are rising columns of air created by convection heating. Birds
have been using this source of lift to gain altitude for a long
time and now the r/c glider flyer can have access to this free
source of energy. R/C models can be launched in to the air by
the aid of high start, winch and aero-tow and then released to
search for thermals.
requires strategy, skill, and luck!
Add some competition and it gets exciting.
test each other's soaring skills in Thermal Duration contests.
duration requires a knowledge of your airplane, the weather, and
the ability to see columns of rising air (also known as thermal
competitions are held throughout California. Competitors and
classes include novice, sportsman, and expert levels. Competing
in a group of your peers can add excitement to a Sunday
afternoon. Whether it's flying a Gentle Lady polyhedral in the
GLIDER class, trying to make a 5 minute time, or trying for a
spot landing where an inch can make the difference between first
and second. There is a challenge for every skill level.
Flying for time and landing skills come into play at
the sportsman and expert levels, while novice and GLIDER class
pilots are more concerned with just making their assigned task
The GLIDER class
is for those who enjoy flying polyhedral type airplanes with a
minimum of controls. A computer radio is NOT needed; in fact a
2-4 channel radio and a well designed plane are all that is
required to be competitive.
The Gentle Lady. A simple and
inexpensive way to get
involved in thermal soaring.
A tough landing task at
For expert and sportsman, landing within a second and hitting a
small spot on the ground can make the difference between first
and second place. This picture above shows a missed spot landing. The
aircraft must land with its nose inside of the triangle. The
closer you get to apex, the more points you receive. Here the
distance is good, but the plane is just outside of the
Scale Thermal Duration, No landing points needed.
To fly the
scale thermal duration task adds to the challenges of thermal
competition. These gliders do not have all the capabilities of
the unlimited T.D. gliders. Making your times are more
challenging due to generally lower launch heights and
performance. While making your task time is tougher, landing is
easier. Due to the long rollouts these planes are required to
use for landing, all you have to do is make a safe landing in
the designated runway. With extra points given for accurately
flying downwind, base, and a final approach, just like the real
thing! See our scale page for more info on this type of