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Good sailplane kit to build for old noobie?

Old 11-13-2008, 12:00 AM
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kirkbross
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Default Good sailplane kit to build for old noobie?

I'm a noobie here. This is probably a common thread...

I used to build RC sailplanes when I was a kid and want to buy a nice balsa RC sailplane kit to build during my spare time -- something with a 6' + wingspan and fairly challenging. I haven't built one in about 25 years, but I was meticulous and skilled at it when I was a youngster. (I'm 40 now).

Also, recommendations for a good RC unit for under $500 and the best online store to buy it all, or a retail place in Los Angeles? Thanks in advance.
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Old 11-13-2008, 12:23 AM
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Don Sims
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Welcome to WF Kirk. The Gentle Lady electrified is a great flyer and there's a huge amount of info on the net about the plane. Tower Hobbies stocks them and they also have radios. Even with a brushless-lipo combination you should be able to get in the air for under $500.00
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Old 11-13-2008, 12:24 AM
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http://www3.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...lady&search=Go

Is the GL link.
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Old 11-13-2008, 01:06 AM
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Don is on the money with his recommendation. I have won several contest with that glider. The one thing that I did was to put in landing spoilers. I would not recommend the spoilers for the first time out unless you have help. You will need to cut out the ribs and put in a spoiler box and that can be a little intimidating for the first time. Great kit.
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Old 11-13-2008, 01:46 AM
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Many thanks for the info... exactly what I was looking for. I have a few other possibly silly and / or tedious questions:

  1. When I was building kits like this as a kid, I recall ironing on the monokote and always ruining my mom's irons... well, I can certainly afford my own irons now, but are there dedicated tools for efficient monokote application nowadays?
  2. Can you recommend the "industry standard" Dremel unit and bits that people commonly use (if there is one)?
  3. Is there a thread here discussing work surfaces? I remember using cork, I believe, mounted onto a work table... is that still the norm or do people use other, less glue-stickable materials now?)
  4. What kind of wood glue is the favorite or can I just use the Titebond I already have in the garage?
(I guess what I need to search for is a "construction walkthru for beginners" thread...)
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Old 11-13-2008, 02:48 AM
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Dremel is a must. It is nice to have a flex shaft also. I have about 6 Dremel tools of different types. The new one that looks like a pistol is really good. Now you will do the entire build with CA and usually you will use Thin, Medium and Thick. You will want to use kicker to get it to set faster. Now you can use Monocote irons to put the covering on. I use the Red Barron one as it at the time seemed better for me. I would also recommend low temp covering like Econocote. Others on here will have good information for you also. Are you going to make it electric or use a high start? I go to Home Depot or Lowes and get a piece of ceiling tile 24" X 36" and use it. Be sure to use wax paper over the top so you don't glue your parts to it. There are instructional videos somewhere on here that show you how to put on Monocote and one of the other members will give you the links. Nice thing about this forum is that there is always someone here to help.
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Old 11-13-2008, 03:01 AM
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Default Back To Gliders?

Hello Kirkbross, Welcome to Wattflyer!
The Gentle Lady is a great re-introduction glider, you won't go wrong with that design. Here's a few other glider kit sites, there are some models you may remember on the SkyBench site;
http://www.skybench.com/index.html?h....com/home.html (Click on RES-Sport-Nostalgia)
http://www.mmglidertech.com/aircraft.htm
http://www.djaerotech.com/dj_product/chrysalis2m.html
http://www3.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...93p?&C=AAR&P=6

Yes, there's a special iron and heat gun for MonoKote, here;
http://www3.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...OVQ3310&L=COVR (Scroll to bottom)

Many benches are made from hollow-core doors with accoustic ceiling tiles as a top. This yields a flat surface that takes pins easily. Covering the plans with kitchen wrap keep the adhesive from sticking to the surface.
I use mainly Titebond for balsa and ply joints, occasionally epoxy or CA.
I think the regular Dremel "Moto Tool" is pretty handy and easy to get accessories for.
If you stick to the major radio manufacturers you won't go wrong. This includes Spektrum, Airtronics, Futaba, JR, Hitec. If you plan to keep flying gliders, I'd go for at least 5-6 channels, mixing, dual rates, expo, model memory, LCD screen. Once you start using spoilers, flaps, crow mixing, it adds up fast!
Last, here's the "Builders Links". This should save you some time and Google searching!
http://www.wattflyer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=14117
Good Luck,
Ron
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Old 11-13-2008, 03:10 AM
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Thanks for all the links. Are all brands of CA glue created equal? (Tower Hobbies brand vs. Great Planes for example)
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Old 11-13-2008, 03:18 AM
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Great Planes owns Tower. AT least they did at one time. There glue is OK. Used lots of it ove the years.
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Old 11-13-2008, 05:51 AM
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Originally Posted by kirkbross View Post
I'm a noobie here. This is probably a common thread...

