Updated Nov 2015
With New Zealand's small number of sailplanes, each one becomes an important
part of our gliding history. Only when you buy a glider that you meet the
many pilots have flown it before you, and what stories can be told!
Fibreglass sailplanes just keep going and survive a good number of years. Currently KG is 42 years old (20175) and I'm thinking it could be around for a while yet. I feel KG deserves being maintained in good condition, and having it's history recorded. No one really owns a glider. Instead we are just looking after it until another pilot comes along to take over and pay the bills!
Any good photos here are courtesy of aviation photographer Andy Heap.
December 1993 saw KG move to Omaka near Blenheim under the ownership of Jamie
KG was hired to the Czechia “Kiwi Glide” team over the Christmas. Apparently the radio callsign sounded like "yeellow pig", the name still surfaces occasionally. During this time KG suffered some trailer rash. The trailer had a nasty edge that's real easy to snag the l.e. on as you move the wing in and out. It's now covered!
Jamie also did some long flights as did Ray Lynskey (8 hrs!).
I bought KG in June 1999 with 2527 hours on the clock.
I was lucky in that Jamie had spent a lot of time and effort into installing Mylar seals on all the flying surfaces and sealing other orifices. The glider was in pretty nice condition although there were a few items that I wanted to tidy.
The PIK-20 was one of the first gliders to avoid using a standard white gel coat finish, instead it was painted to order. No gelcoat hassles! As a result the wings looked especially fine even after several decades, almost like new apart from the leading-edge trailer rash and minor spar shrinkage. Jamie had regularly polished the glider with "grunt" and the whole thing shone brightly (as only yellow can)
KG was suffering from a wheels-up and also the leading-edge damage so I made these my first priority for investment. The trailer too needed some work. It's a fine factory-made fibreglass job but was starting to absorb moisture since the paint had gone porous. There was a bit of rust in the trailer fittings.
Actually it was the trailer that first got the attention. I had landed-out at the Clearburn strip north of Omarama. Derek arrived with trailer, just driving in through the gate and "clunk!". The trailer lurched and stopped but the left wheel continued rolling towards me and KG. The DuraTorque stub axel had failed! The local garage fixed things up but unfortunately put on a set with too low a rating. I added new mudguards, refurbished the metal fittings and re-sprayed the trailer with auto enamel (white, it was previously yellow of course!). In 2003 I put hefty set of 1050kg disk-braked duratorques.
1999: Various wave flights (to 15000'). My first paddock landing. First real XC (Bendigo to Omarama and back).
2000: Many nice flights, usually 2-4hrs duration, but just 43 hrs in the year (Jan-Dec).
2001: Flights to Wanaka, nearly to Mt Aspiring, various trips up to Lake Hawea/Dingle. Several landouts (Becks, Oturehua, Roxburgh). 65 hrs
2002: Wave to 20,000'. Thermal flights around the Maniototo basin, from Alex to as far as Omarama, Hawkduns and Ranfurly. 49 hrs
2003: Wave early season, flights to Roxburgh etc. Another good fly around the basin along the Hawkduns etc. In the New Year a few days were spent at Omarama with good flights to Mt Cook, Makarora etc. I entered in the SI Regionals and had a great time. 85 hrs.
Hmmm, not a great summer weather-wise...still that's no excuse and I had a
lot of flying. Late summer I flew to Kingston and also to Rock
and Pillars. Some good flights in SI Regionals Club class, my best flight being
the last day when I escaped from being stuck on Hawea ridge and flew up to Mt
Cook and home (the first and probably only time I'll ever win a day, and there
were only 3 of us in the class!) .
Late December a nice mid-week fly Alex-Wilkin-Alex. 103 hrs that year.
2005: Some real nice flights around the basin to Hawkduns and Kakanui Mts. I
did some long final glides home thanks to a gps telling me it was possible. In
May I had a weekend at Five Rivers (Southland). I struggled West into a decent
headwind using weak wave to reach the bushy hills of the Kepler track (west of
Te Anau). It took over 4hrs there and about 30 mins home!
Another landout at Hawea, and a couple near Tarras in November Regionals.
