The House of Thud Radio Control Glider Hangar

Here's current what's in my hangar, in order of purchase
Zagi 3C
Omega HLG
Bluto 56"
Bolo 60" DLG
Coyote 72"
Moth 48"
M60 60"
XP-3 DLG 60"

No reviews here currently but I've picked up a bunch of other gliders
Bob Martin SR-7  (Duralene fuse and sheeted wings.   Draws a lot of attention from spectators at the slope)
Sting F3F (big 2.8 meter F3F plane and general sport flier.   Competitive F3F plane in the right conditions)
Mini Blade (nice molded sport flier.  Packs up very small)
Blade 2M DS  (This is the plane I want to go 200mph with)
Windrider Bee (best combat wing for the money out there today)
Wing Warrier Raider (big brute of a thing, but the Bee is a better all rounder)
Tuffplanes P-39 combat plane (I call it the P39-ish, because it really only vaguely resembles a real P39)
NCFM Halfpipe (probably fastest frontside 48" foamie sold today)
Wizard Compact II X-tail BPV (Most expensive plane, even used, and only been flown a couple times)
Destiny 54" (great inexpensive fast building very durable moldie)
Hades II F3B/F3F (Killed the Sting, and needed something to replace it with, so picked up this lightweight 2.8m F3F plane)
Fischer V Ultra F3F (Got it used at a good price.  3m F3F and sport flier.  Most importantly, not yellow.)
NCFM HP60 (60 inch version of the Halfpipe for big air)
Plane Insane Models 60" Thorn  (This plane is milled entirely out of Poplar hardwood.  It weighs 55-60oz and flies GREAT, and is pretty easy to repair)

or jump direct to Additional R/C related pages of mine and others plus realtime wind/weather page

  • zagi-small.jpg (8943 bytes)
  • (Nov 2005 - Most of  page is very out of date, but I just want to say, forget the Zagi 3C or the Zagi 5C or the Jazz Extreme.    The Windrider Bee is a superior combat wing in every way (faster, stronger, more durable, cheaper, easier build).    Pick one up from Predator Wings)
  • What follows is my original review of the Zagi.
    Trick RC Zagi 3C (all EPP combat wing) -  Retired.  It hasn't seen much combat with other gliders, but it has survived many battles with the ground, rocks, bushes, a hawk or two and the occasional post and it just keeps on flying.  I picked it up as my very first R/C glider Christmas 2000 because I'd heard it was reasonably quick maneuverable and indestructible.    True on all counts, although there are faster EPP swept wings out there like the Boomerang and Jazz Xtreme.  The Zagi has been a faithful flyer, but it's finally worn out and I wanted to use its gear in the Jazz.   (Somehow the carbon spars got beat to death too)  The Zagi is a great way to learn ailerons with minial risk and minimal cost.  I taught myself to fly from scratch on the Zagi, having flown various flight sims over the years.   It can often be found at local hobby stores for less than what Trick RC charges and goes together in about 2 nights.  About $50. 
    I learned a couple things about the Zagi early on.   (Generally applies to all Zagi models
    but especially the EPP ones)
    - The suggested CG is too far forward.  Move the CG back by removing some of that nose weight until the elevons trimmed out flatter during level flight.   It'll fly faster, tip stall less, and be much more responsive. 
    - Crash it nose first.   If it needs to go down, it can survive a 60mph impact with the ground on its nose, but a 5mph impact with the ground on its elevons will break them or the servos.   That means you're more likely to hurt it trying to land it slow, or catch it, and miss.  If it's going down, nose it in.  
    - If you experience the infamous Zagi Spiral of Death (you'll know), push the nose down as hard as you can.  Fly it at the ground, and pull out only when the spiral has quit and you've got some airspeed up. 
    - Use your Zagi to test the air for other gliders.  If the 3C will fly, so will most anything else.
  • zagi3c-reincarnate-small.jpg (4916 bytes)Well, I said above how I had retired the Zagi 3C.   It lives again.   Stripped off all the old covering, shaved the spars down, cut the ends off where they were mangled, Gooped and hot melt glued it all back together, recovered strong, and now it flies as good (better actually) than new.  Still a faithful all rounder

