RC gliders

-- by Andre McFayden

RC gliders are a fun and challenging segment of the radio control hobby. These airplanes can stay up for hours, powered only by nature! They fly silently and gracefully, like sailboats of the air. In addition they are among the simplest and most economical type of rc vehicle to build, maintain and operate. There are a few different types of rc glider.

Winches or “hi-starts” are generally used to launch large thermal gliders, from a flat field, and into rising currents of warm air (“thermals”). Thermals are created by uneven heating of the ground. The challenge is to ride these currents to stay up for a pre-determined time. There are international contests that test this ability of the pilot, as well as spot-landing skills.

Handlaunch airplanes are thrown by hand from a flat field, and also flown into thermals. Here the pilot needs good launch technique, as well as flying and landing skills. Launch technique has borrowed from the track-and-field world, with overhead javelin launches now being replaced by the discus launch technique.

The slope glider is actually thrown over the side of hill! This sounds like a silly thing to do, but if there is sufficient wind and slope, the airplane will start flying. Seagulls use the same principles to fly without flapping their wings. If the wind direction and speed cooperate, flights of one (1) hour are well within reach. Slope gliders can be light and stable airplanes, or heavy monsters designed for strong winds, racing or aerobatics.

It’s an acquired skill to read what the air is doing to get good flights, but when done correctly, there is a real feeling of accomplishment. This is a large part of what makes RC gliders such a unique and fulfilling hobby.

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Copyright©2005 RC Airplane Advisor

Andre is a regular contributor to the RC Airplane Advisor: http://www.rc-airplane-advisor.com

 

 

 
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