I love my Barracuda!

Posted by Greg Smith on Jul 11, 2002

I got the plane from Keith McLellan and he did me a great favor by selling this fantastic sloper. Keith had Doug Reel build this plane and speced flaps, which come in handy at our limited space LZs at our slopes. Without them it would come in pretty hot.


Span 66″
Airfoil: Don Ayres Custom
Weight: 50 ounces

After an unreasonably long time for the post office to get around to delivering this awesome plane, I finally got one of the objects of my desire! I’ve already had it out 3 times in the 4 days I’ve owned it.

I feel the need, the need for speed!

Day one was at the local slope, Big Bay Park. this is only about a 70 foot high slope but it faces northeast and that is the most common wind coming off Lake Michigan. I waited until the wind was 15 to 18 mph so I was pretty sure that there would be enough lift. I assumed that the ship would really need even more to be happy at this hill but I was amazed that it really started to groove.

During this first flight I dialed in the elevator compensation as this plane is equiped with flaps, one of the very few I believe. Got a feel for the CG and checked the roll rate. I noticed a slight incidence issue that I will deal with too.

I went home very happy with this plane! So happy that I came back to the hill after dinner and flew it until dark. The conditions had improved and it was reallt kicking ass. I may play with the CG some. The inverted performance needs a bit of forward stick pressure to maintain level flight but it is pretty good already. Roll rate is great and the plane maintains energy really well. There are no exposed linkages so it is very clean and efficent

The second day I had it out was at Atwater Beach. Mirko called me and said the conditions were good so I cruised over and had 3 planes at the ready. The Barracuda, the Vindicator and the SH-50. The conditions were great and I flew the Barracuda right away.

Atwater is almost twice as high as Big Bay and the lift was smooth and reasonably strong for the 18 or so MPH wind. The Barracuda just started to rock. Keith and Doug both mentioned its great halfpipe ability so I checked it out. It just kept going higher and higher and faster and faster. What a rush! I can’t wait for REAL lift! With the added speed from the halfpiping, I could string together lots of rolls and loops. Inverted performance was better with the added speed but I still think I will adjust the CG and see what happens.

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