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A manual of history that illustrates the sport of RC soaring This Ledger comprises of 30 years of flatland model RC sailplane soaring education for sport, with competition only a means for camaraderie. It is a thrill for a sport flyer to place consistently in competition; while using the limits of a 5th grade education to detail simple technology to accomplish his soaring tasks efficiently - per the rules the AMA (Academy of Model Aeronautics) that was originally designed to service teenagers; and not old fogy’s (that were encouraged to be leaders of a squadron, but not a dominating force to distort the activity into (rich) father son events; with daddy’s domination. Mankind calls “above the law” status EVOLUTION! To justify his vindictive nature to design stumbling blocks that impedes normal competition to promote one’s godliness.
Edit · Close · Highlight A Simple 'War' Against Gravity
Discussion / Posted by histarter / Mar 10, 2007 @ 08:59 AM / 511 Views / 0
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Customizing The Flatland Soaring Machine While everyone currently addresses high technology for maximizing performance of a sailplane, it seems that the individualistic spirit of the modeler is currently very subdued! What has happened to the need of individual expression that normally dictates the application of engineering to enhance goals, while minimizing a pilots shortcomings, so as to make one a winner through the use of strategy, rather then wealth or other prestigious support? The attempt here at definitions for improvement are for model sailplanes 2 meter to 4 meter in wingspan. Most think I am harping on the subject, whereas I find my philosophy of design still not understood by the majority. To date I am indirectly supported by lack of argument; taken by myself as the lack of proof that I am defective! I am only supporting viable technology, without being an absolutist - unlike the peers of academia. I am just a firm believer that building and flying is the true purpose for the existence of toy airplanes, that should be indexed to pleasure and not some stratagem of perfection. Handling, and confidence building, is my prime concern; where science is only an assistance, and not the prime requisite. The first step is to define what the modeler calls success. If it is to primarily champion meteorological conditions, then this pilot is a sport flier! Whereas, if one is to beat others in organized competition, preferably 'man on man,' his needs are, although slightly different, still is tempered by what he is capable of, and the dynamic tuning of the sailplane he is flying, to compromise and transduce his skills. By these definitions, I am a sport flier that went the competition route to educate myself for improvement of
my “dance with lift!” It is amazing how much fun you can have when prejudice is eliminated, and one can make his own discoveries for his own benefit! Some folk think I am a romantic because I visualize soaring as a pilot's battle between good and evil. The pull of gravity is a necessary villain to obtain the forward motion of a sailplane to navigate the rush of lift - a virtual stairway to heaven, at least happiness! All passion, without the guidance of logic, equals panic! To impose logic onto the task of tailoring man and machine, the first question that comes up is, “What airspeed do I intend to fly?” This question is the most important because as we change the angle of attack of a profile with our trim settings, we are engaging a range of airspeeds; with 6 degrees alpha typically a value for maximizing a Lift over Drag ratio - where in my scheme of things, I call a 'Q' value. This center value is depended upon two factors: Windspeed and Altitude launched. The prime control for the Q airspeed is density i.e. Ballast - needed to make the machine heavier to fly faster. [Camber changing to be discussed below.] Now we have the 3 families of airspeeds labeled as Slow, Medium, and Fast(er)! Although I have charts that emphasize statistics for specific values for Q velocity, the terms above are good enough to communicate philosophy rather then absolute science. The size of sailplane for an index of Q velocity doesn't enter into any equations because any 6 foot, or for that matter, any 10 foot sailplane at the same velocity will spiral at the same bank angle and diameter - meaning the thought that a smaller machine will fit smaller thermals better is totally false! Also, the concept of building a machine lighter (to fly slower) has limitations. Tailplane and rudder damping is less at slower airspeeds and could use a surface area increase to compensate it, along with the polyhedral increased (if employed) to punch up the roll rate. The problem with spiraling in lift is that the greater the airspeed the bigger the spiral and/or the steeper the bank angle (in this regenerative system, it means the more the bank the greater the airspeed to retain the aircraft's flight position – and that tends to increase potential spiral diameter, or demands more compensatory bank - in a locked mathematical spiral). Therefore every design out there has a dedicated speed range that the pilot can play with, through the use of ballast. [And the words zero and infinite are non existent!] In matching airspeed for a task to be interfaced with, we have different circumstances where hope of open ended perfection is truly unimportant, and the pilot must learn to live within the confines of a speed range he feels comfortable with, i.e. if he is seeking the maximization of duration within a window of time where dead air glide idealistically is the minimum duration value. The first step is to select the Q speed for the wind conditions and the altitude launched, to be programmed by ballasting up (if needed). I am totally aware that if the machine stays empty (light and slow) and one launches it to the moon, that it will stay up because the thermals that will haul up a full size machine will suck up and make a toy sailplane climb like mad, making the speck of a model fly more overhead, with less ranging out. This works for undisciplined duration, however is a disadvantage for timely landing - accurately! Those that follow the speck gazing regimen are really damaging themselves by retarding advancement i.e.
never learning ways to augment or properly employ performance when truly needed. Also, they never get the feel of customizing their equipment to maximize their potential under the stress of competition. Of course they also miss the anguish of dunning themselves with, “darn it, now that I am way up there I should have added a lot more lead.” Then there is the “Massive Competition” where one pilot notes that his stay up man ship improved when he loaded his design to 15 oz/ft. Only to have the next pilot top him with 17 oz/ft, and lose out to one flying at 18 oz/ft. All the while never realizing the that inertia of the launch maximizes the starting altitude, and that the higher you go the more effective airspeed becomes for scooting to lifting areas timely. This 'massive desire' is also demonstrating the effectiveness of the need of increased airspeed, at the proportional cost of increased sink when working the upper air. It also duplicates the feat of Demosthenes, the famous Greek orator who put stones in his mouth to speak above the roar of the Ocean. Many folks are unable to visualize my simple formula for airspeed at different bands of altitude. The 6 mtr/sec max velocity is a integrated average of about 24 sailplanes flown by 6 pilots that illustrate the concept that velocity is the key for working lift – primarily indexed at the low launch like the first note in a piece of music. Then treating less than 400 feet as the base launching dimension, I simply have found success by defining 250 ft bands of altitude above base as a ratio: (delta band )^0.5 to define ballasted weight for efficiently doing a task. [Please regard the fact that the word 'must' is not even hinted] Example: A GL weighs in at 28 oz to L/D max at 6 mtr/sec to work air efficiently below 400 ft. Weight is then 'requested' to be increased by a band shift, because of launching to 650 ft AGL plus. Using the (square root of 400+250/400) X 28 results in 7.5 oz of ballast (8 is close enough) to be added for a total weight of 36 oz). Now this is not a precision concept, but a personal rule of thumb that has been successful over the years. Attempting to fly XC using a short histart for the launching system creates a more interesting challenge. Loading set light for successful climbout at 400 ft AGL or less, with the intent for a flight task at 1500' plus, where the GL should weigh in ideally at 54 ounces (26 oz of ballast for 12.5 oz/ft loading) obviously demands compromise! I just add the 8 oz and live with what I can handle. Learning to fly with a bit of weight handicap really helps to form the piloting skills of finessement – and I am referring in both directions i.e. too light, or too heavy! How many times have you flown a floater to the stars, wishing it were a lot heavier to be able to travel. Apparently we are so spoiled that we only use those kinds of situations to justify replacing the 'old' (tired) machine with a slicker more lively newer one! Then there is the modeler that thinks that flaps is the answer to flying the full range of airspeed to match the upper air and lower air requirements. Take a good competitive design that has the proper mass to win contests in the upper air, and pop it up on a short histart with 6 degrees of flap to set camber for launch and slow speed flight, and it is competitive? Wrong! The most CL will change is 20%; whereas, you need about 100% for a 40% delta in airspeed. Yes, the 10% airspeed reduction (V = delta L^0.5) is helpful, however a simpler and cruder machine at the correct Q speed would be drastically superior in the hands of equally skilled pilots. At 10 degrees of flap, the
mentioned machine would have drag increased significantly, while the machine is still too fast for proper bank angle and spiral diameter to efficiently work low lift. Obviously Mark Smith's original primitive approach to soaring i.e. with ballast in simple sailplanes - that follows the basic concepts of academia, is still the prime concept, and is obviously open to be employed with the more modern sophisticated designs, that require pilots to learn their limitations and use imagination, while using philosophy rather then science to mask or embellish shortcomings (emphasizing their talent and skill)! Customizing a design requires honesty, imagination, and a bit of bravery to move forward, especially when peers typically converge to hold you back. The airspeed thing becomes critical, and understanding the effects that making changes incur become crucial. Regardless of the sailplane design (and profile selected), you should select your program in the following manner. Low launching and working low lift requires flight biased at high alpha. This is the airspeed that needs the correct damping to surgically work lift. Birds and experts attempt to work lift at bank angles less than 20 degrees typically, and they feed information into their machine's profile accordingly. Whereas, the high banked spiral is used for the 'sure thing,' and for maintaining centering in a thermal's core for easier climb-control for beginners (that tend to overuse the tight spiral, and sometimes fail to enlarge it for a faster climb rate when altitude has been gained). In any case, to gain more control at low airspeed, enlarging the tail surfaces by 20% typically can be very effective yielding better handling at the 'close to stall' minimum forward airspeed of the model. Added drag by this modification is minimal if cord rather than span is the attribute increased. Roll rate is another problem the modeler faces. To handle the low airspeed of a light floater, poly is obviously a better choice over ailerons because of less reversal force, and lower airspeed due to less mass of extra components. Experts can be comfortable with an Equivalent Dihedral Angle of 8 degrees or less, however my preference is almost 9.2 degrees - and it truly is up to the modeler to balance his need for crosswind landing control, spot landing accuracy, and thermal inrush centering, to select his programmable corrections over an existing design. When I build a kit, I now feed in the corrections that experience taught me is necessary, and “Viola! She is flying my way!” And it is done with very little interference with the original designer's intentions, or “performance” potential. The concept of perfection is just a target, and was based upon someone else's experiences and interpretations, that may totally vary from yours or mine. So, as a thinking creature, it is wisdom that drives one to trim his machine to be as individualistic as himself, and that way he would develop more outstanding capabilities of duration soaring (and comprehension) because of his aggressive treatment to personally finesse what is perceived as a successful design.
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Sticky: Soaring for Dummies
Discussion / Posted by histarter / Jan 13, 2007 @ 09:51 AM / 1072 Views / 0
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Transforms Contest strategies for a smaller RC Soaring universe: My foremost motivation in flying toy airplanes was to have some kind of structure, so that I am always flying competition of some kind. Control line had the stunt pattern that had to be practiced for me to comfortably make the circuit for organized competition to enjoy camaraderie – not as a champion, but as a contributor to a great avocation. Nordic sailplanes (FF) was a bit more hands-on free flight that kept the challenge going to make more duration time then the dead air time of the machine's natural glide. Wakefield was my most sophisticated challenge - requiring the most education in many fields, to yield enough 'power' to be a worthwhile opponent! My entire soaring “career” had been biased to fly against air itself - with a bit of structure for definitions of my personal accomplishments. I did the contest circuit to fly parallel to my friends and acquaintances, without regard to serialization – i.e. thrilled for the winner (without prejudice), curious about his technology if differing from mine, while always willing to exchange good information. This was the punctuation of what RC soaring was about to me. Winning events was for younger, and more talented individuals than myself, so I flew machines that I enjoyed flying, rather then popular cult type aircraft of narrow 'performance over everything' characteristics. The sport flier that comes out to bore holes in the sky currently has an attitude that keeping his machine in the upper air for long periods of time apparently has benefits that go beyond ego – like developing skill for some some kind voodoo worship. When a mature person realizes that he can extend un-powered flight by ratio, he then identifies the degree of skill needed to complete a fixed task; rather than permit the “Sirens of lift” to carry a sailplane deep into full size machine territory (without discipline, and justified only by having a “free spirit”)! Unfortunately, using open ended time affects judgment on what is considered improvements by our current soaring society - meaning less 'flying field containment' is now occurring by typical soaring enthusiasts who primarily think open ended duration is a positive attribute, and that the sky belongs to them. [ i.e. the Right to undisciplined (democratic) behavior that has no apparent objection from peers (or executable laws) who also cater to the same attitude - at a time when flying fields are shrinking and airspace itself is becoming more politically critical.]
