Antares General Information

by Dave Nadler, North American agent for Lange Aviation GmbH
(last edit 4-October-2011)


Advertisement in SSA's Soaring Magazine

The Antares 20E 20-meter Electric Self-Launch Motor-Glider

The Antares 20E is Lange Aviation's flagship product. The aerodynamic design of Antares 20E is Loek Boermans' latest and best effort (before Concordia at any rate !). The Antares 20E 20-meter supership features the nimble handling of the 15-meter class with open class performance. Maximum L/D is 56:1 at 62 knots, minimum sink is just 98 fpm, and a very flat polar gives faster cruise speeds than older machines. More importantly, at a maximum wing-loading of 10.7 lb/ft2, the 20E still handles and climbs well, glides 41:1 at 100 knots, and 31:1 at 120 knots. Antares 20E and Antares 18 have been in series production for several years.

The electric propulsion system features a Single-Lever Control for simple and stress-free operation. It takes just 10 seconds to transition from gliding to powered flight and just 15 seconds from powered to gliding flight, with extremely low pilot workload. The 57hp motor gives a 850 fpm maximum climb rate. Unlike gas-powered machines without turbochargers, full power is available at high density altitudes. One battery charge gives about 10,000 feet climb, enough for take-off plus a large reserve for self-retrieve if needed. Note: An 18% increase in stored energy has been developed, using the same cells more efficiently (retrofit available for existing Antares 20E without changing battery; one charge now good for 11,800 feet total climb).

John Williams used his Antares 20E to make a number of spectacular flights and won the overall 2007 European OLC championship (see OLC 2007 Overall European Ranking). Dave Nadler flew his Antares 20E to 6th in the 2008 USA Open Class National championships, 4th place in the 2009 USA Open Class National championships, and (using the short 18-meter tips) 9th place in the 2009 USA 18-Meter Class National championships.

For pilots focused on 18-meter and not desiring self-launch, Lange offers the Antares 18 glider (available as pure glider or with conventional Solo sustainer). In 2007, Swiss pilot Werner Danz used his Antares 18 (the first delivered to a customer) to set a new Swiss 500km record at 140 km/h (75.6 kts).

North America is now home to four Antares 20Es and one Antares 18S.

Antares Research Projects and Future Gliders

Lange and DLR (kind of a German NASA) partnered to create the Antares H2 hydrogen-powered research vehicle, and are now working on the Antares H3. In addition to the valuable research these vehicles have afforded DLR, the H2 and H3 projects helped Lange advance the state of the art for gliders, now embodied in the new Antares 23E.

Antares H2 is powered by hydrogen fuel cells and has set a number of records for fuel-cell powered aircraft. Aerodynamically, H2 is an Antares 20E plus a pod under each wing (pods contain fuel and fuel cells). The extreme weight of H2 (825 kg / 1819 lb) required stronger fuselage and landing gear structures, stronger wing structure including support for the pods, and more advanced flutter-prevention in the wing. Structural and flutter-prevention advances from this project are incorporated into the new Antares 23E.

Antares H3 is a new and larger fuel-cell research vehicle, with two pods under each wing and and a propulsion system better optimized for cruise. H3 has a calculated range of 6000km. Aerodynamically, H3 has a 20E wing stretched to 23 meters. The wing molds created for H3 are also used to build wings for the new Antares 23E and Schempp-Hirth Quintus M gliders.

The new Antares 23E 23-meter Electric Self-Launch Motor-Glider

Lange introduced the new Antares 23E at Aero 2011. This glider features the same propulsion system as the 20E, with higher performance from its larger 23-meter wingspan, and a broader wing-loading range (38,6 kg/m / 7.9 lb/ ft, to 58 kg/m / 11.9 lb/ ft). Antares 23E achieves a max glide ratio of 60:1, at 78 knots when at max loading. At minimum weight, sink rate is only 0.45 m/s (89 ft/min). Improved span-loading and aspect ratio permit excellent climb performance even at these high weights, and a larger tail continues the superb handling of the smaller Antares.

