11-Dec-18 - 03:59 PM

Product Reviews - Review Text

Written by Hayden Daley - 01 May, 2008.

Welcome to this edition of the Soaring Circle, in this edition I will be reviewing some fantastic soaring DVDs that are a must for any keen sailplane enthusiast. These DVDs are highly informative and entertaining and provide some excellent information on this great sport of ours, covering pretty much every topic conceivable to do with RC soaring.I would like to thank Model Flight for again supporting the soaring circle and providing these DVDs for review, without there help I would be very stuck for topics containing modern and current information. I hope these reviews will aid in choosing a releveant DVD that is informative for what interests you in soaring. I enjoyed all of these DVD and did not enjoy returning them, I watched them several times each!

Soar Utah Adventure

This DVD begins with the film producer Paul Naton loading up his van with many different models in preparation for his trip around Utah. It looks as if he travels a long way on this DVD to visit some spectacular slope sights, more than 900 miles as mentioned during the film, many different sight are planned for and travelled to in this DVD and the final sight is more than 10000 feet high. These guys are lucky they have the best slope sights ever. You see a lot of small PSS models come through then stall turn and come back through the lift, this is a popular style of flying in the US and you will see it throughout this DVD, its different, but appears to be an effective way of using the lift on these US sites.Next is an F3B model going for it, a Scar, which is an older style model and unique, but this one was set up well and flew well. Many different models fly and is entertaining to watch if you are in to Gliding in the model form and it looks like these guys are having an entertaining time flying there sailplanes.However what ended that days flying on this DVD was one of the worst storms I have ever seen with massive lightning bolts coming from huge thunder clouds. This DVD contains a lot of travelling as these guys visit many sites during there adventure. It seems as the breeze picks up in the US you see more and more PSS warbirds, they are very rugged and flown during combat show the durability of these things in the many crashes that occur. However these Warbirds fly just as well as any other model in the good lift. During Soar Utah Adventure they dont get the best weather all the time but plenty of flying gets done. Next is Soar Utah 2000 a fly in, to fly as many different slope soarers as possible. Many models were shown, scale, vintage, scale, PSS and others. These US events get a large turn out to events and plenty of models are flown. It looks like you would have to wait a fair bit to get a channel! And the landing areas are rough. On to part 2 this begins with a pilot flying an LS7 in what looks to be some fairly full on conditions but is still flying quite smoothly and very well. Again there is a lot of different toys and is very entertaining some fly slow, others fast. These US PSS models are well detailed and well made very different and well set up are good flying models, very unique. You will see a lot of this footage on this DVD. Also a camera was attached to a 3 metre or so model and provided good footage flying around, it looks as if cameras aboard model aircraft can be very entertaining! The best PSS model I have ever seen is an X29 fighter and this looked cool flying around, also a reasonable sized scale sailplane built from EPP flew well and fast, as good as any other scale model. In conclusion to this DVD, again more is shown, but you will have to purchase to get the rest!

Red Line Sky

The first part of this DVD begins with full size U.S aerobatic soaring pilot Manfred Radius performing some spectacular airshow manouveres in his aerobatic sailplane, a Salto. His daytime routine is completed with an inverted low level riboon cut and roll out at low altitude. During the day footage of other aircraft are shown with an Extra performing some exciting aerobatic manouvres. The night routine performed by the Salto is some of the most impressive sailplane footage you will ever see, with rolls and loops as the different pyrotechnics are activated during the manouvres. The next part to this DVD is called "Beach Run" and is filmed at the famous Torrey Pines cliff slope soaring site in California, this site has been used for soaring for more than seventy four years. This is part of the DVD is very impressive as the full size 15 metre class sailplanes slope soar on these cliffs after being towed aloft by vehicle. The flying is incredible as these full size pilots work the lift and really get moving to high speed and perform low passes and steep fast turns in the lift.The energy retention of the full size sailplanes is incredible. This DVD contains "stills" where you can take a closer look at whats going on in the footage. Following this is the footage that is named "White Planes". This shows shots of many different sailpanes being launched and has aerial shots of sailplanes flying. The different types include modern and vintage sailplanes as well as what looks to be homebuilt sailplane. It is mainly high alititude shots shown but there are other different types. The footage is all "stills" but is still interesting and exciting to watch and you can press pause for a closer look. The final part of this DVD is called "Going The Distance" and is informative look at U.S Open class national championships held in California in 2001 and is the best part of this DVD. It is great to watch all these open class sailplanes being unloaded from the trailers and being prepared for flight. Some of the Sailplanes are just as impressive on the ground as they are in the air. It looks magnificent as all these aircraft are towed to altidude to begin the days racing. The takeoffs are supurb as the wings flex and the sailplanes lift of the ground. This DVD is a must for anyone that is keen on full size soaring aircraft or is interested in these large sailplanes.

