you for taking the time to see if your questions have already been asked
by other soaring enthusiasts. Click on one of the categories above to jump
to the relevant section or simply scroll down.
don't see any prices on the website?
A: Our web site caters to clients worldwide and the prices do vary
because of shipping differences (we have thus elected to not place the
prices on the website - seems to add confusion). Just fill out the
contact form for either USA/Canada or for Europe/Other and we'll send you the
current price list immediately. The contact form requires minimal
information and your personal information is never distributed.
Are there any other websites dedicated to Silent sailplanes?
A: Alisport has one global website with
multiple language choices. We feel it makes sense for us to do this so
that the information posted is always up to date and there is one definitive
source of information. Our several builders/owners have personal websites
or have created discussion groups (again, see the links page).
Are the gliders/trailers insured while in transit to their point of
A: Yes, we insure all of our shipments and these costs are embedded in
the shipping fees. Generally speaking, the gliders are insured until they
reach the port of entry at which point the purchaser's policy comes into
effect (owner policies generally become valid once the glider/trailer are
on the soil of the country in which the customer's personal policy is
you carry manufacturer's liability insurance? I would hate to see a lawsuit
impact your business and be unable to purchase parts for my glider or
obtain future support.
A: This is a harsh reality in today's society and we absolutely must and
certainly do carry manufacturer's liability insurance to ensure the long
term viability of our company. The cost of this is borne by every
customer. However, we have made every effort to keep the costs as low as
possible by working closely with our insurer to demonstrate stringent
quality control, document all testing, and ensure that our aircraft have
no undesirable handling traits. Additionally, we have worked with various aviation insurance companies to ensure
that our customers are able to obtain owner insurance of their
sailplanes. If your preferred insurer is unable or unwilling to insure
your Silent glider please do not hesitate to let us know and we will work
with your insurer to remedy any issues.
Are instruments included with the kits or the finished gliders?
A: Yes, please see the price list for included items.
Q: Is a tinted canopy available?
A: The clear canopy is standard. Tinted canopies are available on a
custom basis and can be quoted at time of order. Canopy transparencies
are produced by MecaPlexTM and
provide UV protection.
the wing-tip wheels include a hole or way to tie the wing down outside?
A: Yes, they have molded wheels with openings
between the spokes that can be used for occasional tie-down situations.
The composite fairings that support the wheels are not rated for permanent
tie-down. The Silents are light and easy to disassemble. We recommend
storage in the closed trailer.
Which is better, the standard instrument panel or the small panel?
A: The standard panel permits more instruments, the small panel permits
easier entry into the cockpit, and does not obstruct any vision in
flight. An "approval drawing" of your instrument panel is
developed along with your purchase agreement (ready-to-fly sailplanes
Which variometer should I order with my glider?
A: Alisport offers several variometers and flight computers when purchased with
the sailplane (see the price list for available options).
pure sailplane without electrics, the Winter mechanical variometer is the
recommended solution. An audio box for the mechanical unit is available
and can be added later. It plumbs in series between the TE probe and the
mechanical vario. The ILEC SC-7 is a large
instrument with an embedded smaller vario
display window. It has an Off/Mute/On switch, volume control, 1 sec and 3
sec averager rates, digital display for average
climb/sink which also shows temperature and percentage charge of battery.
What is the cockpit width?
A: The cockpit is 560mm (22.0") measured across the aft corners of
the canopy ledge (inside to inside).
the main wheel brake a drum or disc?
A: It is a cable actuated drum brake and full aft travel of the airbrake
handle activates the wheel brake. The wheel is a standard 4 inch unit
with a relatively large diameter tire to roll smoothly.
Can the high-visibility paint job be purchased as an extra? Good idea in
congested flying areas.
A: Yes, the high-visibility anti-collision paint is now available as an
option. Please see the price list.
Was the Silent Club one of the original World Class design entrants?
A: No, even though there are certainly some performance and specification
similarities between the Silent Club and some of the World Class
aircraft, the Silent Club design constraints and goals evolved from the
requirements for Sport and Recreation Aircraft (European Ultralight). The Silent Club and subsequent models
were designed from the outset to accept a powerplant
(initially both retractable and pod-mounted Koenig engine versions were
Are any R/C scale models available of the Silent?
