Comparing Schleicher ASW 20 vs. Rolladen-Schneider LS4 · GliderReview

Schleicher ASW 20 vs. Rolladen-Schneider LS4

ASW 20 LS4
See ASW 20 full review See LS4 full review
Average Price €23000 n/d
Average Flown Distance 397.57 257.53
For Beginners
Spin Recovery
General charateristics
Class FAI 15 Metre Club
Crew 1 1
First flight 1977 1980
Built 511 1048
Technical charateristics
Ballast 120 Kg 140 Kg
Length 6.82 m 6.83 m
Wingspan 15 m 15 m
Height 1.45 m 1.26 m
Wing Area 10.5 m² 10.5 m²
Aspect Ratio 21.43 21.4
Empty Weight 255 Kg 238 Kg
Gross Weight 454 Kg 472 Kg
Retractable Gear Yes Yes
Retractable Propeller No No
Self Launching No No
Min Sink 0.59 m/s 0.61 m/s
Glide Ratio 42 40.5
Stall Speed 66 Km/h 68 Km/h
VNE 265 Km/h 270 Km/h
Gs 5.3/-2.65 5.3/-2.65
Our editors' review

The ASW20 and ASW20L combine a performance that was unmatched when they were introduced and is still good now, with delightful handling and, because the wing is flexible, a soft ride through turbulence. The very effective flaps allow you, as has been said, "to get into the field you really shouldn't have chosen!".

On the downside it requires good speed control on approach, due to a low maximum speed with landing flaps, and (in mine anyway) the Hotelier connectors make care during rigging essential. But with belly hook only, reasonably experienced pilots only to aerotow?

The LS4 may be the best all-around composite glider ever built. Combining docile handling, excellent climbing, and decent performance on the run, it is still widely sought after by clubs and first-time buyers of FRP gliders. With over 1,000 built and most of those still flying, it is usually possible to find one fairly nearby in most countries with significant gliding activity. In addition to badge and record flying, it is a viable contender in Club Class competitions.

Hits: Very gentle flight characteristics, especially takeoff/tow and landings. Very large and effective airbrakes combined with a relatively low stall speed make it almost as good as a flapped ship for getting into short fields. On course, the LS4 allows pilots to work even broken thermals and tolerates some inattention to airspeed without completely killing the climb. One can even haul back on the stick to core particularly tight or rough thermals. While it quickly falls away at very high speeds compared to the next generation (Discus/ASW-24 and later), it is hard to beat on weak days where working every scrap of lift is needed. The cockpit is relatively generous, able to handle all but the very tallest/largest pilots.

Misses: Like all of the LS gliders of it's time, it has a few shortcomings. The tiny main wheel (400x4) and small, ineffective drum brake are a frequent complaint. The ailerons and divebrakes are manual hookups (except the B model, of which only a few were built); only the elevator is automatic on all models. The front-hinged canopy is not nearly as robust as the competition from Schleicher. Heel brakes can require some getting used to, though many pilots appreciate that they are operated independent of other controls. Filled with water, it runs great, but the climb suffers, similar to other ships of that vintage. From a maintenance perspective, the mechanicals are relatively straightforward, but the "LS Tax" is a turnoff for some prospective owners.

Why buy Delightful handling - good performance for its price range - ability to get into small fields. For most buyers on a moderate budget, the LS4 offers a lot of value for money.
See ASW 20 full review See LS4 full review