Secrets Of Thermal Soaring

This DVD contains three parts, secrets part 1, secrets part 2 and the extras. This DVD is designed to teach the begginner how to thermal soar effectively. It shows how to read air and look for the markers which show where and how thermals occur. It does this by using diagrams to explain the atmospheric and other conditions that cause thermals to occur in the atmosphere. This DVD is highly explanatory as it goes through low altitude thermals right up to an explanation of what happens to thermals above 15000 feet. This DVD runs for one hour and twenty minutes. The explanations of atmospheric conditions are supurb and thoroughly explained. The diagrams on this DVD are interesting and highly informative as you learn the different conditions that cause thermals to occur. This DVD also explains the best times to thermal soar and how thermals are affected by the time of the day. Part two explains how wind affects the way thermals occur and provides useful information on "reading" thermals by using wind "markers". It shows how wind can have a massive effect on the size and shape of thermals as they increase in height. The description of thermals and how they occur is highly informative and this DVD comes highly reccomended as it explains this factual infomation, and provides useful information over the whole running time. This DVD is well worth watching for any soaring pilot.

Endless Lift 2

There is three parts to this DVD part 1 and Part 2, plus extras. This DVD begins with some supurb scale and other gliders flying on another excellent slope in the United States and is a good, interesting, beggining to soaring DVD footage. The first slope shown is packed with many different gliders from dedicated slopies right up to large full on scale sailplanes performing extreme manouvres for this type of model. These United States slopes show good lift even in light wind conditions. Next up is Combat Foamies which shows different EPP foam models dog fighting by mid airing each other trying to knock the oposition to the ground by mid air collions. This footage shows the durability of EPP foam as many crashes occur for what looks no damage. This footage shows examples of the fun and enjoyment that can be had flying slope combat. Following the combat footage is a United States soaring compeition In California.This is one of the biggest events in the US with more than 250 competitors. Different from our soaring events, the winches and other launch items seemed to be supllied by the organisers, definitely not like Australia.This is very hectic with apparently about 1000 launches per day. From this footage I can tell you that our soaring pilots are just as good as the US pilots as you watch them in action. In these US events "Skegs" that are underneath the model provide an effective brake stopping the model almost instantly making the landing have no slide, these are not allowed in Australia, and make spot landing a lot easier. Slope Racing is the next topic covered in this DVD with four and more battling it out on the slopes in this US style slope racing. This footage is interesting and different as the pilots try to get the quickest times in the strong lift available. This is filmed at Torrey Pines the well known California slope sight. The next lot of racing is at different site and shows pairs racing, just two people. Then some International Hand Launch Festival footage was shown, the biggest US hand launch competition, and one pilot would find a thermal and all other models would quickly join in climbing out to a good height. This is good flying and you see US soaring champion Joe Wurts in action hand launching his glider.There is a heap more stuff on this DVD but then again I think I would spoil the fun and the action involved by watching these things! Well worth purchasing, an informative and interersting look at the US soaring scene.