Now looking at my “career” and realize it truly was a training scheme to win duration contests (if one has sufficient talent) and it becomes a more logical approach to serious soaring (while being able to judge ones progress by a better defined universe). While still enjoying containment into a smaller flight box as defined by a flying field's dimensions; to the comfort of all. In fact, my unusual personal design program could still be followed to advantage, even in modern times. To compete against the current trend of AVA, BD, and HH in RES, I would be faithful to my Shuttle package, for a similar wing size of 7 sq. feet area, but use an Anderson SPICA in a high tech (short coupled) structure that would be extremely strong. The rigid structure executing the easy soaring characteristics of the SPICA is a benefit for a skilled thermal junkie. And with the intense launch power available to handle the needed ballast to obtain the correct speed-range to match conditions, we would have the average pilot stuffing this heavy bird high enough to minimize the Soaring Factor necessary to keep pilot loading light. Now breaking RES down into 3 concerns: We have launch, thermal duration, and landing. Because of a psychological need for open ended duration, we currently press for performance - expanding a dynamic approach for us to use tactics that are more related to full size sailplanes rather then models. This can be an Achilles heel for those locked onto this current competition paradigm! Hopefully, the picture I am attempting to convey is that launched to 800 feet AGL, the BD loaded to 6.5 oz per foot area versus the simple Shuttle with a SPICA, at 9 oz per foot area, that the glide time would be surprisingly close. Yes, with the better low speed potential for improved rates of climb, a pilot should be working a bit harder to to make up the LD differential; however, bear in mind the difference is small (less than 15%); just remember that the SPICA is much more forgiving in slow flight as a big bonus for a 'neurotic' thermal grabbing pilot (like myself). Now comes the spot landing necessary to reel in your score after stretching duration by working needed lift. The heavier machine with a higher lift quantum is much more stable so that a youthful pilot can manipulate controls as rapidly as a seagull demonstrates when the bird is landing upon a railing at a pier – with an antagonistic wind whipping about at 20 mph. [The birds are mass stabilized so they concentrate upon a slow precise approach with tail modulations of down 'elevator' to drop alpha (and its associated drag in pulses), in order to incrementally scoot the bird forward while it is momentarily suspended by inertia and lift hysteresis; for a slow graceful touchdown.] Permit me to open up my mind up a bit! I have thoughts that our soaring programs are way too strict in attempting to sate all the various points of view, and that fuels imperialism through zero tolerance. My personal view, because gravity is the basic motor for a soaring machine, is having only 2 sizes of competition sailplanes: 0 – 2 lb class A, 2 – 4 lbs class B. Removable ballast is not to exceed the weight of the structure trimmed and RTF. The day of the 11 lb sailplane should be over because of risk, public opinion, and integration with a brotherhood of modelers that need to use the flying fields that are available, along with scientific advancement. With the present encouragement of launching high and ranging out far at high altitude, the bigger machines linked by remote control do create a risk where mass times velocity can be
quite dangerous! Skill does not compensate for stupidity, and it is too easy for someone to overstretch their limitations! Not everyone safely flies over multiple sod farms, but frequently where damage, because of an error, can be consequential. After 2 shoot downs, I was very glad that the majority of my CC work was done primarily with a light Shuttle 120, or Mirage, rather then the heavier machines that were popular at the time. PAA load was a popular FF task many years ago. With the modern concentration upon performance, it appears that resurrection of this activity may just be a great engineering challenge for duration soaring competition. Forcing a model to carry a standardized dimensioned 'dummy' passenger that weighs in at ½ lb for Class A, and 1 lb for Class B (as examples) should really emphasize work, and demonstrate a pilot's ability to engage performance to do the job better. Since the majority of pilots today seem to desire flying in the full size sailplane's universe (instead of being satisfied by dominating a tank of air 1000 feet high by 2000 feet in radius), why not take on all the design problems that are associated with the full size sailplane, and simply loft a little dummy pilot as a bit of similar handicap? This should be a great escape for the situation of “Stepford Sailplanes” that we seem to have gotten ourselves into, and put soaring back into the hands of modelers! [The movie about the “Stepford Wives” was enough horror!] I fly for fun is a common thought; however, when you get right down to it, there is no fun without competition! To bore holes in the sky, you happen to be competing with nature. Moving upward (evolution) with better aircraft to do more 'boring', you are competing with your past recollections. Sharing the air with birds or buddies is still a form of competition – with pride forming as the last man down. Enjoying a bit of structure, with the proclamation of a contest, was to gather the guys into a more formal situation, primarily for each to enjoy their individual bout with nature, more-so than the concept of beating some human! He who dances with lift best was to be the winner (very similar to the social dancing at the high school Prom), and I believe this thought is still paramount, just poorly executed in this modern time.
Simple sailplane that is built off sketches and text. 66.6 KB - Views: 107
Plate wing with baffles and torsion braces used on 2 meter Shuttle. 62.5 KB - Views: 83
Trip location and construction detail. 38.6 KB - Views: 73
Leading baffle. Used on GL, Oly III, Shuttle 2 mtr, and Shuttle 120 that used leading and trailing baffles. 37.9 KB - Views: 57
Simple Ballast scheme 136.5 KB - Views: 63
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Sticky: Towman Winch
Discussion / Posted by histarter / Dec 10, 2006 @ 12:08 PM / 1522 Views / 0
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Seeking an intelligent response. I comprehend scientific open ended thinking to profile design, construction technology, soaring methodology; however, I am totally mystified by the hardheadedness of a fraternity to fail to realize certain truths/realities, while diligently and energetically deflecting any attempt for a messenger's exposure. To start with: The model soaring fraternity demonstrates that they want to emulate full size aircraft; only to spite that dogma by insisting on a philosophy that violates that original idealism? Full size sailplanes are towed to a starting altitude to initiate a task, be it duration or cross country. Toys are tossed into the air for kids to enjoy the aeronautical dalliance of the model's return to earth. Why is there an overpowering need to make an avocation into some “professionalized” antic by capturing the engineering concept of the whip, so as to make the RC Sailplane become a open ended high launching, high velocity super toy - and then press intensely for (political) scientific justifications? Original soaring tasks for models were developed with a sailplane that could do an honest 3.5 minutes in dead air after launching from equipment that was about 60% efficient, for a typical 10 minute task (stretching out the 3.5 minutes that was in the bank, by pilot skill). In honor of our predecessors that struggled for notoriety with that limitation enforced, shouldn't that ratio be maintained? If launching equipment stayed flat (no 'state of art hyping' other than to make the launcher more reliable and compact, lower in cost, and more readily available i.e. Standardized). Would not evolution then be dedicated with bias for the pilot's development, aircraft's design, and
not factored for the horsepower of the winch motor? If aerodynamic technology can duplicate the dead air time of 4 minutes from 400 feet AGL instead of 600 feet (1.7 sec. nominal sink) wouldn't it be wise to use that target altitude for indexing flights of 10 minutes task time? Today we have retrievers, more frequencies, lesser competitors, smaller fields, and more man made thermal generators (buildings etc.) in the flying field's surround; yet it still isn't prudent to increase the typical task time to 20 minutes that would encourage unqualified risk takers to get into trouble. Organized RC soaring is great for competition, however it is not the norm for the majority of thermal flying affectionados. WE are stuck with histarts, or if industrious enough, a sporty type of winch. Using this type of launching tension, and flying in all kinds of weather, teach us completely different launching and flying tactics/habits - that are successful. Going to a meet that is organized about a high tension state of art winch strips us of our acquired skills, and destroys credibility of our designs, and the technology we cherish. When one centers and trims his design for the unruly low altitude lift variants, and then is expected to launch into a universe that accommodates high loadings for high airspeeds - one is stripped down to “follow the herd” and is now flying his disadvantaged machine, unable to prove potential. A great thermal machine flown by an experienced pilot doesn't have to have slope soaring credentials; credentials that does pay off in the upper air, making the high launch a modern necessity, and part of the current paradigm. Kiting and circle towing with captive hooks work great for high starts and a light winch force, and permit lighter structures some extra safety through the skill of the pilot. Attempting to do this with long lines, high tension (10 times greater than needed) simply strip away those skills – that were learned away from the current organized contest circuit. Currently we have spin-offs that attempt to alleviate this situation like F3J and RES, supposedly as an attempt for folks (like myself) who would like to blow the dust off a Legionair (example: set up like Lamon Payne's with captive hook – 4 channel), but the attempt is still filtered out by extremes in line tension that requires the launching pilot to have the toe tapping expertise of Fred Astaire! The Legionair is effective enough to competitively soar in our modern era, and it should not be quarantined by rules that permit extreme launch tension beyond realistic limits. All that is needed for equity is that enough launch system be utilized for acquisition of reasonable altitude. If one design launches 50 feet higher off a “standardized winch”, no problem because the pilot that is in sync with his machine would know his limitations. It is the present attempt of using 10 times the force needed for a safe successful launch, is what my argument is predicated upon. With all the brilliance out there, and great scientific knowledge, it seems totally ludicrous that a solution to a simple problem should have so many spin-offs creating differentiation, rather than integration! [Integration usually increases population of enthusiasts, whereas differentiation divides a group into subgroups, thus reinforcing dropouts]
We have computer radios that have limits by number of channels and amount of clean power radiated. We have powered models that are limited by displacement or watts. FAI has limits on the weight of a model, and indirectly performance; yet we cannot resolve competitive towing of a competition model - other than “Tool Man's Tim” theme of “more power is better”!! So why can't the FAI, AMA, and any other involved organization bypass their prestigious massivity and install a program of “The Towman Winch” to create a standard for launch technology that would save the lives of F3J fanatics (less heart attacks), permit antiques to strut their stuff, watch high technology evolve to a greater peak (that would be a bit different in design than current “state of art”)? What is so scary to the current mavin's of the paradigm/system that it attempts to restrict undisciplined engineering (the prime original reason for the creation of the AMA?)! Why does a simple activity have to create such an intense paradigm where only advanced sophisticated knowledge is the primary concern? Why do our hero experts require such a departure from nature's luck aspect, that their skill is demonstrated by attempting to launch to a 1000 feet AGL, only to finalize a (conditional) flight with a lawn-jart landing? Soaring? Not really happening when the machine's flight merely reflects the published specification of the sink rate the corporately designed sailplane claimed i.e. by its figures of L/D. [Note: LD: 25 @ 9 mtr/sec = 12.7 minutes theoretical glide time from a target altitude of 900 ft simply translates to intense bias for launch and land. Thermal guys? Experimentors can pedal up their creation to 500 ft (encouraged by the experts), and PROVE their superiority in spite of a needed Soaring Factor of 1.0 - just to be in the running against smug 'prestigious' adversaries. This is like a Counselor of law placing a lawsuit against a prestigious BAR Attorney, with tons of evidence of his malpractice! Winning this action against the Attorney at law is totally out of the question, because of all the judges that would listen to the case are included in the 'at law' attorney's fraternity.] Towman winch: Proposal; 1/4 hp or more 12 or 24 volt industrial motor with a Warner brake on the drum. A tension tester is also added feeding a small analog (or digital if preferred) computer that when the tension hits 22 lbs* the brake goes on while disconnecting the motor. When the tension drops below 18 lbs* (hysteresis factor), the brake is turned off and the motor reconnected. The newbie can press and hold the pedal while the machine can step his model to altitude without fear, whereas the expert can use the slower towing time for advantages i.e. with a captive hook (as example) to dally a bit, or possibly do a Lamon Payne crosswind high speed (broad-reach in sailboat terminology) zoom - enjoying that talent. Tension dropping to zero creates a 250 millisecond brake pulse, and resets launch system for a retrieval cycle. Reducing the tow line length would also reduce mechanical problems of retrieval, while improving the time cycle of getting the more attendance now, into the air timely. Lighter shorter lines would also improve mechanical efficiency. Any short flights accomplished by the less skilled pilots would help to keep a meet moving smartly along.
*[Note: Presets could me made selectable to conform with a pilot's model size and structure limitations.] With one sophisticated launching system (Towman winch) becoming a standard, antiques, hi tech, low tech, and experimenters would be able to tangle fairly in F3J, TD, F3B, LSF, and CC. Those that fly with slope machine bias could enjoy their aggressive soaring tactics on wind currents, whereas those that prefer dancing with thermals, would apply their acquired more defensive sloping skills for handling high winds (i.e. when forced by weather). The winner of now unprejudiced competition is the prime interest here; and in my view, this fairness is not occurring. If someone can show me the error in my logic, with no arrogance or imperialism involved, I am all ears!!
