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View Full Version : new to sailpllanes- spirit too much?


socal swimmer
10-15-2006, 08:02 AM
im wondering if getting+building the spirit kit would be too much as a first sailplane. i have mastered teh slow stick, and a couple weekends ago i took my wing to the cliffs, took off the motor, and got a total of 40 minutes of airtime w/ an average of ~12 minutes/flight (there was a good wind).

it was 50$, which appeals to me, i could use my current standard tx, and keep the price at about 100 $ which sounds very nice.

i looked at the other beginner options, and they just looked too begginerish. I want a plane that i will have fun with, not grow out of or get bored with, and the spirit looks very good. i enjoy a challenge.

am i setting myself up for failure?

AEAJR
10-15-2006, 11:27 PM
The 2 meter Spirt is a very easy build and a great first sailplane. Be sure to include the spoilers in your build. While not absolutely requried, they really add to the plane's handling, especially on landing.

I started with a RTF spirit, but purchased a kit shortly thereafter to serve as a parts pool for repairs. I have rebuilt the fuse a couple of times and made major repairs on each wing. I also built a new wing from the kit. Very easy to do.

Covering it with Monokote or ultracote will be the hardest part, and even that is not too hard.

If you like to build, go for it. If not, go for the ARF.

socal swimmer
10-16-2006, 01:47 AM
ok thank you!

thats the answer i was looking for....

Slow Go
10-16-2006, 05:20 AM
The Spirit is an excellent starter saikplain. Do hook up the spoilers. Also, do a slight beef up of the tail section(thin ply). My longest flight so far has been with a spirit(1hr.) enjoy

Lip84
10-16-2006, 06:57 AM
This is along the lines of this thread...

I am also interested in getting into sailplanes and have been searching around and gathering any information I can. From what I have seen, the Goldberg Gentle Lady seems like one of the best beginner planes. I have also been concerned with it being too "beginnerish" and growing out of it too fast.

RUSH
10-16-2006, 09:51 AM
Depends on your personality whether you'll grow out of the GL. I have had one for over 10 years, and still enjoy it - the fun is in finding thermals and specking it out. You can sit back and eat some lunch while still flying with one hand on the transmitter - so it's a more slow/relaxed type of flying. I've flown mine for over 3 hours at one sitting before, kicking back on my truck tail gate.

The GL is a real floater weighing only 25 oz. and has a flat-bottom airfoil, so it doesn't like wind. The Spirit is a bit heavier (around 32 oz.) and has a better airfoil for penetrating wind. When I go out with the GL, it's almost always the last airplane to land since it can stay up in very light lift.

So, if it isn't real windy (< 20 MPH) often where you plan to fly, I'd say go for the GL. But if the wind is always kicking, then the Spirit may be a better choice for you. I agree with the consensus you've seen on the net about the GL being the better trainer - it has a real low sink rate which gives you more stick time before having to land if using a winch or hi-start in dead air and, as I already stated, can fly in very light lift.

AEAJR
10-16-2006, 10:47 AM
While I have flown my Spirit in 20 mph winds, I would not recommend either of those palnes for flying in 20 mph winds, even with ballast. But each to his own enjoyment.

Both are good planes. I have the Spirit and I love it. I have flown the GL and enjoyed that too.

However the starter sailplane plane I am recommending most these days is the Multiplex Easy Glider. Take a look. Quick build, or you can buy it as a receiver ready package. The wing loading similar to the GL but it has ailerons. Very easy to fly and very hard to break.

You may find this helpful:

The New Glider Pilot's Handbook
http://www.wattflyer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=11050 (http://www.wattflyer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=11050)

AEAJR
01-06-2007, 11:34 AM
im wondering if getting+building the spirit kit would be too much as a first sailplane. i have mastered teh slow stick, and a couple weekends ago i took my wing to the cliffs, took off the motor, and got a total of 40 minutes of airtime w/ an average of ~12 minutes/flight (there was a good wind).

it was 50$, which appeals to me, i could use my current standard tx, and keep the price at about 100 $ which sounds very nice.

i looked at the other beginner options, and they just looked too begginerish. I want a plane that i will have fun with, not grow out of or get bored with, and the spirit looks very good. i enjoy a challenge.

am i setting myself up for failure?

