The Mantis Flies at Davis!
CRRC Home ] Up ] Join CRRC ] Calendar ] Getting Started ] Forecast ] Search ] Contact Us ]


What's New
About CRRC
Articles & Tips Index
CRRC EMail List
Flying Sites
Instructor Program

[Courtesy of Joel Foner joel.foner "at", April 1999]

Here are some shots of the Mantis, a new open class sailplane designed by Tom Kiesling.

The pair of ships in these pictures are owned by Anker Berg-Sonne (anker "at" and John Nilsson (nilssonj "at" There are a bunch of interesting features in this design - hopefully the shots below show off many of them.

Information about the Mantis, including ordering information, is available at

_990418mantis_john_anker.jpg (57469 bytes)
Here are Anker and John with a pair of "Manti" (!?)

990418mantis_over2.jpg (50010 bytes)
And here's one up in the air...

Click on each of the small thumbnail images below to see a full-size picture

_990418mantis_anker.jpg (50175 bytes) (49 kB)
Here is Anker's a bit closer up
990418mantis_nosepylon.jpg (58401 bytes) (57 kB)
A distinctive feature of the Mantis is the pylon-mounted wing. This approach cleans up the aerodynamics by minimizing the disturbance to airflow at the root of the wing.  It also allows the flat center section to have a one-piece, very effective flap.
990418mantis_pylonbottom.jpg (37699 bytes) (37 kB)
The bottom of the pylon is also very clean.  The fuselage is a single tube, that runs from the "nose bump" all the way to the tail.  Rather than add nose weight, the tube is a bit over length - that way you can make the nose length just right for balance without adding length.  A neat idea!
990418mantis_pylonwingoff2.jpg (87342 bytes) (85 kB)
This picture shows the pylon with the wing removed.  Note the arrow for which way is forward.  Another interesting design concept is the built-in ballast area.   There are three cylindrical holes in the pylon.  Without any ballast, the two ships shown here are under 60 oz. 

By putting cylinders of ballast (brass tube with lead in it) in the three ballast tubes, you can add over 20 oz of ballast, in increments appropriate for the day.

990418mantis_wingcenter.jpg (61894 bytes) (61 kB)
Here is the bottom of the wing center section.  Note the one-piece flap, and the outline of the reinforcement that mounts to the pylon.

Oh, another neat idea - the wing attaches with one bolt! This provides an attachment that is very secure, since the bolt goes down to the bottom of the pylon, yet allows the wing to pivot if you catch a tip, helping to prevent "torn wings" on a rough landing.

990418mantis_wingtipjoint.jpg (74933 bytes) (73 kB)
The wing tip is a plug-in design with a CF joiner rod.

990418mantis_pushrodnose2.jpg (61880 bytes) (61 kB)
The radio area doesn't leave much space to fool around in. It's basically just big enough for a 500 mAH pack in the nose, with a pair of HS80 metal geared servos behind, and that's it!  This is Anker's Mantis, with the "stock" pushrod installation.  Note the nose cone with the pronounced tooth.
990418mantis_pullpullnose.jpg (37403 bytes) (37 kB)
John decided that he just had to have pull-pull.  After some fussing, he found a way to get both servos, pull-pull rig, adjusters, and enough arm length for reasonable throw to fit inside the nose.
990418mantis_skeg.jpg (33886 bytes) (33 kB)
Another shot of the skeg.  There is no question about whether or not the plane will stop when this touches the ground.
990418mantis_land1.jpg (92532 bytes) (90 kB)
Here is a landing sequence...  One trick the Mantis does real well is full flap, full down, and it just comes down at 45 degrees - without picking enough speed to matter at all.  Just like a parachute, but with full control.
990418mantis_land2.jpg (209607 bytes)(204kB)
This one is a big shot, but I couldn't bring myself to crop out the clouds...
990418mantis_land3b.jpg (51541 bytes) (51 kB)
Getting ready to hit the spot

CRRC Home ] Up ] Join CRRC ] Calendar ] Getting Started ] Forecast ] Search ] Contact Us ]