Tom Hoopes Makes Great Wiring Harnesses

Tom Hoopes has solved one of my least favorite parts about building an R/C Sailplane. He manufactures top quality wiring harnesses for most of today’s popular sailplanes and if he doesn’t already have the specs, he’ll get them from you so he can help you wire about any plane you can think of.

All of you out there who don’t like making wiring harnesses any more than I do have a savior in Tom Hoopes of Hoopes Designs. Tom is lucky enough to have really cool machines that are used for real business that he can hijack sometimes and fill orders for R/C plane wiring harnesses!

All the good stuff

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F3F Competition Rules


5.F.1.       Definition: This contest is a speed event for radio controlled slope gliders. A minimum of four rounds must be flown. The organiser shall run as many rounds as the conditions and time permit, up to a maximum of ten rounds.

5.F.2.       Characteristics of Radio Controlled Slope Gliders

Maximum surface area (St) …………..150 dm2
Maximum flying mass …………………….5 kg
Loading on St ………..between 12 and 75 g/dm2

The radio shall be able to operate simultaneously with other equipment at the normally used spacing in the allocated R/C bands (i.e. 35 MHz : 10 kHz).

The competitor may use two models in the contest. The competitor may combine the parts of the models between the rounds provided the resulting model used for flight conforms to the rules and that the parts have been checked before the start of the contest. Addition of ballast (which must be located internally in the model) and/or change of angles of setting are allowed. Variation of geometry or area is allowed only if it is actuated at distance by radio control.

5.F.3.       Competitor and Helpers: The competitor (pilot) must operate his radio equipment personally. Each pilot is permitted one helper. The helper is only to assist and advise the pilot until the model is passing Base A for the first time and after the timed flight is completed.

5.F.4.       Definition of an Attempt: There is an attempt when the model has left the hands of the pilot or his helper.

5.F.5.       Number of Attempts:  The pilot has one attempt on each flight. An attempt can be repeated if:
a)     the launching attempt is impeded, hindered or aborted by circumstances beyond the control of the pilot, duly witnessed by the official judges;
b)    his model collides with another model in flight or other impediment and the pilot is not to blame on that account;
c)     the flight was not judged by the fault of the judges.

5.F.6.       Cancellation of a Flight: A flight is official when an attempt is carried out, whatever result is obtained.

A flight is official but gets a zero score if:
a)    the pilot used a model not conforming with FAI rules;
b)    the model loses any part while airborne;
c)    the helper advises the pilot during the timed flight;
d)    the model is controlled by anyone other than the pilot;
e)    the flight is not carried through;
f)     the model lands outside the assigned landing area;
g)    the model is not launched within one minute from the moment the starting order is given.

5.F.7.       Organisation of Starts:  The flights are to be performed round by round. The starting order is settled by draw in accordance with the radio frequencies used.
The pilot is entitled to three minutes of preparation time from the moment he is called to the ready box.
After the three minutes has elapsed, the starter may give the order to start. After the starter has given the order to start, the pilot or his helper is to launch the model within one minute. The pilot or his helper is to launch the model by hand from the starting area indicated by the organiser.
If possible, the starting area, including the audio system, shall be situated in the middle of the course  (equal distance from Base A and Base B).
The time from launch to the moment the model enters the speed course must not exceed thirty seconds.
If the model has not entered the speed course (i.e. first crossing of Base A in the direction of Base B)] within the thirty seconds, the flight time will commence the moment the thirty seconds expires. If the model has not entered the speed course within the thirty seconds, this is to be announced by the judges.

5.F.8.       The Flying Task:  The flying task is to fly 1000 metres on a closed speed course of 100 metres in the shortest possible time from the moment the model first crosses Base A in the direction of Base B.

5.F.9.       The Speed Course:  The speed course is laid out along the edge of the slope and is marked at both ends with two clearly visible flags. The organiser must ensure that the two turning planes are mutually parallel and perpendicular to the slope.
Depending on the circumstances, the two planes are marked respectively Base A and Base B.
Base A is the official starting plane. At Base A and Base B, an Official announces the passing of the model  (i.e. the centre of gravity) with a sound signal when the model is flying out of the speed course. Furthermore, in the case of Base A, a signal announces the first time the model is crossing Base A in the direction of Base B.

5.F.10.     Judging:  The flights are judges by two judges who do not have to be the same for all competitors.
The judges’ task is to control that the flights are performed according to the rules, to be time keepers and to ensure that the right distance is flown.

5.F.11.     Scoring:  The result of the flight is stated as the time in seconds and hundredths of seconds obtained by each pilot. For the purpose of calculating the result of the round, the competitor’s result is converted this way:-

1000 X  ——–

where PW  is the best result in the round, and  PI  is the competitor’s result.

5.F.12.     Classification:  The sum of the competitor’s round scores will determine his position in the final classification. The lowest round score of each competitor will be discarded and the others added to obtain the final score which will determine his position in the final classification.
To avoid ties in the classification concerning the five best scores, “classification rounds” are flown until the ties are broken. If this is not possible, the result of the discarded round will determine each competitor’s position in the final classification.

5.F.13.     Organisation of the Contest: The competition must be held at a site which is suitable
5.F.14.     Changes:  Any changes in the flight and landing areas may be made only between flight rounds.

5.F.15.     Interruptions:  A round in progress must temporarily be interrupted if:-
a)    the wind force unintermittently is below 3 m/sec or more than 25 m/sec.
b)    the direction of the wind unintermittently deviates more than 45d from a line perpendicular to the main direction of the speed course.

A round in progress is to be cancelled if:-
a)   the interruption lasts more than thirty minutes;
b)    fewer than 50% of the competitors have been able to perform the task caused by marginal conditions. Without the condition “unintermittently” (i.e. 20 seconds) have been met and thus automatically caused reflights.

Traveling to and Flying in France

Some of these commentaries and accounts of my slope flying over the past several years in France may be useful for temporary visitors living in France, or someone doing business there on a regular basis.

Directions to Menez Hom

For anyone coming from the east, Paris, Chatres, Le Mans, Rennes, St. Brieuc, Morlaix, Landavisiau, Sizun, Chateaulin, are the cities that you will bypass, then finally take the direction for Crozon.  This is your route to Menez-Hom.  From Paris this is just under 400 miles.  From Germany, it is over 700 miles.
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Rampart Ridge Slope Soaring

Posted by Chris Erikson on Dec 30, 2002, 22:08


The Rampart ridge site is at 4600′ on the S end of Rampart Ridge on the edge of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. This site is especially nice because of it’s close proximity to Seattle, which makes it ideal for daytrips and spur of the moment flying trips, but it also has a dicey landing zone, combined with outlanding terrain that can make a grown man cry like a little girl who’s lost her dolly

Rampart Ridge

Copyright Chris Erikson 2002


Location: 3 miles SE of Snoqualmie Pass summit

Driving Time: 1:15 hour from SR520 – I90 junction in Bellevue

Wind: NW to S to SE

Weather site:


Access: Drive to

Rampart Ridge looking south

Season: open from early July to Nov, access limited by snow pack



The Rampart ridge site is at 4600′ on the S end of Rampart Ridge on the edge of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. This site is especially nice because of it’s close proximity to Seattle, which makes it ideal for daytrips and spur of the moment flying trips, but it also has a dicey landing zone, combined with outlanding terrain that can make a grown man cry like a little girl who’s lost her dolly.

That said, with a trimmed reliable plane and confident pilot, it’s a fine hill close to town. I have even gone up and flown for a few hours after work during long summer days. Great view of pass and a great view of Mt Rainier.

It can be a challenging place to fly, because while the lift can be very large, out landings are savage as described and the landing zone is in a large rotor if the lift is pumping. For these reasons this is a foamy or hand launch hill.

This site is also frequented by hang glider folks, as evidenced by the launch ramp visible in the photos. During the summer sharing the site with hang gliders is common, but usually the lift is large enough for them to run N along the rest of Rampart Ridge and they rarely remain in the immediate area RC pilots use.

Vertical Relief: 1600 feet

Rampart Ridge, flying site at center

Typical Weather:

NW winds are the most common due to it’s location near Snoqualmie pass which acts as a wind tunnel aimed directly at this slope. E and S wind are also flyable but typically more turbulent. During high pressure systems when wind swings in from the east, this is more of a light lift slope.  If high pressure is not present and weather is actually moving across the state, it’s most likely blowing W to NW here. Due to it’s proximity to the pass, rain can also be a problem.

Slope Terrain:

Extremely steep clearcut, old logging slash everywhere on the hill, interspersed with recently replanted 15 foot firs. The launch site is open and direct, but small trees here and there need attention if flying close to the deck. Pleasing knob with heather to sit on for flying the S and SE faces.



Lift always good in W to NW wind, often booming big as good as anything elsewhere. Can be smooth or extremely turbulent. Moderate lift is typical. Relatively limited ridge running but large lift band. There is a slightly higher site a few hundred feet north about a hundred feet higher with a S facing aspect. Good sight lines directly W and to the right (NW). If standing near the hang glider launch while flying, care is needed to avoid flying too low to the left, a plane can drop out of sight hidden by the small knob and the couple trees located there.

Landing zone:

Open approach area, with no tall obstructions. The landing zone is the gravel road. Rotor is large and go rounds when aiming for road are not easy because of the need to approach from the backside, where the road is 20 feet lower than the slope lip and if it’s not looking good it can be difficult to make it back out over the slope.

It is possible to ditch in patches of fireweed near the lip, but rotor makes this tricky while at the same time these patches are located for the cleanest go rounds due to their proximity to the lip.


Walk of Shame:

Probably the worst of all sites I’ve flown. Extremely steep logging slash chokes entire hill, and is threaded with sticker bushes. If the lift is good and your plane is flying well, you’ll probably be fine, but the penalty for mistakes is one you will not wish to repeat once you experience it for yourself. Tall brush is everywhere if you get more than a few hundred feet down, I’d recommend a beeper if you are not adept at locating downed planes.

Blowback landings when flying a W wind will typically wind up near the road, there are fewer stickers and it is not as steep, but many small trees impede visibility.



Great campsite right behind upper slope site, just continue on road past primary site and take obvious left.

Road Conditions:

Lower portion of approach is paved leading to good gravel road, final couple miles extremely rocky, high clearance is necessary but 4 wheel drive is not.


Getting There:

Take I-90 E from Seattle to Snoqualmie pass, take Hyak/Gold Creek exit 54 about 2 miles E of the actual summit. Turn left and head N under freeway, then take right on Gold creek road, you will now parallel I-90 on it’s N side.

Continue 2 miles until road turns dirt, climb a few thousand feet in a couple miles and look for the second left at 3.5 miles (1.5 miles from beginning of dirt), off the second right hand switchback. There is a sign for the Mt Margaret trailhead at this corner, you do not wish to follow the sign, for us it merely indicates the correct corner for a leaving this stretch of road.

Continue on the side road for a couple miles watching for a left at 5.0 miles (3.0 miles of dirt), which will take you down across Rocky Run Creek. As you proceed you will see the road you want across the valley climbing a clear cut hill, you may even see cars already near the top.

