The UFO is a revolutionary single surface glider with no bottom sail, developed by Stephan Stieglair and Joe Keppler. With this new design, it has been possible to reduce glider weight to just 1.7kg (in size 16²).
First appearance and impression of the UFO is that the design is completely unconventional, but we’ve built in flying characteristics to be more or less the same as what you’d expect from a standard conventional glider.
Our main goal during development was to create a very light and usable glider. For alpine applications, it’s important to have a wing with good speed and durability. The UFO fulfils both criteria. Trim speed is around 37km/h (at 90kg, size 21) and can be accelerated up to 42km/h via a speed-system. Although using lightweight materials, we’ve incorporated durability with the integration of edging tapes along the ribs. Another direct result and benefit of the concept means that the glider has an extremely low packing volume.
he right size
Depending on the respective wing loading, the trim speed changes and so does the character of the wing:
The green area (see chart) – represents the ideal range for intermediate pilots. The UFO flies like a conventional glider, comparable with other low-level EN-B wings.
When flown in the violet area, the wing flies faster and feels more like a mini-wing – increased speed, more agility, and greater overall responsiveness – aimed at more experienced pilots.
The UFO 21 can be flown at a range of 75-90kg within EN-B. Up to 120kg the glider has achieved an EN-926-1 (load-tested certification).
UFO14: Excellent option for very light pilots
UFO16: All-rounder - For light lighter pilots in intermediate style or with higher loading for that mini-wing feel
UFO18: All-rounder, suitable for most pilots
UFO21: Intermediate behaviour with EN-B
Overall, the UFO flies almost like any other conventional glider and demonstrates comfortable and well-behaved all-round flying characteristics. It only takes a short time in the air to get used to the low dampening – meaning that the glider provides greater feedback in the air.
UFO 18 – EN/LTF-C
The UFO 18 has obtained an EN/LTF-C certification. Important to note also was that only the brake travel achieved an EN-C ranking (NOTE: There is no B-ranking for the brake travel in the norm of classification – only A or C rankings are on the current scale). All other manoeuvres are within EN-A or EN-B norm – therefore the UFO performs and displays behaviours in all other manoeuvres as that of an EN-B wing.
We see the wing loadings more like a recommendation than a rule – as even with higher weight loadings, the UFO is easy and safe to fly. Agility and speed will increase and the wing feels more like a mini-wing. Flying within the EN weight range, the UFO feels like flying a low-level EN-B wing.
The outstanding characteristics like smallest packing volume and easiest launching abilities also highlight the versatility and practicality of the UFO 18.