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Getting started with DLG

#1
I have been hooked on sailplanes for a while now, and am looking to head into DLG gliding. Can anyone provide suggestions as to what air frame to start with? I have considered the libelle and HK alternatives. I'm not afraid of spending 150-350 likely about the limit on this plane, but I don't want to be purchasing another DLG in a month or get in completely over my head right away. Thanks
 

FAI-F1D

Free Flight Indoorist
#4
There are several good options. The Hobbyking 1.5 m dlg is definitely in your price range, but I'd honestly recommend getting a Topsky in that price range instead. I think there are some in the Blaster series that are also in that range (ok, Blaster 2 is a bit on the high side, but not terribly so). If you dig around on RCgroups, you can find the Malibu 1 m dlg which is all molded and absolutely excellent, but it does come with the issue of being a smaller glider and hence more difficult to fly well. Another one that looks quite promising, and much lower priced, is the Kite: http://www.soaringmodels.com/kite/ I honestly think that one may be the best bang for your buck. In fact there's one on RCgroups right now, completely ready to go for $250: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2612204

I don't recommend the Libelle--boom is too floppy and it just isn't that great of a performer. No offense to those who have been developing them, but the foamboard DLG's are a poor substitute for the real thing. For the amount of effort you'd expend on one of those, you could hotwire and bag a real dlg wing that would launch 5 times higher and have a fraction of the sink rate. I reckon the materials cost for a good DLG wing is in the range of $50 (with enough left over to build several more of them)--all you need is glass cloth, Kevlar tape, hiload 60 from Home Depot, and carbon rods for the spars. Get some Eze Lam epoxy from ACP and some cheap bagging material and mylars and you're all set. You can pressure mold the wings instead of vacuum bagging by just doing the standard layup and putting weights on top of the mylars while the epoxy cures. Put some packing around the wingtips to force the mylars around the curve.
 
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ztoon

Gone with the Mistral
#6
What kind of height is expected on a real DLG? From a normal Joe launch, not a competition pilot.
I started f3k 18 months ago with the composite model from hk. Difficult to reach 40 meters , no more margin for launches improvements. At one point, I broke the back blind-nut and decided not to insist more on it...but it is a good machine if you get it a the normal price (my hk dlg is in the process of being "electrified" because I don't use it anymore like it is). A beginner could launch that dlg to 20m without difficulties after few attempts which is rewarding, already more flight time than an Alula for sure.
My newest one (pcm fireworks 6) goes higher with less effort and there is more to come ;)
It is really more a matter of technique than brute force (key is speed), some pilots launch really high and they are not gorillaz.
 

finnen

Senior Member
#7
I had a libelle, but it met its demise when I crashed into a football goal :D

As been mentioned, not super great. If you want something that will fly out of the box, for not a lot of money I would say get the Whipit (assuming you can use a dsm2/dsmx BNF).
http://www.e-fliterc.com/Products/Default.aspx?ProdID=EFLU3150#home

If you aren't afraind of producing some balsa dust, the Icarus 1.2M looks promising: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1115500

I will be building an Icarus soon, that should be fun =)

Another option is the HK 950mm DLG, pretty cheap, and most people are happy with it (haven't tried it myself)
http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/...scus_Launch_Glider_Blue_White_950mm_PNF_.html

If you want a full 1.5m DLG, there is the Thowt as well. Fairly economical, but as most all full size DLG's it will need some assembly to put together. I also believe there is a pretty long waiting time. 5600 czech korony is about 220 USD I believe.
http://www.rcgliders.cz/eng/letadla/thowt-f3k/
 
#8
Well I think I went the long route on this DLG thing. I decided to make a 1.4m DLG. molds are milled. Molds made to be able to do solid foam core as a compression or vacuum layup, or vacuum hollow molded. Used the AG45,46,47 airfoil, similar plan form to the blaster 3.5. A build log is likely to follow. As of now it will be I may just pick up a whipit to hold myself until I have this build finished.
 

FAI-F1D

Free Flight Indoorist
#9
Well I think I went the long route on this DLG thing. I decided to make a 1.4m DLG. molds are milled. Molds made to be able to do solid foam core as a compression or vacuum layup, or vacuum hollow molded. Used the AG45,46,47 airfoil, similar plan form to the blaster 3.5. A build log is likely to follow. As of now it will be I may just pick up a whipit to hold myself until I have this build finished.
Based on my reading, that's probably not the best airfoil set to use. My DLG has the Drela airfoils and I definitely don't get past 40 m launch altitude. The Zone V2 is a good step up, but if you're milling stuff, go look at the Synergy wing design on rcgroups. That's a real machine, and if you're molding anyway, you should head that way as it's an easy step forward.

Whipit is a nice entry level DLG. You'll be able to hit 20 m launch height with a little effort. Thermals nicely, handles wind well, etc.

What kind of height is expected on a real DLG? From a normal Joe launch, not a competition pilot.
Considering that the price of the Zen puts it in beginner range, I've seen relatively inexperienced pilots put those 40 m up. A beginner could get much higher than that with a Snipe. You have to see the performance to believe it. You can go from average Joe to launching very high in just a single afternoon with an expert, by the way. The information in the Flite Test DLG video is more than enough to get you to that altitude if you pay careful attention. Thermal hunting is a whole other story. Very little discussion was given to flight modes.
 