A: We are not aware of anyone selling plans or producing kits of a Silent
scale model. The Italian magazine "Modellismo"
featured two beautiful scratch-built Silent R/C aircraft. Reports are
that they fly exceptionally well. See the Italian "Articles"
page of the website.
Could I build a self-launch Silent as a first kit?
A: Both the pure sailplane and self-launch versions of the Silent are
easy to build. There is no fiberglass lay-up in
the traditional sense (only bonding of some pre-molded
panels). Also, difficult or critical steps are done by the factory (wing
halves are closed, fuselage halves are joined, composite frame bonded to
canopy, etc.). The manual, profusely illustrated with over 600 photos and
drawings, "walks" the builder through each step. All parts are
organized and packaged according to the task in which they will be used.
the self-launch Silent kit estimate of 500 hours reasonably accurate, and
would that include paint/finish?
A: The estimate is based on double the factory time to complete the
aircraft from the kit stage. We believe it is conservative for the basic
self-launch kit and it does include paint and finish with pneumatic
surface prep tools. Extensive profiling of the airfoil shape and surface
finishing will increase build times. Actual build times for the
self-launch Silent Club appear to be in the 300 to 400 hour range (documented
via builder logs) depending on builder experience, level of finishing
detail, and options. The Silent 2 and Silent 2 TARGA self-launchers take
only slightly longer due to a few differences such as removable winglets,
tapered flaperon hinge line, flap linkage
system, and retractable gear.
What epoxy and fillers will I need for my kit?
A: A small amount of epoxy resin and fillers are required. The materials
used to build a Silent are typical for composite construction and, should
additional material be needed, are also available from Alisport, Aircraft Spruce, Wicks, and
other aviation supply companies. The construction manual provides
information on the specific materials, surface preparation, bonding
techniques, recommended tools, etc.
Are simple aerobatics (loops) permitted in the Silent?
A: The official flight manual specifically states that aerobatics are not
permitted. The structural load ratings of the aircraft are also
published. For a kit sailplane, the "manufacturer" is the kit
builder and in theory it can therefore be certified by the builder to any
level of flight capability including sport aerobatics (the flight test
program will need to include the relevant aerobatic maneuvers).
During factory flight testing, the Silent was subjected to loops, rolls,
and inverted flight (Silent Club only) and had no undesirable handling
What tools do I need to build a Silent?
A: The following table from the extensive Construction and Workshop
Manual lists the recommended tools, equipment, and materials:
drill (electric or cordless)
6 mm ball Allen key (T-handle)
tool or die-grinder (with bits)
Small and large
large slotted screwdrivers
Ø2.0 mm (0.08”) drill bit
Ø2.5 mm (0.10”) drill bit
Ø3 mm (0.12”) drill bit
(0.16”) drill bit
(0.165”) drill bit
(0.20”) drill bit
(0.22”) drill bit
(0.24”) drill bit
(0.32”) drill bit
Ø18 mm (0.71”) hole saw
Ø20 mm (0.79”) hole saw
mm (1.50”) hole saw
mm (1.88”) hole saw
Step drill (Unibit™)
7 mm wrench
8 mm wrench
10 mm wrench
12 mm wrench
reciprocating saw (jig-saw)
13 mm wrench
14 mm wrench
17 mm wrench
22 mm wrench
3 mm box-end
4 mm box-end
5 mm box-end
6 mm box-end
8 mm box-end
with 10 mm socket
wrench with 13 mm socket
Driver with 7
Bar clamps (Quik-Grip™)
Driver with 8
10 mm socket
the items, such as a band-saw, orbital sander, cordless drill, air
compressor, and paint gun, are desirable but not absolutely necessary.
Some builders prefer to borrow some of the more expensive equipment or,
in the case of painting, prefer to have their aircraft professionally
Pure Sailplane Questions
Can I upgrade a Silent pure-sailplane to a self-launch Silent at a later
A: The Silent Club, Silent 2, and Silent 2 TARGA can easily be upgraded
to the self-launch configuration. A complete powerplant
kit is available for this transformation.
Q: I am 90 kg (200 lbs). Can I fly the Silent in the FAI-DU Class for
A: The FAI-DU Class dictates a flight weight of no more than 220kg (485
lbs). With the introduction of the Silent 2 and Silent 2 TARGA with their
better glide ratios, attempting FAI-DU records with a Silent Club no
longer makes a lot of sense. The 13.0 meter Silent 2 and 13.3 meter
Silent 2 TARGA pure gliders have the additional advantage of lighter
carbon wings allowing slightly more weight for the pilot and flight gear.
