All photos as well
Discovering a sudden and very strong interest in gliders and gliding, I thought I’d compile a short feature featuring some of the other-type, non-Blanik gliders I’ve spotted around. Let Blaniks – being the most produced gliders of all time – are rather common and in larger numbers they tend to obscure some of the rarer and more interesting (predominantly Eastern European) types. Given my former lack of detailed knowledge of the sailplane world – translating into a lack of photos – I decided, for a start, to cobble together what I had in a short run through of what can be seen in my neck of the woods.
One of the locals hanging about. 9A-GLM is a Pilatus B4-PC11AF, built by the same company famous for its turboprop trainers and utility aircraft, but designed by Firma Rheintalwerke G. Baste in the early 60s. An all-metal glider, it is designed to Standard Class specs, with 15 meter wings, no flaps and no water ballast
Another Lučko resident (I think) is 9A-GPA. There are quite a few B4-PC11s on the Cro register, but I've only seen these two... the interesting type designation is a combination of the original B-4 and PC-11 adopted by Pilatus when they took over production
From the long line of (underrated) Polish gliders is this PZL-Bielsko SZD-30 Pirat. A simple and stable Club Class model, featuring neither flaps, retractable gear not ballast, the Pirat is made of wood, something rare in today's fiberglass and composite world
Not overly aerodynamic, the Pirat is none-the-less light and a good performer for its class. My interest in this one peaked when I found an excellent rendering of it for Microsofts FSX... 🙂
9A-GRA, another Lučko resident, swoops down over my head on approach to the main taxiway. Must have been practicing emergency crosswind landings...
Of not a very good quality, this photo was too rare to pass over. The subject is an Ikarus Meteor 57 glider from former Yugoslavia, one of only two built and the only one in an airworthy state. 9A-GSO is a premanent resident here, so I hope to catch more of it soon
Designed to what would best be described as Open Class standards, the Meteor 57 has 20 meter span wings fitted with negative flaps (usually seen only on high-performance gliders). 9A-GSO was formerly used for materials testing for the G-2 Galeb jet trainer and is - in common with a number of Eastern European gliders - equipped with an electric turn coordinator, replacing the traditional yaw string on the canopy
Polish domination at Lučko :). Two Pirats, 9A-GRA and GZA, in the company of a SZD-41A Jantar Standard, aptly registered 9A-GJA. Their trusty towplane, Super Cub 9A-DBS, is just arriving down RWY 10
Something foreign for a change, taken at Farkashegy airfield just outside Budapest, Hungary. HA-5551 is a very rare Rubik R-26 Gobe, a type I think not seen outside Hungary. Seen here undergoing maintenance, the R-26 is one of the designs to come out of the pen of Erno Rubik Sr., father of the much more famous Erno Rubik Jr., inventor of the Rubik Cube