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    • ThermalBoy
      In response to the call for some new website content here’s an update on what’s been happening development wise with the PROGLIDE since the last update (March 2017). Short answer, quite a lot! 
      There has now been sufficient time and competitions since the last update to categorically be able to say that the PROGLIDE has shown itself to be a thoroughbred F5J design. I’m not going to list (boring for most people) the many comp successes Kevin and I have achieved with the PROGLIDE other than suffice to say there’s been quite a few of them. 
      Kevin up till now has continued to champion our original wing section whilst I use only the thin winged Synergy section. Both versions have though shown themselves to be excellent performers. We have however found that the Synergy section version offers some advantages over the original wing section in that it hangs in there just as well but shows better penetration in the wind.
      So what have we been up to over the past year and a half? Firstly we decided that we would like to slim down the fuselage pod to make it more streamlined in its appearance and have a little less air resistance/drag but to still have enough internal space to get everything in without any shoehorning. The attached pictures clearly show just how much its been slimmed down far better than any words can. Kevin, the teams master mould maker, set to work making a new plug followed by new moulds. He did a great job as the pictures show. The other major item we both felt the design would benefit from going forward was to have the ability to produce our own custom sized/lay-ups booms. Whist the commercial versions we have been using certainly did the job they were a tad too lightweight and the size at the tail end was not optimum. After watching a bunch of Youtube videos on the best way for the home builder to make booms we went the opposite way and decided to mould the booms! I had an old Fendon fibreglass boom from way back that just happened to be the ideal size for our new fuselage pod and Kevin used this to make the new boom mould. Unfortunately I forgot to take any pics of the new boom moulds but will do so when I next use them.
      I had pretty much got on top of producing the carbon fuselage pods to a good standard and right from the first pull the new pods worked out really well. It was a lot stronger and less “Squidgy” under the wing than the original version it was replacing and at 88g AUW, it was light. Next up was the new booms. I had no idea what layup would provide the required rigidity/strength and weight we were looking for. At first I thought the easy way would be to do simple short sections of boom with different layups to determine this. This didn’t work out as I later realised of course that you needed the entire length of the boom in order to test the lateral flex was rigid enough. So no option other than to do various full size test lay-up’s to determine what worked. Home composite building is all about testing , getting it wrong followed by more testing! Laying the booms up in long thin moulds is no easy task to get it spot on and I am still working on the best way to achieve 100% results 100% of the time. Having said that even the first boom out of the mould with a little post production repair work, was totally usable and at 45g not too bad. Its overall strength/rigidity is significantly better than the commercial versions we had been using but it did weigh 9g more. Kevin in fact has used this first boom on his latest model, the PROGLIDE EXTREME. (More on this later).  After four complete boom test/lay-ups our preferred lay-up was defined. (Outer -  40g Carboline, Middle-200g UniCarbon, Inner 120g R&G Fibreglass) Final weight of the booms with this lay-up was 41g. Hopefully the weight will continue to come down with more practice. Making the bladders for the booms turned out to be a PITA compared to the fuselage pod bladders, so I’m investigating alternatives for this. We are often asked what pressure we use with our bladders. It surprises a lot of people when they are told it’s between 6-9 psi. The variable air pressure for this task is handled by a £50 EBay airbrush compressor which has a small air reservoir tank.   You would be amazed at how much epoxy is expelled from the moulds even at this relatively low psi! I’m sure you’d be able to expel a little more epoxy with a higher psi but its not required for home building as the pics show. 
      Next up was a complete re-work of the spar structure for the centre panel to try and limit wing flex particularly with the thin Synergy sectioned wing. It was decided to completely re-design the spar structure and how it was made. It’s now produced completely outside of the wing and then dropped into a full span channel that is cut from the underside of the wing that finishes 2mm from the top surface of the wing. This has the added benefit that the top surface of the wing requires no additional finishing and gives a perfect top surface ready for lay-up/bagging. Only the underside of the wing where the spar channel is requires minor filling/sanding.  The spar uses the protruded commercial 0.5 x 10mm carbon strip top and bottom with solid foam in-between which is then completely wrapped in carbon sock. At the centre of the wing the spars have a substantial moulded carbon dihedral brace that extends out approx 125mm each side. This is made using a simple right angled Aluminium mould. The pics again show it better than words do. I do my spars in two bits and then join the centre panel with the dihedral brace but Kevin makes the entire spar assembly in one piece and drops it into the entire wing centre section in one go. Both methods work fine. Joiner boxes at the ends of the centre section are made by using carbon sock moulded over a 10 x 10mm Ali square tube. Two complete wraps of greaseproof paper are first put around the Ali before the carbon sock is slid on, stretched out and epoxy applied. The greaseproof paper must extend past the ends of the sock by 50mm to ensure no epoxy creeps under it. The greaseproof paper also provides the working clearance fit for the joiners. This technique allows the lightweight carbon joiner box’s to slide off easily from the aluminium after its removed from bagging. The greaseproof paper simply twists out and away from the inner shell of the box’s. Voila, perfect lightweight wing joiner box’s. The same technique is used to produce the carbon tubes now used in the Fin/Rudder. (See pics). 
      New lightweight wing joiners have been produced to keep the weight/inertia down towards the tips as low as possible. The original method of production resulted in each set of joiners weighing approx. 25g. A set of the new joiners weighs approx. 9.5g! At the moment we are carrying on using our original method of spar set-up for the wing tips. Needless to say there is a lot less stress on the wings at the tips compared to the centre section. If however it proves to be the case that the wing tips need or would benefit from the new spar construction method, albeit with a small increase in weight, we will do so.
      A simplified/lighter method of attaching the fin/rudder to the boom has now been designed. (see pics).
      One thing that really helped us with the continuing development of the PROGLIDE was the acquisition of a 3D printer. (Every modeller should have one!). We are using this to produce all sorts of PROGLIDE parts including, motor mounts, servo frames, tail pod twin servo carrier, wing end ribs, control horns, centre panel  Mpx wing/fuselage plug/socket holders, small part moulds and so on. It’s probably the most useful thing I’ve ever bought for modelling. It took me a bit of time to get on top of it all but it was worth the effort for sure.
      Finally, this leads me on to our latest development, the PROGLIDE EXTREME. We are currently both building a reduced span (3.55m) version, which will still be light (1150-1250g AUW) but that can handle being  ballasted with up to 700-800g of ballast for windy weather use without excessive wing flex.  Well that’s the plan at least. The smaller span should also help the tight turning ability in small thermals.  Kevin has already produced his EXTREME’S super stiff centre panel using the new centre panel spar lay-up and to quote his words ”I think it would take an F3J tow”. I find that observation reassuring! However, as always, only time and testing will confirm this.
      The pics attached to this update say a thousand words but if you have any questions please feel free to ask and we will do our best to answer them. 
      Colin Paddon / Kevin Beale
       

