Remembering the ‘Rattel’
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