Fishing Rod Slope Soarer


Driftin' with the wind...
Among my various adventures in RC flight many of my favorites involve madcap scratch-built gliders. The formula is simple: take any suitable fuselage boom (be it an arrow-shaft, a fishing pole, etc.), a set of wings which started out in your head as the most streamlined wings in the history of aeronautics but came out looking like a KF step, a mess of assorted control-group electronics which really belong in something much bigger, and a great deal more hot glue than may be completely necessary. Just add a windy day and some adrenaline and you've got yourself an experience to remember.

Anyhow, I haven't flown consistently for almost three years now and am looking for something familiar yet new. I've never tried slope-soaring, so I figured I'd take what I've learned and build one of my staple designs to slope-soar. Sure, my little 55% FT Spitfire is great for cranking around when it's calm out, but until I get some new batteries to replace my old ones for my other powered models I shall content myself with attempting something wonderfully ridiculous.

I'm starting off with several sheets of foam, a section of fishing rod for the tail boom, packing tape, and enough hot glue to fix a world issue. I'll post my progress which will most likely come in bursts. It's been a long time since I posted any build logs of my mine, so I'm looking forward to the process! It's a fairly simple build so if anyone wants to build one for themselves it'll be fairly simple.


Driftin' with the wind...
Alright, build session number one's progress:


Half of the basic wing design drawn out; 5 inch chord and 24 inches in length. I'm going for a 48 inch wingspan.
(Forgive the terrible light-levels, lol. I get the camera settings figured out later on I swear.)

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The only straight-edge-esque-thing I could find was a sword-blade I had lying around. It's an absolutely mental straight-edge but I suppose that's what happens when I lose my trusty yard-stick and am too apathetic to go on a minor quest in search of it. (It is dull, btw. I'm not that much of a loony, but sometimes I wonder about that...)


Both wing-halfs cut out. Only one sheet of foamboard used and I have enough left over to fabricate the tail feathers and whatever else I may need. For the spar I'm utilizing a fiberglassed 1 and 1/4 inch by 16 inch by 1/8th inch piece of marine grade plywood left over from a kayak build my dad did years ago. It's stronger than I'll ever need, but then again I can never be sure. (A couple years ago I managed to fold a carbon-arrow-reenforced 800mm wing.) This seems stronger to me than the arrow shaft because it spreads the load over a wider area.


One (very stiff) wing done and covered in tape. (I did a really bad job, lol.) It's been a long time since I've done anything serious with packing tape. Yes, I left out the classic undercamber on the wingtips. I figure that, in the name of minimizing drag, I'll happily take a potential tipstall over some minor inefficiency at higher speeds.

That's it for today, but I've got a bit of time tomorrow to do some more building. I might even finish it tomorrow.

EDIT: typo


Driftin' with the wind...
Well, didn't get to do any building yesterday due to some unforeseen circumstances, but I got some things done this morning,


Servos installed, ailerons cut out, and linkages sorted. I did have some trouble with the trailing edge not being straight but heat and some patience went a long way toward fixing that,


The elevator cut out. If I remember correctly it's 12 inches x 3.5 inches. To get it fully symmetrical I cut one side, made and cut down the middle, folded it in half, then used the cut side as a reference for the other. I then glued the seam together.


Elevator and vertical stabilizer glued to the thin end of the fishing rod tail-boom. For the elevator pushrod I'm using some heavy-duty (1/8th inch) weed-whacker line. The internal diameter of the boom is just tight enough to keep slop out of the somewhat flexible line.


To enable me to use the line as a pushrod I needed to somehow allow it to interface with the control-horn in a way that would not create excessive friction or stress the elevator hinge too much, so I decided to use a trick I saw a while back on an FT Simple Soarer build by another forum member. They (I really wish I could remember who it was!) used weed whacker line as their pushrods and straws as guides instead of a tail-boom. Their genius was in using heat-shrink and hot-glue to join the line to a small piece of wire that would then go into the control surface's control horn. For a little extra strength I gave the wire some small bends so the heat-shrink will hold onto it more securely.


There we go. Elevator done. It's fairly clean and I'm completely happy with it. I'm using a micro-servo arm as a control horn. from what I can tell just by pushing and pulling on the line from the front of the boom, there's no slop in the linkage. I was concerned about slop when I started to make the linkage, but I suppose I lucked out with this one.

That's it for now. Might do some more later.