Concordia -
my first encounter with the ultimate soaring machine

It’s been a while since I wrote the following article for the German “aerokurier” (2005).
Meanwhile the Concordia is flying.
Not only that, Dick Butler competed with her in the World Championship 2012 in Uvalde, Texas – and raised a few of eyebrows. Well, the “few” were actually all eyebrows of Open Class pilots….
“In a class by itself” was the unison judgement of those competitors who came close enough to experience its potential first hand.
No wonder there was – and is – increased interest in that super plane and the science/engineering podcast omega tau published a very comprehensive interview with Dick Butler here.

If you want some more history, background and pictures read and/or download the pdf below.

Title Concordia

Glide ratios of 75, or even 80, are not pie in the sky anymore, claims a team of pilots and aeronautical experts formed by Dick Butler. With the Concordia they intend to prove it.

What a day!
The next to last one at the WGC 2008 in Luesse, Germany. At the morning briefing we’ve found on our task sheets a 568km multilateral AST around Berlin.
“Gotta really move..” we’re all thinking—not just because of the points, but also because of an approaching line of thunderstorms that couldn’t care less about the exaggerated optimism of the met-man.
And move we do, until—east of the River Oder, deep in Polish territory—we fall into the largest blue hole that I have ever encountered. At a snail’s pace—and altitude—I round the last turn point and tiptoe back across the border.
Now I sit under the only cloud that’s left over all of Brandenburg, a lifeless wisp that marks the exhaust of a big power station near Cottbus. It’s my last hope to getting lifted to final glide altitude. A meager 200fpm is all that I can extract, despite empty tanks, and the milky haze I see in the direction of our goal tells me and anyone else who cares to know: this is our last lift, our last chance!
I’ve gained slowly on the Eta that earlier joined my thermal about 300 feet below. Would 1 lb/ft2 really make a difference in this weak, bumpy lift? Right around 4800 ft my thermal finally decides to quit.
Final glide, it whispers.
Final departure, it should have warned.
Even in the best case I’m about 200 ft too low to reach Luesse, now at a distance of about 125 km. Looks like I will have to fire up the turbo about 10km short of the finish line. I move the flap lever to the zero notch and head out on course. Patience and concentration are needed to keep the airspeed at precisely its optimal value, and to sese whatever slight assistance the evening atmosphere can offer.
What happens seventy-five minutes later could only have been foreseen by the most pessimistic of my competitors: I float at barely 20 feet across the fence of the airfield in Luesse, the only one to complete the task. What a fantastic final glide!

Fantastic, at 80:1? Yes, but only a fantasy? Who knows! There is a team of three highly motivated enthusiasts with first rate competence who view this dream as a challenge.

for pdf of entire article go there


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