Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Thermal Soaring This Week

Finally got a chance the first part of this week to do some thermal soaring with radio control gliders, a hobby I have enjoyed for some time. On Sunday I flew a Radian Pro glider in slightly windy conditions but thermal lift was good. Climbing to a fair altitude the glider encountered thermal lift right way, it seemed almost too easy. After that it took many tries of power-on flying and gliding to connect with lift again.

Gentle Lady Sailplane by Carl Goldberg is a Classic

Monday the sun was out and the wind was light but I was back to work, when I left work it was starting to get cloudy again but I thought I would try flying Gentle Lady 2-meter glider from hi-start launch even if conditions did not look good for thermal air currents. Normally thermals are rather weak by late afternoon anyway but I noticed after one launch the glider was not coming down and might be climbing at times. With little breeze the glider did not have to waste energy trying to penetrate the wind.

Fly With Tiny Control Adjustments

This is when I really enjoy the thermal glider flying when the lift is marginal you have to keep working to keep the glider from coming down yet it is not climbing to an altitude where it is a tiny dot in the sky. I made very gentle turns so as to not create extra drag or lose altitude that would be hard to regain. This type of model flying might not be too exciting for the spectators but for the pilot you have to be constantly be watching for subtle signs the glider is gaining altitude, losing altitude, or changing speed. I like to think it is more my mind that is keeping it up than the thermal air currents.

Sailplane Lands With no Control Input

After several minutes it became apparent that the glider was getting lower and landing would be the next maneuver. The glider was adjusted so well and on a good heading so I just let it land by itself and I took a picture.

Bill Kuhl

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