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    Northeast Sailplanes Omega HLG - The Zagi 3C won't hang in light air (not for lack of trying), and I saw someone flying an Eli 2 (no longer available as far as I know), so knew I needed a handlaunch.  Sal at NESail was having problems getting the Eli 2 in so he recommended the Omega HLG.   These two gliders couldn't be more different.  Eli 2 is a slow flying poly.  The Omega is a fast flying flaperon glider.    As my second glider and a crunchie to boot, learning to fly this thing was not without its bad moments.   A Zagi managed to occupy the same airspace as me on the first day I flew it, snapped the joiner rod, pulled one wing pin through the fuse, and it fell 75 feet nose down, and left a hole in the ground.  The fuse was cracked 3/4 the way through, and abused everywhere.   The wing was dented but otherwise undamaged.  I repaired it easily.    It had a couple other bad crashes (an errant post, and later some high wind following an epic inland thermal).  It's now heavier than most HLGs but I got better at the controls, and it hasn't had a bad landing in 9 months or more.   Even though it is very fast, one way I found to minimize trauma was to learn how to catch it.    Anyway, I've been very happy with the Omega HLG overall as it is fast enough to fly on the slope and will slow down and climb in a light thermal and is maneuverable.    It has drawn many many positive comments from others on the slope for its looks.    There are some areas of the fuse that should be reinforced *before* the first flight.  Email me for details.   (I'll put em up here eventually) 
    Here are some photos of my Omega just after building.   Top, Side,.Cockpitsmall 720mAh NiMH 4xAAAA battery, installed.  (Also put that same battery in my Nemesis)
  • JW-small.jpg (11225 bytes)
    Bowman's Hobbies JW - 58" EPP DS Demon.  Like a lot of slope fliers I saw videos of DS and knew I needed to get me some of that.  No one in the my area does it regularly for some reason.   The JW was getting rave reviews as an impact resistant DS machine.    It is that.   It's also rock solid stable on the front side and flies through  turbulence like it isn't there.   It's quite relaxing to fly close to the ground at high speeds because it's so stable.    I've had moderate success DSing it, with my best being about 8 continuous turns on the backside.   Just need more practice.    It has taken some truly ballistic impacts and is still flying.   Check out some videos of my JW doing aerobatics on the frontside.
    Photos here.  Flying my JW on the frontside in front of DenverFlying my JW in front of Red Rocks on a cold day.
  • scooter-small.jpg (15494 bytes)
    Bowman's Hobbies Scooter - I saw someone flying a Scooter on a high wind day and he was doing continuous snap rolls 3 or 4 at a time 4 feet over the hill.   The secret to the Scooter is that it has only a 36" wing span, very thin fast wing profile and weighs about 13oz, making for a high wing loading.   It'll work the very thinnest lift band so can fly on small slopes and keeping it up in moderately light stuff, but can also penetrate into a 30mph wind.    I recently found that it was the *only* foamie I had at the time, that could fly in a 45+mph wind, because I was able to strap 4.5oz of lead on the top bringing the wing loading up to 19oz/sq-ft and it could fly when literally everything else blew away.  The only other glider on the slope at the time was a 60" crunchie with 25oz of lead strapped to it.    The Scooter's roll rate is amazing, it's very maneuverable, and it's absolutely sickenly cute because it's so small.    It seems to have about the same wing loading as the local hawks because I've parked it right next to a hawk and just sat there in formation for 10 minutes.    I recommend flying with dual rates so you can do the mega snap rolls, but also slow it down a bit for finer control at higher airspeeds.  
    Photos of it here.   Parked next to a hawk, Splat.. Occupying the same airspace.
  • nemesis-small.jpg (30675 bytes)
    Composite Specialties Nemesis - This is a 60" moulded slope racer.   My inspiration for getting one was seeing how fast the Charlie Richards Renegade flies (not easily available any more), and knowing I needed something comparable.   The Nemesis flies in almost no lift and seems to extract energy from nowhere through shear force of will and speed.    It is a big tricky to get down sometimes because it lands fast, although with enough spoileron it'll slow right now.  I've only flown it with about 5 1/2 oz of ballast so far, which helps, but I know it could use more sometimes.    I have DSed it a couple times now, and it it's sorta scary how fast it flits through thet turns.    I think I need an even lower rate dual rate setting because it feels a little twitchy at 80+ mph.   Photos of my Nemesis can be found here and a couple here.   There's also some videos of it flying on my videos page.  Check em out.

