RON SMITH COLLECTION
No. 11604. Haig Minibat (N44MB c/n 0001)
Photographed at Oshkosh, Wisconsin, USA, ca. 1980, by Ron Smith

Haig Minibat

10/31/2012. The Minibat ultra-light single-seater glider was designed by Larry Haig of Muskegan, Michigan, and made its first flight on March 11, 1979. The Minibat had a cantilever, swept forward wing and used a Liebeck reflex airfoil. It was constructed of Kevlar, carbon fibers and foam sandwich with glass fiber covering. The fuselage was made up of two halves joined by the metallic structure which formed the pilot's seat. Wings were demontable in the same way as a conventional glider, and a peculiarity of this machine was that the two ailerons could be raised together to act as spoilers. Extended wing tips were also available, increasing span to 32 ft 9.7 in (10 m).

The Minibat was available as fast-build kits for the homebuilder, assembly was said to require only 5 - 10 days using moulded parts. A powered version was planned, using a 3 hp chain saw sustainer engine mounted behind the cockpit and driving a pusher propeller mounted in a slot between the fin and rudder. The Minibat was not a self-launching design but the engine was intended, after launch by auto-tow, winch or bungee, to provide a positive rate of climb.

By January 1982, four Minibats had already had accidents during take-off. It was concluded that this machine should not be made available to just anybody, as it was initially expected. It seems that the airfoil was the major cause for the bad handling characteristics. But yet the Minibat was a very interesting concept of a very light and efficient "minimum" glider. Approximately 55 kits were sold, some twenty were completed, almost all without an engine.

Created October 31, 2012