Xplorer Version and Variations Differences

After much discussion on the “X3” thread on RCGroups.com I decided to come up with the following article discussion the evolution of NAN’s Xplorer.  The Xplorer from NAN Models started flying in 2008. It was an immediate success in F3J competition. Over the years the Xplorer underwent three major revisions. Along the way there were some intermediate variations that changed up the current offerring. In this article we’ll explore the differences in the Xplorer’s versions and variations as well as looking at the evolution in the model over the years. NOTE: This article is a work in progress. Xplorer 1 Link … Continue reading

Purchasing an Xplorer Mark 3

Mike and His Xplorer

I finally did it! Six months of saving and a bonus from work allowed me to pull the trigger on an Xplorer Mark 3! This model is out of this world in terms of quality. Everything seams are sealed. There is no molding marks. The tail group! Oh, the tail group! When I picked up the rudder I thought there was something wrong. It was so light! For a 4 meter (154 inches) glider I am amazed at how light it feels. The size really makes this impressive. Here are the weights: Center Panel 591g Right Tip 234g Left Tip 225g … Continue reading

HobbyKing NTM Prop Drive

For my Sbach 342 I decided to use a NTM Prop Drive 50-60 series motor. The NTM Prop Drive motors from HobbyKing tend to be pretty good motors. HobbyKing doesn’t tend to market them as their top end motor so when compare it to their “nice” motors it’s a good deal. When compared to even nicer motors like Scorpions or Hackers it’s a steal! The NTM Prop Drive 50-60 360kv motor can swing a pretty big prop. According to HobbyKing’s numbers a 17×8 prop will pull 1900 watts. A 17×10 will pull over 2100 watts, 86 amps. This seemed pretty impressive. … Continue reading

Gracia Maxi Obituary, Xplorers Are Expensive!

The Xplorer Mark III by Nan Models is the pinnacle of thermal duration gliders. It’s light, weighing only 1700g for the 4 meter version. The Xplorer line has a number of championships and wins to its name. I consider it the defacto standard for F3J gliders. Here’s a picture from the last Florida Soaring Society event in 2015 in which I participated: Of the eleven people which participated, eight of them flew some version of the Xplorer. This glider is so popular that I often ask other RC pilots who are not flying it why they chose something different. The reason … Continue reading

Sbach 342 Completed

The blog has been quiet for a while. Too quiet! Work has been a mess. I also attended a bunch of soaring events over the latter part of the year. I even spent a couple of weeks in South Africa! Anyhow, Christmas came up fast and I got to take a couple of weeks off. During my time off I was able to put in a couple days to get the Sbach completed! Where I last left off in the previous build update I was with working on the emmpenage. In that post I showed the elevator setup. Unfortunately I forgot … Continue reading

Sbach 342 Maiden Flight

I got an Sbach 342 from GeneralHobby.com in July and finally got it up in the air a week ago. I hit the prop on a sub-par landing and I’m now waiting on a replacement. Oh well, hopefully the 3-blade 15×13.75 will be a bit better than the 17×8 I had on it! I’ll come up with a little more comprehensive review on the plane’s flight characteristics and my overall opinion on it in a later thread. The first flight went great and I was pretty impressed by it. My brother filmed the whole thing. We’ll work on his camera work for the next … Continue reading

Evolution W – Build Update 2

In the second update on the Evolution W I’m going to discuss working on the leading edge. This section of the wing looks to be easy work but can be a little frustrating! Also, I’m going to talk a little about fixing a goof regarding the mis-glued rib and starting the sanding process. Continue reading

Evolution W – Build Update 1

Here’s the first build update on the Evolution W, the woody DLG. In this thread I show the setup of the formers, taping the wing skins, and gluing the ribs and shear webs. A lot was done for the first two days of a build! Continue reading

Sbach 342 Empennage – Build Update 2

I had hoped to get most of the empennage, the tail feathers, done by the first weekend after starting work on the Sbach 342. Well… Making Some Progress on the Sbach 342 I tried to get the horizontal lined up just right. I spent time measuring and making sure that each half out of the fuse was the same distance. To me this is “centered”. I then measured from the tips to the center of the motor box. There was about a half inch difference. After wiggling things around to correct this I thought I was good. I mixed up … Continue reading

Evolution W – The Woody DLG

I ordered a new DLG. The Evolution W! Some may call it an addiction… Others would call it a hobby! I’ve been following this thread on RCGroups about a balsa DLG. A balsa DLG?! Yes! The wings and emmpanage are completely made from balsa and ply, the pod is carbon/kevlar, and the boom is carbon. If you know anything about Discus Launch Gliders then you’ll know that most are made from composite materials. That is what drew me in on this build. I wanted to know if it was possible to build a DLG out of balsa or wood and … Continue reading