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The U-2 Experimental Motor Glider

The U-2 Experimental Category Motor Glider, deisgned by Don Mitchell, was first flown in 1980. It became at that time, and remains today, the highest performing aircraft of all lightweight, inexpensive motor gliders.

Like the B-10, the U-2 shares the same high quality wood and aircraft fabric construction. The pilot sits in the wing, under a bubble canopy. This keeps him out of the weather and maintains the aircraft's sleek, streamlined appearance. In winter months, solar energy entering through the canopy comfortably warms the cockpit. In the summer the canopy may be removed and a fairing can be mounted.

The Mitchell-designed innovation he called Stabilators are upside-down airfoils than hang slightly below the trailing wing edges. They provide downloading for pitch stability and double as combination elevators for pitch and ailerons for roll control. The stabilators are manipulated by the stick through a mixer box using pull rods housed inside channels where the outer wing panels meet the main section when they are in the unfolded position.

The rudders, each upright on their respective wingtip, swing outward for directional control and combined with the stabilators, provide the same three-axis control as a conventional aircraft.

The outer wing panels of the U-2 fold up along the main wing section, exactly like the B-10. This allows for the dimension-downsizing necessary for transportion via truck or trailer. At the launch site, it takes less then 15 minutes to prepare it for flight.

The U-2 is comfortable in front of a 20 horse power engine and together they weigh in at just over 300 lbs. But if higher performance is a goal, this aicraft can certainly entertain larger engines. Design features provide a stress factor of +/- 6 G's. Electric start and foldable prop can be added to make the U-2 a truly remarkable soaring machine.

Because of its clean aerodynamic design, the U-2 easily cruises at 65-70 mph with less than 2 gal/hr gas consumption. Aviation Week and Space Technology Magazine pointed out the B-2 Flying Wing Bomber was between 7-29% more efficient than the B-1 Bomber, which had a more conventional design. So there is no question that an all-wing design easily outperforms a comparable conventional aircraft.

Doug Colby, a vetran pilot, wrote in Plane and Pilot , "It's hard to avoid the conclusion that the Mitchell U-2 was designed for pure fun, and it delivers quite a bit of enjoyment for a minimum expediture of dollars.

Don Dwiggins wrote in Air Progress magazine, "Flying the U-2 Super Wing is no sweat. It is, in fact, a delight. Off in 200 feet and down in half that, U-2 is a good short field runner."

Pilot Jim Foreman, in a 1982 edition of Soaring, said, "The U-2 is a fun ship and one which will open the door to aviation to many people who have been locked out of the sport over the past few years due to cost."

Don Mitchell felt that the basic U-2 design could be home-built by the average airplane buff in about 350 hours, with perhaps another 100 hours required for the paint job, interior appointments and other conveniences not essential to the plane's flight characteristics.So what are you waiting for? Why not blow the dust off those hobby tools in the garage, order a set of U-2 plans and get to work? You could be soaring over the countryside in less time than it takes a newborn sparrow to find its wings!

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