    • This year’s Interglide over the weekend 24-25 June run by BARCS saw a necessary change from F3J to the electric launch format of F5J which proved to be very popular.
      Cracking flying site. Forty-seven pilots booked in. Prizes acquired, particular thanks going to UK KST agents, Flightech and C & M Rapid (Model Glasses) Ltd. for their generosity. The previous week saw fantastic weather. So what could possibly go wrong at Interglide 2017. Well, being the UK in June it’s no surprise, the weather changed for the weekend.
      But actually even this couldn’t put a dampener on a fantastic event.

      The BARCS team arrived at Hamilton Farm Airstrip near Ashford, Kent on the Thursday evening to find the field that we had previously seen short mown by sheep, now knee deep in grass as the farmer had decided silage was a more profitable use of the land. But no worries, he just cut us an appropriate strip for the launch and landing area. He took down fences to allow us access from the pits, having previously provided the camping area with water and electricity feeds, erected the marquee and generally done anything and everything we asked.
      Saturday dawned bright but with a stiffish westerly breeze, a little off the ideal south westerly direction, which meant the treeline running along the edge of the field did cause some turbulence during launch and landing phases. CD Peter Allen called a pilot’s briefing at 9 am and flying got underway by 9.30. In the early slots, most pilots opted for a fast low run into wind, gaining height at the upwind end of the field where there were some trees and the ground fell away a little. Despite their efforts, very few were able to get any real benefit from slope lift and with the slight uphill gradient on the landing approach many were caught out, leaving them short of the spot. This was very much a feature of the weekend and certainly helped spread the scores a little.
       
      In later slots, the braver competitors did start to find lift further out and downwind, best exemplified by Steve Haley who made a very purposeful launch to his downwind right, straight into strong thermal lift, which he proceeded to follow some distance, on occasions appearing to disappear into the low cloud base.
      Two rounds in and the rain arrived, unfortunately a little early to take lunch as the caterers were still on route but they did arrive before the rain stopped, so we were able to avoid too much loss of time. Many also took advantage of teas, coffees and cakes supplied from ‘Poppy’ the vintage caravan refreshment shop. Flying recommenced around 1.30 but although conditions improved throughout the afternoon, they remained very testing. Six rounds were completed on day one as scheduled, helped by there only being one reflight, claimed by Bob Tito following a mid-air which left his Supra damaged, requiring him to change to his back up Xplorer. 
        
      By 7.30 in the evening, the strains of the days flying were soon but a distant memory as the barbecue got underway and the free beer provided by BARCS flowed. Locally brewed 1606 bitter was used to try and educate the European palate to the joys of a good warm English pint.
      Sunday’s conditions were much improved though still windy but bright with a fair amount more thermal activity. A further three rounds were flown prior to lunch, with Brit Steve Haley the very clear leader over the nine rounds, 900 points clear of his nearest rival, made up of five slot wins, three at over 990 plus a drop round.
       
