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MITCHELL WING SILVER EAGLE A-10

Don Mitchell designed the Mitchell Wing as strictly a hang glider. The early Mitchell Wings were made of wood and plastic; the ribs were built of sticks and gussets, and had a simple, classic wood construction, similar to hang gliders from the 1930s.

The drawback to the design was the 600 to 900 hours each glider took to build. Steven Patmont saw the design and wanted to produce the successful wooden Mitchell Wing B-10 in a simple, economical, and rapid construction method. Steven conceived, designed, and built the A-10 prototype Mitchell Wing in 1982.

The A-10 designation comes from the aluminum that was used to replace the wooden structure of the B-10. Using thin aircraft aluminum skin and substituting non-rigid foam as the core, the airfoil surface was based on the “Honeycomb” or “Honeyfoam” concept. The result was a superior, lightweight airfoil surface which was stronger and more aerodynamic, and therefore, higher performing. The aluminum design eliminated all covering, varnishing, finishing, and sanding labor, and painting was not required. A patch and pop-rivets made skin repairs quick and simple and the aluminum eliminated UV problems and aging concerns. The A-10 was powered by a 20 hp Zenoah engine.

Steven took his new prototype to the annual 106 mile Arizona Ultralight Air Race. The A-10 was the only ultralight to finish nonstop and was clocked at 64.3 mph, the fastest time of all the contestants, and used only three gallons of fuel. Ironically, Steven was disqualified for excessive speed, giving his first place award to an ultralight that made one pit stop and cruised at 59 mph, using 11 gallons of fuel.

The A-10 prototype signified the beginning of a new era in aviation, bringing traditional high costs of aircraft to a more reasonable level for a greater number of people. Patmont donated his revolutionary prototype A-10 to EAA in 1983.

Mitchell Silver Eagle A-10 Mitchell Silver Eagle A-10

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