The Cleggs' Jodel

Willie Bodenstein's picture

Stewart Clegg started his career in aviation at Comair where he did his apprenticeship as an aircraft mechanic. At the time he had been looking around for an aircraft to build. Initially he looked at the KR2 but that was just too marginal and, after doing some research, he decided on the Jodel and acquired a partially built one that was to follow him from job to job for next couple of years. Then UEK came on the market. By then Stewart had realised that he would probably never finish the partially built one, and he took a bank loan and bought UEK.

Based at Syferfontein, UEK needed some work to get into flying condition and Stewart spent the next six months travelling between Pretoria and Syferfontein to get her ready for her ferry flight to Fly Inn Estate. Jeff Birch flew her to her new home and then later gave Stewart his conversion. Whilst at Fly Inn Estate, UEK got a new cowling and bubble canopy that Stewart had designed. John McSher did the test flying and Stewart took her to some of the EAA Fly-ins at Margate. After a couple of scary moments and engine failures, Stewart saved up, took out another loan and bought an O-235-L2C Lycoming refurbished for UEK by Fanie Viljoen.
The family moved down to Paradise Beach to start developing and manufacturing the Whisper motorglider kits. They ended up staying there for ten years. During this time, whilst flying UEK, a broken wing rib was noticed. On landing, the wing fabric was cut open and indeed there was a broken rib. The broken rib was repaired and, before recovering, the wings were load tested to 3.5Gs. Over the ten years UEK underwent full recovering and a new coat of paint, as well as a new reshaped cowling and an extra 45 litre fuel tank behind the seat.

In 2010, Greg, Stewart’s son, was in matric. Greg had ambitions to become a commercial pilot and did not plan on getting a university degree. However, the School of Engineering at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) had a design competition for Grade 12 scholars to win a bursary to study in the field of engineering at NMMU. Greg entered and won the competition and won a full bursary. Later that year, Greg, under the guidance of Stewart, started fitting dual controls to the Jodel. The Jodel needed a throttle and brakes on the instructor’s side.

In 2013 the family relocated back to the big smoke. In the meantime, UEK got a new set of undercarriage as there was quite a bit of corrosion on the old set. In 2014 she also got a set of spats that both Stewart and Greg made. The final task, which they eventually got around to doing, was making the fairings between the spats and gear legs.

The Cleggs’ D11 weighs just under 440kg, can take 2 medium sized adults, 30kg of baggage and 110 litres of fuel. She will still take off in 400 metres on a warm day and climb at 600 fpm. UEK, like most Jodels, doesn’t have flaps. “Flaps,” Stewart says, “would be a nice to have just for the landing phase. Landing with any excess speed, she floats forever. Approach speed is 55 mph where she will land within 300 to 400 metres. We cruise around at 115 knots indicated, burning 18 lph on average. At the coast at full power we will do 135 knots.”

“She will stall at about 45 mph, where she gently mushes down. She would drop a wing in the past, but this has been corrected by the inboard stall strips as well as the Vortex Generators (VGs). The VGs were first fitted in a quest to tame the stall, but they weren’t the magic that they claimed to be. Stall strips were later fitted at the root of the wing to pre-stall the inboard section of the wing first, while the tips keep flying.”

Asked what‘s next, Greg said, “Both my Dad and I would like to design and build a composite tandem two-seater that would cruise at over 180 kts and be fully aerobatic. One day when there is time and money….”