      So Steve Haley, three juniors including Steve’s son Simon, Adrien Gallet (FRA) and Jan-Niclas Weiss (GER) were joined by Frenchmen Peter Franconville, Alain Lehoux, Bertrand Wilmot and Guillaume Gallet, German, Peter Nelles and Bob Tito from Holland in the ten man, three round fly off.  The extra challenge of fifteen minute flights required some very skilful and extreme flying downwind, resulting in land outs for some pilots.

      The awards ceremony took place back at the marquee with a fine array of trophies and prizes provided by the organisers and Eurotour, including the BARCS Micro-Mold Interglide Trophy. Overall winner was Bertrand Willmot (FRA) flying a Maxa, second Steve Haley (GBR) Pike Perfection and very commendably third Simon Haley (GBR) Xplorer2.

      Steve Haley 2nd - Bertrand Willmot 1st - Simon Haley 3rd
      Because of the wind strength throughout the weekend, most models were being flown with ballast and at weights of around 2kg. Xplorers, Maxas and Pike Perfections and a few Optimus were favourites with the competitors. There were also a couple of Muller Egidas and one or two lesser known models. Adrien Gallet very successfully campaigned an Infinity, with the slightly smaller span of 3.5metres making it very manoeuvrable in the blustery conditions. Launch heights were generally no lower than 180 metres, as required by the low lift air.
      All in all it was a very successful event, we have had plenty of positive feedback and the foreign contingent are very enthusiastic to return next year.
      Results
      Fly Off
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      Rank Name Score Pcnt Raw Score Rnd1 Rnd2 Rnd3 1 WILMOT, Bertrand 2450.8 100 2450.8 1000 488.1 962.7 2 HALEY, Steve 2323.6 94.81 2323.6 860.2 463.4 1000 3 HALEY (JNR), Simon 2158.6 88.08 2158.6 596.9 1000 561.7 4 GALLET (JUNIOR), Adrian 2075.7 84.69 2075.7 557.7 536.6 981.4 5 FRANCONVILLE, Phillipe 1460.1 59.58 1460.1 614.6 488.1 357.4 6 NELLES, Peter 1021.4 41.68 1021.4 285.5 416.9 319 7 LEHOUX, Alain 955.7 39 955.7 0 427.2 528.5 8 GALLET, Guillaume 936.6 38.22 936.6 466 470.6 0 9 WEISS (JNR), Jan-Niclas 906.8 37 906.8 906.8 0 0 10 TITO, Bob 439.3 17.92 439.3 439.3 0 0 Preliminary Rounds
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      Rank Name Score Pcnt Raw Score Rnd1 Rnd2 Rnd3 Rnd4 Rnd5 Rnd6 Rnd7 Rnd8 Rnd9 Drop1 Plty 1 HALEY, Steve 7985.8 100 8498 991.3 1000 512.2 1000 1000 1000 998.2 996.3 1000 512.2 0 2 LEHOUX, Alain 7084.5 88.71 7737.3 806.5 804.8 1000 1000 652.8 892.6 962 865.2 753.4 652.8 0 3 WILMOT, Bertrand 7065.4 88.47 7065.4 1000 1000 880.6 746.7 835.7 1000 602.4 1000 0 0 0 4 NELLES, Peter 7064.3 88.46 7639.5 640.8 878.1 1000 844.4 1000 710 1000 575.2 991 575.2 0 5 GALLET (JUNIOR), Adrian 7062.8 88.44 7449.7 883.4 994.6 386.9 973.4 892.9 845.8 604.5 881.4 986.8 386.9 0 6 HALEY (JNR), Simon 7060.4 88.41 7234.1 618 173.7 1000 832.3 966.1 1000 994.4 649.6 1000 173.7 0 7 TITO, Bob 7017 87.87 7582 902.4 912.4 859.6 799.6 976.8 565 755.6 810.6 1000 565 0 8 GALLET, Guillaume 6882.2 86.18 7479.6 1000 597.4 691.4 788.4 893.9 619.4 945.6 1000 943.5 597.4 0 9 WEISS (JNR), Jan-Niclas 6857.6 85.87 7277.2 741.3 884.6 656.8 982.4 699.8 996.4 943.8 952.5 419.6 419.6 0 10 FRANCONVILLE, Phillipe 6691.3 83.79 7178.2 931.5 689.6 714.3 486.9 843.2 1000 1000 554 958.7 486.9 0 11 SUGRANES, Nicolas 6671.9 83.55 6671.9 733.1 636.7 873.5 883.4 834.1 737.3 973.8 1000 