Endless Lift 3

Endless lift 3 contains three parts plus extras, the DVD runs for one hour and twenty eight minutes. There are many explanantions of different types of flying on this DVD and the information is useful. This DVD begins with some scale sailplanes flying including what looks to be a vintage Reiher slope soaring at an impressive soaring sight. Next is footage from the F5b world championships and this is supurb as these powerful 27 plus cells models hammer around the sky.There is even footage of the year 2000 Australian F5B team in action. These small models with massive power and extreme strength are really worth watching and F5b flying is thoroughly explained. Next in this DVD is some U.S cross-country soaring. This shows pilots flying large models over long distance using Varios and flying on a pre marked course. In the USA they offer as awards, badges, the longest flight award that could be achieved was 100 miles. These models were different and interesting as they seemed to be rudder, elevator and flap models with large wingspans and big noses, very different and apparently to hold large batteries.Varios are allowed and these could be heard as the pilots started on to the course. They used cars to follow the sailplanes around the course. Cross country soaring was thoroughly explained and looks to be alive and well in the United States and shows some very informative footage on cross country racing. Next was an interview with soaring world champion Daryl Perkins. This begins with Daryl explaining how he began soaring and his early career in RC flying. In this DVD Daryl explains some of the secrets of F3B flying and tactical and other useful information. Daryl Perkins is one of the most respected and succesful US competiton pilots and his interview is highly informative. If you are into competition, I think it is worth watching this DVD for this interview alone. It is an excellent explanation as to what can occur during competition and looks to be filmed at a US soaring competition. The next part of this DVD is some excellent footage of Dynamic Soaring. This technique is thoroughly explained as you watch film producer Paul Naton acheive a speed of 173mph. This type of flying uses the boundary layer behind the slope to acheive incredible speeds. The DVD also shows what happens when you go to fast as a moulded model explodes, and many pieces, wings and other parts fall to the ground! This footage is awesome as you hear the unique whistle that occurs during Dynamic Soaring. Part 2 Of this DVD is called Lift On Demand. It shows a number of electric saillplanes performing different tasks and explains the electrification of a 3.1 metre F3j sized model sailplane. The model is a Stratos and looks impressive as it climbs out on electric power. There is good electric footage on this DVD. Next is the Spin Revoloution, the "discus launch" style of model glider that began in the U.S. In the US this is called side-arm launching. You will see many different model sailplanes fly and the various engineering issues are explained through discussion with the pilots that pioneered this style of flying. Also shown was some magnificent aero tow footage with many different types of scale sailplanes shown and some impressive tow planes. The large SB10 model was supurb and looked good in flight. The footage showed modern and vintage sailplanes and some of the vintage models were exceptional. It was great to see some of the US towplanes in action; they looked powerful and and well-built as they towed some of these 5 metre plus models in to the air. There is more to this DVD, but I do not wish to spoil watching it! This DVD was entertaining, well worth purchasing.

PSS Masters

This DVD begins with PSS models carving up the slope. PSS stands for Powered Scale Slope Soaring and is unique type of rc soaring and this DVD shows supurb demonstrations of these PSS models. These slope soarers are modelled of full size aircraft. The DVD begins with still shots of WW2 model aircraft. There are shots of an German-designed ME262 jet, just one the many different types of PSS models demonstrated in the beggining of the footage. It seems that PSS is a very popular form of slope soaring in the United States with a large turnout at the PSS meetings where a lot of the DVD is filmed. The different aircraft are supurb with explanations from the builders of these models on how to construct these different style models. This DVD is all slope soaring and I am highly jealous of the different sites where this DVD was filmed, the sites are excellent! It shows nicely built PSS models performing as well as many others slope soar in the strong lift during parts of the footage. PSS is clearly explained at the beggining of this DVD, and if you wish to have success with this style of soaring, then this DVD is a neccessity. It shows how to make these full size designs fly correctly in the model form and other different tips. The Inland Slope Rebels is the club that demonstrates most of the flying on this DVD and look to be mainly into PSS. The explanations from the members of this club were helpful and informative. The sites where this club flys again showed the supurb flying terrain for slope soaring in th United States. This DVD was filmed in the year 2004 so the information is current and relevant. Fast, good flying aircraft are shown throughout the DVD. If you like slope soaring you will enjoy this DVD. All the footage is of slope soaring and the detailing and effort put in to some of these unique models is incredible, well worth watching for an informative look at PSS .