Turn left as described, cross Rocky run creek and start up final approach. It will get very rocky for about a mile, then at a sharp left hand switchback it will get OK again and it’s only ¼ mile to the obvious flying site. It is located on a knob where the road makes a hard right turn, and is marked by the hang glider launch ramp. Total distance is 7 miles from turning onto Gold Creek road, 5 miles from beginning of dirt.

Contact Chris at

Slope Racing Clinic: Some Basics

Paul covers some basics and some advanced techniques. The story will be of help to racers or racers-to-be as well as slope flyers who want to improve their plane or flying performance.

By Paul Naton (reprinted with permission)

Plane Preparation: My planes usually look ugly on race day but I can assure you they are mechanically perfect, and I know just how they will perform. The night before a race I will go over everything on the plane and look for worn parts or breakage I may have not noticed. All of the linkages are made tight and the battery and servo wires are checked thoroughly. I make sure I take some spare parts along as well as an extra charged battery. I also go over the wings to fill in dings and wet sand and clean everything. This may not help speed much but it helps you with your mental game.
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Slope Flying Site Near Toledo – Maumee Bay State Park

This hill, in Maumee Bay State Park, was made from dirt piled out of the ponds made nearby. It rises 70 ft in the air. It is just 150 feet from Lake Erie, wind coming from the north is undisturbed as it comes across and produces some good lift. I have been sloping here, along with some others, for over a year now, and many have before me.

The best lift and sometimes the only spot you can find lift in light winds is produced from wind coming from the east, blowing up the steepest side. Then the greatest lift comes from wind blowing from the south, then the north, then the east. Although there are woods directly southwest of the hill, small lift is still produced with wind coming from that direction.
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Sloping at Concordia University, Mequon, WI


Russ and his Shrike at Concordia


Concordia University, Mequon, WI

Concordia University is located in Mequon, 15 miles north of Milwaukee. This is an excellent site for East and SE winds. Landing is tricky due to many small trees and bad rotor in higher winds. But there is high grass to plow into if you have trouble with a long approach. A couple of foot paths can make nice approach paths.

Prodij and Mini-Acacia at Concordia 2-07-01
Photo: Greg Smit

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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!


Chumstick Mountain Slope Site


Chumstick Mountain

Chumstick Mtn is a former fire lookout at 5810′ elevation. This peak is one of the principal summits on the SE end of Entiat ridge with 1000+ vertical over immediate local terrain.

Posted by Chris Erikson on Oct 25, 2002, 23:43






Chumstick Mtn
Copyright Chris Erikson 2002

12 miles NE of Leavenworth, 10 miles N of Cashmere

Driving Time: about 3 hours from Seattle direct to summit. (once you have the dirt roads figured out)

Wind: NW to S to SE.

Weather site: Wenatchee

Access: Road direct to site, open mid July to late Oct due to snow.

Background: Chumstick Mtn is a former fire lookout at 5810′ elevation. This peak is one of the principal summits on the SE end of Entiat ridge, a large geographic structure composed of a single continuous ridgeline over 40 miles in length.

The flying site is directly on the summit of the peak, a pleasing open site with a nifty small flat top and a road ringing the summit. The N face is covered with small alpine trees but the flying side of the hill is completely open.
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Thoughts of a Slope Flying Convert

Before my recent slope flying trip to South Dakota, my slope flying was rather limited. The slopes I had flown on either were so hard to stay up consistently on, or I was worried about flying out over trees. Besides I could thermal fly a couple of miles from my house. Lucky for me, I was open-minded and gave slope flying a real chance. The following are a few of the reasons that I have a new interest in slope flying.


Trying different slopes; the scenery, the lift conditions, the challenge of the landing zone provided new variety for me. I am the type of person that likes to explore, I try new trout streams, bike trails, or web sites on the Internet, it is what makes life interesting. Thermal and power fields are pretty much the same, but it looks like there can be a wide variety in slopes.

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South Dakota Slope Trip September 2002

If you asked anyone that attended this last trip to Chamberlain you would hear what a great time we all had. The first two days of the trip we encountered overcast and occasional rain but the winds cooperated even on those days. By the third day the winds were blowing about 35mph (my guess) and the weather warmed up quite a bit. Sunday was warm and the winds were steady at about 15 to 20 mph, which made for great flying conditions.

About 25 people made the trip this year. Bill Grenoble and Rick Rensi drove all the way from PA to fly with us. Their van was packed with some great looking and flying models of all descriptions. Bill’s sense of humor added to the fun we were already having before we ever arrived in South Dakota. Back at the motel Bill and Rick both buzzed  the parking lot with their small electrics and made a few carrier landings (that’s what they said they were in an effort to save face) on the roof of the motel building.
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South Dakota Slope Trip 2002 notes by Bill Kuhl

Ed Berris did a great job of describing the September slope trip to South Dakota, I just wanted to add a few comments and offer the digital pictures I had taken. This was my first sloping trip to South Dakota, but it will not be my last. Most of my sailplane flying has been thermal soaring, but I have a new appreciation of slope soaring after this trip.

Taking a trip like this, you have to look at the whole experience, not just the flying. All the things you learn, the camaraderie of being around other people with similar interests, and enjoying the outdoors, no matter what the weather is like. I picked up more soaring knowledge during the meals we shared, than reading a month of Soaring Exchange.

Emil and Larry had their JW’s in the DS grove together


Observing DS for the first time was a real treat. Watching it on video, makes it look much easier than it really is. Even the very experienced pilots were bashing the hill because their planes were caught in turbulence around the DS groove. I really have an appreciation of the durability and performance of the newer EPP slope planes, how these planes survive repeated crashes on the rocky slopes is beyond me. I joked with the guys, “Imagine if DS was discovered when everyone flew balsa sailplanes?”

As far as my flying, in three and a half days of slope flying, I must of accumulated more stick time than most power flyers in my local club put in during an entire season of flying. But, next trip I will have at least one JW for sure.

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Central Coast Area – Sheboygan, Manitowac and Kewaunee

Central Wisconsin Coast Slope Flying Sites

The Kewaunee slope

Kewaunee is about 30 miles north of Manitowoc. There is a very good site on the lake just after the Marina. As you pass the Marina on HWY 42, turn right on Hathaway Drive and follow it to the stop sign. Turn left to go up the hill. At the top of the crest is probably the best place to fly; there is a decent landing area between the road and the bluff. This road is a ridge road for a while. Direction is East to ESE. The interesting twist here is that there is a west facing bluff less than 100 yards from the lake bluff. This could offer Dynamic Soaring possibilities whenever there is a west wind – or even when there is an East wind.
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Sloping in Stoughton Wisconsin

Wisconsin Slope Flying Sites

Sand Hill Middle School- Stoughton WI
submitted by Clayton Greaves

Here’s my slope infected son, age 3, launching my Boomerang at Sand Hill Middle School. What form!!!! The slope is approximately 50′ above the cornfield with about a 30 degree grade. This site, 4 blocks from my home only works with West winds.

Best success here is with lightly loaded hand launch gliders such as my 11 ounce Monarch or 10 ounce Zagi THL to my favorite 15 ounce Boomerang. Before we owned lighter ships we found this site a challenge with 20+ ounce combat Zagis- even in the strongest winds. the foreground is a huge 3/4 mile flat corn field, so the lift band, though narrow, is quite clean.  Even in the best of conditions the lift here is only fair. Combat at this site is possible but would likely be marginal compared to other venues.

Directions: From Madison Take Hyway 51 ten miles south to county highway B. B is for bank- as you crest a hill and on the corner of B is.. you guessed it, a bank branch office out in the middle of hundreds of acres of corn fields.  Turn left and you will immediately see the slope a mile up the road on the right. Turn at the first Right turn, Lincoln Street. The second drive enters the school grounds, around the south side of the building and the slope site on the edge of this playground.

Have fun and impress you friends side slipping you plane between the row of basketball hoops. Balsa ships “need not apply” Be sure to search for lift off the north end of the building ( visible in the photo background).. the stone surface adds thermals in warm conditions.

Note that visits to this site would need to be limited to evenings and weekends so as to not interfere with school activities, kids drooling on the windows, missing class etc. The janitors have been very friendly and once lent an assist when my plane found it’s way onto the roof.

Where’d it go?

Local Pilots

Clayton Greaves

Sloping in Verona Wisconsin

Site Report: Badger Prairie Park, Verona WI
submitted by Clayton Greaves

This slope is adjacent to a gas model field atop the landfill shown in the photos I have attached. Thusly, if you want to befriend fellow modelers at the field it is good practice to stop by- let anybody know where you will be flying and post your frequency to the control board.

This aeromodeling field is administered by the Dane County Parks. An annual user permit is $12 from the parks office. Occasional users could of course pass on this expense and post your AMA card, but don’t say you heard that from me…

South winds are best at this marginal lift site. South Southeast works too but any further to the east and the adjacent highway overpass obstructs the approaching winds. I have a good picture of this area and the obstacles involved. Southwest winds are problematic due to a grove of trees right in front of the slope but due south has the wind coming straight up the hill cleanly. Early this year there was a 36-minute flight with a Boomerang wing. My personal best is about 22 minutes with my Monarch HLG. I recommend you leave the lead sleds in the car when you arrive here. I often profit from thermals here on warm days, the asphalt road ahead of the hill probably contributes to this.


From Madison take 151 South about 6 miles to the first Verona exit. At the first stoplight the slope is too your immediate right and hard to miss. There is a frontage road along the south face that leads to the currently active section of the landfill. If the gate is open you can park right at the base of this 50ish foot hill slope. If not, park along the West side or in the lot at the aeromodeling field and walk out to the edge, about 100 yards. I consider this site marginal when compared to the Big M in Platteville but since this is an eight minute drive from my office it makes for a refreshing lunch break stop.

Local Pilots
Clayton Greaves

Base of the slope looking West.

View from the top. Road is due South, tree grove on the right creates turbulence in Southwest winds.

View East from the top. Too much East and this highway overpass comes into play.

Wisconsin Slope Flying Site near Black Earth

Wisconsin Slope Flying Site near Black Earth

by Clayton Greaves

Ceder Ridge Campground
is located 20 minutes drive from Madison’s West side on highway 78 midway between Black Earth WI and Prairie Du Sac Wi. 78 crosses US 14 a couple miles West of Black Earth, turn North on 78.

Below several pictures describing the approach from the south via Black Earth. Turn Right off Highway 78 to Dunlop Hollow Road approximately 5 miles up the road.

The images show the approch to the slope, road sign, the campground entry, the next shows the road up the back side of the slope and the final shot, with the cross is the slope site. If you look carefully at the approach shot the slope is visible in the background. Magnify and look for a white cross at the very top of the face of the hill…

This slope faces Southwest. Huge lift in 15+mph. South winds are blocked by a nearby hill. West winds are workable but increasingly challenging.due to obstructing trees and the lack of a west facing pilot position.

