Southern Microlight Developments Gazelle
SMD/Flexiform Sky Sails Gazelle/Medium Striker is a single-seat single-engined flex-wing aircraft with weight-shift control. Rogallo wing with keel pocket. Pilot suspended below wing in trike unit, using bar to control pitch and yaw/roll by altering relative positions of trike unit and wing. Wing braced from above by kingpost and cables, from below by cables; bowsprit construction with >70% double-surface; pre-formed ribs. Undercarriage has three wheels in tricycle formation; no suspension on any wheels. Push-right go-left nose-wheel steering independent from yaw control. Optional brakes on main wheels. Aluminium -tube trike unit, without pod. Engine mounted below wing driving pusher propeller.
Chris Scoble of Southern Mic-rolight Developments builds only the trike unit, and normally mates it to a Flexiform Sky Sails Medium Striker wing, which he strengthens in a similar fashion to the one-plus-one Striker wing used on the Mainair Rapier.
Gazelles tend to be tailored to the custom-er's own requirements and therefore vary in specification, but they are all double-pole machines with the poles placed at the extreme ends of the axle for maximum strength, rather in the manner of a UAS Storm Buggy. Normal engine fitment is a 440 cc Robin, with electric start. Heavy duty alloy main wheels are standard.
Living near the sea has encouraged Chris to take an interest in float flying and in spring 1983 he introduced them as an option. The SMD floats can be fitted without disturbing the wheels and are constructed from glass--reinforced polyester in a colour to the customer's choice. Each has three separate compartments to minimise the effect of leakage. Along the top of each float is a GRP beam which allows the fixing points to be moved at will until correct weight distribution is attained.
Engine: Robin EC44, 40 hp at 6500 rpm
Propeller diameter 58 inch, 1.47 m
V-belt reduction, ratio 2.4/1
Max static thrust 270 lb, 122 kg
Power per unit area 0.20 hp/sq.ft, 2.2 hp/sq.m
Fuel capacity 6.0 US gal, 5.0 Imp gal, 22.7 litre
Length overall 11.0ft, 3.35m
Wing span 34.5ft, 10.52m
Sweepback 15 deg
Total wing area 200 sq.ft, 18.6 sq.m
Wing aspect ratio 7.5/1
Wheel track 5.0 ft, 1.52 m
Wheelbase 5.6ft, 1.70 m
Nosewheel diameter overall 13 inch, 33 cm
Main wheels diameter overall 16 inch, 41 cm
Optional floats: length 12.5 ft, 3.81 m; weight 38 lb, 17 kg each