What is also certain is that expense is high, attrition is high and commitment too. The trend for faster planes is to make them bigger. Of course there are exceptions and talent and opportunity with just the right conditions play their part too. However, bigger DS planes are actually easier to fly because you fly a larger circuit and so less load on pilot reaction times for any given speed. They also, quite understandably, become scarier too as the sheer size and weight get's into territories you just would not think a glider should be! After seeing so many 'hits' over Simon Cocker's 'maidening' of his D130, I asked him to tell us mere mortals what his thought were, so far, with this astonishing but admittedly, intimidating machine...
"With a wing loading of 49 oz/sqft the D130 could be construed as a heavy lead sled. picking up 30 pounds of hewn carbon in the workshop and having that mass comfortably sitting in one hand felt like picking up a steel dumb bell in the gym; all that money invested in the airframe appeared crazy; then there was also the 5 Hitec HT-7990 44Kg torque servos at £100 each..etc. I could at this point understand why there was a great deal of perceived intimidation from fellow flying friends. After all, this machine is designed to break 500mph in the DS zone but by no means break itself in the process.
After five front side flights so far in wind speeds of 25/40 mph on two different days I can tell you that the D-130 is user friendly to fly and land.The model carries energy in a rather unique way and sure covers a whole lot of sky in all axis. The Long Mynd has been used so far but the Great Orme is next for front side sessions.
I have a sport/front side and DS setting but look forward to switching into the latter mode when winds onto Rushup Edge will allow.
The D130 is perfect for this re known DS site being of a size where really large circuits can be carved and still have a very safe visual lock on the beast.
I am not rushing out there, hell bent on busting any speed records,I am addicted to the DS adrenalin rush however. After three years of DSing various types of models including a 5m span all carbon Pilatus B-4 I was ready to go for another quite big "Propppaa" one, & as I have always proported "Bigger is better"...this notion has proved to be very much the case.
Safety is a most prevalent and ever present issue with this style of flying and I noticed the BARCS chatter which has rightly raised this point once more. We will Police this far more strictly and keep everyone out of harms way. I am very mindful of the potential danger and with our DS friends ensure appropriate steps are in place during all DS activity.
Joe Manor by the way makes a fantastically strong model which assembles in very short order,nice job Joe,thankyou."