Two new competition sailplanes, made in USA

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Earlier this year, at the annual SSA convention taking place in Reno, quite a number of Seattle glider pilots had the opportunity to inspect the unfinished prototype of the Duckhawk. This elegant 15m racer was designed by Greg Cole of Windward Performance and is the first full size glider built entirely of prepreg graphite composite (similar to the 12.6m Sparrowhawk, also designed by Greg Cole). In the mean time the Duckhawk has been finished and test flown. And it showed so much promise, that Gary Ittner entered it in the 15m Nationals at Mifflin - and won the championships despite a slow beginning. Actually the contest was won by Jerzy Semplinski but as a foreigner he did not qualify for the title. Nonetheless, this is a great beginning for the Duckhawk and it will be a hot contender for competition and record flying.

Will it compete in the Worlds, that will begin in less than 2 months in Uvalde TX? Gary Ittner is on the US team, but in the 18m class; Dave Leonard and Sean Seaborn are the designated US pilots in the 15m class. It will be interesting to see whether the Duckhawk will be entered and by whom.

Another long awaited first flight took place on May 25 when the Concordia, Dick Butler's super sailplane, took to the air. This sailplane has been in the works for almost 10 years and represents probably more research and engineering effort than any other sailplane. With Gerd Waibel and Loek Boerman and several other renowned experts behind it, it is expected to have an (L/D)max of over 72 and to provide a performance improvement over the ASW-22BLE that the ETA did not manage to achieve. It is now up to Dick Butler to show in Uvalde, how this ultimate super sailplane with a wing span of 28m and an aspect ratio of 51 will stand up to the 26.5m ASW-22, the 25.3m ES-29 (29m for weak conditions) and the 23m Quintus. It promises to be an exciting competition!

And for the first time in 49 years, there will be at least one US sailplane in the Worlds!