I've just returned home from the 2002 Sailplane Homebuilders Association Western Workshop at Tehachapi, California. I had a great time there, learned a lot of new things, and met a lot of great homebuilt sailplane enthusiasts.
For me, the best thing about the workshop was the opportunity to show off some big shiny sailplane parts, and demonstrate that the HP-24 project is not just a paper exercise. I had a full set of wing spars on display, and also my forward fuselage molds, fuselage plug, and one of the canopy transparency molds.
The wing spars were popped out of the molds just the day before the workshop opened, and came out straight, clean, and ready for the finishing touches. Now I need to start working out the logistics of building the prototype wings around that first spar set.
I also had the opportunity to show off the project to some of the biggest names in soaring. Gerhard Waibel, who put the "W" in ships like the ASW-20 and ASW-27 and was there to deliver the 2002 Ralph Barnaby lecture, took the time to look things over and also made several suggestions about the construction of the carbon spars. Dr. Paul MacCready also took a few moments to congratulate me on what I'd done so far. George Applebay of Zuni fame said that I should be very proud of what I'd accomplished so far. Dr. Mark Maughmer from Penn State University dropped by, and also made it a point to say a few words for the assembled group about Dick Schreder and his indelible legacy in the world of homebuilt soaring.
All in all, Tehachapi was absolutely the place to be for sailplane developers worldwide, and it was an honor and a privilege to hang out with the big boys for a few days. I was extremely gratified by the interest shown by all of the assembled soaring enthusiasts, and I look forward with anticipation to next year's event.
The one thing I wish I'd done differently is taking pictures. I was so busy talking to people and showing off the project that I didn't get a single photograph of the project or of anything at all. I'll see if I can get some photos of the wing spars in the next week or two to put in the next update.
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page updated 3 September 2002 all text and graphics copyright (c) 2002 HP Aircraft, LLC