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Mitch
09-04-2006, 10:30 PM
I'm a beginner, and looking for a good, basic, electric sailplane ARF that has sufficient power to climb well. I have seen various posts that say the Aspire EP and and Spectra are underpowered. I am considering buying a Thermal Sailor EP (made by Airborne Models). I see in the ads that it uses a "550L" motor with a gear drive; the latter may boost performance. Does anyone know anything about this model? Any comments will be apreciated, especially those that relate to how this model flys, the quality of its construction, and what might be available that is better. I want a balsa/covered model, not a "foamy". Thanks.
Mitch

Don Sims
09-05-2006, 02:01 AM
Welcome to the site Mitch. Gear drives do help but if you can afford it spend the money up front for a brushless system.

Mitch
09-05-2006, 02:23 PM
Don:

I may be willing to go brushless (although it might be best to get some experience first with a less expensive setup). Can you make specific recommendations? To my knowledge, there are no ARF sailplanes that include a brushless motor. I would prefer not to build a kit from scratch right now. Do you know of any 2m or larger balsa ARF gliders for which the supplier lists a brushless (or even a "hot" brushed) setup? Until recently I probably could have called Hobby Lobby and ordered a nice balsa ARF plus everything I needed to upgrade it to brushless, but Hobby Lobby seems to have essentially gotten out of the electric sailplane business (they still list a few foamies, but they stopped carrying almost the entire Graupner line). By the way, does anyone know what's up with that? Is Graupner going out of business, or is Hobby Lobby just going out of the sailplane business? Anyway, if you can recommend a particular ARF sailplane and everything needed to upgrade it to brushless, including part numbers and a supplier for those parts, I would appreciate it. I saw a blog written by a guy who upgraded an Aspire EP by substituting a gear-driven 600 for the stock motor. Anyone know of a similar post concerning conversion to brushless?

And again, I would very much like to hear from anyone who has first or second-hand experience with the Thermal Sailor EP model. Thanks.
Mitch

Don Sims
09-06-2006, 12:57 AM
Mitch, the last time I was in Hobby-Lobby they had a number of balsa/fiberglass sail planes so it might be worth your while giving them a call. Northeast Sailplanes has some nice planes but some folks find it difficult to deal with Sal. I've bought several planes from both places and have not had any issues with either vendor.

stleon
09-06-2006, 01:57 AM
I have had 2 Spctra ARFs. I installed a 2028 AXI outruner with a 12x6 folding prop. Using a 3 cell LI-Po 11.4 V battery. This is just a little to much power. It will go streight up 600 feet in about 6 sesonds. it will gout out of sight in 10 seconds. The glider is a good fiyer and will hang on to most any lift. BTW if you use this set up be ready to give some down elevator at full speed the plane will loop over as it goes up. Also my first Spectra sufferd a broken wing at about 800 feet up when I hit a thermal at full speed.

OCB
09-09-2006, 08:42 PM
I, too would like to hear any thoughts or feelings about The World Models Thermal Sailor EP. I maidened my Sky Runner (also made by World Models) last weekend. It is a pretty cool plane to fly. I'm thinking about putting a brushless in it.

jimx5000
09-09-2006, 09:22 PM
I just now got home from the store with one of these in a box. Hope to get it flying soon. Perhaps by admitting my purchase here, it will get me to get my stuff together and get it in the air sooner.

Construction looks nice, though I think the covering scheme is kinda ugly. I like the size of this plane.

I am probably going to go brushless right away.

Mitch
09-09-2006, 10:29 PM
I, too would like to hear any thoughts or feelings about The World Models Thermal Sailor EP. I maidened my Sky Runner (also made by World Models) last weekend. It is a pretty cool plane to fly. I'm thinking about putting a brushless in it.

You were impressed with the quality of construction and materials, detail of the instructions, etc., of the Sky Runner? Presumably, they would be characteristic of the Thermal Sailor, too. Thanks.
Mitch

Mitch
09-09-2006, 10:36 PM
I just now got home from the store with one of these in a box. Hope to get it flying soon. Perhaps by admitting my purchase here, it will get me to get my stuff together and get it in the air sooner.

Construction looks nice, though I think the covering scheme is kinda ugly. I like the size of this plane.

I am probably going to go brushless right away.