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nerdnic

nerdnic.com
Mentor
#10
This is the Zen?

http://flightcomp.com/products/zen-dlg-full-st-blue

$529 is crazy talk for a beginner rig. I mean I get it, it's clearly a nice carbon DLG, but I just can't swallow the cost. Honestly that's the drive behind me trying to make a good DTF DLG. I am curious though what you'd need to see to consider a DTF build 'good'. It's never going to replace or directly compete with a CF build, but what would you need to see to not consider one a poor substitute? Obviously the cost difference isn't even comparable, 20ish vs 500+. And I understand there is a minimum performance threshold that needs to be crossed, which is why the current foam offerings just don't cut it even with their attractive prices.
 

Craftydan

Hostage Taker of Quads
Moderator
Mentor
#11
. . . Which I suppose is the real question . . .

Do you mean "Beginner" as in launch trainer -- enough durability to get the rhythm down with enough airtime to make the effort worthwhile (I can fly it back to my hand instead of going and fetching it every launch), despite the fact you'll never get the altitude or sink rate to effectively soar . . .

Or do you mean "Beginner" as in first competition? You don't need a snipe to compete . . . win, maybe, but compete, not at all.

Yeah +$500 is a lot to drop on an airframe when you've never flown one before, but after going through the effort of semi-scratch building, I can see why it's priced that way. No single step was "hard" . . . but every step was time consuming, meticulously detailed and if you're not careful, potentially very expensive (not hard to do it right, but not hard to do it wrong either . . . and if wrong, you get to start that component over with fresh material you may not have :p ).

If you're past the rhythm ( I sorta agree with Josh . . . maybe not an afternoon, but it doesn't take long to get it down), then you're past what the folded foamboard wing with foamboard tail-feathers will get you. You then need to move to a re-enforced molded/milled/wire-cut wing to get the airfoil you need on a strong enough wing to take the punishment. You also need a fuse streamlined to not hamper your launch. and a tail that won't shatter under the force but thin enough to not drag you down.

As Josh mentioned, you can get there for much less, or take shortcuts and do it for more, or skip the build process altogether and have one for a LOT more. Your level of effort determines the cost.
 

nerdnic

nerdnic.com
Mentor
#12
I heard the same arguments against performance planes being made of DTF, so I'm sticking to my guns. My goal is to prove you wrong :)
 

Craftydan

Hostage Taker of Quads
Moderator
Mentor
#13
Rock on, Brother.

Won't hurt my feelings if you do. I'm not convinced you will, and the more I play with the nicer ships, the more I'm convinced of that, but by all means, push the state of the art. we will all benefit from any advancement, but until you do, you're still on the wrong side of the argument ;)
 
#14
I heard the same arguments against performance planes being made of DTF, so I'm sticking to my guns. My goal is to prove you wrong :)
Oh, if it is possible to get a Foamboard DLG to perform well I would be all over that. But that being said I have built a variant of the nnDLG, but due to the weight it is unfortunately not much more than a launch trainer on flat ground. With some more work I have no doubt this could be an excellent slope soarer. Keep up the good work, I really enjoy the accessibility of building with foamboard, has definitely helped me pull more people into this hobby.

On a slightly different note it would be awesome to see Flite Test revisit this topic and maybe do a longer or multi part episode. One part DLG/HLG adn then part two as mixes and setup for sailplanes.
 

FAI-F1D

Free Flight Indoorist
#16
An excellent airplane from everything I've heard. It's a moldie, so it's going to launch very high.

Another good one (now that I've flown one) is the Helios2. Shop around and you can find it ready to go for about $500. My second throw of said model was a good 200 ft. It was the first time I'd thrown an R/C model more than half that high. I'm an ok thrower, not like some of the guys out there, but I can put a Whipit 50' up on a decent day. I can tell you for certain that you'll never get a DTFB glider even that high. I know I can't.

If you're looking for a budget buy, the Whipit is the best I can recommend. It's either that, or cough up the money for a full sized glider. SoaringModels makes the Cheeper and Kite, both of which are quite affordable and launch decently, maybe to 150' if you're good and have the model set up well. At only $150, the Cheeper is the most affordable full house composite glider on the market and looks to be superbly engineered. It won't launch quite as high, but it's a good airplane that would put a smile on your face.

Nick, until you've seen a real DLG fly in person, it's hard to appreciate just what we're talking about. Dan and I have both built budget DLG's and we can both tell you there's a reason the expensive ones are selling like crazy. There's also a reason that Whipits are so popular--they're the only foam DLG ever to go on the market that's actually worth having, and they're dirt cheap as DLG's go. I had mine so high I could barely see it on its second launch.
 

FAI-F1D

Free Flight Indoorist
#18
In fairness, it was pitch black outside and you were flying by the RX light.
I don't count the stupid night flying. The next afternoon I was out there actually throwing it for real. Caught a little slope lift off the roof and then used that to work my way upwind into some light lift, cored into it until it got *really* strong, and the ride began. And yes, it is possible to do inverted thermal soaring with the Whipit. :cool:
 
#19
Well I'll like grab a whipit to hold me over until I'm done with this pesky thesis thing then I can get back to building haha. It won't be real thermal season here for a little while so I'll go with the advice from the crowd. I'll post a build log on another thread when I do get going.

Thanks for the advice guys.
 

FAI-F1D

Free Flight Indoorist
#20
Good idea on the Whipit...amazing piece of engineering.

It won't be real thermal season here for a little while so I'll go with the advice from the crowd. I'll post a build log on another thread when I do get going.
Please do so. We need more composite building going on. If you haven't already done so, read through these two threads on rcgroups:
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1532669
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2214966

Those are a treasure trove on dlg building. or anything composite for that matter. Also many excellent video tutorials on youtube.