Ultra-Batics or UltraBatics is short for “Ultralight Slope Aerobatics” and refers to 3 or 4 axis aerobatic gliders that are ultra-lightweight, ultra-maneuverable, and ultra-durable. Hence, UltraBatic.
The UltraBatics movement started here in Santa Barbara, California in the summer of 2011, and is now spreading around the world. UltraBatics is the product of collaboration between “Swiss Peter” Richner, Dawson Henderson of Flagstaff, Arizona and myself Steve “Surfimp” Lange.
Combining ultralight building techniques perfected by Peter with my Le Fish aerobatics glider design and Dawson’s innovative Henderson Pulley, we were able to create ultralight versions of the plane that were less than 1/2 the normal weight, allowing a radically new style of extremely close-in, low altitude flying in very light lift. These planes are fully aerobatic in as little as 6-8mph at a decent slope, but can also fly in 20-25mph and thermal, too.
UltraBatics gliders – “UItraBats” – are generally constructed from EPP and/or Depron foam, are covered in lightweight yet very durable laminating film, use minimal carbon fiber spars for reinforcement, and generally have wingloadings in the 4 – 6 oz/sq.ft. (12-20 g/dm^2) range. Some of the most radical examples employ Madslide-inspired horizontal stabilizers, controlled by Henderson Pulleys, which are capable of 180° rotation. This allows them to do radical filp maneuvers in the style invented by Benoit Paysant-Le Roux.
UltraBatics takes inspiration from three main sources:
1. The Dream-Flight Alula and Weasel
2. The Madslide aerobatics glider of Benoit Paysant-Le Roux of France
3. The French VTPR (“voltige tres pres du relief” aka “aerobatics very close to the ground”) flying style
The intention of UltraBatics is to explore new possibilites in slope aerobatics. We are limited only by what we can imagine.
François Cahour is one of the absolute masters of R/C slope aerobatics flying, having been involved in the hobby for four decades. His contributions are vast and his influence can be found across all the various sub-disciplines of glider aerobatics.
Last year, François published Voltige Planeur, a book that has become the “Bible” of slope aerobatics. It contains a breadth of information covering the history of the hobby, illustrated step-by-step instructions on how to perform a wide variety of aerobatic figures, setup tips, and much more.
Recently, this book was translated into English and updated to include stick inputs for Mode 2 transmitters. I already considered it a must-buy in its previous incarnation, but now there is no question; this book belongs on the shelf of any slope pilot hoping to improve his or her skills in aerobatics flying.
The English and French versions of the book are available directly from François via his website: Voltige Planeur RC
Slow-Mo Buzz, 02-19-15 from Dawson Henderson on Vimeo.
A beautiful slow-motion video from Dawson, flying his Buzz Evolution in Arizona.
Meeting Point from l1pulsif on Vimeo.
My friend Pierre-Arnaud, the creative genius behind the incredible videos produced by Noisy Skies, recently visited Santa Barbara and we met up to shoot some video. He has given the video his usual professional-level treatment and I’m very impressed with the result! Nice job P-A!! It was awesome to get to meet you and I hope to see you again soon
Justin “JGAF” Gafford testing out a couple new ultrabatic gliders at Dave’s Beach in Carlsbad: the 36″ Funky Bipe and the 52″ Swank. Check it out – cool!
Vagabond ARF produced by Hacker Model Production Inc. from Hacker Model Production Inc. on Vimeo.
Here’s what appears to be the first video of the Vagabond 1500 by Hacker Model. The plane seems to fly nicely, and looks like it can perform flips with the supplied Madstab -style stabilizer. Very nice! I have one arriving any day and will do a full review.
Studying the Masters: BPLR’s Mad Snap from surfimp on Vimeo.
Benoit Paysant-Le Roux’s 1999 video featuring his Madslide aerobatics glider changed the world of slope soaring forever. The Madslide featured a full flying stabilizer capable of 180 degree rotation, allowing the plane to perform flips around its center of gravity both upright and inverted. He called this style of flying “Madflight”.
Thanks to Benoit, today many pilots around the world are enjoying these Madflight flips, but there are still some tricks in that seminal video which remain unseen from other pilots. One of them is this aileron roll to negative “mad” snaproll combination.
Using the PicaSim R/C soaring simulator I was able to study and replicate Benoit’s mad snap and present it here for your viewing enjoyment. I fly Mode II, meaning the flaps and rudder are on the left stick, and the ailerons and elevator are on the right stick.
Nice new one by Justin “JGAF” Gafford of JGAF’s Custom Aerobats flying one of his Buzz “No Name” planes. Super crisp roll rate and I love the flat spin at 1:07 and the rudder flip at 1:18.
Woodshedding // Ultrabatics from surfimp on Vimeo.
Quick edit of some new ultrabatic tricks I’m working on with my Buzz Evo from JGAF’s Custom Aerobats. Wind was a little light but I made the most of it and had fun all the same.
Justin “JGAF” Gafford has filmed a new video of one of his “No-Name” style Buzz gliders flying in what looks like some pretty strong lift at Bill’s Hill. Lots of fast paced action in this one, don’t blink!!
Justin has also launched a new website where you can learn more about the different planes he offers: JGAF’s Custom Aerobats. All of the planes are sold ready-to-fly, just add your receiver and go!
Ultrabatics Disappear here from Maniático Acrobático on Vimeo.
A new video from Luis Robledo Toro of his ultralight Suraci flying some smooth ultrabatics at a beautiful slope near Medellin, Colombia. Very nice!