Arndt's Posting on rec.aviation.soaring Newsgroup
(Modified 3/16/2002)

----- Original Message -----
From:  Steve Arndt aka Hanglyder
Newsgroups: rec.aviation.soaring
Sent: Monday, October 16, 2000 12:10 PM
Subject: Carbon Dragon

> Hello all,
>      I have been asked to write to you regarding
> my Magic (Carbon) Dragon.  I've read some of the
> recent posts and have searched this list before
> so I guess that makes me somewhat of a lurker.
> Briefly then, by way of introduction, my name is
> Steve Arndt. I have flown hang gliders for 26
> years and took sailplane lessons four years ago
> to prepare for flying the ultralight sailplane
> that I was building in my basement. I have my
> private glider license.
>      My original intention was to design and
> build the highest performing hang glider ever but
> the more I researched and considered the options,
> the more the Carbon Dragon seemed to be really
> what I wanted.  But there were problems.  I was
> too heavy at 185 pounds and the prototype was too
> fragile and subject to weather degradation.
>      So the new plan was to build a better Carbon
> Dragon without sacrificing the performance
> capabilities of the prototype that I had seen
> flown masterfully by Gary Osoba.
>      After talking with many old and newfound
> friends, especially those connected with the
> Sailplane Homebuilders Association (SHA), and
> reading about various construction techniques, I
> decided to combine the previous efforts of many,
> throw in some new ideas, and build a new Dragon.
> Almost three years later, the first test flights
> were flown in June 1999.
>      My glider is considerably different than the
> prototype.  It gets it's spar strength from the
> use of carbon rods integrated with an all
> composite leading edge D-tube. There are many
> additional composite parts both internal and
> external.  It has been load tested to 5G's based
> on a pilot weight of 185 pounds and including the
> additional weight of an installed ballistically
> deployed parachute.  Additional changes were made
> to try to reduce fuselage drag and optimize the
> Culver/ Maupin designed wings.
>     I have been reluctant to pronounce it a
> success or recommend that anyone else build one
> like mine until the flight test sequence was
> completed and I had an opportunity to become
> familiar with the glider's capabilities. To date,
> I have just over 90 logged hours of airtime in my
> Dragon in a wide range of soaring conditions. I
> guess it's time to speak up.
>     The real magic here is that the glider can
> maintain an incredible sink rate within the
> turning radius of a hang glider. With its very
> large control surfaces including full span
> flaperons, it can maneuver with ease to follow
> the most elusive thermals or hunt almost
> whimsical little traces of lift sought out by
> feel as the glider "sniffs" its way using the 45'
> span and very light wing loading.  You can really
> feel the texture of the airmass better than any
> aircraft I've ever flown.  Even better still is
> its very forgiving stall characteristics.  The
> airfoil shape is varied across the span and may
> be adjusted in flight by changing the flaperon
> settings. The efficiency of the flaperons is
> further improved by the differential mixer and
> enhanced by the addition of winglets which, I
> believe, improve tip efficiency particularly at
> low speed and in turning flight.  These design
> features give the pilot a variable wing that has
> a speed range wide enough for xc flight while
> allowing confident flight very close to terrain
> and the exploration of low level microlift.
>      Building it has been a most rewarding
> experience exceeded only by the great joy of
> flying it.
> Best regards,
> Steve Arndt