Requiem for a Vindy

Requiem for a Vindy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Erickson Architects
John R. Erickson, AIA

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

Slope Soaring Flight Log 8/29/17

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prizes from dream-flight!

Check out all the details at – 

Flying at Oacoma, South Dakota

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Dream-Flight Alula-TREK

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

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

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

alula-trek-slopeflyer 2

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

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

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

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

Dave’s Report on the McLean Vector2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Richter Weasel from Dream Flight

Greg flying a Weasel close in at Big Bay Park.

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

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

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

What’s it made of?

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

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

Flying the Weasel

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

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

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

Related Links

Richter R/
Hobby-Lobby (Ultracote/Oracover) –

Weasel Pro

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

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

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

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

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Midwest Weasel Fest 2009

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

We a GREAT Pilots Raffle with domations including:

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Super Talon Conversion

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

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

Download the 1.4MB Talon to Super Talon Conversion PDF Here

Orca Pitcheron Slope Ship

harley's orca

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

Predator Bee – A Tougher, Stiffer Bee!

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

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

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

Greg’s Ellipse 2V

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Slope Scale Aircobra PSS Plane

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

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

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

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

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

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Airtech Dynamic in Flight

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

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


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

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

Finished and Flew the Airtech Fitness

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

Fitness ready to go


The disaster nearly happened on my first maiden voyage attempt at Big Bay. The wind was coming in at about 20 and I felt it would be a good first flight day. Plenty of lift! So, I range checked it and tossed it off the hill. Got about 70 feet. Looks good! In the next few seconds I had visions of the Wizard going in the lake as the Fitness was not responding to control inputs and threatening to follow suit. Wait, there, it turned back towards the hill. Oh, no input, not responding and it is heading over my head! More mashing of the controls and the plane dives into the ground going 40 or 50 mph. I got that sick feeling you get when a plane crashes and it seems like it will be toast.
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Dave Hauch Relates Some X-21 Experience

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

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

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

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

Wizard Cross tail
Photo: ET-Air

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RaceM / Racemachine – a Bit of History

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The RaceM comes with a two piece wing.

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

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

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

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

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

Erwin 5 Build Tips

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

Erwin 5 elevator showing the channel for the control horn
Erwin 5 V-tial half
Wing root showing 2 joiner tubes, bakllast acces in between and the wire channel aft
Hitec HS-5125 thin wing servo
V-tail control horns
V-tail control horns installed
The V-tail cradle with control horn access hole.
This is the pallet that slides up into the nose


Airtech Passion Building Info

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

Routing out the aileron and flap channel


Scraping the wood away from the hingeline


Pushrod holes in the fuse


Gluing the pushrod housings to the fuse


Pushrods housings installed


V-tail control horns


Center mark on the V-tail


Ready to glue the control horns in


Control horn channel


Control horns installed


Control horn installed


Routed out servo pocket


Fuse setup


Receiver tucked forward of the wing


Control horn and control rod setup


Wing tip routed out


Servo leads


Ballast block and ballast tray


Ballast tray installed

First Flight With My New BPV Wizard Compact 2

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

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

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

Wizard Compact 2x tips

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

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

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

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

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Mirko’s Airtech Fitness

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

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

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

Airtech Fitness at Platteville, WI

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Slope Scale F-20 Building Pictures

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

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

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

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

Same idea on the horizontal stab.
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Pictures of Rob’s Gulps

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

Gulp SR

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


My First McLean Vindicator

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

Vindicator (old)

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


Airfoil: modified 6061
Span: 60.0
Area: 395 sq in
Surface loading:
Weight: 43 oz (it has been repaired a few times!)
Control: Aileron, Rudder and Elevator
Radio: Hitec Super Slim, JR-341s in the wing and HS-81s in the fuse. 5 cell 600ae sized NiMh pack, which is more like 1000 MaH.
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Brisk 20-25mph winds at Atwater Beach put the Barracuda in its element

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

I love my Barracuda!

