Model Research Labs


Legacy...the hand launch glider


At some time in their life every true modeler will test their skills with a simple hand launch glider. For most people it's just a toy that doesn't fly very well and is really not much fun. Quickly destroyed and from then-on considered a stupid kid's toy. Unless, they actually see a true HLG flown properly.

These HLGs actually are fairly simple but must be very precise in construction and adjustment. Think about it; the typical HLG should weight about ¾ oz and be launched at over 100 mph to a height of about 150 feet. Hacked together toys just don't do that.

Stick with me for a bit and I will attempt to show you how it is done. We both know that most of us are not really capable of a 100 mph launch but we can still get the most out of what we have. You may never be a record breaker but you will beat most of the turkeys out there. Building a decent glider will give you the opportunity to become a serious competitor or a really good sport flyer.

In order to become a competitor in the Hand Launch Glider event you must strive to avoid poorly designed models, poorly built models, poorly adjusted models and bad air.

This Legacy glider is a good sound design with a long pedigree of contest success. The Legacy design is based on the results of the Oakland Cloud Dusters contest flying experience in the 1930's, 1940's and 1950's. This basic design has won Indoor hand launch at the Nats at least 6 or 7 times and won Outdoor hand launch too many times to count.

At one time it was known as the West Coast Poly Glider and was virtually unbeatable. It was built and flown in many sizes and outline shapes by all the famous West Coast builders.

Joe Foster reached the absolute apex of the original design about 1954 when he set an open class indoor record of 1:16.4. And this with a 16-inch glider that weighed a full 9/10 of an ounce in flying trim.

My Legacy glider is designed to fit the normal contest conditions; this model is capable of getting up about 150 feet on a good 100 MPH launch. In the wind, altitude is the first thing you need so it is sized for the wind. In calm weather this model glides well enough to compete with any of the gliders you will meet up with. Legacy uses a wing plan form that provides the best compromise of weight; glide sink rate, and visibility in the air. The stab is of the sweepback leading edge type so it will never flutter off on any high-speed launch. This stab will stay with the model at launch speeds of over 100 mph. The stab shown is the correct size for this model. The Legacy as shown here is intended for windy weather, it is not optimized for calm weather but you will have no need to fear the turkeys in calm weather.

The rudder as shown is too large for most people; smaller rudders will always thermal best, but a larger rudder is required for the launch phase. Short low aspect ratio rudders are the best compromise as they will provide the necessary directional stability in launch and perform as a smaller area rudder in the glide. Tall high aspect ratio rudders are bad as they are too effective in the glide and will encourage thermal spin out. Exact rudder size is a function of at least eleven design factors, and your launch style. I expect you to take a pair of scissors and trim the top off the rudder until you find the minimum size that fits your individual launch characteristics. For optimal performance, one rudder size does not fit all.

The Legacy is the first to incorporate a tapered lightweight carbon fiber fishing rod tip as a fuselage, with a button timer, and the DT line inside the tube fuselage. These fuselages are no lighter than the original 3/16-balsa fuselage but they are certainly stiffer under launch conditions and this helps the launch altitude.

Note that the stab is mounted 5/8 of an inch below the wing. This is the correct dimension for a 16-18 inch wing with a 4-inch chord. Not a ½ inch and not ¾ inch. For 60 years now this, high wing, low stab, low nose weight has been a basic characteristic of every truly successful glider.

The Legacy is a good design; it is probably better that anything you will ever have to beat in a contest. You have roadblock number one out of the way.

Now I am going to teach you how to build better gliders than anyone else

And then I am going to teach you how to adjust your gliders better that anyone else and with out breaking them up in the process.

NO more crashes, ZERO.....

You will need burning desire, good materials, and production tooling. The desire part is your problem. If you do not become a winner it will be you own fault, not mine. Tooling is the single most important item and is almost always overlooked until it's too late. So we will start with it first.