Just Want To Fly

Just want to fly contains three parts, part 1,part 2 and the extras. Just Want To Fly begins with Manfred Radius demonstration as seen in Red Line Sky in his Salto. I will mention again, that this is some of the best sailplane aerobatic footage that you will ever see. The next part of this DVD is called Kodak Moments and is number of still shots of all types of model aircraft from scale models right through to fast F3B type sailplanes. Pressing pause is handy here as these stills are shots of some good model aircraft. Next was a vintage sialplane flying in some strong lift. The model was really hammering around and I began to wonder when the model would break! It ends though, in a nice landing from this gull wing vintage sailplane at what looks to be the famous slope sight Torrey Pines in California. Part 2 begins with some footage of an aircraft that should not fly but actually flys ok, the model is a freak and interesting to watch sort of cruise around. Next is anti gravity, showing an electric model hammering around. Im not really in to electrics,but again they do go quick and I can see they would be good fun to fly. Next up is 27 cell electric model at a slope sight. This model has grunt and was flown well by the pilot on the sticks slope soaring as well as hammering up by electric acheiving 250 kph plus speeds on the downward legs. This footage ends with an impressive spot landing. Next up is a large PSS model an Antonv An225, a 1/16 scale replica of a Russian cargo aircraft, it was light at 40 pound weight. The model is shown aerotowed, as well as launched of the slope. This model is unique and at such a small scale is so huge! The Aero tow looks hairy on takeoff as this model is towed in what must be a cross wind. They on-board camera footage from this model is interesting and unique as the English countryside is seen off into the distance. It looks good as this 40 pound model flys well. Next up is the best dynamic soaring you will ever see on DVD. It shows the world record being acheived 373kph and the shows how this flying is done. The explosion of a DS model at high speed is scary as parts go everywhere as it explodes. This type of soaring in the boundary layer is impressive and again the unique whistle, almost a "whoosh" noise as it gets louder compared to the speed, and sounds awesome. This is the most impressive part of this DVD, this stuff is exciting to watch. This is a well made and interesting DVD, a must for any soaring buff especially if you are into DS.

Thats it for this edition I hope these reviews are entertaining and informative and again many thanks to Model Flight for prviding the DVDs that have allowed this edition of the soaring circle to be written.Happy, safe and succesful soaring. Hayden Daley.

Available From:

Multiplex Profi 4000 The Multiplex Profi 4000 is a high quality tray radio manafactured in Germany. It has a number of unique features in its programming to set up F3B and F3J models, and the Profi 4000 is one of the few tray radios that allows for easy use of RC pilots that fly with thumbs. The radio has a very narrow case and this allows for long and short sticks to be used, covering all flying styles with comfort being a great asset when using this radio. There is also a Multiplex manufactured tray available for the Profi 4000. The radio has twelve proportional channels and also has a switchable backlit screen that makes for excellent visibility in poorly lit workshops.

I treat each new computer radio as a new computer "program" to learn. Whilst this radio is unique in its programming, once you have a basic understanding of the program pretty much any adjustment can be made on any channel or function. This radio also has plenty of mixers and these allow for complicated setups of all types of Scale, F3B and F3J models. This radio offers a 16 bit micro processor system which allows for software expansion and software updates as competition modeling evolves. The radio can also be hardware updated with stick switches and other hardware such as larger/smaller switches, more switches and other expansion parts. This radio offers different base types of programming, essentially computer programming which can be more or less complicated for the model required. The Universal mode provides all of the features the radio has to offer, essentially all functions are provided to be used. All basic programming you will find in every computer radio is in this unit, however with all switches controls and functions assignable and adjustable you can get really complicated models set up properly. This "assignability” is provided by very few radios and the Profi 4000 does this very well. The base of all programming in this unit is the use of progressive menus. These menu choices open up all the programming option's in this radio, once this feature is understood it allows more and less complicated programming to be achieved. There are five main menus and these have been designed to be used in order to program, essentitally menu 1, leads to menu 2 and so on during the set up of the model. The model sticks also intergrate with the programming, and in certain cases moving of the sticks is required to program.