0 0 0 12 BECHEPAY, Giles 6572 82.3 6572 0 1000 619.5 1000 945.8 1000 336.1 670.6 1000 0 0 13 PADDON, Colin 6461.8 80.92 6975.9 589 514.1 1000 572.6 1000 806.9 898.6 656.9 937.8 514.1 0 14 WICKS, Graham 6441.3 80.66 6906.5 1000 840.3 465.2 586.8 506.7 906.9 846.9 792.8 960.9 465.2 0 15 FISHER, Keith 6362.9 79.68 6657 880.6 1000 1000 533.3 770.5 294.1 466 735.8 976.7 294.1 0 16 THORNTON, Simon 6225.3 77.95 6225.3 626.6 940.6 549.1 949.5 703.4 964 550.8 941.3 0 0 0 17 VIOLON, Gerard 6221 77.9 6221 745.2 727.8 669.4 733.3 1000 0 590.4 995.4 759.5 0 0 18 WEISS, Uwe 6205 77.7 6501.2 750.2 774.2 824.8 885.7 452.5 739.9 983.1 794.6 296.2 296.2 0 19 VYVES, Wolfgang 6130.9 76.77 6474.3 795.7 859.1 669.6 816.8 825.4 343.4 992.8 697.7 473.8 343.4 0 20 BINNIE, Gary 6107.7 76.48 6352.1 614.7 659.5 412.5 887.5 1000 738.7 996.3 798.5 244.4 244.4 0 21 DAMENE, Alain 5920.9 74.14 5920.9 948.6 0 719.9 884 861.4 952.3 945.7 0 609 0 0 22 GOUILLON, Alex 5860.2 73.38 6331 470.8 661.2 591.3 864.5 946.5 528.1 986.4 777.6 504.6 470.8 0 23 DICKENSON, Bob 5796.2 72.58 5796.2 297.6 921.1 0 484.2 375.9 816.2 1000 1000 901.2 0 0 24 MITCHELL, Pete 5789.9 72.5 5897.7 792.9 595.9 946.9 453.9 591.5 107.8 1000 408.8 1000 107.8 0 25 SONNTAG, Hans Werner 5784.8 72.44 6151.5 482 874.4 675.2 845.4 713.2 844.4 1000 650.2 366.7 366.7 300 26 MATHEWS, Gary 5746.9 71.96 6120.3 580.1 879.3 719.9 663.5 893.9 645.6 921.3 373.4 443.3 373.4 0 27 ECREPONT, Luc 5740.2 71.88 6010.3 473.9 686.6 923.4 618.7 771.2 658.6 673.9 933.9 270.1 270.1 0 28 DIEUMEGARD, Michel 5628.4 70.48 5628.4 764.4 829.2 450.1 1000 950 310.2 913.8 0 410.7 0 0 29 LIPSCOMBE, Al 5562.5 69.65 5910.6 1000 490.5 881.7 831.8 639 610.2 537.9 348.1 571.4 348.1 0 30 BRANDRETH, Phil 5534.6 69.31 5534.6 888 435.7 650.7 594.1 893.8 904 0 884.1 284.2 0 0 31 SONNTAG, Gerrit 5363.9 67.17 5596.8 559.8 691.2 840.6 1000 735.6 434.9 580.6 521.2 232.9 232.9 0 32 WILMOT, Tierry 5307.7 66.46 5683.4 578.1 947.4 488.4 725.1 771.7 857.5 375.7 434.6 504.9 375.7 0 33 WHARRIE, Martin 5238.4 65.6 5631 534.6 542.9 392.6 875.2 880.4 508.1 479.6 651.6 766 392.6 0 34 BOORMAN, Colin 5188.8 64.98 5531.4 492.5 841.8 373.5 450.3 516.3 848.3 947.5 718.6 342.6 342.6 0 35 LABROUVE (JNR), Alexis 5140.7 64.37 5140.7 822.5 1000 619.4 0 288.4 843.1 452.4 558.9 556 0 0 36 CONNELL, Michael 5133.3 64.28 5436 856.1 399 848 628.3 458.3 789.1 755.4 399.1 302.7 302.7 0 37 SMALL, Eddy 5107.2 63.95 5396.1 613.8 592.2 631.3 823.7 411.2 977.5 740 288.9 317.5 288.9 0 38 DUFF, Ian 5103.2 63.9 5378.6 768.8 407.2 646.2 596 681.8 578.9 468 956.3 275.4 275.4 0 39 BEALE, Kevin 5031.4 63 5031.4 605.8 543.2 0 0 0 934.9 947.5 1000 1000 0 0 40 NICHOLLS, Ian 4792 60.01 4792 568.2 471.5 456.2 865.3 530.5 0 997.3 159 744 0 0 41 WINKLER, Nils 4760.8 59.62 5061.3 300.5 886.2 920 572.7 540.7 519 387.1 544.8 390.3 300.5 0 42 JACKSON, Nick 4454.3 55.78 4765.7 473.6 311.4 403.9 664.3 583.9 619.5 587.6 762.4 359.1 311.4 0 43 WINKLER, Wilhelm 4291.5 53.74 4540.6 670.5 366 596.8 587.5 490 705.9 433.9 249.1 440.9 249.1 0 44 DALLERY, Emmanuel 4037.4 50.56 4037.4 1000 542.2 244 0 743.8 0 918.5 559.6 29.3 0 0 45 KRAUSE, Hans Joachim 3997.8 50.06 3997.8 502.4 568.6 699.2 822.8 267 0 490.2 458.7 188.9 0 0 46 POTTS, Rod 3992.5 49.99 4140.6 523.8 773.8 485.4 617.4 425.7 328.9 212.7 624.8 148.1 148.1 0 47 LEGRAND, Phillipe 3795.7 47.53 3795.7 814.3 0 382.8 393.3 239 257.6 941.9 273.9 492.9 0 0 Many more images in the Gallery
       

