Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Another short update to the Zulu build log

Hi All
I've added another thrilling (not) episode to the Zulu build log. This episode includes some gripping pictures of cans of paint ! Anyway enjoy my slow and painful progress.


Mijet. Wolstonbury Hill yesterday.

Blustery session 12-28ish mph! Flew both Mijet and`s ok I won`t subject you to another Vagabond vid!

Monday, 28 September 2015

Here's one for you?

I've been thinking? (no funny comments please!)
Yes, I've been thinking about keeping warm up on the hillside, now the cold weather is nearly upon us. If you can get out of the wind you always feel warmer right? Well couldn't we cobble together some sort of wind break for us old boys to huddle behind and shelter from the breeze.
Come on you clever people what great idea's can you come up with?
Hi Paul, How about all getting one of these Slope Soaring Sussex official jackets ?

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Yesterday at Ditchling Beacon

I don't think I have ever been up on the Beacon with near total calm conditions. It was 9.00am but virtually not a breath of wind to be felt. Out came my Libelle DLG for some launches into a beautifully clear sky with touches of a summers morning still lingering in the Autumn air. Well that's the end of the poetic rubbish. Jim wandered over and watched me splodge my way through the piles of sheep poo or bloody big rabbits - not sure!
As the morning went on so the wind gradually picked up. Scott turned up next armed with his Whippet DLG which nodded more than my nodding Churchill dog that I don't have sitting on the passenger shelf of my car. A little bit of down trim and it seemed to improve a little but the C of G needs bringing forward a bit. I broke my Libellee when I misjudged its height when returning low towards the barbed wire fence and I caught its gollocks (Fin) on the barbed wire (just like Scott nearly did when jumping over the fence to get his model but it wasn't his Fin he nearly caught on the wire!!). The next to arrive was Roger, who arrive from a triumphant victory while racing an eighty year old over a 5km course. Well done Rodge! I heard it was a close one?
By now Jim was relaxing a bit (just a bit) with his Whisper 2 channel glider. This went very well in the light conditions. Jim managed a very reasonable landing at the end.
Scott & I played silly beggars with the Zulu. I'm trying my best to pass on my bad habits and poor technique to as many people as I can.
The Omega made a few flights and enjoyed floating around in tiny thermals and very light lift. Message to Mts Scott (Scott been a very good boy, so PLEASE can he a have a Nan Omega for Christmas or at least a new DX7?).
We were then joined by 'Mill Hill Mike' and his friend. Mike tore up the sky with a lovely looking glider that flew faster than Roger finishing his 5K just in front of the old fella (by the way. As a ex Couch to 5K convert - Well done Roger. Proud of you son!).
We left just as conditions where getting really good but who wants to go flying when the conditions are easy and you can expect to stay up without any trouble? Now that would just be too easy.....
I had a good time and enjoyed the good company as ever!

Friday, 25 September 2015

Think I need to upgrade my TX but don't know where to begin!

So fellas, I need some advice. Realise that the new plane will be stretching the capabilities of the DX6i and may need to look for something with more channels and brain power (both the TX and me!). The guy I'm buying the plane from has offered me an 8ch Graupner JR MX22 for £60 that would just need converting from 35mHz to 2.4 gHz using a FrSKY module (approx. £50 module + receiver). What do you all think? Anyone with a better solution or a spare 8ch TX/RX for around the same price capable of the usual sailplane mixes/flight modes etc. that they'd consider parting with? Thanks! Will

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Rob's Zulu Build - progress report

Hi All,
Check out my Zulu Build Log on the left of the screen to see what's been happening on my build - I decided to post all my progress on there rather than as a post -

Please go and see how it's coming on ....


Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Algebra Build 6 - the fuselage.

After interminable sanding, creating the wings and tailplane, it was a relief to get to some actual building again!

After checking the fuselage sides, made from 1mm ply, were  identical (not checked thoroughly enough - will cause me trouble later!), the doublers were glued in place.
Those old SCUBA diving weights coming in handy again!

