Steve Arndt's Magic Dragon
Started building ~1996 - First flight 1999
The second Carbon Dragon to be flying in the United States of America was unveiled at the Sailplane Homebuilders Association workshop at Elmira, New York on 10 July 1999. At the Eastern Workshop, Steve Arndt described the jigs and tooling to build this unique glider which departs from the design in many areas. The glider appears to be rugged and truly a finished product.
Steve Arndt's Magic Dragon (Carbon Dragon) photo captured in flight, below, by a fellow hang glider. Steve has exceeded 90 hours of flying in his homebuilt Carbon Dragon. Steve has successfully flown the Magic Dragon for several years and, as of 2014, logged more than 400 hours in the air. His longest cross country flight was a declared goal diamond distance flight of 314 miles from Wallaby Ranch in Florida into Georgia, landing over 10 hours after takeoff. It was a joy to built and even more fun to fly. -Steve Arndt
Steve's Carbon Dragon sets the standard for homebuilt gliders.
This glider has been load tested and is now flying.
Steve has hangered his Magic Dragon in Florida for several winters. Week long visits from New England has enabled Steve to "rack up" some extensive hours of successful flights. Here are few images of the Carbon Dragon during assembly in the hangar at Harris Hill.
The Magic Dragon was designed by Steve Arndt, based on the Carbon Dragon by Jim Maupin of California. It has a 45' wingspan with full-span flaperons and winglets, max. L/D of about 25:1. It is built of plywood, with some carbon fiber, molded graphite, fiberglass and/or kevlar. The Magic Dragon is usually launched and landed on a wheel.
Writes Steve Arndt: "My glider is based on the Carbon Dragon but it is unique in several important aspects. The wings are longer which adds almost a foot of span. I have installed winglets which effectively add to the span as well. The fuselage has less frontal area and has been reshaped to reduce drag. The surface elements of the original Dragon were made of 1/32 inch plywood. I replaced all the plywood that touches the surface with molded graphite, fiberglass and/or kevlar. The composites allow compound curves not possible with plywood so a much more rounded, smooth appearance is possible. I also used carbon rods in the spars for added strength and my glider has been load tested to 5 G's based on my weight (185 pounds) and the additional weight of the installed ballistically deployed parachute.
Why change the name? I was told by another builder that Jim Maupin told him that if he changed the design, he shouldn't call it a Carbon Dragon. Besides, for me, the building and especially the flying have been truly magical."
Regarding the flaperons, Steve writes: "Hi Don, I don't use the negative flap settings much, only on fast glides. The positive settings are useful when thermalling. The extreme ends of the flap settings become difficult to use due to the flaperone mixer. In the very positive position the ailerons barely move when you move the stick. Please be careful when modifying the design. You will want to do a load test it and do a comprehensive test flight sequence to insure that your weight/balance calculations are in the range for safe flight. Make a checklist for assembly, preflight, takeoff, and landing. Please be careful during your first flights. The Dragon is a magic aircraft and a lot of fun. Best regards, Steve."