charge” button, nothing will happen. A universal transmitter plug is attached that fits all transmitters. If the transmitter you are charging has a diode, just push and hold the “Start” button for 10 seconds and a normal charge cycle will begin bypassing the diode. It also handles all types and sizes of 4-cell and 5-cell receiver packs, including NiMH batteries. It can also charge glow drivers. In addition you can charge both transmitter and receiver packs at the same time.

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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

Columbus Day 2004 – Wilson Lake, Kansas

Greg and Mirko took a trip to Wilson Lake, Kansas for what has become a tradition, the Columbus Day slope get together at one of the Midwest’s best known slope sites.

Mirko and I left Milwaukee dark and early on Thursday at 5 AM for the 12 hour drive to Wilson Lake near Lucas, Kansas. We took a different route that I had been using in the past and it seems like a better way to go. Basically I-80 to York, Nebraska and then south on US-81 which is now 4-lane all the way to Salina, Kansas. Very nice.

We got to the lake about 5:30 PM and met a few guys just packing it up for the day. We were still in for a couple of hours of flying! We didn’t drive all this way for nothing! The highlight for me was the first flight of my Erwin 5. The wind was light but it was “magic air”, the buoyant air at the end of the day, and the Erwin loved it. I spent quite a bit of the remaining daylight sorting and tweaking.

After it got dark we headed over to Jack Cooper’s new home and the new shop for Leading Edge Gliders. Very nice!
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Mirko Reports on the 2004 Soar Utah Event


Greg and I left Milwaukee late Monday afternoon, the 30th of August for our latest Safari with Salt Lake City as our final destination. We had plans to fly the Chamberlain, SD area, (depending on the wind direction) and wherever we could in Wyoming. We picked up Emil in Sioux Falls the next morning and headed over to the Missouri River, a two hour drive, just south of Chamberlain.

When we got there, we were greeted with no wind, and stifling heat. Temperatures would run into the 90s for the next several days until we got to Salt Lake City. I did a little hand tossing of my new PIXEL, testing the trim, and found it perfect. Emil, and Greg, were also launching with no results, so the three amigos decided to push on to other unexplored areas on the way to our final stop: Templetown, aka Salt Lake City.

We worked our way along I-90 westward and just after Kadoka, SD, we exited on state HWY 73 toward Philip, up to Billsburg, through Hartly, then still staying on 73 stopped above the Cheyenne River where we found bluffs facing west to north. This was before the descent to the bridge. It was a 50 to 100 yard walk to this face. Greg and Emil flew here for a while, but winds were light. After about an hour here we moved on to Howes where we continued on HWY 34 to White Owl, Enning, Union Center, then found a spot near where the road crossed the Belle Fourche River just around Volunteer. We called this spot “Junkyard hill,” due to a pile of junked cars near where Greg and Emil flew their planes while I languished near the van. On this day I found the heat too grim to fly, especially with such light winds.

After about a half hour of that we kept moving west on HWY 34 to Sturgis where we rejoined I-90 and headed on to Wyoming to Gillette, where we had supper, then finally to Buffalo, where we found a motel for the night.

The next morning, September 1st, while having breakfast in Buffalo, Greg noticed a big hill just outside of town. This was just west of Buffalo on HWY 16. We drove up a dirt road to a fairly good site, but again, the wind was inconsistent, and light. So we departed westward on HWY 16 for the southern pass of the Bighorn Mountains. Taking the Cloud Peak Scenic Byway over the Powder River pass, we finally came to a gravel parking area in Ten Sleep Canyon. Here we flew for about 45 minutes with a pretty decent wind coming up the canyon.

Next, we passed Worland, then moved on to Thermopolis and the Wind River Canyon. Here we found a dirt (what else!) road on BLM land leading to another series of bluffs overlooking a valley and the road below. Plenty of wind here but to me the lift was very uneven. Due to a hill about a half-a-mile across the valley, there was a lot of rotor coming in front of this 200 ft bluff. So we left here after about an hour, and moved on with all three of us giving different explanations for the uneven lift at this site.