Edit · Close · Highlight Spiral Mechanics
Discussion / Posted by histarter / Nov 27, 2006 @ 06:11 AM / 1654 Views / 0
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Mechanics of the Spiral: This paper is the result of years of flying Free Flight, and concentrating on large 2 channel sailplanes – while studying well-written papers on the subject by free flighters over the last 50 years. I find it quite interesting when I see discussions on spiral stability, where individuals, who have not mastered Free Flight, or 2 channel soaring, fall into areas of misinformation - even though the individuals may be very skilled pilots. Unfortunately it is difficult to screen through all the details that have become so massive, and thus confusing, about this subject. Most modern pilots develop very fast, and thus end up following trends that work, without the total realization of what is happening. For example there is concern about moving CG (Center of Gravity) rearward to lighten tail loading as a popular theory. What is also happening simultaneously is that CLA (Center of Lateral Area) has been manipulated further back by the modern designers that have reduced EDA (Equivalent Dihedral Angle) to match higher airspeeds for greater altitudes, or reducing the EDA for replacement by ailerons. Hidden within this programming is an attempt to keep CLA ahead of the CG to under-stabilize a spiraling force so that the pilot is not fighting a persistent autonomic tightening of a spiral (because of over-stability), but is now 'herding' his aircraft by needing to maintain control (via stick skill). Obviously, remaining within the bandwidth of Spiral Stability gives a pilot less flying pressure to better evaluate the constantly changing
circumstances of his flight. Understanding that the ingredients that make the Spiral adventure into a locked loop situation for stability (with bandwidth) has lots of subtle effects that must harmonize together by a large program entitled Spiral Stability can be quite difficult, so I am proposing the program analysis via verbal calculus* - that ties together the small forces involved which have logarithmic responses. *Verbal calculus: is the avoidance of writing massive interwoven precise mathematical expressions that are unnecessary for a flexible Universe that varies with each pilot, aircraft, and flying style. Compromise is sometimes more important than perfection, and I offer my opinion as stated below to help find solutions to questions. Cast of forces: 1. Roll of wing generated by skid working into a Equivalent Dihedral Angle (EDA) that is also a roll to wing level force when skid equals zero and flight direction is a straight line. 2. Roll-up, the rotary force against mass pivoting about the CG because of airspeed difference of wing tips @ bank angles less then 50 degrees. Although the 7 to 8 RPM of the rotating vehicle generates a centrifugal force that attempts to reduce the bank, it appears the struggle is won by the roll-up airspeed gradient. [Note: Low aspect ratio for the mass tends to reduce the arguments.] 3. Delta Alpha, a rotary force generated by lift differential caused either by aileron, or lead and lag of polyhedral wingtips not being 90 degrees to direction of motion. 4. CLA (center of lateral area with vertical fin area the prime factor). If CLA is behind CG, the vertical fin lift will tend to power model into a tighter spiral (in time based increments) - that can be accelerated by changes in airflow. If CLA is ahead of CG, then movable rudder is angulated to assist turn - that is now velocity sensitive, and will upset spiral stability loop by increased yaw out of context of the programmed loop lock. [NOTE: Bear in mind these are light forces because they are attempting to disrupt mass inertia (weight divided by g). Thermal pilots must learn to utilize changes in pressure by control surfaces to quickly control a situation, in order to 'fun fly lift'; while realizing cumulative lift is always equal to weight.] Drag is our friend, and can be useful when we play with it properly. We use it as a brake to land our model accurately, and with the spiral, we use it to control the bandwidth of stability. The Polyhedral Sailplane of 2 channels in a stable spiral is actually performing a mild (rotary) forward slip! [Note: Without this basic understanding, one will not have the key for full comprehension.] Best of all, the full house aileron machine (where turn and bank coordination is regarded as “so important”) is also forced to the same slip compromise for the spiral to be effectively stabilized. Now we have our Polyhedral Sailplane (that has sufficient EDA for a responsive roll),
in turning flight with the fuselage offset a couple of degrees from a tangent to the circle so we have the inboard tip slightly positive in alpha (outboard slightly negative) balancing the roll of the wing that is now generated by the airspeed differential of the tips rather then the roll activated by the EDA (a minor opposition force now because of low motion velocity). Although we originally used the rudder to slip the straight flying sailplane into the spiral by the polyhedral effect, the vertical fin total area now has a bit of outboard lift to it because turn maintenance is now enjoying the tip drag of the slightly inboard positive tip, and the reduced drag of the slightly negative outboard tip while the machine is 'mildly skidding' inward because of the bank angle [Slipping is the better word.] This lead lag relationship of the wing tips is crucial to regulate the bank angle that is tempered by total vertical fin area and its lift, which is in opposition to motion, and thus becomes the necessary drag for stability regulation. Increasing vertical fin's area by design (the only attribute changed) will mean that when the model speeds up because of rising air, the tangential error that occurs as the rudder area compensates by increased proportional drag is now reducing the lead lag relationship – which in turn forces the inboard tip to a lower alpha, and sweeps the machine into vortex acceleration programming (i.e. spiral dive). Lets add ailerons and reduce polyhedral, and guess what? The same situation exists - with more effort for control by the faster outboard tip for a bit more confusion on interacting trims to obtain efficiency; meaning the responsibility for efficiency is no longer in the hands of the designer, but is now in the hands of the pilot. Bear in mind that the only reason a modeler concerns himself with spiral stability as an attribute is because it is impossible to execute a coordinated turn by a grounded pilot. Not being inside the aircraft, one simply cannot execute continuous 360 degree turns “on the ball” (meaning no under-banked skids, or over-banked slips)! Although some pilots take pride, and believe they can fly a spirally unstable aircraft by their skill of control; it is just damaging to their ability to score by not allowing them to take their eyes off their machine for a few seconds to be able to scan the sky for better prospects. This discussion on spiral stability is not attempting to make a machine that will spiral hands off - and win contests, but is attempting to create a viable 'Q' factor center to which the pilot feeds in plus and minus information so as to control the flight without any struggle; i.e. for more success in working lift. Otherwise, the receiver could be connected to a small on-board computer, with appropriate sensor to override a pilot's instructions, for perfect turn coordination. Under this condition we can seek more complications by overzealous marketers, and more freedom in designer's applications to deliver more performance to the hungry hi tech modeler - as our sailplanes get a bit closer to being miniature aircraft with a robotic pilot aboard. Bottom line for ailerons vs polyhedral is that assumed efficiency for ailerons takes lots of time for a pilot's adjustments to finalize, meaning long tweak here and there periods; whereas, polyhedral equals build and fly! If the designer's outlook is very different than the pilots needs – break out the chainsaw! Obviously I am able to build and fly more by sticking to simple large 2 channel polyhedral designs - with the saving grace of experience that now eliminates the need
for a chainsaw! Another advantage for poly is that it is not precise, meaning that all you have to do is be in the ballpark for the speed range you wish to operate within. [NOTE: Speed Range is the greatest problem generated by those believing in an openended velocity philosophy (i.e. scientific perfection). I wish to thermal at 6 mtr/sec that favors histart launchings. You wish to soar at more than 9 mtr/sec because of winch launchings to work the upper air better, so you prefer a lower EDA (that also helps in spot landings); or ailerons that can compensate for soaring velocities that are idealistic instead of realistic. So, what may be fine for an Albatross, can be totally destructive to a Buzzard!]
Edit · Close · Highlight Experimenter's Appendage
Discussion / Posted by histarter / Oct 21, 2006 @ 09:16 AM / 1413 Views / 0
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The Human Brain Why does the artsy emotional portion of the human mind enjoy being the overlord of the individual's brain? Mankind seeks guidance from a spiritual God, yet he twists and converts Him into something his emotional being can accept, while he blindly follows illogical interpretations that individuals of status expound upon as “facts”! Any individual that truly seeks logical and/or honest information is considered as a heretic, and his obvious truth is to be ignored. Serious honest men attempting to employ equity and logic, always have their work converted by emotionalism, through what is called the 'democratic majority' (orchestrated by plutocrats), into something that ends up being contrary to their originator's quest, mindset and ethics. Add the current problems of the need for instant gratification, work overload, and a greater opinionated public, it seems patience to learn and do something correctly is no longer reasonable/acceptable, and is replaced by 'someone else' to do research, design, assembly, and repair. Today everything has to be perfect with micromanagement occurring on every aspect of a toy Airplane's flight (as an example). The launch of a model with a bungee creates the need to scientifically cull the rubber for freshness, test the rubber for stroke regulation (with concern for high accuracy – while using a crude measuring device that is great for a 'ballpark' evaluation). Use the winch instead? It must be state-of-art (with a 'needed' computer monitor for battery condition i.e. to replicate rubber tension concern)! [Oops, the computer might just happen now!]
The gallant experts of old did not concern themselves with such trivia. They simply strove for getting the best they could muster, while doing a flight that needed exposure to lift to accomplish task via the pilot's skills. Their philosophy was that everyone is in the same boat - so lets go for it. If they were in the air (at any altitude) they were competing, and this attitude is the one that needs reinforcing by lowering the launch altitude to force more ingenuity from pilots. Lets get to toy sailplane's events. AMA, TD, F3B, F3J, RES have been proven to be excellent formats for staged events, however it not a good training aid or stimulator for newbies, experiments, innovators (that work outside the box), nor is it good competition for the sport flyers that only wish to dabble in soaring for their amusement. Their appears to be only one solution in attempting to broaden the soaring horizon – and that is not to create a new event but instead add an appendage onto the current formats that should increase participation. The appendage would be an experimenter's class. Launch limited by HAM histart, or sport winch of 15 lbs or less tension and 100 meters to turnaround. Now comes the pressure for the current cult to bend somewhat to insure survival! A current sailplane meet is held, and the new experimenter's group to fly with the other contestants - although their launching is restricted (about 1/3d the launch altitude of the unlimited group). [Note: The Dallas group I was affiliated with was willing to do this, except they insisted that the complete task time be accomplished! Pay AMA dues, and a club's entry fee, while accepting a huge handicap for the comradeship of flying with the “experts”, along with the harassment of not scoring well against their overpowerment? Obviously, no one from my group of sport-flyers, would attend!] Instead take the flight score of the experimenters, and double it! If a youngster takes his GL and has the wining score after doing the 4 or 5 rounds of competition against the “experts”, he truly deserves the trophy! In fact if an “expert” wishes to experiment with his beloved AVA, BD or any other super high tech machine, with the belief he can accomplish the 'handicapped' task easily through doubling his score, more power to him - because the odds are stacked against it happening. Now I am not trying to promote International events to be operated with an 'experimenters appendage'. It's just for AMA Nationals on down to enhance both camaraderie while exposing dabblers to the peak of organized soaring - while they attempt to compete at the level they can handle. The basic purpose is to make the organized soaring events grow in popularity without destroying the affection a modeler has for his creation. Psychologically, if a new contestant is brought into the adventure, the thought of 'Winning' is far fetched for him. But, if the newbie sees a reasonable score that he can improve upon, his probability of toughing it out for a future win is better as he gains experience! Hopefully, having more user friendly competition just may expand the contest experience for a wider range of flyers – which happens to be my basic goal.
Edit · Close · Highlight Histart Mechanics
Discussion / Posted by histarter / Oct 07, 2006 @ 10:18 PM / 1721 Views / 0
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Histart Mechanics: 1960 to 1980 was the period of time dedicated to the bungee high start for flat land thermal soaring. Winches that were being introduced back then, had to cater to the designs that were prevalent, so the newcomer winch utilized a 12 volt (field wound) Motor coupled to a 6 volt battery. This softer winch was used to seduce the modeler away from the less reliable histart. The standard Histart with 5/16” brown surgical tubing yielded about 9 lbs (when new) tension – that slowly died as the system was used. 100 ft of tubing for 500 feet of line was typical, with the stretch controlled by 3 times tubing length (fish scales were used to evaluate tension as quality of rubber, and not part of launching program, since distance stretched (stroke) was paramount). Bear in mind that all machines were to launch off this standard whether sport flying or in competition, i.e. Pierce Arrow or Legionair. This created handicaps for pilots who were forced to use ingenuity to develop efficiency to master the light launch force of the time, with Lamon Payne leading the Dallas League of Silent Flight (DLSF) in employment of the captive hook, that he skillfully utilized for good launches. Lamon was an excellent thermal pilot that could really read air flying his 140” (heavy) Legionair, and had the confidence that as long as he was flying, he would be able to find lift and utilize it, and did not care that the Oly's were out-launching him (he was typically in the winners circle). At the time I enjoyed my ruggedized GLs, Shuttle 120, Red Bird, Mirage, and Paragons...All launched on 9 lbs of tension or less. This made the launch tension for an average model weight of 2.9 lbs equal to a 3 to 1 ratio - that worked quite well over the years. Now it appears we have folks attempting to re-invent the histart; but without fully recognizing the mechanics involved. Apparently, due to the extreme tension of the modern winch, they are caught up with a concentration on tension as a prime attribute, instead of stroke? This situation is further aggravated by the engineering done to design their sailplanes to soar on air currents above 1000' AGL. Although most folk think of
me as contrary to hi-tech, they are totally wrong because my concentration is to develop large sailplanes that operate in the lower air (below 800' AGL) that are typically histarted by 10 lbs tension, 50' rubber, 200' string (½ size). High Tech is totally welcome, and has the potential to be a significant power! Engineering a flying system for thermal soaring is entirely different that attempting to design the ultimate glider. Because of the peer pressure of “perfection” (and zero tolerance) we have a bias on our toys to emulate the conditions of their full size counterpart, coupled with an egotism that persistence is evidence of skill? Unfortunately there appears to be two completely separate worlds for our toys - and those engaged in a winch dominated society cannot envision this fact! Lets start designing an ultimate high start (for the fun of it) to launch a 3 lb (thermal) sailplane while fulfilling AMA's rules. 100' of rubber for 550' of string with stretch equal to 3.5X = 1000 ft real estate. [Note: Some of the modern materials used in current histart rubber will permit stretching to 4X - with better longevity than the old surgical tubing, that was used to 3X (on purpose)] What is happening after you release your model? The total surface area of your machine is the resistance for the line tension – tension that can be increased by the velocity of the wind. For all practical definitions, you are flying a kite up to about 60 degrees of line angle using lift and drag to maintain tension. [Because of high tech, and low lift profiles, a current 3 lb sailplane would be larger dimensionally i.e. increased total surface area] Nosing the machine over to increase tangential velocity from the stored energy (remaining tension - that was increased by wind force) we are able to zoom. Nice calm days, expect 600 ft launches. 20 mph breeze? Wow, with your thermal machine carrying 20 ounces of ballast, the launch (that a newbie can handle) will easily be competitive to a winch. I do realize this view is unrealistic because of the need of the retrieval system i.e. to keep a modern contest moving, but hopefully I am demonstrating the thought that high starting can be effective. With the above information, consider the fact that one wishes to practice TD goals with a high start for convenience. Unfortunately if a ½ size histart is employed, then it is necessary to keep the ducks in a row. I use a 2 ch 2 mtr Shuttle for this purpose because it has a large total area short moment arm for both kiting, and for response in fun flying thermals, a ballasting capacity to double the weight of the aircraft, and she is simple to repair and maintain. GLs, Spirits, and Olys are also good training aids. Spot landing concern should be on the target time, and count down sequence to establish rhythm; without position accuracy that is to be improved by landing controls. To practice this function with your TD machine, your basic concern is to up-start it to 100 ft or so - and that takes about 25 ft rubber and 100 ft line. Why I stress 2 ch machines for practice is that the majority of experts out there have not fully developed the skill necessary to comprehend basic flight - and this is a similar situation to an extremely large ratio of full size pilots (both private and airline) that do not comprehend how their aircraft actually flies? [Its a case of the FAA developing
programs of efficiency, and safety, that makes comprehension unnecessary for this fraternity to do their task – and this is the same attitude I find prevalent with toy airplanes – that is supposed to be an avocation open to innovation!] Currently, America's top two channel pilot involved with AMA competition is Joe Wurts [in my opinion]. Those attempting to compete with him, wish to bypass the basics by going into full house equipment way too early, instead of concentrating and working to master 2 channel, like Mr. Wurts did. Almost all the details of the HAM experiment is punctuated by Joe. Doing cross country, he is flying between upper (UCL) and lower (LCL) altitude limits, and not wasting his time by staying high (like myself who was always worried about reliability of completing task, instead of cap flying to be the first one down at the right place). Also, using Soaring Factor evaluations as a series of frames as a hedge to try a fun gamble here and there - like a poker player enjoying some risk. Coupling a histart and aircraft design together by using HAM (Hot Air Masters) techniques for evaluation was a pet project of mine over a 10 year period. The end result was a low AR machine that carried a large stab (short coupled), a thin low lift profile to gain surface area for a referenced load to be launched primarily by histarts; and my new version of the Shuttle was born (steeped in simplicity). Cargo bay had to hold up to 2 lbs of ballast in programing cassettes. The design proved itself within my Universe by giving me the 2nd highest data string recorded for the HAM task, flying in winds greater than 25 mph, doing the longest flight of the day when everyone else was using the club winch for RES. Since the short histart tends to yield shorter flights, I found that my target airspeed to be lower than the upper air machines - meaning light weight is needed for low airspeed to enjoy less bank and sink in a thermal spiral for faster climb-outs. Then having the large tail with its improved kiting capability, now coupled to more elevator area ratio to stabilizer (for lower angle but more forceful deflections) was very satisfying, and proven in man on man competition. The Shuttle ended up being a great tool for me to easily fun fly lift - that is considerably more difficult with the high launch long tail designs that are currently popular. The upper air seems to like 9 mtr/sec (typically requiring ballast - that is usually left out); whereas, lower air is more centered upon 6 mtr/sec. The point I am trying to make is an extension of Ercoupe Ed's, when he was describing the dihedral effect of his 46 Ercoupe. The applied engineering to make flying the Ercoupe docile, user friendly and un-aerobatic to accomplish the task of safely ferrying people in more comfort and speed than an automobile, was the designers basic goal. This kind of innovation applied to making soaring machines user friendly to efficiently dance with thermals, that would stimulate craftsman skills and imagination for personal individuality, is what has been stripped away from “organized” soaring - making it a distorted 'sanitized' snobbish activity - with hallowed halls of icons strangling the ivy league of academia. Sailplanes definitely require an experimenters class for open competition that is not pressured into a one design policy by excessive launch tension!
