The prototype of the single-seater M1 from Firebird made its first flight in 1979 and by 1983 more than 100 examples have been produced. The wing is directly descended from the famous Fledgling designed by Klaus Hill, originally as a hybrid-control hang-glider. This wing, with its rudders at its wing tips, was powered in 1978 in the USA and the following year in Europe, by Firebird. Just as Pterodactyl does with its Ptraveler and Ascen-der, Firebird uses it with a variable-incidence canard. There is one fundamental difference between Firebird’s approach and that of the Americans, in that the German manufacturer chooses to support the wing with two profiled struts under each half-wing, thus dispensing with all the ground and flight rigging wires.
The other principal difference is the power pack, which on the Firebird has to conform with West Germany's stringent noise regulations. With Konig engine and three-bladed propeller, the standard arrangement on the M1, under 60 dB is recorded using the regulation measuring conditions.
Complete with electric start and battery, the M1 cost DM 17,408 in 1983, while options include an extra fuel tank, an instrument panel, floats and a parachute of 755 sq.ft (70 sq.m) area, which is usable at speeds up to 155 mph (250 kph) and which gives a rate of descent of 1300 ft/min (6.7 m/s) with a 442 lb (200 kg) load. Wing profile; FNI-4-81; double-surface. Undercarriage has three wheels in tricycle formation; steel-spring suspension on nosewheel and no suspension on main wheels. Push-right go-left nosewheel steering independent from yaw control. Brake on nosewheel. Aluminium-tube/carbon-fibre framework, without pod. Engine mounted below wing driving pusher propeller.
Engine: Konig SC430, 24 hp at 4200 rpm.
Propeller diameter 53 inch, 1.34 m (three-blade).
Belt reduction, ratio 2.2/1.
Max static thrust 143 lb, 65 kg.
Power per unit area 0.15hp/sq.ft, 1.6 hp/sq.m.
Height overall 9.4 ft, 2.85 m.
Wing span 32.8 ft, 10.00 m.
Chord at root 5.6 ft, 1.70 m.
Chord at tip 4.6ft, 1.40m.
Dihedral 5 degs.
Sweepback 38 degs.
Canard span 6.6ft, 2.00m.
Canard chord 2.1 ft, 0.63 m.
Total wing area 175 sq.ft, 16.3sq.m.
Main wing area 161 sq.ft, 15.0 sq.m.
Canard area 14.0 sq.ft, 1.3 sq.m.
Wing aspect ratio 6.7/1.
Wheel track 6.9 ft, 2. 10 m.
Wheelbase 4.6 ft, 1.40 m.
Nosewheel diameter overall 14 inch, 35 cm.
Main wheels diameter overall 16 inch, 41 cm.
Empty weight 2161b, 98kg.
Max take-off weight 420 lb, 190 kg.
Payload 204 lb, 92 kg.
Main fuel capacity 3.4 US gal, 2.8 Imp gal, 13.0 litre
Reserve fuel capacity 2.6 US gal, 2.2 Imp gal, 10.0 litre in.
Max wing loading 2.60 lb/sq.ft, 12.7 kg/sq.m.
Max power loading 17.5 lb/hp, 7.9 kg/hp.
Load factors +4.0, -2.0 design; +6.0, -3.0 ulti-mate.
Max level speed 50 mph, 80 kph.
Never exceed speed 56 mph, 90kph.
Economic cruising speed 37mph, 60kph.
Stalling speed 24mph, 40kph.
Max climb rate at sea level 400 ft/min, 2.0 m/s.
Min sink rate 350ft/min at 34mph, 1.8m/s at 55 kph.
Best glide ratio with power off 8.5/1 at 37mph, 60kph.
Take-off distance 100ft, 30 m.
Landing distance 65 ft, 20 m.
Range at average cruising speed 93 mile, 150 km.