    • It's been over a year since I (Colin Paddon) and Kevin Beale first posted details of our home built and designed 3.8m composite F5J glider, PROGLIDE. This update brings us up to date with the project.
      It’s all very well designing and building your own competition plane but its not worth a lot if it turns out to be lacking in performance compared to the professionally manufactured gliders that it will be flying against. There seems to be a general misconception that home built F5J competition gliders are in some way inferior to the professional commercial offerings in terms of their flying performance.  Straight away lets dispel this myth. The prototype PROGLIDE in its first full year of competition use won three UK F5J league competitions and finished 2nd in the 2016 National UK F5J league with an overall score of 99.06%. Myth dispelled.
      The only downside of designing and producing your own composite F5J plane is the time and effort it takes to do. If we paid ourselves 50p per hour for all the time we have put into this project we still wouldn’t be able to afford to buy them! It’s a complete labour of love in every way but the sense of achievement makes it all worthwhile.  A quick look at the web gallery that accompanies this article will give you some idea of the time and effort that has gone into achieving our original goal which was that it must be economical to build, use techniques that anyone with reasonable building skills can learn/do and most importantly have as good a flight performance as the commercial offerings.  Achieving the 100% perfect finish compared to the hollow moulded professionally produced planes was not a high priority. We were only interested in its flight performance and were happy to accept a good finish as opposed to a perfect one.
       