Edit · Close · Highlight Profile Performance
Discussion / Posted by histarter / Sep 19, 2006 @ 02:48 PM / 1772 Views / 0
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FYI: HAM is just a simple and cheap way to emulate a wind tunnel for a fully developed sailplane, instead of just a piece of one.* The reason no acceptance of HAM is because we live in a cheer-leading, zero tolerance society, that is spoiled by instant gratification.* “I fly short meaningful flights” has no value unless you have won in short launch contests (that are extremely rare) that has no data base that expresses reliability of task.* “I flew with turbulators for one flight, and I didn’t like the way it handled.”* My first flight was stinko with an Ellipse.* It took me a couple of dedicated weeks to learn it, and evaluate its capability; and about 6 months of testing with a tripper added when it was flown in the upper air. ****** Profile Performance: There seems to be an amplification of mysticism when it comes to profile selection. To much emphasis is given to their polar performance, and not enough to the real physical world requirements. My point of argument is that there exists many well designed profiles available whose ultimate performance variations are just slightly contributory to wining at duration tasks because pilots have to compromise a larger universe - by their skill. Winning a prestigious contest, then proclaiming the man that convoluted the profile used as the reason for success, is very immature to me. Taking a group of profiles ranging between 6% to 10% thick designed by the masters, and it truly would not matter which one was selected as long as the overall sailplane design was not selective by design limitations (and this is where the model builder, and pilot, truly become the winner by matching all the variables to be within realistic pilot limits). The following comment are for a standard size sailplane of, ll to 1 AR. Example #1 SD 7037 This 10% profile has a surprisingly low CD and when loaded to about 7.5 oz/ft, moves through the air at 6 mtr/sec for LD max. And 15 oz/ft would center airspeed to 9 mtr/sec to comfortably fly the upper air above 1000ft AGL. The thicker profile with modern hi tech materials make this a cinch to employ.
Example #2 AG 18 This 6% profile requires extremely light loadings of about 4 oz/ft to move through the air at the same 6 mtr/sec for LD max as above. And 8 oz/ft would also center airspeed at 9 mtr/sec [Please note the 2X progression means the ballast carrying capacity is much larger for the same model's dimension, and this is one of the fears that causes patronization to the thin profile. A positive point for the thin profile is a perverse one, and that is the difficulty in executing construction. One has to be a top notch state of art builder to handle a full competition machine, employing this profile. [Although another disturbing factor is lack of inertia, a young hand eye coordinated pilot could handle the inconvenience of lack of follow through.] Regardless of the personal statistics, if a correctly engineered and built machine using either example were handed to an experienced expert (who had the skill to win contests), his reliability of task would be about the same! He would win the contest because of skill, and the mysticism of profile statistics (titled scuttlebutt in the military – or BS in plain English) would flurry; along with the “What If” philosophy . Hopefully the point I am making is there would be no dramatic difference if the machines were both launched by an overpowering system; with the heavier machine launching a bit higher because of inertia. Handling the large ratio of ballast is accomplished best by the thicker profile, whose spar strength is increasing by the square of depth - meaning it is much less critical to state of art materials, yielding a lighter stronger wing with adequate torsional resistance, that can easily be constructed. [Note: I recommend tripping most profiles because of the low alpha bubble generation.* The HAM cell data shift was where its effect was discovered and evaluated! X Foil only substantiated the finding.* And best of all you don’t have to take either my word, or scientists - you can prove it for yourself by employing HAM Data processing techniques. Tailplane Damping Ratio and tripping:* Here is another challenge for Statistical Data Processing, and that is to evaluate changes in rudder and stabilizer volume which can be observed by improvement of score.] * To date the great bookmark profiles for duration (in my viewpoint) are still: The SD 7037 Eppler 214 Legionair (tripped) RG15 (tripped) 9% Clark Y Beachball 9 (tripped) I have attached my old article for reference: The Blunt vs. sharp entry question, for example:* Aerodynamics, full size wind tunnel or X Foil will only tell you profile characteristics, but does not concern itself with deployment.* Using HAM Cell Data technology, and having a full couple of strings recorded to act as a data base, tape a 1/16 inch square onto the LE of your machine and fly a string or two to see if a shift occurs.* You may be in for a surprise because you are now evaluating your personal reactions along with the mechanics, and aerodynamics of your aircraft.*
****** * Preconceived Entry of an Airfoil Nov 24 1996 (Published) An engineer is not a scientist, but is a artist that finesses science to interface the real world. Aerodynamics is not an exact science but is a series of compromises to accomplish goals in stability, performance, control, or efficiency. Each of us as builders, fliers, experimenters, and or contestants have a separate universe of our own attributes that condition our perception of the 'Ideal Sailplane'. I am one of the lucky ones that is sated with the designs that I am using....and only upgrade when I see a weakness. This also gives me the edge to experiment and try weird ideas because I can fall back on something that works. I have text books that detail the golden age of aviation; circa 1923 to 1936, and use them to answer questions that surface. Because of the in depth information available from that period of time I consider myself a student that is well versed in modern aerodynamics i.e. all that intense engineering that occurred back then was directed toward a media that has not changed......AIR. In 1923 to 1929 there was a lot of NACA testing of 4 to 6 inch models in the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory variable density wind tunnel. Some of the pictures taken of polarized smoke at 30 mph show the wilder characteristics that air has because of viscosity and molecular adhesion. Picture an airfoil with a smoke trail separating approx. 1/8 of an inch below the lower surface, and an apparent standing wave wrapping back over the leading edge. Hopefully with my way of thinking, a blunt leading edge. The model in this case was a Clark Y profile that later measured an L/D shy of 24 to 1, at a angle of attack of zero degrees for a C/L of 0.4....These measurements were made at unity atmosphere which is just about the same Reynolds number the present high tech equipment targets at. The funny thing is that my experiments seem to verify the 1929 data more so than the results obtained from the Princeton Research Soartech 8. Apparently the basic problem that I have is that I have been approaching the soaring thing from attempting to match the existing meteorological conditions with the sailplane; rather, than concern myself with all out speed to handle an F3B situation and simply use launch power to fly high enough to gain advantage for the resulting slope machine. Well the low launch approach that I take is the approach that allows me to fly 5 times a week out of small power fields, and still do experiments; like taking an Oly II that a friend built that had never shaped the leading edge (he put it on square!). It flew so well that I had to find out why. I tried turbulators on my Oly II at what I thought to be entry, and then 1/4 inch above entry, only to discover that leaving the leading edge blunt was the better way. Trying to use too small a radius at the leading edge seems to create the condition that forces the wing tips to be washed out for stability, and the end
result would not fly as well as leaving the leading edge square. Although my turbulation experiments were conducted with conventional airfoils, once the tripper at 55% of wing chord was installed on the Oly III (my 1988 version of the Olympic) with it's blunt round leading edge (and no wingtip washout) it really started to fly great!! Apparently the range of leading edge diameters can vary from 1/4 to 3/4 inch for a 10 inch chord without any bad effects. If you intend to use your wing for a series of airspeed programs such as minimum forward, minimum sink, maximum L/D, cruise, and /or flat out sprint....selecting a diameter that conforms to the upper and lower camber without agitating the mean camberline excessively, and still be blunt, seems to be the best way to go. To have a wide speed range requires some compromise, and I firmly believe that thermal soaring is different than F3B. In fact once away from the narrow confines of speed "first and foremost" soaring becomes an intriguing art full of sophisticated alternatives that enable man to be amused, possibly for a lifetime. Thoreu once said "Each man can interpret another's experience only by his own". Since each of us are unique; our approach to a problem that surfaces will be treated different. As we melt our thoughts together, a nourishment of solutions will emerge that will assist our foray into the thermal world. Basically it is fun to be your own man......person that is. The bottom line is that one must decide whether he wishes to be scientific, i.e. be in sync with the democratic majority and enjoy their technibabble, or go out there with confidence that you primarily need your skill (and not some magic totem) to win contests, gain LSF acceptance, or just shock experts with a short launch success; right at the time they give up flying by starting to take down their winch - because of “no thermal activity.”
Edit · Close · Highlight How to Harness Thermals Part 2
Discussion / Posted by histarter / Aug 20, 2006 @ 09:56 AM / 1945 Views / 0
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Part 2 The Dance. The big clump of air moving upward slowly is the 'village idiot', and thus is easy to work. Blundering into one of these blobs of moving air is common with the evidence of the sailplanes descent reducing, or slowly gaining altitude. Usually they are quite large,
and to maximize rate of climb, one takes an open (large spiral), high alpha slow flight, and patience to ride them to their ceiling (a temperature inversion area limit). If the temperature gradient of thermal to ambient air is intense, a core is formed and the popular doughnut of lift is occurring that is a bit trickier to work. Attempting to glide into this lifting area will show up as a downer primarily, that the knowledgeable pilot must fly through it to gain the lifting area. Then the pilot checks the quality of the intensity of the lifting area only to jump into the faster moving core of lift - using a tight spiral for a fast (spectacular) climb. The dust devil, or rotational thermal has the propensity to reject model sailplanes, i.e. a strong desire toss them out - and this is where the pilot becomes forceful and bypasses the rejection, to gain an entryway to a fast moving core that also requires a tight spiral. The sky is overcast and you have been searching for light lift and run into a blob here and there but nothing that will take you up high enough. You feel your task time is running out only to run into strong lift, that you tightly spiral into and it carries you up 100 feet or so. When it appears to fade, bail out and don't waste sink for research, but look for more blobs and enjoy the gift of altitude generated by the crashing of blobs of air. You have successful worked your way up to altitude, or had a strong launch, and you discover that you can do no wrong and you are climbing. Trim your machine for slow flight, face into the wind and hang on until the machine's altitude crests. This wall of lift is a wave, and the experienced pilot will ride it while looking for thermals to be picked off within it, or close by, using the wave as a bank. A thermal on it side (rolling slinky) appears to be a wave downer (barrier), or a wave lift upper depending on its rotation. Using the upper side as an invisible slope, one can use it as a lateral transporter for better position, and/or a dalliance to complete task. After banging into an inversion layer (ceiling) a few times, one finds a thermal that goes through the barrier! The sailplane is now climbing to the stars. This is a feeder thermal to a gaggle of other thermals that are now combining into a large high speed 'freight train' to the clouds – titled the mainliner! Now you have most of the HAM research of playing with the unruly low altitude thermals that the current breed of TD experts disregard because they do not want to be a “bird brain!” Skipping all the basics in the name of attempting to emulate a full size machine is the arrogance that 'they are above all that' when they launch and climb to the stars demonstrating their persistence rather then the skill of their predecessors. Once one gets above Dr. Angevine's inversion barrier, lift is easier to work, is more intense, caters to full size aircraft to which modelers insist upon invading – and occasionally get a black eye doing so. I do believe the upper air for X country work viable as long as it is done under a competitive challenge, and should not be a everyday normality. If the expert would accept the HAM challenge while mentoring newbies with it, soaring
would have the larger following, and it would not matter weather the winners used high tech or woodies! The thermal eloquent pilot would use the tools he was comfy with!!
Edit · Close · Highlight How to Harness Thermals Part 1
Discussion / Posted by histarter / Aug 19, 2006 @ 11:38 AM / 1677 Views / 0
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Part 1: Identification Cyclonic: 1. An atmospheric system characterized by the rapid inward circulation of air masses about a low-pressure center. 2. A violent rotating windstorm. [From Greek kukl½n, from kuklos, circle.] Aerodynamic engineers have found that size is not a limitation to the cyclonic adventure. The Bubble that the professionals work with in drag reduction is cyclonic in nature – just a microscopic version of what happens in the Atlantic. With this knowledge paramount, we can go into the concept of thermalling, and why the experience of launching low (so the pilot remains in the same air the model is flying in) grants an education to thermal flight, and is so helpful with LSF tasks of extended duration. Brian Agnew is a expert that I idolize a bit because he flies a Banshee that is heavy, but trimmed to normally fly about 6 degrees Alpha - for great L/D. Prime philosophy is air moves up, air moves down, stay out of down! This works for him the majority of the time flying the upper air, however when things get tough, Brian can switch to thermalling a 'handicapped' [I call a 12 oz/ft 2 mtr machine a handicap] sailplane wisely, and with great skill! Yes, air moves up and down, but lets talk about thermals, and the means to navigate them. Air is cohesive, and forms into clumps - apparently molecules locked together by sympathetic vibration. There appears to be band of surface tension (similar to a balloons skin) between clumps that can become dynamic with movement, or remain static. As a bubble of air is heated on the earth's surface, it displaces the surrounding lower air temperature and starts to rise. It can remain as a blob or be modified by its motion into a doughnut (that is more commonly expressed by modelers).
