Building the Wizard - A Competition Hand Launch Glider

By Patrick Dionisio and Marshall Geller



One afternoon, while at our local thermal field, I noticed my friend Tom flying his new hand launch glider, the Wizard. He asked me if I wanted to give it a try and I gladly accepted his offer. Was I impressed! The plane launched high and penetrated so well, yet seemed so light in weight! Right then and there, I knew I had to have one and the very next day, I called Joe Hahn at DJ Aerotech and ordered a Wizard. This article takes you step by step through the building sequence of the Wizard and provides some of my thoughts while building the plane. I hope you find it both interesting and informative.


It took a couple of weeks, but finally my "custom" Wizard arrived. The Wizard normally uses the Click to see larger imagefiberglass skin over the wing and tail surfaces as a hinging material. I was curious to experiment with kevlar as a hinge material (stiffer than fiberglass), Click to see larger imageso I ordered a Wizard with kevlar hinges. The yellow strips you see in the photo are the kevlar on both the wing and tail surfaces. The wing skins are fiberglass over blue foam, with two carbon fiber spars on the bottom of the wing and one on the top wing surface. The fuse is carbon reinforced fiberglass. The wing and tails are bagged and the tail can be either built as either a v-tail or a conventional tail. I’m going to build the V-tail version. As you can see from the photo, this kit comes highly pre-fabricated. This really helps to keep building time to a minimum.

Click to see larger image

I weighed the tails, wing panels and fuselage on an Acculab V-333 digital scale that I ordered from Precision Weighing Balances. The tails weighed .64 oz, the wing 5.27 oz and the fuse 1.81 oz. The total weight of all these components was 7.72 oz.


Click to see larger imageClick to see larger imageI was interested in trying some new airborne gear in this ship, so I ordered the Voltz VS-100 servos and micro 2000 receiver from FMA Direct. These components are advertised as being light in weight and I surmised they would be perfect for this application. As you can see, the combined weight of (4) VS-100 servos, FMA micro 2000 receiver and a 110 mah battery pack was 3.76 oz. When you add the weight of the airborne components to the 7.72 oz airframe, the total weight is now up to 11.48 oz. Even though Joe Hahn of DJ Aerotech says the Wizard will fly great in the 12-13 oz range, I decided to swap out the two VS -100 ruddervator servos for two FMA S-80’s. The reason for the swap was that the S-80’s are advertised as being quite a bit lighter, although they do put out less torque. However, I believe they should be work fine as ruddervator servos. I was, however, reluctant to try the S-80 servos in the flapperons for a couple of reasons. First off, the flapperons are huge on this plane and I was concerned the S-80’s may not be strong enough for this type of application. Secondly, using kevlar as a hinging material made the hinge quite stiff. Since two S-80’s weigh .64 oz versus .92 oz for the VS-100, the weight savings for swapping the ruddervator servos would be .28 oz. This significantly helped to reduce the overall weight of the Wizard, which now dropped to 11.20 oz. Looking good so far!


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