Standard Class - Present And Future

Goodhart - Moffat - Schreder - Smith

GOODHART: The trouble with standard class is that it is not standard. First, it was restrictions on copy for minimum dimensions, then it was retractable wheels, and now even flaps are going to be allowed. I just heard a couple of weeks ago that the CIVV has agreed that from 1974 onward standard class will be allowed to have flaps. And if the aim of the standard class is to bring gliding within reach of the ordinary man, then it has to stay stationary. Yet, I agree that all the revisions that have been made have been justified. The only trouble is that we just have not got onto a plateau of performance which will allow a fixed set of rules to remain relevant and with it. All we can do for the time being is stay tuned. We hope the next program will be a long one in which we can buy a glider which will not be outclassed in months.

Of the many performance limits of the great range of possible standard class gliders, all having the same Wortmann wing sections, my first conclusion was there was no case for an aspect ratio above 24. We've already reached this. In fact, there's scarcely a gnat's whisker of performance difference over the range of aspect ratios from 20 to 24 provided they're all flown at the right weight. In the range of 200 to 400 feet net rate of climb (what I would call European rates of climb), the best weights are much lower than those currently being reached. My calculations show 20 aspect ratio optimizing at about 525 pounds -- that's all up weight. On a 24 aspect ratio -optimizing at 475 pounds. These are wing loadings of 4.35 pounds per square foot, and 4.7 pounds per square foot. Incidentally, the wing section I was using is the FX 61-163, which seems to be one of the most popular. I'm suggesting that, aerodynamically, perhaps we have reached some sort of a plateau because there isn't much more to come. The Wortmann and Eppler airfoils have so much laminar flow that I don't believe anyone is going to produce a significantly better airfoil. The other contribution to the drag such as fuselage, interference, leaks, gaps, aerials, and that sort of thing have all been reduced to very low levels indeed, now; so the line of development as I see it (and it only applies to Europe so maybe I shouldn't be saying this to you) is in weight. We've got to look to structural experts to get all the strength we want at much lower structure weight. Possibly carbon fiber has an application here.

So I see standard class caught in the same trap as the open class. It will be possible to up performance significantly but only at very considerable cost. There is only one alternative and that, I think, is the alternative that you're able to adopt and that is always to fly in thermals of 400 to 600 feet a minute or more and that's a great solution because the optimum weights are then up in the weights which people are currently building standard class gliders -- at around 60D to 650 pounds. What I'd like to say about the standard class is that I'd like to see gliding grow to the point where we'd get away from this coverall of standard 15 meters and get down to real class racing as with the dinghy sailors. This is something which we've got to get to quite soon; and when we do this we really find out who our best pilots are and I look forward very much indeed to this day when we can have a better contest.

MOFFAT: Well, I guess I should say first off that I disagree with Nick on quite a number of points. I don't believe that the standard class is and I don't believe that it should become anything like a one-design class. I think that the changes and improvements that have been made recently and are projected for 1974 are very much to the good. Further, I think they may not make the standard class prohibitively expensive although I do think they'll make it rather more expensive than we're used to today.

I think, second, that the racing oriented standard class ship will have to come unless interest in gliding virtually dies, because if the competitive scene continues, as entries for the Nationals and would-be entries for the Nationals show it to be continuing in our country, I don't see any reason to suppose that the level of competition will not be driven up very high indeed. This means that certain people will be perfectly willing to sacrifice club-type comforts and structural strength perhaps, as well, in order to get a racing ship, just as has happened in boat design. I think the corollary of this is that we must develop the chap who wants to fly in competition and does not want to spend the amounts of money that development classes always entail. We must develop a meaningful one-design class and I do not mean a 1-26 (which is about the most ridiculous joke of a one-design class that I can imagine, since the weights of early 1-26's are 100 pounds less than the weights of late 1-26's).

I would like very much to see a good 13-meter ship for one-design class rather like the standard class of the moment, only scaled down. There's every reason to believe from the German Hildoga, which was a 13-meter ship that had a best L/D of about 36 on an empty weight of 226 pounds -- there's every reason to believe that such an interesting 13-meter one-design could be developed.