This is a foamy only site with very little margin for error on landing. The narrow landing area behind the pilot position at the cross is surrounded by high trees. In strong winds you fly over the top and drop down in the campsite behind. Hairy stuff, especially for the uninitiated.

Camping is available though primitive. The owner welcomes glider fliers and there is a camp fee box at the entrance shack where I drop a $5 bill as I pass. Rarely do I see any sign of life at the gate.

The area is infamous for its proliferation of folks of, shall we say “alternative” sexual orientation- Mazomanie nude beach overflow is my theory here…Overnighting at Cedar Hills is not high on my “adventure meter”, though the idea of awaking and immediately stepping out onto a slope is quite appealing.

The solid granite faces of the hill are rugged going when descending to claim a downed plane… beepers pay off here. I once hit the stone, nose in, “full tilt boogie” in combat with my original Zagi LE. The wing bounced several feet, rolled inverted, wabbled and continued to fly away… Amazing and memorable stuff. Pine trees around the crest provide cover from falling (plane) debris – kind of… In a head on collision my wing went belly to the wind and charged back at us and through the pilot position it impacted a tree at a dangerously high rate of speed and feet from my startled opponent–“crunch, splinter” .. ” I planned that”. The evergreen in question is to the right in the cross photo. This is the best and relatively safest place to stand. There is a nice swing out there on the corner but the best seat is right on the stone face, feet dangling over in the wind.

Plan dinner or cocktails at the new Rookies restaurant at the 14 and 78 intersection, then go buy rock climbing shoes at the famous and prolific Shoe Box shoe store in Black Earth a mile East. Both local landmarks are owned by the same fellow.

Cedar Hills fills a role for Madison slope- a- holics who for need of time or spousal leave- can’t make time to trek long distance to Platteville. Despite the challenges in landing this site can be huge fun in favorable wind conditions. Leave your balsa and composite ships at home, bring a foamie and someone to chase.

Local Pilots

Clayton Greaves

Slope Flying at Theresa Marsh

Theresa Marsh Slope Flying SiteMirko Bodul

Go up past West Bend on HWY 41.
About 7-8 miles past HWY 33, exit on HWY 28.
Go left (west) on HWY 28 for about 0.5 miles, take the first road left AFTER the HWY entrance and follow it. It is called Mohawk Road and snakes around for awhile (1 mile?) finally heads east with Theresa Marsh on the right dropping off gently.

I usually fly from the highest point to the left of the great big, brown sign, indicating that this is Theresa Marsh, wildlife refuge. Others preferred parking in the small lot a little lower and flying from there. Take your pick.

However, to the north of this road on top of this site is a cornfield, with electric or phone wires at the start of this field. If you climb up the embankment you can see how much that drops off to the north. If this is enough of a drop, I would launch to the south, from under the wires and work my way up with the plane and eventually walk north to an optimum spot for DS.

Let’s hope this does drop enough. With South and SSW winds some very good flying can be done here. I have attained huge altitudes here due to a thermal “kick” that comes in with the slope air. But be forewarned that this is not a “smooth” site: flying under 200 feet can be very bumpy.

Local Pilots

Mirko Bodul

Greg Smith

CRRCSIM – RC Soaring Flight Simulator

Boy is this simulator cool especially for RC sailplane enthusiasts. The way the plane flies is quite realistic. You have the choice of a thermal field and also a slope venue. You can vary parameters of the flying sites and of the planes.

But wait, that’s not all. You also get the ability to try Dynamic Soaring without smashing your pride and joy. That alone is worth the price of admission, of course the fact that it is FREE is an added bonus. Go to Cape Cod, switch the wind to 180 degrees and start your plane from about 100 feet then get in the groove!
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JR X-347 and X-388 radios are still great tools

JR x-347


JR 347

If it weren’t for the 8103 and this models limit of 4 models I would use this radio all the time. It is very capable and the minor limitations can be overcome by creative use of the custom mixes.

The JR 347 radio is a good mid level programmable radio. It is out of production but is readily available on the used market. It can be purchased for as little as $150-200. It is a seven-channel, four model memory system and can operate in either FM or PCM mode. The 347 includes programming for two to six servo sailplanes, dual rates, electronic subtrim, exponential, reversing, and both fixed and programmable mixing. Fixed mixing functions include both CROW and flaps from the throttle stick, V-tail, flaperon, flap to aileron, various trims, and more. It has four programmable mixes for additional control. The only significant limit is a two position flap switch, rather than the preferred three position switch, but this can be overcome by creative programming of other switches. The transmitter is both PCM and FM capable.

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Hitec Eclipse 7 – a capable radio at a great price

Hitec Eclipse 7 radio


Hitec Eclipse 7

Hitec’s top of the line radio is the Eclipse 7 FM. It sports a 7-model memory and 7 channels and is available with a Spectra module. The large LCD screen helps make programming easy as do the four separate programming loops, one for fixed wing, glow, gas or electric planes, a helicopter mode and two sailplane modes! , one for basic and one for advanced sailplanes.

The Eclipse is loaded with features like a variety of preprogrammed mixes plus five programmable mixes (two in Heli mode), digital trims, servo end point adjustments, dual rates, exponential rates, three flight condition settings per model, shift select, sub trims, servo reversing and more.
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Slope Soaring at Ludington, Michigan

These are locations we have had the privilege to fly. Some may have access restrictions.
Check with local flyers for information.

Michigan Slope Flying Sites

Sloping at Ludington, MI

Ludington Michigan is named after a 19th Century timber baron who sited the town at the estuary of the Pere Marquette River on the shores of Lake Michigan, just about halfway between the Indiana border and the Sioux. It was the logical place for James Ludington to set up a railroad and wagon ferry across Lake Michigan to Manitowoc Wisconsin, and the steamer still runs today.

Ludington is not nearly as touristy as Leland Michigan, but it does boast several very nice restaurants, a swarm of Victorian Bed and Breakfasts, and a beautiful Romanesque red sandstone courthouse. Also worth a visit is the Pere Marquette National Scenic River. There is plenty of opportunity for lake and river recreation in the area.
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Slope Flying at Sleeping Bear Dunes, Empire, Michigan

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore – Empire Michigan

Located in Northwestern, Lower Michigan Sleeping Bear is about 25 miles Southwest of Traverse City, MI. The National Lakeshore encompases a lot of area and there are many dunes from which to fly. Explore a bit! Pyramid Point near Glen Arbor is over 500 feet above Lake Michigan!

The following is courtesy of Tom Nagle from Columbus, OH:

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Minnesota Slope Flying in Red Wing


Red Wing, MN

Located about 40 miles south of Minneapolis/St.Paul, MN in the Mississippi river valley. It is quite hilly in the area with most bluffs topping out around 300′ above the valley floor. Red Wing is a quaint little town with several antique shops and an 18-mile beautiful paved bike trail. It is very popular with bikers and skaters on the weekends.

Barns Bluff
The hill I like to fly is called “Barns Bluff” and is located right on the north end of town. It is approximately a mile long and tops out at 300′ according to my Cateye Altimeter bike computer. The hill is 90% open on the south face and requires a South to Southwest wind from 12mph to stay aloft. The bluff is very steep and even has some rock ledges you want to stay away from unless you’re rock climbing. The North side of the bluff is even steeper but completely covered with trees. If it were open, this would be one heck of a Dynamic Soaring site as the top comes to a very sharp point.
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Virginia Sloping in Bristol at Sugar Hollow Park

Virginia Slope Flying Sites

Bristol, VA – Sugar Hollow Park
The park has a man-made dike that is very flyable. Facing southeast, the dike is about 120′ high and at least 300′ wide, with a 20′ flat area on top before descending about 50′ down the back. Maybe there is some DS potential here, I never tried it myself! Only flew there once, very clean and smooth lift with 10-15 mph wind easily lofted my Zagi to “thumbnail” size.

Notice that hikers share the top of the dike as part of a hiking trail, so choose your landing area carefully! As of 12/26/01, there was no water behind the dike.

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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.
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Sloping in New Mexico near Bernalillo


New Mexico Slope Flying Sites
submitted by Richard in Albuquerque

Jemez River Dam
Location approx 3-5 mi N of Bernalillo, NM.  A lava mesa suitable for flying foamies and other disposable aircraft in S to WNW winds. Top of cliff is about 150 ft above reservoir. Wear sturdy boots or hiking shoes in the event a retrieval is necessary. Best wind conditions are January thru April. Beware of the very nasty rotor!! Be sure to bring extra strapping tape.

Detailed directions: Take I-25 to exit 242. Go W on Hiway 550 to the intersection of NM528 just past the Santa Ana Star Casino. Turn N on hiway and continue past the Santa Ana Golf Course. Continue straight for several miles to Jemez Canyon Dam, an Army Corp. of Engineers project. At the end of the road is a picnic area. All along the west and south facing cliff is flyable.  One caveat–the mesa is Santa Ana Pueblo land–it may be off-limits during Pueblo religious activities and driving off of the paved road to the south face may be prohibited (depending upon who you talk to). More details can be found at:

A topo map of the area can be found at:

Local Pilots

Richard Shagam

These are locations we have had the privilege to fly. Some may have access restrictions.
Check with local flyers for information.

Slope flying at Jockey’s Ridge, Nags Head, NC


North Carolina Slope Flying Sites

Jockey’s Ridge is a big sand dune that is just off 158, which is the main bypass thru Nag’s Head. It is hard to miss as it is the highest point around.

On the day I was there the wind was about 15-18 mph out of the northeast. I had been flying the SH-50 for about 1/2 hour when Tom from Richmond, VA showed up to fly his Chrysalis. Tom mentioned that the wind direction we had was more like fall wind but not unheard of in July. He said that mid to late fall have more days with useable wind.

The hill had quite a few people on it but there was plenty of space to use. The kite fliers were on the bottom or back of the hill and the hang gliders never got above the crest.

These are locations we have had the privilege to fly. Some may have access restrictions.
Check with local flyers for information.

Cleveland Area Ohio Slope Flying Sites


Reprinted with permission form Have Sailplane, Will Travel

Outstanding flying can be found on the southern shores of our Great Lake Erie, near the metropolis of Cleveland, Ohio, at the northern border of our country.


Much maligned and the brunt of many jokes in the mid 70’s, Cleveland has experienced a true renaissance period. With mass exodus of people to the suburbs in the 70’s, the city realized to keep the population, many changes needed to be made. Effort was put into rebuilding much of the infrastructure as well as revitalization of much of the abandoned or under utilized industrial sectors. Achievements such as renewal of the Flats entertainment district, birth of the Gateway Project with Gund Arena and Jacobs Field, homes of the Cavs and Indians pro sports teams, opening of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, The Great Lakes Science Center and the new Cleveland Browns Stadium as well as strong support for the many established cultural and civic organizations such as the Cleveland Orchestra and Playhouse Square illustrate our success in creating a truly “world class” city. Enough, you say?

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Ohio Sloping – Columbus Area – Alum Creek Dam

Update from Tom Nagel!

The US Army Corps of Engineers has re-instituted its no slope flying rule at Alum Creek Dam.

