Flying Your Terminator
The Terminator is designed to be able to fly faster than the "floater" ships, so you may learn a bit while getting used to it. If you started out with an Olympic, Paragon or similar "floater" ship, here are some thoughts to keep in mind.
"Floater" sailplanes have very narrow speed ranges - typically their fastest workable speed is only slightly above their stall speed, and the optimum thermalling speed is not far from their slowest workable flying speed.
The Terminator has different flying characteristics, and once you learn them, it will reward you with much more flexibility in chasing and hanging onto lift. The Terminator wing has a fairly wide speed range, but unlike the "floaters" a Terminator does best at a speed noticeably higher than its stall speed.
To experiment with this, try a few launches from one end of the field, facing into the wind. For each flight, fly straight out, no turns, until and if you have to turn around at the other end of the field. We're not trying to find lift for a couple flights, just checking out flight behavior at different speeds, so don't worry about where the thermals are for now. For the first few launches, try flying 'slow' - at the speed that feels just above stall.
Then do a few launches with progressively more down trim (add one click down for each throw). Let the Terminator come up to speed and get "on step" - resist the urge to pull up and slow it down right away. You'll find that if you let it hit cruise speed, you'll get noticeably longer flights and longer durations.
(Note that playing with leading edge or trailing edge shims, and moving the center of gravity around, will change the cruise speed and behavior by quite a bit - try some variations and find the one that "flies right" to you.)
Now you have a sense of the "natural" cruise speed for the ship, try to cement this in mind, and fly at this speed while trying for lift. In addition, remember that if you round the top of your throw on the late side, the Terminator will fly at slower speeds, but to get the most out of your throw try to round the top at cruise speed. This way you don't have to give away height just to get the speed up to where it should be. Do not be scared to pull elevator in turns - with enough elevator the Terminator will turn tight at high speeds - do not start off with the assumption that you must slow down to turn tight!
Now try several flights with a second goal in mind (again ignoring thermals - if you can!). For each of these flights, try pulling into a turn just after launch, pulling a tighter turn on each throw. Keep turning until you have to level out to land. Keep trying tighter turns until you hit "the edge" of how tight the ship will turn. Depending on conditions, you may find that you can turn high performance circles of well under 12' in diameter (some people have reported a useful turn diameter of as small as 8'!).
Unlike ships with higher speed airfoils, the Terminator can turn very tight circles at higher speeds, so it's worthwhile to learn to fly the Terminator faster than your initial reflexes will tell you is 'right'. Flying faster will give you a few quite useful benefits:
Tuning Your Terminator
Here are some things to try while tuning your Terminator:
Best of luck - may the lift be with you,
Bill Grenoble, Denny Maize and Joel Foner