It was mid-afternoon and we hit the road for Evanston, but on the way by way of HWY 20, to Shoshoni, then HWY 26 to Riverton, then Hwy 789 to Lander, and from there HWY 28, where 16 miles from Lander we found the best spot of this two day slope hunt. This was Red Canyon Rim. We pulled off the road and parked next to the guardrail; a barbed wire fence kept you from falling off the slope edge; there was a nice large flat landing zone to the left of our launching area, but on the other side of the fence. The wind was light but consistent from the NW. This slope should work WNW to NNW. Greg and Emil flew Weasels and Pixels while I took pictures. After flying for a while, we all wished that we would have found this spot earlier in the day. The light, late afternoon winds were producing great lift. Notable names adjacent to this area were Young Mountain, Limestone Mountain, and Iron Mountain. This was north of I-80 halfway between Rawlins and Rock Springs.

We rejoined I-80 at Rock Springs and went on to Evanston where we found a motel for the night. The next morning Thursday, we headed for Temple Town, about 80 miles away.

Soar Utah 2004 Mini Report

Mirko, Emil and I arrived on Thursday about noon and headed to Point of the Mountain. The wind was good and the lift was building. With a minor exception on Saturday AM we have had great flying conditions at POM North for the last three days. This is truly one of the very best slopes in the country.

Brian Laird’s BD-5 ripping it up on Thursday

Lots of PSS action. Some big scale ships and a whole slew of slopers are flying. The conditions mean that you can fly just about anything you brought. I had 20 ounces in the already 57 ounce Opus and could have added the wing ballast as well.

Of note to a few of us Mirko finally, after almost 3 years, got the first flight on his 4.3 Meter ASW-15B. The flight was almost anticlimatic. Owing to the 17 pound weight, and Mirko’s experience launching big tubs, he decided to do the launch duties while I did the flying duties. Thanks, Mirko! So, Mirko, with a herculean effort, threw the big ship into the lift. I jabbed down on the elevator and built up some speed and then didn’t touch the stick for about 10 seconds. The plane just flew straight and true, climbing a bit. It needed some significant down trim but after that I tooled around for a couple minutes gaining several hundred feet getting the feel of the plane. About 2 minutes into the flight, and feeling confident in the planes abilities, I dove it down and checked the roll rate. Not fast but it sure was cool to see the big ship do a nice roll! Mirko, having recovered from his launch effort glommed on to the transmitter after I had been flying and trimming for about 5 minutes. Must be nice to get a trimmed out plane when you waited three years to fly it! He sure looked happy! Guess the drive to Utah was worth the trip! So easy to fly was the ASW-15 that Mirko even handed the transmitter to Emil for a bit. Very nice flying tub.

Mirko’s 4.3 meter EMS ASW 15B

I’ll be doing a more detailed report when I get home. I have a bunch of photos and will post those as well. Stay tuned!

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.
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Bear Tooth Highway West Summit, 10,947 feet!

beartooth slope photo The West Summit of the Bear Tooth Pass is at 10,947 feet. What a view! Actually, everything from this point is down so slopes exist all over. The two I flew were just a couple of the many available.

Site one
At the sign for the West Summit there is a turnoff and parking area. On the day I was there the wind was westerly and I just walked a bit away from the parking lot and tossed the Weasel. It flew great. The slope at this point is not really steep but the Weasel made the most of the site. If I ranged farther over the road there was a terrific elevator of lift and at times I wondered if I could get the little Weasel down!
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Idaho Slope Flying Site

David sent in this report. He is in Rexburg, in eastern Idaho. North of Idaho Falls.

Here is his report on a nice slope on public (BLM) land. It’s a bit of a trek on unmaintained dirt roads, so you’ll need a vehicle with good ground clearance. I go in my Chevy Astro van, but I bottom out sometimes. Better in a truck.

photo by Lynn Johnson

The slope has very nice south/southwest exposure, which is in the direction of the prevailing winds. There is also an adjacent bowl, from which you could do anything from straight west, through south, to right east. No northern exposure.
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Beartooth Pass Montana Slope Spot, Rock Creek Vista

Whenever I am out west on vacation I usually find a way to get to Beartooth Pass. The road between Red Lodge, Montana and the NE gate of Yellowstone Park. On this trip I had several slope planes along and tried several slope spots on the drive. This one describes the Rock Creek Vista overlook.