Finally, I don't agree with Nick on his analogy to dinghy racing. If they had an open Libelle class contest, for example, I think that some people would have Libelles that were very, very much better than other people and I don't think, unless you know the right people to borrow from, that you'd be likely to borrow one with much of a chance of winning. In short, there are Libelles -- and there are Libelles. Just as there are 1-26's -- and there are 1-26's. Unless you have rules to state very explicitly, as we have in dinghy sailing, exactly what you can do, and what you cannot, you run into trouble. And, believe me, I've raced dinghies for 10 or 15 years and the boats that I raced very frequently (often borrowed) were infinitely better than the boats just plain ordinary people that didn't have any reputation could buy. I think the same thing will happen in sailplane flying. Believe me, the kind of dinghy that Peter Scott or Stuart Morris raced in England., doesn't bear much resemblance to what you buy in a boat shop.

SCHREDER: Well, I think the standard class is on its way to becoming the most important class in the United States. I think that if we have open class Internationals where ships like the Sigma and the Nimbus show up and consistently win because of their big size and complexity, this will discourage most of the normal soaring fraternity from trying to compete in this type of class and the open class will eventually degenerate into an America's Cup type of race. I think most of you people out here are going to be interested, eventually, in standard class ships. The greatest reason, of course, would be that you don't want to wrestle with these huge ships and you probably won't have a pocketbook big enough to buy a Sigma, for instance. I also agree with Nick in his statement that the standard class ships are just about to reach the limit of their development unless, of course, someone comes up with some entirely new idea that we're not aware of at the present time. I do think we're near the maximum performance that can be expected from a 15-meter ship. I think there's a lot of development to be done to simplify the construction and get the price down because as all of you know, the prices are steadily climbing, and I'll try to touch on that later when we talk about design. I personally think and hope that the ultimate standard class limitation will be only a 15-meter span. I think when we try to legislate all of these restrictions we run into all kinds of problems because for every law that you make, someone can find a way of getting around it, and it's usually in a very expensive manner. The reason I believe we should have a 15-meter span limitation is that we're going to restrict people that can develop better ships and I don't see any reason why we should restrict the development of better sailplanes that will have better performance without necessarily increasing the costs.

SMITH: The history of the standard class has been kind of irregular (I guess this is a good adjective) -- mostly because of the administration and the bureaucracy. I think that this is what Fick was hinting at. However, I think it's serving its purpose in that it's pointing out that we can't continue to have soaring competition in this fashion. I think what e standard class will do is indicate that we do need to expand class competition, and that we will need more classes. Because of the pressures we're feeling about the standard class here in the United States, I believe that we will have many, many more competitors and I think that this will naturally force more classes. I agree basically with everything that's been said but I think that the overriding factor in all of this is just the plain purchase price of the sailplane. I don't think that the kind of rules we have or the kind of changes we make in the rules or the kind of classes we can have will ever be able to override the simple fact that people want to buy less expensive sailplanes and, to date, this standard class should have been the answer to that, except perhaps, for ships like the 1-26, but even there the cost difference is very slight. I think all of this argument is really kind of academic -- what we're talking about is the whole economics of the situation. You get more people involved constantly in soaring and all of our efforts are directed in this fashion; sometimes not by design. I think this simple activity of getting together here is going to encourage more soaring and get more people involved. They're going to want to compete; and if they're serious competitors, they're going to get into the best competitive position they can get into; they're going to argue for class type competition and they're going to be successful in it because there's going to be so many of them. We're going to have some continuation of the concept of the standard class, I think, without all of the variations that the standard class has gone through in the past few years.

Question And Answer Period

Question: (Hearn) We've heard a great deal about the economical advantage of having a standard class. I'd like to discuss the unfortunate position of the Libelle owner who has bought a 301. low we have a standard class Libelle which had no retracting undercarriage; but now he can have it retracting, so he has to spend some money to have this modification made. Worse yet, in the near future it looks like he'd have to get rid of the whole standard Libelle anyway, because now he's going to be allowed flaps. The 301 pilot who at the present time will not be able to compete in the standard class, will later be able to compete, and therefore, all Standard Libelle buyers will have to get rid of their Standard Libelle. This constant switching and changing is very bad economically for, indeed, some of you on the board are selling your 17-meter ships. Should we not have, as I think one new Zealand or Australian chap wrote recently in Soaring, more than one class? The idea of just a 15-meter class seems to me, wrong. There is also a very large group of gliders at present, the 301, 17- and 18-meter gliders, that should also be able to compete in a class. Is there, perhaps, room for another class as well as the standard?