Apparently the original no-fly rule was never rescinded, just not enforced, and the Westerville Model Aviation Club, whose field is at the base of the dam, had worked out a system to coordinate both sloping and flat field power flying.

Some non-flying officious intermeddler (that is an official legal term) raised the issue, and now the Westerville Club has voted to not allow any slope flying rather than risk losing their field.

Please remove my original posting from the slope flyer web site, and replace it with this information.  Don and I will keep you posted if things change again.

Cincinnati Area Sloping – Brookville Dam

Brookville Dam, IN

Brookville Dam in Indiana has been described by some as “the best inland slope in our part of the country”. It is located 2.5 hours from Louisville in Brookville, IN and about 1 hour from Cincinnati, OH. Brookville Lake is located in Franklin and Union Counties on the East Fork of the Whitewater River. The dam is about 1.5 miles above Brookville, Indiana, and 36 miles northwest of Cincinnati.

South winds work best here although there has been some noise made about DS potential in North winds. Several 4 hour, as well as at least one 8 hour, LSF flights have taken place at this site.

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Texas slopes in Denton County

Thanks, David. Find other slope info at David’s site and an email link if you are going to be in the area.

Denton County Sites:
Lake Ray Roberts Dam:
Slope faces SSE, NNW. Aerial photo of the dam.

Directions: Go north on I-35 about 9 miles past Denton to Exit 478. Turn right on FM 455. Go several miles until you cross the dam, then make first right and follow it back to the mid point of the dam, the road ends there at a parking lot. There are restrooms, playground, and covered picnic tables. The park is a $3.00 self pay park. There is a drop box with instructions by the restrooms. To give you an idea how far this is, Exit 478 on I-35 is 67 miles north of north loop 820 and I-35W in Fort Worth. Not sure how far north of loop 635 and I-35E in Dallas.

Notes: S face is grass, N face is rock. I have been told the S face is a delight to fly — nice long grassy slope with plenty of lift, no obstructions. There is a road across the top of the dam, but it is not overly crowded and the slope is plenty tall to avoid any need to stray too close to the road.

Lewisville Lake Dam: I’ve heard that this is a flyable slope, but that flying is not allowed and they will run you off if you try.

Sloping in New York at Petersburg Pass

New York Slope Flying Sites

Thanks to Dave Garwood for this info that originally appeared in
an RCSD article in 1998.

LOCATION: Park in a gravel parking lot at the south side of State Route 2 in Petersburg, NY about 1/4 mile east of the NY/MA border. The flying site is 200 feet up a gravel trail to the south.

LAND MANAGEMENT: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Formerly a ski area, primary land use now is a hiking/backpacking staging area. Parasailors also use the site, though they launch from a partially cleared area across Route 2.

WIND CONDITIONS NEEDED: The west side is flyable in 5 MPH or more wind from the west or northwest. The big slope faces NNW, but is in the wind shadow of another peak to the north. The east side is flyable in SE 10 MPH or better.

RECOMMENDED PLANES: In suitable wind conditions., anything you have trimmed well and can fly confidently.


Petersburg Pass Slope Site

(NY/MA border)

If you are going through the Taconic Mountains that run along the Massachusetts / New York border you’ll find the Petersburg Pass Slope Site.

Pull into the parking lot at the top of the saddle back mountain on Route 2 between Petersburg NY and Williamstown MA, climb the gravel trail towards the south, and drink in two stunning vistas. To the west is Petersburg, and a bowl-shaped ridge that rises 900 feet above the valley floor. To the east is Williamstown and Mount Greylock, the tallest peak in the Berkshire mountains of western Massachusetts.

Both sides are flyable, and dynamic soaring is possible, if you’re really on top of your game.

This is Big Sky slope soaring, at least it seems like Big Sky to those of us who live where glaciers once covered the landscape. The bowl to the west creates a wide lift band when it’s working – you simply cannot fly out of lift and still see your plane.

“This is the best inland slope site I’ve ever flown,” said my 20-year old son, Lou, on our second trip there when we had 10-12 MPH wind. Lou’s been flying slope for about six years, and on that day flew a DAW 1-26, his trusty Sig Ninja, and a Slope Scale lead sled Mitsubishi Zero.

In 20 MPH, vertical development becomes impressive, supporting 250-foot loops. On his first visit there, Bob Powers quickly put away his NSP Sparrow and pulled out his ballasted-up carbon Renegade. “I don’t think we’ve ever flown this fast at Cape Cod,” Bob said after a few whistling fast passes.

The east side is flyable in SE wind, but so is Mount Greylock, only about 20 miles away, and in rare SE wind Greylock is the place to go.

Petersburg Pass is not a beginner flying site nor a spot for the faint of heart. It has the absolute trickiest launch point that I’ve seen in ten years of flying slope in eight states. You must launch through some intense turbulence and shoot through a break in a tree line until you get out into the lift, holding the nose down all the while to keep the speed up. It is an adrenaline-pumping moment, because there trees below.

Many trees.

The landing zone is surprisingly docile. It’s a grassy area about 100 by 125 feet containing only a few bushes and one surveyor’s stake on our last visit. It is amazingly free of turbulence and if you set up a reasonable landing approach you can grease it in on grass. If your downwind leg is too long, though, you’ll be in the tree line at the east end of the LZ.

CAUTION 1: Do not fly an untested or untrimmed plane at this site, at least not in wind higher than 5-8 MPH. Do not launch a plane with shaky batteries here.

CAUTION 2:  If  losing a plane will cause you permanent emotional damage, do not fly here. If a plane goes down over the forest below it will likely be impossible to recover.

CAUTION 3:  The Taconic Trail, a recreational hiking trail exits the woods smack into the center of the LZ. On landing, and for close-pass maneuvers you must post a spotter at that trail to watch for hikers. If we were to hit a hiker accidently, it could easily get us kicked out of the site.

These cautions are less urgent in lighter wind conditions. You can fly HLGs and long wing floaters in 3-5 MPH with less risk. Flying light and medium aileron slope soarers in 5-15 requires some attention to maintain safety. Flying slope screamers in 20 MPH or higher commands serious attention to safety issues.

All in all, Petersburg Pass is one memorable slope site. If your thumbs are up to it, consider putting it on your New York / New England travel itinerary.

These are locations we have had the privilege to fly. Some may have access restrictions.
Check with local flyers for information.


Oklahoma Slope Soaring Sites

Oklahoma Slope Flying Sites

One point of this page is to prove that there are flyable slopes in Oklahoma. There is a common misconception that Oklahoma is a flat as Texas. This is not true, unless you go really far west. The NE part of Oklahoma is hilly and tree covered. A couple of weeks ago I took a trip in search of the best, flyable slope in Oklahoma. One adavantage of slope flying in Oklahoma are the strong constant winds.  We, of course, owe this to Kansas and Texas 😉

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Texas Sloping in Tarrant County

Thanks, David. Find other slope info at David’s site and an email link if you are going to be in the area.

Tarrant County Sites:
Benbrook Lake Dam:
Slope faces NNE and SSW Aerial photo of the dam

Directions: Mapsco 87Y. From I-20/Loop 820 in SW Fort Worth, go south on 377 into Benbrook. After about 1 mile you will turn left onto Lakeway, then after about 1/3 mile turn right onto Beach. Park beside the road before you get to the private park/beach gatehouse. Walk to the top of the dam. You can also continue on Lakeway and turn right on Lakeside to get to Longhorn Park at the east end of the dam.

Notes: N face is grass, S face is rock. If flying S face, fly at W end of dam where there is land at the bottom between the dam and the lake so you don’t have to land on the rocks if you can’t get back to the top of the slope. N face is a delight to fly — nice long grassy slope with plenty of lift, no obstructions or roads. Warning: this site is about 1 mile from the T-Birds R/C field, more or less depending on which end of the dam you are on. The field is on Mapsco 87W. Make sure you know where the field is and PLEASE take appropriate precautions for channel control. I suggest you drive over and post a note on their board or something similar to avoid shooting someone down or having your plane shot down, then remove the note when you are done.

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Petersburg Pass Slope Site (NY/MA border)

These are locations we have had the privilege to fly. Some may have access restrictions.
Check with local flyers for information.

Massachusetts Slope Flying Sites

Petersburg Pass Slope Site (NY/MA border)

(OK, so technically it is in New York, but only .2 miles!)

LOCATION: Park in a gravel parking lot at the south side of State Route 2 in Petersburg, NY about 1/4 mile east of the NY/MA border. The flying site is 200 feet up a gravel trail to the south.

Sloping at Jeff Blatnick Park in Schenectady County

New York Slope Flying Sites
Thanks to Dave Garwood for this info.

Location: The Capital District of New York State.
Just east of General Electric Knolls Atomic Power Lab on River Road in Niskayuna.

From Exit 9 on I-87, the Adirondack Northway:

1. Westbound on State Route 146 for about 6 miles

2. LEFT at traffic light where SR-146 turns southbound

3. Cross the Mohawk River in Town of Rexford

4. LEFT at light at top of hill, eastbound on River Road

5. Continue through rotary in front of General Electric.

6. You’ll pass GE Knolls Atomic Power Lab

7. LEFT into Jeff Blatnick Park

8. Drive past two baseball diamonds

9. Go to end of parking lot, climb the hill.



Jeff Blatnick Park
Town of Niskayuna
Schenectady County, NY

This HLG and slope flying site is a capped landfill overlooking the Mohawk River, now used for walking, bike riding, roller blading. The hill is about 120 feet tall and about 400 feet long between tree lines at the ends of the field. It’s clear out front down to a partial tree line at the river bank. The hill face and the top is a large grassy meadow so landing is easy, as is recovering a downed plane.  Pleasant view, too.

The main problem is it needs EAST wind, an unusual direction, but it’s a public park so no problem with access. The Town has rules posted; one of the most interesting is “Animal traps not to be set within 200 feet of the centerline of the paved bike path.”  Pack out your trash, be courteous to the walkers and skaters, and we should be able to fly here for years.

This flying site achieved 15 minutes of fame in the soaring community when a Dave Garwood photo of Traveling Soaring Writerman GordySoar Stahl catching a Vaquero sailplane Ninja style appeared on the cover of OCT 1997 R/C Soaring Digest.

Written by Dave Garwood, APR 2002.


Traveling Man GordySoar catches a Vaquero Ninja Style at Niskayuna site, about 90 feet over the Mohawk River. Thanks to RCSD Magazine for use of the photo.



Sloping in Lancaster County, PA


Pennsylvania Slope Flying Sites

Breezy View Park

Here in Pennsylvania we have a slope site which is popular with the locals as well as fliers from surronding states. On a good day we have folks from Maryland, New Jersey and other points west.

The site is in Lancaster county (amish country) near Columbia, PA. It is at Breezy View park which is part of the Lancaster County Park system. Our club – LASS (Lancaster Area Soaring Society) web site – – worked with the parks system to establish the site for slope flying and includes a stone lane and parking at the site, a grass landing area and outdoor toilet – the last can be quite important. The site overlooks the Susquehanna River with the stacks of Three Mile Island in the distance. It is 220 ft. to the bottom of an 80 degree slope with a nice lift pocket at the junction of north and west faces. this is a “fly in your face” slope where combat is very popular with the advent of foamies. A nice west ridge line runs for 1/2 mile to the north making it good for doing turns with large ships. A 60″ ship is very comfortable on this slope. It works well with winds from west to north west at 15 mph and up – way up.

