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Icarus V was designed and built by Taras Kiceniuk Jr. while he was an aeronautical engineering student at Cal Tech. The name “V” represented a total rethinking of hang gliding possibilities and a number of designers have followed in Taras’ footsteps. Icarus V was a swept wing, tailless monoplane glider built in the midst of the hang gliding movement of the 1970s.

The wing structure of Icarus V consisted of aluminum tubing spars two inches in diameter and ribs of one half inch aluminum tubing without cross members. Some very thin channel and a leading edge of one-eighth inch thick foam strengthened the wing at its thickest point. In plan form the wing was a constant chord affair with six feet of sweep at the tips. Dihedral was two feet at the tips and a seven degree twist was built into the left and right panels. The structure was designed for a 6G load limit with an additional safety factor of 1.5.

The Icarus V was able to spiral at angles up to at least 55 degrees, and continue them almost indefinitely. The glider would pop out of a turn on its own when control pressure was released. The craft was completely auto-stable.

The Icarus V design represented a quantum leap upward in hang glider performance in a sport then populated largely by Rogallo-derived kites. It pointed the way to new levels of performance and soaring capability not believed possible at that time. Ultimately the Icarus V was produced for sale to the public and was also quite successful as a powered hang glider.

Taras donated his prototype Icarus V to EAA in 1978.

kiceniuk_icarus Kiceniuk Icarus V

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