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Ligeti Stratos History
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Ligeti Stratos History

LGT Stratos History


The history of the Ligeti Stratos Begins with Charles and Helena Ligeti leaving Czechoslovakia and the Iron curtain in 1977. Upon arriving to Australia Charles renewed his interested in flight following in his father’s Aviation footsteps, who had flown in the Hungarian Luftwaffe during WWII, later flying in the Czechoslovakian airlines then finishing up as an inventor with many government sponsored patents.

After arriving in Australia, Charles became a chemical engineer per his qualifications. He saw that he could now freely design, build and fly his own aircraft as an interest and began to do so. Charles and his wife Helena set about to design an aircraft, Helena insisted that it is to be a progressive new design – something “joint wing” and Charles worked on the designs technical details.

This was the beginning of the Stratos. Charles put together drawings and they started making small foam models and remote control gliders that were used to figure out the wingtip orientations for stable flight in Yaw and Roll and wing orientations for the stall. They also experimented with control surfaces and realized potential for pitch-less lift and side slip maneuvers. A foot launched glider was also constructed to both have fun and compete in the Melbourne birdman rally, while also experimenting with the effects of scaling up the design.

Construction of the prototype S1 Stratos started in 1984, Charles worked to build the aircraft from sketches, designing mechanisms of the aircraft on the fly as he was building it. His construction techniques were learnt by helping other people build their homebuilt aircraft. Charles and Helena worked together for a solid year with many late nights, building the first Stratos. Many people who saw the aircraft said it would never even fly and totally dismissed it, yet determined Charles and Helena continued on their goals and dreams.

In 1985 the S1 Stratos was finished, the build quality and mastering the designs complexity was a real credit to them. They conducted three months of ground testing. On 25/Apr/1985 Charles flew for the first time, executing a number of circuits and a safe landing. Well done considering Charles only had 10hrs in a Cessna and another 10hrs in a glider. Charles flew the S1 Stratos every spare day he had after that. The people who earlier said the Stratos would never even fly were now silent, as they soon found out that not only did it fly, but there was nothing else even close to its performance values. Soon the Stratos was winning awards because of this performance and it’s totally new design. Click here to view the S1 prototype flying

After some convincing Charles and Helena started there own aircraft company with the aid of a financial backer in 1986. They then toured Nth America and Canada to much acclaim winning awards at Oshkosh. On their return they set up a facility to construct a production S2 Stratos. It only took a year to create all the moulds, tooling and even the first production aircraft ready for testing. The production S2 Stratos was changed significantly to the first one. The changes were increased cabin size, side stick controls, slightly larger engine (24hp to 28hp), elevator only on canard wing, aileron only on main wing, Optimised splines on fuselage shape and extra channel wing leading into the duct acting as a high lift devise. Click here to view a short documentary on the Stratos

The second production S2 Stratos was made, aerodynamically the low speed stall characteristic changed compared to the S1 prototype Stratos causing a more pronounced stall similar to a conventional monoplane. The most notible changes to the design were an experimental high lift device to increase the rate of climb, unrecorded CG location on day of flight and near full span elevator on the canard, These changes caused the S2 Stratos to have a deeper (more conventional) stall then the prototype S1 Stratos. During the first test of the second variant S2 Stratos, the change in stall behaviour below 500ft AGL caught Charles off guard and claimed his life. The design was held after that point.

Today the first S1 prototype has been back engineered with it’s original aerodynamic layout and converted into 3D CAD models, The new design will incorporate an updated power plant, size increase, small engineering and maintenance refinements by Ron Ligeti. After analysis and secondary verification through scaled RC models,the reasons for the positive flight dynamics of the S1 are characterised and understood. After understanding the design properly Ron has now converted the CAD model of the Stratos into CNC code, the majority of the foam cores, plastic, alloy and wood part details have been machined. Final assembly has begun on the new S3 Stratos.

Last Updated on Monday, 13 August 2012 18:46 Written by Web Administrator Monday, 20 September 2010 03:31
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