The Blanik locks nicely behind the Robin S, but care must be taken to keep the
climb angle shallow and the speed up until the pair picks up some speed.
Locking the Blanik’s tow loop in place is a bit of a pain.
Success happened when I took a bamboo skewer and notched
the end with a cutting wheel and used that to insert the
tow loop. When the skewer bottoms out, you can hold the
tow loop in place, remove the skewer, and flip the switch to
capture the line.
With everything set, the tug eased into full power and the
Blanik was airborne almost immediately. The aircraft settled in
nicely behind the tow airplane and all I had to do was keep the
wings level until I released it at 800 feet. A few clicks of down-elevator trim were needed, but the aileron and rudder trim
I eased in some up-elevator until it stalled and the Blanik
dropped a wing and needed approximately 30 feet to recover.
That might sound bad, but it’s a characteristic of a scale glider
with a long, thin wing, and it came as no surprise. You have to
experiment and become familiar with when it will happen and
avoid putting yourself in that position when flying low.
I dropped the flaps to roughly half and the Blanik slowed
down, but ballooned a bit. Full flap needs approximately
10% down-elevator to maintain level flight. The flaps are
effective and the stall speed is slower, but just as abrupt when
the flaps are down. I made a mental note to keep the nose
pointed down and the speed up when entering the landing
pattern. After a smooth touchdown, I adjusted the elevator
compensation for the flaps and went back up into the air.
With my comfort level with the Blanik increasing, Adam and
I put a fresh AGA Power battery pack in the Robin S and set
up to do a few tows. The Robin S is a capable tow aircraft for
the Blanik, but the tows require a few turns to get to altitude.
A few degrees of flaps during the tow helps, but it’s important
not to try to climb too steeply and to keep the airspeed up.
Riding thermals with the Blanik is fun. A few degrees of flaps
helps, but you need to keep the speed up so it doesn’t stall. The
Blanik is slightly heavy and not a floater, but the day we were
flying happened to produce exceptional lift. I managed to turn
in a couple of respectable 20-plus-minute flights.
Because the Blanik is an aerobatic trainer, it was
time to try some aerobatics! The weight that might
slightly hamper the Blanik while chasing thermals is
an asset here. Dropping its nose, the Blanik quickly
picks up speed and makes a pleasant whistling sound.
Easing back the elevator produces a nice loop with
little drop-off in speed. Considering its 11-foot
wingspan, the roll rate is impressive. With a little
practice using the rudder and elevator, I had slow
rolls and four-point rolls looking pretty good.
Landing the Blanik isn’t difficult but you need to
stay ahead of the stall speed. Getting the flaps out
allows you to steepen the approach without gaining
speed. One thing to be mindful of when landing a
glider with flaps instead of spoilers is that once the
flaps are deployed they need to stay down. Retracting
the flaps after the glider slows down will result in
a stall and snap. With the flaps fully deployed, the
Blanik will settle nicely on its main wheel and come
to rest in a few feet, ready to go again.
Flown by itself, the Robin S 50E is an interesting, capable,
and fun sport airplane. It’s nice that someone took a chance
on something other than a Cub, and SebArt RC did a nice job
with the Robin S. The airframe seems well made and it does
well flying a variety of scale and aerobatic maneuvers.
Similarly, the Blanik will make a good first scale glider for
someone with glider or powered airplane experience who
wants something sportier. It makes a nice addition to my glider
fleet because I have several larger gliders, but this is easier to
put together, doesn’t require a large tow aircraft, and can be
flown at most club fields.
Space Mountain notwithstanding, I don’t have much in the
way of slopes in Florida, but I strongly suspect that the SebArt
RC Blanik would make a wonderful Slope Soaring glider.
The Robin S will tow the Blanik, but there isn’t a lot of
room for error, so this particular combination is better suited
to a tow pilot with some previous towing experience.
SebArt RC USA
AGA Power USA
Frank Tiano Enterprises
72 Model Aviation SEP TEMBER 2015 www.ModelAviation.com