After a very long wait, I have now spent 160h in my Antares D-KSLH (Q), serial number 6, since the end of March, making 20 longer cross-country flights up to my first 1000.
I made almost all the flights in the Alps, because for this purpose I chose the plane in the first place:
- maneuverable to climb well even on slopes
- good glide performance to arrive at long valley crossings even at high speed above the next ridge
- reliable and strong drive for the worst case scenario
The Antares is no different in maneuverability from a modern 18 m plane, and is a lot of fun on the slope even in tight figure eights! Intrinsic sink is quite low despite the 43 wing loading, which is why you always float right at the top with several planes on the slope. The calculated polar curve can be transferred one-to-one into the calculator and is correct!
The mosquito population alone during the day noticeably worsens the gliding performance. So far I have flown without water ballast (due to lack of flight testing) but I think it can only get better (even faster) with it. The drive is really very powerful and allows climbing with more than 4 m/s for a short time. For the morning flight into the mountains, I climb at 2.5 m/s after the winch tow (which is still necessary at Geratshof at the moment) and thus cover more distance, but on the other hand reduce the total climb altitude.
Just like in other areas of gliding, you have to make do with scarce resources and optimize them. This also includes that during a long flight day the battery capacity decreases due to other consumers and the battery heating, so that in real terms I only have about 2700m available instead of the maximum 3000m total altitude. However, Lange Flugzeugbau now believes it can exploit more capacity with improved measurement electronics for the battery elements.
But what’s nice about a reliable drive is that your nerves stay relatively calm even far away from home when you get low, because you can always save yourself to the next airfield or Bart in an emergency. The power cable for overnight charging is always included, but was only needed on one hiking glider flight. The fact that we got from Geratshof to Serres in one go at that time was not planned, but very pleasant. Only the wrong plug adapter for France has caused difficulties, otherwise the French current charges just as well as our Bavarian.
Other useful and pleasant features:
- The feet are in the sun and always warm (very pleasant in waves)
- Very smooth rudders
- Enough space even for 1.90m with warm clothing and provisions etc.
- Checklist and spoken warnings from the on-board computer (e.g. for forgotten spur dolly or unlocked airbrakes).
- Loading and status query via SMS from cell phone, as well as remote maintenance of the software by Lange possible
There were also a few teething problems:
- Radiotelephony was initially disturbed by own on-board computer
- Battery status query failed twice due to defective optocoupler
- The on-board computer crashed twice in flight, but this could be fixed by a system reset (i.e. switching off and on).
- The braking effect of the drum brake was very modest, but that as a result of an unsuitable Bowden cable. In the meantime, it works satisfactorily.
All in all, I have never regretted the purchase of the Antares, the initial small (and expected by me) objections, were far outweighed by a phenomenal flight feeling and sometimes incredible glide performance. I never imagined that I could achieve 1000km and blue hair with this airplane so quickly (as I carelessly promised my youngest son in a bet), and now also win the DMST in the open class.