      During the development period we worked in parallel on different areas of design/construction. For example I decided that I wanted to be able to split the fuselage in half for ease of air transport which meant that the elevator and rudder servo’s were both enclosed within the tailplane mount pod with the boom being secured to the Fuselage Pod spigot by two carbon tubes that could be removed and the boom slid off. Ditto the fin/rudder assembly. Kevin worked on optimising his layout with the servos under the wing at first followed later by the elevator servo in the tailplane pod and the rudder servo under the wing. For his Fin/Rudder he went along a similar route that the Nan Xplorers use. Finding easy to do home build solutions to problems took time, effort and testing. 
      One of the things that several people asked us about was how we made the wing joiners. In the end it was so simple that I wondered why I hadn’t thought of it before. Buy yourself from HobbyKing a protruded 10x10mm square section carbon rod which comes with a 8mm dia hole all the way through it. Cut into required joiner lengths and angle the two inner end faces to the required angle. Roll up 40mm of unicarbon tows to achieve a tight fit inside the hole, wet out fully with epoxy and slide it half way into one half of the joiner and then the other. Put balsa caps down the hole so that it just very slightly compresses the central wet unicarbon and keeps them centrally located within the length of the joiner and then clamp into required position and allow to set. Result, pair of carbon joiners that weigh 23g total. The plane would be destroyed before the wing joiners broke. This technique wouldn’t be strong enough for F3J planes but more than adequate for our lesser stressed F5J models. Quick, cheap and foolproof with the ability to create any angle of joiners you require. Kevin went a different route by using straight solid round carbon rod which allowed him in our normal wing section to get the required dihedral tip angle he wanted. 
      All this problem solving sounds as if it was a PITA, and at times it felt that way,  but in reality we both enjoyed finding home build solutions to these challenges.
      The first two Proglide’s produced used cheap fibreglass cloth on the flying surfaces which enabled us to learn the required composite skills knowing that when it goes wrong (it will BTW!) that it hadn’t cost the earth in materials. However, the aim was always to eventually use Carboline which is a fantastic cloth but it’s not without good reason that it’s called “Black Gold”, its very expensive but gives a strength to weight ratio that is unbeatable for our purpose. 
      The early fibreglass skinned versions of PROGLIDE achieved RTF weights of between 1450-1580g, ie still reasonably light for a full house 3.8m electric plane. With each new plane we tried different lay-up’s, build techniques and incorporated various detail design changes along the way. Lots of time was expended in producing test pieces during this period to prove the viability of what we were doing. We had failures along the way on pieces that we felt sure would work well but turned out not to be of the standard we were seeking. Amongst the various failures though we managed to have some light bulb moments which were always welcomed! One such moment came when we started to investigate how to achieve repeatable 100% success with shaped inflation bladders in the moulding of the fuselage pod in order to minimise the weight.  After quite a few failures it turned out that a fine tipped soldering iron and Recycled black rubbish bags (yes really) worked brilliantly. The variable air pressure for this task was handled by a £50 EBay airbrush compressor which had a small air reservoir tank.  After trying various layups, like most of the professional manufacturers, we have now settled on using all carbon for the fuse pods. 
      Another light bulb moment came in regard to hinging the flying surfaces. At first we used silicon hinges which did work but were relatively heavy and difficult to get perfect every time. We later moved to using Diamond tape for the hinge along with Microfibre tape on the inner faces of the foam. (Microfibre tape sticks like the proverbial to raw pink foam). This resulted in strong, lightweight quick to apply, field serviceable (if required) hinges that were very free in their movement. They have turned out to be every bit as good as silicon hinges and in many respects far better. 
      After building a few Proglides we felt confident enough to move onto using Carboline. We also decided at this point that we would again take advantage of having two of us involved. Kevin’s first Carboline PROGLIDE was to use our normal wing section whilst mine was going to use one of the new F5J Syner ultra-thin wing sections. We had hoped to use a friend’s CNC foam cutter for this new prototype wing but unfortunately he moved house just at the wrong time and we all know how much time they take up to get sorted out. So, yet more wing /spar templates to make! Using such a thin wing section on a 3.8m wing brought with it a host of new structural problems to overcome and additionally neither of us was totally convinced that these Ultra-Thin wing sections were the right way to go for F5J.  
      Kevin progressed quickly on his first Carboline build as we now knew exactly how and what to do. He made no attempt to get this plane down to be a super lightweight and used standard sized servo’s with a heavy motor/ESC/battery in the fit out. Even so the finished RTF weight came in at just under 1440g. He estimated that had he used lightweight equipment the finished RTF weight would have been easily under 1300g. The project was moving in the right direction.  After flying it Kevin liked his PROGLIDE so much that he immediately decided to press on and make a full on lightweight  Carboline version. This ultra lightweight PROGLIDE, which he seemed to put together in record time, came in at 1280g. It fly’s superbly. 
      Meanwhile, it took me a while to iron out the new structural issues raised when building a 3.8m solid core ultra-lightweight thin section wing. Eventually though we were ready to proceed with the build. Did it go smoothly, of course not! Due to a stupid error on my part during the bagging up of the centre panel, I managed to ruin the entire panel. It was an expensive and time consuming mistake to make.  After the required amount of San Miguel I decided to build a new centre section straight away. I took this “opportunity” to try a different approach with the spar structure. The rest of the build thankfully went without a hitch. The plane RTF came in at 1245g using lightweight radio gear, 1000mah 3S Hv Lipo and a 85g direct drive motor. All that was needed now was to test fly it to see if it performed as well as we hoped it would. Following several test flying sessions we can report that its flight performance has exceeded all expectations. All preconceived negative thoughts on whether ultra-thin wing sections would work well for F5J have been dispelled. 
      In light of the successful flight testing of the first thin wing PROGLIDE we have decided to build a heavier windy weather version using the same thin wing section. In the meantime the Carboline Ultra light just tested can be ballasted to 1550g AUW which hopefully will be capable of handling a decent amount of wind (yet to be tested). But as we all know, here in the UK there’s times when you just need a heavy plane.
      For those that are interested in weights here they are.
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      Part Finished Weight With Gear Installed Weight Carbon Fuse Pod 89g 135g Boom & Tailplane Mount 35g 55g Centre Panel 263g 333g Left Wing Tip 128g 150g Right Wing Tip 130g 152g Elevator 33g 35g Fin/Rudder/Tube 24g 24g Prop/Spinner/Motor   113g ESC   50g Other installed equipment   78g Total AU RTF Weight   1245g
      In terms of airframe material costs, the fibreglass skinned versions come in at around £100-£130 and Carboline versions at £200-£250. Labour cost….well let’s not go there! Overall, somewhat cheaper for an equivalent commercially produced 3.8m F5J model at this kind of weight!
      So what next? We are confident that we can further reduce the overall weight with minor detail changes, improved lay-ups etc, but recognise that we are getting close to what can realistically be achieved in this regard with home building.
      A picture really does say a thousand words, so if you are interested in seeing how the PROGLIDE is constructed, the photo web gallery that accompanies this write up shows all. If you have any specific questions about the plane or its construction please feel free to ask on this thread.
      Colin Paddon/Kevin Beale


