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Pilcher Hang Glider


Pilcher Hawk Hang Glider replica in Duxford AirSpace hangar

Pilcher Hawk Hang Glider replica in Duxford AirSpace hangar. Photo by Ross Cannon


The Pilcher Hawk monoplane glider was designed by Percy Sinclair Pilcher in the 1890's, it had bird-form wings and a stabilising tail. Pilcher was mostly towed into the air by horses operating through a pulley to be able to fly the gliders. The first design was known as The Bat. The Bat Glider first flew in 1895, it had a double use of the triangle control frame (TCF) (or A-frame for hang gliders, trikes, and ultralights) as both a piloting device as well as an airframe part that doubled in kinposting utility.

Pilcher had ideas for various versions of the glider, including The Beetle and The Gull. Pilcher built The Hawk Glider in 1897, it was based on his mentor Otto Lilienthal's work. The Hawk was mostly made of bamboo and was the only one of his gliders to have a wheeled undercarriage. He beat the world distance record in The Hawk by flying 250m (820 ft) at the grounds of Stanford Hall near Lutterworth in Leicestershire, England. Pilcher had plans for a motor-driven hang glider, but never got chance to design it due to his death whilst demonstrating his Hawk Hang Glider.