This grab shot taken at the flight demonstration of the Windward Performance Duckhawk on April 22 in Bend, Oregon, resembles, in a totally accidental way, Manet’s great painting, Déjeuner sur l’Herbe (picnic on the grass). Although your editor tried convincing them, no one would doff his or her clothes to make the homage to Manet complete.
Duckhawk is a beautiful, light-weight (420 pounds empty) standard-class 15 meter wingspan sailplane, stressed for over 12 G’s to enable dynamic soaring, taking advantage of horizontal wind gusts like soaring birds do – the first to be designed specifically to explore this realm of flight. It is designed by Greg Cole and built by the people who are almost done with Perlan II, designed to go to 90,000 feet. Both sailplanes will push the state of the art to new extremes.
Although Duckhawk shares the look of its smaller sibling, the Sparrowhawk, it has beefier spars and a standard-class 15-meter (49.2 feet) wing with a 30:1 aspect ratio.
Duckhawk may soon have an electric motor to make it into a self launcher, although this is not an official Windward pronouncement.
Edouard Manet was criticized not just for the shocking depiction of a nude in an otherwise pastoral scene, but for his broad brushstrokes, which he took no care to blend into the scene. He used the face of his favorite model and the body of his wife to give composite construction an entirely new meaning. (This is just an added educational benefit of having a liberal arts major as editor.)