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Bidule 111 vs. 170 - larger scale sailplanes?

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  • Bidule 111 vs. 170 - larger scale sailplanes?

    Would like some advice from those that have these two Bidules. With DA engine (120 and 170 respectively) what is the largest scale sailplane to tow? We are getting some 6M and 7M ships in the area and want to build a reliable tug. But also, don't want to overkill the towing!

    Thanks in advance,

    --Rob

  • #2
    I think it is more a question of what level of pilot workload you are willing to take on. It is possible to tow 7m ships with either of those Bidules. Will the 170 be easier? Yes. The more mass and power the tow plane has in relation to the glider, the more command it carries through the tow making the tow process less susceptible to the combination getting out of shape and limiting the release height. I fly a Bidule 170 with a ZDZ 180 and tow anything from an Easy Glider to 10m 90+ pound gliders. Reliability comes down to fighting vibration and consistently making decent landings. Those are the elements that determine the tug's life and reliability. Both Bidule sizes have proven to be very reliable. I also find a big advantage with the large Bidule for flying in windy conditions. The added mass just plows through turbulence and wind with more authority and stability. If I had the choice, I would go bigger, but I am spoiled because I fly that one now and once you drive a Cadillac, any less is, well, less.... You won't go wrong with either selection. You'll burn a lot less gas with the 111 and spend a little less putting it together and need less space for transportation and storage, BUT if you ever fly a 170, you'll see what being spoiled is all about. The other point I will mention is that gliders don't seem to get smaller, nor even stay the same size for very long. If 6m and 7m ships are arriving now, 8m and 10m ships will appear eventually, especially if the smaller ones are left out in the rain to grow!! Enjoy your choice, the Bidule airframes are an outstanding design for towing!!

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    • #3
      I also drive a 170 with a ZDZ180 as mentioned above and here is nothing more to add to the comments left by Scot other than the visibility factor. The sheer size of the 170 is big help when towing the larger sailplane up high. I've flown both planes and would happily have a 111 any day, its a great tug, but since the 170 is physically much larger, its easier to see at altitude.
      It's easy to see a 7m wingspan at 1500-2000 ft, but sometimes the tug gets a bit small.

      Another note, having seen the 170 perform with different motors . ZDZ180, DA150, and the DA170, I would say they all fly the plane pretty comparable. The ZDZ has more sheer power and a bit more overall climb than the 150 and 170, but you must deal with the finicky starting process.
      The DA170 needs tuned pipes to work properly where as the DA150 is strong on just canister.

      Either choice of plane is a winner, it's a matter of transportation and storage really.


      Good luck, let is know your choice.
      Team Horizon Hobby

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      • #4
        Here! Here! Scot and Len nailed it.

        I chose the Bidule 111 for transportation reasons due to its smaller size. I can place two dovetailed side by side in my rather small 4x5x10 trailer - if needed. Or, one easily with room to spare in my Explorer SUV. Great flexibility. I think of it as a much much much improved version of the Pegasus with a 120 that I used to own. Much more stable, able platform that lands beautifully on its flaps. I have seen both DA100 and DA120 versions of the 111 tow incredibly well. So, 120 would be the choice in the 111.

        I have not heard of a 170 or 111 owner disappointed by their purchase. The 170 rules the sky at our events in the region! What's more, there are also great build threads here on the forum on each that will prove helpful whichever way you go.
        Team JR Air ............You can't buy happiness. But, you can buy a sailplane and that's pretty darn close.

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        • #5
          Having assembled two Bidule 111's and two Bidule 170's, there is another consideration, aside from what has already been said, and that is cost.

          Adding up the total cost for a fully featured plane including radio gear, batteries, engine, exhaust system, etc...and considering the cost of buying every component new, the Bidule 111 will price out at about $4,000, while the Bidule 170 will be about $6,000.
          A Site for Soar Eyes

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          • #6
            Boy, I sure hope no significant others trip across this thread. Every plane I ever built cost no more than $500!!........ Especially the white ones!

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            • #7
              I have a Bidule 170 with a DA170 on tuned pipes and it is fantastic, also sailplanes are not getting any smaller, just ask LenB. His sailplanes grow larger everytime I see him. He must use "miracle grow".........like Stew2 said, mine only cost $500!

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              • #8
                Rob,

                My bidule 111 with regular DA100 with sock muffler and 26x10 prop can tow anything up to Len's 8m Duo Discus.

                If you are looking for affordable / easy to store this is the way to go.

                If you are looking to tow very big bird only the 170 is the way to go


                St├ęphane
                St├ęphane
                Horizon Hobby Team Member

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by JimD View Post
                  Having assembled two Bidule 111's and two Bidule 170's, there is another consideration, aside from what has already been said, and that is cost.

                  Adding up the total cost for a fully featured plane including radio gear, batteries, engine, exhaust system, etc...and considering the cost of buying every component new, the Bidule 111 will price out at about $4,000, while the Bidule 170 will be about $6,000.
                  Wow, what a hornet's nest...please note that there is wiggle room in the statement; "...and considering the cost of buying every component new,".

                  So impress your significant other with your skilled ability to make great deals for amounts significantly less than full price new!!!
                  A Site for Soar Eyes

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                  • #10
                    As for those "white" sailplanes...everyone knows that vibrant colors in rich deep metal flake finishes are expensive whereas plain white is much more reasonable in cost. Obviously, this explains the popularity of all those white sailplanes.
                    A Site for Soar Eyes

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                    • #11
                      Both Bidule 170's I built were well under the $500 mark.
                      I fear the day I'm no longer here and someone is selling my planes for the $99.00 I keep saying they cost.

                      Team Horizon Hobby

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                      • #12
                        But it's ugly ... and not the pretty kind of Wilga-ugly ... I never liked Ercoupes, either ...

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by tkallev View Post
                          But it's ugly ... and not the pretty kind of Wilga-ugly ... I never liked Ercoupes, either ...
                          No tows for you! ;-)

                          Team JR Air ............You can't buy happiness. But, you can buy a sailplane and that's pretty darn close.

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                          • #14
                            Whoa Tom,
                            Thems are fightin words
                            Team Horizon Hobby

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by lenb View Post
                              Both Bidule 170's I built were well under the $500 mark.
                              I fear the day I'm no longer here and someone is selling my planes for the $99.00 I keep saying they cost.
                              I'll give you 500 for the Bidule. Overpaying, but I'll live.

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