Longerons were glued in place, then once again sides checked for accuracy and conformity (once again i didn't check properly, wrongly assuming they'd be accurately cut at the factory). They were clamped together and sanded down to give an identical shape.

Phew! Avoided the mistake of making two left sides!

The plans call for drawing paralell lines on the drawing board to help lining up the fuselage sides for joining. I also made up some temporary formers to hold everything nice and square. I temporarily glued these to the board.

In order to see how things would fit, I offered up the radio gear, it became clear I'd need a nose-block if the fuselage sides were not to be tortured into a tight curve at the front.

I then spent a very tedious few hours making and glueing cross-pieces out of 1/8" square to join the two sides. No guidance was given on how to do this and, unable to figure out how to invert the fuselage to do the bottom without losing the squareness, I did a lot of faffing around with tweezers glueing in the bottom pieces. Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of that, but this shot taken later shows the cross pieces at the top of the fuse - you can see how narrow it is at the back - trying to get the bottom pieces in was an exercise in patience and tenacity! There were hundreds of the buggers! Well, thirty-odd anyway...
After the sides were joined, i glued the fuselage bottom on - good job I like peanut butter...
Note that I have supported the fuselage underneath to help counteract the weights on top. 

This dry, I then started with sorting out the internals - pushrod for the elevator, elevator control horn etc., doing a loose fit to see how things would go.

Next installment, fitting the wing joiner dowels... fiddly! 

A good day at Itford Hill.

We had a good morning at Itford today. I met Jim at the bottom. I had the trusty Stagazer/Spectre combination and Jim had a similar setup - his Middle Phase and the Spectre.

When we got to the top, the conditions were marginal so we waited for a short while. It was very thermally again, with the wind rising then dropping as thermals came through. I managed to launch the Stargazer into a nice bit of lift and got a couple of hundred feet up before slowly coming back down.

Jim tried his Middle Phase but couldn't get it to go. It seemed very skittish and fled off downwind. Poor Jim had a bit of a hike, plus an argument with a barbed wire fence, but returned safely with an intact model!

We were joined by Alan with his Protech Unlimited 600, which used to sport a 600-size motor in the front - however Alan decided a lump of lead would do more good and modified it accordingly!
Then we were joined by John, with a nice little foamy, resembling a smaller Radian (sorry for the cr*p photo john!).
John had a wing camera and took some video which we hope to see later.

The conditions freshened during the morning and both Jim and I switched to our Spectres. Jim had a nice flight with his and got some good stick time. Still having a few 'moments' but definitely haaving some good flying as well. Since he'd done so well with the Spectre, he asked me to check out the Middle Phase because it had been so uncontrollable before. I had a go and confirmed the c of g seemed too far back - I needed all the down trim available and some forward pressure on the stick as well! No wonder she wouldn't fly for Jim!

Jim also had a couple of go's with my Spectre while it was at height - some very nice lazy figure-of-eights there Jim! 

Procedings were halted for a while by the arrival of the local cattle herd - none of us wanted to fly close to them.
One very curious bullock needed repeated persuasion to naff-off before the herd finally passed through.

Later we were approached by another Alan, nice fellow, who often flies with the big mouldie guys from the top of the hill. He had  brought along a very nice ASW 19 mouldie (4m span if I remember right), which he'd got for a fiver from someone selling up! It was its first flight and Alan kindly came over to warn us of a potentially unpredictable flight path. In the end it flew very nicely after some adjustment of throws.

Jim called it a day and shortly after John and Alan made their way back down - but not before John had unfortunately broken the motor shaft on his foamie. Undeterred, he taped the prop and spinner back on and carried on flying in the now reliable, strong and smooth lift. I remarked that I hoped the inventor of gaffer tape was a rich man!

Eventually I was 'last man standing' as Alan and his ASW 19  wended their way back to the car.

I spent an enjoyable extra hour practicing landings - chuck the Spectre, turn back, land, repeat. I became more adept and managed a few arrivals within 10 yards or so! 

Another lovely day's flying in such a beatiful location! Thanks to Jim, John and both Alans for the company. I'll look forward to the video, John.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Planes, Rains and Ethiopian Dancing

I arrived back into Addis just ahead of a tropical thunder storm yesterday. Here's a video of the landing to give you a FPV of Addis from the air (or more precisely from a B737 800).

