More Soaring

Chad Sanders and his jet-powered glider
Chad Sanders

Meet Chad Sanders – Chad took an inexpensive (and ubiquitous) Schweitzer 1-26 sailplane and built a beautiful mount for a pair turbojets – and now he has a jet-powered, self-launching sailplane that can get him from the flatlands of the California Central Valley up to the hills where he can find lift to go soaring – and then back to his home base when he’s had enough fun!

Schweitzer 1-26 sailplane with jet engines

The modified 1-26 is just a little more sophisticated than what most sailplane pilots have experienced in the stock aircraft – but not much more complicated. The engine start sequence is simple, and there is little for the pilot to do — move the throttle lever and let the computer do its thing. Sanders reports take-offs of about 600 feet, with a climb rate of 500 rpm with both engines running.

Sanders left the wings at home for the SSA convention in Reno, but the little jet is an impressive piece of homebuilding!

Schweitzer 1-26 sailplane with jet engines

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Paul Dye
Paul Dye, KITPLANES® Editor at Large, retired as a Lead Flight Director for NASA’s Human Space Flight program, with 40 years of aerospace experience on everything from Cubs to the Space Shuttle. An avid homebuilder, he began flying and working on airplanes as a teen and has experience with a wide range of construction techniques and materials. He flies an RV-8 and SubSonex jet that he built, an RV-3 that he built with his pilot wife, as well as a Dream Tundra and an electric Xenos motorglider they completed. Currently, they are building an F1 Rocket. A commercially licensed pilot, he has logged over 6000 hours in many different types of aircraft and is an A&P, FAA DAR, EAA Tech Counselor and Flight Advisor; he was formerly a member of the Homebuilder’s Council. He consults and collaborates in aerospace operations and flight-testing projects across the country.


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