    • BARCS INTERGLIDE 2017
      24th-25th June, Near Ashford, Kent
      This year’s event will be run by the British Association of Radio Control Soarers. Traditionally an F3J event, to reflect the rise in popularity of electric launch soaring this year we will be run to International F5J rules. The competition is registered as a EUROTOUR and World Cup event and will count towards all relevant National and International Leagues.
      Location and Dates
      The site is a large, private airfield located approx. 5miles south of Ashford, Kent allowing easy access from the M20, Eurostar, Ferry Terminals and local Hotels.
      The Hamilton Farm Airstrip, Bilsington, Ashford Kent, TN25 7JJ.
      Website for more information: http://www.hamiltonfarmairstrip.co.uk/
      Enter online or by form to be found on the Interglide website. https://www.interglide.co.uk/
      Closing Date Friday 16th June. Restricted to 60 entries
      Download BULLETIN 1
      BARCS INTERGLIDE 2017 F5J Bulletin 1 Final.pdf
      Forum Topic below
       

    • A New Step in F5J

      By PeteMitchell, in Articles,

      Most will know of the new development in glider construction which was pioneered by DLG model makers. The difference from what we are used to with moulded construction is that the new method uses one precision cut solid foam core rather than the several layers of thin foam used in the construction of hollow moulded wings. The solid core is covered with the, also new ultra-light carbon fabric, in a mould. There are a number of other differences in the construction but I don’t have all that info.
      This new construction enables wings to be built with a much thinner section, and much lighter in weight.
      I must say that when I first read of these developments I had my doubts. How could the weights be achieved, how could they be strong enough for our conditions, how could they be of any use in ‘our’ conditions.
      I always have to try something new, so when Hyperflight imported a few, I took a chance and bought one of the new Ultima F5J models.
      All I can say is that the hype about these gliders is true. They are fantastically light and very strong. There is nothing ‘flimsy’ about any part. With some light weight models I have seen, the fuselage is very flexible because of the light cloth and minimal amount of epoxy used. I have a standard Ultima fuselage and it is very rigid made of carbon. The wall thickness is substantial and there is nothing flimsy about it, and it also is very light.
      There are a number of build threads on the web so I won’t try to compete with those. Only to say that it requires a few different techniques which are more usual to hand launch models. I did take a few pics as I put it together as below

      Flap Servo

      Servo Mount and Ballast Tube

      Cutting nose to length after balancing the model.

      Servos and ballast tube.

      Traditional pic before first flight.
      I have only had 6 flights with it so far, including 4 flights at the Tonbridge F5J comp where the conditions really did not suit it. But I am very pleased with what I have seen so far.
      Any questions please ask away.
       

    • Tonbridge BMFA F5J League Event - Sunday 19 June 2016 – THE RESULTS
      With an entry of 27 pilots, Tonbridge club hosted what we believe to be the largest UK domestic F5J league comp to date.
      Following a week of torrential rainfall we were glad to find that with care getting onto the field and not getting stuck wasn’t a problem other than Phil Ramsey who unfortunately got stuck with his large heavy motor-home. Farmer to the rescue with very big red tractor!
      The day looked like it would be ideal RC Soaring weather starting off warm and calm but progressively getting windier as the day wore on. The first slot which enjoyed wall to wall lift gave no clue as to what was to turn out to be extremely challenging days flying with several slots not being flown out by a large margin. When the sink came through it was what can only be described as massive blanket sink which covered unusually large expanses of sky. This coupled to the strengthening wind resulted in many missed landings and land outs. We managed to complete 5 rounds with a break for lunch making for a nice relaxed comp. With storm clouds forming after 5 rounds were completed the general consensus was to stop at that point as no-one fancied getting stuck on the field if the rain reached us.
      It was good to see some “new” old faces competing in F5J for the first time with Ricky Shaw and Chris Foss attending. Special mention must be made of Ricky Shaw who flew excellently in his first ever F5J comp to secure second place overall. Despite this being Rick’s first F5J comp his launch height management and skilful flying really made its mark. We hope to see him and his team mates at more F5J comps in the future.
      Thanks to the Tonbridge members who helped with the organisation and also to all the pilots who supported this comp, it makes the organisation/work involved worthwhile. We will post some pics of the day soon.
      The full results can be found below:


    • PROGLIDE Homebuilt F5J Soarer

      By ThermalBoy, in Articles,

      Homebuilt F5J Soarer  (Kevin Beale & Colin Paddon)
      After a long gestation period, we are pleased to announce the birth of a rare beast … a competition homebuilt 3.8m F5J soarer!
      When the F5J class came into being, it shone out as a great opportunity to once again be able to produce a homebuilt model which would be able to compete well against the superb moulded manufacturers offerings. With no F3J launch stress to consider, Kevin Beale & I (Colin Paddon) decided this was a totally feasible option albeit one that to date had not been taken up by many other F5J competition pilots, at least here in the UK. So we decided that together we would design and build our own “Medium Tech Composite” 3.8m F5J Soarer. To be able to do this would however require that we master some new building skills and techniques and that turned out to be more involved than we originally thought! We weren’t however starting from scratch as Kevin had a lot of experience in producing moulded fuselages and ditto myself in producing foam wings. It did require though a lot of time and effort in pulling together the requisite moulds, building the automated foam wing cutter, many jigs/templates, vacuum pump rig etc. On top of that many tests were undertaken to understand/achieve the best utilization of materials and hone the required composite skills/techniques of which there were many. 
      It was decided from the outset that if cost effective commercially made components were readily available then we would use them. In our case this meant that we bought the carbon fuselage pod boom and the protruded 10x1mm carbon wing spars and wing joiners. Everything else is self-built. 
      The first thing we needed to do was to hone down a general design brief. After some discussion we ended up with the following:
      3.8m wingspan Medium Tech composite construction Vacuum Bagged wings, tailplane elevator/Fin Rudder coupled to a composite fuz pod and boom. Total AU finished flying weight of between 1.4 -1.7kg Proper ballasting capability  Good working space within the fuz pod  Wide performance envelope to cope with different weather conditions Light enough to be able to use a direct drive motor if required Kevin was tasked to come up with the wing plan-form/ spar layout and I think the finished wing shape is very nice. The fuz pod design/implementation works well and his moulding technique improves incrementally with each one he produces. Again many different lay-ups have been tried out to see what works best. An airfoil section was chosen that would provide good all round performance. We decided to try out various alternatives of tail end layouts including all flying tailplanes through to separate tailplanes/elevators both on the fin, in front of the fin and under the fin/rudder. It came down to personal preference in the end but a fixed tailplane with a separate elevator regardless of layout proved to be our preferred type. 
      The fin/rudder on the version shown here is completely removable from the boom itself to aid transport (i.e. to get it to fit in the transport box) and also to provide access to the tailplane/rudder servo’s. Whilst the finish on the wing is acceptable, with the further testing on surface finish we have now done, we are reasonably confident that we will be able to obtain an excellent paint/surface finish.
      For his first full prototype, Kevin has gone for the under the wing Elevator/Rudder servo set-up and increased the tip dihedral slightly as we felt Prototype No1 may have been slightly less than optimal although the initial flight tests have proven this may well not to be the case. (see photo of Kevin’s plane in garage)
       
      The first completed full prototype is the version you see here and despite several mishaps/mistakes during construction with the worst being when the vacuum pump decided to go open circuit over-night and pulled massive vacuum pressure rather than the 15-18Hg it was set to, it still turned out to be relatively OK though. (I can now vouch for the compressive strength of pink/peach foam although it did mean that the spars on the centre panel were a little proud!  Another mistake occurred in the painting of the mylers in as much as we didn’t extend the black far enough along to cover the servo well reinforcements on the tips.  As it was only a prototype though, it didn’t really matter. 
       
      We tested four different types of paint on different weights of glass to see which provided the best release/finish. Halfords spray gloss black turned out to be the best for the black with fluorescent tree marking spray being best for the fluro Orange as it did not require a backing coat of white to achieve the bright fluro result required, i.e. lighter.  The wing control surfaces are all hinged with silicon as is the tailplane/ elevator. You wouldn’t think there is much to do to get silicon hinging right but again the right silicon coupled with using the right application technique & custom spreader tool took a while to nail down along with yet mini samples to get it 100% right. 
      This first completed PROGLIDE prototype seen here weighs 1460g ready to fly which for a first prototype isn’t too shabby. It uses a direct drive 28mm diameter outrunner motor turning a 11x7” Aeronaut folding Prop, 40 Amp ESC and a 3S 1300Mah Lipo. The gadget with the two green LED’s is a home built Ubec/ESC BEC change over unit. (If one of the BEC’s fails the other takes over automatically). 
        
      How does it fly? Well we only managed to fly it twice before it poured down but so far we think it fulfils the design brief nicely. We are extremely pleased with its handling/flying performance but the true test of how good a plane is, comes when its flown in competition against other planes. 
      The feeling of achievement derived from designing and building our own competition models once again is amazing. Yes, the journey involved a steep learning curve with many ups and downs along the way, but if we can do it so can others. Knowing what we now know, we are confident we can get the overall AU flying weight down to around 1250-1300g if required. For UK flying this is really not required but with mainland Europe in mind, an ultra-lightweight model at 3.8m will be worth having in the quiver. The next PROGLIDE versions will be laid up to achieve an AUW of around 1700-1750g ready to fly.
      We now plan to continue to refine and further develop the PROGLIDE series along with our composite building skills. 
      Hopefully this article might provide the inspiration for others to try similar projects.
      Kevin Beale/Colin Paddon


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