So, what did you decide to do?

socal swimmer
01-06-2007, 07:04 PM
So, what did you decide to do?

i decided, since i already have a wing, to go the way of the wings. I got a new one for christmas that i have seen fly before and im looking forward to building that.

and i finally got my DX6 :)

Al_M
01-07-2007, 01:28 AM
I would think twice about using the DX6 in a sailplane that you will eventually fly a long way out and up if you are thermaling. If you are slope flying I would use it. It is a fine radio but it's range is limited. It does have a lot more range than advertised but it is intended for parkflier types of planes.

socal swimmer
01-10-2007, 02:25 AM
well im just going to use it for slope planes, so it should be fine.

and considering that the last time i went out i shot someone down, i want the security of the DX6. but, in my defense, he was flying from inside his car where i couldnt see him, and only about half the people use or update the "frequency control system"; i had asked everyone i could see

AEAJR
01-10-2007, 02:40 AM
For slope soaring the DX6 should be fine!

TassieDevil
01-10-2007, 11:54 AM
Quite a few moons ago now... back when I was instructing at my local club... I saw a heck of a lot of different floater kits. To this day, I still prefer and recommend the Great Planes Spirit 2m for many, many reasons.

Firstly, don't get me started on the way all-foam and ARF models can be blamed for the decline/loss of building skills in our sport/hobby (comparable to 10-20 yrs ago, anyway). And learning to build, funnily enough, gives at least some grounding towards learning to repair. Building your own models also gives a necessary insight into sailplane structures and how they work (structural integrity, for example).

Secondly, the quality of the kit is second to none. The timber chosen is, more often than not, about as perfect as you'll ever find, the full sheet plan is clear and concise, and an extensive instruction booklet with photographs for every single important step in the construction process.

Thirdly, not only is it a good beginner's model, but it's superb in 2m competition as well. Carl Strautins started at the age of 14 with a Spirit 2m, and was quite capable of beating open class models. He's all grown up now and has represented Australia for the past 5 or 6 years on an International level in F3J... altho he's moved on a little from the Spirit.. ;)

Fourth, the Spirit also excels on the slope (for a floater). I don't know of many polyhedral 2m models that are capable of a half-decent looking barrel-roll straight out of the box (not that the model is built for that purpose, but it can easily handle it structurally). The swept rudder is extremely powerful and as a result it's the most manouverable 2m rudder-elevator floater I've ever seen. It can also pull on a turn of speed fairly easily and it penetrates well when required. Most floaters don't. Thermalling performance is top notch. In general, the flight performance envelope is superb.

Fifth, altho it can be built with spoilers (and I suggest they are included in your build, even if you're not going to be using them just yet), they are far from critical and as such the model only requires a 2 channel radio to get started. That usually means you've got the flexibility of using either dry cells or loose NiCD/NiMHs for both the transmitter and the receiver (rechargeables are preferable, of course). This goes a long way to keeping the overall project cost down from the start and makes it especially attractive to new young modellers or anyone with smaller budgets. And afterall, anything that can be done to encourage new or young modellers into the sport is a good thing !

With a couple of minor modifications (eg thin ply shear webs on both front & back of the mainspar in the centre wing panels, beefier dihedral joiner in a 1-piece wing, spruce leading & trailing edge for the tailplane), and using a covering material like FibaFilm, the Spirit 2m can be turned into a competition killer, capable of some relatively vicious winch and "ping" launching... guaranteed !

The fuse is bloody strong without modification (lacking in many other designs), but do avoid those landings like in competitions which U Yanks and moulded glider guiders love so much. Face it... it ain't a javelin, so don't land it like one... :)

There's really no excuse for not being able to learn to fly without having a single crash. I know it can be done becos I used to teach it that way myself. Given the right help, and using some common sense about when and where U fly, you'll enjoy a Spirit for many, many years of excellent flying. I actually logged all my flying hours on my first 2m model (not a Spirit.. it wasn't around back then), but I stopped counting at 6,000 hrs. I've learned to fly on it, and then with a new modified (stronger) wing I won comps with it. 17 yrs later it's still in good flying condition and it'll hold it's own in competition even today. Not many PPL can claim the same for their first models...

