HISTORY OF THE DART
The Dart first flew on 26 November 1963. Four were entered into the National Gliding Competition in May 1964, but failed to impress in the light conditions of the first few days. It became increasingly clear that the speed of the Dart could not compensate in typical English conditions for the high minimum sink rate resulting from its high wing loading of 5.6 lb/sq ft (27.3 kg/m2). Since the 1965 World Championships were also scheduled for the UK, Slingsby decided to increase the wing area by stretching the span to 17 m, making the Dart an entrant for the Open Class. Initially this version also had a wooden wing spar, but some distortion noticed when the airbrakes were extended led to a redesigned spar of mixed metal and wood construction. The new wing was also fitted with a trailing edge root extension and a 1 ft (0.305 m) increase in aileron length and this version of the Dart became known as the Dart 17. The first Dart 17 used an undercarriage with a less extended wheel, fiited in a fairing but almost all later ones were fitted with a retracting undercarriage. The later Dart 15s used a similar metal and wood spar and had the root fillet, producing a net weight saving of 45 lb (21 kg) and a corresponding improvement in sink rate.Most Dart 15s retained the fixed wheel undercarriageto allow them to compete as Standard Class. Darts with retractable gear gained an R in their designation, e.g. 17R.
The first Dart, now G-DBSA was flying from Seighford in 2006. The two 17WRs, registered G-DCAZ and G-DCBA have restricted certificates of airworthiness valid into 2009 and 2010respectively. Many others are still flying, mostly in the UK but with a few in the rest of Europe and in the USA.
Specifications (Dart 17)
Length: 7.5 m (24 ft 7 in)
Wingspan: 17.0 m (55 ft 9 in)
Wing area: 13.87 m2 (149.3 sq ft)
Aspect ratio: 20.4
Airfoil:NACA 643618 at root, NACA 643615 at tip
Empty weight: 226 kg (498 lb)
Gross weight: 340 kg (750 lb)
Maximum glide ratio: 36:1 at 83 km/h (52 mph)
Rate of sink: 0.6 m/s (120 ft/min) at 74 km/h (46 mph)
Wing loading: 22.8 kg/m2 (4.7 lb/sq ft)
On the 22nd of march I was up bright and early to go and pick up the Dart from Much Wenlock in Shropshire which was 147 miles a way, but was worth it. there will be as normal pictures to follow, off to John's Monday night to get some Tx setting up and sorting out on where to fit the tow release.
Well On Monday night popped around to John Greenfield of the Ghost Squadron to his workshop to check out the glider and set the Tx and movements on the glider up, first was to replace the 2000 battery pack for a 4500 life pack.
Then to replace the elevator servo and chose to use Multiplex tow release, the servo and the release was ordered from Gliders distribtions uk They came the following day, the service is very good.
He is a few pictures from that night.
To make it easier to remove the pilot the boots needed to be removed, the pilot I bought a while ago in case a plane came up that required one. Did some touching up with the paint where required on the fuz and removed the canopy for a respray. 30th of March was the first day out for the dart, not to fly but just to get it out on the field to take a couple of pictures and to put it together for the first time on my own
This May bank holiday was to be the test flight of the Slingsby Dart, on the Friday before the bank holiday a trip to John's again to sort out the C of G,.we were amazed to see that the c of g was so far forward. so after 15 minutes of some loud crunching and other frightning noises tryings to remove lead sheet from the nose of the Dart. But finally they started to come out, we took over 600 grams out all together, now the C of G is sorted the change over of batteries can now take place, a 6v pack removed and two life 3800 packs fitted from Onbo Battery company. One battery went up front in the nose and the other under the seat, and a battery loom fitted to handle two batteries was supplied by little Al. We thought that was all the work done, until we lifted the plane by the wing tips and found the bottom spar springing out of the bottom on one of the wings at the wing joiner. So a little repair was done to solve the problem, just lucky John had seen it at this point otherwise this could have been a different story,So a few minutes with the epoxy and job done
Sunday is here the wind is about 2 mph sun is out and some good clouds, just require a tug and the start of the testing will start.
There was a bit of a problem with the undercarriage so all take offs will be done with no wheel. With Tony H another member of the Ghost Squadron and his tug ready John G was given the Transmitter, the fun begins. The first tow was taken to 500ft, this is done so any adjustments can be seen, it looks that the weight taken seems to have been the correct thing to do. we did find out that the rudder required reducing and the coupling up of the rudder with the ailerons can now be joined now the first flight is a success.Second flight was taken to 500ft again to prove all the changes made were ok,what was mentioned was when putting the dart is put into a thermal turn once the controls go back to neutral the Dart stays in the thermal turn, this I have been told is because its quility of the glider in the air, the Dart was then handed over to me to fly, it was amazing in the air the glider just didn't loose any height and was so graceful. The third flight was a full tow to 1500ft, and once turning into a thermal turn,a thermal was found that kept me up for between 35 to 40 minutes, the longest flight so far this year of the new season.
The third flight was a full tow to 1500ft, and once turning into a thermal turn,a thermal was found that kept me up for between 35 to 40 minutes, the longest flight so far this year of the new season.
After a good flight like that, the only thing for it is a good cup of tea and some chocolate biscuites with the guys the made the test flying possible so a very big thanks to John G and Tony H of the of the Ghost Squadron
John G and Tony H had there gliders also ready to go and other members turning to the field, Well the rest of the day continued with some nice flights, love this hobby.