Heading out of Read Lodge take US Hwy 212 up towards Bear Tooth Pass. This is one of the most scenic drives in the entire United States and would be worth the drive even if it were not for the many slope flying opportunities that are presented along the way. Venerable CBS newsman, Charles Kuralt has called this road “America’s most beautiful highway.”

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Midwest Slope Challenge 2004 Coverage

The Midwest Slope Challenge 2004 was one of the best on record and THE best I’ve attended in my 5 years of going to the contest. I arrived a couple of days early this year and stayed a couple of days afterward. I plan to do the same next year. Some of the best times of the weekend were non competition happenings and I look forward to more of the same.

Note: I’ve included a few pix with this story but there is a big gallery of 247 pix that is available here.

I was able to get going at 5:30 AM and of the 12-hour drive to Kansas from Milwaukee, I spent 11:38 in the vehicle! 2 gas stops and that was it. The idea was to get some flying in before dark on Wednesday.

The wind was north when I arrived at Palmer’s Pasture at 6PM or so. There were a few guys flying including Jim Porter who was flying his Elita.
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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.

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McKinnley Ridge in Southwestern Washington

Posted by Eric Molstead on Apr 26, 2004, 22:56

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.

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.
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Glen Rose soaring site

Glen Rose, TX, is a small town roughly between nowhere and nothing, west of Waco and SW of Dallas, and Dinosaur Valley State Park is just outside of Glen Rose.  I found a nice slope inside the park overlooking a graceful bend in the Paluxy River that faces roughly SE to SW, with most of the slope facing due south.

The frontside of the slope is covered in mountain juniper, but has a few holes where you can see out and land.  A trail runs up the ridge and requires a crossing of the river from the parking area, but this shouldn’t be a problem unless the water level is quite high.
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Badger Mountian Washington

Badger Mountian Washington Sunday March 14, 2004

One of my favorite Slope soaring sites, about 20 minutes from downtown East Wenatchee, Washington, just a few miles from the site Clyde Pangborn and Hugh Herndon bellie landed the “Miss Veedol” after the first nonstop Transpacific flight, october 5th 1931.

The site is located to the north of a Radio Transmission site on Badger Mountain about 9 miles east of the town East Wenatchee, WA.

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Two More Slopes Near Houghton

I found two more great slopes near Houghton, MI

1. East facing slope near WalMart. This slope is about 200 ft high. It faces the highway that goes south from here (US 29 ) (Taco Bell, Walmart etc.). The top of the slope is occupied by “The Bluffs” an apartment complex for retirement-age folks. Between the apartment building and the slope is a paved trail (maybe for jogging and biking). There was no indication of who owns the trail and no “no trespassing” signs. The slope of the slope is maybe 45 degrees. There is a gravel access road about 75 ft down the slope accessible from the north. This road is marked “private property” but it doesn’t say “no trespassing”. Presently, whoever manages the slope had put a geo-fabric and grass on it and is watering it in the hopes that the grass will prevent erosion. I went there one day to test the air. A wind which was easterly 10 mph on the flat was turned into a 25 mph gale on the slope. I have never flown my gliders in such a wind, so I didn’t try it.

2. The other slope faces west, which is the direction of the prevailing winds here. This slope is just east of Superior Sand and Gravel. The location is just outside of the west end of Hancock Michigan. Superior Sand and Gravel occupies the base of the hill. On top of the hill is the Houghton County Arena and Fairgrounds. The slope is between the two. A high tension power line runs nearly parallel to the slope. The land just in from the top of the slope is maybe a jogging/nordic skiing trail area. You can drive/follow trails to the lip of the slope. This slope must be about 200 ft high. I have not been there when the wind is blowing. Again, I need to practice on smaller slopes before throwing my airplane of this one.

I asked at Superior Sand and Gravel about flying there. They didn’t seem to mind. I must say that there is a certain element of danger with that high cliff.