Posted by Greg Smith on Jul 11, 2002

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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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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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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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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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

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.

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.

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


Brian McLean Extreme

The McLean Extreme

Brian McLean used to make this ship for F3F, DS and any other high-performance slope soaring. I still have 2 and no, they are not for sale or ever will be! It is simply my all time favorite slope plane.

Specs Airfoil: Joe Wurts designed DS 19
Span: 78.5
Area: 500 sq in
Surface loading: 12.5 oz/ft2
Weight: 43oz
Control: Aileron, Flaps, Rudder and Elevator
Radio: Hitec Super Slim, 4 HS-85MGs in the wing and HS-85s in the fuse. 5 cell 600ae pack
Ballast: 1 – 16 oz piece of steel  made to slide in the tube provided.

Brian Mclean made this ship for F3F, DS and any high-performance sloping.

The fuse has a slip-on nose cone over a carbon servo tray insert, a removable carbon ballast tube, and a unique mid-tail fixed horizontal stabilizer with elevators. The linkage in the tail allows up-elevator with a servo pull, key for heavy DS elevator loading. The fuse is heavily reinforced glass, with thick Kevlar in the wing root section, with Kevlar and carbon extending from the wing root trailing edge to the tail in the boom.

The Rob Crockett view of my Extreme

Wings are carbon over  high density foam with a ply reinforcement of the leading edge and a heavy ply root and sub-rib. The DS19 airfoil and wing planform was custom designed for Brian by Joe Wurts for F3F and DS.

The kit comes with both carbon and steel joiners. Ailerons and flaps are silicone-hinged with internal balsa wipers, and the molded rudder has an internal wiper.

The Extreme fuse is carbon-fiber, fiberglass and Kevlar. It has a slip on nose cone and a strong carbin-fiber area for the battery, receiver and fuse servos.

Extreme nose

The elevator is mid-T. The horizontal stab is fixed in the front and the elevators are actuated by a linkage that allows the servo to pull for up elevator.

Linkage showing down elevator

Linkage showing up elevator

All the pretty parts that came in the box

CR Fun-1 One Design Racer

Update on this plane. I still have it after almost 8 years and it is still a super plane. I’ve now won the One Design class at the MWSC with it and finished second a couple of times. I did blow up the wing DSing it but a decent repair and it is back in action and now right at the 25 ounce weight minimum negating the need for the 2.5 ounces of ballast I used to need. Still flies great though.

I originally bought this plane to race in the One Design class at the Midwest Slope Challenge.


Airfoil: 6062 (modified)
Span: 60.0
Area: 360 sq in
Surface loading: 9-14oz sq ft
Weight: 22-1/2oz to 35 oz
Control: Aileron (Flaperons) and Elevator
Radio: Hitec Super Slim, HS-81MGs servos for the Ailerons and Elevator, 600ae battery pack.

12-1/2 oz of ballast can be bolted in. 2-1/2 oz are needed to get my version to the minimum weight for the One Design Class at the Midwest Slope Challenge and the other 10 oz brings it to the 35 oz maximum.

Purchased from CR High Performance Products (unfortunately CR is no longer selling planes. I for one will miss the great planes at fair prices!)

I bought this plane to race in the One Design class at the Midwest Slope Challenge. (I tied for 5th place by the way) At the time it was the only kit available which meets the rules, however it is possible and encouraged to build your own plane that meets the specs. With the affordability of this kit ($80-$90 bucks depending on how it is configured) most choose this route. In fact this is one of the best all around values in slope planes today.

The Fun-1 makes an excellent intermediate sloper and is capable of flying in really light conditions. I use it often in winds as low as 6 or 7 mph. When the wind comes up, put in some ballast and this plane is almost as fast as composite ships costing 4 times as much.

I built mine as the instructions indicated. One thing I should have done is to add a spar of some kind. I guess I can always build another wing.

