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Duo Discus
Duo Discus T flying over the ridges of Pennsylvania USA
Role Two Seater-class sailplane
National origin Germany
Manufacturer Schempp-Hirth
First flight 1993
Number built Over 500

The Schempp-Hirth Duo Discus is a high performance two seat glider primarily designed for fast cross-country flying including gliding competitions. It is often used for advanced training.

The Duo Discus replaced the Janus as Schempp Hirth's high performance two seater trainer. Although it shares its name with the highly successful Standard Class Discus, any resemblance is only superficial. It first flew in 1993 and is still in production at the factory in Orlican in the Czech Republic. It has a 20 metre four piece wing that is slightly swept forward so that the rear pilot is close to the centre of gravity. Its best glide ratio was measured as 44:1. An optional 'turbo' retractable 2-stroke engine can be specified for extended gliding sessions. The normal Duo Discus is also commonly seen as one of the most beautifully designed and aesthetically pleasing modern 2 seat gliders in production. In U.S. Air Force service it is known as the TG-15A.

A revised model the Duo Discus X was announced in 2005. This has landing flaps incorporated into the movement of the airbrake lever to improve its approach control, giving steeper and slower approaches, it also has winglets to improve thermal flying and a sprung and lower retractable undercarriage. This makes it slightly harder to get in because the distance between the cockpit and ground is increased but the wings have a slightly higher angle of attack

Over 500 Duo Discuses had been built by August 2007. Its chief rival is now the DG Flugzeugbau DG-1000 & DG-1000T.

A Duo Discus was used in the 1999 film The Thomas Crown Affair. This film shows Thomas Crown reaching to the front controls after letting Catherine Banning fly the glider to assist her. This is normally physically impossible in any tandem two-seater. For the film, a set is used, and the rear instrument panel was removed to allow Pierce Brosnan take the bit of artistic license while on the ground. Undoing the seat straps in flight to allow the rear pilot to lean forward would also be hazardous, as unbelted pilots have been ejected through canopies by turbulence. The film also used a static cockpit section with the canopy hinges on the left rather than the standard right.

Specifications

General characteristics

  • Crew: Two
  • Capacity: 200 kg (440 lb) water ballast
  • Length: 8.62 m (28 ft 3 in)
  • Wingspan: 20.00 m (65 ft 7 in)
  • Height: ca. 1.60 m (5 ft 3 in)
  • Wing area: 16.4 m² (176 ft²)
  • Aspect ratio: 24.4
  • Wing profile: HQ-31 A/XX
  • Empty weight: 410 kg (900 lb)
  • Gross weight: 700 kg (1,540 lb)

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 250 km/h (160 mph)
  • Maximum glide ratio: 45
  • Rate of sink: 0.58 m/s (114 ft/min)

References

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