Slope Soaring

Slope soaring, on and near Long Island, New York, is an exciting type of RC sailplane flying practiced by a few hardy pilots. Long Island Silent Flyers, being the sailplane club on Long Island, provides this webpage as a reference for people in our area who are interested in or already engaged in this sport.

In the Long Island area most slope flying sites are at public beaches. Long Island Silent Flyers does not recommend the use of these or other local sites for slope soaring. However, since we are aware that people are slope flying at these sites, we strongly suggest that they, and anyone else interested in slope soaring in the area, review the following to help avoid issues that could hurt the RC flying community:

  • Be aware of the new FAA NOTAM/TFR no-fly rules for radio controlled model aircraft and check for notices before flying.
  • Follow the AMA National Model Safety Code.
  • Check out park, state and federal rules and regulations ahead of time for the sites you intend to fly at.
  • Don’t fly outside of posted hours of operation.
  • Leave extra room to avoid being accused of harassing pedestrians, pets or wildlife.
  • The ideal planes to fly include foamies and hand launch gliders.

If you are merely interested in slope soaring in the Long Island area then before making the commitment of purchasing new or re-purposing old equipment you should decide if this sport, as practiced here, is really for you. Here are some of the pitfalls:

In the Long Island and the lower Hudson Valley area, slope soaring is generally done during the colder weather: when the parks departments have closed down the beaches after swimming season. Also, slope soaring requires wind and plenty of it. Combine wind with cold and you’ll find that flying conditions can be harsh.

Which site you fly at is dependent on the wind direction at the time. That means you’ll be driving to places you’ve probably never been before, then, after parking your vehicle, trekking with your planes and equipment to the flying site. Once there, you may find that you are very isolated.

Still interested? Well then, lets see what slope soaring on Long Island is like. Here’s a video of slope soaring at Long Beach that shows a pilot flying and landing well above a beach. For those of you not familiar with Long Island, this is Long Beach on the north shore of the island. After watching the video and looking at the pictures on this page of slope soaring on the south shore (click on picture for a larger view) it should be obvious that the shape of the slope and where the pilot flies from changes the whole experience – as does frostbite.

Here is a compilation of information for local slope soaring pilots:

Videos

Mini-slope soaring – flying on about two feet of slope

How to land a slope glider

Dune vs dynamic slope soaring – Two different forms of slope soaring. Like the plane shown in this video? Check out building a Wiesel Light.

Slope soaring at Long Beach, Long Island

Landing a Moth at Long Beach, Long Island

Flying a Parkzone Styker with no motor at Calihan’s Beach, Long Island

Flying a DLG in light slope lift

Dorado slope aerobatic glider

Local Flying Sites

Quite a few informal slope flying sites may be found around Long Island because sailplanes, making no noise, are readily accepted by people in many communities. Here are the local flying sites we know of, with driving directions and additional information:

Sleepy Hollow – requires an electric motor, a hi-start or some way of launching and reaching the lift

More Slope Flying Sites – with wind angles and other information

Resources

What is Slope Soaring – article

Ridge / Slope Lift – article

Slope Gliders – article

Slope Soaring Tips for Beginners – article

RCGroups Slope Soaring Threads – read, post questions, get answers

LISF Slope Soaring Thread – read, post questions, get answers

Magazines

Radio Control Soaring Digest – many excellent slope flying articles written over the years and it’s current

Slope Soaring news – September of 1988 through June/July 1990

Slope Flyer Magazine – dedicated to slope flying, but now defunct

A Selection of Planes

Skip Miller, Typhoon – Glass, Slope and Aerobatics

Soaring USA, Mixed Types – $lope and Aerobatics

Reviews of older models – if you’re thinking of a used plane

Build from plans – LS1, balsa construction

Clubs

Inland Slope Rebels – located in Riverside California, but still a great source of information