On Thursday, October 20th, the Soaring Cafe editors traveled to Dick and Sarah Butler’s hilltop aerie in Middle Tennessee to catch up on the latest developments in the Concordia project. We were also eager to see Christian Striefeneder, whom we met last year while he was in Tennessee helping Dick with a critical phase of construction. Christian arrived at Dick’s workshop the week before our visit and will stay another week before returning home to Germany. Christian and his father, Hansjörg Striefeneder, own and operate Glasfaser-Flugzeug-Service GmbH in Grabenstetten, Germany. Besides holding the type certificate for the ~1,400 Glasflügel gliders around the world, the Striefeneders perform service and repair on gliders, motor gliders, and airplanes of wood and composite construction. They also offer other services including prototype construction and mold production. In fact, they built the wing molds for Concordia and shipped them to Dick’s workshop in Tennessee a few years ago.
We were joined by another visitor, Sherman Griffith, a long-time friend of Dick’s and Sarah’s, former U.S. Open Class national champion, and past member of the U.S. World Soaring Team. Dick completed Concordia’s inner and mid-wing panels a few weeks ago; our previous Café update on the project includes photos showing the glider assembled sans wing control surfaces, wing tips, and winglets. In the past week, with Christian’s help, Dick has made significant progress on the ailerons, flaps, wingtips, and winglets. The fuselage is almost ready to ship to M&H Soaring in New York for filling, smoothing, painting, and polishing. That will allow Dick to focus on finishing the wings and control surfaces. The following photos highlight components of Concordia under construction as this is written.
After touring Dick’s workshop, we adjourned to their veranda overlooking the runway and enjoyed hot dogs (grilled by Master Chef Dick) and chili, prepared by Sarah, as we gathered beside the big outdoor fireplace in the autumn chill. As frequently happens when gliding friends convene over food and drink, we laughed, chatted, and hangar flew way past dessert.