39th Western Workshop of the Experimental Soaring Association, div. SSA

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BJC

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There really needs to be some sort of a design discussion thread on HBA for a 21st Century club sailplane, or 21st Century 1-26 glider, that can be built on the cheap. Yes self-launch is better, and yes achieving 40-1 L/D is better, and yes the market is not as big as for powered aircraft. But I believe gliders are still the key to inexpensive flight for the average weekend homebuilder.
Is there a market for a kit SparrowHawk or a clone?


BJC
 

Hot Wings

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There were some great topics presented this year but I always want to hear and see more about actual building and flying of "home built" gliders, etc.
There really needs to be some sort of a design discussion thread on HBA for a 21st Century club sailplane, or 21st Century 1-26 glider, that can be built on the cheap. Yes self-launch is better, and yes achieving 40-1 L/D is better, and yes the market is not as big as for powered aircraft. But I believe gliders are still the key to inexpensive flight for the average weekend homebuilder.
As much as I wanted to attend this year - and I had the time and money set aside - I decided it would be better to stay home and work on the plans for the AV-36/361. With some luck and staying focused on the goal I just might be able to attend next year with something tangible.

An AV-36 derivative will never be a club training sailplane but it could be a reasonable substitute for the 1-26, though likely not as robust. 40 to one? No, but a real 30/1 should be possible. Self launch versions have been done and is part of the plan. Inexpensive? That depends on who is spending the money.....
 

Topaz

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I just want to say it was a great privilege to attend this year and be amongst some of our HBA folks. It is quite refreshing to spend time with like-minded individuals and talk about airplanes and such. I always look forward to being at the Workshop and am always a bit sad to leave when it's over. I am fortunate that my wife attends with me and has become friends with several members of the group.
Hear, hear! I always come away from the workshop energized and ready to push my project forward. If for no other reason than being around a bunch of people who are passionately interested in the same thing.

There were some great topics presented this year but I always want to hear and see more about actual building and flying of "home built" gliders, etc. Is it just me or is it that most topics nowadays are about theoretical projects requiring the investment of bazillions of dollars and teams of engineers and control by autonomous systems that involve no real human interaction once placed into motion?
Well, we had Sonja Englert with her self-designed, scratch-built motorglider last year, and that was fascinating - especially since she had the airplane there with her. I'm more of mixed emotions on this. I enjoy things like the fly-by-wire systems on the Nixus sailplane, and so on, but I do also wish there were some more down-to-earth design and/or build reports as well. Of course, people designing and building their own sailplane/motorglider probably aren't going to pop up every year. I really enjoyed Neil Pfeiffer's analysis of mission issues for a kit-built motorglider. I think he raised some very interesting points, including the over-emphasis on L/D and soaring performance as a barrier to getting more and different designs realized, and practical for real-world designers. Barnaby Wainfan's input to the panel discussion on this sub-topic was, I think, right on the money. Even though there weren't talks on them, there were an example of both the Xenos and Ximango motorgliders at the event, in person, along with the Genesis tailless sailplane outside the hangar. And I can never stay far away from the Bowlus Baby Albatross that's inside, either.

Thank heaven that we have Bob K who is fighting the good fight and producing kits that are supporting our interest in this great sport of soaring flight. ...
Amen to that. Bob's participation in the panel discussion was particularly valuable.

SteveL and I drove up, and it was certainly good to see Topaz and TerryM76 since it had been a while. It was great to meet PiperCruisin' in person for the first time too.
I'm so glad we could all make the break for lunch together on Saturday. Nice to speak and spend some time with HBA members in person like this!

... There really needs to be some sort of a design discussion thread on HBA for a 21st Century club sailplane, or 21st Century 1-26 glider, that can be built on the cheap. Yes self-launch is better, and yes achieving 40-1 L/D is better, and yes the market is not as big as for powered aircraft. But I believe gliders are still the key to inexpensive flight for the average weekend homebuilder.
Absolutely agreed. Let's please just not turn it into a "design thread." A discussion of issues and solutions that can inform design efforts is always welcome, but group design threads always fall apart. For example, I think 40:1 is impractical and of limited use in a homebuilt glider or motorglider, so an effort in that direction will have me dropping out immediately, whereas it might be of genuine and useful interest to you and others. That notion also came out in the discussion. I hope to be posting more on my own little motorglider project shortly, and I hope to see other, similar, efforts pop up and move forward on HBA.

... With some luck and staying focused on the goal I just might be able to attend next year with something tangible.
YAY!!!!! :)

An AV-36 derivative will never be a club training sailplane but it could be a reasonable substitute for the 1-26, though likely not as robust. 40 to one? No, but a real 30/1 should be possible. Self launch versions have been done and is part of the plan. Inexpensive? That depends on who is spending the money.....
Neil Pfeiffer is interested in your efforts. I told him about it at the BBQ on Sunday. An "updated/improved" version of the the airplane is outside his area of interest, as a lead in the Vintage Sailplane Association, but a translation of the original plans into a new, CAD-housed and -cleaned version most certainly is. I can put you in touch, if you'd like.

And yes, we took video of all the lectures this year, with minimal technical issues beyond recalcitrant wireless microphones. I think I can probably enhance the voices and push back the noise enough to get clear audio out of everything, and I'll be editing the video and putting it up on the ESA YouTube channel as time permits, just like last year. I'll keep you posted here as I get some of those done and posted. I'm in the middle of the twice-annual busy season with work, so those may go up more slowly than we'd like, but I'll get them all done.
 
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bmcj

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I fully intended to attend this year, but ended up sick at home this weekend. I had no desire to spread this bug.
 

