Alexis Scott’s ASW 15 ‘special’ over Tapanappa, South Australia on January 29, 2023. See details in the article below. (credit: Zoe Molloy)

In The Air

There is reason and purpose to all things.

Terence C. Gannon
The New RC Soaring Digest
6 min readJan 29

A funny thing happened today as we were scrambling to get the February issue ‘off stone’ as they say in the UK. We had one important update for which we were waiting confirmation — it may not yet come, who knows — so we stopped the presses for 24 hours just in case it did. In addition to the aforementioned tardy update, we had the release on a set of pictures fall through, at least for this month. It was at that precise moment an email came in which instantly reminded me of a line from my favourite TV show:

“I used to think that the universe is a random, chaotic, sequence of meaningless events, but I see now that there is reason and purpose to all things.” — Seinfeld

In that email was the offer of a beautiful, zillion pixel photograph to replace the ones for which we couldn’t nail down the release — it’s kismet! See the result above — it was just taken by Zoe Molloy. Thanks Zoe for such a beautiful photo and to Alexis Scott — whose unique ship is pictured — for initiating this serendipitous turn of events! We turn it over to Alexis to describe the picture in a bit more detail:

“This was taken at one of our amazing coastal sites here in South Australia, called Tapanappa. The model is my 1/3-scale Airworld ASW 15 ‘special’. The special is because it’s based on a full-size version belonging to my friend Mark Stanley who restored it many years ago. During the restoration he added Grob canopy hinges rather than the lift off canopy of a standard ASW 15. The photo was taken by a lovely young lady, Zoe Molloy, who is the daughter of another friend who has made a couple of videos of the day and this model as well as my Baudis Salto”. We’ve linked the videos in Resources below.

Broadening the Editorial Footprint

I have always assumed a substantial majority of those who participate in RC soaring do so without aspiring — even for a second — to fly full-size gliders. The joy of the ‘next best thing’ is knowing that it’s not ‘next best’ at all. It’s a worthwhile pursuit in and of itself. After all, what else can make the hair stand up on the back of your neck like seeing your supership core in and the vario squeal with delight all with your feet planted firmly on the ground.

That said, there will be some for whom RC soaring is a pretty good alternative to flying the real thing, but not quite the same thing at all. These folks might find the cost of full-size flying prohibitive. They may have some sort of medical condition which prevents it. Or there may also be those who can’t quite overcome some fear they have. Whatever the reason — after all, it’s really none of our business — there is another pursuit which has many of the same rewards as RC gliding plus something which inches toward the real thing: glider flight simulators.

These are not your grandfather’s flight sims: some versions offer wraparound video and full motion which really puts you in the pilot’s seat. They can also be more modest affairs which you run on a laptop, say, while enduring the endless, bus-with-wings flight to Paducah. Suffice to say at either end of the spectrum, there’s lots to explore and — dare I say it — a lot of fun to be had not to mention some valuable education applicable to gliders of all sizes.

The New RC Soaring Digest has already dipped its toe into this subject, with a couple of episodes of Chuck Fulton’s Soaring the Sky Podcast which RCSD readers really seem to be enjoying. The first episode features Chris Wedgwood of Condor, the glider flight simulator software company. The second features Scott Manley, who makes at least part of his living using glider simulation — including Condor — to teach soaring. See Resources for links to these and both episodes are well worth your time. Actually, all of Chuck’s episodes are worth your time!

However, starting this month we’re going to take our toe out of the water and instead dive in head first. Scott Manley — from Chuck’s podcast noted above — has agreed to let the New RC Soaring Digest run his series called Condor Corner which will continue for the foreseeable future and focus on various aspects of glider flight simulation. I’d like to personally welcome Scott to our contributor ranks and thank him for his enthusiasm for this project. It’s going to be a great series!

I also intend for the New RCSD to continue to seek out excellent glider sim content and feature it on these pages for all — both RC and full-size (or both!) pilots to enjoy. And in a late, breaking development to that end, also check out the Yawman in Cool New Stuff this month. Great for that endless flight to Paducah.

Bill Kuhlman’s Return to These Pages

Despite numerous mentions, I realise there may still be a few out there who don’t recognise Bill’s name. I also realise the majority of you do, given Bill along with his wife Bunny edited the RC Soaring Digest for many years. What I have perhaps neglected in the previous mentions of Bill is that he was also a huge contributor to RCSD in addition to being one of it’s tireless editor. For that reason, I was delighted when Bill suggested we re-run his remarkable Twist Distributions for Swept Wings series. Bill is a meticulous researcher and an excellent writer as well as a talented illustrator. Therefore, I’m thrilled this issue includes the first of five parts of this series which will run over the coming months. I hope it’s the first of many articles we can re-launch on the New RCSD platform. Also, dare I dream for some new articles from Bill? My fingers are crossed and yours should be too!

On with The Show!

As usual, I have done a pretty good job of getting in the way of the stuff you really want to read. But I would be remiss if I didn’t thank all of our contributors, new and old, for all of their hard work on the February issue. I know I say it every month — but it’s also true every month — that this issue is the best one yet. Also, I would be remiss if I didn’t also extend my humble thanks to you for reading it all.

Fair winds and blue skies!

©2023 Terence C. Gannon


  • ASW 15 video by Molloy RC. — Your opportunity to see Alexis Scott’s magnificent ASW 15 soaring over Tapanappa, South Australia as pictured in the key photo above. You have simply got to see this flying site which is brought to life in this very professionally made video with a very cool soundtrack.
  • Baudis 1/3-scale Salto 4.1m at Tapanappa, South Australia video by Molloy RC. — Shot in the same location as above, this time featuring a racy Baudis Salto. As with Molloy RC’s first video, this one also has very high production values. This flying location is now officially on our bucket list — South Australia here we come!
  • E047: Condor Soaring Flight Simulator with Chris Wedgwood from the Soaring the Sky Podcast. — Chuck Fulton’s interview with Chris Wedgwood of glider flight simulator company Condor.
  • E129: Soaring and Simulation | Getting the Most Out of Your Simulator Experience from the Soaring the Sky Podcast. — Chuck Fulton interviews Scott Manley who uses Condor and other glider flight simulators to teach full-size soaring skills.

Cover photo: This month’s spectacular cover photo was taken by frequent and highly regarded New RCSD contributor Chris Williams and features a picture of his new 1/6th-scale Slingsby Kite seemingly flying above the clouds where it’s CAVU — clear and visibility unlimited all the time. You are welcome to download the February 2023 cover in a resolution suitable for computer monitor wallpaper. (2560x1440).

Disclaimer: While all reasonable care is taken in the preparation of the contents of the New RC Soaring Digest, the publishers are not legally responsible for errors in its contents or for any loss arising from such errors, including loss resulting from the negligence of our staff or any of its contributors. Reliance placed upon the contents of the New RC Soaring Digest is solely at the readers’ own risk.

Here’s the first article in the February, 2023 issue. Or go to the table of contents for all the other great articles. A PDF version of this edition of In The Air, or the entire issue, is available upon request.