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Slope Flying in South Dakota

South Dakota Slope Flying Sites

There are numerous bluffs along the Missouri, with 500 to 600 feet of elevation in South Dakota, most are on private ranches. If you are going to be in the area give Rob Hurd a call at 605-366-4076. You won’t find the spots in the following stories without him. South Dakota is a huge place and a lot of the residents like their space. Don’t go on any private land without the owners permission!

These are locations we have had the privilege to fly. Some may have access restrictions.

Check with local flyers for information.




Sloping in Idaho with Mike

These are locations we have had the privilege to fly. Some may have access restrictions.
Check with local flyers for information.

Idaho Slope Flying Sites

A special thanks to Mike for his descriptions on this site.

The land-owner of this site has developed the only suitable landing area which makes it suitable for foamie only, or planes which might tolerate rough landing. For the most part this wonderful site lost.

I fly slope almost exclusively as there is a very good one just 15 minutes from my home which is 20 miles west of Boise. I would be happy to direct you and others to the local slope. As I often fly alone there, the company would be appreciated.

“Freeze-Out Hill” is approximately 25 miles NW of Boise on the road to Emmett, ID.

Directions from Boise:
Take Hwy 44 (State Street) west from Boise, through Eagle and toward Star. Turn North on Hwy 16 (Emmett Hwy) at the intersection about 6 miles west of Eagle. Drive approximately 12 miles north (past Firebird Raceway on left) to a cross road with sign to “Pearl”. (If you start down the ravine into the Emmett Valley then you’ve gone to far.) Turn Left onto what is “Old Freeze Out Road”. About 100 yards up the road is a dirt trail which Y’s off to the right. Take this rough trail up the hill to the top (~ 0.3 mile). A regular car will make it easily with care. Continue on to the north and down to the right to a flat area facing NW (~0.2 mile). Park near the bigger sage brush on the shallow down slope to the right (this is the “landing” area so stay near the brush). The slope consists of a north bowl and a south bowl with a small central ridge. West to NW winds are best. Conditions worsen as winds get more northerly but may be flyable. (Note: conditions at the slope are not always the same as those in the Boise Valley.) Launch off the flat area over the central ridge. In a stronger wind (15-20+ mph) this is a great to awesome place to fly. In light winds conditions are difficult to predict and we often fly HLG and floaters. Please note this is private land and the area should be treated with respect. Take all your trash out and kindly pick up after others not as thoughtful.
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Illinois Slope Sites

These are locations we have had the privilege to fly. Some may have access restrictions.
Check with local flyers for information.

Illinois Slope Flying Sites – Fults Hill

This is a public park in rural Illinois about 45 minutes from downtown St. Louis, MO. Head South on Rt 3 to Waterloo, right on 156, make hairpin turn at abandoned gas station onto Bluff Rd., past village of Fults, look for sign on right that says Fults Hill. Hike up the left-hand trail (not the wooden stairs). Et voila.

It’s a pretty spot. A few pix are at:

The flying is best with southwest winds, which luckily are the prevailing winds at the site.

For best info, check with Paul Luebke or Ken Trudeau of the Mississippi Valley Soaring Association.

Indiana Slope Flying at Mt. Baldy

Mt Baldy, IN

Dave with a Bandit at Mt. Baldy



Mt. Baldy is a large dune at the Southern end of Lake Michigan. It’s part of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, plus it doesn’t cost anything to park there. Wind direction for flying at Baldy, NW to NE with N best. Mostly winter winds, so bundle up!

Nice parking lot with bathrooms all winter, and a easy walk from the back through a woods to the top. About a 5 min. walk. We only fly there from Labor Day to Memoriol Day, too many people any other time.

Take 94 east, out of Gary Indiana, till you come to HWY49. Exit 26 by Chesterton.
Go north on 49 about 2 miles and turn right (east) on US-12.
Take US-12 about 7 miles and look for a Mt. Baldy sign on your left it’s at the first big curve in the road.
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Iowa Slope Flying

These are locations we have had the privilege to fly. Some may have access restrictions. Check with local flyers for information.

Iowa Slope Flying Sites

The Levees – Clinton, IA – along the bank of the Mighty Missip is an earthen levee that works for smaller planes.

The Dam at Saylorville Lake – Nice Earthen dam near Des Moines. A slightly NE wind seems to work best.

There are some other sites that are available at certain times.
Contact the Eastern Iowa Soaring Society (EISS) for info if you are going to be in the area.

Hawaii – Pauwela slope soaring

Pauwela is the spot for hot-planes and hot-pilots. Small, fast and maneuverable are the watch words on this coastal slope. Timid flyers and newbies need not apply. Come back when you feel the need to take it to the limit.

In-Your-Face Sloping at Pauwela Lighthouse

Thanks to Duane Asami for permission to use this info.

Pauwela Lighthouse is for the very skilled aileron pilot only and is strictly the dominion of the small, high-speed, highly-maneuverable hotrods. Bring lots of lead, you’ll be needing to increase your wing loading to enjoy this site. Pauwela is flyable anytime the weather forecast calls for trade-winds, the stronger, the better. One M.I.S.O. member, flew a scratch-built U-2 here when his Kestral digital-wind-meter read fifty-four miles-per-hour.

You’ll want to fly something small here. Spans of 36″ to 48″ are great although the 60″ racers can also tear-up the sky. Don’t bother bringing a full-house two-meter or F3B ship here, you won’t want to throw it out. You’ll be flying in a “box” only about thirty-feet deep, thirty-feet high and a hundred feet wide. You’ll be flying at very high speeds with your plane less than 10′ from you as you move from right-to-left. Try something like a Mini-1 or a Blazer.

Pauwela Lighthouse is on the northern coastline of east-Maui. Follow Hana Highway (36) east out of Kahului towards the extreme east- end of the island. Look for a small community called Paia about seven-miles out of Kahului. After passing Paia, watch the milepost markers, you’ll want to go .8 mile past MP-11. You should see a pineapple field on the left (ocean side) of the highway and the Haiku Community Center on the right. Take the left onto the dirt road which runs along the edge of the pineapple field and follow it to the ocean. Beware, if it’s raining or the road is muddy, don’t go down there, you will get stuck; there are no phones and cellular phones won’t work out there. When you get to the bottom of the field, you’ll see a small lighthouse (actually, it looks like a small platform on a tall utility pole). Turn right and drive through the broken fence, across the grass to the cliff. If the wind is blowing in your face from the sea, you’ve found the spot.

Flying Pauwela is aerobic exercise at it’s best… You don’t get sore muscles, but your heart rate goes through the roof. Fly small “rockers” back-and-forth across the face of the cliff and don’t get too far out. The lift goes away and you’ll be in the ocean in a hurry. Also, don’t get too far to the left, it gets squirrelly there and planes have been known to disappear behind the lighthouse, never to be seen again. Landings here are actually not as traumatic as Waihe’e and much simpler once you get the hang of it. Fly from right to left and stay close in to the cliff. On the left, turn out and try to keep the nose a little high to keep from penetrating and building up speed. Let the wind push the plane backwards as you hover about five-to-ten feet off the ground. As it backs over the land, the lift will die and the plane will settle down like a helicopter.

Hawaii – Maluhia slope soaring site

Maluhia is a great place for big planes, for F3Bs, F3Js and expensive glass-slippers that need a lot of room to land. The lift is great, but far out so small planes get hard to see. The landing area is huge and almost anything will fly here.

These are locations we have had the privilege to fly. Some may have access restrictions.
Check with local flyers for information.

Maluhia, the Fly-What-You-Like Site

Thanks to Duane Asami for permission to use this info.

Maluhia, named for the Boy Scout Camp which leases the land, is north of Wailuku Town and about a mile north of Kapuna Point (Waihe’e). The lift is great when the trade winds blow and you can fly nearly any kind of aircraft you want. I have seen a hand-launched Gentle Lady and an Olympic II sharing the sky with a Modi (F3B), also hand-launched. It’s a great place to picnic while flying and couples often go there to just lay on a blanket and enjoy the view. The site is scenic, the lift is awesome and the landing area has been described as, “A two-acre foam pad”.
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JR XP-8103 Radio Control Transmitter

JR XP-8103
JR XP-8103


The 8103 is JR’s successor to the 388. It offers several new features – most importantly a new large size screen for easier programming. A graphical interface makes it quicker to program than its predecessors. The 8103 maintains all of the features you would like to see in a full-house computer radio. It has eight channels, 10 model memory, PCM and FM, and all of the traditional features including sailplane programming and six types of programmable mixing.

There are 2 models of the JR 8103. The main difference is that newer versions have digital trim.

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Slope Soaring Sites in New Zealand

New Zealand Slope Flying Sites
Thanks to Aaron for the following info.

Being a country of mountains, valleys and volcano’s there are absolute tonnes of slope soaring sites. the most popular however are:


Mt Wellinton: An old volcano, this can be flown on in any wind direction. Most popular are S/W, S, E, NE, N. You will find fliers here most days from 3pm till dusk.
It is also an excellent site for DS in SE, E, NE wind directions. Best of all is that in N and NE winds you can launch straight from the car.
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Slope Soaring in Arkansas

These are locations we have had the privilege to fly. Some may have access restrictions.
Check with local flyers for information.

Nick Trubov sent in this info about slope soaring sites within a half hour drive of Fort Smith, AR. There are several spots.

Lake Alma: which has a dam facing due North

There is a South/Southeast facing cut along I-540 just West of Ft. Smith that works great those two days a year when the wind blow from the SouthEAST!

The landfill has a slope that faces Northwest.

There is a slope on a private farm about thirty minutes north of my house that I would take people to, but not tell ’em about since it is private land.

Also in Fort Smith there is a levee on the north side of the Arkansas river which faces  Northeast and has lots of places to soar from. The levee is only twenty feet high but the wind comes in over really flat open farmland in most places. Take highway 59 east from I-540 just after crossing the Arkansas river if you are going North. (Hey, get off on this exit  just BEFORE you cross the river if you are going South, ok?) Start looking at the levee after driving about two or three miles to the East. Eventually you will cross another bridge that takes you back to  the other side of the Arkansas river and into Barling, AR.

Local Pilots

I can almost ALWAYS be convinced to go slope soaring. I used to live in Albuquerque, NM, where they have REAL slopes. It looks as if I am going to have to hire myself a D9 and buy some land and MAKE my OWN SW facing slope. That is the direction of the prevailing wind in the summer and so there are no slopes facing that particular direction.

The Mongo Transmitter Mitt

Gloves don’t give you the feel you need and bare hands get numb. If you fly in the cold, this mitt can be the difference between a good time and crashed plane! I have used mine on the slope down to about 10 degrees with a 20mph wind and my hands have been warm.