The Silent 2 TARGA does have a slightly higher weight due to the
retractable landing gear. Some additional weight savings can be attained
on a custom basis - feel free to contact us if absolute minimum weight is
Self-launch Silent Questions
Can I fly a self-launch Silent mostly as a power-plane and occasionally
A: NO! This is not what self-launchers are designed for! Self-launchers
generally spend minimal time in the power mode and most of their lives
soaring. Their engines are used for some taxiing, predominantly for
launching, and occasionally for retrieval or ferry flights. Basically the
engine exists to provide opportunities. Opportunities to launch on any
day at any location, without a tow-plane, when soaring conditions are
less than optimum, and to venture further from home because a ground crew
is not necessary. The powerplants in
self-launchers are not intended to make gliders into power-planes, and
they are certainly not to be used as life-savers. They are intended to be
flown as gliders first and in-flight re-starts should always be performed
with the utmost conservatism. If you need to run the engine most of the
time and prefer to shut it down only when soaring conditions are
excellent then consider a touring motorglider. They are designed to spend
most of their lives in the power mode, unlike self-launchers.
Can I run electrical instruments off the main battery in a self-launch
A: The self-launch Silent Club, Silent 2, and Silent 2 TARGA each have an
engine battery (8Ah) that is charged via a flywheel generator when the
engine is running. We do not recommend running instruments or avionics
that draw much current from the engine battery (basic variometers
are usually ok). Instead, we recommend the auxiliary battery tray option
for electrical instruments, radio, GPS, Palm, transponder, etc. This way
the engine battery will always be fully charged in case the engine needs
to be re-started in flight.
How is the single-blade centered after climbing
A: The usual procedure after climbing to altitude is to briefly run at
low power to avoid shock cooling the engine. The glider is re-trimmed
after reducing power. When the ignition/fuel-injection switch is turned
off (the master switch remains on) the propeller will windmill for a few
revolutions (quantity depends on airspeed) and it will stop arbitrarily. At
this point the blade-stop lever in the cockpit is moved forward and a
corresponding flexible plastic tab located adjacent to the engine rotates
forward into the plane of the propeller "arc". Now it is a
simple matter of looking in the small rear-view mirror located on the
instrument panel and lightly tapping the starter button a few times until
the propeller is in the 6 o'clock position and resting against the
plastic tab. If the starter button is held too long the blade simply
overshoots, the tab flexes out of the way, and the prop must be
"bumped" all the way around by tapping the starter button
again. When the blade is centered, the
blade-stop lever is moved back and the UP/DN rocker switch is held DN
until the pylon is completely lowered. The master switch can now be
turned off. The entire procedure is more complicated on paper than in
practice. Most pilots become adept after only 2 or 3 tries.
Can you sell just the Silent self-launch engine and propeller and if so,
what is the price?
A: Unfortunately we cannot offer the Alisport engine and pylon for use in
other aircraft. It has been specifically designed for use in the Silent
oil mixed with fuel? What type of fuel and octane rating?
A: Oil must be pre-mixed with the fuel. We recommend CastrolTM
TTS two-stroke oil (available worldwide). The engine's Electronic Control
Unit (ECU) is programmed for Europe and North America to accommodate
slightly different octane ratings. We recommend using the highest octane
alcohol-free unleaded auto-fuel that is available. This is generally 98
RON (Research Octane Number) in Europe and 93 PON (Pump Octane Number) in
North America (except California which is 92). Always try to use a brand
of fuel without ethanol and alcohol additives (minimal quantities up to a
few percent of these additives are ok). Fuels with MTBE additive are
acceptable. If fuel with zero or minimum ethanol or alcohol content is
not available, then AvGas (100LL) is acceptable
(may require more frequent sparkplug changes).
What is the T.B.O. for the engine and do you produce this engine? What
about spare parts?
