Here we have a list of
different styles of flying. We will try and explain the best we can.
If you would like more info please contact us.
This is our most common form of flying. We stand on
top of hill and throw the gliders off into a head wind. The hill we
need should be a reasonably steep hill clear of any trees. A nice
big clear area behind is very helpful for beginners but not a must.
The wind hits the slope of the hill and pushes upwards. This
generates wind lift for us to throw the gliders off and into. Have a
look at this drawing, it explains it a bit better. Click for a bigger
The bungee or “high-start", as it is often called in other
countries. This is basically a length of surgical rubber tubing around 33
metres long, attached to 90 or so metres of 30 – 50lb monofilament
(fishing line) or high-strength braided line. The rubber end is staked
into the ground, and the line (with a ring attached) is hooked onto the
sailplane tow hook. This may appear to be a violent method of launching,
but it is actually one of the more gentler ways of launching a sailplane.
We always launch the glider into the wind.
In Australia, a very popular method of launching a plane
these days, is the electric winch. Although not a cheap system (typically
$850 plus, without a battery), it is very dependable, strong and easy to
use. In its simplest form, a winch consists of a car starter motor, with a
drum attached to its shaft. This is then mounted to a frame. Power is
provided by a deep-cycle l2V battery and activated through an automotive
solenoid. The solenoid is triggered by a foot pedal, which is connected to
it by a cable. Step on the pedal, and the motor spins up immediately to
about 2,000rpm, pulling the line in, and winding it onto the drum.
Again we always launch the glider towards the wind. Here is a
picture of a hand winch method where a person walks with the line instead
of using an electric motor to wind it in.
This is where we use a powered plane to tow a glider. The powered
plane in known as a tug. It can be powered by a combustion engine or
an electric motor. The tug we use is an Ugly Stick 60 size.
The wing span is 1.7m and is powered by a Scorpion S4020-16 electric motor. For
more info have a look at the
build thread. The
tug has a mechanism mounted in the centre of the fuselage at the trailing
edge of the wing. The tow line connects here and can be released by
the remote control in case something goes wrong. The glider also has
a tow mechanism mounted in the nose for the tow line to connect to.
This is controlled by the remote control so the line can be released when
the glider is at a good height to fly on its own and look for thermals.
Both pilots stand beside each other so they can talk constantly and tell
each other what they are doing. The glider pilot needs to remain
behind the tug and ensure the tow line remains tight. Similar to
when two cars are towing each other. Once up to a good height the
glider releases the tow line and can start looking for thermals. A
thermal is a warm pocket of air and because it is warm it is rising air.
Unfortunately you can not see a thermal you have to watch the glider to
see if it starts to rise. This is how all gliders get their height.
This is similar to slope flying but we use models made out of EPP Foam.
They are cheap to make or purchase and they are covered with coloured
packing tape. They are very strong and can handle high impact with
the ground. Once in the air the fun begins. We deliberately
try to hit each others plane in mid air and try and force them to crash.
If you crash 9 out of 10 times you can just pick it up and get back in to
the fight. This is a whole lot of fun once you know how to fly.
One of our sites has the added fun of a Wedged tail Eagle joining in.
Have a look at the photos.
These days there are a large number of electric motors available.
Some of our gliders have them fitted in the nose so on calm days we can
hand launch and use the motor to gain height and then turn it off and
glide. If we drop quickly we can start the motor again and climb.
This makes gliding very easy, although some of these motors are very fast
and make the glider travel at high speeds.
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