Update: May 2002 – Once again I used this Fun-1 for the One Design class at the Midwest Slope Challenge. There were a lot more planes that meet the rules there this year. In fact no fewer than 5 different designs meeting the specs were represented. In the end CR Fun-1s took the top three places with yours truly netting a 3rd this time.

The new designs showed a lot of promise with a Magnum Models Cobra Racer making the finals and finishing 4th. Could have been 3rd but for a mid air with my Fun-1. I guess we will never know. (sorry Larry!)

The Hammerhead from Polecat Aero was also very competitive but the top two Hammerhead fliers mid-aired and took themselves out of the running. Pat McCleave’s looked particularly fast and Mike Garton’s flew to a soft landing even with the wing at about a 45 degree angle to the fuse after the rear mount bolt broke! Maybe next year guys.

May 2001 – It did not disappoint. I made it through all the rounds of the One Design class at the MWSC and netted a 5th place! It makes me happy since this was my first slope race since about 1984!

I have been using the Fun-1 to practice inverted flying. It is pretty good at it and has no weird tendencies.

It will be going to the 2002 Midwest Slope Challenge. We will see if it is still competitive. There are several new kits to contest its domination of the class.

SH-50 Compact Sloper

SH-50 number 1

The SH-50 is a 50″ sloper designed to be light, fast and strong. Our slopes are mostly small and under 150 feet high. It is really nice to have a plane that is super manuverable and doesn’t need a whole lot of sky to have fun.

Airfoil: 7012 mod or 6063 mod
Span: 50.0
Area: 300 sq/in
Surface loading: 7oz/ft2
Weight: 16oz
Control: Aileron and Elevator
Radio: Hitec 555, CS-25s all around. 300mah pack.

4oz and 6oz lead ballast made to bolt in the fuse under the wing.

Designed and built by Greg Smith and Russ Whitford.


Mini Acacia – speed demon like its big brother

The Mini Acacia is a 1.5 meter slope ship which also has a bungee hook! It is a hot little plane and is at home in light breezes or stiff gales. The Mini Acacia is all hollow molded from CNC tooling.

Mini Acacia


Airfoil: RG15 mod
Span: 57.0
Surface loading: 7oz/ft2
Weight: 18oz
Control: Aileron, Rudder and Elevator
Radio: Hitec Super Slim, JR241s in the wing and Cirrus CS-21s in the fuse. 600ae pack.

3oz and 6oz lead ballast made to bolt in the fuse under the wing

Purchased from Composite Specialities

The Mini Acacia is a 1.5 meter slope ship which also has a bungee hook! The Mini Acacia is all hollow molded from CNC tooling. This is top notch composite construction. It has a strong molded carbon fiber spar, one piece quad taper wing, flat center section with dihedral in the tips. Removable one piece V tail. All live hinge control surfaces. The fuselage has enough room under the canopy for mini sized radio equipment, a 600AAE flat pack in the nose and there is just enough room under the wing to carry enough ballast to allow the Mini to scream on the slope!

Building was straight forward. It is a pleasure to work with a model as well made as this one. The only things to do are install the control horns and radio equipment. The only part I didn’t get to fit right was the servo fairing on the wing. (the instructions do mention this)

I have flown it several times in less than ideal conditions and it flies great. Ideal conditions are even more fun. In 20 MPH winds, with 10 oz of ballast it is the most fun!

Update: Now that it has been flown several times, I am finding it one of my favorites when the wind is between 10 and 20 mph. It is smooth and fast, penetrates very well and, with the slight polyhedral, is great in bumpy air.

I did break the boom on a less than smooth landing in about 25 – 30 MPH at Mt Baldy, but the repair was easy and it is again happy in the air. I also recently got the electric fuse, which I will get going as soon as I get a couple of other projects finished.

Another Update: This plane rocks off the bungee! The slight polyhedral makes it track straight and the thin airfoil lets it climb like a rocket!

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