Item 1; you must have a piece of glass to build on. Simple as that. Get yourself a piece at least 12"x 18" and a larger piece would be better. I like 18" x 30" x ¼" thick. This is used to cut on, sand on, and as a surface plate when building. Accept no substitute; get yourself a piece of glass.

Item 2; You must have a dihedral block like that shown on the plans. There is no other way that is almost as good. We need to be able to consistently build straight airplanes every time with no exceptions. You cannot tolerate a crooked flying airplane; all dihedral joints must always be absolutely parallel every time. Crooked airplanes are sometimes impossible to adjust safely. And crooked airplanes do not fly well.

Item 3; You will need a good quality-drafting triangle. Do not buy the molded type, get the machined type and then spend some time and make certain it really and truly is 90 degrees and not 90-1/2 degrees.

I prefer a 30-60 that is about 10 or 12 inches on the hypotenuse side. You should treat this as a deposable tool and replace it when it gets ragged.

Item 4; A razor plane is an absolute must.The only one that I know of that's available at the current time is the "Solingen" made in Germany. The box just describes it as a "Mini-Plane" and says it comes with spare blades. They are reasonably cheap and I buy them 6 at a time. A new set of two planes will produce about 50 gliders before wearing out. I do not know of any other way to carve wings and stabs. So order at least two now.

Item 5; A supply of good quality double edge razor blades. The best blades ever for this task were the 50-year-old Gillett Blue Blades. The later Gillett Super Blue Blades were too thin and not quite as good. Both of these products are long gone and hard to find in America. For many years I was able to purchase them in old drug stores. More recently I managed to purchase a few at a local swap meet and then got a bunch at the airport in Sri Lanka.

Suitable blades can now be ordered from; Tim Goldstein at the site will contain current prices and order information. These blades are unbranded but they are acceptable AND they are available. Razor blades are a big problem because the only ones sharp enough to cut soft balsa are the ones made of high carbon steel, i.e. # 1095 steel in the full hard condition, also known as clock spring steel.

The common stainless steel razor blades are totally worthless to us as they are too soft and the edge just rolls over and quits cutting. You are going to be taking a piece of soft 1/16 balsa and planning it down to .005 thick and let me assure you, you will not do that with your old block plane no matter how much you sharpen it. Get the razor blades.

Item 6; Single edge razor blades. No big thing here but you do need a supply. The standard hardware store variety is good enough. Model knives are not very sharp and the blades are too thick. They tend to destroy wood while crunching it.

Item 7; A scale to weight within 1/100 of a gram is a necessity. On the upper left hand corner of the plans I have included the details of a beam balance scale that will weigh with in 1/1000 of a gram and can be constructed for pennies. Or you can purchase an electronic digital scale that will weigh with in 1/10 gram for about $50, or with in 1/100 gram for about $100. Most people prefer the digital scale due to the ease and speed of operation. I still use both depending upon the need.

Item 8; Sandpaper. For 50 years I used nothing but good quality 3M wet or dry paper. I keep a supply of 220, 320, 400, and 600 grit. Also "Norton" is now marketing a tan colored paper that is easier to work with than the old black 3M paper. I am able to buy it at Home Depot.

The times are changing; Now I do much of the final finishing with gray colored foam sanding pads from 3M. They are called 3M Sanding Sponge, you will need grits number 2600, 2601, and 2602. I buy them at the auto refinishing stores. The "grits" I buy are labeled fine, very fine and extra fine

Item 9; A sanding block, I like a large block about 5/8 x 2-1/2 x 12. You must actually glue the sandpaper to the block, I use 3M's # 77 spray can contact cement. Cover both sides of each block with the same grit so you don't get mixed up.

Item 10; You will need a set of outline templates for the glider design you are building. These can be made of most any thin, hard material. These templates are going to last you a lifetime so make good ones. I have templates made 1/32 brass, 1/16 PC board material, 1/16 plywood and my favorite, 1/32 clear plastic. With good templates all you need to do is place the template on the wood in the best possible location with the grain correct for the surface and draw around the template with a ball point pin. So simple and so easy. That should be all the tools we need.

