The Schleicher ASG-32 – Competition for the Schempp-Hirth Arcus

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The just concluded AERO 2013 tradeshow in Friedrichshafen/ GE was the official unveiling of the ASG-32 by Schleicher.  This is a new 20m two-seater with flaps that is obviously Schleicher’s response to Schempp-Hirth’s (S-H) highly successful Arcus.  It has not even been flown yet but offers some insight into the latest thinking of modern racing sailplanes.  It will be built with an engine compartment as standard equipment and will be offered with the same retractable rotary engine unit as most of the other Schleicher types.  A future electric sustainer is also in the works.  Other features – a retractable and stearable tail wheel, insect wiper “garages” at the side of body and LED flashing lights in the vertical tail.  The wing reflects Schleicher’s thinking of wing design – a multiple tapered planar wing with simple steep winglets (as opposed to multi dihedral, outboard swept back panels and shallower winglets used by various competing companies like S-H).

One can only hope that Schleicher gets this sailplane tested and certified in time for the 2014 World Championships to allow an interesting new start for the new 20m FAI two-seater class.  Most pilots may not be aware that there was once a two-seater class at the Worlds (from 1952 to 1956); it was discontinued because the training two-seaters used at that time were simply not up to competition flying.  With the advent of modern composite two-seaters (like the Janus) things changed but so far it was only in the Open class that two-seaters returned to the competition scene.  However, as beautiful and potent these “long ear” two-seaters are, they are somewhat unwieldy and require a lot of discretionary income.  Thus the IGC created several years ago the new 20m FAI two-seat class and the S-H was the first contender – and became an instant success.  Now that Schleicher has taken up the challenge one can expect some lively competition and eventually these red hot racers will filter down to the club level.

Look forward to the WGC 2014!