CD Flying

From: Mike Couts <ten.etg|evomeRdeepsfdn#ten.etg|evomeRdeepsfdn
To: <moc.spuorgoohay|gniraoS_thgilartlU#moc.spuorgoohay|gniraoS_thgilartlU
Sent: Saturday, February 17, 2001 11:27 PM
Subject: Re: [Ultralight_Soaring] issues
Hi All,
As a big fan of light soaring I want to toss a few ideas into the ring
for thought. Is the Monarch a better glider than the Carbon Dragon?
Is a Buick a better car than an Oldsmobile? If I want to
enjoy a country drive on a warm summer evening I'll pick a convertible
with the top down. If I travel the interstate, Ill take a Cadillac, roll the
windows up and use the cruise control.
If I go 2000 MI.. on vacation for two weeks with my wife, I'll use a Dodge
Caravan, not a Corvette. If I want to enjoy some soaring after a day at
my 8 to 5, I'll fly a Monarch, not a Grob 102.
The point is fun. The point is no single sailplane can be a do-all
fit-all. I find the open cockpit glider a big help in working light lift.
It allows me to be more closely in touch with the environment
that I'm operating in. The extra visibility allows me to enjoy things I
would miss from an enclosed cockpit. If I give up a bit of performance
to be out in the open, so be it. If I feel a need for blasting
all over the sky at 100 kts, I'll go get the 102 out and fly it instead.
I probably don't have the same desires as the mainstream of the
soaring community, but I don't really care. I want to have fun and
enjoyment with my flying, that's why I do it. That's why we all do it.
And no, I will not get into a big long drawn out discussion about min
sink, speed polars, design A Vs design B. It's all relative. That Corvette
will out corner the Caravan but, it will not hold enough suitcases to
keep my wife happy on the road for even one week.
I will not make any comments about the Carbon Dragon, I haven't
flown one yet. Maybe I'll get that chance this August in Marion. I do
have a hundred or so flights in the Monarch F and G. I know what this
design can do and I like it. It fills a much needed spot in my soaring fun.
And yes, I live in Marion, Ohio, and feel very lucky to be here, the
home of Marske Flying Wings. And yes, my opinions are no doubt biased,
but I feel I'm very fortunate to have experienced light soaring, something
that many will never get the chance to do. Most are too hung up with
that blasting around at 100 kts mentality to slow down and enjoy the ride.
Mike Couts

Date: Sun, 18 Feb 2001 14:30:08 -0500 ]Well put, Mike.
Perhaps a few additional thoughts. .. there are many reasons for what
type of soaring may appeal to one and not the other. For me, a real big
part of the fun is flying something I built myself. My little glider [a Carbon Dragon]
is my own creation I dearly love every aerial experience we share together.
Regarding microlift … which type of aircraft is best? Depends on the
air you're working. Any high performance glider can do well in light lift
that is large enough to accommodate their large circling radius and is high
enough to afford the safety margin required to recover from a stall/spin
incident. To explore and USE lift that is close to the terrain you need a
low sink rate and a very maneuverable aircraft that has docile stall entry
and very rapid recovery. Then you need to become very familiar with its
handling and flight capabilities. Familiar enough that you can proficiently
hunt out, follow and extract as much lift as possible from stuff you used to
regard as annoying turbulence on final. I've used this low level lift
before in hang gliders and some days it works but that's because the lift
being thrown is stronger than the hang glider sink rate. More often what
you'd get is extended flight down low. With the circling sink rate of the
Magic Dragon, I can slowly climb and/or hold position and wait for a
stronger cycle and instead of sinking slowly to landing.
Ideally, what you need is the maneuverability, friendly stall
characteristics, and low inertia, slow speed, short field landing attributes
of a hang glider with half the circling sink rate and twice the glide. … and
then you have to get real good at flying it.
Steve Arndt

From: Steve Arndt aka Hanglyder
Newsgroups: rec.aviation.soaring
Sent: Monday, October 16, 2000 12:10 PM
Subject: Carbon Dragon
Hello all,
I have been asked to write to you regarding
my Magic (Carbon) Dragon. I've read some of the
recent posts and have searched this list before
so I guess that makes me somewhat of a lurker.
Briefly then, by way of introduction, my name is
Steve Arndt. I have flown hang gliders for 26
years and took sailplane lessons four years ago
to prepare for flying the ultralight sailplane
that I was building in my basement. I have my
private glider license.
My original intention was to design and
build the highest performing hang glider ever but
the more I researched and considered the options,
the more the Carbon Dragon seemed to be really
what I wanted. But there were problems. I was
too heavy at 185 pounds and the prototype was too
fragile and subject to weather degradation.
So the new plan was to build a better Carbon
Dragon without sacrificing the performance
capabilities of the prototype that I had seen
flown masterfully by Gary Osoba.
After talking with many old and newfound
friends, especially those connected with the
Sailplane Homebuilders Association (SHA), and
reading about various construction techniques, I
decided to combine the previous efforts of many,
throw in some new ideas, and build a new Dragon.
Almost three years later, the first test flights
were flown in June 1999.
My glider is considerably different than the
prototype. It gets it's spar strength from the
use of carbon rods integrated with an all
composite leading edge D-tube. There are many
additional composite parts both internal and
external. It has been load tested to 5G's based
on a pilot weight of 185 pounds and including the
additional weight of an installed ballistically
deployed parachute. Additional changes were made
to try to reduce fuselage drag and optimize the
Culver/ Maupin designed wings.
I have been reluctant to pronounce it a
success or recommend that anyone else build one
like mine until the flight test sequence was
completed and I had an opportunity to become
familiar with the glider's capabilities. To date,
I have just over 90 logged hours of airtime in my
Dragon in a wide range of soaring conditions. I
guess it's time to speak up.
The real magic here is that the glider can
maintain an incredible sink rate within the
turning radius of a hang glider. With its very
large control surfaces including full span
flaperons, it can maneuver with ease to follow
the most elusive thermals or hunt almost
whimsical little traces of lift sought out by
feel as the glider "sniffs" its way using the 45'
span and very light wing loading. You can really
feel the texture of the airmass better than any
aircraft I've ever flown. Even better still is
its very forgiving stall characteristics. The
airfoil shape is varied across the span and may
be adjusted in flight by changing the flaperon
settings. The efficiency of the flaperons is
further improved by the differential mixer and
enhanced by the addition of winglets which, I
believe, improve tip efficiency particularly at
low speed and in turning flight. These design
features give the pilot a variable wing that has
a speed range wide enough for xc flight while
allowing confident flight very close to terrain
and the exploration of low level microlift.
Building it has been a most rewarding
experience exceeded only by the great joy of
flying it.

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