Dmitriev's airplane is neither an outgrowth of a hang glider nor an en-closed-cockpit design. First, it's incredibly tiny - only 10.9 feet long, 16.4 feet in wingspan, and four feet high at the tail. Its wing area is only 18.9 square feet. It's light, even by ultralight standards - 110 pounds, as Dmitriev had it outfitted in July 1992.
But Dmitrievs diminutive craft is most striking in its use of big-airplane features to get maximum performance from its flying surfaces. Its wing has airliner-style flaps and leading-edge slats, giving it more lift and thereby reducing takeoff and landing speeds. A slight but noticeable forward sweep to the wing makes it more controllable at low speeds. And extra joints in the elevators and rudder increase the effectiveness of their small surfaces.
It all comes apart and folds up for storage. Each wing section detaches and then folds in half, the tail group comes off and folds, and even the aluminum tubes connecting the tail section are designed to telescope. The result is a package you can store in a closet, rightfully earning it the nickname of "suitcase ultralight."
The X-14d's leading-edge slat and triple-slotted flaps are controlled by a single mechanical lever on the pilot's left side, the flaps and slats extend and retract in unison. Fully extended, they greatly magnify the lift of the X-14d's tiny wings and reduce the speed needed to get airborne. They also allow a slower landing. On the down side, flaps also increase drag, so they're retracted into the wing structure for cruising.
Similar slotted surfaces are evi-dent at the tail, but their functions are different. Horizontal elevators at the rear deflect the air passing over them, controlling the airplane's pitch axis; Dmitriev added joints in the elevators to increase their effectiveness without increasing their size. The upright rudder, which controls yaw axis gets a similar segmented treatment.
Aiding the X-14d's ailerons are spoilers, or short slats, that rise from the upper surface of the wing just forward of the ailerons. In Dmitriev's design, each spoiler extends automatically when the aileron behind it is fully deflected, enhancing roll control.at low speed.
Primary flight functions, including throttle setting, elevator position, and aileron position, are controlled from a hand-hewn control yoke. Seated forward of the wing, With legs nearly straight ahead the pilot hss an unimpeded view, though his ears are just inches from the engine din.
Dmitriev is hardly a test pilot, and he said his longest flight in Kirghizia lasted just 8.5 minutes, when his engine quit. He says the highest he has flown it is 350 feet-much too close to the cold, hard ground for testing a plane's behavior in steep turns or stalls.
Engine: 24 hp.
Length: 10.9 ft.
Wingspan: 16.4 ft.
Height: 4 ft.
Wing area: 18.9 sq.ft.
Empty wt: 110 lbs.