Now for the materials;

Carbon Fiber tapered tube fuselage.

This one is easy. MRL sells the best ones and they are a stock item, no waiting. Order a large supply today.

Wing wood;

This is the tough one, There is a lot of good wing wood out there. I now find most of it in the R/C model shops, they don't even know what its for. But I am always on the look out for ¼" thick wood anywhere I go. I have recently found good wood in Northern Washington State in a toy store. I found three sheets in Queenstown New Zealand, and, I must have picked up at least ten sheets at the local Hobby People store. Many people are able to obtain good wood by mail order. The normal sources are; SIG Mfg. Inc...or Superior Balsa & Hobby Supply... or Lone Star Models.... In recent months I have bought some on the E-bay Auction site, from a lady who seems to have a direct connection with the balsa gods. Try her on E-bay, The name is crazygambler! And she seems to always have wood listed for sale.

In order to buy balsa by mail you must tell them what you want; these people are not model builders. Specify sizes and max weights for each size. Don't forget you can use 18", 24". 36" or 48" lengths. Don't worry about the grain; you are lucky to get anything. Just remember that most have nothing better that an old postal scale. Talking to them on the phone is nice but do your serious requirements business on paper. It is a lot easier for non-modelers to keep it straight on paper.

What wing wood really is;

It's got to be ¼ inch thick and at least 1 inch wide. You can use 1", 2", 3", 4" or wider sheets. Very few of my gliders were built using 4" wide wood simply because I could seldom find any. Most of mine used a piece of 3" and a piece of 1" laminated with Sig cellouse base model airplane cement. This is the stuff in the white tube with the red and blue lettering on it. You can use Duco but I think Sig is a bit thinner and works better. The grain should be as straight as you can find, but the "A", "B", or "C" is not really important in the wing construction. I do not like to use "C" grain wood because it makes for a glider that is very Brittle around the thin edges and your wing is going to have some thin edges. There is no good reason to use "C" grain wood. The need for "C" grain is just another old wife's tale started about 75 years ago by somebody who built a total of 2 gliders. However, "C" grain wood makes a pretty glider, that is very Brittle. Brittle is bad.

The wood that fails under launch stress has "check" marks across the sheet. Check marks are almost invisible fissures where the grain has failed under compression. I don't know what causes this but when the logs arrive at the balsa cutters the check marks are already there. I have seen several 4" x 6" planks with check marks all the way through the plank. Such a plank would fail at the fissure point under a bending load. I don't think anyone knows what causes these hidden fissures but my own opinion is that it happens as the tree falls from being cut down. Fortunately it only happens in a few trees; unfortunately these are the best trees.

You must always be on the hunt for good ¼" sheet. Never pass up an opportunity to go thru the wood no matter where it is. The current crop of R/C toy bashers will not use the light weight wood that we need so there is more good wood available that ever before. Good wood is out there, you just have to go get it for your self. There is no magic involved. Collect good wood and hang on to it. The danger is that you might outlive your good wood. Personally, I'm almost 100 years old and I've decided to start using up the good wood I was saving. And, most importantly, I am not going to tell you that you must search until you find wood of a specific weight. Select the lightest you can find and get on with it. Go do it. The models that never got built, never provided the experience needed to compete with the big guys. It would be nice if you could find a good supply of nice straight grained wood weighting around 5 pounds per cubic foot. I won outdoor HLG at the Nationals one year with a glider that must have used wing wood close to 8 pounds per cubic foot. On the plans I have reproduced a weight chart, or you can down load one at:

Just do the best you can on the wing wood problems. But it is important that you get off your tail and do something.