Also, there is a site near Eagle Harbor which looks good for thermal flying. It is waste basalt sand from a former copper mining operation. It may be reached by driving south past the Eagle Harbor cemetery and continuing more or less south for 2.5 miles. The site is privately owned but there are no “no trespassing” signs. There is a cable across the road but it may be just lifted off the post. The site is pretty much flat and is maybe 800 by 800 ft. (~ 16 acres). Unfortunately, it is also sometimes  a playground for people with two, three or four wheel bikes. A dozen or so of them came by when I was trying to fly, and I was quite concerned about them running over my airplane or tangling my high start.

Chuck Young

Massachusetts Slope Site in the Berkshires

Here’s a great slope site in Mass, The Mohawk Trail. 800 vertical feet high at least. West facing slope and the wind is always west here.

Here’s a panoramic shot.

The spot is the western most summit of the Mohawk Trail,  Heading out of North Adams follow RT.2  East – after a short drive up the mountain you will come to the Deadman’s curve “almost a 360 degree turn, then up another long ascent. At the very top of that first summit is a gift shop, directly across the street on that corner is a small dirt road. Down the dirt road 50 yards park next to the large antenna and radio shack, follow the trail in back of the shack to the launching site. 800 vertical feet below you, always a strong west wind. Tough landing EPP slopers  recommended.

MacFoil Airfoil Plotter

MacFoil is a shareware Macintosh program that creates plots of airfoils, and is intended for builders of model airplanes. I have been using the program for about 4 years and it works great!

MacFoil is a shareware Macintosh airfoil plotting program developed by Dave Johnson. Here is a description of what MacFoil is from the MacFoil website at:

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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.

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Lawrencetown Slope Soaring near Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Lawrencetown Slope Soaring near Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

A small group of us slope soar near Halifax at Lawrencetown on a bluff right on the Atlantic Ocean.
This is our site which includes three image galleries and a small movie:

This is our informal forum/log/story page:

-Steve Ryan

Steve and his SR-7

Stormeflyers Club in North Wales

We are a small active group of all weather flyers who are fortunate enough to live within the close proximity of the Great Orme in beautiful North Wales who fly various radio control model gliders ranging from dynamic soaring to combat EPP to full blown composite screamers and PSS.

Visit the club’s website:

Sloping at Sentinel Gap (Saddle Mtn West)

Posted by Chris Erikson on Oct 26, 2003, 15:35


The Sentinel Gap slope site is on the extreme west end of Saddle mountain, overlooking the Columbia river. It is easily the most spectacular flying site on the Saddle mountain complex, quite a statement for an isolated mountain known for it’s incredible views and the expansive scenery at every site.

Copyright Chris Erikson 2003

Location: Central Washington, 20 Miles SW of Moses lake


Driving Time: 2.5 hours from Seattle

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Sloping in Saint John, New Brunswick

Slope flying at Red Head Slope facing due South in Saint John N.B. Overlooking the Bay Of Fundy.

The slope is at a former Coast Guard site, and as far as I know it still is. The site is only good for South and South-West wind, but that is the direction the wind blows most of the time. It is a beautiful site with about 80-100′ bank, and the slope is about 1 mile long. There are always some bubbles around too as a small arm of land is sticking out on the left side about a 1/4 mile away from the slope. The landing site is a bit of a challenge due to the rotor, but it is all flat and covered with a hardy green plant about 3 feet high and it makes for a good cushion if you miss the little grassy spot about 50′ square.
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Slope Soaring Near Birmingham

Jim Larkin sent us this story from Birmingham. Thanks, Jim!

We have a slope here in Birmingham, AL, but only for NW winds or something very close. It is a cleared off mountain top that homes are being built on. Construction presently stopped due to some fill dirt settling and some cracks have resulted. So, we can fly for a while. The name of the site is The Ledges of Weatherly and is south of Birmingham, in the Pelham area.

We don’t get much NW, mostly when we have a weather change. Usually pretty turbulent so we fly mostly foamies.