The combi-switch function provides for easy coupling of aileron and rudder, the mix is assignable to any switch on the radio and this function makes models turn better, any mix will provide this but this setting on this radio allows for different rates; and when switching flight modes this setting can be adjusted. It very useful and this "specific" name in the programming makes this function easy to find when programming.

This radio has a built in scanner which actively scans the frequencys and prevents the radio from transmitting if someone is on your channel. It also scans the whole band for radios transmitting. The company name for this feature is "channel check" and it is patented technology. Also if there is interference on your channel the radio will also lock out. This radio uses a high capacity 3000 mah, NiMh pack as its power source. It provides for long usage times and lots of flying with the one charge. I am a big fan of large battery packs in transmitters and as these radios provide a full day of competition flying. The radio can also be easily opened to allow for direct charging of the battery pack. The radio also has a larger than usual aerial which must provide a better signal than smaller aerials and the aerial can also be swiveled taking the aerial out of your line of sight.

The Profi 4000 has memory for up to 99 models. It is very doubtful if all these memories would be required, but it does guarantee the owner that the radio won't run out of model memories. Model memories can be copied, allowing the "backup" of model programs when changing setting's, you can keep a copy of the original program, and if an error is made you can change back to the original program.

This radio has built in stopwatches and timers, these are highly useful for competition soaring with alarms providing an audible warning as the time is reached. These timers can count both forwards and backwards allowing you freedom to time flights whilst practicing by simply flicking a switch to activate these built in timer's. Another highly useful feature for F3B practice for the distance task is the lap counter which counts laps flown, by using a switch to activate the function. I do not know of any other radio with this function.

The Profi 4000 has different transmission modes. This covers all Multiplex receiver options and allows for the use of other FM receivers from other companies. The modes are PPM7, PPM9, PPM12 and the Multiplex receivers PCM/A mode. Please note when using PPM receivers from other companies with Profi 4000, that an FM transmit adjustment needs to be changed to match receivers that are not Multiplex, this radio transmits in a different format than other companies and to use other companies receivers reliably this adjustment must be made to the FM transmission mode..

I have mentioned the flight mode function previously and this function allows for up to five different model settings to be switched during flight essentially different "phases" of flight, have different settings. Once the flight modes are assigned you can name these modes so that when the mode is changed the mode in operation is displayed on the screen. For competition soaring this is really the only way to get the required settings for launch and for F3B models the settings for the distance, thermal and speed tasks to be activated during flight. Flight modes are probably the best feature on this radio, it allows for complicated models to be set-up properly for all phases of flight.

When programming F3B models please note that three model memories will be required, a seperate program for speed, distance and thermal. Also if setting a up an F3B model for F3J, another model memory will be required for the hand-tow launch setting. Typical names for flight modes for the F3B distance task would be launch1, launch2, reflex1, distance1 and landing1. The co-pilot unit is available as an option and provides speech to the Profi 4000. This feature can "say" when flight modes are changed, when timer 1 and timer 2 are activated and the Lap number and lap time when counting laps. These speech announcements can be changed to a time setting, where the speech is activated every thirty seconds for example.

I have no experience with Multiplex radios, and spent 45 minutes using the radio. The Profi 4000 has 6 butttons and a rotary knob to allow for swift changing of the settings. In this time I managed access most settings required to set up a competition sailplane. I changed some simple settings and moved the sticks to allow for changes in throws. I accessed the flight mode settings in the menus and got a reasonable understanding of the programming required to get this function working. I used the servo reversing function and found other useful features in this time. Overall a very versatile unit and I believe within 4-6 hours most people would have an understanding of the program and would not require the manual for most model programs. With a total grasp of the radio programming I believe that a 12 channel model could be set-up completely in 20 to 30 minutes with all functions and flight modes working.

