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 Aeromarine’s 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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