You basically land and taxi past what appears to be a plane graveyard - glad I saw this after I landed rather that before take-off. Some interesting specimens, including what I think are a couple of DC3s, peeking out from the undergrowth!

And then the tropical thunderstorm hit! Glad to be in the cab while one of my colleagues has to make a dash for it!

Finally a spot of Ethiopian dancing to end a very long day!


Dave flying his Graphite 2e

Here is a fantastic video of Dave's Graphite 2e flying at the club field last weekend. Very impressed at the flying Dave and the superb quality of the video / music.
Very Interesting flight Information. What's the software package called you use Dave?

Graphite 2e
(taken from Hyperflight's Website)
The Vladimir's Models Graphite 2e is a 3.1m no compromise high performance glider/hotliner for experienced r/c electric glider modellers. The aerodynamic qualities have been further improved over the original Graphite with the assistance of Dr Drela.

The wing uses the popular MH32 section, is all molded, and of exceptional quality and surface finish, with the lay-up designed to combine extraordinary strength with comparative low weight.

The resulting performance is outstanding, and the glider’s toughness allows it to survive the rigours of competition and slope flying. Suitable for F5J competitions.

See this copy of a lost RCMF
Hyperflight / Vladimir's model Graphite 2E Build Thread for a very high quality build log, with excellent photos, and flight reports.

The kit is very highly prefabricated, and can be assembled in a short time.

Fuselage - coloured, gelcoated and laminated in the aluminium mould. It's made of kevlar and carbon and has a removable nosecone. Its keel for the RC mounting is made of carbon together with the ballast mounting tube.

Wing - coloured, three-section gel coated and laminated in the aluminium mould, has sandwich construction and is made of the materials according to the version. It has a high-tech carbon spar and joiners. THE AILERONS and flaps are completely ready and hinged. They also have wipers closing up the slot when aileron/flap operates.

Tailplane - coloured two section gel coated and laminated in the aluminium mould, has sandwich construction and is made of HEREX and fiberglass. It has a carbon spar and joiners. The elevators are ready and hinged. They have wipers closing up the slot.

Accessories - screws, horns, clevis, metal plugs wing pushrods, carbon pushrod for the elevator, servos covering plates and tow hook. They are of exceptional quality

Non-supplied parts - all r/c receiver, battery, switch, connectors, servo mounts. For the electric version: motor, gear, speed controller, battery, spinner, propeller.

One some sites you may see photos of the V tail version, but we will normally supply the glass wing cross tail version with glider and electric fuses. Carbon wing and V tail versions are available to special order. Our thanks to Justin Barber for use of his excellent Graphite-2e photos. See the glider product page for more Graphite-2 images.
Graphite 2e Specification
Wing span
3.1 m
122 in
Wing area
64.5 dm
1000 sq in
1.515 m
60 in
RTF weight
2030 g - 2500 g
72-88 oz
Wing loading
31-39 g/dm2. 10.3-12.7 oz/sq ft
Wing airfoil
Stabilizer airfoil
Centre of Gravity
108-112 mm from wing leading edge
Elevator, rudder, flaps, ailerons

The Vladimir's Models Graphite 2e can be built down to approx 2Kg by using very light servos and a lightweight powertrain, making it competitive in UK eSoaring contests. However for general fun flying more substantial servos and a large 1KW powertrain will result in a flying weight of about 2.5Kg

Graphite 2e Weights
Tip panels
491 g
Centre section
571 g
50 g
Electric fuse
185 g
Electric nose
83 g
100 g
Total weight
1480 g (52.2 oz)

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Our Field Gate 20th Sept 2015

Hi all,
One of our newer members - David Gore, who lives quite near the field has had a bee in his bonnet ever since he saw our gate broken at the bottom and even after Bernie fixed it up and re-hung it.
So, good old David finally found a bracket and a generator to run his welder and guess what ? - he went to the field and fixed our gate !!
We cannot express how grateful we are to David for doing this off his own initiative - I'm sure you will all join me in thanking David for doing this for us -
Many thanks indeed from all of us at SSS

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Buying a Glider from the Other Side of the World

Greetings from the land of the Simien Mountains! Loving Ethiopia so far, a truly stunning country. Spending the weekend in Nairobi but back to Addis Ababa on Monday for another 3-5 weeks depending on how things play out!

