SuperHawk Flight Report and Review

Not only is she a beauty, but I give the SuperHawk the thumbs up!

OK, I finally have a few flights on the SuperHawk under my belt in some good conditions, here is what I have so far and I will continue to add to this as I play with CG and control surface adjustments.

First of all let me tell you, This baby launches STRAIGHT up the line! I mean STRAIGHT up... I rarely have to input ANY rudder! I have the perfect Hi-start for this plane! The pull is just right and get excellent altitude! It starts out fast, but not too fast - just right! REMEBER: Just like the original do not release it with the nose up, send it out just about level (maybe 10-15 degrees nose up MAX!). It will instantly rotate to the desired angle and climb out nicely!

On my first flight today I snagged a thermal and specked it out easily. I found that I did need to hold a tiny bit of rudder to keep it into the turn at slower speeds... when I was really coring a thermal I actually dialed in a little rudder trim to aid in this, but I also found that once in good lift and at the proper speed I no longer needed to input much rudder. It appears that the SuperHawk has a prefered circling speed - at least with it's present CG.

With some good altitude I did a DIVE TEST and I do indeed need to pull some nose weight out and re-test. This may lighten up the initial need for constant rudder when in the turn at slower speeds. Currently I have my CG at about 14" using the HobieHawk SETUP method.

At one point I was about to land and only about 35-40 feet off the deck and against my better judgement instead of landing I just kept circling and I soon grabbed another thermal and was specked out again! After a few flights I was really geting the hang of how the SuperHawk handles. I will say that compared to a stock Hobie Hawk it will FLOAT and HANG in the air. The SuperHawk seems to be more forgiving that the original.

As I mentioned the SuperHawk does not roll and dive if you stall it... it just tucks it's nose, picks up speed and pulls out. I would say that I have to credit myself a bit on this because I paid particular attention to making sure the washout in the tips were exactly the same. Setting up the washout is critical - I have about 3/8" on each wing tip.

How did I like it over all? I loved it, definite THUMBS UP!... and I haven't even tweaked the CG yet! I do want to figure out a spoiler system somehow... if you over shoot you've got a LONG walk! Oh, I also flew with some Turkey Vultures, actually shared a thermal with one which is unusual, at least for me since they seem to shy away from my other planes, but not the SuperHawk... Hummmm maybe it's the wing shape? WHo knows? Anyway, I had a GREAT time flying this beauty today! More flight reports to come as I play with the CG a bit!

Here are some flying photos...

Here is Tony's original SuperHawk prototype - this one has the RG-15 slope airfoil.
I found the Turkey Vultures didn't shy away from the SuperHawk... instead we shared the opposite sides of a thermal...
Another shot - just crusin'...

How to hi-start your SuperHawk (or original Hobie for that matter!).

Once I have pulled back the hi-start and am hooked up I take one last look around and also test my controls... RADIO ON???!!!!
Keep the wings level....
Keep the nose LEVEL or up only about 10 degrees MAXIMUM!
Give the your Hawk a hard throw forward, not up...
It will instantly rotate to it's trimmed position and climb out.

I am amazed at how hands off the SuperHawk is during a hi-start... even in a slight cross breeze I rarely needed to input rudder. I attribute this to the proper amount of tension on the hi-start, launching technique and of course the SuperHawk has more dihedral than a stock 8 footer, larger rudder and longer boom... all these factors make for EZ and pleasant launches.

The hi-start I use is of excellent quality. I use the COMPETITION (not the standard!) 2 meter hi-start w/100 feet of tubing from Aerofoam.

I have yet to winch launch the SuperHawk, but I am sure if you are reasonable on the pedal it will do just fine!

CG fine tuning on my SuperHawk

We are still using the "Hobie method" for checking CG. The reason for using this method is because the Hawk flys with a nose down orientation and the easiest way to check the CG is with a balancing and measuring method from known points on the fuselage. It would be difficult to say... measure back x" from the leading edge and then the fuse' must be at a 10 degree angle from horizontal... etc.

Tony (the builder) recommends 11" measuring from the table top where you would rest the main wing rod to the bottom of the rudder skid. I started at 14" and it flew well and slowly reduced the nose weight to where I had a "CG" of 9.5". At this point the SuperHawk started to get unstable when close to the stall speed in turns... then it wants to spiral and dive (YEIKS!).

CONCLUSION: I think Tony is right on with the 11" measurement... I think anywhere between 10.5 (aggressive) to 12" (more stable) will do you good. Hope this helps!

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