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Thermic XXXL on tow

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  • Thermic XXXL on tow

    I have a Thermic XXXL 5m glider. For those that don't know the model, it is "full house" with ailerons, flaps and spoilers in the wing. I don't fly it much as it is a handful to launch on the slope in the big winds we have here on Eagle Butte. I'm wondering if I should add a tow release somewhere near the nose, and see if I can get it airborne via an aerotow. I have a dolly I could use to keep the wings off the grass, but not sure this is a good idea. I know the "scale" crowd will scream, but it is a great flying glider that should be flown more than it currently is. Thoughts?

  • #2
    Sounds like a good plan to me!

    We routinely tow several sailplanes of this type at our various events and there has never been an issue with the scale sailplane guys. Basically, why let a great sailplane go to waste sitting in the hangar, put a tow release on it and get some stick time!
    A Site for Soar Eyes


    • #3
      Jim, Thanks for the kind and supportive words. I will press on.


      • #4
        Go for it.
        I echo Jim's comments. There are a couple guys who have them and we'll gladly tow them up so they can fly just like everyone else.

        Len Buffinton
        Team Horizon Hobby


        • #5
          Len, Thanks for the thoughtful response.


          • #6
            They all look like scale planes at 1000' feet...............sorry 400', so knock the dust off and get out there

            Jeremy and Ben
            SCCAAA TT TN


            • #7
              I've not been to every aerotow venue in the PNW, but I have been to several. Some are announced as Scale aerotow, and the organizers will not allow non-scale gliders in the air during the flying hours of those events. Before and after might be tolerated. Since I've only flown in this area, I supposed that is how it is everywhere. As an aerotow requires a bit of organization, maybe I'll just install a big motor in the nose, and fly by myself at my local sod farm.
              What surprises me, is at these "scale" events, none of the tugs are scale, and that is seen as OK. Sorry for venting.


              • JimD
                JimD commented
                Editing a comment
                We hear you and completely understand! The goal of the aero tow events that we have been part of is to get people into the air, get them excited about aero towing, be it with an Easy Glider or a larger competition style sailplane. We figure that once you have a taste of aero towing and get some experience with it, you will naturally gravitate toward scale...and in our experience this is exactly what has happened time and time again!

                As for scale tow planes, we are trying to get there...right now, with the range of speed and size of the sailplanes, the Bidule is proving to be the best all around tow plane. There is no scale soaring if you cannot get into the air successfully!

            • #8
              Yeah, that's a double edge sword.

              While 98% of the guys going to a Scale Aerotow will have a scale sailplane, ( after all, isn't that why they're going to a scale aerotow versus a "glider contest or event"? ) it still doesn't mean you can't give a guy a break and launch their glider so they can fly too. That being said, if all of a sudden you get 15 guys at an event with pod and boom gliders looking to be towed, I image feelings may be altered..

              Jim is 100% correct, it's 9 times out of 10 a stepping stone to their first scale sailplane. Once the hook is set, rarely do they get off. lol
              As for the tow planes not being scale, that's another double edge sword.
              Over the last 8 years, I've seen and owned many scale tow planes,, from Cubs to Decathlons to Wilga's to Porters and Pawnees. While its great to see the beauty of a scale tug towing a scale sailplane, people are not typically there to be towed by a scale tug. They just want to get in the air. The problem with scale tugs is reliability and ruggedness. Most scale towplanes will do some things good, some things poor and some things ok. They're designed for looks and then for flight characteristics while non scale tugs are designed to fly good and tow gliders.

              The only thing worse than working all day to fix a tow plane at an event is not having a tow plane and watching all the cars and trailers drive away, so durability is key and one way to make a plane durable is to make it simple and fly great.

              Interesting topic Larry, thanks for posting it.

              Len Buffinton
              Team Horizon Hobby


              • #9
                One of the issues with scale sailplanes is size (true also for powered planes). Until you get to a certain size, they just are difficult to see and tricky to fly.

                For the newcomer, most are reluctant to spend the money needed to buy a large scale sailplane...and if they do, they are then intimidated by its size and cost which makes the learning curve all the more difficult.

                What we decided early on was newcomers need to have a positive experience with both aero towing and soaring. Non-scale models make the best small size and affordable trainers. Many of my fellow pilots started a small scale sailplane and had diasterous results. Fortunately, most stuck with it and got a non-scale sailplane to learn the techniques and build confidence. Also fortunately, Horizon Hobby started building the Blanik and offering it at a price point that made the next step from non-scale trainer to first large scale sailplane reasonable. Then came the ASW20.

                Events these last two years have seen these two models dominate this heretofore underserved market segment. These models fly extremely well and can be customized to further enhance their scale appearance.

                As numerous owners of these models have gained mastery of them, they now are moving into the 6M range with confidence. Much like staring with a small motorbike and progressing up through the sizes to a fully dressed touring motorcycle.

                It is all good! 😎😎😎😎😎😎
                A Site for Soar Eyes