Now we have two kinds of bubbles the low launch pilot can attempt to navigate; however, the upper air is also being affected by parcels of warm air carrying water vapor with it, to initiate a cyclonic action in the upper air that will transduce its low energy spin to air around a forming bubble on the ground - to then induce a rising column of air that has rotation to it (a low energy tornado) for the third kind of thermal. (i.e. one that has rotation). Aerodroylics; my invented word for clumps of air crashing into each other, creating 'sprites' of air motion that sometimes surprise the avid HL pilot leaving him with a “Where the devil did the lift go?” attitude. The thermal count is now up to four! Large scale horizontal motion of air by a breeze moving warm air up against a big blob of stationary cooler air creates a slope effect called wave lift. Wave lift can be confused with a rotational thermal that rolls over on its side seeking to get past motion resistance, or joining up with a gaggle of thermals uniting into a turbulent bundle damping out to form a main line into the upper air – now bringing the thermal variance to seven. This kind of information, joined with the experience gained by low launch HAM rules (where the pilot is typically flying in the same slice of air he is residing in), gives the alert pilot some extra leverage in the upper air to get away with a bit more leniency in the use of ballast, thus making long duration tasks considerably easier. And, because of pilot's motion in 'Goal and Return' tasks, flying them also becomes a lot easier to accomplish since the pilot is constantly moving closer to the air the model is actually flying within. The current training of TD flying gives a pilot a sinking feeling when forced down by air conditions, whereas the HAM pilot is still in his comfort zone because of the extra practice acquired by flying shorter flights. Standing in place with a sailplane circling in lift 2500 feet away does not give enough education by feedback as to what is happening, and to do it for 30 minute segments is boring to me, unless I am engaged in a LSF task of some kind. Apparently my attention span reaches about 7 minutes; and I realize that stamina is different for different folks. Also, it is ludicrous to attempt to train a high flying pilot (after a 700 foot launch), when he cannot see the reaction of 100 ft/min lift. [At 200 ft AGL it looks like a motor was turned on.] The number of TD pilots that win while knowing very little about thermalling is probably equal to the number of Airline pilots that forgot how an airplane works, and are unable to fly a model airplane - but they can and do follow a disciplined program to maintain air safety. Obviously this fear of low altitude soaring is the attitude that is so abrasive to actually test a pilot for his thermal ability, and why most TD pilots want a system to grade their performance of open ended tasks to occur in the upper air with large time constraints where it is mathematically impossible! Any form of discipline for any one else, other than the builder/designer of their model, is forbidden.
Attempting to grade a pilots skill by his persistence is immature! I have seen FF's do an hour (stalling about or just flying straight away included). I had a student that did an hour with my Mirage because the huge clump of air was moving upward for more than 30 minutes. And, I had a huge muskie hit a Dare Devil fishing lure that I had no control over (I was kicked off because I lost the lure)! When one can identify the thermal cast (Bloby, Doughnut, Twisty, Bonkers, Slinky, Slider, and Mainliner) and utilize their characteristics to advantage, one becomes a soaring artist able to finesse his machine enough to make tasks a lot easier. This is the real way to dance with lift, and I find the true experts that are very successful, are very familiar with this family. And this is what the HAM task is testing!
Edit · Close · Highlight Comprehensive Tripping
Discussion / Posted by histarter / Jul 23, 2006 @ 11:46 AM / 2013 Views / 0
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[Its been 20 years since my first paper on tripping profiles was published, so I figure an update is long overdue.] I have established that a standard size of tripper is 40 mils high, and 1/8” wide. This is predicated by the usable soaring velocity subjected to a model sailplane. Because modelers refuse to recognize any domain of airspeed, they tend to have a concept that slow and fast ranges between zero and infinity mtr/sec without recognizing a realistic velocity range that nature (instead of the scientific community) imposes. I set my soaring velocity within the limits of 6 to 17.5 mtr/sec [13.4 to 39 mph] for the purpose of mathematically solving problems as they arise. I believe these ratios to be a constant regardless of a (super-duper) profile selected, and only the mass of the sailplane is the proper programming tool to set velocity centers. Why 6 mtr/sec ?: Dr. Drela builds a 32 ounce Bubble Dancer (4.5 oz/ft), yet most of his followers are very happy with their 42 oz machine (6 oz/ft) because airspeed makes controls work better, inertia improves follow through for more tenacious thermalling, reinforcing my concept that there is a minimum speed necessary to improve upon a 'bit of fluff' flight. After 10 years in my program I simply settled on the 6 mtr/sec expression because it works!
Why 17.5 mtr/sec : Using simple math [(CL 1.2 /CL 0.25)^0.5 X 1.7^0.5] X 6 mtr/sec – I then have this limit (without enforced zero tolerance) spelled out. [Notes: I use 9% profiles for above calculations to center upon CL 1.2 for better speed range, and the 1.7 mass range for the 70% ballast I am carrying is factored in to predict (usable for soaring) duration fast. Please note that I use velocity figures the same as ushers are used in theaters, and that I am not concerned with maxims of flat out speed that would use tripping in a totally different manner!] Turbulation material I have developed a simple system for making pressure sensitive turbulators with electrical tape, and 1/32 foam tape. Lay the electrical tape (approx 14 inches) on a glass surface. Laminate pressure sensitive foam tape to the electrical tape. Purpose: Electrical tape has a soft adhesive, whereas foam tape's adhesive is very aggressive. This way turbulator can be lifted off the wings surface and tuned with a scissors, or moved to a different location if needed. If the foam tape has a second liner, film tape or paper can be laminated on top - instead of liner that can be stripped off and activated. Take a ruler with a metal straight edge, and with an sharp Exacto knife slice off 1/8” wide strips about 14 inches long. Position anti stall turbulator 7/8 inch back from the LE of wing starting one wing tip cord dimension in from the tip. If more is required use pieces butted up to the first piece – however 12 inch tip turbulator is usually enough, and this can be trimmed back from inside to the tip if washout effect (delayed tip stall) is too excessive. Low CL tripping is usually set at 55% back from the LE; however concern is for the damping of a cyclonic bubble that is induced prior the TE (to minimize bubble drag), so about 4 inches behind the tripper is what 'no man's bubble land' looks like. Bare in mind that I am concerned with LD through the programed velocity range only, and I am not attempting a new invention for a 200 mph + sailplane record! Basically I am desiring a reasonable velocity while maintaining a reasonable LD i.e. through a selected speedrange – that I can program my piloting skill to match, for me to place, and for younger pilots to win at TD events. The problem with most modelers is they are always seeking a unilateral cure-all because of their open ended training; thus a solution to the majority of common problems just isn't recognizable. Improving a speed range's efficiency becomes unimportant if one cannot answer the unnecessary question of “what if I want to fly faster” (which is out of range for the controlled concept of 'tripping to improve duration'). Turbulation at LE for an entire wing is used to repair an overweight structure by
permitting an Alpha increase for slower flight. Something sport flyers would be interested in, whereas Tripping at 55% tends to reduce drag at CL 0.25 (up to a velocity limit where the bubble remains open) yielding higher performance within the realistically restricted speed range. This is an advantage to the TD pilot that is seeking reliable duration to match a time slot. The parody of the 55% trip is that it typically broadens the LD curve, and because of the wider speed range gives the illusion that the machine is flying about 20% heavier. Anti-Stall Tip Turb trimming: After installing the tip turbs, launch high, trim for slow flight, then slowly feed in up until machine stalls. Preferably it should stall straight away with both tips clinging onto lift. If you stall and roll, check for warps and remove them before continuing. No warps? Then increase the turb length. **If you cannot get a stall, check CG, and move it back. Tip turbs will allow a more rearward location while maintaining great handling. Still cannot get a stall on a slow feed of up elevator? You may have to increase the elevator width to improve tangential force for a lower deflection angle. (A problem noted primarily with GLs and their tiny elevator). Too light can be another reason - that also reinforces the concept of not enough surface for defection at the airspeed the mass commands. Silly situations of futile attempts to employ tripping: Putting the 55% tripper on and expecting it to improve the float, while never realizing it was there for the improvement of cruise at low alpha (i.e. instead of delaying stall at high alpha). Doubling the turbulator by using an array, one at 10% and one at 20%. The Legionair flew so slow at landing, rudder would no longer work quick enough for the spot. On a calm day she flew like a huge OlyII. When the breeze blew, she flew more like a 'humongous' OlyII. She was flown in competition on calm days - easily doing the time, that other contestants were struggling with, however bringing her down timely to utilize the typical 300 point 'bank' of landing points was a serious problem! Using the 55% tripper on extremely high AR wings. Since they handle more loading better, a 10% turbulator would be wiser (usually there is not enough recovery room for the bubble after the 55% separation upset). These aircraft typically have large spans, are pretty heavy to begin with, so adding a bit more low end airspeed (with a soft stall characteristic) is an advantage (even if it requires more ballast to center the speedrange). Although tripping works for frail structures, it is best with torsionally stout surfaces that will be flying at more than 2.5 times empty velocity, meaning oscillatory twisting of flying surfaces have at least 6 times the force over the typical floating airspeed. Rejection of the tripper because of not producing faster speed runs in F3B. Very little degrade was observed, however this was not the tripper's intent. It works to increase average L/D over a controlled speed range, without regard to peak conditions. Drag
from a tripper is slight because air cannot get around it (since it has one side stuck to a flying surface). Talking with the experts Professional Aerodynamic engineers that I have had discussions with (other than Walter Pankin) seem to demonstrate the actions of the 'monkey trap'. The monkey puts his paw into a cookie jar to get a cookie and finds that his hand full of loot will not pass through the jar's mouth. The little hedonistic bugger will refuse to let go of his possession to regain freedom! Having a repair that works for a selected speed range just isn't good enough for the scientific community – unless it works open ended from stall to infinity! Klien and Fogleman developed a stepped profile that would not stall for safer lightplanes. Their patent was rejected because of poor performance at airspeeds above 340 mph? Their safety profile was intended to be used on aircraft that had a Vne of less than 220 mph (and the tested 340 is almost 100 mph above the lightplane maximum legal limit, so its a case of “what if” the legal limit was increased? To date it never occurred!!). So the public never gets this neat profile that would reduce lightplane accidents 45 years ago, and make lightplanes more popular – yet here we are with airbags, seatbelts, and rollbars on our automobiles?? I guess it is money driven by politics, that truly makes the world go round (and wobble)! [Just received information the stepped profile will be used for the new lightplane Jets that are to be air taxis of the future. The area of turbulence is concentrated on the wing tips, in front of the ailerons. Taking a piece of the “failure at 340 mph” now seems to be acceptable.] Turbulating tail surfaces I have used this tactic to crudely increase efficiency of flying stabs. Coming in hot and heavy for a spot landing with flaps that only deflect to 50 degrees (my choice), and a 9% stab for my Ellipse that is already uploaded by program, and to snap in more down to steepen path only to find control reversal because of tailplane stall, made me attempt to turbulate the stab and thus cure the problem - without building a larger stabilizer. Yes, the experts were correct in their handling of 90 degree flaps, but for my rhythm (by spoiler training), my spot scores were higher for me i.e. doing it my way!
