HLG seminar
Mid-South Soaring Championship
June 21, 2002

Taboo XL home
Construction notes
Construction tips
Ordering info

IHLGF 2002
HLG seminar

1. Model Setup

   Control System

    o minimize slop in the servos (use quality servos - JR241, MX-50)
    o use small servo arms and max servo throws - minimize the effect 
      of the servo play
    o pull-pull lines - check and adjust often
    o tape hinges - check often and repair if necessary
    o try to acheive a zero slop control system - a DLG at high speed
      is very sensitive to control play and trim changes!
    o avoid servos with temperature drift! can be disastrous during a 

   Structural Integrity

    o check wing attachment bolt often
    o check control rods/clevises/etc. often
    o check fin and stab attachment points often


    o every thermal glider needs ballast in windy weather!
    o install a ballast system if your plane does not have it
    o test your glider with full ballast in strong winds BEFORE
      going to a contest

2. Launch

    o set the CG and elevator trim so that the model does not pull
      up excessively at high speed
    o always launch into the wind!
    o stance - glider on the downwind side
    o wind up - lower body rotates first, arm with the glider slightly 
      behind the lower body
    o release - the pushing leg well planted on the ground, lower body 
      almost stops rotation, upper body and throwing arm catch up with 
      the lower body, the body torso acts as a torque spring, minimum 
      wrist motion
    o launch presets - elevator up 3-5deg, rudder - neutral or outside 
      10-15deg, if using a gyro - no rudder preset needed
    o glider must rotate to near vertical trajectory very soon after 
      the release
    o minimal control inputs during the climb out!
    o push over when the glider speed is slightly higher than the 
      normal level speed
    o adjust the trajectory depending on the wind - turn off the 
      elevator launch preset sooner to get a shallower angle
    o launching into the thermal behind or on the side of you - launch
      into the wind with a slight bank angle, do a very lazy half turn
      while climbing, minimal control inputs

3. Contest Flying

    o read and understand the task before the round is started! (total 
      time task, limited throws task, extra time in the window (4x2 in 
      a 10min window versus 5x2)

    o for total time tasks (with or without penalty):
        o launch immediately
        o do not spend any time on the ground (unless you realize 
          that you will use all throws before the end of the round)
        o do not land off field! it is better to cut the flight short 
          and come back to the field than lose all of that flight 

    o for limited throws tasks:
        o watch other competitors closely
        o watch ground signs (wind shifts)
        o launch when any sign of lift is observed (competitor's 
          plane or wind shift indicate a thermal)
        o be aware of the window time - do not spend too much time on 
          the ground just to make 2-3 short flights at the end of the 

    o do not over-fly your target time, especially in a total time task 
      or full window task (5x2 in a 10min window) - land as close as 
      possible to the target time, over-flying every flight by 10sec
      immediately takes 40-50sec off your maximum achievable score

    o launch high! do not forget to concentrate on the launch technique 
      and using all of your power for launches during a contest round - 
      do not let  excitement and rush of the competition kill your 

    o if you know that you can't launch well while rushing, take 2-4 
      sec of extra time to get that perfect launch, it may give you 
      much more flight time than those 2-4 seconds lost between the 

    o try to be ahead of the task - if you know you can easily finish 
      the current flight task, go upwind and scope the air that is 
      coming towards you, find the thermal that you can use on the next 

    o if you can't scope the air yourself pay careful attention to 
      other airplanes in the air before you come in for landing and 
      choose your direction for the next flight before you launch

    o learn to use ballast efficiently and do not hesitate to use it 
      during a contest as soon as it gets windy; landing out of field 
      due to the strong wind will cost you much more than a lost 
      thermal; if it is windy - ballast is your best friend

4. Practicing

    o always use a stop watch to time all your flights - you can't 
      improve your skills if you don't measure your performance

    o fly contest tasks if at all possible - find a helper (wife or 
      flying buddy) and simulate a full blown contest environment - 
      working time, score sheet, total points

    o get a talking timer from Radio Shack, attach it to your Tx, 
      always use it during your practice sessions to simulate a working 

    o practice in bad weather days as well as in good ones - if the 
      wind is strong or the clouds covered the sky and there is no lift 
      - it is a perfect practice day (a good chance to test your plane 
      with full ballast, or improve your launch technique in zero-lift 
      and zero-wind conditions)

    o suggested practice tasks (courtesy of Joe Wurts):

        o maximum number of 10 second (15, 20) flights within 4 min 
          (6, 8) window, launches must be higher than 50 ft - practice 
          landing approach timing and quick turnaround and re-launch

        o maximum number of thermals "bagged" within a 10min window 
          (to "bag" a thermal, the glider must make a full 360 deg turn 
          while climbing or 3 turns without any loss of altitude)

        o max flight time is 1 min (2 min), find a thermal within a 1 
          min flight, land and re-launch into the same thermal - 
          count the max number of times you can re-launch into a 
          previously found thermal; if you can't re-launch into the 
          same  thermal for the second time, you must find a new one 
          during the 1min flight (after making a full climbing turn 
          in the previously found thermal)