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Slingsby T.3 Daglin/ Primary Gliders – all types

Specifications – Slingsby T. 3 Dagling

There are many primary gliders in the U.S. some in museums, some in storage, some occasionally flying. The types include the Zogling, SG 38, Mead, Rhon Ranger, Schweizer SGP 1-1, Waca, Cessna, Reynolds, Dagling and Slingsby T. 38 Grasshopper and one-offs constructed right up to the 1960’s (e.g. Jongblood). The Detroit Gull primary glider was produced by Detroit Aircraft in the early 1930’s with ATC No. 1. Primary gliders are not listed seperately due to similar background and characteristics, and constraints of space. Some primaries were modified by incorporation of a nacelle around the completely open cockpit, both to give some protection to the pilot, and to improve performance. The Dagling has been chosen, partly at random and partly because an example exists belonging to the National Soaring Museum, as represntative of this class of early glider. The Dagling design was a 1930 rework by Reg Dagnall’s RFD company and also Slingsby (type 3), but most were built from plans. Aero Club Albatross in New Jersey built one as their first glider, and Gus Scheurer recreated a Dagling for the National Soaring Museum. After World War II, Slingsby converted T. 7 Kirby Cadet T.X. Mk. 1’s into T.38 Grasshopper T.X. Mk. 1’s by adding Cadet wings to a new primary fuselage. The Royal Air Force used 115 T. 38’s in its Air Cadet training program. Primary gliders were mainly used for basic trainging, before the pilot proceeded to a higher performance secondary glider. Part of the hazard associated with this kind of solo traing was removed by the use of the German-invented pendelbock, or tripod, on which the primary glider could be suspended close to the ground enabling the student to experience the effect of the control while pointing into wing. The Vintage Sailplane Association has plans for the Ranger, Reynolds, SG 38 and several other primary gliders.

 


 

Slingsby T. 6 Kirby Kite 1

Specifications

Performance

Other

The Kirby Kite was a development of the Schneider Grunau Baby 2 with a gull wing and a streamlined fuselage. Slingsby had already built a number of Grunau Babies under license and in the contruction of the Kite used some of the same components and metal fittings. During World War II several kites were used to work out and establish safe towing procedures and instructing techniques for British Military glider pilots. After trials with standard kites, one was fitted with wooden control rods instead of cables to investigate the ability of rader to all-wooden aircraft.


Slingsby T. 7 Kirby Cadet (RAF Kirby Cadet T.X. Mk. 1)

Specifications

Performance

Other

The Kirby Cadet, which first flew in 1936, was designed as an intermediate performance glider. Early examples had a rubber shock absorbed skid for takeoff and landing, but later versions had a modified nos, a less tall rudder and a fixed main wheel. It has no approach control aids. During World War II, the type was adopted by the Royal Air Force for its air cadet training program, eventually acquiting 376, known as the Kirby Cadet T.X. Mk. 1. Total production by Slingsby and subcontractors amounted to around 430, with some kits being supplied in addition. Plans were made available for license building. Alex Dawydoff in the U.S. acquired plans and built the slightly modified UT-1, still with mainskid and no wheel, first flying in 1943. The sole UT-1 now belongs to the National Soaring Museum. The type was developed into the T. 8 Kirby Tutor (RAF Kirby Cadet T.X. Mk. 2) by the addition of a 13.24 m./ 43.4 ft. tapered wing. This in turn evolved into the T.31 Tandem Tutor (RAF Kirby Cadet T.X. Mk. 3) two-place trainer. A post war surplus of the T. 7’s resulted in Slingsby building the primary T. 38 Grasshopper with surplus T. 7 wings and tailplanes married to a new primary open fuselage.

 


 

Slingsby T. 12 Kirby Gull 1

Specifications

Performance

Other

The Gull 1, which first flew in 1938, was intended for pilots who had outgrown their Kirby Kite or Grunau Baby sailplanes. Spoilers were fitted to all Gulls after the first production example. In 1939, a Gull flown by Geoffrey Stephenson was the first sailplane ever to cross the English Channel in true soaring flight.

 


Slingsby T 21B Sedbergh (RAF Sedbergh T.X. Mk. 1)

Specifications

Performance

Other

The 2-place side-by-side T. 21P first flew in 1944 with a removable nose upper deck section to give students the same exposure to the airflow as experienced in primary gliders. Using the same wing section, it was in many respects and enlarged, 2-place, Grunau Baby. The standard production T. 21B, with fixed nose, first flew in 1947 and became the first volume produced 2-place in Great Britain. The T 21B brought ‘solo’ taining to an end in the country around 1950 and went on to train a whole generation of British glider pilots. The Royal Air Force operated 92 T.21B’s (known as the Sedbergh T.X. Mk. 1) in its air cadet training program until the 1980’s. Approach control is accomplished only by upper surface spoilers. Most examples had open cockpits; a few were modified to incorporate a canopy (T. 21 C)

 


Slingsby T. 31B Tandem Tutor (RAF Kirby Cadet T.X. Mk. 3)

Specifications

Performance

Other

The Tandem Tutor, which first flew in 1949, was a two-place devopment of the single-place T. 8 Tutor using the same wings with additional bracing. Early production T. 31’s had no aids for approach control, but spoilers were added to later models, and retrofitted to most examples. The Royal Air Force used 131 T. 31B’s (known as the Kirby Cadet T.X. Mk. 3) in its air cadet organization from 1950 to the mid 1980’s. One ‘Mark 3’ made over 120,000 flights totaling 6,000 hours in this period.


