Welcome to a work in progress

This blog is dedicated to the restoration and modification of a Glasflügel Standard Libelle H201B, and a tribute to those who have dared to do the same, and to those who are helping with seeing this dream take flight.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

201B or not 201B, that is the question

Happy New Year and I hope it will be a good one!

So lets start off with a little history lesson, and a little mystery.

What makes a Libelle 201 a 201B?  That has been a question posted on the Libelle forum a few times.

From what I can gather, and I might be wrong, I recall some first thought it was the introduction of the the retractable main wheel, but that was an option offered after the first 20 or so Libelle 201's  manufactured. Many say it's the install of the wing tanks and the replacement of the the old limitations placards with the new 201B limitations.

I know that the true, pure, 201B manufactured started at serial number 322. 

There are a list of changes to the H201 that made it a H201B
Such standard items on the H-201B after SN 322, were:
1. Correct Water ballast installation.
2. New horizontal stabilizer to improve the elevator authority at slow speeds.
3. Reinforced tail boom.
4. New tail plane attachment fitting.
5. Larger diameter tubing for rudder pedals for the steel cables.
.... you get the picture.

But all of these changes to the aircraft needed to be done per the specification of Glasflügel or Streifeneder.

I found that with the installation of the water ballast system, per Glasflügel, made it a H-201B.

And as we know from my previous posts, not everything on my bird was upgraded per the manufacturers specification.

Currently, my glider is registered as a 201B, and I from what I found, many of the listed items were not done. The only sure thing that made my bird a H201B was the water ballast system, and it was not done per anyone's specification. It looked like a homemade modification.

I will need to make sure that the 201B modifications will be completed per the manufacturers guidelines, but the problem I have found is, where can I find the proper parts?.

I removed the questionably installed water ballast parts when I started the initial strip down of the glider (May of 2010).  I had no intention of re-using these, since they appeared to be made from an old tarp.

At that time I found an old web page from Eastern Sailplane, where they were selling replacement ballast tanks. The next day, I contacted Eastern Sailplane to see if they had replacement tanks for the Libelle.,

In June of 2010, I was traveling to the airport to train my replacement after getting laid off, when I received a call from John Murray of Eastern Sailplane. He called to tell me that he had found a replacement ballast bag set for the Libelle.

Now I had water bags, but I need the rest of the parts to satisfy the requirements of a properly installed water ballast system!

So the quest for the parts continues.

Early 2011, I emailed Streifeneder to find out what I needed to do the proper water ballast installation.

After waiting a few months, I received a response with a 3 page list of parts and a list of blueprint drawings needed to install the system. I ordered the set drawings first to see if I could find any of the parts here in the US. When I received the drawings, I found that there were many custom Libelle parts. The prospects of re-installing the water ballast system was looking grim.

So, the question now, Tanks or no Tanks?

Again, I emailed Streifeneder and asked them if the water ballast system parts were still available, a mod-kit would be great too! Several months went by, and I received a reply. Hansjorg wrote me a replay stating that he would have to look around to see if any parts were still available.

November of 2011, I receive another reply stating that the Teleflex cable used for the valve control was no longer available in a 3' length and he was still working on finding parts.

Using the information from the drawings, I went to a local marine shop and showed them the drawings. They identified the Teleflex cable used for controlling the throttle on motor boats, but again, that length was not available, nor can it be made to order.

The following weekend, I went to the airport to do some soaring. After our flight, I walking into the FBO and noticed a throttle cable on the counter. It looked just like the Teleflex cable at the marine shop, but it did not have the full cable covering. The cable had a stainless steel mesh cover.

I was able to order the throttle cable from Aircraft Spruce.

The year is 2012!

May, I received an email from Streifeneder telling me that they might have a set of parts to rebuild the water ballast system. The parts were coming from a unrepairable Libelle.

June, Streifeneder emails me a list of the parts they were able to recover, and a few that they will need to remake. I authorized the purchase of the parts.

The first week of September, a miracle happened. I received an email from Streifeneder with a bill for the parts, and within ten days, a box of parts arrived.  To my surprise this included the old, original tanks!

Since the wheel well was painted, There will need to be some cleanup to glue the fiberglass water dump parts in place.

I believe I now have the parts to do a proper water ballast install.

The next question will be, which tanks do I use, and what modifications will be needed for the interior of the wing cells to support the water bags.  Roberts knowledge of glider ballast systems will be called in to solve this question.

So, on to the task at hand, finishing the glider!


  1. Hi John,
    I have a 301 and your blog has inspired me to consider restoring my Libelle. I wondered if we could get in contact? I would also like to speak to Robin having seen his amazing 301 restoration. I am particularly interested in the winglets as I have not seen them before on a flapped Libelle.
    Keep up the great work

  2. Hello Steve

    Robin is not the owner of the 201 in the earlier posts. He was visiting a friend who took him over to the hanger and showed him that plane. You can e-mail me at planetxpress@aol.com
    I believe there are a few 301's that do have the winglets installed. I'm told that they really improve the slow speed performance.

  3. Hey John, did you ever decide which set of bags you were going to use? I am bringing s/n 13 back to life, and the bags were rotten in mine. I might be interested in the set you don't use.


    1. Hello Peter
      I still have not decided, thou, i'm leaning toward the Smiley bags. I might need to remove the ends off of the Glasflugel set to make them work if I go with the Smiley bags.

    2. Hello,
      I just ordered a new set of bags direct from Streifly.
      He is able to deliver new bags but not all the installation parts.
      Delivery time: about 2 weeks.
      Bernd from Germany

  4. Hello,
    i just ordered a new set of water bags from streifeneder.
    He is able to deliver within 2 weeks, but only the bags not all the installation parts.
    Bernd from Germany

  5. Hello,
    what is your prefered method to attach the bags at the outer end of the wing? and what is the best way to install them into the wing?
    Would be nice to receive some ideas from those who have done that before and have experiance in doing that.
    Bernd from Germany

  6. Hello Bernd

    I have not mounted the tanks yet, but the preferred and certified method is through the use of a fiberglass plate where the fill lines are attached too. Can Streifeneder provide drawings for the parts to help you duplicate them if they are not available?