Well that was winter. The 2005 summer started well. Excellent soaring weather. I finally made it to Mt Aspiring one nice October thermal day. Back in Southland in weak wave we flew all the way out to the south coast at Te Waewae bay from 5R.
By Xmas 2005 KG did 108hrs during the year taking the total to 3010hrs for 1744 starts.
2006: Mt Cook etc flying from Wardells in January. Then a nice week's flying at Nelson Lakes in Feb. The usual winter wave in Alex, and a couple of nice flights at Flock hill with Canty club. No landouts at the Regionals this time but not the best weather. The year ended with 3 good flights out of Manapouri. 92 hrs.
Between 2006 and 2008 I aslo had another glider to fly: the little Piccolo motor-glider .
2007: A poor start to the season. The nicest flying was 24hrs over a week at Nelson lakes. This included two flights down to Lewis pass and back, magic. The trip away was marred somewhat by an auto accident on the way home. My car got demolished by a mad Canterbury driver near Darfield. KG was OK but I was without flying for the rest of summer while the trailer was repaired. Damn!
Better flying late 2007, especially at Omarama (November) and Te Anau (December).
2008: More good flying Jan/Feb. The best perhaps being a flight off the Alex winch and then flying around the Alps to Mt Aspiring and home.
2009,10,11,12...still getting some OK flights. I generally head up to Nelson Lakes each Feb for a week of soaring off the Nelson winch. Lake Station is a very scenic location, with flights possible in all directions (Molesworth, Lewis Pass, Mt Arthur etc). I took KG to Springfield Labour w.e. 2011 and had a couple of flights in Canterbury.
2013: Some better flights over 12/13 season. The longest (480km) was to Mt Cook in wave but I've had a few OK thermal flights as well. My annual Nelson Lakes trip was great...good weather and nice flights each day.
2014: This season is somewhat affected by me missing much of the summer. I was in the Antarctic in December and shortly afterwards broke my left wrist and right collar bone! Bugger. However in November 2014 I flew my longest flight yet (600km) and managed a few nice flights around Xmas and early Jan 2015.
2015: Good flights, around 110hrs over the season.
2016: A couple of landouts, another 110 hours for the OLC season
My first paddock landing is worth a mention. I was soaring slowly downhill on the hills above Lake Hawea, so flew back to a good lucern paddock at the base of the hill. The landing etc was fine, I even landed along the wheel marks of the irrigator in case the farmer got upset. Well I had just got out and I see this chap striding across the field towards me (Oh God the farmer looks upset!). “It's all right I'm not the farmer, I imported this glider”. Well, Errol Carr introduced himself as one of the original owners of KG. What a coincidence! In the middle of nowhere and he saw me land! Errol actually had just shifted from Oz to Lake Hawea.
1980: Groundloop on landing (fuse and wing tip),
1983: Heavy landing by one KH,
1988: RH leading edge hit picket,
1988: Groundloop after undershoot (fuse and tail wheel),
1994: Canopy hinge repair
1999: Wheel fell off trailer (glider not inside!)
2002: Canopy hinges again (thanks to neighbour's child fiddling…)
2006: Auto accident. Got my car taken-out by mad Canterbury driver. No damage to KG but trailer very sick.
|...at||48 kts||54 kts|
|Min Sink||114 fpm||126 fpm|
|...at||39 kts||46 kts|
|Stall (0 flap )||38 kts||41 kts|
|Stall (90 deg flap)||33 kts||36 kts|
Now I'm no expert but I have been told the PIK is a “good runner” and stands out well amongst many gliders of that period for having decent high-speed performance. I guess this is due to it's wing profile, exceptional wing finish, ballast and of course flaps.
In real life flying the PIK appears to be pretty much match the LS3 and LS4 in terms of run performance, although the LS gliders have a well-deserved reputation for nice handling that the PIK (and many others) cannot beat. I've now done several long comparison glides with LS3 (LP) and LS4 (MU) and there's just been nothing in it. These have all be unballasted, side by side and up to 100 kts. I've had similar long runs with a Discus, again the performance in the run is the same or better with the PIK. Of course the Discus is a better overall glider, being so pleasant to fly, with ability to take a load of ballast to acheive great glide at speed.
