Very early on in the life of this blog I posted a couple of pieces about my ‘Gentle Advancer’ which is a marriage of Quiet Advancer wings and a Gentle Lady fuselage. Both of these gliders are simple 2 metre span 2 channel rudder / elevator gliders with flat bottom Aquilla aerofoils. Re-reading them again has reminded me of the excitement I felt at the time I got her back into the air.

I mentioned that I intended to try my hand at slope soaring. Well it turns out I did and that led to my love of sloping and models like the Duck, Alula and Zip55. However on that initial exploratory flight I broke her :( it was a great landing by any standards in very blustery conditions but the short landing slide on the granite outcrop stove in the leading edge when it caught a wayward rock. The wings were already a bit the worse for wear and I mentioned I wanted to do a rebuild anyway but this forced my hand.

A lack of time, along with other models to play with meant she ended up back on the shelf – until now. I had acquired a folding prop and spinner for the Zip55 which I didn’t end up using so thought converting the Gentle Advancer to electric was a good idea. I took advantage of the Easter & ANZAC day long weekend to do the mods. While I was at it I stripped the covering off the wings and refurbished them. This turned out to be the biggest part of the job. 15 years worth of use and repairs had taken their toll. Some bad glue joints had failed completely and other sections were so crumbled they needed cutting out and rebuilding. While I was at it, I re-sanded the leading edge to add as much Phillips Entry as I could to try and add some form of high speed performance.

The covering went back on the wings today and it was time for a test flight. I deliberately left the nose uncovered incase the motor installation needed more work. This afternoon I loaded up the bike trailer and pedalled my way off to the park.

One test glide proved the wing rebuild hadn’t caused any nasty trim changes so after the second launch I slowly fed in some power. It’s just as well I was cautious because the thrust line needs some work. Full throttle needs almost full down elevator to stop a loop! example here

I had three climbs with the motor and one landing to get used to her again before going nice and high on the last climb. This allowed me to explore the air untill I found a thermal. I rode that as high and as far downwind as I dared. I’m very proud of the fact that this set of wings come from the very first RC model I ever built – and learned to fly on.

As usual the model attracted some attention from spectators. I had one bloke come out of his house and walk over especially for a chat, he told me all about his joyflight in a full size glider in New Zealand!

As always I’m forever wanting to go that little bit better. I want a better L/D and more high speed performance to cover more air in the search for thermals – so the question is do I build a new set of wings for her with something like the MH32 aerofoil or do I aim for a whole new 2+ metre thermal glider? But for now I’m still loving the simplicity of a slow flying, self launching glider that’s relaxing and graceful.