I used to build RC sailplanes when I was a kid and want to buy a nice balsa RC sailplane kit to build during my spare time -- something with a 6' + wingspan and fairly challenging. I haven't built one in about 25 years, but I was meticulous and skilled at it when I was a youngster. (I'm 40 now).

Also, recommendations for a good RC unit for under $500 and the best online store to buy it all, or a retail place in Los Angeles? Thanks in advance.
Hi Kirkbross your only 40 Your still a Kid and Welcome to Wattflyers, Yes the Gentle Lady is a Great sail plane, one of the best of the best for a 2 meter all around glider or e power, Take care and Have fun, Chellie
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Old 11-13-2008, 05:56 AM
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Originally Posted by kirkbross View Post
Thanks for all the links. Are all brands of CA glue created equal? (Tower Hobbies brand vs. Great Planes for example)
Some seem to work better than others, I like the Mercury CA line, and their bottle does not clog up, very reasonable too, and they are the Best of the Best when it comes to CA

http://cgi.ebay.com/Mercury-Adhesive...1%7C240%3A1318
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Old 11-13-2008, 10:26 PM
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kirkbross
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Well, my shopping cart is all loaded up at Tower Hobbies... now I just have to choose an RC unit. I probably won't get into advanced flying with spoilers and such, so I'm thinking of getting just a high quality two channel radio, unless I'll be kicking myself later like Sky Sharkster mentioned(?) I have no idea what mixing, dual rates, expo or model memory are, and how they make gliding more enjoyable, but I'm certainly willing to spend a few hundred on a nicer unit if it's advisable.

Also, do servos come with the radio unit or are they purchased separately and if so, what kind would be suitable fo the Gentle Lady?

And finally, should the unit be a 1 stick, two 2 stick or pistol -- and AM or FM -- for a beginner flyer?
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Old 11-13-2008, 11:02 PM
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Kirk, get a four channel radio at a minimum. Here's one from Tower with parts you can use at a reasonable price. http://www3.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...I=LXMYL6**&P=0

With it you get the radio a good receiver and three servos for your plane. You can use this on other planes too. Some folks buy a basic computer radio as a first one, it's easier to set up different planes on a computer radio.

Tell us about your power system...
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Old 11-14-2008, 01:13 AM
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kirkbross
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Originally Posted by Don Sims View Post
Tell us about your power system...
I'm such a noobie, I don't even know what that [power system] refers ro... I won't be using a little starter motor on the sailplane if that what it means(?) ...unless flying with the little top-mounted motor is advisable.

I actually had been eyeing this Futaba 4 channel:

http://www3.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...I=LXKJD8**&P=0

Is it as good or better, than the Hitech? I thought it said it comes with four servos, but I don't see them in the picture.

Last edited by kirkbross; 11-14-2008 at 01:41 AM.
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Old 11-14-2008, 02:41 AM
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Default Which Radio?

