Short Photo Report – Two Unique Gliders Out And About

By me
All photos me too, copyrighted

While few could have guessed from the sporadic activities so far that 2010 marks the first century of aviation in Croatia, preparations for a series of events to commemorate this centeniarry were nevertheless well underway as the end of August approached. As well as the traditional Lučko Airshow – which would this time also feature a flying replica of the first Croatian aircraft 🙂 – these events had also included the so called “Millennial Photo”, part of a project of the same name undertaken by well-known local photographer Šime Strikoman. Celebrating 100 years of a notable local event by photographing 100 of something involved with that event before or since (brilliant explanation, I know :D), the photo would this time celebrate 100 years of local aviation by photographing 100 aircraft in a single shot :).

Despite only managing to drum up 77 aircraft in the end (by my count), the photo itself had nevertheless come out very, very nicely, and can be seen here. Yours truly is somewhere down there as well, by the red-tailed aircraft (Cessna 150, 9A-CCH) on the outside of the last zero to the right, waving to the camera helicopter :).

But apart from looking invisible, my contribution to this event had also included physical assistance in moving everything out of the hangar (and back), a task which had also given me ample opportunity to see a number of very interesting aircraft that are hidden away for most of the time. Unfortunately, since pushing and taxiing this lot around was a time consuming task – and I couldn’t really roam around at will, slacking off – I decided to give my new Canon 5D Mk.II camera a small shakedown by just photographing two very unique and rare gliders… 🙂

First up is this one-of-a-kind homebuilt glider, called “Delfin” and registered 9A-GHS. Though at first I’d thought it was a Polish SZD-24 Foka – surely one of the most beautiful gliders ever built – a closer inspection revealed that it was actually designed and built in Yugoslavia back in the early 60s 🙂

A simple, but elegant design, the Delfin is a 15 meter Standard class glider, pretty much the same category as the Pilatus B4s and SZD-30 Pirats abundant at the field (from which it may draw some design cues)

Yellow does indeed look good on gliders :). Easily one of the most catchy light aircraft that day!

The second candidate is the ex-Yugoslav Ikarus Meteor 57, already featured in a number of previous posts. Designed in 1957 and intended to test construction solutions for jet trainers, the 20-meter all-metal Meteor was built so strongly that it effectively had no structurally-limited top speed (in the speed ranges it could achieve due to gravity and drag)… in one test flight, it had even managed to reach 500 km/h (270 knots/311 mph) in a steep dive!

A look at the office, currently undergoing some work :). One of the most interesting bits here is the antique Cosim vertical variometer :D. Also, you’ll notice a Turn and Bank Indicator on top of the panel: in common with a number of Eastern European gliders, the Meteor dispensed with the yaw string on the canopy in favor of a more precise electrically-powered TBI

But by far the most interesting feature here is the apparently normal airspeed indicator. If you look closely, you will see that it has no red line (indicating the never exceeded speed)! 🙂 You can imagine what impact this aircraft made in the wood-and-fabric glider world of late 50s… it had also set a close-circuit average speed of 97 km/h (52.3 knots/60 mph) in 1958, an impressive performance for the time…

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