Answer: (Schreder) I'd like to answer that. I'll answer your last question first and that is that the Board of Directors of the SSA, of which at least two of us are members, have gone on record by stating that they will support and promote any class that becomes popular. In other words, if there is a group in the United States that would like to promote a class of 13-1/2-meter ships, or a class that would, say, be limited to 15-meters to 17-meters -if there are enough people interested in having a competition of such a class, the SSA will give it official sanction and do everything to promote it the same as any other class such as the open or standard class.

Now, to get back to the other question about the owners of Libelles having to change the flaps -- I'm probably the most rabid flap man in the United States -- I really don't see any reason why this would be necessary. Even though I am a promoter of flaps, I don't really believe that there are any performance advantages in a simple flap. If there are, they are very, very minor. I am in favor of flaps mainly because of the additional safety features such as being able to land at lower speeds, in smaller fields, and simplifying the wing construction, etc., but I see no reason for anyone who already has a ship with adequate dive brakes to make this change or to spend any money at All. I don't think it would help him a bit.

Comment. (Moffat) One or two points that John (Hearn) raised -- one that of the current changes of rules in the standard class will tend to make ships date rather quickly. I think if you're going to compete very much, you have to recognize that the object tends to date rather quickly; I don't care whether it be in boats, cars, airplanes, gliders, or what have you. It's rather unusual to have an object, any object, in a competitive class, still winable after three or four years. I think that's one thing to consider. Another point that John raised was in saying a word about the state of chaps who own Libelle 301's, the open class Libelle at the moment, for example, and other open class ships. I think it would be too bad if people came away from this meeting and other types of meetings around the country with the idea that the only type of competition in the United States will -be in standard ships from now on. If your interest is primarily, for instance, in regional contests, and you would plan to enter the Nationals when they are close enough to not entail a tremendous output of money, the open class is still very interesting indeed. I think this is particularly true in the East. I don't see any reason for owners of open ships to panic. Further -- one last point -- the 301 Libelle would not be eligible as a standard class ship under any likely interpretation of the flap rule. The flap rule is still to be written, but I know the people who are doing the writing and I think that I could guess that the 301 Libelle would not qualify as standard by 1974.

Question: How about the spoilers? You can't have both.

Comment: (Byars) Would you like to comment on that specific point, Nick?

Answer: (Goodhart) I can't comment on the rule because, as George (Moffat) said, it hasn't been written yet, and then again, I know the people who are writing it and I know that their aim will be to keep it down to the simplest possible flap and try to exclude anything which looks like being expensive. I'd like to just say that in U.K., of course, we have got another class. In fact, the second class in our national championships is not the standard class; it's what we call the sport class, which is designed to catch all the older opens as well as the standard class. We simply use as a measure of whether a glider is qualified for the sport class or not the handicapped figure for that glider. We have a system for measuring handicaps for all the gliders. For example, a 19-meter ship was in our sport class competition last year and it didn't win.

(Byars) Anybody else?

(A.J. Smith)- I think a way that we could make a contribution here is by giving an idea of what we think is going to happen. I think that we're going to get more activity in the standard class and standard class nationals; and probably some of the pilots that do well in the standard class will -be included in the seeding for the international team and all this sort of thing. But, it is pretty obvious that it isn't going to happen very fast. If you want it to happen faster, you have to make even more noise than you have been making so far. I sense that there is a lot of sentiment for the standard class. I think the best advice we could give you is to be prepared to trade ships as often as you can for the next two years while you're still young, healthy, and competitive, because that's the way it's going to be.

Even after we get a class kind of competition, it's going to take a long time for people in the soaring movement to understand really how to control a class type competition so after you once buy what you hope will be a rigidly controlled class competition sailplane, John, they may still be figuring out the rules -- how to measure it and how to weigh it. It's going to take at least a decade for somebody to figure out that all pilots should weigh what the handbook says pilots weigh, which is 170 pounds. It's surprising how many people don't realize that this is a factor in competition. Simple things like this are going to take years and years to sort out, so the best thing we can say to you, I think, is to keep fighting' but advertise your sailplane and lay aside capital for reinvesting. Question: I think it's important in this discussion to qualify this flap requirement. I realize it's not written yet but you fellows seem to have some idea of what it's going to be. The question in my mind -- is it going to allow some limited amount of camber changing?