A: The engine TBO rating is 100 hours which is conservative for modern
two-stroke engines using the latest in material technology. The highest
time engine in service has over 300 hours. The engine is assembled
in-house by Alisport using mostly stock parts that are common
with the MZ engine produced both in Italy and in Canada (CRE). The Silent
powerplant package was engineered specifically
for the self-launch application and therefore it does have a few unique
and proprietary features specific to integration with the engine pylon
(for example an external counterbalance shaft). The fuel-injection system
is comprised of mostly off-the-shelf BoschTM
components. Parts are therefore readily available from a variety of
sources. The fuel-injection addresses the issue of carburetors
leaking fuel when the pylon is lowered into the engine bay. Not to
overlook the easier starting, elimination of mixture control, choke, etc.
Other choices for a reliable single-cylinder two-stroke are virtually non
existent (note that RotaxTM no
longer manufactures any single-cylinder engines - two cylinders causes a
domino effect and ultimately both the glider size, weight, and cost go
What stops the engine/propeller from being cranked by the starter before
the pylon is fully raised?
A: A limit switch detects when the pylon is in the fully raised position
and only when this happens will the starter work. This eliminates the
possibility of accidentally cranking the engine and having the propeller
impact the engine bay doors or fuselage. The ignition/fuel-injection
system can be turned on prior to raising the pylon (i.e. fuel can
circulate before pylon is fully raised).
What happens if I start the engine with the blade stop extended?
A: The plastic blade stop flexes and sacrificially wears as the blade
contacts it (the noise will sound like a bicycle with playing card
touching the wheel spokes, only louder). Typically, a line of smeared
plastic will form on the blade's tough polyurethane surface - at first
glance it may look like a gouge but it can easily be removed with a
fingernail. However, running the engine for extended periods with the
stop extended or at speeds above idle will damage the propeller.
Does the engine automatically lean the fuel ratio as altitude changes?
A: The electronic control unit (ECU) has a built in pressure sensor that,
along with the intake air temperature, determines density altitude. The
ECU then uses its mapped parameters and this information (along with
throttle position and RPM) to vary the injector duration and attain in
the correct fuel delivery for the given altitude. Generally speaking,
internal combustion engine power output as a function of density altitude
is as follows:
What is the maximum engine RPM?
A: At proper climb angle, the engine speed will be on the order of 6000 to
6300 rpm. If the engine is over-revved the Electronic Control Unit (ECU)
will automatically limit the maximum speed to 6400 rpm by intermittently
cutting the ignition (as would occur if the nose was lowered during a
full power climb).
The published empty weight of the self-launch Silent Club is 175 kg (386
lbs). I assume that this is without options such as the tip-up canopy and
A: You are correct. The published weight is that of the basic glider
without fuel. With polyurethane paint, cockpit paint, hinged tip-up
aero-tow nose hook, auxiliary battery, large instrument panel, radio,
headset, etc. the empty weight can easily creep up to around 190 kg (418
lbs). The self-launch Silent 2 and Silent 2 TARGA have the additional
advantage of lighter carbon wings allowing slightly more weight for the
pilot and flight gear (although the Silent 2 TARGA does have the
additional weight of the retractable landing gear). Regardless of the
aircraft, we strongly recommend that you take your own weight and airport
conditions (runway length, altitude, temperature) into account when
deciding on options. It is very easy to make any aircraft heavy. The
design intent of the Silent series of sailplanes focuses on simplicity
and light weight. Ask questions like, "Are two variometers,
large instrument panel, steerabletailwheel, etc. really necessary?" More is not
necessarily better in every case.
Should I install an aero-tow nose hook on a self-launch Silent?
A: It does add some additional weight, but here are some possible
friends without self-launch experience to fly your sailplane
Back-up plan in case of motor related problems or extremely high density
Maintain aero-tow proficiency (can also be interpreted as a gesture of
support for your local aero-tow operation)
Sailplane can be flown as a pure glider for record attempts with the
Should I put a steerabletailwheel
on my self-launch Silent?
A: Before answering your question, we should point out that a fixed tailwheel is standard equipment on the pure
sailplanes. The fuel-injected self-launch Silent Club, Silent 2, and
Silent 2 TARGA sailplanes come standard with steerabletailwheels and wingtip wheels. A steerabletailwheel does
not make much sense for the un-powered versions of the Silent or for the
electric self-launch Silent Club.
some of the photos it looks like the self-launch Silent Club is on the
nose wheel when occupied by the pilot. It seems that this would negate
the use of the steerabletailwheel
- so how does this work?
