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Average Flown Distance
(source: OLC 2016)
Our editors' review up to date on Dec 28 2016
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.
For most buyers on a moderate budget, the LS4 offers a lot of value for money.
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|Wing Area||10.5 m²|
|Empty Weight||238 Kg|
|Gross Weight||472 Kg|
|Min Sink||0.61 m/s|
|Stall speed||68 Km/h|