Answer: (Moffat) I think I might be somewhat qualified here, as is probably Nick too, since I talked to Loren Welch, who probably will have the writing of the rule to do. I know that Loren's feeling is that camber changing could be performance enhancing and is to be avoided at all costs because of the word "costs." I'm sure that Loren will put in a requirement for full flap extension at Vne at probably not over five seconds, which is a very, very difficult design requirement. I feel (Nick may not like this very much), but I feel fairly confident that since Loren is not at all in favor of flaps as an idea, that he'll make it very hard for people like Dick Schreder.

(Schreder): Just a year ago I went, at my own expense, over to a meeting of the CIVV, simply because they were going to have a discussion on the flap and, unfortunately, I left about five minutes before they voted on the thing because I had to get back to one of these symposiums over here. The Europeans are very much adverse to flaps. Not knowing anything about them, they don't like them, and they're against them. There were All kinds of ideas proposed at this meeting to install drag strips and require portions of the flap to come up and act as spoilers and actually complicate the flaps so that no advantage could be gained from them. My point is that if we do have a flap that's used for a dive brake, why in the world should we build lower performance into the ship and destroy any of the possible advantages that could be gained just from the simple flap. I don't believe in having expensive tracks and extending flaps and all this sort of thing. I think that, as long as we can build a flap that will be a superior dive brake at no additional cost, we should allow any advantages that can accrue from the use of this flap.

(Goodhart): I don't like to say it, but having flown with a Schreder-type flap, and having found it absolutely first class, I strongly support Dick's point of view, and I shall do my best back in U.K., if I have any power, to make sure we get his sort of flap allowed.

(Moffat): You might be interested to know the reason that I got the offer to fly the Nimbus was that the German team turned it down. Klaus Holighaus told me last summer in Marfa that he, for political reasons, had to offer it to the German team first. The reason that they turned it down was that none of them had any experience with a flap-type sailplane. They were scared to death to fly it in a strange place like Marfa. They would prefer to fly something like the ASW-12 with the tail chute alone. Many of you have flown flapped ships and you know how marvelous they are, but it's that kind of prejudice that's made life so difficult for people like Dick to get a sensible flap rule.

(Steve du Pont) I don't know what the rule Is. I understand it isn't written yet, but in previous conversations, it was my understanding that it was flaps or spoilers on standard class now. I don't believe that the Libelle flap could be put down 900, and if it did, it would fail to function as well as it does for camber changing because I think the binge is not at the lover surface. I'm not sure of it; I never studied it; but this is the key to it as I see it; that you have spoilers or flaps. I think that may answer the question of whether the Libelle 301 is going to become standard class or not.

Question (Byars) I'd like to add here a bit of comment as to keeping the cost of the standard class down. It seems to me like there's only two real controls we can put on the standard Class. One is span and the other is empty weight. When we get to the competition, about the only way we can equalize the competition is that, since the span is already standardized, we'll have to equalize the all up weight, the flying weight. I'd like a little bit of comment on that.

Answer: (Schreder) Well, I don't know whether I'm an expert on that but I agree with you although I don't even think we can control the weight because, with pilots varying from 120 to 250 pounds, it gets pretty hard to control the weight, and it would mean an awful lot of ballast to stick someplace in a sailplane that doesn't have any storage area. Or, since the standard class is prohibited from having dropable ballast, you can't have water tanks under the present rules. It will get pretty difficult to add this kind of weight to a sailplane so I think, in my own mind, that the only workable limitation is span.

(Goodhart). If I got the question right, the real point is how are we going to get the cost down. You started, I think, from that point and it appears to me there's one very simple answer in getting the cost down and that is we've got somehow to get long production runs. Once we get somebody producing 500 or 600 of one type of glider, the costs will come rocketing down. That's why I'm very interested in backing class. I should add the;, 0 my original statement on class racing and I don't mean to the exclusion of the continued development of standard class but perhaps it will arise as a thriving competition class in addition to the standard class.

Question: Dick, your discussion about flaps has all been on the basis of increasing drag. As one raises flaps, one can increase the high speed end of the performance. Do you object to that in your design?