  • jazz1-small.jpg (14485 bytes)
    Canterbury Sailplanes Jazz Xtreme - This is the replacement to my much abused Zagi 3C to be used as my  primary EPP flying wing.   It's faster than my Zagi was and more maneuverable.    Mine came out a bit heavy because I built it very strong for combat and DS duty, and thus it seems to fly right past all the other combat wings on the slope and I've already DSed on a small hill unballasted.   It'll still stay up in modately light lift, penetrates into very high winds and I've even nearly specked it out thermalling.    I've flown it in combat a few times so far and the main trick is figuring out how to deal with its speed.    I tried to build it slippery.  I've got simple scotch tape wipers on the bottom to span the hinge gap and I used plastic spoons cut with the handles cut out over the servo horns for better aerodynamics and for impact protection.
    Photos.   TopBottom,   Spoon CoversHead on


  • bluto-small.jpg (7531 bytes)
    North County Flying Machines Bluto - May very well be the fastest 48" EPP glider available today.  Unbelievable energy retention and it simply doesn't fly slow.     The longer you fly the faster it gets.    This is liable to replace the JW as my primary high speed, higher wind, dynamic soaring glider.  It's got about 3 times the roll rate of the JW or Nemesis too.    It's very very fast out of the box, but  I also built it with a ballast tube so it should be able to fly in nearly anything I can throw at it.    Here's my complete review of it, and build photos.   I've DSed it a few times and it makes *really* big fast loops.   It takes a lot of attention to fly as does any 48" plane at 80-90mph, but so far it's been the easiest to DS of any of my gliders.   It gets a lot of attention from other people on the slope too.       They now are selling a 56" version that's supposed to be "in a whole other league" (faster, more stable, better in every way), so of course I've got one of those on the way too.
  • miraj1-small.jpg (23019 bytes)
  • Aeromod Miiraj from Composite Specialties. - This is an F3F competition plane (noone flies F3F around here, but I wanted a big fast sloper so this is it).  I bought it used, so it was pre-built.   The original owner even has a Stylus transmitter so he sent me all his settings, I plugged them into the radio, supplied a crystal for the receiver, and was flying a couple hours after it arrived here.   I don't mind building, but I'd much rather be flying.   Anyway, it's big (97.6" span dwarfs my 8 foot couch here), and fast, although the scale of the thing kind of throws me off.  It doesn't always seem fast compared to my Nemesis, but after flying the Miraj for a while, and then switching to the Nemesis it seems fast and slow at the same time because it's not much more than half the size.   The Nemesis looks fast, the Miraj eats up more sky in the same amount of time, but looks slower.   The Miraj is very stable, has good roll response, is quiet because it's not hollow moulded (top wing surface is moulded and then they attach the bottom surface along with a foam core).   The original owner said it hadn't been DSed, so of course the 3rd day I had it, I dropped it off the backside.    Very stable, very fast, and easy to fly on the backside.   I made a couple turns yesterday behind the dam, and followed it with a 400 foot zoom.  Wheee..   Big planes like this are really easy to fly because they've got a lot of rotational inertia, and the big flap and crow setting allow it to slow right down to land or just park somewhere over the slope.    I flew it in some bigger winds with a pound of ballast (it takes up to 1 1/2 pounds) and it does great.    Have got some videos of it DSing in super light winds.    Need the DiVX Codec from to view them.   Here they are.   Slow turns, and faster turns.
  • bluto56-thm.jpg (28157 bytes)
    The new improved 56" Bluto from NCFM.   Everything the 48" Bluto is, but bigger, faster, more stable and with amazing energy retention.   Did I mention FASTER..     I've DSed it only briefly in sub optimal conditions and the main thing I noticed was huge energy retention and it slices through the turbulence like it isn't there.  Have flown it on the frontside some and it eats up huge expanses of sky and while quite heavy does ok in moderately light winds, although it's not a floater, and doesn't handle light.    I'm pretty sure there isn't a wind that can be said to be too strong for it.    I built it with a tube big enough to hold 20oz of weight, but I doubt I'll ever use more than half that.  I flew it at NCAR in 25-40mph winds with a bunch of combat wings, a 1-26 and the Bluto made em all look like they were standing still. 

