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December 2005 edition

Pop-up propeller takes the hazards out of gliding

By Andrej Paternoster and Colin Roberts

Slovenian ultra-light aircraft manufacturer Pipistrel has developed a glider with a motor-driven propeller for gliders that can be raised by an actuator, delivered by SKF, to overcome the hazards of an unplanned descent. When assistance from the propeller is no longer required, the actuator retracts it into a stowed position inside the fuselage to ensure that there is no interference with aerodynamic characteristics during the aircraft’s operation. Andrej Paternoster and Colin Roberts from SKF explain more.

Gliding has been described as a continuous contest between the pilot and gravity. Using his knowledge, skills and experience a glider pilot seeks out thermals and up-drafts that enable him to soar silently like a condor, a king of the air. He also grapples with heart-stopping problems, such as loss of uplift when a glider stops soaring and the pilot knows he is in the grip of gravity.

On most of these occasions a pilot’s skill enables him to escape from the grip and soar away, elated and eager to experience the next contest. At other times he is unsuccessful. The best he can hope for is a safe landing in some location other than his base. The worst is a hazardous crash landing in a remote or inaccessible field.

To make the contest between the pilot and gravity more even, Pipistrel developed a glider equipped with a retractable motor-driven propeller that can be raised from its stowed position i....

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Pipistrel d.o.o. Ajdovscina Airframer
SKF Group Ball Bearings, Bearings, Roller Bearings, PTFE Seals, Struts, Mechanical Actuators, Hydraulic Actuators, Aircraft Structural Components, Metallic Bearings, Engine Control Quadrants, Aircraft & Helicopter Controllers, Rod Ends

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