By Jason Benson
(see images below)
If you are new to gliders, there are a few very enjoyable aspects you may want to try. Of course, the Radian is a lot of fun for just using the motor to climb up to altitude and cruise around the sky at a leisurely pace. You may even enjoy climbing to altitude and diving to perform loops and rolls and maybe the always fun high-speed flyby with the motor off. I enjoy listening to the whistle of air passing over the Radian as it goes by.
One other type of flying that you may find challenging but enjoyable is thermalling. When you are thermal flying, you are looking for columns of warm air that are moving upward. A good example of a thermal is a dust devil. These are thermals that have picked up debris, making them visible to the naked eye. When you find these columns of air, you can use them to gain altitude without the use of your motor. The Radian is not a high-performance thermal glider, but you can still use it to venture into this aspect of glider flying. The basics of detecting a thermal are to fly around and pay attention to what the glider is doing. Once in a while, you will see one wing get bumped upward. This is caused by one wing passing through a thermal while the other is outside of it. At this point, you want to turn toward the wing that was pushed up and start flying a tight circle. With a little practice, you will be able to get inside the column of air and gain altitude without ever turning on the motor.
Another form of glider flying that I have enjoyed since I first entered into the hobby of RC flight is slope soaring. For slope soaring, you need a hill that is free of obstructions and faced into the wind. You will use the wind that is moving up the face of the hill as lift. When you first try slope soaring, you will want to make S-shape turns away from the hill and fly back and forth in front of you. Later, you can move up to mild aerobatics and “half pipe”-style turns. Slope soaring is great fun, and you can stay in the air as long as there is wind to provide lift. The Radian is a great light-wind sloper, and if the wind dies off, just advance the throttle and bring it back without having to walk to the bottom of the hill.
I hope you’ll find these tips helpful and decide to try some new aspects of our great hobby.