I've got a Spirit 2/3rds built myself that a lot of my old flying mates have been bugging me to finish for years... I'd always planned for it to be a competition model. I know it'll be a killer, too... much better than my first model... that is, when I finish it... ;)

redgiki
01-10-2007, 04:22 PM
I would think twice about using the DX6 in a sailplane that you will eventually fly a long way out and up if you are thermaling...

I beg to differ. The Spektrum DX6 has exactly the same range as the "full range" DX7, same output power, and same receiver sensitivity. It's ideal for sailplanes up to 6 channels.

The *real* reason you don't use this in big nitro birds is that, due to the placement of the antennas, it is possible to block your signal with a large-displacement engine or full tank of fuel, resulting in a lockout. You should pay special attention to antenna placement with a DX6 AR6000 receiver in order to make sure that it will not get shadowed by any large metal part.

They fixed this in the DX7 by separating the Rx into two separate units so that you can place the receivers to avoid shadowing.

vax6335
01-17-2007, 03:47 AM
My very first RC airplane ever was a Spirit. I retired it quite some time ago, but I got it out and started recovering it. This time I want to lighten up the fuse a little and put an electric motor on the front (making it a Spectra I guess). What is a good general size motor that will haul this plane up? 400-500 sized outrunner?

spitace
01-17-2007, 04:09 AM
I also want to get started in sailplanes
i have almost finished completion of a free flight aeroflyte 'Shrike', it is 545 mm long with a 760 mm wing span.
The wings are stick and tissue as are the tail feathers, and the fuse it balsa, with a solid balsa carved nose block.
I am planing to convert this to a rc glider at some point in the near future.
i just want you opinion of whether this glider is appropriate to convert, or if it would just nose in with the extra weight.
It is desined to be lanched a towline, which is included.

Any opinions would be greatly apreciated.

AEAJR
01-17-2007, 09:36 AM
spitace,

Can you provide some photos or a web link .7 meters is a pretty small wingspan for an RC glider, but you can do it. A small RC glider would be 1M and tne typical hand launch is 1.2-1.5 meters.

You will need micro components.

What does it weight.

spitace
01-17-2007, 11:48 AM
there is a pic of the box here: http://www.stanbridges.com.au/index.cfm/shop.p17528 i will get more once it is finished.
Because this is a free flight model would that mean that it is able to fly itself, therefore stable, their fore eisy for a first time sailplane pilot.
I cant realy weigh it because their is still a lot of dopeing to do and that will add weight.

sorry i cant provide more info right now and i understand that it is hard to help someone who cant provide info but i should have more soon.

TassieDevil
01-17-2007, 09:48 PM
Because this is a free flight model would that mean that it is able to fly itself, therefore stable, their fore eisy for a first time sailplane pilot.

Hi spitace,

When I was much younger I too built a free-flight glider from Aeroflyte (a "Nomad" - I'm actually still using the box to store scrap balsa). And my first RC model was an Aeroflyte Brolga (2m). But as I said in my post above, I really wouldn't recommend anything but the Great Planes Spirit these days as a first balsa glider.

To be blunt, treat your Shrike as the one on which you've honed your building skills. That model reminds me a lot of the Precedent Hi-Fly, which was very popular back in the early 90's (ONLY becos it was $AU39.95). It performed very poorly on the flat field, and wasn't much chop on the slope either. It flies, but it doesn't fly particularly well, and as such, my students struggled with it. It wasn't long before they were looking for a replacement..

A new model sailplane pilot needs a ship that'll fly well and give U "time on the sticks". The Shrike just doesn't have the wing area, performance nor the design features to remain airborne for that long at the hands of a beginner.

Believe me mate, do yourself a favour and grab a Great Planes Spirit kit. U certainly won't regret it as far as the model itself is concerned, it only requires standard sized radio gear (keeping your costs down), and you'll be amazed at the difference in quality of the 2 kit manufacturers ! Last one I saw in a model shop was around $AU80.