Edit · Close · Highlight Physics Applied to Model Sailplanes
Discussion / Posted by histarter / Jul 12, 2006 @ 07:49 AM / 2297 Views / 0
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[Flat Bottom profiles have certain advantages in RES completion. This is not a treatise on the superiority of Flat Bottoms, but a discussion on why they still have merit in this modern world] ****** In physics we have to typically ascertain size by Mass.* Gravity creates acceleration for a mass we dedicate, and thus it is very practical to use weight (Mass X g) as its representative value.* A launching system is basically the force utilized to make a model sailplane climb to its initial altitude, and tension times stroke is the predominate factors.* So to lift the weight of X lbs to altitude, it requires force times time, equaling work - or horse power - as terms we are comfortable with. Starting with an available tension*of 12 lbs for a high start (or sport winch) and a factor of 3 to 1 (that experience has showed to be adequate), we have settled the Model's size mass as a weight of 4 lbs (or less). Now the question is how to convolute the sailplane for a 4 lb mass, to fly a task we desire. Obviously as we increase the available tension the launch altitude will increase, but not at a linear rate. If a retrieval system is added, more tension is needed to handle the increased weight and drag. Most competition today is centered upon the “Club Winch” that usually has much more energy than what is needed to launch a 11 pound (15 foot spanned sailplane). Predominately, we have to generate an amount of wing lift to support the total weight of the aircraft at the airspeed we wish to fly.*The scientific community utilize Reynolds numbers to identify velocity – that modelers do not integrate into their individual philosophy. Unfortunately, modelers do not wish to limit themselves with numbers, like a value for airspeed, and they attempt to to keep everything open ended – which make communication extremely difficult! To make judgments here I have to reference velocity at 6 mtr/sec and set the profiles alpha at its most efficient angle of attack (approx 6 degrees), and thus project its wing loading in proportion to the profiles peak CL - so we will be comparing peak performance to peak performance.* Now we can go into two schools of thought on profile application, Dr. Drela with his AG series, or Histarter and his Flat Bottom profiles (which happens to be an extension of John Rimmer’s research and development). Basically Dr Drela uses a thin low lift profile – thus to make it fly at the 6 mtr/sec reference, weight has to be minimized (4 oz/ft typical); whereas, the thicker 9% FB profile needs about 6 oz/ft. Using a 9% FB profile for a value of CL 1.125 @ max LD (typically), and a loading (via experience) that is equal to 9 ounces per square foot of wing area; requires 7 sq feet of wing area to yield 4 lbs of lift at X velocity. Whereas Dr. Drela’s profile (7%) is at Max LD yielding a value of CL 0.8 typically, and a compromise loading to equal the same X velocity is 6.5 ounces per foot of wing area; requiring 9.7 sq feet of area.* This translates to a bigger machine to engage a 4 lb gravity motor. So we apparently have a choice of a 3-mtr machine using an FB profile, vs. an AG-35 on a 4.1-mtr machine for the same 4 lbs! [When both average chords = 8.75 inches] One problem is: Can the bigger machine be built to the 6.5 ounce per sq foot loading specification? While being strong enough for winch tension? Which machine would be the better sailplane?* Dr. Drela’s by far!* 18.4 to 1 aspect
ratio vs. 13.4 for the FB to begin with.* And we have a wider speed range because of higher overall efficiency - due to less camber.* (In fact the AG-35 would have a better low speed end due to AR efficiency). So what is the purpose of this paper?* The world happens to view sailplane size as wingspan!!* Thus we have a problem of viewing motor size with sailplanes, and tend to minimize the regulatory force of inertia, as a soaring ingredient, or as a necessity. Humorously, power flyers always seek larger motors; whereas, soaring enthusiasts seem to dwell on the concept of flying the biggest sailplane, with the smallest motor?? “Lighter is better” is something that was brainwashed into free flighters, and now has been carried over onto sailplanes. Unfortunately, the mass majority of pilots evaluate soaring performance open ended, and not as a reliability factor for completing a competition task. They are simply repeating the concern of newbies that fly too light, only for them to discover they are drifting away - and the darn thing just won't come down!! The newbies get frantic about this situation, and seek spoiler or flap ingenuity etc., instead of solving the problem the way the old timers like Mark Smith did by using ballast to get airspeed up for performance, and when task is over, slipping inverted and shallow diving to protect wing structure to get down from altitude timely. Instead our current trend is to remain upright, and require the safety net of a very highly engineered aircraft with a low CL profile ( that is; without a strong motor) that appears to ‘effortlessly’ aid a return. In their mind it is the easy way out by letting the profile designers take responcibility, rather than actually learning the total facets of soaring. Then to make matters worse, most of the true experts fly competition currently with a task time too short for the launching altitude they achieve, to properly demonstrate their thermalling skills - stimulating followers to believe they have to do the same thing while practicing the ‘more important task’ – landing skill to win contests!! Enforcing a lower launch would reinforce the need for climb-out, i.e. where the cool headed pilot has to balance his descent rate between float, and the need to scramble to new more productive areas. The primary thrust of my discussion here is for the RES event, that just is not as critical to ultimate profile performance; and camber changing is not an option. There are many 'new' designs like the Mistral, Skooter 3mtr, Gnome 3mtr, Legionair (updated), Kestrel, Houston Hawk, etc. that will work for BOM addicts, along with Vikings and Paragons, that can be very powerful in the right hands. The AVA is an expensive shortcut, but is still limited – and yes, is a great tool in the hands of one who has taken the time to master the lowly FB. Now, my current version of my Beachball profile has a circular arc of 8 inch radius tangent to a 7 degree angle for a 10 inch chord. The rib height is 0.88”. Entry is a 5/16 circle (round). Looks very wrong, but with a trip at 55% to create controlled separation means that the bubble is closed prior TE, and CD at CL 0.25 (or less) is surprisingly low. When installed onto my Oly II, the old guy flew like my Saggita, i.e. a Saggita with a RG-15. The blunt entry softens the MCL curve as alpha is reduced to also help drag reduction. I now have about 10 years of flying this simple profile, and have no complaints. This is a profile selected by philosophy, and trial and error rather than microscopic analysis of gas flow characteristics. I firmly believe that high tech profile considerations are better received by those that have mastered the FB, rather than those that jump on the what's currently 'hot' bandwagon.
You can see I am a bit disillusioned by the bigotry of profile design, and its current emphasis. Most of the top contenders will win contests without needing a “Dumbo's Feather” (i.e. a tool to help an elephant to fly) issued to them by an aerodynamicist.* I built my Beachball series in spite of my natural urgings to follow the herd, and still feel that it truly worked way beyond my skill level. I seriously doubt that employing different profiles de'jour (requiring me to relearn flight multitudinously) could have served me any better. So here I am, wanting to build a 3mtr machine to fly RES.* If I were to use my 9% FB, I am confident that I can be lighter than my 64 oz target, and that I can build strong enough to tolerate the club winch to zoom the crap out of 64 oz – for enough inertia to amplify the zoom follow through.* For some reason the modern sailplane enthusiast is mired in a totally unrealistic dogma that drains them from fully mastering soaring.* Example: A sailplane's empty state is for fun flying light lift.* However, when the wind blows, (15 mph) I ballast up with a 30% weight increase which I intend to smooth fly (saving fun fly tactics, and rationing them out for sure things).* Heavy winds, and I am now carrying a 70% weight increase, using my controls for small changes in pressure.* To comprehend ballasting, I have practice with it in calm air seeking task time limits, instead of concerning myself of staying up for long (unapplicable) time periods. Instead, the current dogma looks at ballast the same as for full size sailplanes, i.e. 20% is considered all that is needed?* The full size machine flys at 22 mtr/sec and survives a world of 12 mtr/sec of wind comfortably.* The model’s circumstances are totally different. It normally flys at 6 mtr/sec, yet has to live in the same world of 12 mtr/sec breezes (especially if one is working lift above 800 ft AGL).* If we wish to fly straight away into this kind of breeze (at minimum sink alpha) the silly toy should weigh in with 300% ballast!* Now we can see the Genius of Mark Drela by giving us profiles that operate reasonably well below CL 0.25! *However, taking my Shuttle and loading up its thin 9% FB with 70% ballast (24 ounces) to handle a 25 mph breeze simply demonstrates a no-contest situation compared to an Allegro 2mtr with its 20% load (6 oz).* With spoilers, the Shuttle is still capable of making spot landings. [And, the wind assisted zooms with the stored energy of the extra mass, becomes spectacular!]* So my target weight for a 3 mtr Shuttle would be 64 ounces (for a stout structure) requiring basic modeler’s skills - meaning easily accomplished.* [I like simple and cheap]* Whereas, building a 64 ounce 4 meter Allegro would tax the best (most sophisticated) modeler’s skills.* So for us that do not have enough lifetime left to dedicate to scientific research and development, building a bit clunkier with ballast capability and using piloting skills to overrun the current technical gap, can be quite satisfying and successful!! Now if I were a lot younger, my goal would be to design a 64 oz TD machine (standard size) with an AR at 15 for use with a profile that would lift the weight at 6 mtr/sec airspeed. Then convolute the profile from low to high entry while reflexing the trailing edge for performance* when needed. This follows the concept of what I feel was the greatest duration profile of the last century: Dr Eppler’s 214. That honor would be restored this century if duration had a soaring factor that was realistic – instead of the programmed gliding currently done in competition; where the responsibility for success is contributed by everyone else (scientists, engineers, corporations, etc.) other then the
pilot, because of no effective BOM rules. [*MCL reduction for high speed performance is the one of the clever tricks of birds to gain their speed range. Bird brains can become quite smart after 60 million years of evolution!] The Bottom Line: A great gambler stays within the limits of what he can afford to loose. I really could not afford to lose my Ellipse (whose cost was about the same as what I had in my full size Talorcraft, so I was handicapped psychologically). Instead, I flew the crap out of my Shuttles, Vikings, Red Bird, and Mirage. Through this period I learned that structure was far more important than profile design, and that profile science was really a “Cherry on a Banana Split” situation. When I was flying my old VikingI against more modern profiles in winds above 20 mph I was carrying 2 lbs of ballast, and while attempting to fly at similar airspeeds as the other competitors, the Viking would appear to descend quicker. Realizing that I was throwing away alpha for airspeed, I wanted to carry more ballast to force more alpha for a better L/D along at the higher velocity, but I felt the flying surfaces were just too whimpy for that kind of loading (especially after sitting out in the heat of the day). I then converted the Viking wing into my plate wing design (that had the upper surface sheeted – with a molded fiber glass plate laminate on sheeting underside), and made up ballast that would fit wing my cardboard wing tubes, and fuselage ballast bay, to handle 6 lbs total (while still staying below the 11 lb FAI maximum)! Now when faced with competing against a low CD profile design operating at low CL in high wind, I had considerably less disadvantage! The intense weight permitted me to stay close to an alpha that would yield a performance that was much closer to MAX L/D [Which happens to be a state most contestants that fly the modern profiles seems to avoid. It is humorous to me to see one concerned with a profile that yields a peak L/D of 25, and then uses it at CL 0.2 for an L/D of 11] Obviously, for political reasons, I kept how heavy my machines were a secret to avoid the ridicule of placing at a meet, and then listening to, “if you were lighter you would have won,” comments; whereas, in my mind's view, without the weight, I would not have placed! Truly, the more gifted pilot than I had won! And this is the problem with soaring that I see today. Too much concern on seeking advantage, and less on execution. A young man having the talent, and applying himself to good engineering, while executing logical design corrections for the rigors of modern soaring onto an old Paragon (for example), can be a frequent winner at modern TD competition (flying within the limitations of the design – in spite of its lack of functions and less bias for perfection). Unfortunately the aerodynamic politicians out there would downplay this success with the ranting of “Lucky Skunk!” (Hummm, We have to 'democratically' change the rules to make this obnoxious non-conformity impossible! How about reducing task time and increasing landing points!). In the days of my competition, Don Chancey and I would frequently practice flying the evening light lift, using my sport winch for launching. Task time was typically 9 minutes. Here is where I learned to properly use ballast, and upper surface tripping, using the teachings of the ancient Greek orator Demosthenes. I would carry 8 ounce load steps in my Shuttle 120 or VikingI to visualize effects of loading. Keeping records of 9 minute maxes and failure to max was where I first learned about critical loading to maximize reliability of task, and to my surprise in seperate investigations,
improvements in reliability of task by the use of tripping (much thicker than recommended by Selig). It is easier by far to throw money at the soaring 'problem' (if you have it), and enjoy a greater probability of success while just dabbling in the art of soaring - by simply aping others that have become icons. Engineering the OlyIII as another example: The 'floater' kit, OlyII, is very popular and everyone attempts to build it light (for extra slow flight). At less than 7 oz/ft loading, folks like its short launch capability to work low light lift, but they have a designed in handicap they refuse to acknowledge. Although they are flying at the correct airspeed for the task, the dihedral roll rate is too low (correct for airspeeds above 8 mtr/sec). The old timers realized this and when launching above 600 ft AGL, carried enough ballast to load the wings to 9 oz/ft – while planning ahead by increasing the wings torsion resistance with diagonal stiffeners. High wind meant more ballast so I went with my plate wing design to be able to comfortably carry up to 2 lbs in the fuse, and did a simple change to the profile by using a blunt leading edge to raise entry point for a lower effective MCL. To prove a point, I used a circular arc for the profile's upper curve. I tend to use turbulators and felt they would make up for any of natures arguments. I was pleasantly surprised that my crude profile had no bad abnormalities. The heavier wing only brought my total weight to 45 ounces, still short for correct roll rate airspeed – so tip dihedral was increased. Now she would short launch and snag 'gopher belches' – and still work well at 500+ ft. altitude, with programming ballast. My OlyIII is still flying with a shortened fuse and airfoiled tail surfaces (a compromise to repair a bad cartwheel, that ended up as a significant improvement in handling). Yes, plump profiles up to 13% thick loaded to 16 oz/ft have less potential performance, but airspeed regulation and ability to sky out at launch are a couple of advantages that a thinking pilot can utilize! Obviously, a Selig 9% profile may be better in its raw state, but tunning the old FB with trippers may just make it work better; however, that entails working within velocity limits since bubble damping becomes an important consideration....but that is another article - that the aerodynamic engineers don't seem to want to pursue (titled 6 millisecond damping for cyclonic bubbles). Also, working with absolute velocity tends to pin down statement veracities, that higher education seems to dislike. ****** Quotations of Philosophy: “Knowledge should be a 'tool box', and not a prison! Experience then generates the wisdom for application, for those with an open mind.” “The true champion with spirit and talent should be the winner, and not the semiskilled politician who is primarily concerned with wealth, love, and shortcuts to fame.” “The thinking man will separate himself from the herd to accomplish his adorations, while closing his eyes to politics, only to seek guidance from knowledge!”
Edit · Close · Highlight Tale of two worlds
Discussion / Posted by histarter / May 05, 2006 @ 08:03 AM / 3372 Views / 0
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Most flyers are satisfied flying the two extremes in soaring; Hand Launch and Unlimited. Yes, they also feel the other classes of machines have merit, so they lump them onto the high powered winch launch, only to evaluate them from state of art unlimited machines downward. When a great pilot does an effective job with a smaller machine (that is a bit of handicap) the manufacturer of the machine gets the attaboys under these circumstances; and the pilot that does the Giant killing enters minor celebrity status. Now when I bring up my point that there appears to be two complete different worlds for soaring, most think I have lost my marbles. “Lift is lift - and it makes no difference what altitude” is a common attitude; and one that I will attempt here to dispel. I choose to be a sport flier and design and build my own equipment while using many fields that are available to me; that are a bit smaller than ideal. I believe this is a better condition for entry level flying than attempting to fly the high launch with equipment that is machine made, expensive, and is not easily repaired. This state of affairs of flying a lower launch to fit the small field has made me aware that to capitalize on these conditions, some design constraints must be examined. As the hand launch pilots are aware, low altitude thermals are merely feeders for a main body of lift that will exist in the upper air. Some of these lower thermals will dissipate, whereas others may cumulatively bust through an inversion layer and combine to reinforce a main body of lift. These feeder thermals are the prime target for the typical low launcher. Most pilots believe the smallness of the HL machines is the secret for working the low lift; whereas the reality is that there is only one variable that controls success (and wingspan or fuselage length is not it). It is airspeed primarily! To fly the small thermals one needs to turn tight, but without a large bank angle and slow flight is the only way to obtain this state. Size is an important factor because of the Reynolds effect, so if one is not hand chucking, and using a short high start to fling his sailplane, wing area becomes crucial. The only limit on wingspan is the maintenance of lift at the slower wing's tip when engaged in turning flight (this can be improved upon by using anti-stall strips (turbulators), washout, and/or a rectangular wing planform. [The Ellipse wing planform may be an efficient planform for cross country work, however for attempting to fly slow and spiral tight, the rectangular planform is the superior. Reducing wingtip drag however, requires clever engineering] Right off the bat we are looking for the largest sailplane for (Reynolds effect) with a moderate wing span (meaning a low aspect ratio wing with a parallel chord wing planform - within the
limits of efficiency) when we are talking short launch - with our eyes open to work the little HL type of thermals, more efficiently than the struggling with little 60 inch span HLs that are now common. Unfortunately, we have another concern when we are skying out, and that is with altitude the available universe has increased by the cube of altitude, meaning velocity should increase also (though not as extreme) to compensate for finding lift and handling it at higher velocities. I tend to comment that profiles for duration are currently designed backwards i.e. performance first, to be modified by flaps into slow flight. If our TD event would concentrate on duration instead of hand eye control, and if a reasonable soaring factor engaged, a profile would be designed for slow flight primarily, with it modified by flap or entry change (or both) to gain performance. Now we have a speed range that has the motor (because of weight) capable of giving the duration pilot the prime effects he is looking for. I think I must define the difference of Sailplane approaches; that are simply expressed by soaring birds. The icon of soaring birds to 'Modern Soarman' (for example) is the Black Albatross; a heavy bird that has a low CD to establish low sink at high airspeeds. My icon on the other hand is the Fregata Magnificeno (man o’ war frigate); a tropical bird that can lock its wings and soar for days over the islands. However, its light weight limits its airspeed - while its high CL still holds the weight in the air; so damaging CD is not very effective. Following suite on this fact, lets have a theoretical contest between 'Modern Soarman' and myself of a 2 mile cross country task. Soarman does this feat in 20 minutes with his design concentrated upon flying a sailplane dedicated to do 'work'. I do the same task, but in 60 minutes. Soarman believes he won; whereas I believe I won -- if the task was labeled duration!! Duration means staying up for the longest time. Efficiency means doing the job in the least time.