The Mongo Transmitter Mitt

This is really simple. If you fly in the cold you gotta get one of these.
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Garland Hanson’s Arizona Slope Flying List

We have several VERY GOOD slopes in Arizona. Here are some of the most notable.

Green’s Peak
Located Near Springerville, the Sunrise Ski Resort, and the Hondah Casino. This is a 10,000ft peak with georgeous scenery. Elk, deer, and antelope are often in sight of the slope. It is grass covered and all models can be flown there. Most side of the peak can be flown. Access is unlimited and you can drive to the top and fly.

Green’s Peak will be the sight of the first Southwest Slopefest to be held this fall featuring one-design and unlimited slope racing (sound familiar?).

Brown Road Hill
Located in Mesa, AZ on the NW corner of the intersection of Ellsworth and Brown Road. This is a rugged site! i.e. foamies or sacraficial lambs ONLY! If the gate is open you may drive up otherwise its a 20 walk to the top over a winding road. Lots of vertical drop from the top and flyable from NW-W-SW-S-SE-E. One of the best sites in the Phoenix area.

P.S. The “no-trespassing” signs have been taken down.

Morman Lake Overlook
This site is actually the scenic overlook at Morman Lake located just southeast of Flagstaff. Drive up and fly right from the roadway. Georgous scenery and overlook of a mostly dry lake. Look for the 100+ elk herd that calls the middle of the lake home. Flyable in westerly wind ONLY. Good vertical face. Land down in the grass 200ft below if necessary. Nice site but not always flyable due to wind direction.

Sheba Crater
An actual volcanic cinder cone located east of Flagstaff. NO VEGETATION IN SIGHT!!! The top is accessible by 4WD ONLY! (DON’T EVEN TRY IT!!!) Landing is on very fine rock. Top is smooth and easy to land on (watch your car). Flyable on many directions. Owned by a hang-glider pilot. EXTREME sloping is to be had here.

‘A’ Mountain (Sentinel Peak) is 1 mile west of downtown Tuscon.

Several Slope Soaring Spots in Connecticut

Dennis sent in this information on sloping in Connecticut

New Haven, CT
Thanks to Dennis Phalen


Winter is here, I transitioned from autumn to the coldest season on the slope in New Haven harbor. Lighthouse Point Park has a rocky shore just North of the boat launch ramp. The pathway is about 10 ft above sea level and a hill rises behind it. Sloping from this tree dotted path is good when the wind is out of the NW at 15-20. Today it was out of the NNW but still OK.

This is a really poor slope, but it’s only nine miles from my home. Of course there’s water only 20-30 ft away and the shore is as solid rock as the rest of the area here. Be prepared to get a plane out of a tree if you go there, wingtips brush the branches all the time and sometimes stay in contact until you free them. I have a longish pole made from downed saplings lying at the base of the tallest tree on the slope if you need it.

As its not a great slope I wouldn’t expect a DAW warbird to fly well there, but then no one around here has one of those either! I have flown heavy HLG and Wings there. Having the hill behind opens the lift area beyond what the lower slope provides, you can get a plane right overhead or even behind the path. Once up you’ll see that you can put the plane pretty far to the north end of the slope but you can still see it thru the trees!

We’ll probably have more of these NW winds. When you go there, pull into the first parking lot on the right. As you go towards the ramp you’ll see a path going around to the right, or you can just take the short walk through the woods/brush over the small hill. The slope next to the ramp will work with a W wind, go father for a NW. Pick a spot that lets you launch and fly, depending on the wind direction. You’ll be alone, turning a lot but sloping! There’s lots of brush to hit for landings but the path will work too. Have fun, call me before you go[email for number]! 11421&Z=18&W=1

Colebrook, CT
There is also a group that flies at a dam in Colebrook, CT. A group of power fliers uses a N/S facing dam that is 200 ft on the dry side, 200 ft on the water side. One member has tried DS’ing there with some reward using a JW. 1453&Z=18&W=1

Willimantic, CT
A couple of weeks ago I was at a dam next to Windham airport near Willimantic. A Zig zag of dams more than a mile long and maybe 30-45 ft high has multiple wind opportunities. The airport, with paved runway is RIGHT next door, there is no tower and not much activity but it could get dicey[I didn’t send you]. 5781&Z=18&W=1


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.

What is Slope Flying?

What is Slope Flying?

Slope soaring offers a unique brand of flying excitement not found in other types of RC model flying. From flying lazily along with a floater, to breath taking high speed beach runs, slope racing, and aerobatics, there is something for every skill level of pilot. Besides being a lot of fun, how many other model pilots do you know who want the wind to blow?

It is easy to see why slope soaring is fast becoming one of the most popular parts of RC soaring. Slope soaring is no longer limited to just the east and west coasts. As the popularity of slope soaring grows, more flying sites are turning up throughout the country.

Mike Goldston launches an Omega at a slope near Star, ID
Photo: Greg Smith

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I love my Barracuda!

Posted by Greg Smith on Jul 11, 2002

I 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.
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Virginia Slope Flying at Mt. Trashmore

Virginia Beach, Virginia – Mt Trashmore

Mt Trashmore is a  recreation area located on the south side of I-264 in Virginia Beach. The hill is a wide V-shaped hill oriented with the bottom of the V pointed roughly Northeast. It is approximately 60 ‘ high with about a 45 degree slope to the North, a 20-30 degree slope  to the South and Southwest, and a 25 degree slope to the East.  The recreation management allows, within reason, small electric R/C aircraft and gliders (no gas).  Best days to fly are when the wind is from the South or Southwest as they come in over the “lake” run right into the top of the V and are the least disturbed by trees etc.  The flying area is also much larger to the S-SW as you can work most of the inside of the V and out toward the lake and don’t have to worry about the parking lot (or the highway) which are to the North of the hill. East winds are ok there but the slope of the hill to the East isn’t as steep.

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South Carolina Slope at Pinopolis Dam


South Carolina Slope Flying Sites

Pinopolis Dam, SC

Pinopolis Dam is located about 4 miles north of Moncks Corner, SC. This dam site has a 60-70 foot face that faces southeast. The spot in the pictures is on the north side of the river next to the Jeffries Hydro plant.

Winds from south to east should work well here with southeast best. If the wind is out of the northwest, as it was on the day I found this site, the front side is usable although it is only 15 feet or so to the water. I used an SH-50 and was able to make a few passes before landing. A handlaunch plane would have been perfect, but my Xterminator’s battery was not charged


Take 52 north from Monks Corner about 4 miles to Powerhouse Rd. At the end of powerhouse Rd. you will see the dam. I checked with the guard at the Hydro plant gate and he said walking up is no problem, just do not drive.

These are locations we have had the privilege to fly. Some may have access restrictions.
Check with local flyers for information.

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

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Slope Flying in and around Chamberlain, South Dakota

Slope Flying in and around Chamberlain, South Dakota

Why Chamberlain? Population 2347

I have traveled through South Dakota many times over the past 30 years and have never stopped for any extended time to see anything other than Mt. Rushmore. But I kept noticing the spectacular view from the rest stop on I-90 at the Missouri river as I passed through. It looked liked great slope country. On this trip, made over the Memorial weekend just expressly to find this out, we found spectacular slopes in a very windy state.
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Beg an Fry and the roast road, Brittany

March 25, 2002, Monday

Beg an Fry and the roast road, Brittany (France)  Temp: 6 C, morning; PM temp: 15 C; wind 6-10 knots from the NNE

Back on the road headed south from Primel-Tregastel, to Plougasnou then east along the coast road passing the point, Beg Gracia to again explore the fabled point, BEG an FRY. This time, after lunch, the “holy hour” in France, my wife came along, since she had never been BEG an FRY.  The word “BEG” means “point” in the Breton language. This sunny morning had been virtually windless, temperature was now near 60 F.
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The Bunker Pointe Annalouseten, Brittany, France

March 21, 2002

Pointe Annalouseten, Brittany, (France)   Temp: 13 C; wind 15-20 knots from the WSW

“The Bunker”

Skies are still gray; the wind has relented a bit this morning. After 10:00 AM, it rained pretty hard for three hours.

However! I got two good flights before the rain started. I started with the mini Pilatus, which had only two flights up to today. The launch was fairly easy; I cranked in one click of down trim, since this plane only weighs 19 ounces. It went up like it was on an elevator. Cruising forward in this moderate wind was not a problem. This is a very easy plane to fly.  But I did find that the plane would not roll. So I will have to do some adjustments on the aileron throws.
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Pointe Annalouseten, Brittany, France

Pointe Annalouseten, Brittany, (France)  Temp: 12 C; wind 30 knots from the west

No rain today!  Skies are still gray.

I went over to Pointe Annalouseten at about 9:30 AM and flew for about 30 minutes. Launching the Sagitta was tricky; I had to walk down the path about 20 yards to launch in less turbulence. The plane went up like it was on an elevator. Gulls cruised through the area and I chased them all over the sky.  They like to play. I worked my way slowly backward up the path to the road and kept on a-cruising’ with the German made Sagitta.
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Primel-Tregastel, France

Primel-Tregastel, France Temp: 50 F; 10 C

Subject: Good finish to a bad day

I’ll sum up today: a bad day turned into a good day. This morning I checked the immediate area for south facing slope due to the persistent south wind the last few days. Staying on the north side of Brittany makes it very tough to find a south facing slope.

After consulting a very detailed IGN map, I drove over to the very well to do town of Carantec, about 30 miles away.  This is on the other side of the Bay of Morlaix; in a straight line across the water it is only 5 miles.  But this is Brittany and most travel from one point to another is rather tortured due to the terrain.  There was a fairly high south facing slope there, 200 to 300 feet, but no access due to every inch being private property with very expensive houses on large lots. The wind was blowing 30 knots and the gulls were cruising beautifully over this ritzy area.
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Flew some light wind at the Menez-Hom

Saturday, March 16, 2002

Finally flew in some light wind at the Menez-Hom, Brittany’s highest hill (1000 Ft).  We arrived about 3:00 PM.  This site is about 50 miles from our cottage in Primel-Tregastel. The wind was out of the south about 8 or 9 mph.

The little Pilatus flew for about 10 minutes.  Then I got about a five minute test flight with the Pixel.  This was trimmed perfectly and was very easy to fly.
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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)
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More Commentaries on Flying in France

Roissy, France; Charles de Gaulle Airport

The Airbus arrived on time from Chicago: 8:20 AM;  disembarkation was a waste of time.  We were loaded on to special airport tarmac buses some distance from the terminal.  This took at least a half an hour.  Wait on the plane, then wait on the bus.  Luggage pick up was a little slow:  it took 20 minutes: It took another 20 minutes to find the car rental area; this was more annoying due to public phones that didn’t work when we tried to call the car leasing company.

We finally got picked up by the car leasing company, and were driven to the pick up area.  This was very quick.  Two signatures, they loaded our luggage in the car. It was a turbo diesel Renault Megane Scenic.   Amazingly it all fit, luggage, even the Sportube, with the three planes, which easily fit on the back seat from one door to the other. We were on our way at about 10:30 AM.