Stab and Rudder wood is the easy one for good gliders. If you avoid the ¼ grained "C" cut wood you are going to be OK. The best grain selection is "A" grain of about 6-8 pounds per cubic foot. You will need 1/16 for stabs and 1/32 for rudders. Our rudders will be about .012 thick, (two business cards) so no reason to even attempt wood less than 8 pound. Always select wood that is flexible and not stiff. You need wood that will flex across the sheet and can almost be rolled up. Never use stiff "C" grain wood in the tail surfaces as there is no need for the stiffness AND the stiff wood will tend to be brittle and shatter at the most critical times. Such tail surfaces will sometimes even shatter on a hard landing.


I use Sig or Duco for splicing wing wood and glue fillets and nothing else. All serious construction joints are made with a very, very thin pure CyA glue. At the present time I use the MRL Premium CA but availability is always a problem as it is a MIL-Spec item made in Japan for the US market. The total market for this glue is small and getting smaller. Conventional hobby-toy store CyA glues are not very good and some of them can be as much as 80% fillers. Always stick with the thinnest and freshest CyA glues you can find and test the stuff. Some of it has been diluted quite a bit.

Finishing Materials;

There are really only three choices here. For a serious glider the best is the water based sanding sealer from MRL. This stuff provides a good easy seal that does not shrink, or get brittle. It is also about the lightest method I have ever used. I think the next best is the old style lacquer based sealers we used for about 75 years, this actually works fairly well but the types available today are very limited by the EPA. Most importantly, these all cause the model to become brittle with in a few days.

Recently another method has become popular around here. This is using clear polyurethane and wiping it on with a soft rag. Let it dry for two days and sand it smooth, wipe on another coat, let it dry for three days and finish sand it. You are done and can go fly. This is a tough finish and it does not ever get brittle, the finish is not too good but it works OK for disposable type gliders.

Because of constant request for how to trim gliders I am going to stop here and start writing on the trim and flying section. I'll come back here and finish this part later.

No more crashes.Zero.

Trimming and flying safely

This is not the simple subject it first appears to be.

In order to help you make some sense out of this and perhaps provide a bit of prospective, I am going to start out by describing the desired test results first, and then we will go into the methods used to achieve this result with little or no risk to your models..

Desired results

This first stage of testing is correct only when the model will perform the following each time; Holding the model like a dart, with the wings absolutely level, toss it hard at a spot on the ground about ground 60 feet away. The model must start out right at the spot, when it has traveled 2/3 the distance (40 feet), the nose should come up a bit and the model should start to rise, before the model reaches 6 feet elevation it should start to swing to the left. As it continues its climb and slows down to a gliding speed it must transition into a smooth glide with no dip. This climb out and transition usually will require about 180 degrees of turn. At this point the model should be 12-15 feet high and be gliding smoothly in a left circle of 50 to 75 feet in diameter. It should be able to complete at least one full circle before touch down

The above is only the first stage and means only that the model is safe. Note that the nose came up a bit indicating that there is enough positive incidence to recover from a bad launch, and note that only after the nose came up, then the model started a turn to the left meaning it will climb out and transition to a glide, and the model will glide smoothly with no big stalls or dives. This is the desired stage one test results. If your model is built reasonably straight, there is virtually no possibility of damaging the model with this stage one testing. I am already an old man and I can not remember the last time I damaged a model with this testing procedure. My two sons Gary and Darryl, built and flew on the national level for several years and I don't think either one of them every damaged a model using this procedure.

Stage one testing

We always start by checking the model over very carefully to make certain that it is actually straight with no twist or warps anywhere.

My trim system does not work very well if there is any breeze, so pick a no wind time. I always preferred a very large sports field and a very late night time slot. Dead calm, no wind, no thermals, no people watching, no hurry and soft grass. Lights are nice and as a young baseball player I found ways to test after the game and before the greens keeper turned off the lights, but you can see well enough by moonlight so don't despair.

Before leaving the shop balance the model at about the 55% mark on the wing. Use modeling clay only and shape it in front of the tube and under the wood fuse so that it can act as a shock absorber for the slight bumps. Also add a small amount of clay to the left wing tip, about an 1/8 dia ball of clay is plenty.

