Dick Butler Makes First Flight in Concordia! (Updated with Photos)

We are delighted to report that on Friday, May 25, 2012, at approximately 9:00 AM CDT, Dick Butler successfully completed the first test flight of Concordia. With his wife Sarah running the wing, DB launched from runway 18 at William Northern Field in Tullahoma, Tennessee and made a short tow to verify that the controls were working correctly and the handling was acceptable. As planned, Dick released from the tow plane at approximately 50 feet above the runway and landed straight ahead.

DB inspecting the wing

The panel

Friend and tow pilot, Ted Beckwith

Sarah and Dick before first takeoff

Sarah hooking up the tow rope

Sarah checks tow rope before first test flight

Ready for takeoff

Ready for launch

Sarah prepares to run the wing

Rolling...

Airborne!

Second Flight—Perfect launch!

(Second Test Flight)—What a sight!

Touchdown!

After Dick landed, Bill and I rushed down the 5,000′ runway to retrieve him. When we reached DB, he was grinning from ear to ear. Everything worked perfectly! Concordia responded smoothly to aileron inputs and the pitch response and stability were exactly as expected.

After a short break, Dick took a second tow to ~2000 meters and ran through a checklist of control and airspeed checks. When he landed about 45 minutes later, his grin was even bigger. He was clearly elated. Dick said the handling was as good as that of his old Glasflügel 604 and better than the ASW-22.

After the second flight, we adjourned to a nearby Subway for lunch, then hurried back to the field, where Dick felt confident enough to take his new bird on a real soaring flight. When we left the airfield at mid-afternoon, Concordia was soaring high and fast into the western sun.

All of us who have been following the Concordia project and who witnessed this culmination of nine years of hard work were thrilled, excited, and relieved.

Stay tuned for more coverage of Concordia’s first flights, including videos of the launch and landing, in-flight shots, and interviews with Dick and Sarah—right here on the Soaring Café!

Bill Elliott

Bill is a Soaring Cafe Co-Founder and the Publishing Editor. He is a two-time U.S. 18m national champion with extensive racing and cross-country soaring experience. He represented the U.S. in the 18 meter class at the 2010 and 2012 FAI World Gliding Championships Bill earned his airplane rating in 1981, but was looking for new challenges by 1989 when the lure of motorless flight induced him to join the Huntsville Soaring Club. After soloing in a Blanik L – 13, Bill began soaring cross country in the club 1-26, then bought a Duster followed by an HP-18 a few years later. It was with that HP-18 that he won the Region 5 South Sports Class Championship in 1995, his first championship. 

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  33 comments for “Dick Butler Makes First Flight in Concordia! (Updated with Photos)

  1. Gary Kemp
    May 25, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    Fantastic!!! Good luck at the World’s Dick.

    • Jack Steen
      May 28, 2012 at 9:07 pm

      Great job Dick and Sarah! Our mutual friend, AJ, is grinning from ear to ear! First rate job.

  2. Craig Funston
    May 25, 2012 at 7:00 pm

    Fantastic news. Congratulations to the Concordia team!

  3. Jack Wyman
    May 25, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    If you need a backup pilot, I can probably break free for a month or two or three. Just sayin’.

  4. Wallace Berry
    May 25, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    Congrats to Dick and all involved! I am in awe of the talent and audacity of Dick and his team. Best of luck to Dick at the worlds and the nats.

  5. May 25, 2012 at 11:10 pm

    Congratulations from the eagleville bunch. Now maybe for a good nite sleep.

  6. May 26, 2012 at 1:53 am

    Congratulations!!! Enjoy that wonderfull machine!

  7. Oscar
    May 26, 2012 at 2:05 am

    Congratulations Dick and team. Hope she brings you lots of fun

  8. Afandi Darlington
    May 26, 2012 at 3:51 am

    Awesome achievment – congratulations to the whole team! Roll on Uvalde :-)

  9. Walt Connelly
    May 26, 2012 at 6:46 am

    Hope to see some video of this beautiful bird in flight. Congrats.

  10. Goran Ax
    May 26, 2012 at 6:59 am

    Congratulations Dick! Great achievment!

  11. May 26, 2012 at 7:12 am

    Yes!!

  12. Frank Paynter
    May 26, 2012 at 7:30 am

    Congratulations to DB and his entire project team. What an accomplishment!

    Bill/Rand – I kept my secret! ;-)

  13. Dennis Linnekin
    May 26, 2012 at 8:20 am

    Congratulations to you and the whole Concordia Team on your tremendous accomplishment!

  14. Brian Glick
    May 26, 2012 at 10:04 am

    Congratulations to DB and the whole team. An undertaking of immense proportions! I can not even imagine how proud and satisfied DB felt after this day.

  15. Gary Carter
    May 26, 2012 at 10:31 am

    Your dream is now reality! Congratulations Dick and Sara. Uvalde… the Butlers and Concordia are in the house.

  16. André Tenente
    May 26, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    Congratulations to the whole team!!! It’s a great day :)

  17. Jacques VDK
    May 26, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    A truly amazing accomplishment! Congratulations! It looks just right

  18. John Murphy (SRK)
    May 26, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    Congratulations to Dick and the whole team. I was fortunate to be driving by and stopped to see is DB was at KTHA. Saw his third landing and he exclaimed that “The handling was great”. Even allowed me to sit in the cockpit. What an honor…what a machine!

  19. dianne black-nixon
    May 26, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    Congratulations on what appears to be a superb flight. Will be anxious to see the bird fly at Uvalde. You must all be very proud.

  20. Frauke
    May 26, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    Congratulations Dick and good luck in Uvalde. And a specail pat on the shoulder for Sarah who survived this project. We will be in Chilhowee late in June. Maybe we will swing by briefly.
    Frauke

  21. SM
    May 27, 2012 at 9:28 am

    DB, Congratulation on this amazing project. GO Uvalde.. SM

  22. MP
    May 27, 2012 at 10:52 am

    Congrats DB!

  23. Ted Wilson
    May 27, 2012 at 11:46 am

    A very long time coming, Dick. It is fabulous to have much to look forward, now. Congrats to you and your great team for accomplishing a great leap in soaring history.

  24. Jacek Kóbiesa
    May 27, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    Fantastic achievement. Congratulations.

  25. Tim Murphy
    May 27, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    Congrats Dick and the whole team! Now everyone can say u have the Right Stuff!

  26. Greg Cole
    May 27, 2012 at 7:17 pm

    Congratulations Dick and Sarah!
    I have an idea how much work this has been.
    I also have an idea how much relief it is to get a couple of flights in.
    I hope the safe flights, fun, excitement, and successes continue through the WGC!

  27. Ross Briegleb
    May 28, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    Congratulations Dick, Sara and the rest of the Concordia team. Simlply fantastic! Hope to see you in Uvalde where you will be the winner.

  28. Hank Nixon
    May 28, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    You are my hero!
    UH

  29. Bill Reuland
    July 3, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    Dick

    Bob Semens forwarded this to me. It will be fun to see how the ship performs in contests. Best to you and Sarah. It seems like a lifetime since we flew at Eagleville.

    Bill Reuland

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