In the world of technology, the Greek letter η (eta) stands for the degree of efficiency, i.e. a gauge for the efficiency of energy utilization. For gliders, a high degree of efficiency is particularly important in order to use weak thermals for gaining height and maintaining achieved heights on long runs. The goal of the eta project is to exploit all the technical possibilities in order to increase the degree of efficiency.
As the glider name, eta stands for the categorical use of state-of-the-art design methods, tools and production techniques in order to achieve the best performance leap.
Besides concentrating on increasing flight performance, great attention was paid to flight properties that are both well-balanced and as simple as possible. To this purpose, it was decided to relinquish the maximum level of flight performance, as good flight quality can also contribute to the improvement of the overall performance that a pilot can achieve with an aircraft. eta is certainly not intended solely for use by experienced gliders, but should also enable excellent cross-country flights in the hands of an averagely trained pilot.
Commissioned by the world famous competitive and record-holding gliders Erwin Müller, Hans-Werner Große, Hartmut Lodes, Dr. Jan Krüger, Bruno Gantenbrink and Umberto Mantica, the engineering company Flugtechnik & Leichtbau, now Leichtwerk AG, developed and constructed an extraordinary glider, under the management of Dr. Reiner Kickert:
- Wing span: 30.90 m
- Stretch: 51.33
- Max. Mass: registered for 850 kg, designed for 950 kg
- Double seater
- Self launcher
The project was begun at the beginning of 1996 and the maiden prototype flight followed in 2000. In all, five aircraft have since been built.
In the year 2009, the project was continued with the maiden flight of Nimeta, a single seater power glider based on the wings of the eta and the fuselage of the Nimbus 4M by Schempp-Hirth.