Answer: (Schreder) Not at all. I think the rule should be written so that you would be permitted to do this because it certainly wouldn't cost you five cents in expense to raise a flap above neutral and I see no objection at all and I think this is one of the added advantages of a flap over a dive brake.

Question: (Seibels) It seems to me that so much of the bureaucratic emphasis of this standard class thing has been rather arbitrary. We keep trying to limit performance-enhancing things that don't really cost that much money or even safety things, for instance, no tail chutes on a standard class plane. Well, I think that's a bunch of nonsense. If a tail chute which can be put into a plane for $100 can keep you from tearing up your sailplane, I think that's an economical factor that should be considered and it serves you no other purpose.

Answer: (Schreder) I would agree with that, and I think it would even be permitted under the present rules, except that you would have to have a dive brake that would limit the speed to Vne. But I would go along with the people who write the rules 100 percent in disapproving a parachute as the only means of a dive brake.

(Seibels): I didn't mean that. It's a great additional safety factor.

(Schreder): Right. Well, I think that you could, under the present rules, include a parachute. That's my personal opinion.

Question: (Byars) Why are not any of the five manufacturers of that class now willing to go to the tail parachute?

Answer: (Goodhart) Well, I should have mentioned, of course, you must have some speed limiting brakes and since you've got speed limiting brakes, none of the manufacturers deemed it worthwhile to put the parachute on, but I am reasonably sure they can do so if they want to. At also extra cost perhaps.

Question: (Art Hirst) Application was given to me for the standard class contest at Elmira but the contest director said that drag chutes are prohibited. If I show up with a drag chute I have put on that ship, am I illegal as a standard class?

Answer: (Schreder) I don't think that that really is quite accurate and I'm sure if you could prove that you did have dive brakes that would limit the speed to Vne , I think You would when they wrote the rule was that a parachute as a full means of dive brake is prohibited.

(Hirst): Take a standard class Cirrus, put a drag chute on it, and arrive at the Nationals this summer. You're legal. That's what you're saying?

(Schreder): No. I'm not saying that. I'm saying that I think that if you would write the contest board and point out that you were coming with a ship that had an adequate dive brake and you merely wanted to add a tail parachute, I'm sure that they would interpret this as complying with the rules.

(McMaster): Dick is referring to the SSA contest board and not anyone in Elmira. In other words, the rules are imposed on us and we are taking them as they were given to us, so I guess Mr. Ivans is the man you want to talk to. Is that right?

(Schreder): That's right. And I think it's just that they weren't thinking of somebody coming with a dive brake and a parachute; they were thinking only of the parachute. But really I don't see any reason for the SSA writing any rule whatsoever like that because they have decided that they will abide by the present or the current standard class rules as written by CIVV.

Question: I have another question. I wonder if, in the history of soaring, in this decade at least, we have ever had to use dive brakes at VNE for any reason whatsoever.

Answer: (Schreder) Well, I don't think I can answer that because I don't know of any case but I think the requirement, in this country at least, is a very, very harsh design requirement because it's practically impossible to get FAA approval to fly in clouds in this country and that's really the only justification that I can see for that requirement. This requirement of lowering your flaps, for instance (if they do allow flaps), at Vne, is a very severe requirement if you can't justify it. It would be like requiring the builders of airplanes to be able to put their flaps down at Vne and this would probably increase the weight of the airplane 50 percent, to say nothing about what it would do to the occupants.

(A.J. Smith) The tone of the exchange is interesting and it's the same tone you hear in all conversations about the standard class and I -think you have to understand the background of the standard class a little bit. First of all, I'm convinced in talking with some of the originators that they don't like it themselves any more and this opinion that they express in private conversations with you is sometimes different from the opinion they express in public for publication, and further, everybody who has bought a standard class machine assumes that this original group of people backing the standard class were of one mind and they were firm in their convictions and they didn't change their minds and all this sort of thing, and I 'think that's where you are making a mistake. They have changed a lot and you are coming in now after the fact and you have sailplanes and you didn't really know that things weren't firmed up and now I think you direct a lot of energy and moaning and groaning about the situation -- if I can be -blunt about it. What you should really be doing is to sort out your ideas about what the standard class should be or what any class should be and begin to get then on paper and get some agreement between all of you literally hundreds of people now who are interested in competition of some sort in something like the standard class. Once you have that firmed up in your mind, then you can come to people in the directorship of the Soaring Society with a recommendation and I think you'll find ready acceptance. You really don't get much sympathy now because you present so many different ideas and so many different reactions to the situation that if a guy were to try to pacify all of you, he would be doing some terrible gymnastics, you know, in terms of his attitudes. I think one way of summing up a conversation about the standard class is that if you are as much in favor of it as you seem to be, you should put together what you think the standard class should be and try to get that carried on up through the channels to the people who made the rules.