Been thoroughly enjoying reading the blog and it’s really helped keep me sane in moments of madness just to catch up on all the news from the slopes back home. The glider review pages are fantastic!

Before I went away I put a wanted add in the BMFA for a "battered big-wing mouldie" as a bit of a long-term prospect for once I know what I’m doing. Anyway it came up trumps and I got an email from a guy in north London looking to part with a trusted old model.

So today I managed a new first – buying a glider from the other side of the world! The internet is a dangerous thing!!!
It’s an F3B plane called a "Europhia", made in Germany by Martin Weberschock. It comes fully fitted out with servos and is described by the seller as:

“A VERY good flier which is only let down by its scruffiness. It's fully structurally sound, full of carbon parts and, I think anyway, ticks most of your boxes. This is NOT a mint condition plane at a giveaway price, it's a good, strong, long serving, and knocked about mouldie that could, I believe be exactly what you want. The Europhia is an F3B (multi-task) glider that means it has to cope with thermal, distance and speed tasks so it can be set up as "softly" as you want initially, it all depends on how you want to fly it, if you're not going to use it in competitions you can set it up in "sport" mode and use it as a "top-end" sport model but eventually, for it to show its full capabilities you're going to have to fly it faster and smoother, especially to release its aerobatic performance”

Anyway, it’s a bit of a long-term project to get myself to a standard where I’ll be ready to fly it but hope that by next spring I’ll be ready to take to the skies with her!  

Algebra Build 5.2 More Sanding, Again!

All flying tailplane (AFT) now - it's built in two halves. Each half starts off as a block of balsa, glued together from two pieces
It has to be tapered in thickness from the root to the tip:
I used a razor plane, seen to the right of the pictures, to do the main work, then finished off with my trusy Ali-Tube sanding block with 120 grit paper.

After tapering, an aerofoil section has to be sanded into the AFT.

You begin by marking a centre line around the edge of the piece. This is essential as it's really easy to get lost as to where you are.
After getting a rough aerofoil section, the tips are rounded and a new centreline drawn on them
Then these are shaped and final sanding done
The two halves will join either side of the vertical fin, using piano wire joiners which are located in tubes glued into either half of the AFT

It'a really important to get these straight. I lined up the trailing edge of the AFT with a straight line on the building board, then made all my measurements from that.
Slots were cut into the AFT and the barss tubes glued in. The joiner wires are longer than the tubes to allow for the thickness of the fin. I had no wire of equal diameter, so I cut the slots in the AFT over length to allow me to use the joiner wires as jigs to keep the tubes in line.

In the photo below you can see the original end marks for the slots and that I've extended the slots to allow for the extra length of wire.
That's the AFT done. It'll need the slots to be filled with scrap hardwood. I have to build the fuse before that so I can see how much hardwood I have as scrap!

So that's the wings and horizontal stabiliser prepared as far as I can. Final finishing and jigging for these parts will be accomplished when the fuse is built, when I'll be able to do my first test-rig of the aircraft.

Fuselage next, then!

Today's Flying - Saturday 19th Sept

Hi All,
Paul and I arrived at the Beacon at 08:45 this morning to see a lot of low cloud and not much lift. However we walked along the ridge to the East for a while and the wind seemed OK, so I launched the Zagi and Paul launched the Valenta Dragon.... both went fine, but the lift was marginal.
After a short while Jim Horn arrived with his Spectre and an older model (can't remember the name) with 2 channel control and dihederal. We chucked that one off the hill and it flew really well with Paul helping Jim to keep control and to work out left from right (come on Jim - there's only 2 options towards Lewes or towards Brighton )
Anyway, Jim had a long, long flight and really enjoyed himself with a lot of tutorial help from Paul.
Then we launched the Spectre which used to belong to Will  and after I had trimmed it Jim took over and had another long flight.
Paul brought the Dragon (as I said) and gave me the controls for a long flight which I loved very much, it's the smoothest model I ever flew - quick but very controllable - thanks Paul.

