Given Chuck Slusarczyk’s decades in recreational aviation, I imagine almost everyone in ultralight aviation has heard of the funny, Polish-speaking pioneer with the hard-to-pronounce last name (Slew-Sar-Chick). If Chuck had named his first business Slusarczyk Glider Supplies, pilots would have stumbled and renamed it for him. Knowing his name is a tongue twister, he wisely called it Chuck’s Glider Supplies. In his early business years, when Chuck was younger and slimmer, he made hang gliders. Lots and lots of hang gliders. I flew one, as did thousands of others. He was one of a handful of east-of-the-Mississippi hang glider manufacturers. Being a long way from the West Coast where hang gliding was centered back in the ’70s, Chuck made the Californians nervous. They couldn’t keep an eye on his developments and he was regarded as unpredictable. Those who knew him thought the word should be innovative. Then came powered hang gliding, such as it was in those days.
|Empty weight||310 pounds|
|Gross weight||625 pounds|
|Wingspan||28 feet 10 inches|
|Wing area||135 square feet|
|Wing loading||4.6 pounds/square foot|
|Length||22 feet 2 inches|
|Height||4 feet 8 inches|
|Kit type||Assembly Kit|
|Build time||200 hours (first-timer)|
|Standard engine||Rotax 447 (40 hp)|
|Power loading||15.6 pounds/hp|
|Cruise speed||55-75 mph|
|Never exceed speed||100 mph|
|Rate of climb at gross||900 fpm|
|Takeoff distance at gross||200 feet|
|Landing distance at gross||150 feet|
|Standard Features||Rotax 447 single-carburetor powerplant, full enclosure with doors, trigear or taildragger configurations, curved cockpit members, 4-point pilot restraints, streamlined struts, landing gear fairings, lower rib semisymmetrical airfoil, 5-gallon fuel tank, choice of trigear or taildragger configuration, fiberglass nose cone, wheel pants.|
|Options||50-hp Rotax 503, 65-hp Rotax 582, 60-hp HKS 700E, Hirth engines, electric starting, engine and flight instruments, ballistic parachute, folding wings and tail, hydraulic brakes, dope-and-fabric covering, wheel pants, floats, 10-gallon wing tank, quick-build kit, 2- or 3-blade composite prop, quick-build kit, fully-assembled option.|
|Construction||Aluminum airframe, steel components, Lexan windscreen, fiberglass gear legs and nose cone, Dacron wing, tail and control surface coverings. Made in the USA; distributed by a U.S.-owned company.|
Cosmetic appearance, structural integrity, achievement of design goals, effectiveness of aerodynamics, ergonomics.
Pros - After more than two decades, the Hawk Sport is a fresh choice from CGS for those content with a single-seater. Great manners and good performance, a good combination for beginners and experienced pilots. With well over 1,500 Hawks flying, most owners are very pleased. Manufacturer Chuck Slusarczyk is one of the most delightful designers in the business.
Cons - If you're looking for something new and different, the Hawk Sport is probably not it. Having only a single seat will affect resale to a market interested in 2-seaters. Building has stymied a few buyers to whom I've spoken; usually they referred to a manual they found insufficiently clear.
Subsystems available to pilot such as: Flaps; Fuel sources; Electric start; In-air restart; Brakes; Engine controls; Navigations; Radio; (items covered may be optional).
Pros - Brakes and flaps (which are standard) worked very well and were easy to operate; flap position easily identified (though you must turn your head to see the detent position). If you don't use a multi-function instrument like builder Steve Bensinger, you might find instrument panel space to be rather limited.
Cons - Nondifferential brakes did not aid with steering. No trim installed; instead this builder used a fixed tab that seemed to do the job. In-cabin pull starter on a smaller engine will be challenging due to the layout. Refueling causes some fumes inside cabin.
Instrumentation; Ergonomics of controls; Creature comforts; (items covered may be optional).
Pros - Roomy cockpit can accommodate large pilots. You enter bottom first (which lowers the plane to its nosewheel), then swing your legs in. Seats are quite comfortable with 4-point pilot restraints. Controls are very convenient. Substantial area available for cargo if carefully tied down.
Cons - Some pilots don't like the way the Hawk sits on its tail when unoccupied. Zippered doors seem basic. Hawk windows can be folded inward a bit to allow ventilation. No quick seat adjustment.
Taxi visibility; Steering; Turn radius; Shock absorption; Stance/Stability; Braking.
Pros - Excellent visibility to check for traffic. Side visibility is also good as you sit at the leading edge of the wing. Steering was quite responsive. Hydraulic brakes were very effective. Good clearance for rougher fields. Wide stance offered good lateral stability. Fiberglass gear legs are guaranteed 10 years.
Cons - While the Hawk Sport's steering is responsive, turn radius is not particularly tight and without differential braking, planning will be required on a crowded ramp. No other negatives.
Qualities; Efficiency; Ease; Comparative values.
Pros - All Hawk models seem to excel at takeoffs and landings. Very open visibility on approach to landing. Factory advised 50-is-nifty approach speed has a liberal safety margin. Retains energy retention well in ground effect. Flaps were very helpful. Strong, authoritative controls in crosswinds.
Cons - Taildraggers require active feet after touchdown; the Hawk Sport is no different. Slips can run out of forward stick if flaps are fully deployed, use one or the other (flaps work so well, no slip is needed). Landing qualities suggest use of flaps on all landings.
Quality and quantity for: Coordination; Authority; Pressures; Response; and Coupling.
Pros - The Hawk Sport continues a reputation for light and responsive controls; you get what you expect easily and with authority. Steep turns didn't require much extra power. Hawk control harmony remains good. Pitch response would be comfortable to pilots of all experience levels.
Cons - Despite light controls, the Hawk Sport's roll rate isn't particularly fast and joystick can run out of range in some conditions (though these are outside advised, normal use). Adverse yaw was quite significant; coordinated control usage recommended at all times.
Climb; Glide; Sink; Cruise/stall/max speeds; Endurance; Range; Maneuverability.
Pros - It was a pleasure to fly with a Rotax 447 again, plenty of power for this Hawk Sport. Strong climb at 800 fpm sustained. Flew efficiently, holding altitude even at power settings down to 3,500 rpm. Performed very well in low-over-fields flying.
Cons - Like many American ultralights, the Hawk Sport can't be called fast. Sink rate was only average, not exceptional. Though good overall, performance doesn't stand out in any category.
Stall recovery and characteristics; Dampening; Spiral stability; Adverse yaw qualities.
Pros - Stalls hardly broke, regardless of entry aggressiveness. Power-on stalls never broke. Stall speeds below 40 mph indicated. No spiral instability noted during any maneuver attempted. Airframe and particularly cockpit has proven its ability to prevent some injuries.
Cons - Deep slips with full flaps will run out of control range; I recommend using only the flaps, which are quite efficient. Adverse yaw requires coordinated use of controls (as on many other ultralight designs). No other negatives.
Addresses the questions: "Will a buyer get what he/she expects to buy, and did the designer/builder achieve the chosen goal?"
Pros - The Hawk Sport is a wonderful choice for a competitive sport aircraft. The Hawk line and its popular designer are icons of ultralight aviation; when you sell, recognition won't be a problem. For overall flight and handling qualities, Hawks are among my top recommendations and the Hawk Sport is especially satisfying.
Cons - Design has changed little over the years, a work of subtle evolution rather than cutting edge changes. Pricing of airframe, covering, and engine separately may confuse some customers. Over the years, some complaints have been raised about kit manual clarity.