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Arlington Sisu 1A

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This object is on display in the Boeing Aviation Hangar at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.


Leonard Niemi's Sisu is the most successful American competition sailplane ever flown. John Ryan in 1962, Dean Svec in 1965, and A. J. Smith in 1967, all won the United States National Soaring Championships flying a Sisu ('see-soo'). In 1967, Bill Ivans (his Schempp-Hirth Nimbus II in NASM collection) set a national speed record flying a Sisu 1A at El Mirage, California, by skimming across the desert at 135 kph (84 mph) over a 100-kilometer (62-mile) triangular course.

Alvin H. Parker took off from his hometown, Odessa, Texas, at the controls of the National Air and Space Museum's Sisu 1A and flew 1,042 km (647 miles) on July 31, 1964. This flight also shattered a symbolic and psychological barrier that had defeated sailplane pilots around the world for years. Joseph Lincoln called the 1,000-km milestone "for a good many years …the soaring pilot's four-minute mile on both sides of the Atlantic" in his soaring anthology, "On Quiet Wings," published in 1972.

Gift of Philip J. Baugh.

Manufacturer: Arlington Aircraft Company

Date: 1963

Country of Origin: United States of America

Dimensions: Wingspan: 15.2 m (50 ft)
Length: 6.4 m (21 ft 2 in)
Height: 1 m (41 in)
Weights: Empty, 246 kg (546 lb)
Gross, 349 kg (775 lb)

Inventory number: A19690004000

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