Contact Lange's North American agent Dave Nadler for more information at
Dave.Nadler@nadler.com or at 978-263-0097 (EST).

For Further Information, See...

Lange Aviation GmbH - Antares Manufacturer's web site
Dave Nadler's Blog on his September 2005 trial flight in the Antares 20E
Roger Buchanan's article on the Antares 20E, SSA's Soaring magazine, June 2004.
Fabulous video of Antares 20E For High-Speed Internet Connection Only !
YouTube - Antares 20E flight demonstration at ILA Berlin Airshow 2006
Factory Maintenance Training for USA Mechanics
Notes from Dave's factory visit December 2007
Notes from Dave's factory visit March-April 2009

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

What Kind of Gelcoat ?

Antares uses a very thin layer of a Akzo Nobel UP-Schwabbellack Weiss 4292352 gelcoat with high UV-barrier properties. Keeps the weight down and minimizes cracking. Its the same material as used on DG sailplanes (they're both finished at the same firm).

What Kind of Batteries ?

The Antares 20E uses SAFT VL41M Li-Ion cells, which provide very high energy storage per weight. SAFT VL41M batteries are also used in the RQ-4B Global Hawk, and will be built into the F35 Joint Strike Fighter in 2007.

How Long Do The Batteries Last ?

Battery manufacturere SAFT now expects the battery to last ~ 20 years, during which performance gradually decreases due to natural aging. After 1500 complete cycles the batteries still have 80% of their original capacity. In a decade, we should be able to replace the batteries with newer technology (better capacity and reduced cost).

How Heavy Are The Wings ?

With the batteries they're pretty heavy ! About 120 kg each (about 265 lbs). However, with the provided rigging aid, there's no need to lift except the wing-tip (about 65 lbs).

What's the Roll Rate (45 to 45 degrees) ?

No kidding about handling like a 15-meter glider:
Flap setting 0, V = 115 km/h (62 knot) 3,2 sec
Flap setting +2, V = 105 km/h (56.7 knot) 3,6 sec
The just-published flight test of a new 15-meter racing glider shows a roll rate slower than Antares 20E !

What About Aerotow or Winch Launching ?

The Antares has a towhook suitable for either aerotow or winch launch. Some owners use these methods of launch, reserving the entire battery charge in case a very long save is required.

What About Trailers ?

The Cobra 18-meter trailer is best for Antares. As equipped for Antares, the trailer includes wiring to permit easy battery charging with the glider stowed in the trailer.

What About Battery Recharging ?

If you have completely discharged the batteries, it takes about 12 hours to recharge. At 110 volts, the charging current is a bit under 15 amps, similar power to a big hair-dryer. The charger (built into the fuselage) can take either 110v or 220v voltage.

Can I visit the Factory in Zweibruecken ?

The factory is happy for you to visit. For qualified pilots, trial flights of the Antares 20E or the 18S pure-sailplane can be easily arranged. The runway (identifier EDRZ) is 3km (10,000 feet) long and equipped with ILS both ends, if you want to fly in your private jet ;-) Its easy to fly into Frankfurt and travel to Zweibruecken by train. Find your train times here: Deutsche Bahn Schedules, Example connection Zweibruecken to Frankfurt Airport. Within Europe, Franfurt-Hahn airport is closer and inexpensive via Rynair.
Caution: If you fly an Antares, you will need to buy one.

Will it Fit in My Hangar ?

With the wingtips off, the 20E is about 58 feet span (about 1 foot less than 18-meters). Of course, its also extremely quick and easy to assemble (really - I keep mine in the trailer and solo-assemble prior each day's flying).

What about Service and Support ?

To ensure good service and support in USA, Dave Nadler and three experienced motorglider mechanics attended a factory training course in November 2006. Factory Maintenance Training



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