Hi Kirkbross,
The Futaba is a little closer to what I described than the Hitec. As far as brands, reliability, service and use, they are comparable, as are Airtronics, JR + Spektrum. Those and Multiplex are the only brands I'd recommend.
I've owned two of the Hitec Laser 4's and they are great "Intro" radios. No frills, not much to go wrong.
But the Futaba adds four model memory (which soon won't be enough, trust me!) Expo and dual rates, LCD screen. I believe it's $35.00 (more) well-spent.
Both come with a 72Mhz FM receiver, Rx battery and "Mini" (not Micro) servos, just about all you'll need for a glider.
However, if you stick with modeling and enjoy a new challenge, very shortly you will wish for more model memory, another channel or two and a few other goodies that may seem totally unnecessary now.
This could take a year, a couple of years, but by that time you'll be looking at $250.00-$300.00 radios. Does that mean you should get one now?
That's between you and your budget.
Now, about those gadgets; Dual rates are terrific additions. Say you have a model that seems normally responsive at low speed (like after launch) but at higher speeds is "Twitchy". This is very common, by the way.
Dual rates allow you to have two separate amounts of deflection (control surface movement) for each control surface, that you can change during flight; Usually a toggle switch. "High" rates gives lots of deflection to the surfaces, "Low" rates cuts the deflection down, any amount (%) you set it for, typically 1/2 of total throw or deflection.
Exponential is a way of "Softening" the control throws around the center, tightening them up at the extreme ends of the stick movement. Lots of autos have Expo built into the steering, so the car isn't twitchy at speed, but will turn tighter when parking. I believe it's called "Variable ratio steering". In other words, the deflection is less with small amounts of stick movement near the center, but will still go to full throw at full stick movement. It's not 1:1 all the way through. Not everyone likes it, but it can be handy at times.
By the way, both Expo and Dual rates are adjusted and set for each control individually, you can set lots of Expo on the elevator but only a little on the rudder, the dual rate can be 50% on the elevator but 75% 0r 25% on the rudder. Or, none on one surface that reacts OK, but any amount on another. OK?
Model memory is the greatest thing since sliced bread. You enter the model name or initials, then go to a sub-screen. Here you can set all the trims, servo reversing, Expo, rates, etc. Next time you fly that model, regardless of what the radio settings are, just scroll to the correct model, hit "Enter" and it will remember all the settings. Eliminates human error and crashes, ask anyone that's used it!
The LCD screen is where you see everything I've just described. Which model, settings, any other info. Make a change, see it on the screen.
Here's a good primer on radios, it may explain it better;
http://www.easyrc.com/radiosystems/index.html
Good Luck!
Ron

Last edited by Sky Sharkster; 11-14-2008 at 12:24 PM.
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Old 11-14-2008, 02:55 AM
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Thanks so much for the detailed info. That answers all my questions (for now anyway!). I have a lot of reading to do, but it's all starting to make sense.
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Old 11-14-2008, 05:00 AM
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Originally Posted by kirkbross View Post
Thanks so much for the detailed info. That answers all my questions (for now anyway!). I have a lot of reading to do, but it's all starting to make sense.
Yes Sky is Right get a 4 channel radio, the hitec Lazer is nice, here is a great bargin on a 6 channel JR Computer radio, its on sale dont pass this up, its a $320.00 radio for $89.87 NEW the servos alone cost $30.00 and you get 3 of them, its $10.00 less than a hitec 4 channel non computer radio, hope that helps, Chellie

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...%3D4%26ps%3D42
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Old 11-14-2008, 08:05 AM
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Originally Posted by CHELLIE View Post
/...here is a great bargin on a 6 channel JR Computer radio.../
Hmmm... why do you think it's discounted 72%? I'm a little skeptical of super duper eBay bargains...
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Old 11-14-2008, 11:42 PM
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Originally Posted by kirkbross View Post
Hmmm... why do you think it's discounted 72%? I'm a little skeptical of super duper eBay bargains...
it may be a discontinued model, because everyone wants 2.4, and the seller has a very very good feed back rating, so i would feel safe to buy it, and i think it has a factory warranty, just my 2 cents worth, Take care, Chellie
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Old 11-14-2008, 11:57 PM
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What's the general philosophy on servos for sailplanes -- standard, mini, micro, ball bearing, digital, etc? Which are considered "the best" and why? (probably the expensive ones, but I'm wondering what makes a servo superior).

Because I'm considering going for a higher quality 6 channel radio in anticipation of wantingmore flexibility in the future, I figure I shouldn't skimp on the servos and might be better off buying them separately. My thought is that RC units which include servos probably have cheaper ones(?)
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Old 11-15-2008, 12:11 AM
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Originally Posted by kirkbross View Post
What's the general philosophy on servos for sailplanes -- standard, mini, micro, ball bearing, digital, etc? Which are considered "the best" and why? (probably the expensive ones, but I'm wondering what makes a servo superior).

Because I'm considering going for a higher quality 6 channel radio in anticipation of wantingmore flexibility in the future, I figure I shouldn't skimp on the servos and might be better off buying them separately. My thought is that RC units which include servos probably have cheaper ones(?)