The Pik20 and the LS3 share the same Wortmann FX67-K-150/170 wing profile. The 17% thickness being used at the root changing to 15% at the tips. The PIK has a thinner leading edge though. This is a good laminar profile but does suffer badly in bugs, rain or if the wing is in a deteriorated condition. Fortunately the PIK factory produced a fine painted (not gelcoat) finish and the oven-cured wings remain stable for decades unlike some other makes. We seldom see bugs were I fly. Rain is rare too but I have actually heard and felt the effect of rain before even seeing it on the canopy!
Similar FX67 sections are used on the Nimbus, Janus, Jantar2, Kestrel, Mosquito and others.
Note that the 90 deg flap arrangement on the Hornet/Mosquito/Ventus A-B, and Mini-Nimbus is different as they have an upper surface brake component on the trailing edge as well.
I'm a dozy pilot and it did take me a good number of flights to get used to the flaps. Here's what I do on a typical flight:
If there's no wind I'll select up to -8 for good aileron control
initial ground run, especially on aerotow. Wing drop is possible but no more
than most gliders. Actually the wing tip has a very useful down turn on the tip
that keeps the aileron well clear of the ground. Also the tailwheel keeps the
glider straight on takeoff, this is much better than a tail skid. In the -8
position the handle is
fully forward “airbrakes closed” position so this is quite natural. Once
rolling I'll bring the handle make over the top towards me to a small positive
number (0 to +10, it doesn't matter much). You can takeoff in -8 but you'd stay
on the ground longer. For the first flight it's no problem to leave the
flaps alone in 0.
On aerotow I find it easier to keep a small positive flap on as you get a better view of the towplane. If really rough I'd suggest up to 20 deg, otherwise 5-10 is fine. Again you can tow happily in 0.
There's no need to keep you hand near the flap, I prefer to be near the release during the roll. Actually I do end up using the flap as a hand rest, after a while you're always cycling the lever between say -5 when running fast and +10 for tight thermals. Dick Johnson did some exhaustive measurements with the PIK flaps. I think his conclusion was that they didn't do a heck of a lot to performance at low speed, in fact the min sink was slightly better at thermalling speeds if negative flap was used! Be that as it may, using positive lowers the stall speed and makes for real nice handling at low speeds.
Above about 65kts I let the flaps go into negative, you can actually feel the ship take flight. At higher speeds you can look along the wings and see the change in lift distribution as you add negative flap. The tips flex upwards as they end up contributing a bigger share of the lift. The later PIKs had interconnected ailerons +8 to -8 degs. I'd love to add that one day, does anyone knows of the details?
It's worth practicing +90 before your first landing. My advice is stick with leaving the handle in the up position for your first flights. This way the handle operates in the same sense as a normal brake lever, i.e. forward to shut, back to open. As you crank on more and more flap you'll have to pole forward to maintain the same airspeed. Exactly like a Cessna.
In fact this is the main action to cement in your brain.... lower the nose as you wind on positive flap, raise the nose again as you reduce the flap.
Practice this action on your first flight!
The large change in attitude takes a bit to get used too and needs practicing. It's interesting to note that the glider becomes very stable with lots of flap. Try trimming fully forward with 90deg flap. Let go of everything and it just sits there rock steady descending nicely at 70Kts, a good thing to remember if caught high above cloud! Big descents from wave etc are a cinch.
Back to landing:
Wheel down, and may as well put on 10-20deg flap to give a
stable platform with a good view over the nose. Normal speed is 48-50kt no wind
although the flaps
"brake" better at higher speed. Go a lot faster on your first flights incase you
accidently slow too much when you add flap. You'd be a fool to approach under
60kt on this first flight. Aim for a good
overshoot on the first landing and watch that speed.
Onto finals and crank on flap as needed. Watch that speed as it will bleed off
quickly unless you keep good forward pressure on the stick. Go for near full
flap unless you're undershooting. The view is stunning! It almost feels like
you are upright and should start walking (especially at 60Kts).
