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Soarcerer for Flat Field

Re-imagination of David Hughes Soarcerer

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Robin Stevens05/05/2019 20:58:27
22 forum posts
16 photos

For a while now I've wanted to build a Soarcerer. It's a design that is somewhat of a classic on the slope and was the first model plane that my father built way back when he was learning the hobby in the 1970's.

My intention was to build a single fuselage and a pair of wings, one for thermal soaring on the flat and one for slope soaring. With this in mind I am altering the layout of fus to accept an aerotow or bungee launch.

For the most part I am following the plan, however where I think things can be done better I'm doing my own thing. This is my first foray into gliding so I'm choosing to go with something that although not as sleek or high performance as the frp ships should be fun and characterful.

I have cheated a little bit and waited until I'm quite a way through the build before making this thread. I'll make sure I post to bring it up to date (I've taken build photos throughout.

Robin Stevens05/05/2019 21:09:46
22 forum posts
16 photos

The fus was all assembled as one big step, going slightly against the plan instructions but I feel more confident in a straight fus when I can tweek things as the glue sets


Then the tail feathers assembled



The first wing that I'm making is the thermal wing, rather than following the plan construction I'm going for a box spar of 1/4 spruce longitudinals and 1/16 balsa webs. The wing will be sheeted in fabric for the traditional look. I added an extra 2 ribs per side to increase the span for thermalling. The section was kept as Clarke Y true to the plan.


I'm incorporating ailerons into this wing so that I can have spoiler mixing. With this in mind I reduced the dihedral to 1" under each tip (plan calls for 2-3/4", giving a final span of 67" or 1.7m.


Forgive the very tidy build area :P I like to get everything assembled then have a massive tidy up of everywhere before covering.

Gordon Serpis 108/05/2019 09:38:47
14 forum posts
4 photos

Hi Robin

i did post a reply to your blog a couple of days ago but i fear i closed it down before sending so maybe it didn't go??

Anyway, i am pleased to see your build blog for Soarceror as i got SLEC to make me up two Soarceror kits a while back- one standard and one aileron wing- but i have not started building either model as yet. I too was planning on increasing the wingspan on one of the wings but by adding just one more rib bay- i have built a Soarceror before and think it's a great plane but needs to be less "compact". I will also strengthen the tailplane as i recall it was a tad flimsy on my first Soarceror. I'll follow your blog closely as i am hoping to copy your build, hope that's ok??


Charles Smitheman08/05/2019 11:28:08
226 forum posts
18 photos

Hello Robin,

Great to see this, the Soarcerer flies so well. Build it light and fly it slow and it is remarkably efficient; yet it is fine in strong gusty conditions as well. My current one is at least 30 and going stong. A pleasure to fly, easy and economical to build.



Edited By Charles Smitheman on 08/05/2019 11:28:38

Charles Smitheman08/05/2019 11:30:48
226 forum posts
18 photos

We used to add 2 ribs per side, reduce the dihedral and add ailerons- my first aileron model!

Robin Stevens08/05/2019 18:19:47
22 forum posts
16 photos

I mocked up the wing with the fus yesterday and started mounting the skids


I was worried that the wingspan was a little bit excessive but it looks about right when it's all together, not far now until I'll be rigging it up.

I'm happy to see some interest in this build, the Soarcerer is such an elegantly simple design that I'm surprised I don't see more of them. It's also nice to hear that someone else has been successful with this before Charles, I may have to ask about CoG when I get that far.

I increased the strength of the horizontal stabiliser by making it from 1/4" stock rather than the 3/16" called for on the plan, I'm hopeful this will make it more robust. I must admit that 3/16" looked a little on the thin side when I was first reading the plan.

As it stands I'm unsure of whether to plank in the leading edge of the wing or to just have a pair of corner gussets on every rib. The weight currently stands at 240g (around 8.5oz) with no electonics, With electronics and nylon covering I'm expecting to come close to the plan weight of 16.5oz.

Robin Stevens16/05/2019 21:46:18
22 forum posts
16 photos

The Soarcerer is just about ready for covering, at least the wings and tail feathers are. Going for nylon fabric covering, classic red fus and white wings.


It's meant to be raining this Saturday, might start then.

Also the bungee for the launcher arrived yesterday, going to be popping to the local fishing shop to pick up the bits and pieces.

The more I work on the Soarcerer the more I want to make a mini one, about half - 60% scale with a pair of 9g servos. Soarcerer's Apprentice?

jeff2wings16/05/2019 22:09:59
836 forum posts
2044 photos

There is such a plan Soarcerette on outerzone 34" span BTW I would sheet the top of the l/e it adds a lot to the wings strength


might build a longer wing for my one

Robin Stevens18/07/2019 21:50:27
22 forum posts
16 photos

Soarcerette looks interesting, will have to give it a look if the big one keeps my attention

I finished the wing, with sheeting on the top and bottom surface as suggested. Covered in nylon fabric.

Glides well from what I can tell, haven't had it on the bungie yet but testing the CoG I managed 50m from a gentle hand launch.


Looking forward to getting it on the bungie, just waiting for a ground anchor to arrive.

Gordon Serpis 108/08/2019 11:57:26
14 forum posts
4 photos

looks good Robin, nearly completed mine but not started on the aileron wing- can you tell/show how you installed the servo / linkages for the ailerons please? Did you use two servos or just the one? The plan shows a traditional one servo version using bellcranks in the wing which seems more work than maybe using torque rods? I've not built a glider with ailerons so would appreciate your ( or anybody's) input.



Nightflyer08/08/2019 22:42:03
207 forum posts

The Soarceror has been a timeless classic because it is easy to build and it flies so well. Nearly all I have seen or flown have been off the slope so will be interested about flat field performance.

Robin Stevens28/08/2019 19:34:16
22 forum posts
16 photos

Hi, been a while since I've logged in so apologies for the late reply.

Having had the chance to fly the soarcerer on the flat and on the slope (calm days, with a big wing it's perfectly happy in a 5-10mph wind) a couple of times I can give this feedback.

The Soarcerer is a timeless classic for a reason, I've never flown anything this stable and confident in the air. The only thing that I can fault it for is the stall can be rather severe but it is even and now I've got my eye in can be avoided. This is my first glider and the first time I've thrown a model off a cliff and expected it to come back and I can feel myself being a little bit hooked.

As far as the aileron wing goes, I used a pair of servos. Unfortunately the wing isn't deep enough to fully enclose the servo so I went for the more rustic solution of mounting the servo hanging out of the lower surface. Don't make the same mistake that I did, the ailerons need to be nice and big for a positive response, I think I will be doubling the aileron chord when I make the standard size wing for more normal/aerobatic soaring. The size they are for the big wing is fine for a sedate soaring experience but I find myself using the rudder for turn more often that not.


Piers Bowlan28/08/2019 20:15:47
2225 forum posts
57 photos

I expect you know Robin but aileron differential will help with the turns (more up aileron than down). Also gliders often (usually?) need rudder in the turn due to adverse yaw.

Nice looking glider. yes

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