Now holding the model like you would hold a dart between the thumb and forefinger, pick a target on the ground about 60 feet away from where you are standing. This will be the target for your dart.

Holding the model with the wings absolutely level, throw it straight at the target and hard enough to travel at least 30 feet. The model should start right at the target, and remember that target is on the ground, the model should be descending towards the target and then the nose should come up a bit in sort of a rounding out of the slight dive it was in.

As the model climbs a bit to about head high, it should start to stall straight ahead with only a trace of left turn appearing as it enters a slight stall. Remember you threw this model hard enough for it to travel at least 30 feet and you should be hitting the ground from a gentle stall at the 30 foot point.

Anything funny happening means you did not build a truly straight airplane. The most common problems are tail incidence, up or down, if it needs only a small amount its easy to warp a bit into the aft 1/3 of the stab. If the glider was flying straight ahead, use an equal amount on both sides of the stab. Or you can sort of correct a turning tendency by applying more warp to the correct side of the stab.

If the glider seemed to have about the right amount of rounding out in the bottom of the launch and also exhibits turn tendencies in the first part of the toss it means you have something crooked. Generally it will be the rudder or the fuselage glued on crooked and these can often be corrected with a bit of rudder trim. Any violent turn tendencies mean you screwed up and need to go back to the shop for repairs NOW.

When your glider will go out about 30-50 feet and pull the nose up into a slight stall with a bit of left turn you are in good shape and the rest is easy.

If you were to toss the glider harder the stall would get worse, this means you now have a nice straight airplane. That bit of clay you put on the left wing tip is what causes the left turn in the glide, later on we will adjust the amount of clay to control the glide circle size. Now to get the model to transition from the dart toss to the glide phase requires just a tiny bit of left rudder. So warp in a tiny bit of left rudder and do several dart tosses. We want to see the nose come up a bit FIRST, and then a slight swing to the left. If you put in too much left rudder it will start to turn left before the nose comes up very much and that's bad for everything. Waaay too much left rudder and it dives in to the left and generally messes something up. Go easy on the left rudder until you can see what the effects are.

As you approach the correct left rudder, watch the glide circle, adjusting the nose weight to flatten the glide, AND you must watch the glide circle diameter and add or remove wing tip trim clay to achieve the desired 60 foot diameter glide circle. The glide circle trim will affect the transition and of course the amount of rudder required for that transition. You have to inter weave at least three adjustments to get the needed stage one adjustments. The three are nose weight, wing tip weight and rudder.

Upon successful completion of this stage one testing the model is now safe to throw, but wait a bit.

With a heavy model, 1.5 oz per 100sq. in. or more, the 60 feet target will need to be moved out near 100 feet and the transition height will be more like 15-20 feet.

With a very light weight model, .75 oz per 100 sq. in or less, you may never be able to get a smooth transition from power to glide. There will always be a slight dip, all this means is that the mass of the glider is not sufficient to over come the rapid build up of induced drag. That's good, it'll fly well.

Now having said that; let me also point out that many designs will not do this stage one. But remember, any model that will do this as described will fly and usually reasonably well. Later on I will tell you the things that make a good design and a poor design.

Stage two trimming

This is where we make a contest winner out of a decent glider. This is the part where we must throw the glider with enough force to reach a transition position. This is not an easy toss. There is no such thing as an easy toss with a real glider.

I always have thought of the outdoor glider throw as being similar to playing center field against the Yankees and needing to get the ball into home plate with no bounce. Now, you can not do this with two little hops to the side and a silly ass girly toss towards the second base area.

You actually must put some blood and guts into it and  t h r o w  the damn ball, hard. There is no magic involved, just throw hard. For years I practiced this method on the beach using tennis balls out into the surf, the idea was to get all the balls out past the surf line so I would have time to rest before the balls returned to the surf line and were washed up on the beach again.

(I generally did this while the beach was deserted, but several of my neighbors were sure I was nuts, or frustrated nuts.)

