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n2doc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-09-10 02:32 PM
Original message
This is cool
Sailplane Launches Itself With Retractable Jet

By Jason Paur August 9, 2010 | 8:00 am | Categories: Air Travel, Design


A creative bunch of tinkerers think the recent trend of self-launching gliders needs a bit of a boost. So instead of outfitting their high performance sailplane with an electric or small piston motor, theyve attached a jet engine that folds neatly into the fuselage.

Traditional sailplanes have no motor. Theyre typically towed to altitude by an airplane or a very big winch. Once high enough, the pilot detaches from the towline to begin the search for the rising columns of air, known as thermals, that can keep the sailplane aloft for hours.

But having to coordinate with a tow plane can be a hassle on a busy day. And then there is always the problem of landing out. Often a pilot will push his or her luck in the elusive search for invisible lift and find they are too low and too far from a proper runway. That means landing in a field somewhere and getting the sailplane back to the airport.

Over the past few decades self-launching sailplanes have become popular with pilots who want the ability to reach soaring altitude on their own, or have the ability to save themselves from landing out if they push their luck on a cross country flight. Now they can save themselves with a bit more thrust than the competition.



Read More http://www.wired.com/autopia/2010/08/sailplane-launches...
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redwitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-09-10 02:38 PM
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1. Beautiful too.
I would love to see one in the air.
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kayakjohnny Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-09-10 03:21 PM
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2. Very nice. That would be a dream.
Love the second comment too....

Posted by: CaptainQueeg | 08/9/10 | 2:43 pm |

Slick. The use of a miniature station wagon for its main landing gear is puzzling, though.




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