As we left, I noticed that the Roissy airport had a dingy look to it; remarkable since this was built 20-25 years ago.  Skies were the usual gray of Northern Europe at this time of the year.  We picked up the expressway to the Paris beltline, which is also called the PERIPHERIQUE.


This took at least 45 minutes and you better have a pretty good map.  It is better to have a two person team for this: one to drive; one to navigate.  Traffic was absolutely nuts, being worsened by the weaving, high speed, lunatic motorcyclists.  Again, I was disgusted by the run down look of these suburban areas along this expressway.  This is one of the most forgettable places that I have ever driven through, loaded with big ugly commercial, buildings, low cost housing projects, and a chaos of high speed traffic, that one does not want to repeat very often.

The problem of going to Brittany from north of Paris is that you have to get to the southwest side of the Parisan suburbs to pick up A-10, which heads west.  This is a Peage road which is expensive for the 200 miles that you use it.  About $20.00 (23 Euros).  This is the fastest and safest road.  The whole trip was about 350 miles to the town of Plougasnou, on the north Breton coast.  The last two thirds of this five hour trip was driven through rain.  We arrived at 4:00 PM, which was good, considering the two gas stops and the food stop on the Toll road.  Food service is excellent at these restaurant toll road stops, which will also sell you beer or wine with the food.  If you are seen drinking alcohol without eating at these food stops, you are liable for arrest in this country.

It’s not raining now, so I am hoping to go flying this Friday morning when we get some of that gray miserable sky that northern Europe is so famous for, but without the rain.

Sloping in Port Washington, Wisconsin

Mirko launching a big ASW-17 through a gap on the slope at Port Washington. Photo: Greg Smit

Port Washington, WI

Located about 30 minutes north of Milwaukee, this slope is in North Lake Park. There is a spot just after the last parking lot that works well for Southeast winds. The landing area has a good selection of trees to make for a challenging approach but if you come in high and cross the road there is a good open field to set down in.

Local pilots

Greg Smith

Mirko Bodul

Russ Whitford

Unseasonable Warmth Brings Out Hibernating Slopers

January 26th, 2002 was a super day at the Big M. Unseasonable 50 degree temperatures and a strong SW wind brought out several slopers from Milwaukee and Madison, Wisconsin.

Greg gets a DAW Mustang into the air.

Pete launches his Cheetah

Greg’s SH-50 just after launch.

The Acacia II F3F prior to its inital flight. Looked the same after too!

Away it goes. This is the first launch of Greg’s Acacia II F3F. Thanks to Andy Ellison in England for inital control throw settings this flight was great from the toss. A bit of a change to the elevator compensation with crow and it is pretty close. I will take out a smidgeon of nose weight to bring my CG back a bit and it should be spot on for me.

THe DAW Mustang makes a pass.

Tracy and Clayton model the latest in cool weather sloping gear. Tracy sports non-fog goggles and gloves while Clayton warms his hands in a
stunning red Katie Kaufmann Transmitter Mitt.

Pete gets his Cheetah out into the lift again while Dan looks on.

SH-50 2001 update

2001 update – The SH-50 has been my go to plane for most of the year. In 2001 I had several hundred flights on it and it keeps coming back for more. The ability to fly in realitvely light air and the durability of the plane mean I use it as a test dummy at every new slope and the small size makes it easy to take it along on family trips. Mirko hasn’t talked me in to buying a van yet so when the family travels it is nice to have a small plane to tote along.

I have flown the SH-50 in winds from 7 to over 40 and it handles the varying conditions well. I have provisions for 14 ounces of ballast that almost doubles the wing loading.

The Wizard Compact 2x – a great all around slope plane!

Posted by Espen Torp on Nov 12, 2001

wizard compact
Wizard Compact 2x

This description is courtsey of Espen Torp.

I first got hold of the Wizard Compact some years ago. I was looking for a sports/F3F/slope plane that could take some abuse. I have had an eye to the Wizard F3B for many years but I never got to get one. Then when the producer came and showed me the Compact I was hooked. Neat size, nice design and very high quality was one of the reasons I purchased it.

First of all and most important, this plane is just outright good to fly! It handles really well and can be set up in different modes by adjusting the centre of gravity. Take it far back and it gets very sensitive and very responsive on the elevator, but be careful, tip stall may occur in this mode. Adjust the CG to a more normal setting and the Wizard behaves very smoothly and gentle. Still you can have a lot of fun with it and this setting is good for Dynamic Soaring.
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Psycho – An aerobatic sloper from Airtech in France

Posted by Greg Smith on Nov 11, 2001

airtech psycho


Airtech Psycho

This French built sloper is an affordable aerobatic sailplane. The fuselage has been designed with knife edge flight in mind and the generous rudder helps the cause. It flies lighter than its weight would indicate and with flaps is capable of landing in tighter spots than its size would lead you to believe. It is very docile, but carries speed well and will perform linked aerobatics with little energy loss.
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Racine Slope Flying Sites

Racine Slope Flying Sites

Racine, WI
In northern Racine County, Cliffside Park and a slope just south of that, Chapla Park are good for N to NE winds. Both overlook Lake Michigan.

Cliffside Park is almost inaccessible without a guide – me! (Mirko) I believe that I am the only one who has ever flown there. That was in 1998. It is only a 50 or 60 foot slope, but flying is good at both sites.

Ken Nelson added these sites for Racine:


There is a very flyable stretch of lakefront in Racine, Wisconsin south of the downtown area on Main Street between 14th and 16th Street.  The slope is grass covered and very uniform in height. The slope is small at about 25-35 feet with large rocks at the base to prevent erosion of the slope.
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Stellar Day at Concordia as the Winds hit 25 plus!

The wind was straight in at about 25 when I got to the slope. I put 16 ounces of ballast in the Extreme and spent 45 minutes tearing up the sky. This puppy covers ground really well and with the added ballast has super energy retention. In turns it doesn’t seem to loose speed and half pipes are a blast!

Russ and Mirko showed up towards the end of my flight. Russ had intended to test fly his recently completed Pixel but with the 25 mph wind and no previous flight he thought it best to wait until conditions were a bit calmer to give it its maiden voyage.

Mirko had his Sagitta out and Russ spent some time flying it too.
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DSing With the Aeromod Prodij

I had the Prodij DSing in South Dakota on our recent Slopin’ Safari and it hauls ass! I have noticed before that it handles like a larger plane and the same holds true  in the DS circuit, especially with the ballast. It covers lots of ground and really retains energy well. I was getting 400-500 foot punchouts after building up the speed!

The Prodij flies a bit differently than most other planes. You can fly it like most conventional 60-inch planes and it will already be as quick or quicker than most. But if you really want to extract the most performance make sure you set up your radio to use the left (throttle) stick to work the trailing edge as flaps. To get the plane to fly in lighter lift and really haul in heavier conditions, you have to be able to add camber or reflex. I have the flap set at neutral when the left stick is in the middle and am constantly using the left stick to change the wing to maximize what I am doing. This is the way the designer intended the plane to be flown.

Update on my McLean Extreme

Update – This plane is a great size . It is big enough to get great performance and small enough to fly at the local small slopes. My closest slope is 70 feet high and about 200 feet wide with a tricky on the face of the hill LZ. The flaps are great for bringing it in.

Greg launches the Extreme at Sheridan Park

On bigger hills like the Big M or Concordia I have had 16 ounces in it many times. I have a steel ballast bar now and will be making a set of lead slugs so I can get more weight in it.

I really like how it bangs off the turns!

The Extreme at Sheridan park

South Dakota Slope Trip October 2001

In memory of Ed Harris 1933-2001.
Read a tribute to Ed by friend Jim Porter.

There are over 75 pictures on the site from this trip. Start looking at them here.

Well y’all, here is the beginning of the report on the 2001 South Dakota Slopin’ Safari, held over four days in the Chamberlain area of South Dakota. 25 pilots from around the Midwest made the trek. States represented included Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio and South Dakota.

Pilots started arriving early in the AM of Thursday, October 4th and were welcomed to the first sloping location by South Dakota resident and slope finder, Rob Hurd. Rob has done extensive research and travel to find the best locations for sloping in South Dakota and the next 4 days would prove that his search was not in vain.

The location Rob chose for Thursday, located on a private ranch near Chamberlain, had a large area where pilots could drive to the top of the hill and fly just feet from their vehicles. The wind was light in the AM but flyable and with the thermals coming through there was no excuse not to get the flying under way.

Flyers continued to arrive throughout the day and there were 18 -20 who showed up on Thursday.

Many of the new arrivals chose to stay at the spot near the parking area. Several adventurous types followed Rob to a different hill that was about a 10 minute hike from the parking area. Shazam! It was a great spot for DSing! Several pilots took DSing 101 from Rob as most of the attendees had never done the DS thing before. We spent several hours finding our DS wings with Rob patiently looking on and offering advice.

Dinner at Al’s Oasis completed the evening and I went to sleep with the whoosh, whoosh sounds of DSing in my head.

Friday looked to be a bit better for wind and it was blowing somewhat stronger with the late afternoon offering up 18-20 mph pretty consistently. Even with the decent wind pilots still had to contend with strong thermals and the ensuing sink throughout the day.

Give a soaring junkie a new toy and see if he can resist! Several more pilots made the trip to the DS location, no doubt encouraged by those who had done it on Thursday. I spent the whole day there! Who says junkies are not sociable, you just have to come to my crib!

The highlight of Friday’s flying, for me anyway, was a tossup between DSing my Prodij and Extreme and watching Dave Hauch DS his 2 meter Duck! Here was the sound: Quack, Quack, Smack! Too bad it had to end that way Dave!

Prime Rib at Charley’s did the trick for many a hungry tummy on Friday evening.

Saturday and Sunday were spent front siding at another private ranch about 5 miles from the first site. The slope here was spectacular! The ridge is about 250 feet above the land immediately below and then it slopes down another 300 feet or so to the Missouri which is less than 3/4 mile away. The bowl shape of the site would make working it from different wind directions possible although it was pretty consistent on the two days we were there.

Saturday the wind was a bit light, but most people brought planes for light air. As the day progressed, and the thermals started to add to the available lift, many different birds made it into the air.

Rob, Larry, Walt and several other guys had some combat going later in the day while Dave and I, as well as a couple of other “crunchie” flyers, used a different spot on the slope. There was room for all.

A big group dinner and plenty of hangar talk took place at Al’s Oasis on Saturday evening.

Sunday started out with better winds and as more guys packed up to leave, it kept building. Dave and I got in some good flights with our Vindicators. I had the Extreme and Prodij out as well. Mirko had a nice flight with his 4 meter LS-4 and avoided what could have been a disaterous landing behind the hill when his plane hunted out the tallest grass around to settle in. Walt and Emil really got their Zippers dialed in.

One of the highlights of Sundays flying was playing “last guy to pull up wins” with Rob and Larry. Basically we all start at about the same altitude, dive for the valley floor and wait until the other two chicken out. I think we all were about equally daring, although I am sure Rob won one of the rounds because I swear he breezed a tree at the bottom.

