Thermal Gliders

FAQs - Thermal Gliders

Interested in becoming a flyer? Want to know how best to begin?

The best place to start is by going to meet the club and the flyers either at the North Cliffs field and at our Monthly meetings. Our club members are more than willing to give you plenty of invaluable advice or show you want it's all about. If you are still interested then join us!

There is however one aspect of flying which does away with noise – namely a glider. Gliding has been very important to the development of flight. The early pioneers, such as, Otto Lilienttal and the Wright Brothers, learned both the theory and the practicalities of flight with gliders, before they attempted to start an engine.

 

Thermal Gliders

Without an engine, any aircraft will start to descend, some quicker than others. The only way to remain airborne is to find a column of air which is rising more quickly than the aircraft is descending. These columns of air are found either as a slope lift, where the wind blows up the face of a slope, or a thermal a column of hot air which is found over such places as roads, heating towers etc.

Model gliders designed to make use of thermals usually have a wing span of between 6 and 15 feet and can weigh up to 10 Lb. Theyre launched by a towline, up to a height of 500 ft, after which the pilot uses radio controls to guide the aircraft around the sky in search of the elusive thermals. Flight duration is between 5 and 15 minutes, however, the British record is over 3 hours.

 

Slope Soarers

The other types of gliders, which are most commonly used by club members, are slope soarers. Here lift is obtained where a steady wind meets a hill or a cliff and has to rise to go over it. Here in Cornwall we have an abundance of cliffs and wind, so this form of gliding is very popular, model types are extremely varied, ranging from 3ft to l5ft, some are very aerobatic. Scale models look particularly graceful. There are not only scale models of gliders but also of jet fighters, World War II aircraft and many others. The flight will last as long as the wind is moving, so with a suitable receiver battery this means anything up to 3 hours.

Slope soaring is an easy way of learning to fly radio controlled aircraft. There is no noise, no fuel to clean off the model and flight times are not limited to the size of your fuel tank. As long as the wind blows and you can feel you fingers, then you can fly!

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