Slingsby T. 41 Skylark 2

Specifications

Performance

Other

The Skylark 2, which first flew in 1953, has a three piece wing with top and bottom surface Schempp-Hirth type airbrakes for approach control.


 

Slingsby T. 43 Skylark 3

Specifications

Performance

Other

The Skylark was developed from the 14.63 m. span Skylark 2, requiring an increase of the tail volume and strengtening of the wing spar. Rudi Hossinger of Argentina won the Open Class at the 1960 World Championships at Koln-Butzwelerhof, Germany in a Skylark 3. Many different sub-types, from the 3A to the 3G, were produced, the 3B and the 3F being most numerous. The 3B had a longer nose and the elevator mass balance weight was positioned under the wing. The 3F was certified to a greater all-up weight with geared tabs to the ailerons and a revised tailplane. All feature a 3 piece wing with carry through center section and powerful upper and lower surface airbrakes.

 


Slingsby T. 45 Swallow (RAF Swallow T. Mk. 1)

Specifications

Performance

Other

The Swallow is a small single-seater which first flew in 1957 designed as a follow on single-place sailplane after the student had completed basic two-place instrucion. It has a fixed wheel and a nose skid, and the leading edge of the wing is covered with thick low-density plywood to maintain a smooth contour. It was also made available in kit for amateur constructors. The Royal Air Force operated 4 (known as the Swallow T. Mk. 1) in its air cadet training program. ATC

 


Slingsby T. 49B Capstan

Specifications

Performance

Other

The Capstan was Slingsby’s last wood two-place design and reflected the British preference for side-by-side seating. It was planned as a replacement for the earlier T. 21B Two-place side-by-side training glider. One was modified (T. 49C) with a 34 kW/ 45 bhp Nelson engine mounted on a fixed pylon behind the cockpit. ATC

 


 

Slingsby T. 50 Skylark 4

Specifications

Performance

Other

The Skylark 4 was the final development of the Skylark series. The outer wings were changed to the more cambered NACA 6414 prodile which permitted a better lift load distribution at both high and low speeds, and the ailerons were lengthened, improving the rate of roll. It has upper and lower surface air brakes. The fuselage was redesigned with a semi-reclining seat and a smoother line for the cockpit canopy. Dick Johnson won the U.S. Nationals in a Skylark 4 in 1963 and again in 1964. ATC


Slingsby T. 51 Dart

Specifications – Dart 15 (Dart 17R in parenthesis)

Performance

Other

The Dart was originally designed to Standard Class rules and first flew in 1964, winning th 1965 OSTIV prize at the World Championships at South Cerney, England. This notwithstanding, a disappointing competitive performance led to the development of the 17 m. Open Class Dart 17, which had a wood and metal bonded spar in place of the Dart 15’s wood. A retractable main gear was added as an option (Dart 17R), and later production examples have an all metal tailplane. In 1965 Dick Georgeson of New Zealand set a world Out & Return record of 730.6 km./ 453.98 miles in a Dart 15. Specifications are for the Dart 15, with those for the 17R in parenthesis. ATC

 


Slingsby T. 53 B

Specifications

Performance

Other

The two-place T. 53 represented Slingsby’s desire both to produce a modern, relatively high-performance trainer and switch from the wooden construction of the past to more modern materials (in this case, metal). The T. 53 B features two fixed tandem wheels and a swept-forward flapless wing of constant chord (the prototype –53 A had flaps). Later production examples had anti-balance aileron tabs for lighter stick forces, larger fin and rudder, molded fiberglass seats and new instrument panels. Slingsby later sold jigs and production rights to Yorkshire Sailplane which produced an improved version with both nose and center of gravity tow hooks known as the YS 53 Sovereign. ATC

 


Slingsby T. 65 Vega

Specifications – T. 65 D

Performance

Other

The all composite T. 65 was the first sailplane designed from the outset with a carbon fiber mainspar. It first flew in 1977 and conformed to the then new 15 m. racing class rules. The flap and trailing edge airbrake system are operated by a single cockpit control. Trim setting is adjustable by flap setting for hands-off flight at most operating speeds. Also automatic are the coupling of control and ballast-dumb plumbing on rigging. The Vega features retraction of both the main and tail wheels. The A model has glass wing skins and 100 kg./ 220 lb of water ballast, while the D model has Kevlar skins for added strength and 160 kg./ 352 lb. Of ballast. The T. 65 C model is a Sports Class variant with fixed gear and no flaps. At the time it was produced, the Slingsby company operated under the name Vickers-Slingsby, but the Vickers part was subsequently dropped. Specifications are given for the T. 65 D. ATC.


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