Sooner or later it was bound to happen, the Maxima tip launched free flight glider I had built the winter before would be lost. It seemed almost like this glider was leading a charmed existence, it had endured; getting stuck high in a tree, flying over a small pond and landing in a tiny strip of land before houses, and flying over small woods and a four-lane road. When I started to learn to launch a tip launched glider it repeatedly smashed into the ground but all the repairs were rather minor. This was the first free flight airplane that I had installed a dethermalizer on and that was a learning process.
|Last Flight of Maxima TLG|
Over the course of the flying season it became apparent that the biggest weakness in the glider was at the critical hinge point of the tailboom, it broke in that area many times. After the carbon boom was no longer breaking from the wood hinge block the then plywood surrounding started to break from the wing. In repairing this area I think the pivot operation might have not been as smooth as before.
A couple of flying sessions before the last I had replaced the DT spring and the rubber band it seemed to work fine, but it could have been a failure variable. I thought I was getting pretty good at setting short DT times to keep the glider on the small fields I flew from. Last Saturday I had the chance to fly from a larger field but not huge by any means, the wind was gusty at times but it appeared to be a day that should create good thermal lift. The morning started barely above freezing and it warmed to the mid 60’s by the afternoon.
|Swinging Boom Must Pivot Easily|
For the start of the flying season I was content just to see the glider launch high and glide smoothly down. As the season progressed I wanted to see the glider floating effortlessly in a bubble of rising air. Funny thing just that morning I was rereading the NFFS Symposium #45 Really Random Thoughts from the World of Outdoor Hand Launch Glider Flying Tim Batiuk. Quoting from the article, “One thing that has remained consistent since history of HLG is that in order to get a max you must have a thermal.” For my own enjoyment getting thermal flights was the really cool part of free flight flying. It was the same as flying my radio control gliders when there was no lift, pretty darn boring.
|Start of Flight|
|Last Seen Flying Over the Trees|
Last Saturday I had the chance to get to a larger field, I started with some short DT flights. The glider came down and the boom had popped up. I thought I had the DT set short again but then the temperature was now 15 degrees less than during most of my previous flying; that could be another variable. Waited for the calm and gave it a good launch, the glider was circling perfect, not really getting higher but not coming down. I started walking towards the glider but the ground was too wet to be able to run on.
|Turkey Vulture Would not Tell me Where Glider Was|
Hard to judge time when you are watching something so cool but it seemed like it had been flying a heck of a long time. It is getting so close to trees at the end of the field, why doesn’t it DT I keep thinking. Pretty soon it appeared to be past the trees, a turkey vulture was circling low over there also, if only it could have told me where it landed. I had done RC slope soaring off the hill behind the trees before but that was early one spring but now I found it was cornfield past the trees. Made a couple of passes through the field but I had to give up.
|Larger Field to Fly From|
I plan to build a couple of TLG gliders this winter; this has been one of my bigger thrills in model aviation. There is much for me to learn about dethermalizers and still I realize that planes will be lost on occasion.