A brief guide to radio-controlled electric powered thermal soaring

The following is an introduction to competitive RC electric powered thermal soaring.

A brief summary of BMFA height-limited eSoaring rules

Eligible Models

  • Open Class – Any electric powered glider to a maximum of 4 metre wingspan.
  • Two Metre Class – Any electric powered glider to a maximum of 2 metre wingspan.

Flying rules

  • Goal: Fly to a maximum height of 200 metres, with a maximum motor run-time of 30 seconds and land to arrive at a total flight time of 10 minutes.
  • Note 1: Points are deducted for landing before OR after 10 minutes.
  • Note 2: Extra points are awarded for landing within a ten metre target at the end of the flight.

Video Overview

eSoaring competitions are flown in slots, with multiple pilots flying at the same time. For every slot, the pilot with the highest score (flight plus landing bonus) receives 1000 points. Pilots with lower scores are awarded a proportion of the winners score, calculated as x 1000 / winners score.

Why should I become involved?

Competing in eSoaring competitions is brilliant fun and a great way to meet other like-minded modellers and improve your knowledge and skills. All competitors are very enthusiastic and you will be given all the help you need.

What kind of model do I require?

The eSoaring competition class was developed to suit a large range of radio controller model gliders, whilst maintaining reasonable costs. Competitors compete with models ranging from simple rudder/elevator planes with 1.5 metre spans as well as 3 metre full-house gliders with flaps and ailerons.

Can everyone compete on an equal footing?

A successful competitor will use the initial launch height of 200 metres to their best advantage, regardless of model size, weight or power. 200 metres is not enough to allow a ten minute flight unless thermals are exploited, so competitors must use their skill to seek out and use thermals to maximum advantage in order to reach the ten minute target flight time.

How is launch height controlled?

Switches designed especially for height-limited launch competitions over the last three years, having built-in altitude detection are used to cut power to the motor and ensure the model cuts power when the launch height is achieved. These tiny switches weigh approx. 7 grams and are fitted simply between the receiver throttle output and the speed controller throttle input. The units also feature altitude logs which can be used to analyse your flights against recorded time in detail.

Need more information about eSoaring competitions?

For more information, please visit the eSoaring website at www.eSoaring.net and read-up there.

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