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|01-03-2012, 04:17 PM||#1|
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: NY, USA
Thanked 326 Times in 290 Posts
Club: Long Island Silent Flyers
Slope Soaring - This is what you do when you thought it was too windy to fly.
> How Slope Soaring Works
Basically you are surfing a wave of air that is created by the wind hitting a hill side. While this is normally done with gliders you can fly most parkflyer type aircraft this way too. I have sloped Aerobirds, Super Cubs, Easy Stars and even a GWS Warbird. A short burst of the motor is all you need. Then you fly without the motor. That 10 minute battery pack can keep you up for hours.
Yesterday my Easy Glider and I had some fun on the slope.
When I left the house it was about 34 degrees and wind was forecast to
hit about 19 mph. That is a little windier than I like to fly on the
flat field, so I headed for the slope.
On go the long johns, the winter flying gloves and a supply of hand warmer
packs go into the flying bag. Those warmers cnd be such a wonderful
help if you get cold but want to keep flying. I have flown at 7 degrees in
20 mph winds with a warmer pack in each glove, each boot and the pockets
of my pants. So nice and warm. Toss one in a cooler and you can keep
your spare batteries warm too.
Tossed the Radian and the old Easy Glider Electric (speed 400) in the
car along with a Zagi and a hi-start. I don't normally use a hi-start at these
temperatures but it was supposed to hit 40 and I would not need a lot of
punch at this site.
I always bring several planes when I go flying. I go to fly and the
trip to the slope site takes an hour so I bring an assortment so nothing
keeps me grounded.
When I got to the slope the wind was in the perfect direction but was
not as strong as forecast, maybe 12 mph. And it was very smooth.
At this site, the lift is on the other side of a stand of trees, as you can see in the
photo below. I am on the top of a ridge and the trees are down a hill below me,
about 100 feet away from me. I need to either hi-start, zip start or use a motor
to get to the lift zone. The speed 400 on the Easy Glider electric is pretty
weak but it is fine for slope soaring as I only need to get over those trees.
I pulled out the Easy Glider electric, gave it a burst of motor to get over the tree
line. I did not use the ballast rod I brought and it turned out that I did not need it
all day. A couple of clicks of down elevator was all I needed for these wind
conditions. If it had been gusty or bumpy I would have popped in the ballast rod.
That Speed 400 motor is pretty weak but it has enough to get the plane
out to the lift and is a great safety net if I were to get into trouble. I hate getting
planes out of trees.
First flight was 105 minutes and 2 phone calls long. Thanks goodness for hands free
head sets that let you fly and talk on the phone while you fly.
One of our club members stopped by to join me. He flies thermal but
he has never flown slope, to the best of my knowledge. Since he is a
competent thermal pilot I handed over the radio and he got his first taste
of slope soaring. The Easy Glider is not very aerobatic but for a first slope
experience, a few loops and zipping round the sky it is just fine.
At one point we had 4 hawks slope soaring with us. I have had hawks attack
my planes at this site, but today they were just enjoying the lift with no signs of
This is a large site with a big grassy area so you can just slide it in. You can land
composite and woody ships if you know how. I have had some of my 2 and 3 meter thermal
woodies here with great success. But the turbulance can be pretty strong in the landing area.
My friend wanted to see how we land on the slope so brought it down explaining the
value of foam when landing at the slope. If the turbulance grabs you ... well foam is easy
to fix. I joked about "single use foam planes". Turned out we were able to reuse this one
after the first flight.
Second flight was about 35 minutes (still on the same battery pack) and that seemed about enough. I had been
there for 3 hours and my hands were getting a little cold. Overall it had been a
a fun flying day and I got to give my buddy a taste of slope soaring.
Sorry you were not there to enjoy it.
Been slope soaring lately? Let's hear about it.
> Introduction to Slope Soaring
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