Re­mem­ber­ing the ‘Rat­tel’

Pilot - - AIRMAIL -

They say, “You are the most beau­ti­ful girl in town - if you are the only one”. Well in this way I did about half of my 2,000 flight hours with the most beau­ti­ful girl. The ASK 16 was too sexy for our club bud­get, and in the early ’70s there was no other con­tender on the mar­ket. Our first Rat­tel (the SF-25’S Ger­man nick­name) was the B-model with the 42hp Stamo, iden­ti­cal to the T61 ex­cept for the en­gine. I can con­firm ev­ery word Dave Unwin wrote about the bird: it was un­com­fort­able, slow, clumsy and had a glide-ra­tio of one-to-brick. But it spun pre­cisely, and in the ther­mals it was not as bad. I did five hours and 50km soar­ing with it.

Is Dave sure about the glass­fi­bre spar? Is it re­ally lighter then a wooden spar, and why should I cover a plas­tic spar with ply­wood? The oil tem­per­a­ture was in­deed al­ways an is­sue, but the Stamo did stand full throt­tle with­out limit and de­liv­ered a cruise of over 70kt at a lit­tle over 10 lph. But it didn’t have Rol­la­son’s clever au­to­matic throt­tle set­ting.

I did my sec­ond flight to the UK with the Rat­tel in 1982 with a friend. Six legs in 06:45 hr from the Frank­furt area to Booker. On the way back over Bel­gium we hit a strong head­wind, about 50kph. I no­ticed the cars and the trains below run­ning faster than we were, but my friend an­swered: “Don’t worry as long as the ships on the canal are slower.”

In 1988 we got our sec­ond Rat­tel, the C-2000 model with the 80hp Lim­bach. To my sur­prise, it was not much faster in cruise (78kt) than the B. The POH placed a ban on spins, and with more weight (+100kg) and a re­designed rud­der ther­malling was no longer fun. But with the more com­fort­able seats and an 80 litre tank there was a very safe four hours and 600km range, enough for some mem­o­rable flights over Ger­many and neigh­bour­ing coun­tries, in­clud­ing a hop from Rü­gen to Born­holm over 120km of Baltic Sea.

In the sum­mer of ’92 cock­i­ness bit me. How far and how long could I go with our Rat­tel? The an­swer was 1,000km and twelve hours at 2,200 rpm and 6.84 lph at 110kmph. The next morn­ing, my sons had to lift me out of bed: my back was on strike. Hart­mut Blin­ten, Rodgau, Ger­many

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