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



Second Flight—Perfect launch!

(Second Test Flight)—What a sight!


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!

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