So the canard issue. Has anyone actually achieved success with it? I've gone through 4 different designs each improving on the last but still no clean transition, no steady glide and the circle is eh. The pitch instability is just wrecking havoc. I know its inherently unstable along that axis for canards but has anyone improved this by shifting CG around or incidence angles or anything like that?
My team hasn't had any issues with steady glide, but aside from that, we've experienced all of these problems. Our biggest breakthrough has been the increase of our static margin (shifting our CG forward) counterbalanced by a massive increase in angle of incidence. This has allowed us to achieve relatively consistent transitions.
I think one of our main reasons for flight and transition stability (or lack thereof) is the ratio of wing SA to canard SA. We're using a massive canard, relatively speaking, nearly half the SA of the wing. I think this has contributed to a stable and slow glide, but it may also have contributed to a very mediocre transition: we're having trouble getting the glider to "flip over" like our gliders last year did, near the peak of their ascent. We're losing several feet on each transition with our canards.
As for the "circle," my team has experimented with the two main methods: turn originating from a relative roll between the canard and the main wing, and turn originating from the vertical stab. We think that turn originating from roll is more efficient and would be the ideal way, but we're having issues with consistency: the difference in roll angle between the canard and the wing is so small that we often glue our canard with too much roll angle, resulting in a "dive-bomb" effect after the transition. Although turn originating from the vertical stab seems less efficient and stable (and is not ideal according to several AMA guys with whom I've spoken), we've been able to achieve it more consistently with canards. That said, we're still attempting to get our turn out of roll angle.
Hope this helps, and if anyone has any advice for me (or wants to tell me I'm wrong) it would be greatly appreciated!