A: The glider remains in the tail-down position with a pilot on board. The
glider only pitches onto the nose wheel when substantial power is applied
(in other words, the thrust is applied at a point above the CG and
creates the nose-down pitching moment). This is the condition visible in
the photos. For taxiing, the glider remains in the tail-low position. If
an obstruction is encountered (ex. main wheel in a rut) then full power
can be applied to move the glider forward (the tail will obviously lift,
until power is reduced after clearing the rut). The nose-wheel provides
several advantages for the Silent Club:
Allows for a static full-power test prior to taking the active runway. This
is not always feasible with many self-launchers.
Permits full-power to be developed prior to releasing the brake and
beginning the take-off roll. Many self-launchers (including the Silent 2
and Silent 2 TARGA) are obligated to increase power gradually and thus
the pilot must verify maximum engine rpm before liftoff.
main wheel is located further aft (located closer to the cg). This
results in better ground handling, less chance of "ballooning"
when the main-wheel first contacts the runway, and less effort when
lifting the tail to install the tail dolly.
What is the L/D of a self-launch Silent with the pylon extended?
A: Most self-launchers with an extended pylon and stationary propeller
experience a sink rate from 2 to 3 times worse than the corresponding
clean sailplane. For example, the self-launch Silent Club at 83 km/h (45
knots) with the pylon extended and the propeller at the 12 o'clock
position has a sink rate of approximately 1.8 m/s (350 fpm) yielding a
corresponding L/D of 13:1. For comparison, the same sink rate can be
obtained with approximately 1/4 air-brake extension. The sink rate is
similar for the Silent 2 and Silent 2 TARGA. It is important to note that
the power-on climb-rate is at least 35% higher than the sink rate. A
"dirty" glider can therefore glide back to the airport in a
worst case scenario, assuming sufficient altitude has been attained to
turn around. This does not take into account the typical advantages of
climb-out into the wind and return glide with a tailwind. With the
propeller positioned at the position (ready for
retraction), the sink rate is lower and the L/D greater, but this is not
representative of the worst case scenario.
2 and Silent 2 TARGA Wing Questions
Why should I consider a Silent Club since the Silent 2 and Silent 2 TARGA
have a much better glide ratio?
A: The 12.0m Silent Club wing has delightful handling, excellent climb
performance, very acceptable glide performance, docile stall, and is cost
effective due to the fiberglass construction
and relatively simple planform shape. We know
of many Silent owners that would still select the 12.0m wing today
because it meets both their flying needs and budget. The biggest
advantage of the 13.0m Silent 2 and 13.3m Silent 2 TARGA wings is a
substantial increase in glide ratio allowing for excellent cross-country
performance. Saying that one is "better" than the other does
not apply to all pilots equally. Compare and weigh the qualities that you
What are the structural differences between the longer wings of the
Silent 2 TARGA and the 12.0m wing of the Silent Club?
A: The 13.0m and 13.3m wings of the Silent 2 TARGA have pultruded carbon-fiber spar caps whereas the 12.0m
wing has unidirectional fiberglass spar caps. Both
wing types use synthetic core sandwich structures that are vacuum bagged
and heat cured, but the skins on the Silent 2 and Silent 2 TARGA wings
include carbon fiber while the Silent Club wings are entirely fiberglass. All wing types have carbon fiber flaperons dictated by stiffness requirements.
What are the load factors of the Silent 2 and Silent 2 TARGA wings?
A: The maneuvering loads are +5.3g/-2.65g
(based on a gross weight of 300kg). The ultimate (limit) loads use the
JAR safety factor of 1.50 plus an additional factor of 1.15 to account
for hand lay-up of the fabrics. The wings have been statically tested to
wing flutter analysis and testing really necessary for light sailplanes?
A: We believe that light aircraft still need complete engineering
analysis and testing. This professional and long term approach requires
significant investment in computational software, skilled personnel, and
testing time. The Silent 2 also underwent complete ground and in-flight aeroelastic testing to ensure that there were no
Q: Does your Construction and Workshop Manual have detailed
information on Silent 2 and Silent 2 TARGA, like it does for Silent Club?