Good luck, and keep posting back on the forum to keep us updated with your progress... :)

spitace
01-17-2007, 10:47 PM
Thanks tassie devil.
I think you have convinced me, so now i have one more thing on the to buy list, a spirit, it will be a few months though till i can buy it because im running on limeted funds, AU$30 a month pocket money, and whatever else i can scrounge.
theres a lot of demand on my money at the moment, i seem to have chosen the two most expensive hobbies in the world, sailing, and RC.

Where do you go to fly, my club feild is just to small for doing this things like that, the only sailplanes ive ever seen their is one big electric assist (is the word hotliner?) and he seemed to spend most of his time turning.

Thanks for your help,
Spit

TassieDevil
01-18-2007, 02:29 AM
Thanks tassie devil.
I think you have convinced me, so now i have one more thing on the to buy list, a spirit, it will be a few months though till i can buy it because im running on limeted funds, AU$30 a month pocket money, and whatever else i can scrounge.
theres a lot of demand on my money at the moment, i seem to have chosen the two most expensive hobbies in the world, sailing, and RC.

Naaa... I always used to justify the cost by telling folks it was cheaper than getting into golf :p And it is ! (around $250-350 for a 2m model, 2ch radio, charger and nicads). Learning to sail will be quite complimentary to your glider flying however, as you'll be learning more about the wind !

Patience is definitely a virtue when building and learning to fly. It'll also buy U some time to save $$$... :)

Where do you go to fly, my club feild is just to small for doing this things like that, the only sailplanes ive ever seen their is one big electric assist (is the word hotliner?) and he seemed to spend most of his time turning.

Thanks for your help,
Spit

I taught myself to fly, but I wouldn't recommend it if you've got access to hands-on help from more knowledgeable folks. Joining a club is one way of getting some help, but eventually they'll expect U to sign up. Being a club member is good becos it usually means you'll be covered by insurance if U have any accidents causing damage with your model (flying at club sites, anyway). The problem for young folks (and myself) is that it just adds to the cost.

I stand by my claim that folks can learn to fly without having a single accident, but without help, that possibility is reduced to slim or non-existant. And nothing hurts more than to see your new pride and joy damaged unnecessarily.

I prefer to do initial test flights at the beach, or in a paddock (field for our US friends) with long grass. Both will provide a reasonably soft landing if U stall and nose into the ground. Perform the tests preferably with no wind if possible.

The beach is where I did most of my slope soaring - I lived 5 mins away from an extensive soaring area (high sand dunes) which was perfect for flying with onshore breezes. Slope soaring is where I gained most of my early experience, and you'll learn how to control your model and how it responds in different wind conditions. The great advantage for beginners is that if U have access to a suitable beach soaring site, U can often keep your sailplane airborne for as long as the wind is blowing directly onto the slope. This can translate to many, many hours of flying in a short amount of time (it was common for me to get 5 hours flying a day, especially during summer), something that usually eludes beginners flying from a flat field.

The other advantage is that a beach offers (usually) a nice, soft, wide-open space for U to land your model. I used to take my students down onto a nice, clean, open patch of deserted beach and practice hand launching, gentle landing and their first turns for numerous hours before attempting to fly from the dunes. It also taught them how to control the model in (more often than not) crosswinds... (throwing the model along the beach, when the wind is blowing onto the beach).

No matter where U go, be VERY careful if there are other PPL nearby (I wouldn't launch if there was), use some common sense and DON'T take risks. Remember this creed - "If in doubt, don't." It has served me well, and all my models are still flying as a result. Keep in mind that U probably won't be covered by your club's insurance if U fly your model at the beach or at the local footy oval.

All this might give U some ideas on plans for how to learn. Whatever U choose to do, find as much information as U can online about slope and thermal soaring, and read, read, read ! At least if U understand how slope soaring works, for example, U can decide if it's a viable option for U in your situation and location.

spitace
01-18-2007, 03:24 AM
Naaa... I always used to justify the cost by telling folks it was cheaper than getting into golf :p And it is ! (around $250-350 for a 2m model, 2ch radio, charger and nicads).

