Note by Reimar Horten

The forerunner of the modern hangglider?


Al Bowers gave me this rough translation of a note by Reimar Horten.

"Horten X

H Xc

The beginning of this project has its origin in 1949, the date in which a group of Cordodan young people interviewed Dr Horten, at the borders of the docks in San Roque.

After he completed to chart it out, the interviewed person gave a list of formulas where appeared all the values for the layout of the first Piernifero (a name that occurred by its system of takeoff and landing, "foot trained" or "foot-launched").

Commentary of Robert Tacchi: Dr Horten committed an error that consisted of giving this revolutionary project to a group of young people, and not to an industry interested in developing it.

One is not to forget that for any ship that is experimental, it must be put under different tests, and there even exists the possibility that it must be modified.

We gave the first impetus that allowed an origin to a second and third model (see the Xb and Xc). Also we must remember that Dr Horten was a man of great wisdom and humility outside his area.

Commentary on the stages of the test flights: The turns are not like in a normal airplane. At the start of turning, it does adverse yaw with respect to the turn.

The model was made without having vertical fins, but Dr Nickel (of the Horten group) says that without them the airplane would suffer losses of command due to the skid (yaw) component. Horten considered that due to the low speed in which it would fly, the fin would be necessary. In later experiments, first flights were made by Bartolini, take off the fins later and this flight made by Tacchi. It was observed that the machine did not demonstrate any alteration in flight.

Dr Horten designed this airplane without considering the aerodynamic performance. He only considered that he wanted an airplane of low cost, so that it was easy to use by any pilot, without concerning his depth of experience.

Sheidhauer comments: The flying wing is a very refined machine which is good to excellent at this point. Opinion on Ho X: It is a new machine, but I consider the landing at flight speed and the unfolding of the pilot's legs risky. In addition, not the easiest ship to fly, more so for the inexperienced pilots.

Horten X b: This machine was constructed to a large extent by Sheidhauer and Figueroa, with a small participation by Tacchi. The materials used were spruce for the stringers, pine for the ribs and plywood for the coverings. This wing had the feature to fold itself to half and the pilot was enclosed in the interior of the airfoil.

Weight without pilot: 45 kg.

In this airplane he did not include the vertical fins, the command of elevons was not like the system of the previous one (in which the aileron exposed the leading edge, projected into the airstream making a braking effect, see the figure). Other modifications were similar to the Horten I, since the aileron leading edge was not pointed.

At the end 85% was finished of the construction of the machine, since it was never gotten to construct to the command cane and not enteló.

Ho Xc: In the book "Nurflugel", it is made sure that construction was not carried out, only in the wing, that packages of ribs were made. (commentary of R. Tacchi) This machine was a finer and more complicated airplane for flight. At the moment a group of young Australian sailplane pilots, constructed a model on the basis of this design.

Airplanes that exist at the present time:

  • I Ae 34 M: Of this airplane only pieces are left, since damage was about 65%. (This machine was used by a Horten pilot in the World Championship of Sailplanes, in Spain).
  • I Ae 37: Only it is a scale model left of the test of the time, pertaining to the version of conventional seat.
  • I Ae 38: It is left in a helix sculpture that is on a pedestal to the entrance of the aero club "The Owls" (Cordova).
  • I Ae 41: This machine is being recovered at the present time. She is the one that Sheidhauer used in the crossing Andes Mountain range.
  • Ho Xb: It is at the present time as it was left when finalizing it in 1982.
  • Ho Ib: Of this airplane only plans are left."