12/29/2014. Remarks by Johan Visschedijk: "The SF-27M is a single-seat powered sailplane with a retractable powerplant which makes it capable of self-powered takeoff as well as normal launching by winch or aero-tow. Since the powerplant is retractable, the SF-27M has about the same soaring performance as the normal SF-27 Zugvogel V high-performance sailplane. The main difference arises from the additional weight of the engine installation, amounting to approximately 88 lb (40 kg). In addition, the main wheel tyre size is increased to 5.00 x 5.
The construction of the SF-27M is similar to that of the SF-27. The wings and control surfaces are strengthened internally. The fuselage center section has also been modified, increasing the overall length to accommodate the engine which, when retracted, lies inside the fuselage behind the wings. The engine is raised and retracted manually by a crank-driven draw chain-pushrod system, swinging upward and forward into the operating position. The fuselage doors over the engine and propeller bay are automatically opened and closed when the engine is raised or retracted. The whole process is extremely simple, requiring only 31 turns on the crank, and can be completed in 5 seconds.
The powerplant comprises a 26 hp Hirth Solo vertically-opposed four-cylinder engine, driving a propeller of about 53 in (1.36 m) diameter through a reduction gear of 1:186. The engine is started by a hand-operated cable. A specially designed ignition system facilitates easy starting. The fuel tank, capacity 5.28 gal (20 l), is mounted in the fuselage behind the pilot.
The first Distance Diamond for a flight in a powered sailplane was issued by the German Aero Club to Willibald Collé, who on July 28, 1968 flew his SF-27M from Elz, Germany to Le Rabot airfield, France, a distance of 334 mls (537 km). Collé launched himself just before 11 am, climbed to a height of approx 3,000 ft (1,000 m), switched off the engine and retracted it. The flight took about 8 hours and was carried out at heights between about 2,500 and 6,000 ft (800 to 1,700 m). A special barograph confirmed that the flight had been made without assistance from the engine. The value of self-launching was clearly demonstrated on that day, as the winch at the club broke down and only the SF-27M was able to takeoff.
The pictured aircraft was built in 1970 and initially registered D-KHEM in January 1971, the same year it was sold to the USA and registered N80AR. (As the '8' was stylized to look more like an 'S', the registration seems to be N-SOAR.) On March 15, 1989, the registration was cancelled as the aircraft was sold to New Zealand where it was registered ZK-GOT in the same month. Ten years later, April 1999, the aircraft was sold to Australia, where it was registered as VH-ZOT on May19, 1999, and still is as of this day."