CEO Newsnet Article
First Test Pilot's Thoughts
Galen Fisher's Thoughts
Fritz: One Pilot's Impressions
pilot's LightHawk impressions:
Its control authority allowed me to thermal at low altitude in
turbulent air with confidence.
The LightHawk is very
easy to set up as the parts are very light and control hookups are
Once set up, it is an
unbelievably sexy airplane. Take a step back and admire her curves.
The cockpit is comfortable with very good visibility. I used my hang
gliding instrument deck mounted on the side for my flights which
reduced weight and opened up the cockpit area.
I was surprised on my first launch how quickly the LightHawk began
flying with full control. It was in the air ready to go at about the
same time my 1-26 ailerons start to become effective.
We were ground towing
behind a truck for my flights. The LightHawk was so stable on tow I
began wondering what I was there for. Climb rates were 1200 to 1400 fpm
and I had to work at keeping it from climbing faster.
My first flights were
to get a feel for the plane. I did S turns, reversing 360's, stall
attempts and experimented with flaperon settings. The LightHawk was
very responsive and controllable, just a joy to fly.
My impressions in
flight were that the LightHawk handled more like a very high performing
hang glider than a typical sailplane. It is easy to feel every nuance
of the air and everything happened at a slower speed allowing me to
utilize small pockets of lift that I might have otherwise flown right
fantastic while circling with the large canopy. It was better than my
hang glider and I had the feeling at times that I was just sitting out
in front of the wing, taking in the whole sky.
Stall attempts were
unsuccessful in that the LightHawk would not stall in the normal sense.
Slowly pulling back on the stick resulted in the glider entering a very
slow 'mush' mode while still retaining adequate control.
Forcing a stall would result in a quick recovery with a loss of 20 to
Thermalling was a
unique sensation. In strong cores, it felt as if I was being pushed
upward from directly below. I was able to turn tighter and slower than
I ever thought possible, and I was being conservative with my
maneuvers. I did not try to spin the LightHawk but had the feeling that
it was very resistant and would recover quickly.
Landing is similar to
landing any slippery glass ship, although at a much slower speed. Upon
roll-out, I was able to balance the glider on it's wheel using the
flaperons easily. I believe roll launching the LightHawk off a hill
would be quite easy given the control authority at low speeds.
Overall, I found the
Lighthawk to be a fantastic soaring craft. It's control authority
allowed me to thermal at low altitude in turbulent air with confidence.
It's performance has to be experienced to be believed. I can already
see many situations where the LightHawk will be able to utilize lift
and soar conditions that we previously would not have thought possible.
It is the potential for exploring these new frontiers in soaring that
has me as excited as I have ever been about the future of soaring. I
submitted, Rik Fritz September 1, 2006