Taboo - 2 channel discus launch glider

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Detail photos
Kit contents
Construction notes
Construction photos
Ballast installation
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Taboo is a high performance discus launch glider designed for competitive pilots with the goal of winning contests. At the same time Taboo is a very stable plane that is very easy to fly and does not require extraodinary abilities to achieve great results. Simply put, it is a fun plane to have.

Taboo was designed and refined through several design iterations during the winter of 2001. Its first contest apperance was at the BASS hand launch classic in Baltimore in early May, 2001. I took 3rd place overall at that contest due to some stupid mistakes (like landing out of field 3 times in one round). The plane showed a great potential but also indicated that some structural improvements were required. Very high winds and large amounts of adrenaline in my blood put very high loads on the structure, much beyond anything that the plane experienced during the testing and practice. The spar was not strong enough for full power launches in high winds. Immediately after the BASS contest I increased the spar size 2 times and reduced the polyhedral angles to reduce the stresses due to the launch forces. This was sufficient to keep the wing from breaking during the high power launches and the plane design has not changed since that modification.

My next contest appearence, and my biggest success so far, was the largest contest in the USA and the 'de facto' world championhsip - International Hand Launch Glider Festival in Poway, CA. It is a great event with the strongest pilots in attendance. For the last 4 (or is it 5?) years the contest is won by that guy named "Joe" (Wurts). As long as I remember reading in the magazines about this event, Joe has always had some new toys for this contest. A couple years ago it was Maple Leaf planes with his special airfoil. This year it was a new super-duper 6 servo plane from Brian Buass. First time we heard about this super plane on RCSE was about 2 weeks before the contest. If that was not enough to scare the competition, when we actualy came to the field we learned that the newest trick was to use piezo gyros for stabilizing the discus launch - almost all California pilots had them in their planes!.. Talk about unfair advantage! Well, to make the long story short, Taboo performed great in California conditions and I took 2nd place with only 8 points below Joe. I never felt at a disatvantage because of the low plane performance or low launch height. Had I not have a battery failure in one of the rounds on the second day of competition, I probably would have had a very good chance of dethroning the king of HLG!

Taboo also did very well for me at the Mid-South championship in Hunstville, Alabama where I took 1st place with a very strong lead over Paul Siegel and Bruce Davidson. I flew a little worse at the Nationals where I was 3rd, this time below Bruce Davidson and Paul Siegel. That's it for the competition history of my Taboo planes, but I am sure a few other people have flown their Taboos in competitions too. I hope there will be more of them flying around the country...

The tail area is quite generous, especially
the vertical tail. It really helps to keep the
glider straight during the launch.

The vertical tail is attached so that almost 1/2 of
the area is below the boom to minimize the
torque from the side forces.

Shown here are the pictures of one of my competition planes that I used in Poway to take the 2nd place in the IHLGF and in Huntsville to take the 1st place at Mid-South championship. It is a standard production Taboo except for the detachable stab and control horns. I decided to get fancy with the control horns and used plastic horns made for slow flyers from Hobby-Lobby. In the kit I supply the spectra-carbon control horns that are already pre-made for you. All you have to do is insert them into the control surfaces and apply glue.

Wing is blue foam, skin of fiberglass on a bias, carbon spars. The wing comes cut into panels, bevels pre sanded to the correct angle. All you have to do is butt glue the panels together and reinforce with supplied 3oz fiberglass strips. Then install the attachment carbon dowels and reinforce the center for the nylon bolt.

Fuselage is molded of fiberglass and carbon. Requires no work other than drilling the hole for the wing bolt and tapping it. Fuselage comes with the pushrod guide tubes installed.

Tails are made of contest grade balsa vacuum bagged with light fiberglass on a bias. Require no work to finish them, only mount the stab and attach the pushrods. The fin comes glued to the tailboom. Stab requires gluing to the balsa pylon and then gluing to the tailboom.

Servos are glued to the fuselage bottom with epoxy and micro-balloons. Fuselage was designed to take 110mah nicads, Hitec 555 receiver and 2 HS-55 servos. A full size Hitec Super-Slim receiver fits with the case taken off, as you can see on the detail pictures.

Airfoils are AG-04 transitioning to AG-08 at the tip. The airfoils work wonderfully - the plane thermals great and can be slowed down, while at the same time penetrates exceptionally well. The plane weighs about 9oz when finished. I usually practice with 1-1.5oz of ballast even in good weather to make me work harder and the plane pretty much does not suffer from the extra weight. Penetration is excellent with ballast.