The Profi 4000 is a well designed 12 channel radio. It has features for all types of competition flying and it can be expanded to suit all styles of model flying. This transmitter provides unique features for competition soaring. The narrow width of the radio allows for use by all model pilots whether they fly with a tray or with thumbs. The Multiplex line can be purchased from all hobby stores that deal with Model Engines and I would like to thank Model Engines for providing the Profi 4000 for review.

Lanyu Minimoa 5.33m


The Minimoa is one of the most famous and well known vintage sailplanes of the era. This model is a fairly accurate replica of this aircraft. There is still several Minimoas flying around the world and the internet will provide details on these full size aircraft. This model is traditionally constructed utilizing fabric covering and laser cut componetry. This model is not greatly detailed in regards to scale fittings however the scope is there to detail these models. This model is large and heavy and has to pass inspection before flight, please contact your nearest large model inspector if you have any problems or queries during construction. MAAA inspectors can be found on the internet. You must also have the inspector at the model certification flight. This model is very large and if transport is an issue Lanyu models also make a smaller size Minimoa.


The first thing I did with model was to iron down the fabric with a covering iron and tautened the fabric as much as possible with a model heat gun. I gave the model a very light coat of thinned dope to seal the fabric. If you plan to do this only a very light coat is needed or you may have problems with excess shrinking damaging the airframe, also do not brush dope on to the painted surfaces, you must be selective with process, or, spray the thinned dope on painted surfaces with an airbrush keeping the airframe level so there is no runs. The fuselage was next and I cut appropriate tray for batteries and tow release servos, these were epoxied in place with an epoxy/qcell mix to allow for sanding of fillets that looks very neat when completed. The photos show the fillets unsanded. I used a dual battery backing system on the model for power to the radio gear and these items were mounted with cable ties available from your local electronics shop and epoxied in position. I chose to make my radio installation as low as possible to allow for a scale cockpit that will be added in the future. During construction of the wings I had my first minor drama. I accidentally cut the spoiler bay fabric out of the wing instead of using the area of fabric to cover the airbrake installation. After this disaster I made the choice to use large commercially available Graupner spoilers. This took time and recovering but worked out ok in the end. The spoilers fit into the model and work well on the bench. I then proceeded to mount the servos and to run long length leads down the wings to the fuselage. I also wired extension leads to the tip panels for aileron control. I used 11kg torque servos for the aileron controls, more torque is better on these large aileron surfaces, I wouldn’t use servos of less torque on this control. I used NES 517 servos for the spoilers, there is not a great load on the spoilers. The hatch covers for wing servos were then screwed in place to cover the servos. I used large Du-Bro plastic horns designed for large models which can be ordered from your local hobby store, these are made of very strong plastic and I have used them for a couple of years without a single failure. These horns were used on aileron, rudder and elevator. These horns are designed for large power models. The elevator requires a servo mounted in the elevator, one of the good things about this scale model is the use of servos on all except the rudder mounted close to the surfaces, this live control allows for very little slop in the controls and provides better accuracy for the controls. Also down the back is the rudder and I used a Hi Tec jumbo on this control, this surface is large and I wanted a strong gear train on this particular surface. For the aerotow release I used a commercially available Graupner release, available from Model Flight. I drilled the mounting in the nose and epoxied the release in place. I used a Hi Tec servo for the Aerotow release. I used two 5 cell Sub C, 2500mah soldier battery pack's for this particular model and these large custom batteries are available from Model Flight. Also available from Model Flight is the dual battery switch control. These large batteries will provide long flights and another battery in case of failure. I prefer redundancy on large models for safety, and I also prefer to add more batteries instead of lead. For the receiver I used a JR RS770s synthesized receiver which does not use crystals, lessening the chance of a failure due to problems with the crystal.

It is now deadline day and I have this model very close to completion, I have to make wing root covers that I intend to make from light ply and spruce and cover with fabric. I also need to make a canopy frame, and cover the spoiler bays. Unfortunately the model is not ready for its initial test flight. Flying the Minimoa and radio setup will be in the next issue, from all accounts this model flys well. Rod Watkins from Victoria flew this sailplane at the Jerilderie aerotoe and was very happy.

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Direct from the Australian Soaring Scene