    Here are my extensive build photos for the 56" Bluto.     I've got a new page dedicated to the Bluto 56 as well.
  • bolo1-small.jpg (6950 bytes)
    This is the Ed Berg Bolo 60" DLG.   Ed Berg is a friend and flying buddy as well as a builder.  He used some Mark Drela camber changing airfoils and couple different 60" DLGs with pod and boom fuselages and foam/balsa stabs.   I told him I wanted one after seeing his fly and he built it and I bought it.  It's a great flier for the conditions we fly which is mixed slope and thermal flying.  It's a bit heavy for a DLG so it's not going to win any competitions, but I'm getting 80 foot launches out of   it and it's quite strong.   Since I got this, the Omega HLG hasn't seen much use.  I can discus this thing up to nearly the same height I could mini hi-start the Omega and this does everything the Omega does and more.   It's fast, has large flaperons so it is aerobatic, and slows down pretty good on final approach.    I fly it with no gyro as it has a large vertical stab, and I just hold a little rudder over with my thumb on launch.    Here's a photo of the wing peg installation.
  • coyote1-small.jpg (6832 bytes)
    This is a Bob Martin Coyote.   It's fairly well known for having a Duralene fuselage making it nearly indestructible.    It has a sheeted foam wing and late 80's vintage airfoil.   I set out specifically to buy this plane or the Bob Martin SR-7 to get my hands on a Duralene fuse, and then either fly it as is, or see if I can talk Ed into helping me design some new faster wings for it.  The idea was to have a crunchie that I could fly in more challenging locations like Mt. Zion and Loveland pass without great fear of smashing the fuse all to pieces.   I've only flown it on one day, from the top of Loveland pass with a somewhat cobbled together radio setup.  It needed something like 6 oz of nose weight to ballance so this beasty is pretty heavy, but it flies fine.  Not a huge speed range with this airfoil and the ailerons are too small, but all that can be fixed.    I'm looking forward to some bigger winter winds so I can get it out again.  
    When I got this thing, the fuselage was pretty beat up, and was sort of a mud color.   I found a way to restore the Duralene surface to perfection.   I hit it with the soft buffing wheel on the dremel tool, which pulled the dirt out of the scratches and then smoothed the scratches right down.  That left a very smooth, but slightly matt finish.  I then went over with a simple small diameter wooden dowel, and block of balsa rubbing it vigorously, which actually put a smooth near mirror finish back on the plastic.  It now looks good as new.  1, 2
  • m60-thumb.jpg (11811 bytes)
  • This is the 60" M60 from NCFM.  This thing is bigger, badder, faster, better than the Moth.  It has nearly the all out speed of the 56" Bluto, but also turns and rolls much more quickly, and has a wider speed range.  It's more forgiving at slow speeds than the Bluto and just flies a razor sharp line at high speeds, and loves to fly inverted.    I've built two so far.  First one suffered a mechanical failure at 100+mph and went straight into the ground.  I ordered a replacement immediately, and the second  is now flying.   
    A bunch of construction photos and some video clips of it flying can be found here.
  • xp3-1-thumb.jpg (12503 bytes)
  • This is (was) my XP-3 DLG from Polecat Aero
  • Ordered it in May, arrived in August.. Built in a week, flew for a little over a week after that, and then it *flew away*.  Gone.    This is a very high performance discus launch glider.  I've been flying the 14.5-15 oz Bolo for over a year, which works great in very light slope conditions.  The XP-3 I wanted for flatland soaring.    It built to about 10.5oz, launched higher, has a better glide ratio, slows down more for thermals and hand catches etc.   On the day I lost it, it was directly overhead, at least 1000 feet above me.  Took my eye off of it for a few seconds, looked back, nothing.   Threw into spin, did everything else that can be done to try to find a glider lost in the sky, and it just never turned up again.  Was flying from the middle of a big park, but surrounded by neighborhoods and trees and such, so virtually no hope of finding it.  Could be anywhere in a 3/4 mile radius.   Reward posted, no calls.  It's gone.
    Build photos here


Additional R/C links

More coming.. Including links to photos, R/C slope soaring sites in the West Denver Metro area and more.
Check out my realtime weather/wind links for the Denver area
Check out my R/C Soaring related posts on my Web/usenet history page
Pop over to North County Flying Machines makers of the Bluto48, Bluto56,  Moth and M60.
Lots of interesting, fast, and expensive sailplanes at Composite Specialities (
A boatload of gliders at North East Sailplanes (take the descriptions with a grain of salt)
Most active R/C soaring forums on the net are at RCGroups.   Other forums available are at GliderKing (pretty much all slope soarers, mostly fast composites), RCOnline (huge site, small soaring community), Flightlines (another big site cool folks in the soaring group)  and RCSoaring (quite small)

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