Hi Normally, servos with the radio systems are very very good, its hard to beat a good hitec, or jr servo that comes with a radio, The servos depend on the size of your plane and the size of the control surface, normally for park flyers, a micro servo work great, sometimes, what a servo cost does not affect the quallity, myself and my club, use the HXT 9 gram servos, they are a very very strong servo, one of the club members tried to take a pair of plyers and break one, it was very hard to do, they are Very Strong, and they are only $3.65 each, I have 2 of them in a FunJet doing 103 mph, and i have them in a almost 40 size funtana, and a 49" w/s Katana profile, never a problem, here is the link it your interested in them, i buy then 8 at a time, for all of my planes, Take care, Chellie

http://www.hobbycity.com/hobbycity/s...ec_Micro_Servo
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Old 11-15-2008, 01:11 AM
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Originally Posted by CHELLIE View Post
/... The servos depend on the size of your plane and the size of the control surface.../
I will be flying a two meter sailplane. Since I was a kid, I always fantasized about having a Futaba because that was the main brand they had at my local hobby shop. This combo deal looks pretty good... what's FASST system and is it a wonderful thing to have?

http://www3.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin/wti0161p?&I=LZ0085
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Old 11-15-2008, 01:21 AM
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Originally Posted by kirkbross View Post
I will be flying a two meter sailplane. Since I was a kid, I always fantasized about having a Futaba because that was the main brand they had at my local hobby shop. This combo deal looks pretty good... what's FASST system and is it a wonderful thing to have?

http://www3.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin/wti0161p?&I=LZ0085
Hi, It looks like Fasst is futabas own upgrade to the 2.4 system, it looks like it might help to give a more narrow band to the 2.4 radio,

Futaba's FASST (Futaba Advanced Spread Spectrum Technology) shifts
very quickly virtually eliminating signal conficts and
interruptions unlike other 2.4GHz systems that only stay on one
or two frequencies

Futabas are good, I think a DX7 would be better IMHO , Take care, Chellie
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Old 11-15-2008, 03:29 AM
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Default Which Radio?

Hi Kirkbross,
The 2.4GHz system is the latest and (so far) most interference-free R/C system available. It doesn't use conventional crystals and channels as we know them. Several 2.4's can be transmitting at the same time with no conflict, in fact, at a recent Fly-In, a test was done with dozens of 2.4's flying together.
http://www.hobbyhorse.com/spektrum_radios.shtml
Spektrum pioneered this system using the "shell" of the JR brand radios. Since then, other brands (Like JR + Futaba) have offered 2.4, along with continuing to produce 72Mhz FM's and low-cost 27's.
But it's clear 2.4 is the wave of the future, and for someone starting out, it would be wise to check this completely before buying any radio.
The Spektrum 2.4 has been around the longest and has had time to work out the "bugs" which plague any new product. And, there were some.
So, I can't honestly say which 2.4 is better, and won't even try. Do your research and decide for yourself. A search here and other R/C sites will turn up plenty of opinions. Try keywords "2.4" or "Spektrum".
About the servos, the Futaba 3004's are considered "Mini" servos and will be fine for a 2 meter. Digitals are much faster and more accurate, but use more battery power and are fairly expensive. For a 2 meter sport glider, they are overkill, but if they come with the radio, use'em. They are better suited to a high-performance competition model.
Here's a brief rundown of the various servo names and sizes.
Sub-Micro, Ultra Micro, Nano, Feather
The smallest and lightest "Outdoor" servos (there are smaller magnetic actuators, mainly for indoor models) commercially available. These are usually in the 3 to 6 gram weight range, use standard connectors (usually, check before buying!) and have torque outputs in the 7-9 oz/in range. Used on very light and small models, 4-10 ounces RTF.
Micro
Most common servo size used on small electrics, up to (about) "Speed 400" size models. Use standard connectors, weight range 8 to 14 grams, torque output normally 10-15 oz/in. Models weighing 10-24 ounces RTF.
Mini
Mid-size (for electric) models or where more torque is required, for example a torque-rod (one servo) aileron application. Weight range 20 grams to 35 grams. Torque output 30 to 50 in/oz. Model size 24 to 45 ounces.
Standard
The largest servos normally used on models under 5 lbs. Weight 1.5 ounces to 2.5 ounces. Torque output 45 to 75 oz/in. Models 3 to 5 lbs RTF.
I'll leave it to modelers more well-versed in digital, high-speed, high-torque and other special applications to explain the differences/exceptions to this. But as a general guideline, hope it helps!
http://www.wattflyer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=38875
Ron
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Old 11-16-2008, 09:49 PM
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WAIT! Have you checked out the new Parkzone Radian?

http://www.horizonhobby.com/Articles...ArticleID=1844

It's an RTF 2M, powered sailplane that comes with everything you need including a 5 channel radio for $250....... Just a thought. . . .

Andy
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