The fact is that you cannot throw hard unless you practice. As you practice you will develop a throw that consist of a short hard run followed by a gut wrenching throw that seldom leaves you standing on your feet.

The actual glider throw is not quite the center field to home plate throw, but its close. A good baseball throw is up about 27 degrees above the horizon. A good outdoor glider throw is up about 45 degrees above the horizon, when you fly indoor it will need to be up more than 60 degrees. This type of launch is hard on the arm, back, rib and leg muscles. When you are young it takes only 2-3 days to recover, when you are 40 you can count on at least 2 weeks.

You must get this type of throw down good so it is automatic and repeatable. This will become your standard outdoor glider launch. Don't worry about the model coming apart, this thing will stay together at launch speeds well over 100MPH. And if it won't stay together, What the hell good is it anyway. ??

We are now ready to line up straight into the breeze and give it the "center field to home plate" throw. Go ahead, do it, nothing bad will happen to the glider.

Now, the desired pattern is for the glider to make one full turn to the right, slow down, and just as it stops, it should do a full slide slip to the right and instantly be gliding at the attitude and glide speed we saw in Stage one testing.

No dip at the top, no stall, and no flying thru the transition with out the slip or it will be followed by another dip.

That side slip to the right is a sign of a good glider, well designed and well built. The slip should require about 18 inches to the right and lose no more that 6 inches of altitude. There is no such thing as a "roll out" or "recovery" at this level of competition. Its climb-glide-max, every time.

But now let me assure you that that no ones first throw is ever quite right.

If you gave it a nice easy girly tossie, it went up about 30-50 feet and did a vertical stall, tucked the nose down and landed on the nose. Hopefully in nice soft grass.

If you are a 40 year old man and you really did give it a serious throw, your arm hurts now but the model should be up about 80 feet and may even have made the proper slip transition to a nice glide.

However, if you are a young buck and can really imagine yourself throwing one of those damn Yankees out at home plate, then you gave it a toss of about 90MPH and the fans are cheering. But with a really good toss, the 60 foot target we used in Stage one is too close, which results in your model going "over the top" as we call it. Your model probably had too much incidence and too much left rudder. This caused the model to go around too much and try to loop too much. Easy fixes here, and then you will be looking up at a 120-150 foot launch every time.


If you are the girly boy and that was your best effort, you have the wrong glider design, this one will never fly well for you. You must fly very large light weight gliders. I would recommend models near the maximum allowable wing area and using built up wings and very light construction throughout. You should adjust your model just like this says but set your Stage one target out about 40 feet. You can still win lots of calm weather contest by "piggy backing" thermals. That is, do not launch unless there is good thermal there and you are standing in middle of that thermal. The most common method is by launching directly under a model that is climbing in a thermal, but you can also do well by watching for wind direction changes using streamers or fluffies (cat tails).

All you 40 year olds with sore arms who got your model up about 80 feet and it almost flew perfect, you need only make a couple of simple adjustments as described in Stage three. Also get your self in better physical condition.

And all you young bucks playing center field and getting the cheers, this will take a while but it will be worth it.

In order to have the model transition properly it must have the correct incidence settings, that 60 foot target in Stage one generally provides a bit more incidence than is satisfactory for a good hard throw. Try to watch the climb phase, if it is more than one turn to the right or it shows any tendencies to loop over the top it just means you need a tad of down elevator. But be sure you warp it only into the rear 1/3 of the left side of the elevator, and it does not take much.

At this point you go back to the Stage one testing and move your target out to the 80-100 feet range. Everything is the same except you now have a faster wider ranging flight pattern. It takes a very good hard dart toss to get any glider out in the 80-100 foot range. You need to start slowly and be very careful when doing this incidence reducing trim change, it is entirely possible to destroy a good model if you get in a rush. Work that down elevator in slowly while carefully watching to make sure that you still have incidence to fly with. That should fix it for you.

