THE MOYES LITESPORT
by Unknown Author
My first flights on the Litesport was ae tow flights. We were pulled by a winch in a smooth 20-mph ground wind. It’s hard to tellhow strong the winds were aloft, but I-15, leading to LA was closed in the Cajon Pass due tothree blown over trucks. Yet it was smooth enough on the pancake dry lake. It had been 4 or 5 years since I had winch towed, but after a few preliminary flights of increasing height, I steptowedto circa 3000 feet and put the glider through it’s paces.
Stalls with the VG full off as well as full on were normal for a glider of this format. As the bar was slowly pushed forward, the back pressure increased, the glider mushed a little, then the nose dropped smoothly. Recovery was quick with the bar held at trim. In a similar manner, stalls performed in turning flight resulted in a slight dropping of the inside wing and a quick recovery when the forward push was relieved. The resistance to seriously dropping an inside wing in an over-pushed turn is characteristic of curved tip gliders.
Smooth conditions are not the best for determining handling, but my roll reversals were quick enough for a glider of it’s performance class. Also, the successful spot landing attempts by myself and Michael Robertson and myself were greatly eased by the glider’s benign behavior and quick response. Landing it with one wing down produced nary a break.
The next two days at Elsinore rewarded us with varied thermal conditions and several hours of airtime. I scratched in broken puffs and locked it into consistent thermals; I wove through canyons and skirted around paragliders; I landed uphill as well as across the slope while avoiding the famous landing field bogey, Mr. Death. The glider performed admirably, considering the vast majority of the flights taken by hang and para pilots on those two days were sled rides.
I had the handling to hook and core when I needed to and the sink rate to rise above the efficiency robbing traffic. At least three times I survived sink cycles by working up from 300 feet over the landing field. I also went on a mini X-C with Kenny Brown flying a Litespeed 4 and found I could stay with him at best glide speeds. All this apparent bragging is not to impress with my flying skills (I’d be winning meets if they were that good), but to show how the glider has a bountiful performance package.
My winch towing was easy. I expect aerotowing to be the same. One of the reasons for this assessment is the Litesport has slightly more sweep than the Litespeed and thus more yaw stability. I suggest that previous Xtralight pilots will feel right at home on a Litesport. That former Moyes model was known to be a sweet glider, and the Litesport is ready to pick up the mantle. In the words of Mike Barber (US pilot, 3rd in the current world ranking): "The Litesport tows very nice(ly) even in rough air. With the VG off it is a true intermediate-type glider. When you tell it to turn it turns with no adverse yaw. A big plus is that it lands great!"
Takeoffs and landings were very easy; let me explain why. The glider is reasonably light and has tight side cables as mentioned earlier. In addition, it has a slight tail-heaviness. That helps you avoid a nose-in when your flare is not perfect. It is also easier to set pitch on takeoff when you have a bit of muscle feedback as you run (rather than having no forces and only hand position to monitor pitch setting). Perhaps those who have never flown slightly tail heavy gliders will be unfamiliar with the feeling, but once you learn it, you like it.
WHY A LITESPEED?
You may (legitimately) ask, "Why should I buy a Litesport instead of a Litespeed?" The answer is, the Litespeed is designed and intended for pilots with solid Hang IV skills and is ideal for X-C and competition flying (although it likes to float above a home site as well). The Litesport is intended for an advanced Hang III pilot and above. It is a great recreational glider and is good for X-C, but would not keep up with the best topless gliders in competition. (However, we must report that Gerolf flew a Litesport in the last Australian Open and won one day on it!) Essentially the Litesport is a sport version—slightly detuned—of the Litespeed.
In a word, the Litesport is more forgiving than the Litespeed. You’ve heard that term used in comparisons before, but what does it really mean? In this case, the optimization on the Litesport allows it to slow down 1-1/2 mph more than the Litespeed. Also the greater sweep results in less yaw management required when you get hit with turbulence on final. Also, you have less bar pressure slowing you down on final with the VG off (the Litespeed’s greater sail looseness with the VG off results in a strong trim force). In the air you get a bit less penalty for flying too slowly in a thermal turn, or getting yawed or rolled by a gust. All these forgiveness factors are like getting handed "get out of jail for free" cards by your guardian angel. This is what Rob Degroot (former Australian world team pilot) says: "The Litesport is very light and easy to take off the car and pack around. With the VG half on it is the perfect glider. It handles beautifully and really goes. This glider is perfect for a pilot coming off a Sonic (Moyes’ novice glider).
Remember the truism: you can buy performance but you can’t buy results. If your skills and judgement are not honed to a fine edge, you will perform much better with a Litesport than a Litespeed. Just as we urge novice pilots to exercise patience by reminding them that the mountains will always be there and the wind will always blow, we remind eager intermediate pilots that the topless gliders will always be there when they are ready for the challenge. This statement is especially true in relation to Moyes, for their track record has already been one of longevity.
In summation, the reason you need a Litesport is to get that increment of performance you have been pining for while keeping your flying in the comfort zone.
SETUP AND BREAK DOWN
The preparation and packing of the glider are fairly straightforward, so we’ll only mention a few matters that are probably unique to those pilots moving up from novice type gliders. First there is the matter of curved tips. These are easy to rig once you know the proper technique as outlined in the owner’s manual. Essentially you stand in front of the leading edge to push the sail tip back until the wand pops into the wand cup. Then you pull the lever around and the tip is installed. Secondly, the glider has a kickstand so you can set it up to hold the trailing edge higher once the crossbar is pulled back. This position makes it easier to put the tips, tip battens, sprogs and undersurface battens in. No kneeling required. The sprogs themselves must be attached, and this action requires putting a loop over their ends and closing a zipper. That’s it, other than the spring loaded batten ends which are easy enough once you learn the trick of tipping up the back of the sail to open the slot for the spring loaded end.
The Litesport is a glider that has all the refinements of airfoil, planform and hardware that can be gleaned from the topless generation, while maintaining maximum flyability. Remember: it is a product of at least two world class pilots (Steve and Gerolf) who regularly compete in international meets. They are at the cutting edge of the development of our sport and have refined the design of upper-level kingposted gliders for our benefit. If you need a new date for that ballroom in the sky, we suggest you give the Litesport a try. You won’t be disappointed.
To arrange a test flight, contact
Moyes Delta Gliders Pty Ltd