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Elan 100 Build

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Andy Sephton 106/02/2019 20:41:04
157 forum posts
395 photos

I've always had a soft spot for gliders so when I saw the review in RCM&E of the Cambrian Models Elan 100, and especially when the kit costs just under £70, the model seemed too good to miss. Accordingly, the kit was ordered as my Christmas present for 2018.

I was not disappointed. The kit appears to be quite complete with all the wood and hardware provided. As a further plus, the balsa was some of the lightest I've seen in a kit. The only complaint I can table is that the plan only shows one wing half. The instructions state that the plan should be traced onto the other side of the sheet to produce the other wing, but, I was still disappointed at the omission.

Up to now, other projects have taken priority, but nevertheless, it was started this afternoon with the laying down of the fuselage sides and laminating of the root ribs. The latter are a balsa ply sandwich for the first four ribs on the wings.


Martyn K06/02/2019 20:46:38
5102 forum posts
3701 photos

Looking forward to following this one Andy

Miketgd07/02/2019 12:55:34
70 forum posts
22 photos

I took my plan to a local photocopy shop and they were able to reverse print it. Saved a lot of hassle for a couple of pounds.

Nigel R07/02/2019 13:49:27
4173 forum posts
698 photos

"The instructions state that the plan should be traced onto the other side of the sheet to produce the other wing,"

Wipe the plan with some paraffin or WD40 or similar thin oil, it should go transparent.

Martyn K07/02/2019 19:21:53
5102 forum posts
3701 photos
I use linseed oil. It has a lovely smell and makes the plan non stick.

Andy Sephton 108/02/2019 17:48:41
157 forum posts
395 photos

I really ought to be doing Danny Wynne Fenton's Fury rather than this one....but it's such a good kit that it's too good to miss!

The build progresses with a check of the drilled holes in the ribs and fuselage to make sure all lines up as it should....img_8846.jpeg

.....then each of six separate wing panels. Thanks for the above comments, but i've used the oiling method to see though plans since the 60s, so that's what I used here. In this case it was WD-40, but I've successfully used cooking oil in the past when there was nothing else to hand. The only essential thing I'd recommend is to cover both the building board and the plan with clingfilm to prevent contamination of the board and model with the oil.

Right inner panel first - I use engineer's squares to support the ribs to ensure they remain square while they are drying



As recommended in the instructions, the LE sheeting is glued in place with the wing still on the board. I use scrap 6mm balsa to help hold the sheeting in place while the glue dries. Not shown in the pic, but the front of the spars have been webbed with 1.5mm balsa


Left inner panel next - note reverse of plan 'oiled' with WD-40.


Right middle panel next:


While the wing sheeting was drying, I used the engineers squares to set up three of the fuselage formers:


and when those were dry, the two fuselage sides were joined. (I really must dig out my SLEC building would have been ideal for this job!)


Outrunner08/02/2019 18:04:11
85 forum posts
27 photos

Good collection of engineers squares you have there Andy, I must get some more. I would like to build an Elan, it looks a nice kit, although I would put a motor in the front.



Andy Sephton 113/02/2019 13:56:40
157 forum posts
395 photos

I'm finding this one to be a very enjoyable build. As a consequence, it's progressing well. The next photo shows one of the tip panels under construction:


..Which has left me with 6 wing panels


The fuselage ends were then joined:





and while that lot was drying the empennage was laid down:




Edited By Andy Sephton 1 on 13/02/2019 13:57:46

Andy Sephton 117/02/2019 18:21:17
157 forum posts
395 photos

Now that the fuselage has been opined and the wing root panels constructed, I can use them to set up the brass tubes for wing joining. Here's a view form below


Once the cyano on the brass tubes had gone off, all the joints were smeared with epoxy. The wings were removed and the rear fuselage sheeting added:


Unfortunately the front fuselage sheeting was too narrow for the fuselage and so had to be replaced - in fact, the three fuselage formers supplied were wider than they should have been, making the fuselage too wide for the provided sheeting.


Leading edge sheet was added to the underside of all the wing panels - the four inner panels are shown here. The sheeting is held in place with scrap 1/4" and 5/16" strip


...and while that was drying, the wing retaining band hooks were fixed to 1.4" round balsa and glued to the wing root:


Andy Sephton 112/03/2019 17:01:56
157 forum posts
395 photos

Having committed myself to joining a few friends on Ivinghoe Beacon on the second Sunday of March, I've been concentrating on getting this one finished rather than taking photographs. In the end, the wind beat us, but at least the model is now ready to test.....

Here's a pic of the front end. I ended the fuselage spine piece at the point recommended on the plan, which left the canopy about 3/8" short. The canopy also needed a lot of finishing to fair it in to the fuselage. The latter job was carried out successfully on a belt and disc sander and the result follows:


Since the last post, the wings have been assembled, the sheeting finished and capping strips added. Then, following an afternoon of sanding in the garden, a trial fit of the parts produced:


I've covered the model in yellow and red Easycote seconds - they are about £10 for a 5m roll so I felt they were too good to miss. The yellow went on like a dream, but the red turned out to be a nightmare ... maybe that was why the rolls were classed as seconds. Anyway, after a couple of afternoons the model looked like this:


Control surfaces were then hinged, the model assembled, radio gear fitted, including a releasable tow hook, and the model assembled for a pre-test photo:


The weight has come out at just over 2lb, which I'm really pleased with. It needs a few bits of coloured trim on the wings plus, maybe, a different colour on the canopy, but otherwise, she's finished.

Martyn K12/03/2019 21:15:12
5102 forum posts
3701 photos

That looks lovely Andy. I always thought it was a great shame that 100S was allowed to go hi-tech. This (IMHO) is exactly what 100s should be about.


