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Monday, September 11, 2006

GBOGH - Go Big Or Go Home

Rosendal trembles as Mike May's
8kg, 5 meter span Ventus 2a x takes to the Sky.

Photo by: Piet Rheeders

Story by: Mike May

Hi all, Some feed back on the maiden flight of the VENTUS 2 AX. After some minor setbacks (the captive nut that holds the tailplane on fell down into the fuse) this was built in, so some minor surgery was required to reposition it and epoxy it back in place. A check over by Norbert also revealed slop in the flaps (damaged splines on the control horns) these replaced and we were good to go. At 15.00 we moved to the cliff edge and did another round of preflight checks. With my heart in my mouth I called launching and immediately noticed the spectators fell absolutely silent with Evan, Don King and Norbert holding things steady. Evan gave 3-2-1 count down and a mighty heave. The aircraft nosed over and down. I let it gain speed touched left and right to check on control authority and fed in some up. The glider levelled out and started gaining altitude in the lift band. The crowd errupted and I took a deep breath W.O.W.! The VENTUS was then gently flown for thirty minutes and required no additional trimming. The landing was textbook smooth barring a small scare as I crossed a line of small trees on the approach. A photo shoot followed with lots of handshaking etc.
I really would like to sincerely thank all the people who gave valuable assistance with the build, de-snagging and first flight, most notibly, EVAN SHAW who followed day to day the project and kindly cut the blue foam cores, PIET and CHARL from BERG, NORBERT whose large scale gliders at Volksrust started this inspiration. DON KING who I noticed holding the wing on lauch and the tall fellow from the Eastrand who kindly led me back up the hill while focused on the plane, whose name I don't know. A BIG THANK YOU ALL.


For the record I used 6 ltr of epoxy resin, 500 pairs of latex gloves, built it without plans, on the garage floor in 8 weeks, including fuselage plug and moulds. For me the highlight of my model gliding career was that first flight off Rosendal. The VENTUS will now be fitted with an onboard, video and vario with the intention of getting airborn film footage of raptors, vultures and any other thermalling birds that come close. Watch this space.

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