Rensselaer RP-3

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Role Glider
National origin United States
Manufacturer Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Designer Brian E. Thompson
Introduction 1998
Status Sole example on display in the New York State Museum
Number built one

The Rensselaer RP-3 (for Rensselaer Polytechnic design 3) is an American mid-wing, T-tailed single-seat, glider that was designed by Brian E. Thompson and produced by the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute of Troy, New York.[1][2]

Design and development[edit]

The RP-3 was the third aircraft design in Rensselaer's Composite Aircraft Program and was completed in 1998.[1][2]

The aircraft is of composite construction. Its 54 ft (16.5 m) span wing employs a Wortmann FX-67-K170/17 airfoil and features split flaps. The landing gear is a retractable monowheel, with an auxiliary tailwheel. The aircraft is considerably larger and heavier than its predecessors, the RP-1 and RP-2, with an empty weight of 650 lb (295 kg) and a gross weight of 1,000 lb (454 kg). Despite its large wingspan the RP-3 achieved only a 32:1 glide ratio.[1][3]

Only one RP-3 was built and it was registered with the Federal Aviation Administration in the Experimental - Amateur-built category.[1]

Aircraft on display[edit]

Specifications (RP-3)[edit]

Data from Sailplane Directory[1]

General characteristics

  • Crew: one
  • Wingspan: 54 ft 0 in (16.46 m)
  • Wing area: 179.76 sq ft (16.700 m2)
  • Aspect ratio: 17:1
  • Airfoil: Wortmann FX-67-K170/17
  • Empty weight: 650 lb (295 kg)
  • Gross weight: 1,000 lb (454 kg)


  • Maximum glide ratio: 32:1 at 51 mph (82 km/h)
  • Rate of sink: 136 ft/min (0.69 m/s) at 45 mph (72 km/h)
  • Wing loading: 5.56 lb/sq ft (27.1 kg/m2)

See also[edit]

Related lists


  1. ^ a b c d e Activate Media (2006). "Rensselaer RP-3". Retrieved 24 August 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Federal Aviation Administration (August 2011). "Make / Model Inquiry Results". Retrieved 24 August 2011. 
  3. ^ Lednicer, David (2010). "The Incomplete Guide to Airfoil Usage". Retrieved 1 August 2011. 
  4. ^ Berek, Daniel L. (May 2011). "Aircraft N397RP Photo". Retrieved 24 August 2011. 

External links[edit]