Edit · Close · Highlight Wind Tunnel Operation
Discussion / Posted by histarter / May 02, 2006 @ 03:38 PM / 2895 Views / 0
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There seems to be confusion when it comes to operating a profile in the real world compared to a wind tunnel. Understanding the basics of how the tunnel is calibrated and operated will give some insight on how the figures generated can be employed. It has been years since I investigated tunnel’s workings, however I am sure the basic mechanics and philosophy have not changed much.
First of all, the wind speed is a function predicated upon the chord of the sample tested. If the sample is 10” (for example) the wind speed to equal 100K re will be about 12.25 mph? [Not precise due to using a crude formula that excludes changes in air pressure and density, but close enough to give the picture.] The breeze is horizontal; the lift vector measured is vertical at 90 degrees to the stream and the drag vector measured horizontally (90 degrees to the lift vector). The sample is placed into the tunnel, with the sensors mounted together thus measuring the maximum drag possible by the chord and span being at right angles to the flow. Cavitation sensors mounted on the sidewall of the tunnel permits corrections, to improve the quality of unity, for which the Lift and Drag sensors are now calibrated. The test panel is now moved into place and the LD sensors are now 90 degrees apart. Although alpha is indexed, it is a weak attribute for precision. The primary concern is the values of Lift and Drag ratios based upon the value of maximum calibration drag (as unity reference), making the % values - coefficients. Once profile sections are evaluated by presetting alpha to established CL values to read CD results, i.e. the ratio of these ratios (coefficients) is the family of ‘wind tunnel’ LD factors (that one can choose from by reference of CL). An alpha of 6 degrees (that is hard to precisely identify) is usually the angle for the peak LD. After the tunnel data is acquired at several selected values of Reynolds numbers (meaning wind velocities - since wing chord is fixed), one can utilize more programs for the development of the overall complete sailplane - that degenerates the amplitude of the profile’s peak LD, as more bits and pieces of aircraft are added. Basically, if you have two profiles of different shapes but having equal chords flying at the same airspeed together, and one weighs in at 30% more, the value of lift at the time has to be 30% greater to handle the weight increase. CD, in this case a characteristic of shape, does not enter into this plight, except as result demonstrating the steepness of the glide slope (sink) by the factor of each profile’s personal ratio of CL/CD. It is a difficult adjustment to think that CL predominantly is controlling the lateral airspeed of a winged mass, with drag controlling the rate of descent - which happens to be the actual reaction. Taking a FB and decreasing alpha to get a 20% increase in velocity means you have lowered the lift quantum by 40%, or if you were to raise the weight of the model 40% instead, you would be right back at the starting alpha at the higher airspeed (with a negligible efficiency increase due to re effect). LD would be higher for this loaded airspeed because of more alpha (i.e. closer to 6 degrees). Hopefully I am stirring interest in a profile that is bum-rapped because it is usually misapplied by skillful modelers making these types of machines too light and flimsy. Then when putting in miniscule amounts of ballast expecting more performance, but getting dramatically less than expected, they just give up. Simple 2 ch machines with older FB profiles usually have room for lots of ballast - which newbie’s don’t respect
(and wish instead to install more control functions) limiting the original design’s potential for handling all kinds of conditions. The desire to follow the guidelines of pilots happily using state of art profiles (without ballast) is counterproductive. A thin FB can be made to perform surprisingly close to a peak-engineered profile; however, their still is a slight bias for science’s ultimate designs being the ‘best’. [Note: Close means that the quality of the pilot is going to be a winner at duration tasks, regardless of approach.]
Edit · Close · Highlight Wind Tunnel Operation
Discussion / Posted by histarter / May 02, 2006 @ 06:36 AM / 2339 Views / 0
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Sticky: MPVS Is a Soaring Universe
Discussion / Posted by histarter / Apr 07, 2006 @ 07:20 AM / 2462 Views / 1
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Every flight is an adventure for the RC modeler experimenting with the universe of his model aircraft. Mass is the attribute the modeler struggles with to get a strong light structure. The Velocity the aircraft flies at is due to the quantum of lift the pilot permits by his selection of trim center, whereas the alpha range of the selected profile employed, controls the speed range of velocity available. Performance is graded as the amount of sink speed the model demonstrates at the velocity a pilot desires. Drag controls the Sink rate along with performance reduction, so modelers diligently attempt to minimize it as much as possible. Inertia (because of mass) regulates ‘ground speed’, and this mass (i.e. density) is the ‘motor’ for a Sailplane. Inertia is a prime requirement
for dynamic soaring by its regulation of ground speed, and is somewhat overlooked by modern flatland soaring enthusiasts - that will normally accept less of a quantum that may sacrifice a bit of idealistic performance. This state of affairs is conditioned by a specialized paradigm created by a plutocratic society of ‘expert’ competition pilots democratically controlling soaring rules and regulations. Unfortunately, the end result creates a one-design universe, because of extremely narrow gateways for success. All this because of soaring being currently reduced to conditional gliding. Hopefully you will follow me through the logic of the ‘Golden Age of Model Aviation’ soaring concepts to realize how adjustable and flexible (for the pilot) MPVS actually is: 1970 to 1990 we had the transition to higher performance, primarily because we were now launching higher into the upper air. Mike Bame was a great opportunist seizing a concept by making ridiculously strong wings, to be tossed energetically to extreme altitude biasing his machine away from the performance attribute, and was quite successful in his application, even though the lift quantum was reduced by a low MCL. Landing control tolerance damaged the flying purists that enjoyed flying the heck out of simple machines, and some of them just went fishing. Mark Smith, Jim Jones (of Texas), Lamon Payne slowly disappeared while newcomers like Larry Jolly, Brian Agnew, Skip Miller, Scott Christianson, and Don Chancy replaced them. Landing points were no longer used for breaking ties between thermal savvy contestants, but instead were used for identifying the “most competent flyer”. Now in modern times, when the weather gets foul, and little thermal generation is occurring, the CD lowers the task time? While the landing remains pristine? What happened to the words “Soaring Competition”? RES is hinged to get soaring back to normality that could permit pilots of all persuasions the opportunity for unbiased competition - biased upon flight pilotage rather than hand eye coordination. If we would limit the launch to 400 ft of real estate for a guaranteed 3 minute glide, while having a task time of 9 minutes (for a Soaring Factor of 2.00) while reducing the intensity of landing points, either by affecting them by percentage of flying task accomplished, and/or reducing them to comply with the possibility of having a contest with a CD controlled shortened task time. Now you have a better basis for reasonable soaring competition that would be dedicated to soaring flight rather than gliding. With this philosophy paramount we can then look a bit deeper at the MPVS concept. If there is a Soaring Factor of 2.0 to work for (instead of the less than 0.6 the AMA currently proscribes to) then all kinds of design criteria can be applied for a highly skilled pilot to take the gold without as much sensitivity to “the perfect model sailplane” as commonly thought of today. A good altitude to center a design onto is 400 ft. AGL. At this altitude, with mild wind velocity, we are seeking an airspeed of 6 meters/sec. (If we wish to fly a center speed at 800 ft AGL, I would tend to use 9 meters/sec - as an example). These are only reference numbers used to gate expected airspeeds that statistically appeal to most pilots. Now, moving mass at the most typical + 6 degrees alpha (that yields max L/D), we find that
weight is the motor working against the composite of lift and drag vectors. Because of weight we also have Inertia, which happens to be the groundspeed regulator - that converts changing airspeed, due to gusting, into altitude (kinetic energy into potential energy; a prime ingredient for dynamic soaring). So with a contest set up for a soaring factor of 2.00, a pilot can choose whether he wishes to fly with a plump profile that lifts 10 oz/ft at a reference of 6 meters/sec, or a skinny profile lifting at 5 oz/ft for the same airspeed. Heavy gives good follow through motion, and some fantastic low altitude saves because of less crosswind deflection and more scavenged altitude from airspeed, whereas thin profiles operate better streaking in the upper air to new lifting areas a bit faster, with less ballast needed. A true expert would know how to handle each situation to maximize his scoring for a SF of 2.00 as a legitimate target. This translates to the famous Mr. JW (for example) flying either a 2 channel Paragon, a Bubble Dancer, or a Houston Hawk in a RES competition, and he would still be in the winner’s circle at the end of the contest - by capitalizing on the attributes available. Hopefully the point I am making is that profile selection controls the art of flight manipulation, rather than the concept of ultimate performance. Taking a sailplane equipped with an RG 15 or a 10% true Clark Y to a RES meet with a 2.00 soaring factor and loosing, is not the fault of the profile, but really the fault of the pilot’s lack of skill! (Sorry to be so blunt). It is comical that with Gas models, the pilots attempt to put the largest motor into an airframe; whereas, flat land soaring enthusiast tends to fairy dance with this subject, and tries to put the smallest motor into their sailplane - thinking the speed range of an exotic profile form will compensate at low CL. And this is why the Don Chanceys, Mark Smiths, JWs, and Jim Joneses of the world will beat them by flying an antique properly ballasted, in these modern times, with all the scientific ‘improvements’ that would become somewhat nuetralized by having a reasonable Soaring Factor. The mighty Sailair is limited by the fact there is a FAI/AMA limit of 11 lbs, yet it still surprises folks by winning events occasionally. My Viking was challenged by a heavy Dodgeson Lovesong years ago, and we were both returning for a landing flying into a 25 mph breeze at about the same airspeed, with sink on the Viking showing up dramatically because I was carrying 2.25 lbs of ballast (that I thought was quite a bit at the time). Later on I discovered that filling the huge ballast bay with 4.25 lbs turned this state of affairs around because I was flying at a higher alpha for the same airspeed. More weight? For less sink? Well with the greater weight the alpha is higher for a selected airspeed, and as it gets closer to +6 degrees it is getting closer to maximum L/D. And that is only the first factor. As alpha gets closer to zero degrees we have a draggy (cyclonic) bubble forming atop our wings that damages L/D. In fact, anyone compromising alpha for lack of weight without tripping the wing, is really handicapping himself. Tripping typically insures bubble closure for a large drag reduction at the higher airspeeds (and was the other boost, along with the weight, that made my Viking I perform). The great performance of Legionairs and BOTs convinced me that 9% profiles were about the best compromise - to hold down the ballast massivity needed while being complimented by the lightness of empty (with a strong structure) in order to handle the wide range of airspeed needed to be competitive. I did one deviation of that theme with
a high AR Windrifter clone, using my Happy Medium profile that was the integration of Bame’s 253515 and an Eppler 205. Flying at 7.7 oz/ft empty, and with 45 oz of ballast for high wind, I was very happy with the 13% profile. Obviously one has to build strong to handle this kind of ballast additions, and a bit thicker wing is quite helpful. These points were brought home recently by flying a GWS Slow Stick with its plastic high lift wing. Using a 3 oz battery pack flying was cute but not exciting enough. Changing to standard radio and 6 oz battery pack, handling and ‘dimensioning a thermal’ spiral control improved greatly. Adding a tripper to reduce a high lift profile’s drag at low CL has made it into a fun ‘thermal grabber’. Sink rate is about 2 fps (close to a classy sailplane) and L/D with the prop sticking out is about 5, meaning the airspeed is slow enough that bank angle is very low in a 45 ft diameter spiral - so once in lift it is easy to core it, and then she climbs rather fast. When the lift pans out, or a more fertile area exists, I turn power on, and the trip helps the little guy scramble to new territory. Although my current Shuttle designs typically center on low AR, the little SS needs to be higher than 400 ft, just to look less ugly!! Here is a case for low sink, a goal for working low light lift, and MPVS then becomes a very workable theory. [Although I use the term MASS, the reality is that I am talking density - using wing loading as the factor] Reinterating: Mass, Performance, Velocity, and Sink are important considerations necessary for an individual’s thermal soaring success. Building strong, the model will be heavier than the minimum weight needed just “to get by with flight”. The profile MCL should have enough camber (lift quantum) to handle this load for a sink compromise, while yielding sufficient airspeed for control effectiveness. Biasing ones sailplane with a thicker profile for improving inertia by increasing mass with less exotic materials to improve low altitude thermalling is totally reasonable, providing space is made for the required amounts of ballast needed to insure competitive success. Now, because the years have taken a toll on me, I find my best soaring is with the older profiles of about 11% thickness. I just cannot range out as far as the good old days. In fact I am best served with my current Oly with its plate wing (11% thick), and my Paragon – that I no longer can toss fully loaded!! I suspect most of us older soaring buzzards have the same handicaps, and probably seek refuge by flying antiques that are not so high strung, and tuned primarily for upper air soaring. So Sink is the main ingredient for the climb rate of a model sailplane, and is basically the result of drag that can be amplified by excessive bank angle when spiraling too tightly for the resulting airspeed! The Performance term has been bastardized into ‘flying at high Velocity without too much diving’, instead of flight at 6 degrees alpha (that yields the best L/D ratio). Open ended performance without concern for peak L/D gives a modeler a pat on the back when he believes it is his model’s L/D that championed blasts of wind - without any realistic concepts of ballast bias, and its product of inertia (ground speed regulation that boosts dynamic soaring potential). Having low drag at values of low CL permits a sailplane to scoot quickly out of a downer, or to a new lifting area. This Velocity advantage is primarily for pilots with good eyesight that can track a sailplane, and fly it at great distance.
