M.Simons The World's Vintage Sailplanes 1908-45
THE GOLDEN EAGLE
Gliding in Australia began before 1930. By 1934 the Gliding Club of Victoria had reached the stage where members were ready to move on from the primary glider to something like the Grunau Baby. Geoff Richardson, a twenty-year-old
instructor and committee member of the club, decided to design and build a sailplane. Very little reliable information on glider design was available to him in Australia and there were no sailplanes actually operating there for him to examine. Design and construction proceeded slowly, with materials of aircraft quality hard to find. The Golden Eagle was not ready for its first flight until 26th September 1937, on which day the club also flew, for the first time, a newly delivered Grunau Baby from Germany.
The general concept of the two aircraft was similar, but the design of the Golden Eagle was original. The wing, mounted on a narrow pylon above the fuselage, was of monospar type, and strut-braced with a slight ‘gull’ dihedral. The aileron spar, of box form, was attached at its inner end to a light secondary spar of solid spruce which ran to the rear root fitting. The ailerons were hinged on their upper surfaces and were driven by a control system based on that of the DH Moth with a chain and sprocket wheel drive giving an extreme differential gearing. There were no spoilers.
The fuselage, except for the wing pylon, was of hexagonal box section with a rubber-sprung skid. The tail unit was strut-braced.
Proving itself entirely comparable to the Grunau Baby, the Golden Eagle remained in service until the outbreak of war with Japan. After the war Richardson embarked on a major modification. The wing and tail unit were retained, but the aileron gearing was replaced by a simpler cable drive. Spoilers were added, and the wing struts, which previously had been built up from spruce and faired with plywood, were replaced by steel tubular members. The tailplane struts were also removed with consequent change to the attachment fittings. A trim tab was fitted to the starboard elevator.
The fuselage was almost entirely rebuilt, only the rear sides and lower parts of the rear frames being retained. The cockpit section was rebuilt and enlarged, a landing wheel now being fitted just aft of the main frame. The wing pylon was completely changed, with an enclosed canopy and revised rear fuselage decking to give a clean faired line aft of the wing. The modified sailplane was called Golden Eagle 2 and it continued in service, still flying in 1980.
Golden Eagle: Span, 13.72 m. Wing area, 14.415 sq m. Aspect ratio, 13. Empty weight, 145 kg. Flying weight, 235 kg. Wing loading. 16.30 kg/sq m. Aerofoil, Goettingen 535 at root, Clark YH at the tip.
Golden Eagle 2: As for GE 1 but empty weight 181 kg.