The PIK is easy to round out and hold off. With full flap and too much speed it will float (ground effect exaggerated by flap?). With full flap the tail is very light so careful with the wheel brakes, it's easy to scrub the nose. In gusty conditions avoid keeping full flap on after round out. Instead reduce flap slowly during the hold-off. This is because of some sensitivity to gusts picking you up again (stall speed is in the low 30's with flap, remember flaps lower stall speed and airbrakes increase it). Try to get into the habit of reducing that flap after round out. The PIK has a good tail wheel and this keeps you straight, especially once it is loaded by reducing the flap.
Contrary to rumours, reducing flap won't “dump” the glider, nor will you lose
100 feet if you remove flap (unless you're doing 35 and stall!). You simply
can't lose your total energy in that fashion.
Once you've rounded out you can do what you like with flap, the attitude isn't
going to change, the glider keeps flying much as before. You'll slow down
better with flap on and have a lower landing speed.
On approach however be aware of the effects of reducing flap. Remember you've
already changed the attitude by polling forward (to maintain the airspeed). Now
if you suddenly remove a lot of flap without relaxing that forward stick then
of course you'll accelerate earthwards like a bomb! Actually this is a fairly
“safe” mistake to make. In no time you'll be doing 70-80kts!
Nor do you suddenly climb or balloon when you crank on positive flap (unless you forget to pole forward). Any impression of "ballooning" is the result of trading speed for height which is the result of not polling forward.
A hidden benefit of flaps is that you can't (or rather shouldn't) ever really
overshoot on landing. Simply poke the nose down (vertical if need-be!).
Remember flaps work for approach control by creating drag. There's a V-squared
in there too. A little more speed makes those flaps work really well.
This contrasts with airbrakes. They work over a smaller portion of span and
kill lift (as well as creating drag). In many gliders, an overshoot situation
will only be made worse by poking the nose down with full airbrake. You end up
chewing up precious ground as you out-fly the effect of the brakes. It's best
to maintain that safe
Vs+10 +half wind figure.
When overshooting in the PIK then slowing will only decreases the drag and you'll overshoot further. Instead bump up another 5kts and the difference is astounding.
To sum up after such a long discussion: The ideal approach to achieve a short
landing, over a high obstacles, and maintain a good safety margin for wind and
sink is the following:
Come in slightly hot and high with a decent amount of flap. Aim to undershoot a little at that speed and flap setting. Once you've safely traversed most of the final you can allow the speed to bled off before you clear the fence and land. However, with experience you will probably end up on approach flying much like a braked glider, i.e. with normal and constant speed, modulating the flap as per airbrake to maintain glide slope.
The PIK has been praised for it's short field landing performance, but you need
to be familiar with the different technique that flaps require.
I guess for this reason a flap-only machine was never a good choice for a club. Best for pilots to be a little familiar with it and then there will be no problems, only smiles!
The PIK winches well. In fact this is my preferred method of launch. The hook
is well positioned just forward of the main wheel. There is no tendency to
I'd start with the stick well forward and it generally lifts off as you relax the forward pressure. At the very top of the launch the stick is pretty much right back. Do what you like with the flaps. Because of fast acceleration there is no need to use negative on takeoff. I've found no noticable gain in launch height with flap position. I guess some positive will shorten the takeoff roll but I usually just leave in zero. When I feel super confident I'll retract the wheel when well established in the climb.
Max winch speed is a sturdy 68Kts
Winch load is rated at 500Kg (I generally use the blue tost weak link)
As for vices and handling issues? Well it's totally benign and very
predictable. It needs a severe effort to make it spin, and when successful it
is easy to recover (but you are pretty vertical). I've never experienced an unintentional spin of course, not even a real wing-drop of any significance. I thermal at about 50Kts.