In the event that the glider is stalling at the top and falling off into a serious dive at the ground it just means you did not throw the model hard enough for the current incidence settings and you must throw harder, or add a bit of up elevator. The question of adding it to just one side or both sides of the elevator is dependent on the turn part of the climb pattern. As you go back to Stage one testing it becomes easy to see what you should have done and you can change it then.

As you get close to the correct settings, it does not take much of a warp to really affect the trim, Use the elevator in very small amounts and always do a couple of Stage one dart tosses to make certain that things are safe. By using these trim changes and the wing tip weight you can control the exact transition point in relation to your throwing ability.

Stage three testing

When you have this part down good and a fine flying model we go to Stage three testing. This is where we make you a champion. Stage three testing is a combination of Stage one and Stage two with the emphases on fine tuning the model. Basically you use the Stage one dart toss and concentrate on the glide trim, adding or removing nose weight and wing tip weight. Get a nice large circle and slow the glide down, this is not a speed event, you want a very slow, nose high glide angle. The wing should be operating at about 12-15 degrees angle of attack to the glide path. This will be gliding with the fuse nose up but only slightly above the horizon as the true flight path is on about a 10-12 degree angle with the horizon.

As you get it gliding better and transitioning smoother the transition at the top of the climb will also improve. When you have it looking good give it another of your best hard throws and watch the transition at the top. You will most likely want to go back and make a few more dart tosses while doing very minor trim changes, then another hard throw. I figure that overall, I usually end up with 35-50 dart tosses for ever hard throw which saves the arm and the chasing.

Once the model is trimmed out by this method, all that is ever required is just one or two dart tosses to confirm that the model is still in perfect trim.

At this point it is a good idea to take a pair of scissors and trim off about the top ¼ inch of the rudder using a nice straight across cut. Give it a couple of good hard throws and notice if anything changes in the flight pattern. If you have a smooth launch it will fly the same and next time you build models you should make the rudders a bit smaller. You may need to repeat this process several times as your launch gets better.

In the event the model will not track consistently you have a rough launch and must stick with the large rudders.

The reason for the smaller rudder is that models thermal better with smaller, lower rudders. And they are much less likely to spin out of a big thermal.

Also let me caution you about using too much left rudder tab. This left tab often leads to spinning out of perfectly good thermals. Too much left rudder tab will require a bit of wash-in on the left wing to get the Stage one dart toss to work well. And it can still spin in with a hot thermal. Wash-in in the wing also means you are flying a crooked airplane sideways thru the air which is not good for duration.

Avoid too much left rudder tab.

Any outdoor glider that makes more than a 360 degree turn while climbing has too much incidence or too much left rudder. Outdoor gliders need 270-360 degrees. Indoor gliders should use only 180 degrees along with a steeper launch angle, this is because indoor gliders are not going to be tossed around by nasty thermals. Indoor thermals are very mild in nature. The model just does not come down quite as fast.

This Stage three testing is endless, the more time you spend with it the better your model will transition and glide. And this is a glider. It's always a good idea to have the DT set as thermals seem to be everywhere when you don't need one. I have lost at least 3 models while glide testing, and these were models I never even got to throw, not once. Makes a grown man want to cry.

One last thing about testing and throwing hard, you will still need a 110 % effort full hard throw for the desperate times. This is the do or die, blood and guts, crash and burn, last chance effort. There is no tomorrow, the contest is ending, now is the time. Your last chance to give it a launch of over 100 MPH.

To get myself in the mood for this one I had to think like this; it's the bottom of the ninth, my team is one run up on the Yankees, but the Yankees have a runner on second. A ground ball or a long fly and it's a tie game, but not with me in center field. But with a home run we loose and go home losers of the seventh game in the World Series. Not this team and not this year.