Yes but untill i can get a job (1 year 8 months) its hard to get the money eaven if i can justify it.

Learning to sail will be quite complimentary to your glider flying however, as you'll be learning more about the wind !

Year but it still costs AU$149 for a pair of hiking shorts:)
I do learn a bit about the wind, especialy as its trying to tip me over all the time (i swear it dosent like me).
Oh and i learnt to sail along time ago ;)


I taught myself to fly, but I wouldn't recommend it if you've got access to hands-on help from more knowledgeable folks. Joining a club is one way of getting some help, but eventually they'll expect U to sign up. Being a club member is good becos it usually means you'll be covered by insurance if U have any accidents causing damage with your model (flying at club sites, anyway). The problem for young folks (and myself) is that it just adds to the cost.

I am joining the club at the end of the month, when my next lot of pocket money comes!


I stand by my claim that folks can learn to fly without having a single accident, but without help, that possibility is reduced to slim or non-existant. And nothing hurts more than to see your new pride and joy damaged unnecessarily.

I dont intend to test that theory


I prefer to do initial test flights at the beach, or in a paddock (field for our US friends) with long grass. Both will provide a reasonably soft landing if U stall and nose into the ground. Perform the tests preferably with no wind if possible.

Belive me, all my capsises while sailing has given me a huge respect for the wind.


The beach is where I did most of my slope soaring - I lived 5 mins away from an extensive soaring area (high sand dunes) which was perfect for flying with onshore breezes. Slope soaring is where I gained most of my early experience, and you'll learn how to control your model and how it responds in different wind conditions. The great advantage for beginners is that if U have access to a suitable beach soaring site, U can often keep your sailplane airborne for as long as the wind is blowing directly onto the slope. This can translate to many, many hours of flying in a short amount of time (it was common for me to get 5 hours flying a day, especially during summer), something that usually eludes beginners flying from a flat field.

Do any of your models ever go in the water?


All this might give U some ideas on plans for how to learn. Whatever U choose to do, find as much information as U can online about slope and thermal soaring, and read, read, read ! At least if U understand how slope soaring works, for example, U can decide if it's a viable option for U in your situation and location.

I have already read alot of the stuff by aeajr.

Thanks for all you help and i will keep it in mind.

Sorry social swimmer for hijaking your thread, i will stop now.

Spit

PS: Its nice to be able to talk in AU$ for once;)

TassieDevil
01-18-2007, 11:29 PM
I am joining the club at the end of the month, when my next lot of pocket money comes!

In my experience clubs with fields that are smaller in area tend to be somewhat intolerant of model glider guiders, as we do tend to require a lot of space with things like towlines/bungees/winches. I spent far too much effort fighting the "old boys" in my club for the equal rights of the glider guys. I hope you're lucky enough to find a club which is more "accepting" of your needs.


Do any of your models ever go in the water?

Now why on Earth would U want to let that happen ? No. Never at a beach site...

Having said that, a mate of mine once had a radio failure (dodgy crystal after his young son dropped the receiver) with a 2ch tailless model at a 480 ft ASL sheer cliff site we used to frequent. We watched it spiral down and ditch about 50m out from the rocks. He drove down to the beach and after a 2 hour walk along the beach/rocks, the wind eventually blew the model in. He was very lucky - the next weekend the model was flying again... new covering, same servos, different receiver and crystal.. :)


Thanks for all you help and i will keep it in mind.

Spit


You're most welcome. Am happy to help. Once you've bought your Spirit, start a new thread and do keep us posted on your progress... ! :)

Also, check out the League of Silent Flight - Australia (http://www.lsfaustralia.org.au/). And if U live anywhere near Essendon, get in touch with their activity co-ordinator, Rob Benton... he's a nice bloke and he'll certainly be able to give U the best glider-oriented advice regarding clubs, sites and help available in your area. You'll find his email address on the LSF page (under LSF Levels).

(My sincere apologies for going OT..)