Later Roger turned up with the faithful old Stargazer and Cularis.
The Stargazer has seen better days and Roger has made some repairs since I last saw it, but it still flies very, very well and Roger was smiling which is what this is all about !
The Cularis wouldn't come to life, so Roger had a long flight or two with the Zagi (which as a model is OK , but horrible in a way cos it's prone to stalling when it fells like it).

Paul also had his Zulu which we all had a go of - including Jim who I think found it relatively easy and very manoeuvrable.

I think Paul deserves a gold star for helping Jim today and Jim gets a gold star for his improvement over last time he came with us.

All-in-all a great morning (3 hours) for us all.

No pictures or video - sorry folks.


Friday, 18 September 2015

Tomorrow Mornings Flying

Hi everyone
For me, tomorrow morning seems to offer the best weather both sunshine and wind strength of the weekend. The wind is not the strongest but should be sufficient for most of our gliders. North wind 10+ but getting lighter by the hour.
I will be up at Ditchling Beacon at 9.00am before wandering around the bowl to be facing into wind as its going to be from the North and not the usual NE for Ditchling.
I know some of you are already coming along but all welcome.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

One for the Rogue's Gallery Paul!

Itford Hill this morning - light winds and some strong thermals. Me with my Multiplex Cularis. Taken by my lovely missus Suzy!

Come on guys!!!!

Myself and Rob have put up a new section where we can publish some nice pictures and a little text about your beloved RC gliders. Unfortunately, so far we have only had pictures from one other regular flyer and reader of our blog (thanks Les). I have loaded up many pictures of mine and Tim's models and Rob has loaded up some of his gliders.
There must be over 20 modeller's that read this blog on a regular basis. Each one of those must own at least a few models and probably a lot more. That's 60+ models.
Can I ask you take a quick snap shot of your models. Email it to me with a line or two about the model and I will upload it to the blog.
Email me on

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Algebra Build 5.1 More Sanding.

Just a couple of shots of the wingtips:

Cannot believe how much dust...

Algebra Build 5, Sanding the LE and TE

Well lots of sanding, planing and carving this time. Not much to report other than lots of dust!

Having got the LE and TE stuck onto the foam cores correctly, it's time to get everything as smooth as possible. It's amazing how, while visually nice, things are very lumpy and bumpy when you get a sanding block to them.

If you remember from a previous post, I have a piece of 2" square Ali tube which I'd been using to help weight down  the wings while glueing. I cut a section of this off to give me a nice flat and square sanding block. A bit of 2" double-sided tape and a piece of sandpaper glued to it, it looks like this:

It's essential to have a square and flat sanding block - equally as important as a square and flat building board!

When it comes to sanding the ends of the wing panels for joining, the appropraite angle to allow for dihedral will be achieved by blocking up the wingtip to the correct height, then using this sanding block on the other end. Because it's square, it'll create a perfect right-angle with the building board. 

That's it for this episode. "Dust, anyone? Dust?"

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

New Section Added

Please take a look at the new section we have added to your blog......
''RC Gliders (Pictures & Reviews)'' on the top left hand side of the HOME page.
Here we will publish your pictures and reviews of RC Gliders you have flown or currently are flying.
I'm not sure if you can publish directly to these pages if you can already post on the blog (have a go, please?) or you can email me with an image and the text you want loaded up and I will publish it for you -
We need to fill this withy as much info / pictures as we can. I hope we can make it a good reference point for all who are looking at getting a new model. Lets put some detail with regard to the wind strengths the model flies in. What sort of experience you need to fly the model. How easy it was to build etc...... You get the Idea.

We are always looking for new people to contribute on our blog. Its easy and you can post as little or as much as you want. Contact me for an invite to post. We have about 8 contributors at present from as far as South Wales & the Isle of Wight. So come on, what's holding you back?