A partial list of planes flown during the 4 days: Zagis galore, Boomerangs, Brisk II, Image, 2 Vindicators, Extreme, Prodij, 4 meter LS-4, Hillbilly, several Zippers, several Fun-1s, several JWs, 2 meter Duck, Wide Glide, Eli 2, Vern Hunt F3B, a couple of Vern flying wings, several foamy warbirds, Encore, Scar, Windfree, SH-50, Mini-Acacia, 2 Sagittas, several 60 inch racers from MRCSS, 2 meter DAW 1-26 and many more!

Kou discovers several small slopes in Madison

Madison Wisconsin Slope Flying Sites
discovered by Kou Vang

Giddens Park, Lake Mendota, Madison WI
A small park facing N-NW onto Lake Mendota. Located on the Isthmus on N. Brearly St. behind a Church just off E. Gorham St. Parking space available at the top. Grassy slope is mowed all the way down to the lake. The slope is gentle and is about 50-80 feet above the lake and 30-50 yards from the shore. A small area facing NW is free of obstructions, but more N are 3-4 trees that are at the base of the slope and affect flow a little, getting above the turbulence created by them you’ll be in smooth air. This site is advisable in N-NW-W-NNE winds of 10mph or more. Recommend HLGs and foamies, Zagi’s work great. Landing is a little tricky in the small area and there are large trees and houses around the perimeter of the park. Lift is very good, but you must get above the turbulence created by the trees. Hour flights in 10+ mph N and NW can be had. Soaring is several hundred feet high depending on wind conditions and incoming thermals from the north shore. Bring lead for NW winds at 15+ mph.
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Spring Valley Resevoir, Spring Valley, WI

Spring Valley Wisconsin Slope Flying Site

Directions to Spring Valley Slope (from Twin Cities)
Take 94 East through Hudson, WI to exit 19, which is HWY 63. Follow this for 7 miles to County Road 29 and turn left (East). Follow this into the town of Spring Valley. At County Road B turn left. Follow it through town to 2nd Avenue (stop sign here). Turn Left into 2nd Avenue (same as County B). Follow it West for one mile to 250th St.

Turn Right on 250th at the sign that says Eau Galle Recreation Area, turn right. When you get to the gate leading into the Corps of Engineers buildings, turn right and continue up a hill. Keep bearing right. You’ll come to a parking area with a covered look out balcony that overlooks the reservoir below. Park and walk down to the dam site.

N. Fork Bad Axe River, Dam site, Vernon County near La Crosse, WI

N. Fork Bad Axe River, Dam site, Vernon County near La Crosse, WI
reported by Kou Vang

A sloping treasure, if you can find this site and the wind directions are right you’ll be in DSing heaven. It is a dam site, holding back the Bad Axe River. County Y, goes right over the dam and there is parking on top of the dam. You have 100-200+ feet of almost vertical slope on both sides down to the lake on the north or a small stream on the south. I flew in south winds, which generated excellent, but turbulent lift. In south winds you are flying over a small stream and can land at the bottom on the flats. If flying in North winds you’ll be landing on the slope, on top of the dam or in the water. Wind directions Southish to Northish at 8+ mph recommended. In 10+ mph any size plane should fly and there is plenty of space for landing on top. Bring the Monsters out. The North face onto the Lake is less restricted and should give smoother lift, the South face is grassy at the bottom, but faces the tree line several yards back, so there is more turbulence. If DSing you’ll be doing it right across the road, but don’t worry few people travel this isolated route. The bad thing is the dam is located in a valley up in the hills, therefore wind direction can be somewhat restricted to directly S and N flying because of the flow within the valley.

This site is located in the Amish country of Vernon County, near La Crosse. It takes 25 minutes to get there from La Crosse. You’ll need a Gazetteer or you’ll get lost. From La Crosse, take 35 south till you get near Goose Island, then take a left onto County K and follow it for 8-10 winding miles until you reach 162 East (this will be an inclining exit of K, and leads into the town of Chaseburg). Right after Chaseburg take a right onto County KK and follow that for another 4-5 winding miles till you see Enterprise Road which you’ll take a right onto. Follow that for 1 mile till you reach County Y, where you will take a left and follow that for 2 miles till you reach the site.

Russ’s Vern Hunt Sloper

Report on 09/06/01

High Angst is my first larger sloper. The 4.5 lb weight (16 oz/ft2) was a little disconcerting but I had nothing to fear. It flies as if on rails and is super stable. Mirko has always extolled the virtues of larger planes and it is easy to see where his enthusiasm comes from. Yes, Renolds Number does exist!

The severely tapered wing and only 10% stab area spelled “tip stall” to me. I set the CG at 25% MAC as a starting point and have since moved it back to 30%. I used an aluminum spinner that did not have prop cutouts for the nose. I made a clay impression of the inside of the spinner then cast a mold in plaster of Paris, using the clay as a pattern. When the plaster was hard, I poured lead in the mold. I was afraid that pouring lead in the spinner might distort it. This worked great.

Flying is different from the SH-50. I have to think ahead a little more. The SH-50 can roll or loop in impulse if you have some speed. The High Angst requires a little forethought as its inertia makes it a little slower to react. I have increased aileron throws to liven it up. The fast swooping flight with great E retention is its forte.

On the first landing, I overshot the approach and flew it between tree branches without a touch. Lucky! Spoilerons are effective for slowing down. I recommend them on all slopers that do not have flaps.

Great Conditions at Concordia for Greg and Mirko

Mirko gave me a call and said he was going to Concordia. When I arrived, Mirko was already tearing around with his Saggita at the North launch site.

I wanted to fly the Extreme because the conditions would have supported it and I haven’t flown it at a big hill for a while. However, I left the transmitter I use for that plane at home. Oops! Tracy knows what I am talking about. Fortunately, I had 3 other planes in the car that are all on a different transmitter.

I joined Mirko with my Mini Acacia and the lift was great. This hill supports several hundred feet of altitude when the conditions are right. Today they were. We flew for about 30 minutes during which time several people watched or asked questions. Mirko suggested to one guy that he should get the University to start a model airplane club.
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South Dakota Slopin’ Safari – July 2001

South Dakota Slopin’ Safari – July 2001
by Ed Berris

Walt Huemmer, Dave Engleson, Dave Fisher, Lee Berris (my son) and I drove to Central South Dakota for the 2001 slope expedition. We met Mirko Bodul and South Dakota slope guide and all around good guy, Rob Hurd waiting for us on the side of the road off interstate 90.  Mirko had left Milwaukee on the 18th so he already had plenty of flying time completed by the time we arrived early Friday afternoon.

Walt, Ed, Dave E. and Dave F. at the ranch in South Dakoa


We wasted no time heading to what turned out to be the most fantastic slope site I’ve visited and that includes Torrey Pines in San Diego. The hill was over 500 feet tall and the bowl shaped area we flew in extended all the way down to the river/lake below. It was not only beautiful but also a fantastic place to fly from.

The farmer that owned the land came up each day we were there to watch us fly and to visit. He and his son couldn’t have been friendlier and we also enjoyed their company. On Saturday night he (the land owner) suggested that we visit one of the restaurants that he was familiar with. He told us to be sure to tell the hostess that we were flying on his land and to treat us right.  Actually, we didn’t have to do that because while we were waiting to be seated for dinner, he called the restaurant himself to tell the owner that we were guests of his and to make sure they took good care of us.

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Installing ballast in the Prodij

I used a piece of PVC type electrical conduit that is Shoo-Gooed to the side of the fuse along side the servos. I can get about 12 oz with a steel bar and more with lead, although I have not cast the lead piece yet. On this plane 12oz is pretty good. The thing is already fast because of the thin airfoil and the clean wing so the weight helps it really cook.

Flying at the Big M 06/10/01

Platteville, WI – 06/10/01 Greg & Mirko

The forcasted 15-30 mph winds at the Big M in Platteville did not disapoint today. When we arrived at 10 AM the wind was out of the Southwest about 15 MPH.

I got out the Prodij and started flying while Mirko got one of his 2 Saggitas ready. I hadn’t flown this plane since the Midwest Slope Challange in mid-May and was anxious to get it in the air. A quick toss and the Prodij was climbing out well. The lift was already very good. I was practicing pylon racing starts and turns for awhile and then worked a few aerobatics.
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Slope Fun With No Wind!

Greg letting the Mini Acacia rip.

A bungee and a pedal launcher are great fun especially when the slope lift leaves a bit to be desired.

My bungee, from Hollyday Designs, (sadly, like so many r/c cottage industries, Hollyday is no longer in business, however there are a couple of other sources and the fun can still be had) is 25 feet of big ol’ black rubber tubing with eyelets installed in each end. I usually pull about double the length of the bungee for really big launches. I’d say I get about 250 feet off a launch although vertical rolls and other schenanigans usually make that somewhat less.

Put the launch hook well forward of the CG and let ‘er rip. With the bungee pulling, the plane tracks straight, just be ready to pull up when the bungee lets go and watch the plane climb like a rocket.

Rich at Hollyday was very helpful and even reinstalled one of the eyelets N/C when I nicked the rubber where one of the bungee grips (the part that has the eyelet on it) is installed on the tubing.

Indiana Sloping at Brookville Dam

Brookville Dam, IN

Brookville Dam in Indiana has been described by some as “the best inland slope in our part of the country”. It is located 2.5 hours from Louisville in Brookville, IN and about 1 hour from Cincinnati, OH. Brookville Lake is located in Franklin and Union Counties on the East Fork of the Whitewater River. The dam is about 1.5 miles above Brookville, Indiana, and 36 miles northwest of Cincinnati.

South winds work best here although there has been some noise made about DS potential in North winds. Several 4 hour, as well as at least one 8 hour, LSF flights have taken place at this site.
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Prodij at the 2001 Midwest Slope Challenge

I used this plane for the Unlimited Class at the Midwest Slope Challenge and was very impressed with how fast it was in the light conditions. Several people commented on how quickly it accelerated when the nose was pushed down. In fact the acceleration helped me win one of the heats as we both dove for the finish line.

The durability of the plane was also tested in a race where the wind had come up allowing some good height to be gained before the start and as my competition and I dove for the starting line, holding until the last possible second to pull through the line, when I was about 2 feet off the deck, he bounced off the top of my Prodij slamming me into the ground. I am not sure how fast we were going, but it was fast for sure. Several people thought the plane must have been destroyed. As it turns out just a small hole was punched in the nose cone.

Vern Hunt High Anxiety – specs

Posted by Russ Whitford on Jul 1, 2001

Russ and the High Anxiety

Airfoil: RG15 mod
Span: 88.0
Area: 660 sq/in
Surface loading: 15oz/ft2
Weight: 60oz
Control: Flaperon, and Elevator
Radio: 1400 pack.

This plane came from Vern hunt and started life as a high performance electric. Russ is converting it to a slope plane.

Maiden voyage was at Big Bay today. Went off with out a hitch, I can’t wait to see it on a bigger hill


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