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Jump To: Getting Started Wing Fuselage / Tail Radio / Balance Flying / Tuning Parts List Options Cores and More... *** Updates ***

[Courtesy of Bill Grenoble (iflyicrash "at", Denny Maize (rcsoarnut "at" and Joel Foner (joel.foner "at", this page last updated on June 07, 2003]

You will need the Adobe Acrobat Reader v4 or higher to view or print some of the design items on this page. 
If you need a copy of the Adobe Acrobat Reader, you can download it free from

NOTE:  If only part of a page prints when printing the enclosed PDF files, please download and install the latest Acrobat Reader (v4 or later) - apparently earlier versions had a problem with large graphics on some printers.

Please feel free to write us with questions, ideas or flight reports of your experiences with the Terminator.  The link below contains a PDF of the site, for those who would rather download the web pages as a single download (note that some files, such as CompuFoil loft files and ZIP files couldn't be included in this PDF - but most everything else is there).


The Terminator concept came from a simple realization: There is a need for a club HLG that is easy for a beginner to build and fly, yet provides "real" performance - at a price that "the rest of us" can afford.  Lots of experiments later, the design presented below became real.  Dozens and dozens of Terminators have been built, with some interesting design variations. 

The design presented here is a good starting point, and has proven to be reasonably competitive - but please treat this as a starting point.  Play with it!  At about $30 for a completed ship, have some fun!  Once you've built a "stock" one, try new wing layouts, airfoils fuselage designs, or just build a hangar of spare parts for less than the cost of one "super" HLG. 

It's amazing what you are willing to try and what you will learn when each landing is not a $200 calculated bet!

How does the Terminator perform?  Everyone who has flown one raves about it's handling and ability to take advantage of lift.  Is it "better" than one of the "super HLG's"?  No.  Will it outperform one of the well-known "monster HLG's" designed by the masters? No.  It wasn't intended to be one of those - it was intended to be a great everyday ship with nice handling and good thermalling capabilities.  At the same time, it's done pretty well in contest settings, so don't write it off as a beginner's ship only - your next competitor may be a Terminator!

EVERYONE asks us "do you make a kit"?  We don't make a kit - on purpose!   We believe that once you learn to build a Terminator yourself, you will feel much more comfortable playing around with it and coming up with your own ideas to advance the art.  Part of the Terminator project concept is the idea that keeping the hobby fresh depends on people doing actual building, not just buying expensive pre-built ships, and we're trying to keep the building part of the hobby alive and vital.

What Does It Take To Build A Terminator?

Building a Terminator is actually a really simple project.  How do you build a Terminator?

  1. Buy $20-30 of materials
  2. Build the fuselage (a handful of easy to cut out parts and a carbon fiber arrowshaft)
  3. Create a set of foam wing cores (one of your club buddies will jump to help with this!)
  4. Sheet the cores with balsa, or if you want to get fancy find someone who can help you vacuum bag them
  5. Cut out the v-tail, cover it and glue it on
  6. Install your radio and go fly!

*** Before you say "oh, but I don't know how to do foam cores and sheeting or vacuum bagging" - think about this:  The Terminator was conceived as a club ship - ask around and you will almost certainly find a member of your local club who would be more than willing to cut some Terminator cores for you.  Probably as part of the deal you'll even learn how to do it yourself!  Who knows, maybe this would make a great club project?  How about getting together and building a set of 5, 10 even 20 of them for anyone who wants to help.  That's how we got going, and now they're getting hard to count!  Ask your club buddies who's got a foam cutter - once they see the design they'll be dragging you into the workshop to core a handful of wings.

Once you learn how to cut your own cores you'll wonder why you were ever scared of it - it's easier and faster than built-up wings, and at a few bucks a shot you can afford to blow up a wing every weekend (or try a new wing design idea each weekend) without even thinking about it (this is not to say that learning to fly better isn't a worthwhile goal - just that knowing that you can build a replacement for less than a dinner lowers the stress level of flying a whole bunch).

If you'd like to build your own foam cutter, click here for Del Brengman's foam cutter plans.  Check out the plans and see what you think.  If you don't want to get into building your own foam cutter there are several good commercial units - ask your local club members what they recommend.

*** But I'm still unsure of how this foam cutter thing works!

Del Brengman has a two hour video that walks through the entire process of cutting sailplane wing cores with the foam cutter shown in his plans, and then the vacuum bagging of that same wing all the way to 'the end'.  It's definitely not Hollywood for production style, but the information is there, and you get to see the whole process from start to finish without any marketing spin - other than the pitch that you can do this! To order a copy, send $25 + $2 shipping to Delmar Brengman, 6054 Emlyn Ct., San Jose, CA 95123. (this info is also on the bottom of page two of the foam cutter plans)

Aerospace Composite Products also has a video on vacuum bagging that sells for about $20 (see their link in our Companies page).

If you really want to buy pre-cut cores, try this shop: Custom Cores.

Terminator Specifications

Wing Span 59"
Wing Area 387 sq in
Airfoil modified S4083
Wing Plan Flat 7" chord center section (21" wide), 20" outboard panels tapered from 7" to 5" chord, 1% washout in tip section only, straight trailing edge and swept tip leading edge
Dihedral Flat center section, with 4" of dihedral at each tip
Weight of balsa pod and  carbon boom ~1.2 oz
Weight of balsa v-tail, covered ~0.5 oz
Weight of vacuum bagged fiberglass wing ~4.1 oz
Weight of 1/32" balsa sheeted wing ~4.5 oz (you don't have to do vacuum bagging to make high performance Terminator - balsa sheeted is durable, easy to build and light too!)
Flying weight Typically 9.5 - 10.5 oz.
Building time two to three evenings (we now can build seven in a night!)

Typical Terminators come out between 9.5 and 10.5 ounces, which yields a ship that is very, very  responsive to lift.  Getting to this weight does not require outlandish building techniques of fancy equipment.  This weight assumes that you will be using a "standard micro" receiver, such as a HiTec 555 or FMA Fortress or Tetra, with micro servos such as the CS-20/21, FMA S80/90's or HiTec HS-50's or HS-80's and a 110-150 mAH flight pack (several folks have used 225 mAH packs, carefully placed for balance point, for extended flight times on the slope)

Jump To: Getting Started Wing Fuselage / Tail Radio / Balance Flying / Tuning Parts List Options Cores and More... *** Updates ***

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