Please continue to post about this plane as you go, especially details of the moter system you use, any problems encountered, how well it flys, your impression of the quality of the instructions, etc. Also, in particular, is the two-piece wing adequately rigid and stable? Thanks.
Mitch

OCB
09-10-2006, 12:22 AM
Mitch, I was impressed with the Sky Runner. I also have a World Models LA Flyer. I converted that one to electric. One thing I like about World Models is that you can order parts. Anyway; hopefully we will find out something on the Thermal Sailor.

jimx5000
09-10-2006, 12:37 AM
I was speaking here of a thermal sailor. It comes with a honkin' motor that they call 550L. I have never seen anything like this. I will probably want to do away with the gearbox too (for brushless outrunner), so this will require re-engineering the firewall.

I have no idea which motor I am going to use. Plenty of room in the fuse though.

I just now got home from the store with one of these in a box. Hope to get it flying soon. Perhaps by admitting my purchase here, it will get me to get my stuff together and get it in the air sooner.

Construction looks nice, though I think the covering scheme is kinda ugly. I like the size of this plane.

I am probably going to go brushless right away.

jimx5000
11-11-2006, 05:13 AM
Flew my Thermal Sailor today. Flies very well. It certainly does thermal.

My setup is about 13 ounces lighter than it says on the box. I am at about 39 ounces. 6.5 ounces per square foot of wing (6 square feet of wing).

I am using:
3200 mah 3 cell battery http://milehighrc.com/Lipos.html
450 DH brushless motor geared 3.9 to 1 (this motort setup is a full 8 ounces lighter than the stock motor. http://www.milehighrc.com/brushless450DH.html
standard size servo's
castle 35 escThe motor is so much smaller, that I was able to put the battery up where the stock motor would have gone. Also, I moved the servo's up as close to the battery as they would go. I think the servo's ended up right about on the cg. This configuration balanced perfectly without adding any more weight.

It was too windy today, but I flew anyway. Just tried to keep it pointed upwind. I am pulling about 320 watts full throttle. This is just right for a nice steep climb. I don't think It could handle much more.
I have never flown a plane like this. I have spent a lot of time slermaling with a DAW1-26, so I am familiar with finding thermals. As I said today I was just trying to keep it up wind.

I used maybe 6 or 7 climbs (20 seconds) and flew for an hour. The last time I cut off the motor, it took almost 20 minutes to come down. Put about 2000mah back into the battery.

I inadvertantley got into a steepish dive and the wings started fluttering. That was a thrill. Gave a little up and it slowed down fine. I don't know if this is a problem. Seems like it is acceptable for this type of plane. Not meant to go that fast. i did do some loops at a more sedate speed.

To me, the handling seemed sort of sloppy or something. Again, I think this is probably typical of this type of model. I get the feeling that the idea is to just nudge it around the sky looking for lift.

I did get it up quite high in a thermal. Really started wishing that I had put my name in it just in case. Now I know why they put spoilers on these things.

As for that wing joiner, it seems fine. It is certainly stronger than the rest of the spar structure. It survived my high speed dive experiment. It goes together very well too. It offers a very reasonable system for breaking the wing into two for transport.

Needed a fair amount of right trim in glide, more on power.

The trainling edge of the stab had a little warp in the last 2 inches of one side. The wood was so hard that there was no chance of shrinking it out. I think this falls under the you-get-what-you-pay-for idea.

Overall, I am very pleased with it. I bought it as a low-cost entry into thermal hunting without the hassle of winching or high start. It seems to perform well in this role.

It would probably work fine in the stock configuration. Lots of extra weight, but I think it could handle it. I just can't really understand why you would use that huge brushed motor.

Oh, and it looks great in the air. Nice and big and the red on the wings turns a vibrant orange color in the sunlight and with polarized lenses on.

mkay?

jimx5000
11-19-2006, 04:51 PM
Flew again with a 2 oz camera (aiptek 1.3) strapped to the side. I hit another huge thermal. Here are the pics if anybody is interested. I flew for 45 minutes, only used half of the battery. I only came down because somebody needed to have their nap.

http://picasaweb.google.com/jimx5000/AP

jimx5000
12-20-2006, 07:10 PM
Well. The wings folded on my thermal sailor about 2 weeks ago. Got into a dive and pulled out too hard. The wing broke just past where the wing joiner ends. Fuse crunched real bad on impact. It made me very sad :(

This plane is not designed for aerobatics, but I'm still dissapointed.
It is a nice plane, if you are carefull not to rip the wings off though.

OCB
03-27-2007, 03:43 PM
Hey Guys! Have you seen the Thermal Rider EP from World Models? It is the little brother to the Thermal Sailor EP. Any thoughts or ideas, is it any good? It looks like a pretty good deal.Thanks in advance.