A: Absolutely! The same type of profusely illustrated and detailed
technical information is included the Construction and Workshop Manual
for the Silent 2 and Silent 2 TARGA. This is certainly a requirement for
those owners building a kit. Owners of factory-built aircraft find the
manual extremely beneficial too and continue to comment on the quality,
detail, and usefulness of the technical information (in addition to the
Flight and Maintenance Manual).
a larger engine needed for the Silent 2 or Silent 2 TARGA?
A: No, our overall design focus is still the same. Keep the glider light
and the costs for self-launch independence within reason. Even with a
longer span, the weight of the 13.0m and 13.3m wings is slightly less
than the 12.0m wing and the aerodynamic efficiency is higher, so the
power-on climb rate is slightly better. Self-launchers manufactured from
late 2003 onward use the A302efi engine which has the same displacement
and power output as the earlier A300efi engine.
Are you developing a retractable gear version of the Silent 2?
A: The Silent 2 is a sailplane served well by fixed landing gear. However,
we do listen to what our customers prefer, hence the development of the
Silent 2 TARGA with its retractable landing gear and variable-incidence
stabilizer. An optional retract upgrade kit is available for the Silent
One-man rigging and wing panel weight?
A: The Silent lends itself very well to single-person rigging. However,
each wing panel cannot be lifted by one person, so a "one-person
rig" is required. One-person wing assembly rigs are available -
please see our price list. Wing panel weight for the Silent 2 wing is on
the order of 40.0kg (88lbs) and approximately 2/3's of that is at the
are the trailer dimensions?
A: The length of the Silent Club trailer gives an overall length of 7,5m
(295.3"). Tire size is 165 R13. The trailers for the Silent 2 and
Silent 2 TARGA are slightly longer. See the trailer pages of the website
for additional information.
the trailers have a jack on the tongue, a hand brake, a surge brake?
A: Yes, they have a jack with a caster wheel. They also have a parking
brake and surge brakes.
Are the trailers available with an aluminum
A: We do not offer a standard trailer with an aluminum
top. However, an aluminum top is available via
special request from our trailer supplier (additional cost item). Glider
delivery time requirements may be impacted.
Are the wing trolleys held captive so that they do not tip over?
A: Yes, there is an aluminum channel running
the length of the trailer sidewalls that holds the trolley captive.
What holds the wheeled wing dolly to the tapered end of the Silent wing?
A: The ground handling wing dolly (saddle) fits the Silent Club wingtip
in a glove-like manner. The dolly has minimal tendency to come off and is
very safe for most ground maneuvering. Note
that, the ground handling wing dolley for the
13.0m Silent 2 and 13.3m Silent 2 TARGA clamps to the wing since it
cannot slide onto the wingtip.
North America Specific Questions
the Silent have a race handicap?
A: Yes, all versions of the Silent are listed in the contest handicap
spreadsheets maintained by the SSA. The handicap for the Silent Club pure
glider is 1.21 and the handicap for both the fuel-injected and electric
Silent Club self-launchers is 1.18. The value for the Silent 2 is 1.12
and the value for the Silent 2 TARGA is 1.10. These are the base-line
handicap numbers to use in SSA sanctioned contests (the applied value
used in a contest is adjusted up or down from the base-line number
depending on the glider weight). These handicap numbers differ from the
OLC system which uses an inverse valuation method.
Can the deposit be put into a third person (bank) escrow account in case
the aircraft is not delivered within a reasonable agreed upon time. I got
burned to the tune of $10,000 on an aircraft purchase refundable deposit
when the builder went bankrupt.
A: Very valid and understandable concern. We know of one self-launch
Silent owner who, prior to purchasing his Silent, lost
"refundable" deposits in two separate aviation bankruptcies! There
are several escrow services available in the aviation community however;
they are generally set up for "larger" purchases. For example,
the AOPA escrow service fees amount to over $300 for a self-launch Silent
Club. The Silent owner mentioned above ultimately determined that a
"letter-of-credit" from his bank's international department was
the most practical solution. The letter of credit is established between
his bank and the factory's bank. Payment is tied to the shipment from the
factory. Unfortunately we cannot tie the payment to delivery in a US
port, only to departure from the factory (the original bill of lading is
then sent directly to purchaser's bank by the shipping broker and this
triggers the payment - the glider is insured during transit). Please note
that the escrow or letter-of-credit preparation is the full
responsibility of the purchaser - we cannot offer this as a standard
purchase option, but understand the wishes of our customers. On the other
hand, after a quick investigation most customers recognize that Alisport Srl is an established company
in business since 1994 with the solid financial backing of a larger
parent company. Some glider manufacturers will not even build a glider
until payment is received in full!