Now, with the above information in mind, when evaluating the details of a sailplane you wish to purchase, and using honesty in evaluating yourself while making allowances for carrying (the magic) ballast, that you should be actually training with so there is no surprises; you too can become a “dangerous soaring adversary” by flying a sailplane that fits your capabilities like a glove. Practice sessions of flying empty on calm days, should be flown with a shortened launch system in order to get the feel of climbout, and thus build confidence while learning both you and your sailplane’s limitations. This is my logic that reinforces the robotic chant of practice, practice, and practice!! Now go and fly with a full deck, rather than live brainwashed with performance the only way to thermal soar!!
Discussion / Posted by histarter / Mar 22, 2006 @ 09:00 PM / 2774 Views / 0
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With the subject of canards being brought up, it might be of interest to realize the universe of soaring has changed considerably in this modern era, along with the philosophy of aerodynamics, to the point that this old design might just have some merit in the modern world of TD. Looking at the past we have great application engineers designing sailplanes that would work off of high starts and anemic (sport type) winches. They used profiles greater than 10% thick, until the modelers were able to build lighter structures and enjoy lighter electronics, which could fly at the same airspeed using thinner profiles (and do ‘performance’ better). Dr. Drela epitomizes performance with his advanced aerodynamic theories and leaves the public to educate themselves to fly his profiles at lower values of CL then yesteryears designs, i.e. to gain the performance advantage. Although this looses more of the effect of inertia that the older pilots appreciated, the improved LD compensated for the loss; however flying techniques were modified to capitalize on extreme winching of a light, and strong model, that is flying much higher than our earlier designs. With the main wing now reduced to CL 0.8 as recommended for thermaling, this also means that typical alpha will be centered at less than + 6 degrees. So the front wing profile (that is loaded with torque generated by the CG location) can carry up to + 9 degrees alpha, for better low speed control then our older canard attempts, simply because they were saddled with the lower performance profiles (which were primarily controlled by the mass the modeler was stuck with at the time). The front wing is still a problem almost needing very low aspect ratio to force recognition of an equal or higher Re than the main panels - projecting a concept of higher main wing AR than the typical
tractor design for competitive success. Obviously snap spiraling, and tightly turning in lift is not the canard’s forte’ since as the canard gets closer to stall, the spiral will open instead of tighten; however the conventional tractor design tuned for the high launch has been degraded to the point it is not that much better. Using profiles with pronounced soft stall (turbulated) would make the canard (with its high AR main panels employing a high performance profile) quite docile and easy to pilot scooting across the upper air as if on rails, permitting improved navigation and associated concentration. Some exotic weirdness would be needed to transform the low AR canard wingtips into efficiency. Winglets? Yipe! Just this attribute alone would require lots of specialized engineering. Attempting to claw ones way back to altitude from 200 ft AGL I believe would be more difficult with a canard - along with getting used to the flaps hanging down when attempting a landing with the canard earnestly lifting for a ‘spot’, with improved low speed landing control. Just remember, everything in life is a compromise, and unusual concepts for flight can be lots of fun, and just may be a successful match for someone’s individual flying habits/tastes.
Edit · Close · Highlight A View From The Bottom
Discussion / Posted by histarter / Mar 10, 2006 @ 06:27 AM / 2033 Views / 0
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I have survived flying at local fields that have a ceiling of 600ft AGL, a surface area of 2 soccer fields, with 3 mtr aircraft and a ½ size histart, for 12 years! No problems occurring with me averaging at least 2 sessions per week (yes, through large weather variations). It is only in the last 5 years have I slowed down to seek ‘great days’ to fly changing the status to, ‘lucky to fly twice a month’. Now I am playing with a Slow Stick, following the lessons learned from Tom Williams about motor gliders, and I hope to get on my winch at Pilot Point, about 5 times this year (2006). To be successful at a low launch task I had to learn to interface the elements in a manner they tolerated. I had to learn the ingredients for maximizing a climbout, and how much run capability was needed to sustain altitude gained rather than the mathematical perfection of a Profile! I wanted to be able to hand launch a 3 mtr
machine into lift and simply out fly smaller machines because of a wider speed range (due to size). No longer am I an athlete capable of century bike rides, and my arm has weakened and has been replaced (for extremely better reliability) with a ½ size histart. Basically I discovered that soaring airspeed was indexed by altitude launched (for a fixed time period of flight) and modified by wind speed, i.e. overpowered only by wind speed in excess of 12 mph. [I do have enough statistics acquired over a 10 year period to verify my findings] I tend to make decisions watching birds fly, rather then depend upon man’s scientific adventures because they have been around for 60 million evolutionary years; whereas educated scientific mankind less than 200 years. So while Mark Drela searches for dragless perfection, and accommodates this adventure with being very skillful and able to construct extremely low mass machines of great strength (via exotic materials), to achieve his goals in the upper air (where most competition resides). I on the other hand seek only the realism of working the low altitude’s unruly lift - that requires rhythm with pilotage skill, to be successful. A bird is pretty dense when you think about it. Since weight is factored by size i.e. dimension cubed, evolution has done some “scientific” kick sorting by ‘survival of the fittest’. With soaring birds, we have the Albatross that carries a wing loading of 40 oz/ft of wing area, to a Purple Martin that has 7 oz/ft. Watching Sea Gulls handle the daily chore of flying I can see that their density of 13 oz/ft is important, not only for the prospect of dynamic soaring, but for the storage of energy (inertia) to damp wind buffeting. For example the gulls can extend their wings in a gusty 5 to 10 mph breeze without being blown away, whereas my lightweight Slow Stick or Gentle Lady will need to be tied down. Recently, I took my Slow Stick for an outing, and the breeze was about 6 mph. Scooting into the wind she lifts off - only for the wind to increase to 8 mph changing the ground speed to –2 mph rather abruptly instead of just climbing on the surge. I quickly land before the machine backs into me, and fold up operations to take a few more lessons from the neighboring Seagulls – that obviously have no problems with the conditions! So with my application engineering mentality, I give density a factor for an equation that seems to be overlooked by our modern soaring fanatics! [Verbal expression of the equation: Mass (that satisfies structure strength and its inherent inertia regulation) opposing the lift quantum (that a profile provides) must be equal within the limits of the airspeed that satisfies thermal model demand!] Basically, the profile artists are dedicated to performance, without any real concern for the (unimportant) sport flyer. The contest flyer is dedicated to coasting in air that has a low frequency of change thus they are able to use the aerodynamicists cherished forms, while accepting less inertia for dynamic soaring characteristics (with a model that is usually too far off in the distance to have benefit – even thought mass is raised with ballast to accommodate shifts in center speed). Soaring heroes are selected from the contest fraternity - again the sport flyer has no assistance or support in his efforts; and this was one of the reasons I wrote a book on the subject.
Hopefully the point I am making will give you a better insight to my views. I wish to convolute my profiles with a CL of approx. 1.4, and have the lowest CD for that amount of lift. This would give me a hard working profile (in a strong structure) that may have to be ballasted (for a more central mass) to get to thermal working velocity (8 to 10 oz/ft wing area). Yes, the Hawk at 13 oz/ft for a similar airspeed has better inertia, and would have less buffeting and better dynamics, but would be inferior in longer term climbout because of greater drag; and drag is the limit to be concerned with, just not as frantically as the aerodynamicist! I have been a Contest Director for many low launch contests over the years, that were held where 500 ft AGL was not exceeded, and yet a highly skilled pilot was typically the winner, regardless of model design or technical approach. Unfortunately, it can be disturbing to the modeler that flys a state of art modern design only to be beaten by “cheap junk” (in a loser’s point of view), and this is difficult for me to play too. Doing a 6 minute task off ½ size launch equipment takes lots of thermalling skill, to accomplish it with a decent score. Since there are more wantabee experts out there, they can be very disruptive to the running of contests that cater to the sport flyer. And this is true with the sporting events rules permitting access, and the sponsoring AMA club members sanctioning and opening their arms to AMA contestants that follow the high tech approach – but must follow the registered meets launch regimen. [Bringing a Sailair or Ellipse, and then demanding that they be permitted to install their club’s winch instead of the “garbage” the other contestants are using, is ludicrous]. I fly to enjoy the game, hopefully with others that enjoy the game. All individuals participating in an adventure with the air, who are passing their information on how to do it better, more efficiently, and more cleverly; but without any real concern over who the winner of a contest is, or that I was able to beat someone of status in legal combat. To me, this is the mature code of the sport flyer. And why I like working up to altitude for soaring (just like our ‘intellectual’ birds) rather than have soaring altitude handed to me on a “silver platter”.
Edit · Close · Highlight Thick vs. Thin Debate on Profile Selection
Discussion / Posted by histarter / Feb 05, 2006 @ 01:55 PM / 2165 Views / 0
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Hi Johnson was fabulous when he put together his “Superwings” company. Dave Register was his profile expert, who basically convoluted a symmetrical section about a mean camber line quite successfully. Waco engineering progressed into Hi Johnson’s concepts afterwards, but with stronger (Magic) wings, while giving homage to modern profiles. My problem with this view is our modern view is not accommodating to the fact that the average age of a sailplane pilot is currently greater than 52. You see, when an activity becomes a peak endeavor, professionalism normally enters the picture to amass financial interests [that is pitifully lacking with modern soaring]. If the soaring activity were less hostile to woodys, homebuilts, antiques, typical kits of sailplanes to be built by newbies, instead of concentrating on the perfect sailplane following full size machinery parameters, there could be a lot more interest stimulated. Having dead air time equal to task time as we have in modern competitive soaring, makes duration conditional. Cutting launch in half while maintaining a 10 min. slot forces pilots to apply their ability of soaring pilots. How much easier is it to work lift at a full size sailplane’s altitude with a model sailplane that soars at 1/3 the airspeed, and has half the sink rate of the highly engineered human driven 18-meter machine? Whether you fly an RG-15 at 13 ounces per foot, or a thinner Dr. Drela marvel at 7 ounces per foot, you are within a similar speed range for thermalling. Obviously, Mark’s profile will have a slightly superior L/D at its most efficient alpha, and in competition the RG-15 pilot would simply have to work a smidgen harder, for his win, i.e. if he is good enough. Now when the launch system is cut in half, the immediate world of zip is now 1/8th size (volumetrically) - until one climbs above original launch altitude to employ the theory of “ranging far out while hunting for lift”. Then, when one can successfully engage the lift found after “whisking (draglessly) all over the sky” it is a meaningful accomplishment. What I am saying is that the current great sailplane designs actually weaken the older model’rs potential, who have become cursed with geriatric nearsightedness, yet, have great thermal working skills - which may have an opportunity to beat competitor’s sailplane design perfection! The playing field is now more level for the average pilot - because all must dance with lift to accomplish task. The younger pilots, with the eyes of a hawk and the cybernetic reaction time inspired by computer games, with fresh common sense needed to properly catalog and efficiently use natural lift will still be the new masters of soaring – as it should be. Unlike the haughty old men that think they are fresh and novel because they can purchase perfection, queue up to fly happily doing the majority of task - while scoffing at newbie impertinence invading their (social) endeavor. This is why soaring is not growing as fast as it should. If plumper profiles win at the lower launch, perfection may have to be compromised – and I believe this is a great fear!
In my simplistic point of view, the launch is like the first note of a song, and is the start for the rest of the notes to fall into place. A composer attempts to please an audience – while a hedonistic soaring pilot attempts to simply accomplish a required task (no politics should be involved). Histarter 2002
Edit · Close · Highlight Hot Air Masters
Discussion / Posted by histarter / Feb 04, 2006 @ 01:10 PM / 1516 Views / 0
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After flying competition from 1976 to 1994 and winning lots of places (for one without soaring talent), I initiated the Hot Air Masters for the purpose of holding fun contests within The Denton RC Club that spilled over into postal contests. Because the field we used for contests was a power field - that would not accept large winches (site was only 400 feet by 250 feet), we developed low launch technology that would enhance our soaring world, which was simply ignored by the larger soaring (dedicated) clubs in the area! To the point our once a month contests were rarely attended by the other clubs, whether sanctioned or not. Our clubs skill level in handling the short launch working typical 18 min add-um-up task made us conspire to add interest to our events, like making off field landings a penalty of adding one more minute to your task time. Hey, I could enjoy flying 20 minutes plus, to score 18 minutes... You see the landing circle is 15 feet from the edge of the field - making an interesting 'sand-trap' situation. The serious Glider Guiders (outsiders) really frowned with this attitude, and ended up black balling Denton's Contests! After spending 10 years of frequent flying in all kinds of weather (from the short histart) I was able to construct a scoring system of statistics that could evaluate a pilot like batting average. Unfortunately, it is not flexible to unregulated open-ended spontaneous entries of data the majority of undisciplined dot of sailplane gazers would like... Thus it was unpopular!
The data picked up from flying was put into a journal titled "The Golden Age of Model Aviation", and it may end up at this site - if there is interest.
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