In this sort of machine you are not separate from the sky, but part of it


It’s the ultimate sophistication

It all sounded good to me, so after the

show long-suffering lens-man Jim
Lawrence and I headed down to
was the great Leonardo
(da Vinci, not di Caprio, nor a
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle) who
observed that “simplicity is the ultimate

sophistication”−and this seemingly simple
machine is indeed quite sophisticated.
Looking rather like a 1950s Slingsby T.38
‘Grasshopper’ primary glider, it is a
high-wing design and features a traditional
tubular structure with the wings and tail
surfaces covered with fabric. It is currently
powered by a two-stroke single cylinder
Vittorazi Moster 185 engine that produces
25hp yet only weighs a very impressive
12.9kg. Chip also said that plans to
produce an electric-powered version are
well advanced. More on this later.
While having a quick poke around it
prior to taking it up for a quick flip, I
couldn’t help but notice that some of the
engineering and materials were perhaps
not quite of the high standard I’ve come to
expect from Chip, but in his defence his
primary agenda had been to fly an aircraft
into the show−and he did. Production kits
will use AN bolts, and the other minor

snags I noticed will be addressed.
Intriguingly the Zigolo is offered with a
choice of ‘whole aircraft recovery systems’
as standard−either a rocket-propelled BRS
or the pneumatic Comelli system.
While I examined the aircraft Chip gave
me a few of the salient facts and figures.
The empty weight is 102kg and the
Unfortunately the weather could’ve been
kinder; the wind is reassuringly light, but
the visibility being best described as
‘gloopy’. However, as both Jim and I are
scheduled to leave Florida imminently and
the weather is forecast to deteriorate I
decide to give it a go. With a rather
ill-fitting helmet on my head I feel a bit
like Toad of Toad Hall, but rather than
Wind in the Willows it’s going to be more
a case of Wind in the Wires!









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