Who do you suggest for financing?
A: Lea County State Bank, located in Hobbs, New Mexico, specializes in
sailplanes and is endorsed by the SSA. Contact Robert Floyd at (505)
397-6609 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Note that Alisport requires a 30% deposit with
the aircraft order and LCSB will provide up to 80% financing once the
aircraft is on US soil. If necessary, LCSB will provide 10% of the loan
before the aircraft arrives in the US and the remaining 70% only once the
glider is on US soil. Another option is NAFCO.
When do I get an FAA bill of sale? The FAA requires form 8050-2 before
registration can be accomplished.
A: The factory prepares a signed original FAA Bill of Sale and sends it
along with a statement of non-registration from the Italian authority. Both
of these are required to register the glider. The flight and maintenance
manual will also be sent in advance of the glider.
Who do you recommend to expedite FAA registration?
A: Morgan Aircraft Title Services is the best choice as far as we are
concerned. They charge a nominal fee to walk the registration paperwork
through the FAA office and will fax temporary registration document back
to the requestor within a day or two (permanent registration follows by
mail within a week or so). Contact Bill Morgan Jr.
at (405) 787-4550 or email@example.com
Morgan Aircraft Title Services, Inc.
2411 N. Council Road
Bethany, OK 73008
Who do you recommend for glider insurance?
A: We have worked closely with Costello Insurance to ensure that all
versions of the Silent can be insured at reasonable rates. Contact Pat
Costello at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Costello Insurance
website has several on-line articles about glider insurance coverage.
Mailing address is:
Costello Insurance Associates, Inc.
P. O. Box 28280
428 E. Southern Ave
Tempe, AZ 85285-8280
Toll Free: 800-528-6483
How long does it take to get a Silent ready-to-fly or as a kit?
A: The lead time is typically 6 months after receipt of order to have one
shipped via container from Europe to our logistics center in Baltimore, MD. We can also ship to second
facility in San Jose', California for west-coast customers. Other
locations are also possible on an individual basis.
How do I certify a Silent kit in the US?
A: First, the must be built by the person who will ultimately certify it
(i.e. the FAA frowns on using so-called "hired guns"). Assistance
from friends and paid assistance for certain tasks such as avionics,
painting, etc is permitted by the FAA. The certification will be in the
"Experimental Amateur-Built" category. The builder is required
to keep an informal log showing what tasks were performed (basically a
diary) and a basic photo album. Alisport provides the FAA Bill of
Sale. Once you have finished building your sailplane, the FAA inspector
or a DAR (Designated Airworthiness Representative, who can be hired to
perform the inspection) will want to see it and photos of the
construction progress with you, the builder, in the pictures. They will
verify that you are in fact the builder and not someone else that you
hired. You must also request an "N" number from the FAA and
register the aircraft. The FAA inspector or DAR will require that a
specified number of flight hours (defined based on type of aircraft) be
within a specified radius from your home field during which time you are
expected, but not required, to record performance data and develop a
flight handbook or manual (note that Alisport provides a flight manual). Our
recommendation is to visit the EAA
even search the FAA websites. There is substantial
information on the web regarding the certification of amateur-built
aircraft. There is absolutely no difference between certifying the Silent
kits and any other kit. The proposed Sport Category of aircraft will
provide another avenue to get a tail number in the US.
What testing has been performed on the Silent? Do you have plans for
production certification in the US?
A: The Silent Club, Silent 2, and Silent 2 TARGA airframes have undergone
thorough analysis (Milan Polytechnic University) and testing (both by the
factory and independent parties). Complete in-house destructive tests of
all Silents confirm that the structures met design loads have been
performed (the gross weight maneuvering load
ratings for each version of the Silent are published in their respective
brochures). Note that the Italian ENAC (equivalent of the FAA) requires
no independent testing of the aircraft since the Silent is a
"Recreation and Sport" aircraft in Italy (equivalent of the Light
Sport Aircraft category). However, for Germany, independent structural tests
to failure under supervision of the DAeC
(German equivalent of the FAA) were required. The tests are noteworthy in
that they are performed at a temperature of 540C (1290F)!