It's a swing and a solid hit, coming my way, I go back, back, and have to climb the fence but I grab the ball about 2 feet above the fence top, of course I land on my feet and see the runner heading for third. I push off the fence at the 375 foot marker, a short furious run and I launch the final gut wrenching throw of the series, I spin around and fall down in a pile of elbows and knees. I recover just in time to see the catcher grabbing a perfect strike and an easy tag on one very surprised runner, that fool was expecting a late relay from second.

We win again, we always won. But this time the whole stadium is silent for a long time. They are finding it hard to believe that the skinny kid in center field closed out their Yankees with a 110 MPH strike from 375 feet away. Little do they know how much my arm hurts. I jog off the field while they are still silent.

If I could do things like this when I needed to win, so can you. Never settle for second place, that's the same as first loser. Build some good airplanes, get that Stage three testing done right and fly hard with determination. Never give up. Most of the glider flyers are just part time turkeys. You should think of yourself as a vulture or maybe even a turkey vulture feasting on the riff-raft. Know that you are better prepared and ready for the battle. A little bit of ego can be a good thing to go with your new attitude.

   N E V E R  G I V E   U P   N E V E R  G I V E   U P

The dynamics of a hard throw

I really do not have much of a concept of what makes a good throw. There is little or no information available on the subject. The glider throw is harder and at more velocity than any other type of throw. I think baseball pitchers rely about 75% on the arm, wrist, and hand action, with a glider you must use the whole body. That 75% from the arm is probably no more than 40% of the total throw. You can not throw a glider unless you put your whole body into it every time. The glider throw starts with the feet and flows up the body and concentrates all the force into the index finger. To get the last 15% you must have a full and complete follow thru way past the release of the glider.

The day after a serious glider flying session you will have a sore arm, and a lot of other pains in places you never expected. My pains were mostly in the stomach, ribs, front of the left leg, lower back, right leg below the knee and worst of all the bottoms of both feet. The slowest to heal was always the arch on the bottom of the left foot. I suspect this was because I dug in hard with the toes on that foot.

My only exercise was because I lived at the beach, surfed, swam long distances, run sprints in the loose sand, and played in all the beach volleyball tournaments, even when there were no prizes. Conditioning was never a big thing with me, I was never aware of anything that would help and it just got worse as I got older. By about age 30, I had held all the records, both indoor and outdoor for several years and was loosing interest. When I reached age 32-33 the pain was no longer worth the glory. I seriously doubt that anyone much beyond the age of 30 is going to have time to perfect the flying of contest gliders. But telling it is a lot easier than doing it.

I have recently been diagnosed as having Polymyositis, sort of an adult version of Muscular Dystrophy. Now I can't even talk as fast as I once did.

But I am living proof that it's not sexually transmitted.

Your contrubution here...

  1. Like most everything else in life, in order to succeed, YOU MUST HAVE A BURNING PASSION. This PASSION is the number one item in any endeavor and it certainly applies here.
  2. You need an attitude. You need to believe that it's your god given right to win ever time and these other guys are just in the way. No one is as good at this as you are right now, today.
  3. Your basic muscle co-ordination, how good an athlete are you really ? I believe that muscle co-ordination is indicated best by how fast you could run at about the age of 12 years.
  4. How tall you are and how long your arms are. The models are so light that you don't need much muscle but you do need a big radius in your launch.
  5. How much effort you can put into this part of the hobby. For about 5 years I built about 4-6 gliders every week and flew two or three evenings every week. When I took up indoor real seriously I built 7-9 gliders per month and flew only two times per month, but these were serious times and there was a stopwatch on ever flight. This phase lasted less than 10 years and old age caught up with me.

The only person I ever met who could throw as hard me was a small kid from New Orleans, he was no more that 5'-5" and 135 pounds with broad shoulders and no control. But he could throw a ball just as far as I could. Size is not as important as muscle coordination.

It's now your time to "Do or Die".

I always like to hear from people who agree with me, but I'm normal and don't really appreciate those who want to argue minor points of my ideas. This whole thing is nothing but opinion. You must understand that in this world there is absolutely nothing that is certain. Nothing.

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