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Hi-Performance and Sailplanes RC hotliners, electric pylon racers, F5B, F5D, sailplanes and gliders

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Old 10-18-2012, 04:33 PM   #1
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Default Rebuilding an old sailplane--V-tail vs Straight?

I am relatively new to rc. Started flying a 2m Explorer sailplane (which I converted to electric) 8 months ago. It has a straight tail. It was my first plane and it bares the scars. I managed to separate the tail from the fuse in it's last flight many months ago. I have gone on to other planes with less and less resulting damage. I've now gotten to the point where I am able to fly any one of the half dozen planes I own (funny how they multiply) and fly them successfully.

I want to rebuild & recover my 10 yr old 2M Explorer as a winter project. Since the tail is needing a full overhaul anyway I was wondering about the possibility of converting it to a V-Tail. I have the building skills and necessary materials and stuff. But I know nothing about the aerodynamics. Is this an ok thing to do or not? I love the looks of the V Tail. That's my only reason for wanting to do this.
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Old 10-18-2012, 04:43 PM   #2
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They work reasonably well and I agree they look awesome. The angles are important (generally about 120 degrees) and the rudder controls may seem backwards - so be careful with that.

I am not sure - but they do need to be a certain area too create yaw and pitch stability. I am not sure what the percentage of wing area however (that is usually how they measure that).

Controls are not as crisp with a V tail but nothing generally too bad - and as you point out they look great.
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Old 10-18-2012, 04:47 PM   #3
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Just a small note, I am told and it seems right that a V-tail has less drag. How much? questionable.
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Old 10-18-2012, 04:54 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by copterrichie View Post
Just a small note, I am told and it seems right that a V-tail has less drag. How much? questionable.
Negligible- the bigger savings is weight.
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Old 10-18-2012, 05:05 PM   #5
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Go here: http://www.tailwindgliders.com/Files.html scroll down to Convert a Cruciform Tail to a V-Tail and Vice-Versa. Download or open MS Excel spread sheet, click on cruciform to v-tail conversion at bottom and enter numbers. . This should put you in the ball park.

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Old 10-18-2012, 05:06 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by rcers View Post
Negligible- the bigger savings is weight.
Thank you and I agree.
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Old 10-18-2012, 05:32 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Leadchucker View Post
Go here: http://www.tailwindgliders.com/Files.html scroll down to Convert a Cruciform Tail to a V-Tail and Vice-Versa. Download or open MS Excel spread sheet, click on cruciform to v-tail conversion at bottom and enter numbers. . This should put you in the ball park.
Thanks for all the quick responses! The above info is exactly what I needed.

Now I just need poor weather so I can hole up in my shop and I'll get started. I'm planning to strip all the 12 yr old covering off, sand and recover. Is it worthwhile to think about flaps/spoilers?
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Old 10-18-2012, 07:25 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Beemerider View Post
......Is it worthwhile to think about flaps/spoilers?
Yes,either can used as landing control and for descents from those bricklifter boomers. Edge given to flaps that can change wing camber for lower sink rates and thermal riding. Another consideration is with flaps if you need to stretch an approach and suddenly close flaps you could be below wing stall speed. If you're quick on the stick and know it's gonna happen than it's no biggy. Spoilers on the other hand are the opposite where on approach you are playing the elevator to maintain atitude and if the spoilers are retracted you maintain or increase air speed. I fly both types, but it's your choice to take your pick depending on what you are comfortable with.

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Old 10-18-2012, 07:57 PM   #9
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one thing to watch for with a v-tail is that the weight of the tail surfaces is carried higher up. This doesn't effect how if flies but in the event of a heavy landing the tail tends to rotate forward and snap the fuselage. T-tails are the worst for this but V's are worse than conventional tails.
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