The Latest from Windward Performance

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Windward Performance, located in Bend, Oregon, and the only US sailplane manufacturer, has had a pretty good year. Chip Garner took the prototype Duckhawk to the 15m Nationals and claimed the title and then missed out on the 18m title by only 19 points.  The Duckhawk is now in production and there may be several for the coming competition season in 2013. There is also a new version of the Duckhawk in the works - the Duck-E with an electric motor in the nose (like the Slowenian front engine sustainer/ FES?).


And now Windward Performance has announced two new designs building on the experience with the Duckhawk. The first is an Open class 22m design to be produced in small numbers as a "special edition" (emulating Binder's EB-28).  According to a preliminary sketch it looks pretty much like a Duckhawk with constant cord root inserts (but a 1876 lbs gross weight) resulting in an aspect ratio of 40. This is a courageous bid for the big league and will be interesting to watch.


The other new design is shown as a 20m two-seater with a fixed gear, likewise a big step into a market currently dominated by European manufacturers.


In the mean time the Perlan II is slowly progressing, with a first flight now projected for early next year. There are still plans for some serious high altitude flights in 2013 but flight testing might take some more time. Jim Payne, who is now the chief project pilot for the Perlan II project and who just gained the title of OLC champion for 2012, is surely eager to get his hands on this exciting new sailplane.


These are some exciting developments from this small but highly progressive company - let's see how they pan out.