All tests exceeded the JAR 1.5 safety factor requirement. The structural
test program also included fuselage drop testing, stabilizer load
testing, and control system load testing. Certificates were issued by the
DAeC showing conformance with the requirements.
Successful aeroelastic (flutter) tests under
the observation of independent parties have also been performed. We see
no advantage in obtaining US production type-certification - it will just
increase the price of the aircraft. Sailplanes that do not have
production type-certification and are imported into the US fly in the
Experimental category. Additionally, the Silent sailplanes are able to
fly in the Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) category.
What training do I need to fly the Silent in the US?
A: For persons without a glider rating, the recommended flight training
is to pursue flight lessons at any gliderport
and obtain a glider pilot's license (preferably with flights in a
single-seat composite glider). See the SSA website places to fly. This
will legally allow you to fly the Silent. The actual transition to the
Silent is straightforward. All flight characteristics are forgiving and
entirely typical of the majority of sailplanes available for rent. Alisport will always provide a
complete checkout of the Silent flight procedures. For persons who
already have a glider rating, the transition to the Silent is simple. A
basic ground checkout is all that is needed. For the self-launching
Silents, a log-book endorsement (see FAR 61.31.j.1.iii) in self-launch
procedures is required unless the pilot has received training and logged
flights in a self-launcher prior to August 4th, 1997 (see FAR 61.31.j.2). Alisport will always provide a
complete ground check-out in the relatively simple engine extension,
start-up, and retraction.
am 6 feet tall and 200 pounds. Can I fly the self-launch Silent?
A: Both your height and weight are within the upper limit, and you will
fit very comfortably in all versions of the Silent. Our US representative
is a lean 6 foot 1 inch and fits comfortably in the cockpit (wearing a
parachute and with the rudder pedals on the second-to-last notch). A 6'
3" 185lb pilot barely fitted in the Silent (also with a parachute,
but last pedal notch). The pilot described it as snug, but acceptable (we
believe that this is the maximum height for a slender person - we
recommend trying one on for size if heavier than 200lbs). Recessed footwells in the heel area of the cockpit floor-pan
are now standard. This provides extra room for those pilots with larger
feet and also increases comfort. The self-launch Silent is designed for a
maximum payload of 230lbs (add this and approximately 30lbs of fuel to
the empty weight of 375lbs to obtain the maximum take-off weight of
have a 1500 foot field on my property. Is this long enough to launch and
land a Silent?
A: Assuming you are near sea level, have no tall obstacles, and the field
is level, then the length is certainly sufficient. The glider will be off
the ground in 500 to 600 feet and climb out at 400 to 500 feet/minute. Landing
will never be a problem if landing into the wind. If you have tall
obstacles, then things can change dramatically for the launch ability. A
quick calculation will illustrate this:
Assume a ground speed of 45 knots (this is about 4500 feet per minute)
2. Assume a climb rate of 450 feet per minute
3. Divide forward speed by vertical speed (4500/450 = 10) to get the
the trees at the end of the runway are 50 feet tall, then the glider must
be off the ground and climbing at least 500 feet (tree height x 10) prior
to the trees to just barely clear them (this gives no margins). This
effectively reduces the usable runway length to 1000 feet. So the first
500 feet are takeoff roll, the next 500 feet allow the glider to climb to
50 feet of altitude, and by the time the glider is over the trees it is
100 feet above the ground and has cleared the trees by 50 feet.
that this is a simple explanation, but will give an appreciation for
runway length requirements. Things like ground effect and wind gradient
help the initial climb rate, but density altitude, heavy take-off weight,
tall grass, and lack of headwind can reduce safety margins.
I believe the N numbers must be 4 inches high? And the same is true for
the word "EXPERIMENTAL"
in the cockpit? Does the factory paint that word in the cockpit? Or do I
do it? A: The N numbers only need to be 3 inches high (per FAA
regulations). These can be painted at the factory for an extra fee (the N
number must already be reserved with the FAA at time of aircraft order)
or you can paint those on or purchase vinyl letters from a decal shop. The
word "EXPERIMENTAL" is applied by the factory as a decal placed
on the panel behind the seat (kits excluded). These letters only need to
be 2 inches tall per FAA regulations.