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moandal
11th April 2008, 18:56
The Alatus-M (http://www.flylight.co.uk/gliding/index.htm) seems to me to be easily the most exciting of the SSDR designs so far. Plain powered flying can be just a bit too easy. Take off, point microlight in desired direction, arrive and land. Gliding however provides the additional challenge and satisfaction of staying aloft using only the rising air currents. It's therefore in my opinion simply more fun than powered flying, but not having an engine creates obvious and serious restrictions.

The Alatus-M looks like the perfect combination. The challenge and fun of a glider, with the ability to launch yourself and get back home. Plus if there's no lift, it's a very sleek looking microlight.

Other SSDR trikes claim to have good soaring capabilities, but in reality their performance, both in terms of glide angle and sink rate doesn't even come close to this machine. (12:1 vs 27:1, 200ft/min vs 140ft/min).

The only drawbacks I can see are:
1) It's not cheap
2) Only around 90 minutes duration on the tank I believe?

What do others think? And is anyone in Central Scotland interested in shared ownership?

Wally Hayward
12th April 2008, 17:53
Having been "brought up" in a gliding environment and previously owned a Falke SF25b (self launching Glider", I would point out that 90 minutes duration (if correct) is be more than adequate when used as a sailplane.
It should be reasonably easy under fairly good conditions to get 5 mins engine on and 5 hours thermalling. The L/D is slightly better than an old Swallow in which I did my 5hr Silver and only slightly less than the old K6cr that I did my first X country in and certainly better than my Falke, in which I had many 100's of hours engine off..

As you say, it is expensive and getting more so by the day, due to our wonderful pound slumping against the Euro, but I am saving my pennies!

moandal
12th April 2008, 18:28
Personally I agree that 90 minutes duration is plenty for a self-launching glider like this. I rarely flew for any longer than that when I had a trike because I got bored otherwise!

moandal
1st May 2008, 09:30
Has anyone taken delivery of an Alatus-M yet? If so, please tell us about your experiences so far.

Paul Dewhurst
1st May 2008, 19:09
First UK customer collects his this weekend.

Paul

tomr
30th June 2008, 19:33
I was surprised that there are only 3 Alatus-Ms in the country so far according to the CAA website. The write-up seems great.

Has anyone had personal experience of flying cross-country engine off in one yet?

Wally Hayward
1st July 2008, 08:43
What has surprised me more, is the apparent lack of evidence on the web of worldwide sales.. a couple in the states from way back but little else.

Interested to know how many have actually been sold.

Bearing in mind the stated L/D sits between the old Slingsby Swallow Mk1 in which I did my BGA silver hieght and the old Slingsby Skylark 2 in which I did both my BGA 5hr and solo cross country in way back.. "silly old fool":-)), then cross country performance should be adequate and coupled with the Alatus's probable ability to use "microlift" due to it's "light weight" overall it could well be much better, although penetration would probably be poorer.

fastbloke
1st July 2008, 09:13
I was over at Sywell the other weekend and had a sit in the Zj-Viera. I had a little look around the Alatus in the same hangar at the same time and I have to say this is a very smart piece of engineering. The de-rig, whilst not being a 5 minute job...more like 10, is really really cool design.

There is a lot of aeroplane considering it's sub 115kg. It has the look of a 'proper' aeroplane being very sleek and glider-ish rather than looking like a smaller aeroplane as many larger kites do.....if you see what I mean. Sounds odd but I hope you get my drift!

I still fancy the Viera but the Alatus is mouth watering for sure.

tomr
6th July 2008, 11:44
Alan,

Have you had any luck finding a Syndicate partner for the Alatus-M yet?

Like yourself I am coming from a hang gliding background, and see a 27:1 L/D ratio as well able to lead to good XC options in future. I would be flying in Nottinghamshire.

I am currently learning to fly the H/G aerotow tug, but after training and some hours on the flexi hope to get some hours on a glider in advance of considering the Alatus-M.

Still interested in getting some feedback from people who have actually flown one.

Stewart Bond
6th July 2008, 18:30
Well.....

2 customer gliders out there at the moment. Not had much feedback from the first owner, so will be contacting him to see if he is happy or otherwise. The second one has just been collected and flown by it's owner from Sywell on Friday. First flight was a shakedown and the second was 1.5hrs at 6000' engine off only returning so that I could demonstrate the de-rig and getting home and on order to return to Southampton in time for work the next morning! Personally one of the best first flight experiencs I think I have seen from someone who has only just obtained his licence recently...albeit an experienced hang glider pilot already.

I too have been getting to grips with the glider and have amassed around 15hrs with 3 notable flights of 2.10hrs - 4.5hrs in the Northamptonshire area. First flight was in a 20kt upper wind with average thermal climb rates of 600-700ft/min and managed to fly upwind to Graffam Water (1.50hrs out and 20 mins back). Penetration into strong(ish) winds is therefore possible if you have the patience to stick with it. Glider and power unit has been working well with average powered climb rates in the order of 400-500ft/min and always returning with less than 1 litre of the 5.6l fuel tank capacity used. Only problem so far is the electronic alti/vario used does not like the engine and tends to reset whilst in the intial climb. Would also be good to have a TE Vario installed which may be next on the "to do" list.

The build quality has always been high, but Aerola have been paying attention to detail with small improvements on each glider we've received so far. We have another 2 firm orders already in the process of delivery however delivery times have proved to be longer than initially thought with 8-9 months being the norm so far.....price you pay for a high spec item I suppose.

If anyone is interested in coming over to take a look, please contact either myself, Paul or Ben at Flylight and one of us will be pleased to show you round one.

Stewart

tomr
17th July 2008, 21:14
Good to hear you have been getting some flying on the Alatus Stewart. Still interested to hear from others.

I would have thought that TEC would be essential giving the energy retention. I thought the Digifly Flier 2 had a TEC feature, and that there was an ASI in the glider already?

Stewart Bond
18th July 2008, 07:36
I believe Paul Harvey has been flying his glider together with a couple of friends of his (but not at the same time;-).

I will try to get them to comment.

TEC is a very useful tool in order to iron out "stick thermals", however not absolutely essential and it is perfectly feasable to fly any glider, hang glider etc. without the aid of a total energy system....just not as easy to immediately determine whether the indicated vertical velocity is due to pulling the stick back or "real" lift.

The Flyer2 does have TEC, however only if connected to an ASI (impeller type) and we have nowhere the outside of the cabin to attach it. We really need a system that utilizes the incorporated pitot system; however I have not had time to explore the options available just yet as we've all been very busy with the school and now getting ready for Popham.

Cheers

Stewart

tomr
19th August 2008, 17:40
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LhKypdhzDFk

moandal
27th August 2008, 08:15
Does anyone know if there are any plans for a proper flight test of this machine in the BMAA's Microlight Flying magazine?