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Introduction to RC Gliders

RC gliders represent a really fun, challenging and rewarding aspect of the radio control hobby. Someone who has only seen a foam glider toy from a discount store might be wondering, "how much fun can that be?"

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The foam toy glides for a few seconds and then must be thrown again.

However, someone who has experienced a real or rc glider (or "sailplane") knows the difference.

These aircraft can stay up for hours, powered only by natural forces! They fly silently and majestically, as a sailboat rides the waves.

I've taken a ride in sailplane over the island of Oahu, and there's nothing quite like enjoying a quiet aerial view!

How does an rc glider get into the air, and how does it stay there? There are several methods of launching these airplanes.

The Slope Glider is actually tossed over the side of hill! This sounds scary, but when thrown into a rising current of air, the airplane will take flight immediately.

Winches or "hi-starts" are generally used to lauch large thermal gliders, from a flat field, and flown into rising currents of warm air ("thermals").

Handlaunch airplanes are thrown by hand from a flat field, and also flown into thermals.

Whichever method of launch is chosen, all gliders rely on relative upward movement of air to stay aloft.

It's an acquired skill to read these invisible air currents and get a long flight, which is what makes rc gliders so rewarding!