Ultimate Dragmaster. Nordic glider.
Quote: "Looking for the ultimate in still & light air performance for Nordic competition? Go no further, as the Ultimate Dragmaster is the result of thorough, competent model engineering, perfect conditions: dead calm air at Elsinore! Ultimate Dragmaster, by Tom Hutchinson.
The USAF may have Edwards Dry Lake for its test flight programs, but Southern California modelers have a pretty fair substitute for their test flight programs in partially-dry Lake Elsinore (about 75 miles south and west of Los Angeles). Elsinore is probably one of the busiest flying sites anywhere. The large lake itself provides a perfect setting for ROW models of both the R/C and Free Flight types, while the large flat area to the south of the lake has been widely used for Free Flight contests since 1962. My access to this flying site, and some peculiar weather happenings in the past few years, are both directly responsible for the model presented here.
Heavy rains during the winter of 1968-69 caused the lake to overflow to the point where the Free Flight area was completely covered over with several feet of water. This took a couple of years to recede to the point where contests could again be held at the formerly very active site.
However, these first few contests revealed a very noticeable change in the air we'd been used to flying in. The post-flood conditions had a distinct lack of thermal activity. Apparently, the presence of the large body of water so close to the site acted as a moderating influence on the nearby air. This prevented the wide differences in air temperature necessary to produce strong thermal activity. In the winter months, when the ambient air temperature is lower, the thermal activity became even less apparent.
The lake edge has moved further away from the flying site (restoring more normal thermal conditions), but there was a period of about six months (the winter of 1970-71) when the thermal conditions at Elsinore approached the theorists' dead air for long periods of time (sometimes the entire day). These laboratory-type conditions made it possible for me to make accurate observations of the performance of some of my designs, and to make comparisons of design features without the disrupting effects of thermals.
With such a perfect laboratory set-up at hand, the next step was to make some good use of it. Bob Isaacson and spent several testing sessions out there, but one cold, gray, calm January day exceeded our expectations. Bob flew his stock 'Dragmaster,' while I brought out a version with 'Lively Lady' wings, plus the original 'Led Zeppelin.' Conditions were such that..."
Ultimate Dragmaster, MAN, June 1973
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