Andy Sephton 113/03/2019 06:30:38
157 forum posts
395 photos

Thanks for the kind words Martyn. It's a sad indictment of our chosen sport that money is driving a lot of the competition classes, making them out of reach to the average modeller. It's one of the reasons I gravitated towards scale as there is still a builder of the model rule and the flying is also down to the skill of the modeller. However, there has been a rule change request at international level to reduce the static score for F4H which will make it an RTF competition for aerobatic models, which will mean that even that class will go the same way.

Notwithstanding, the Elan was built for sport flying rather than competition.....that was until a good friend spotted the thread and has persuaded me to go to a weekend (competition) meeting in April! wink

Danny Fenton13/03/2019 07:54:12
9753 forum posts
4556 photos

Looks really good Andy, proper glider lines



Andy Sephton 127/05/2019 08:32:36
157 forum posts
395 photos

Well, she's flown ...and very nice she was too. With the C of G as advised, she flew off the board with no trim required. Control effectiveness was good as was control balance. For what it is, the Elan is a really nice build, satisfying to fly and she looks really good in the air.

With the Elan in hand, I decided to try her in a 100S competition. To say I was amazed is an understatement...but in the end I came away form the competition with distinct disappointment. Not with the Elan, I might add, the model did all I asked for it and more. My disappointment was with the 100S competition. All the other competitors were flying a glass model called a Tracker 100. They launched at high speed on the winch, zoomed to great height, flew to the end of the slot, and crashed onto the ground with less than a second to go. The Elan went up the winch quite nicely, but I couldn't use as much energy as the glass machines, nor could I support a crash at the end of the flight. Mind you, although I came last, I did land in the box every time ... it's a shame I can't say the same for the Trackers, which, with their help from spoilers, had no excuse!

My real issue was that the competition is dominated by a commercial RTF model that is no longer available, so if you want to get into competitive 100S competition, then tough.

I'll still fly the Elan...and I'll still take part in the competitions, but I do believe that if we want to bring newcomers into our sport, then we need to do things a little differently. So, putting my money where my mouth is, I've decided to push the new F3-REs competition fo traditionally built 2m gliders. It's very popular on the continent and is gaining some popularity in BARCS. If you need more info, see my thread on the Site V2...

The following pic shows the Elan sitting with 2 Tracker 100s at the recent competition.


David Ashby - Moderator27/05/2019 08:49:00
11089 forum posts
1748 photos
620 articles

Glad you liked it Andy. I’ve noticed the RES popularity on the continent and thought it would be good to see here. Keep us posted.

Andy Sephton 127/05/2019 09:08:47
157 forum posts
395 photos
Posted by David Ashby - Moderator on 27/05/2019 08:49:00:

Glad you liked it Andy. I’ve noticed the RES popularity on the continent and thought it would be good to see here. Keep us posted.

Will-do David!

Martyn K27/05/2019 11:08:32
5102 forum posts
3701 photos

I have to admit that I concur entirely Andy. I always thought that the intention of the 100S class was to be a great intro into competitive thermal soaring. I have been reading George Stringwells 'Thermal Soaring' book which boasted of huge numbers of entrants in the 1980s. Nowadays, the entries are a fraction of that and I am convinced that this is directly related to the almost mandatory need for expensive high tech models to even start to be competitive. I appreciate that I sound like a luddite but I have never understood why the powers that be have never introduced technology restricted option to be flown alongside existing classes. Not just for thermal soaring but all competitive disciplines. No extra effort is required by the organisers, apart from a bit of publicity and a careful think of exactly what that entails, the option simply needs to be there and see what happens.


Sussex Pete17/10/2019 15:17:19
30 forum posts
19 photos

Just found this thread and I agree with Andy's comment on 100S and Tracker domination. I flew a Kamco Kloudrider 100" in the 2018 BMFA Nationals 100S competition - also coming last against a field mostly comprising Trackers! Launched once off a winch which was pulsed very gently and no bunt off the top to avoid folding the wings. The rest of my flights were off my 100m bungee with the CD very kindly let me use. I managed a good flight in each round and went home satisfied and with the glider in one piece but realised it was nowhere near competitive.

So, what to do? Step one for me has been to retire the Kloudrider back to cross-country competitions on the slope where it does very nicely. But I wonder if step 2 should be to bring back some form of builder-of-model rule? 100S is by no means the only glider competition dominated by commercially built aircraft.

Or... we need a competition for a different, still available, own-built kit?  The Elan, for instance?

Any thoughts?

ps I should say that I've also just bought (most of!) a second-hand Tracker...just to get a chance to really use a winch at full tilt!

Edited By Sussex Pete on 17/10/2019 15:17:40

Edited By Sussex Pete on 17/10/2019 15:19:20

Andy Sephton 117/10/2019 16:41:41
157 forum posts
395 photos

Thanks for the support Pete.

I believe the answer lies in a new competition such as F3-RES which is flown on the continent. The models of max span 2M must be constructed mainly of wood, carbon is allowed only for LE, spars and rear fuselage boom. Launch is by bungee. The result is a relatively cheap model with a cheap launching system.

To that end I've built an F3-RES model - see the thread on the Slite V2.

Martyn K17/10/2019 17:10:58
5102 forum posts
3701 photos

Hi Pete

I would love to see a return if the BoM rule for classes like 100S which were always intended to be introductory classes. However, I think the bird has flown in this case. Introducing such a rule, if you could get support, would simply kill the class completely. It will die a natural death as Trackers become unobtanium at which point, some common sense may prevail. Be interesting to see if anyone actually cares enough by then to something about it.

There are many who would say that assembling a model like a Tracker is building a modrl. The only way out of that would be to implement technology restrictions like F3-RES to level the playing field. You have to bear in mind that foam cored wings are illegal in F3-RES. Early 100S models were mainly foam cored.


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