(Schreder): I think Jim has a very good point there and the directors of SSA, of course, who set up the rules for operations in the United States, are as varied in their opinions as you are and we've gone from one extreme to another as to standard class. We've chosen to ignore it and at the current time we're going to accept the CIVV definition of the standard class so I think if the majority of the standard class owners or people who are interested in the standard class could get a petition up and. all agree on what your idea is as to certain limitations that should be on standard class, I'm sure the SSA would go along with it and they would adopt that set of rules for our own standard class Nationals.

(Moffat): I'll say I'm very much in favor of what Dick has in mind but I also feel that we've made about as many changes in standard class as will be profitable for a little while. Now I admit quickly to being rather prejudiced in this in that I have a standard Cirrus arriving a week from Sunday. I think that there has to be a reasonable lead time on changes because, frankly, I think flaps are marvelous. There's no bigger fan than I 'of flaps for dive brakes but I think that it's going to require quite a bit of thinking to get a rule which does not outdate most of the present ships and think it's the very last thing we need, now that we have a rather good crop of standard ships coming along with very similar performances. I think it's very important that we don't outdate the whole flock of them, so Dick, I'd be able to vote really both ways on your proposal. Yes, I'd like to see what we've got stay for a while -- at least until we build up what I would call a tradition of the standard class in this country -and, yes, I would like to see flaps as well but I'd like to have a little lead time on it.

(Seibels); A.J. Mentioned about the amount of energy that we put into moaning and groaning. I think perhaps one reason for that is that most of us don't have these hot-off-the-griddle German ships forced upon us by the manufacturers for us to fly in contests. We put in an order for a ship and if we're lucky three years later it may get here. In the meantime, we are watching all these developments. The standard class is loosened up and the open class goes to 21 meters and, in my case, I was obsolete two months before my plane ever got here. This troubles a lot of us because it does represent a pretty big investment. That's why we moan and groan so much.

(Moffat): My own standard class Cirrus was ordered in the spring of 1968 before any firm drawing was made. My open Cirrus was ordered, as I recall, in 1965, before there was any real idea of what it would look like. I think it is a misconception that people up here get ships forced upon them. It's anything but the case. I had a Kestrel on order for last year, for example, which would not be delivered in time for the contest. I think all of us have been going through considerable shenanigans -- I know A.J. has this winter -- over getting a ship to fly in the Internationals. I think the time will come when the better pilots get ships forced upon them as the better racing sailors get boats forced upon them today.

(A.J. Smith): I'm getting an LS-1 next week but it was hard to do because in the United States they stupidly delay the seeding of the international team until around Christmas time or somewhere around there and then you suddenly find out you're in a class that you are not equipped to fly in and have to try to find a sailplane. The only reason I got the LS-1 in this short time was that several people traded delivery positions on the list and I think, also, that some other friends have paid essentially weekly visits to the factory to remind them that they have a promise made to them on this particular ship. So it hasn't been quite all that easy, but I kind of stick with the moan and groan business. I don't blame you for being moaners and groaners. I simply try to point out that at the moment, that is a waste of time. I think that what you want to do, now that you realize how wishy-washy this situation has been, is quickly firm up a stop order that it's going to take and throw it down. I think this is a much more effective use of your energy. I think you have been submarined really. Everything you say is true. I'm certain you bought the ships feeling that these class rules were firm and the people behind the concept were firm in their opinions and now you've discovered as I've been trying to tell people for four or five years now that that's just not the case. I think on a short term basis, like for the next few weeks or month, if you really feel this serious about the situation, get your efforts together to put down some kind of a stop action or at least lay down a recommendation. On a long term operation, I would say continue as I recommended earlier -- start saving up your money for the next ship. That's sort of the way it. is, you know.

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