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Another afternoon at Wolstonbury Hill.

The forecast was all over the place today and I nearly didn't go.

In the end the forecast changed enough to give it a try. 

It was a bit chilly today compared with Thursday afternoon but unnily enough the conditions were very similar. Very patchy lift which was sometimes challenging and occasionally very rewarding with some good climbs to a couple of hundred feet above the ridge.

I took the whole stable today!

I didn't fly the Spectre in the end but the Stargazer went really well. Then the lift started to peter out and I decided to try the Cularis. It went really well, but what a contrast to the other two models! The roll rate was very slow in comparison, but it flew like it was on rails. Quite graceful, if I say so myself!

I tried out the variometer - it was good to be able to relate the noises coming from it with the behaviour of the model. This will be a really useful tool when learning to thermal soar.

Algebra Build 4 - leading & trailing edges, spoilers, wing ballast tubes.

Well the leading edges were easy enough but the trailing edges proved more challenging!

The instructions just said to glue them on. Which I did. Then I noticed they did not follow the line of the wings at all. They looked as if the flaps were permanently down.
You can see in the photo of the lower wing that the trailing edge has a definite 'droop'.

It dawned on me that I should have sanded the rear edges of the wings to get the trailing edges to line up with the section. Hm. 

Not having anything with which to sand accurately I decided to use the gap-filling qualities of the glue to do the job for me.

So I decided to try a different way. I cut the trailing edges off and tried again.

I laid the wing on its back, weighting it down and pinning the trailing edge to the board.
I knew those old scuba diving weights would come in handy one day...
The idea was to keep a continuous line between the rear part of the wing and the top of the trailing edge.

Rather surprisingly it worked!

Before I did the main wing sections I fitted the ballast tubes and spoilers. 

The spoilers were straightorward - just cut big holes in the wings! The spolier casing will provide strength so I didn't make boxes.

The ballast tubes required making a jig to keep them straight.

This worked reasonably well - the second one went a bit close to the bottom of the wing but it was acceptable.

So, leading and trailing edges, ballast tubes, spoilers all fitted. Next job, wing tips and sanding to section.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

The Zulu - Build Sequence

Hi All,
As I said I got a Zulu cos I flew Paul's a few times and I love it !!!
So I bought one from T9 Hobbysport for £37.99 plus post.
When it arrived in a massive box I was underwhelmed to say the least !
The quality of the parts is 'cheap' at best and to say that they're thin is an understatement - look at these pictures -

This is the so-called fin !
This is what the ailerons look like - so thin you can see light through them - and curled up at the edges -
Then here's the 'front end' -
As thin as toilet paper and no means of keeping the canopy in place at all -

Plus there are no instructions or any way of knowing how to put it all together in the kit.

I did a search and found the build sheet for this model, but I am not happy so far with the service I've got.
Don't try to make one unless you have a lot a parts at home, cos this is lacking almost everything you need !

It will fly - I've already bought 2 servos, a new battery and some pushrods for it (they were supposed to be in the kit, but guess what !)


Thursday, 10 September 2015

A Great Afternoon's Flying

Wolstonbury Hill came up with the goods again!

Unfortunately Geoff didn't make it but he's keen to come over another time.

I got up there around 2.30pm. Another flyer from Dorking, Ralph, was already there:
Very friendly bloke - gave me some good tips and generally we had a nice natter. He had a couple of models up there - the Flair glider shown above, and a real floater got from eBay for £28!

Ralph wasn't sure what it is, but it flew really well. Anyone recognise it?

The conditions were variable - the lift at times was so good that the gliders specked-out. I was flying the Stargazer - it really loved the better lift, but struggled in some of the light lift periods - I really must get the Algebra finished!

One of the things I've loved about soaring is the challenge of keeping the glider up in marginal conditions. It was great today, struggling at times to keep the glider in the air and then experienceing the reward when it climbed several hundred feet above the slope.

Wolstonbury is so picturesque:
Ralph's dog Toby loved it:
All in all a great afternoon's flying!
I had over 2 hrs of stick time. The last half-hour I just threw the Spectre around. What larks!