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Dave Demott

Ballast advice

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Dave Demott

Hi all,

I currently own 3 models that I am potentially looking at using to get started in F3F comps.

They are 1. Needle 124 2. Wizard and 3. Willow 2.

I have very little (no) understanding of the ideal ballasted weights for each of these. Reading through the various posts on the subject I have seen that there is a max weight limit of 5kg and a max wing load limit of 75g/cm^2, but ballasting to the max is not necessarily the right thing to do.

I have also read with interest that there is a "sweet spot" for all up weight that permits tight turns in competition whilst maintaining energy.

I appreciate that as a newby to F3F I probably need to start off steadily, but it would be great to have an idea on ballast limits for a given model.

I would be most grateful for any advice on the ideal set up for my 3 gliders.

Thanks guys.

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isoaritfirst

Don’t fly empty and don’t fly full. 

Or at least until you know the model. 

Really is just about finding what YOU like. 

Also what style of flight you like.

there are no shortcuts. Just get along and try a few options. 

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Witch_1

Whatever you are comfortable  with when sport flying a model for particular windspeeds is your best starting point for F3F.  Make sure that adjusting ballast does not change your chosen CG too much (1mm?), or you will get unreliable results.

Put your name down for an F3F and you can ask what others are doing for the conditions on the day, but also advice on setup, flying accurately, etc, will improve your flying far more than adjusting ballast.

 

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wookman
1 hour ago, Witch_1 said:

Whatever you are comfortable  with when sport flying a model for particular windspeeds is your best starting point for F3F.  Make sure that adjusting ballast does not change your chosen CG too much (1mm?), or you will get unreliable results.

Put your name down for an F3F and you can ask what others are doing for the conditions on the day, but also advice on setup, flying accurately, etc, will improve your flying far more than adjusting ballast.

 

Like Witch said!

Carry as much as you are comfortable with. I am amazed how heavy most people fly their F3f gliders. It was a bit disconcerting to see Greg tipping a kilo of tungsten out of each wingroot at the end of a day's racing.

As a beginner you will find the biggest gains are to be had by flying smooth and tight, don't get too hung up on what you are flying or how heavy it is. Enter a comp, you will not regret it. F3f is easy to fly, just difficult to fly really well.

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Baldyslapnut

Mike as always has it about right. Most F3F planes are F3B planes beefed up or closely related. So they are designed to do three tasks well.

Duration, Speed and Distance.  Sections on thses planes are thin but have some degree of camber so tend to fly slowly when unballasted.

This means they soar well, Have a good Lift over Drag and can go quickly.

If there is moderate to good lift then try 400g to 600g of ballast and see how it feels. It will make the plane want to stall in high angle of attack turns but will generally be more stable to fly and cruise around more quickly.

If the wind is straight on to the slope face then ballast has less benefit. However, when there is a cross wind ballast starts to make a noticeable difference.

For me when I go out sport flying. If the plane can stay up easily then I always fly with 600g ballast if it is a 3m F3F plane. 

Make small changes and as suggested by Nigel check to see what is happening to the CoG  when you put more ballast in.

It would be great to see you at a comp soon. 

Happy Landings

 

 

 

 

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Brett82

Hi Dave 

I haven't owned any of those models so I can't give you direct advice for them, sorry. 

What I can say is I have done F3F for 3 years now and only ever flown fully ballasted twice. Most of the time I'm between 400 and 800 grams. 

Ballast will give better penetration and speed, yes. But how I tend to look at it is it also stops the plane getting bumped and thrown around as much so it may make it quicker but it also calms the plane down, so dont be scared of it. 

Sport fly all three in different wind conditions. Find the point when the plane is flying smoothly and different weights for different conditions then use that amount.

As you get better you can start pushing more ballast. I tend to fly a bit lighter than others, but right now that's where I'm comfortable. I won my last comp flying empty, most of us, if not all,  were empty,  it depends on the conditions too.

You are not far from me, where do you sport fly?

Brett 

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Kyri

I started flying a needle last winter. I learned that the setup (not too much elevator throw, and not too much down aileron) is key to not stalling the plane. When I first flew it unballasted it was the worst when the throws are not right.

I found that my preference was 600kg in the wing, good for most light conditions, and up to 1.6kg in the wing for heavier winds (I haven't put more in yet)

Most conditions the joiner full of lead is a nice compromise (around 1kg)

In the end, I got the setup sorted through advice on here. There are lots of really  helpful and experienced people who have flown this plane, and there is a wealth of info within this thread:

 

 

 

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wookman
1 hour ago, Kyri said:

I found that my preference was 600kg in the wing, good for most light conditions

You might be a bit over the FAI limit there Kyri! 😉

  • Haha 2

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oipigface
19 hours ago, Dave Demott said:

a max wing load limit of 75g/cm^2,

You’re a couple of decimal points out there! It’s 75g/dm^2.

 

20 hours ago, Dave Demott said:

ideal ballasted weight

...and while I’m on, I might as well throw in my twopence worth. There is no such thing as an ‘ideal ballasted weight’. The weight for flying depends on the conditions at the time. Generally speaking, you need more weight the stronger the wind is (some planes come with a chart showing how), but other factors come into play as well. As Greg points out, a crossed wind makes a big difference, so does your height above sea level (see next issue of BMFA News). And I agree with almost everyone else commenting here: the only way you are going to find an answer to your question is to fly and try.

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Dave Demott

Thanks for the info. 

I will soon be out testing different ballast configurations at my local slope.

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Kyri
4 hours ago, wookman said:

You might be a bit over the FAI limit there Kyri! 😉

Oops! haha

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