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

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Hitec Flash 5x Radio Control Transmitter

hitec flash 5


Flash 5 System X

The Flash 5 System X computer radio from Hitec RCD is a great value. It sports  features like a five model memory, digital trims, “AutoSave”, lots of mixes and 3 special flight modes for sport models, sailplanes and electrics. No other radio can touch the Flash 5 SX for quality and value. Available in both a standard version with the HS-422 servos and in a micro package with small HS-81 servos.
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Winter Sloping in England

Hi Greg,

I do have a few stories about slope soaring.

Let me tell you about the annual Christmas slope outing. Every Christmas I go out into Derbyshire, sometimes I can persuade other pilots to come along.The idea is to fly over the Christmas holiday period, a day is chosen fingers crossed it is dry, the temperature at the top of the hill is very often minus 5 to minus 15.

One of my favourite slope sites is located between Castleton and Edale in the Derbyshire Peak District.
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Slope Flying at Cadillac Mountain

I was on vacation in Maine with my family where we made the trip from Bangor to Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor for some sight seeing and some flying at Cadillac Mountain.

I flew the Combat Wings XL at the Blue Mountain Overlook just below the summit of Cadillac Mountain. The wind was coming in at about 15 and just slightly right. I launched just in front of the parking lot and found the lift a bit choppy in close so I headed further out and the lift became much smoother and was nice and strong. I think any plane would have flown there today but I would suggest being very familiar with any crunchy so you can hand catch it. The LZ is either solid granite or very thick brush, so I chose the brush.

Texas Slope Sites in Travis County

Texas -Travis county (about 5 miles west of Austin.)

Mansfield Dam.

Off of 620, a few miles south of 620 and 2222. 30 deg 23.672′ N and 97 deg 54.538′ W, at an altitude of 751 feet.

We fly out of the parking lot at the north-west side of the dam. It’s good in south to south west winds, and the dam itself also creates some good thermals, so you can fly with no wind if you have a light  enough plane.

Note that this isn’t a good place for beginners, or for combat, or for planes that aren’t reliable. If your plane goes down, it could easily go down in tall trees, rugged terrain, on the dam itself (which is closed due to 9/11 paranoia) or even in the water. Also, if you don’t get any lift right after your first throw, you’re not likely to be able to bring your plane back. So until you get a feel for the place, I suggest flying an electric plane (Zagi 400x works well, and will slope with no motor use in 5-10 mph), or a floater with a hi-start (giving you plenty of altitude to work with.)

You can get an idea of the weather there, here:

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Cape Cod Sloping June 23rd to 27th

We arrived at the Seascape Motel on Monday evening after an 8-hour drive from Philly. I checked in, unloaded the family and the car and stepped out the ocean side door to behold a beautiful sight. The 80-foot (give or take a few feet) slope about 20 steps from my door. There was a light SW breeze coming in and a lazy 30-minute flight with the Cyberdyne DLG was just what the doctor ordered after the drive to get here. The poly Cyberdyne makes a good sloper in light air.

Tuesday started out with a very light wind so the family and I went on a whale-watching trip on the Portuguese Princess. We saw a couple of whales and my daughter, Sydney, loved it! One of the whales was a Finback and was about 60 foot long. It made several passes close to the boat. We also spent some time sluffing around Provincetown.
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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.
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Midwest Slope Challenge 2003 Coverage

Another MWSC is in the books. This was the 10th Annual event and has become one of the biggest slope pilot gatherings in the US. Nearly 60 pilots from 13 states as well as Germany and England made the trip to central Kansas for several different events run over 4 days.

A photo gallery with over 300 pix is available here.

Pilots started arriving on Sunday, almost a full week before the competitive events, to fly the slope overlooking Wilson Lake, KS. Some of the early arrivals included New York Slope Dogs Dave Garwood and Joe Chovan, Fred, Mike and Ed form Colorado, Larry from Tennesse, Duane from North Carolina and Denny from Pennsylvania. With trip distances like these the guys want to make sure that they get in some good flying. Reports from Monday and Tuesday made me wish I had arrived a day or two earlier.