Stalls are normal, heaps of warning and no great amount of wing drop. A wing
may go down on a poorly run launch but this is no problem. The tail wheel
provides good directional control on takeoff, I've never looked like ground
You should understand it is very important in all gliders to prevent air accumulating in the bags. Not only can this expand at height (!) but these voids reduce the useable amount of water you put in. Most importantly this allows the water to "slosh" about inside. This is bad news on take-off! Always remove the air, and take off with full bags. If a wing drops on takeoff with full bags, the water is reasonably stable and wont cause a great issue. Part empty bags allow the water to slosh to the lower wing which keeps the wing down and could easily cause a ground loop....So to filling the bags:
After rigging you'll need to connect up the wing plumbing to the dump valve in
the fuse. Level the wings! Open the dump valve to fill. I attached a dual tap
splitter or equivalent manifold to the dump under the belly. This enables you
to have the water ready all the way to one port once the air has be
sucked out via the port. I use a 12V portable vaccum cleaner...the
sort of thing for cars and powered by a lighter socket. I glued a standard 13mm
hose fitting to the end of it
and used 13mm garden tap/hose fittings for most everything else. Start the vac,
open it's port and suck for 5 mins. Then close that port and open the water
use about 1 metre of head and pour my water into a larger container sitting on
car bonnet. The flow slows after about 5 mins and 80 litres. Now close the water
port and remove vac and hose but keep the dump valve open. I find one wing is
always a little heavier than the other and find it
easier to lower the light wing and dump a little water by opening either of the
two tap ports. Remember the dump valve is still open so water flows freely
between bags at this stage. The lower wing is probably completely full so the
dumped water comes from the raised wing. At every litre or so close the cockpit
dump valve (to isolate the two bags) and check balance. Repeat til even.
All this sounds a bit fiddly but it doesn't take long.
The PIK-20 was designed by Peka Tammi and others, at the Helsinki Institute of
Technology. Help came too from “Polyteknikkojen Ilmailukerho”, the “PIK” Club
which is the student flying club at the University. The PIK-19 was actually a
fibre-glass towplane. It first flew in Spring 1972.
The PIK-20 was the result of Pekka's Thesis entitled “The layout and design of a high performance standard class sailplane”. A private company, Molino Oy, was tasked with getting the glider ready in time for the 1974 Internationals. Molino has also worked on the PIK-3 and PIK-16.
Production of the PIK-20 started in Spring 1974 at a rate or 2-3 per month. The company name changed to Eiriavion and production went up to 10 gliders per month.
A fire in the factory June 1977 dented production briefly but by then 200 gliders had been sold. Production continued until about 1980 with the D and E versions with over 400 20's of all types made.
Winner of the 1963 OSTIV prize. Wooden wing, Best LD of 34.
Experimental composite tow plane.
The "A" model (like KG). 90 deg flaps, all glass. Early models had a 2-piece canopy. KG has the newer large single piece version with pneumatic seals.
As per A, but optional carbon fibre spar saving 30Kg overall. Also has aileron interconnect allowing the ailerons to move with the flaps over the first +/- 8degs. The interconnect can be disabled if required. Waterballast upped to 140 litres. New price 48,500 Finnish Marks.
As B but airbrakes added and flaps removed! Carbon spar optional. LD quoted as 42.
As per C plus the flaps are back -12 to +20. More carbon and contest sealed. Flaps and ailerons centre-hinged for better performance. Tailplane moved forward 12 cm, thicker fuselage fairings, nose sharper. Automatic trim with flap. Claimed LD of 42. However Dick Johnson flight tested an example ( Soaring Jan 79 ) and found the performance of the D was actually worse than earlier B model. It is suspected that the wing mould had warped over time and the wing was manufactured around 6% thicker than it should be. I don't know if how many examples of the D were affected.
Self launch version! First flew October 1976. This had a manually retractable 2-stroke engine driving a wooden Hoftman prop. Originally a 30hp Kohler the engine was changed to the ubiquitous Roxtax 503 rated at 43hp. I gather that the 503 was actually developed for the 20E.
But: I've also heard the Finnish PIK20E has the 501, the French the 505 engine. The difference being dual ignition on the 505.
The wings are slightly swept-back and fuse thickened. LD still around 40.
I want one!
Main wheel is 500 x 5 type III pfl K-30.261\18
Tube is a right angle, stem about 60mm long, type TR67, Type III, WP, 06E 1206B "Alligaro"
The Tost wheel is 145863 (fixed brake holder half), and the rotating half is 10828.
The shoes are VESRAH C-102, 3H17 9, and the bolt is M8
Tailwheel is 200 x 50, tyre 2 ply. Tail wheel bearing is NTN 6303LB and is about 45mm OD, 16 ID, and 15 wide.
Belly hook is G73/72
Waterbags info and pics HERE
For some more great pics of KG please click HERE!