TerryM76

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I was getting concerned that Topaz would moderate me into the cornfield soon.............
 

mm4440

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Hi ALL, barring an asteroid strike or the "big One", the 40th WWS will be in Tehachapi next Labor Day weekend and all interested in practical and technical soaring are invited. If you are not hearing presentations on your particular interest please consider giving one yourself. One on the AV-36/361 would be welcome, for example. I have begun talking to potential speakers already. Put your thinking caps on and share on the new thread, I will.
See you next year at in Oshkosh and/or Tehachapi, if not sooner,
Murry
 

Victor Bravo

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WWS-40 would be an ideal time to announce the finalists in a design contest for the proverbial inexpensive E-AB sailplane, that can be built for X dollars in X hours and achieves X performance. Harald Buettner's LaPruvo is automatically entered, as is Dan Armstrong's WinDanCer and Marske's Monarch with an enclosure. If Mike Sandlin would consider creating a sailplane derivative of the GOAT, that would be a contender. We could have a great amount of fun on this forum doing a design exercise toward that goal too. Hot Wings' Fauvel program might be an entrant if he wants, and the Backstrom Plank-ish things you and I have discussed ad nauseam are also fair game.
 

mm4440

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For many reasons, ESA will not be running a design contest in the foreseeable future. No X-Prize for soaring, we are too little.
On the other hand, if we can narrow the missions to a manageable few we can do a design challenge to encourage, share and hopefully get a few building projects going.
Is it possible to herd soaring cats?
 

Topaz

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For many reasons, ESA will not be running a design contest in the foreseeable future. No X-Prize for soaring, we are too little.
On the other hand, if we can narrow the missions to a manageable few we can do a design challenge to encourage, share and hopefully get a few building projects going.
Is it possible to herd soaring cats?
I'm of such mixed emotions on a design contest of any type. We've had proposals for such, here on HBA, and I think we even had an informal one several years ago, albeit with nothing but "glory" as the prize. It faded away when all the "entrants" stopped working on their designs.

The issue is that the number of people really qualified to do it is very small, and they're usually very busy individuals whose time is valuable, and who aren't going to go to the trouble of an entire aircraft design just for a small contest. I've often thought that the very best "prize" for a contest like this, because it invokes a genuine benefit for the designer, is a commitment from the organization doing the contest to actually fund the construction of a prototype example of the winning design. So often these things end with a winning design complete on whatever media, prize money (or whatever) given out, and then ... nothing happens. Making a new design for "X" requirement come into being is, ostensibly, the goal of the contest, but then the contest doesn't actually fulfill that goal.

It would probably take teaming up with one or more EAA chapters who are looking for a project, and they accept the winning design as that new chapter build-project, funded by themselves and the ESA, presuming the latter is throwing the contest.

If an actual prototype isn't built, the entire contest or design challenge is just an academic exercise.
 
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Topaz

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The first of the presentation videos from this event, the 2019 Experimental Soaring Association Western Workshop, is now up on YouTube, on the ESA channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCG9NEZfEDe8ro4oqtXpXQQg

This first video is by Paulo Iscold, on the Nixus fly-by-wire sailplane project. I hope to have the second video, of Eric Stewart describing destructive materials testing of composites, posted this evening, if the render of the edited video is done before I head off to bed. I still have the program of events up on the ESA website, so you can see a listing of what's coming up: http://esoaring.com/calendar-copy.shtml. Paulo and Eric had specifically asked to get copies of their videos ASAP, so I did those first. The rest will follow more-or-less in the order of the event program.

If you'd like to be notified whenever subsequent videos are posted to the channel, please consider clicking the big red "SUBSCRIBE" button just below the video.

Thanks, and I hope you enjoy!
 

Victor Bravo

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Thanks for posting this ! I'm in the process of getting a retired Lockheed engineer reeled back in to be involved in small experimental stuff, and I have pushed him into the rabbit hole by sending him some of the Al Bowers videos. Last week Iput another hook in him by telling him about a FBW sailplane with an aspect ratio of 53.... now I can set that hook by directing him to this :)
 

Tom Nalevanko

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Thanks for posting. As I now live at 46U in Wyoming, it’s more difficult to attend... looking forward to viewing them all.

Best,

Tom
 

Topaz

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Thanks, guys. I posted Eric Stewart's video last night, only to have YouTube block it because he used Peter Schilling's "Major Tom" as the background music for a short video he played during his presentation (lord, this is getting "meta"!). Seems entirely fair-use to me, and was blocked by an over-zealous automated system, so I'm submitting a dispute on the block. I'll be moving forward with other videos while the dispute is resolved. If "we" lose the dispute, I'll edit out the "offending" section, and re-post.
 

TerryM76

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The year is now 2020..........

I haven't heard anything about an event this year.

Anyone have anything to share?
 

Topaz

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Ugh. Yes. We (the ESA) has a new newsletter editor, but no newsletter yet.

I believe the board voted (informally) to not hold the event this year, in light of the COVID-19 situation. I will confirm with Murry. I suggested that we do either a "virtual" conference online or simply have the speakers provide videos that I could put on the YouTube channel, but I never got any response to either of those suggestions.
 

TerryM76

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Murry is pretty much "the board" nowadays. I've held the role of Secretary for a few years but haven't a clue if anyone else is doing it now. Hope Al Bowers can scrape together a few presenters.
 

Victor Bravo

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With a little bit of advance notice we can ask Jeff Byard to make more room in the hangar and put the chairs six feet apart, and have everyone (in the audience) wearing masks or something. I wish there would likely be 150 people attending, "standing room only", but I believe this is not likely. We could take advantage of this, and have the "usual" 30-40 people spread further apart. I vote to have the event if it is at all possible. There is time to poll all the ESA members and see who would or would not show up. That data can inform the board as to whether or not to have the event.
 
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