Monday 25 October 2010

Windhawk Performance Sparrow-Hawk ZK-GAR

The following was nicked from the October 2010 pages of the NZ Aviation News Magazine.

"A new type to appear in New Zealand is the Windward Performance Sparrow-Hawk sailplane. This is a small 11.8m span World Class glider of similar size but even lighter to the more familiar PW5 Smyk.
Designer Greg Cole has an interesting background, having been chief engineer (R&D) for Lancair where he worked on the Columbia 300 and the Legacy 2000. He has also worked with Cirrus and McCauley Propellers.
Greg set up his own operation at Bend, Oregon and using his experience with carbon fibre set to and designed this lightweight glider.
Construction is from pre impregnated carbon fibre which is laid into the molds and then vacuum sealed to press the cloth into the mold and then baked and cured at 300° F.
Apart from its very low weight of approximately 70kg, fixed undercarriage and short wingspan, it has most of the attributes of the “conventional” glider, i.e., it has a c of g tow hook and Schempp-Hirth style air brakes, a VNE of 123kts and a glide ratio reputed to be 32:1. It can also come equipped with water ballast (fuel) tanks, oxygen in a Kevlar bottle and a ballistic recovery system. This glider is currently still in its transport case at Hororata and will be NZ certified by about Christmas as ZK-GAR. This (currently) non powered little aircraft is registered as a Microlight Class 1 and is easily recognized because of its tall narrow fin and rudder and the low mounted horizontal tailplane; rather reminiscent of the old ASW17. "
In actual fact the glider has been stored at Hororata for over two years and was only removed from its shipping crate on Saturday (23-10-2010) and trailered around to the Hororata gliding airfield. Here it was assembled by the owner Alan Ing, Roger Harris, who is the National Airworthiness Officer of Gliding NZ Inc and Tony Hansen, the NZ Civil Aviation Authority Inspector - Sport and Recreation.
As mentioned above; this is an all carbon fibre, microlight class glider with an MCTOW of 188kg. This includes the weight of the pilot - so the empty weight of the glider (including instruments) comes in at under 100kg. Truly an amazing little glider. The glider has a date of manufacture of 31-10-2007 and first flew in the US on 07-11-2007 in these "AI " (Alan Ing) markings. It has a total air time of less than three hours to date. A couple of interesting points about GAR is that the tail wheel is a 75mm inline skate board wheel; the canopy hinges from the "wrong"side", ie it hinges to the left to open and the instrument panel hinges up with it. It does not have the optional oxygen system or BRS fitted - as these only increase the weight.

But wait :- That's not all.
In due course Alan intends to fit two US Micro Jet AT450 units to the fuselage just above and behind the wing trailing edge. These give a thrust of 45lb each and are mounted on an airfoil shaped bar that protrudes through the fuselage. These engines can be found in drones and some of the larger model aircraft.
Alan holding one of the US Micro Jet (ex AMT) units in
the approximate mounted position
I imagine there will be a couple of "fixes" required by "The Firm" before it is allowed to take to the skies.

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