Dick Butler Makes First Flight in Concordia!

We are delighted to report that on Friday, May 25, 2012, at approximately 9:00 AM CDT, Dick Butler successfully completed the first test flight of Concordia. With his wife Sarah running the wing, DB launched from runway 18 at William Northern Field in Tullahoma, Tennessee and made a short tow to verify that the controls were working correctly and the handling was acceptable. As planned, Dick released from the tow plane at approximately 50 feet above the runway and landed straight ahead.

DB inspecting the wing
The panel
Friend and tow pilot, Ted Beckwith
Sarah and Dick before first takeoff
Sarah hooking up the tow rope
Sarah checks tow rope before first test flight
Ready for takeoff
Ready for launch
Sarah prepares to run the wing
Second Flight—Perfect launch!
(Second Test Flight)—What a sight!

After Dick landed, Bill and I rushed down the 5,000′ runway to retrieve him. When we reached DB, he was grinning from ear to ear. Everything worked perfectly! Concordia responded smoothly to aileron inputs and the pitch response and stability were exactly as expected.

After a short break, Dick took a second tow to ~2000 meters and ran through a checklist of control and airspeed checks. When he landed about 45 minutes later, his grin was even bigger. He was clearly elated. Dick said the handling was as good as that of his old Glasflügel 604 and better than the ASW-22.

After the second flight, we adjourned to a nearby Subway for lunch, then hurried back to the field, where Dick felt confident enough to take his new bird on a real soaring flight. When we left the airfield at mid-afternoon, Concordia was soaring high and fast into the western sun.

All of us who have been following the Concordia project and who witnessed this culmination of nine years of hard work were thrilled, excited, and relieved.

33 thoughts on “Dick Butler Makes First Flight in Concordia!”

    • Great job Dick and Sarah! Our mutual friend, AJ, is grinning from ear to ear! First rate job.

  1. If you need a backup pilot, I can probably break free for a month or two or three. Just sayin’.

  2. Congrats to Dick and all involved! I am in awe of the talent and audacity of Dick and his team. Best of luck to Dick at the worlds and the nats.

  3. Congratulations to you and the whole Concordia Team on your tremendous accomplishment!

  4. Congratulations to DB and the whole team. An undertaking of immense proportions! I can not even imagine how proud and satisfied DB felt after this day.

  5. Your dream is now reality! Congratulations Dick and Sara. Uvalde… the Butlers and Concordia are in the house.

  6. Congratulations to Dick and the whole team. I was fortunate to be driving by and stopped to see is DB was at KTHA. Saw his third landing and he exclaimed that “The handling was great”. Even allowed me to sit in the cockpit. What an honor…what a machine!

  7. Congratulations on what appears to be a superb flight. Will be anxious to see the bird fly at Uvalde. You must all be very proud.

  8. Congratulations Dick and good luck in Uvalde. And a specail pat on the shoulder for Sarah who survived this project. We will be in Chilhowee late in June. Maybe we will swing by briefly.

  9. A very long time coming, Dick. It is fabulous to have much to look forward, now. Congrats to you and your great team for accomplishing a great leap in soaring history.

  10. Congratulations Dick and Sarah!
    I have an idea how much work this has been.
    I also have an idea how much relief it is to get a couple of flights in.
    I hope the safe flights, fun, excitement, and successes continue through the WGC!

  11. Congratulations Dick, Sara and the rest of the Concordia team. Simlply fantastic! Hope to see you in Uvalde where you will be the winner.

  12. Dick

    Bob Semens forwarded this to me. It will be fun to see how the ship performs in contests. Best to you and Sarah. It seems like a lifetime since we flew at Eagleville.

    Bill Reuland

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