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My Glider: 1975 Hobie Hawk Resto Mod Project

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   I first saw the Hobie Hawk glider advertised in the surfing and sailing magazines that I was reading when I was fifteen, that's way back in 1975. I always wanted to try RC airplanes since I was a kid, but I didn't have the money or an adult willing to get me started. While I'd seen rc gliders in magazines like Model Air Plane News, the Hobie Hawk seemed to be the coolest toy in the world and I wanted to some day pilot one. Now I knew all about designer Hobie Alter, both from his surfing innovations and his famous Hobie Cat sailboats. If Hobie was making an RC glider, it must be the best.

By '75 I was a crack junior sailor and already had many hours on Hobie 14's and was learning to master the bigger 16 with it's trapeze hiking system. Every once in a while I'd see a Hobie Hawk ad and lust after it. Never thought that 30 years later I'd be making instructional videos about R/C soaring and that the Hobie Hawk would be long out of production and now a piece of nostalgic California industrial design history.

A few months ago I got a call from a local flyer who was moving and selling off some his large glider fleet. Told me he had a Hobie Hawk for sale for only a hundred bucks, was I interested? I didn't even think of negotiating the price as I knew used Hobie's were going for really premium prices especially if they were in good original condition. Bought sight unseen! (A Hawk ARF was $129.00 back in the day)

Jim bought this plane new in 1975, so it's an original Hobie-built unit. He flew this Hawk off the dunes and bluffs of Alaska as he was stationed in the Aleutian Islands for a few years. He then took the glider to Southern California and flew a few contests as well as many mellow slope soaring sessions along the coast. Jim takes care of his planes, and while there are some minor cosmetic and mechanical issues, the airframe is in remarkable shape for 42 years of operation.

The fiberglass and ABS fuselage needs a few repairs and a repaint, I'll do it in gloss white. The wings are flawless though some winglets were added at the last re-cover, and I'm hoping the stock tips are still attached. The tails are also in top shape, just needing a re-cover. Yellow is my least favorite glider color so the wings and tails will get new red transparent Monokote.

I'm not interested in doing an Original Factory restoration, I want this Hobie upgraded to current technology so I've selected some nice MKS digital servos to move the surfaces, radio will be a Spektrum 7020 DSMX receiver to be powered by an Eneloop AAA 4S pack connected to a Zepsus magnetic switch. I figure about 20 hours of labor ought to get her in the air. 

I'll try to document some of the restoration process with photos or video. The Hobie Hawk is a work of industrial art and I'm happy to be her new owner. A flying dream come true -finally. - Paul Naton Radio Carbon Art Productions



 

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