There is an excellent review of the SparrowHawk ultralight sailplane in the March issue of Kitplanes. This very pretty 155lb ultralight has a max L/D of 37 and a L/D of 23 at 80knots. The VNE is 123 knots. As an ultralight it does not have an FAA registration, does not have to have compulsory annuals etc. It can be towed by any tug. Why would anyone purchase a PW5 or equivalent when this little (36 foot wingspan) flying sports car is available and is reasonably priced? I predict it is going to be a winner. Might even get one myself to complement the DG800B, the Stemme S10-VT and my paraglider. I am really intrigued. Great job! You will be able to review the Kitplanes article in April after the May issue comes out. Currently it is only possible to view articles from the March issue on www.kitplanes.com. Splurge - go buy the April issue of Kitplanes I don't think you will be disappointed.
it is a neat little glider.. saw part of it at the SSA Convention in 2002.
Why would you not buy one? mmmmm 1) light weight MIGHT make for very poor performance into a headwind.. fun for flying around but not good cross country..
2) it's almost as light as a kite.. I'm sure 350#-400# glider would climb great in the desert 10Knt thermals.. about like a SGS 1-26.. but would hate to try and land one in a 20knt crosswind.. of course.. that light it could land across most glider runways..
It is worth looking into.. may be great for some parts of the country or in areas where there are lots of hang gliders.. may not be suited to other areas.. but it is worth looking into..
I'll get my copy of KitPlanes today... thanx for the heads up
nor is a pilots license needed, nor training, nor common sense. Just buy and fly. Think about where that will send the accident and fatality rate.
does not have
And you know it isn't going to get them either.
It can be towed by any tug. Why would
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If the pw is ugly, the sparrowhawk is UUgly.
Insurance is going to be hard to get for a non certificated plane, I don't think many airports are going to welcome it with open arms, and it wouldn't take much wind to turn it into trash if nobody was around it and it wasn't tied down.
After getting up on the wrong side of the keyboard
Well, I think it's unlikely to be as wild and wooly as hang gliding was in the early 70's, when people who should have known better were publishing articles with titles like 'Now anybody can fly'. The cost barrier then was way lower than the 29,500 for the Sparrowhawk, and we were flying in a regime that had not been very well explored. The Sparrowhawk is flying pretty much where other sailplanes fly. It's doing it at a comparable wing and span loading, it just happens to be lighter at gross weight. You could auto-tow a Sparrowhawk without any training and kill yourself, I suppose. I don't know of anything that would stop you from doing that in a 1-26. You would be breaking rules, I suppose, but why would our hypothetical death wish pilot care about breaking rules when he doesn't care about breaking his neck?
Again, looking at the hang glider model, they have no annual inspection requirements either. You seemed to think that the hang gliders at Bong were fairly safe in their operation. Most people have a habit of inspecting and trying to improve their gliders in the off-season anyway. Powered ultralights are much more complex, and have more vibration, and they don't have annual inspection requirements either. I don't know enough about the powered ultralight side to know if the lack of annual inspections is really a problem or not.
Well, granted that it's not made of the aluminum you like, but I think it's better looking than the PW-5. Any very small glider is going to look a little different than conventional gliders, because the pilot doesn't scale down with span. But give them a break. It's the first American sailplane in years.
You could either fly uninsured, or register it as experimental
So far, I believe all the customers are already licensed sailplane pilots, so we don't have think too hard. Right now, 'thinking' about what the accident and fatality rate really means 'speculating'. Since it's expensive enough it's not likely to bought on a whim, and it's clearly a sailplane, not a hang gilder, that I speculate it will be treated with the same caution other sailplanes receive.
Again, pure speculation without knowing the kind of customers that are buying them.
Why not? Ultralights fly out a lot of airports with no problems. How many airports restrict operations by non-certificated planes? And finally, if the owner desires, it can be licensed.
Again, pure speculation. It's empty wing loading is the same as a 1- 26, which manages to survive. The SparrowHawk's much smaller wing area (70 sq feet vs 160 sq feet) makes it easier to manage in the wind than the 1-26, or the Blanik, for example. A parachute or small tire will hold it nicely. Don't be fooled by it's light weight: it is a strong glider that will not be easily damaged.
True, not too likely. But, looking at who is going to be attracted to this price range and type of plane, you are going to attract people that are more used to giving orders than they are at following them. The chances of having a plant manager coming to the field and having to listen to a fellow that normally works three stages below him are in the negative numbers.
The cost barrier then was
Still way above anything that I'd consider for a toy. My whole home shop isn't worth that much without my measuring instruments, and it has to justify any costs that I have to put in it.
they were very safe. However, every part of that hang glider was inspected by the person who's neck was going to be stuck out in front of it, every time it was assembled.
Sometimes, but not normally, there is someone that doesn't inspect his plane carefully enough and removes the problem on his own. Normally tho, the preflights I've seen done would do justice to most annuals.
Just because it's aluminum that it's made of doesn't mean I like it. The 1-34 and any Blanik look like they came from the same uglybucket.
Yup, and with registration, you lose part of the reason people buy ultralights in the first place.
Again true, and again, against the concept of having utralights in the first place. Not that I think the concept as originally brought up, ultralights, with 'no training, no registration, no hassles' was right for anything beyond a rogallo wing. Just that the concept loses many of it's supposed benefits.
Again true, but I was making reference that the day wouldn't have to even be windy for it to happen. Not that I wish them any particular success or failure, frankly, I don't care either way. But I don't like to see the 'upside' trumpeted loudly, and the 'downside' only spoken of in the safety of someone's
the most important two words are the first two, Eric.
When you consider the success of the Dodge Viper and the Plymouth Prowler, that's not much of a factor. I don't think those sell out of 'need'.
I would hope you're correct,but have good reasons to believe otherwise.
No, Deduced from listening to the comments at the gliderport when I was still going there. Getting away from the 'expense and bother of the annual' was one of the primary reasons that they were even looking at the plane.
I don't remember having any particular problem handling the 1-26 in the wind, but mine was an E. Can't say about the blanik, I never wanted to get dirty by touching anything that ugly.
I don't have any particular problems with the sparrowhawk, other than I think it's ugly. But the plane that is 100% 'upsides' without downsides hasn't yet been built, and never will be.
And I fell for it. I distinctly remember reading an article in Popular Science (or one of it's clones) in 1974 and said 'that's for me'. I went out to the Sky Sports factory and bought a glider - well, kit actually. I flew it for a year and a half and upgraded to a super high performance Kestrel (7:1). I went through a series of ever higher performing wings until I got involved with sailplanes. By and by, hang gliding became increasingly a back ground activity, mostly because in the Boston MA USA area, hang gliding involves a substantial anount of time just getting to the site - and then the wind is across the launch and you go home not having flown at all. I didn't have that kind of time.
Sailplanes are wonderful but there's simply nothing that compares to launching from the side of a mountain. I miss it.
Time to return to your roots! The SparrowHawk, and some the other small gliders, are light enough to easily bungey launch, or with a properly shaped hill, roll off launch. And their light weight makes it easier to get the trailer (or car top it) to the top of the hill site.
I'd love to try a bungey launch, and maybe a roll off launch (though I'd like to see someone else be the first to try it).
Try this for the link to the Silent roll-off launch:
hi, do you have any info or know where i can get it on new and used sparrowhawk gliders? do you know if any have been sold in this part of the world (Aus or NZ)?