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SUPERIORITIES OF AMERICAN DESIGN GLIDERS AND
TEACHING METHODS TO THE GERMAN
BY A.P. ("DUKE") ARTRAN

The Franklin Method* of student instruction in gliding is, we believe, the most advanced, the most rapid and the safest of any method yet devised. We also believe he have amply demonstrated in our school that this method turns out better pilots.

Our early experience showed us the following disadvantages with the conventional methods and the "Zoegling" (German, or open fuselage) type of primary trainer. This type is sluggish on the controls. It was designed more as an air sled to slide down from a hill on the air rather than for flying. This lock of maneuverability breaks the student's confidence and upon occasion may be dangerous, due to inability to avoid obstacles or to bring the ship back to level flight after he has made a mistake.

The "Zoeglings" have also demonstrated a tendency to side-slip into a spin when stalled as a result of the novice's inability to judge flying speed. Both their flying and landing speeds are too high for satisfactory student instruction. This tendency on the part of the beginner to keep the nose of the ship up and "over-stretch" his glide is further accentuated by the "Zoegling's" low gliding angle which averages around five to one. We also found that Americans value time too highly to spend forty or fifty minutes assembling such ships, and they are too impatient for frequent re-rigging of them in the field made necessary by the external wires becoming stretched or broken by hard landings.

With the conventional shock-cord launching the maximum velocity is attained within the first two or three seconds and being so suddenly shot forward is unnerving to the beginner.

Some German glider enthusiasts advocate launching the novice into the air from a hill for his first flight. It is admitted that the German students with their older and larger organizations receive a more thorough ground school training than the average American, but nevertheless the Franklin School strongly disapproves putting any student into the air until he has had time to familiarize himself with the feel of the ship and learned to properly co-ordinate his three controls.

If the beginner in the shock-cord method is not shot into the air, the alternative is a grass slide down a gentle slope. This means that he must hold his "stick" well forward to carry the tail of the ship high to prevent an unintentional take-off, and with the "Zoegling" type glider this tends to dig the nose of the skid into the ground causing excessive friction and a bumpy slide. About nine such slides out of ten result in getting one wing down - the student is too confused with the sudden speed and the jolts to pay much attention to lateral stability - and one wing tip digs into the round causing the ship to rotate (ground loop).

The whole slide has only lasted five or six seconds and has ended in complete loss of control. This is confusing and discouraging and it is all over too quickly for him to realize what has happened. The ship must then be laboriously dragged up the slope again.

*As originated and developed at the Franklin School of Gliding, Ypsilanti, Michigan.
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