I got to Lucas, KS on Tuesday night about 10:30PM after a 13-hour drive from Wisconsin and found a chair-sleeping Denny Maize of Polecat Aero already at the accomodations for the week, Mayor Dave’s country house. After I rousted the big guy, we sat on the lower deck for a bit and knocked back a couple of cold ones while catching up on the year since we were here last. We hit the sack looking forward to some sloping in the AM.
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Big Bay Park, Whitefish Bay, WI

Big Bay Park, Whitefish Bay, WI

70 foot slope overlooking Lake michigan. Small, tricky landing area. 3 of us live within a mile of it!

Good bowl shaped slope on the shore of Lake Michigan a few miles north of Milwaukee. The slope is small, only about 70 feet but it provides good lift. The landing area is tricky and requires an up the face and plop it on the top approach. NNE to E winds, but if it gets East there are better slopes a bit south of here.
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Wahatis Peak Slope Flying

Posted by Chris Erikson on Apr 12, 2003

Chris has done it again. An excellent description of what looks like a great slope called Wahatis Peak located in central Washington on the Columbia Plateau, about 9 miles S of Vantage.

Wahatis Peak (Saddle Mtn East)

Copyright Chris Erikson 2003

Location: Central Washington, 20 Miles SW of Moses lake

Driving Time: 3.5 hours from Seattle

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Spectacular Sunday at the Big M!

Mirko writes: This WAS one of the best days we ever had on any slope!  It was no effort to climb out to 1000 ft at anytime of the day.  Steady 25-30 mph winds, with over  twenty different planes flying.  Two different Compact Wizard 2X, four different Pixels,  an Ellipse 3 CAM, Extreme, Psycho, Jedi, Hornisse, Fitness, and various trashy foamies.  There were only three of us: Greg, Ken Nelson and myself. This was Ken’s first time ever to the Mound: he was just thrilled with the great conditions.

With all the dry, unplanted dark ground in front of the Mound, super strong thermals were constantly blowing through the lift zone, which allowed straight out, forward flight to huge altitudes all day.  Very pleasant 70 F all day, with no clouds, until about 7:00 PM.  This was the dream come true slope day.  Best of all, no crashes or even, bad landings. The Wizards, Ellipse, Psycho, Jedi, and of course, the Pixels all were screaming like banshees.

Greg says: What a day! I have a new toy and it is not a plane. Have a look at the pix and you will see what it is!

All photos by Greg unless noted. (There is a second page of pix here)

Ken and his ballasted Bluto

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I Stopped at Don’s Hobby Shop in Salina

I was at Wilson Lake for a few days and we headed over to Coronado Heights because the wind direction was better. While going through Salina we stopped at Don’s Hobby Shop. Nice place, super prices on JR gear and Don was a nice guy. Gliders are not really their thing but as far as hobby shops go it has all you might need if you run in to a repair situation and you are in the area.

Don’s Hobby Shop
1819 S. Broadway
Salina, KS 67401

Phone: 913-827-3222

The Slope at Bender Park – OakCreek, WI

Milwaukee Slope Flying Sites

SH-50 at Bender Park Oakwood Rd. location

Bender Park, Milwaukee

Good 100+ foot bluff on the shore of Lake Michigan NNE to SE winds with slightly NE best. The best slope in the Milwaukee area is in Oak Creek at the end of Fitzsimmons Road or Oakwood Road. The walk up Oakwood is much shorter! Huge landing area, no trees, 100+ ft slopes, but of course one huge problem: Milwaukee County has closed it. There is a gate across the road. The county government closed this to re-build the bluff north of Fitzsimmons Road for a now defunct golf course. If you do not mind a bit of a hike you can park at the Marina at the end of Ryan Rd., head south and climb from the bottom.
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Slope Flying at Warnimont Park, Cudahy, WI

Posted by Greg Smith on Feb 24, 2003

Warnimont Park Slope Looking South from the Gun Club

Warnimont Park, Milwaukee, WI

This slope in southern Milwaukee County in Cudahy is 100 to 120 feet high. It is just behind the Cudahy High School. You can use the school football/athletic field across the street as a place to land. This slope is inside Warnimont Park just 4 or 5 blocks south of Layton Avenue.

The trap shooting site just south of here is also good. Both places work best in an Easterly wind.

Attention: There are a couple of alternate launch sites in this park, check them all before you launch!
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