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|First flight||21 February 1981|
Design and development
The Nimbus-3 uses carbon-fibre extensively and has a new wing profile compared with the Nimbus-2. It has a four-piece carbon-fibre wing with a 22.9 metre span but may be increased to 24.5 or 25.5 metres with tip extensions. The outer wing panels are slightly modified Ventus wings. When rolling at large aileron deflection, small spoiler flaps deploy at the inner wingtip to compensate for lack of rudder power. It was first flown on 21 February 1981 by its designer Dipl.-Ing Klaus Holighaus. A glide ratio of 60:1 has been claimed. The Nimbus-3T version has a sustainer engine.
Nimbus-3s took the first three places in the Open Class in the 1981 World Gliding Championships, but because of the expense of Open Class gliders there were only 12 entrants. In the next World Championships, it took the top six places and it won again in the 1985 'Worlds'.
The Nimbus-3D is the two-seater version. First flight was in May 1986. There is a slight forward sweep of the wings. There are also a self-launched version (Nimbus-3DM) and a sustainer version (Nimbus-3DT).
The successor was the Schempp-Hirth Nimbus-4.
Specifications (Nimbus 3)
Data from Jane's All the World's Aircraft 1988-89
- Crew: 1
- Length: 7.63 m (25 ft 0 in)
- Wingspan: 22.9 m (75 ft 2 in)
- Nimbus 3/24: 24.5 m (80 ft)
- Height: 1.55 m (5 ft 1 in)
- Wing area: 16.3 m2 (175 sq ft)
- Nimbus 3/24: 16.7 m2 (180 sq ft)
- Aspect ratio: 32.2
- Nimbus 3/24: 35.9
- Empty weight: 392 kg (864 lb)
- Nimbus 3/24: 396 kg (873 lb)
- Max takeoff weight: 750 kg (1,653 lb)
- Water ballast: 280 l (74 US gal; 62 imp gal)
- Stall speed: 60 km/h (37 mph; 32 kn)
- Nimbus 3/24: 59 km/h (32 kn; 37 mph)
- Never exceed speed: 270 km/h (168 mph; 146 kn) in smooth air
- 200 km/h (110 kn; 120 mph) in rough air
- 180 km/h (97 kn; 110 mph) on aero-tow
- 150 km/h (81 kn; 93 mph) on winch launch
- Nimbus 3/24190 km/h (100 kn; 120 mph) in rough air
- g limits: +5.3 -2.65
- Maximum glide ratio: 55:1 at 95 km/h (51 kn; 59 mph)
- Nimbus 3/24:58 at 95 km/h (51 kn; 59 mph)
- Rate of sink: 0.44 m/s (87 ft/min) at 75 km/h (40 kn; 47 mph)
- Nimbus 3/24: 0.41 m/s (81 ft/min) at 75 km/h (40 kn; 47 mph)
- Wing loading: 46 kg/m2 (9.4 lb/sq ft)
- Nimbus 3/24: 44.9 kg/m2 (9.2 lb/sq ft)
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
- Milgram, Fred Thomas; Judah; translator; contributor (1999). Fundamentals of sailplane design (3rd ed.). College Park, MD: College Park Press. ISBN 978-0966955309.
- Simons, Martin (2005). Sailplanes 1965-2000 (2nd revised ed.). Königswinter: EQIP Werbung und Verlag G.m.b.H. ISBN 978-3-9808838-1-8.
- Johnson R, A Flight Test Evaluation of the Nimbus-3, Soaring, December 1982
- Sailplane Directory
- Schempp-Hirth homepage
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