About this Plan
Vulture. Radio control powered glider.
Quote: "A hundred gulls in a thermal attests to the fun to be had. Carve yourself a little of the action with a Radio-Soarer! 80 inches of Quickly-Built Radio Soarer. Power Pod takes any size engine, Towline, Hi-Start, Slope Soaring too! Vulture, by Don McGovern.
Someone once defined 'Mixed Emotions' as that feeling you experience while watching your mother-in-law drive off a cliff in your brand new Cadillac. And it about describes the conflict within a modeler as his newest sleek soarer hooks into a thermal, only to pull a disappearing act while confirming its state of trim as efficient.
So, to have the cake and chew it, a small legion of addicts have resorted to radio in glider configuration, giving directional control for thermal seeking, and a means of kicking the ships out of currents, in addition to the pre-set timer type dethermalizer controls.
Thus with R/C, a flyer can enjoy the performance in an updraft without the blood-pressure raising cross-country obstacle race. Perhaps it's a soar (pun) point with this writer, for some years back at the old Holmes Airport site on LI - with head held high, eyes on a thermaling ship, I plowed through the weeds, right over the edge of a twenty-foot deep garbage pit. To each his own.
A touch of rudder here and there at your ground-based whim is all well and good, but first you must get the ship up in the air, and high enough to seek out the currents. Towline will of course do the job - sometimes. It seems to be more practical however to use a small engine in a pod for a power assist. R/C calls for enough of a pre-flight count-down, without the task of towing aloft, transmitter in hand like a football. Then too, a pod may be made removable, permitting tow-line or hi-start (1/4 rubber, 3/4 towline) launches, or even slope-soaring where terrain is suitable.
As all aircraft must be, the Vulture is a compromise. We would prefer no pod at all, but the slight loss of glideability is well worth the added height and duration possible with a purring engine. Particularly when the thermals are elsewhere. found. It slays us not to use an NACA 6409 section on it, but so many mag builders shy away from covering undercambers, and the added building time involved, that we used the flat bottomed section shown. Should you prefer another foil, go to it, the craft will trim out easily with almost any good soaring section. Remember though that the aspect ratio is quite high, and spar depth must be adequate, particularly as R/C weight payload is increased.
Our dreams of a fuselage conjure up an oval planked/canopied affair. Laziness won out. You've got yourself a box. Two sides, built one on top of the other, scads of room, no problems. The 3 x 4-1/2 in inner cross-section will house any R/C gear you can think of, and room to get your gnarled fist in too.
We did not intend the design for more than simple rudder control. More intricate intermediate/multi installa-tions would be gilding the lily, and quickly reach the point of diminishing returns. A glider can soar with just so much weight, and then advantages gained through coordinated turns and trim are lost to increased sinking speed. Better you build two ships, a powered simple soarer for carefree thermal seeking, a power job for acrobatics.
We did sweep the hinge line of the rudder/fin rearward, to create a slight 'up-elevator' effect, desirable on the turns. We think you will find the Vulture a fine training craft for radio, and a sensitive stable, capable flyer in calm, thermal air conditions for which it has been designed. Do not expect the same degree of wind pen-etration out of it as you might a heavier power job. Each has been intended for different flight conditions.
Plans are 1/4 full size as presented in the magazine. Reminds us of the fellow we met in Chicago some years back, who built our 'One Horse Shay' .60 ukie, and commented it was underpowered. Turned out he mis-scaled it up to an eight foot span. 2-1/2 horse-power would have been about fitting. Scale all dimensions up four times, or order a set of full size plans from the plan service listed.
CONSTRUCTION: Drag down to your dealers, and sight down all his lumber for warps. He considers it an occupational hazard anyway, and it makes all the difference in the end result when your key lengths are rea-sonably straight, even textured to start with. Light grades toward the rear of the ship, and like rules of common sense should be employed. Study the plan a bit beforehand, and decide on any modifications you might like to make in the design before you proceed too far. You should have an idea too of R/C equipment to be installed, if any, and test fit accordingly.
WING LAYOUT: Spars have been installed internally in the ribs, to re-cess them well below the covering, and to avoid the need of time-consuming capstripping of the ribs. Close spacing, plus false ribs insure a good airfoil, though it may seem like a lot of cotton-pick'en parts. Actually to space them out might save only a half-dozen ribs, at the expense of a flimsy wing. A good template of thin ply will aid in trimming the ribs to shape. If a modelers jig saw is available, it can cut ribs quickly by the stack.
Plans show the complete wing layout, so all four panels may be assembled in rapid order. Pin tapered, notched trailing edge flat to the plan, and cut identical lengths for the spars and leading edges. Cut ends to angles shown to form the dihedral, polyhe-dral breaks. Ribs should be slipped onto the spars, with a false rib between each, then spaced out, but not cemented for the time being..."
Vulture, Flying Models, May 1963.
Direct submission to Outerzone.
Supplementary file notes
Article pages, thanks to RFJ.
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