The Shadow design at 30 years

This microlight first flew on March 31 in 1983 - that is 30yrs ago this year.  It is still being flown by hundreds of pilots all over the World, some of these are third or forth generation owners.  It has shown a safety record probably second to none.  There have been no accidents or injuries that have been caused by this airframe's failure.

   An example of service & reliability is portrayed by a Shadow Flight Centre's individual aircraft with 3,750 Training hours!
       As the designer I didn't wish to relate the record of my aircraft because a few years back in MF I wrote of the Achievements of a specific Shadow - the first one built - 02. It doubled the 3k FAI Speed & Distance Records;  Time to 3,000 metres;  Altitude accomplishments; Won the Dawn to Dusk Int. Competition;  British Design Award;  etc. etc. The then Editor of MF commented that this was David Cook 'blowing his own Trumpet', made me wonder if he even had a Trumpet to blow.....
I was merely noting the Achievements of a specific Shadow 02 - not myself.  It seems that in this Country we have a shameful history of decrying engineering brilliance, from Harrison's Chronometer to Whittle's Jet Engine....one must not succeed by too much!

       One may enquire why this design has been so successful?  It is due to the lightness of it's construction & the 'superb aerodynamics' - a quote from LAA's Chief Engineer Francis Donaldson.

       Totally ignoring the popular conception of the Bernoulli theory of flight, I go along with Newton's theory - thus needing an Angle of Attack for flight. The result of my own airfoil is that a Shadow cannot be made to spin & has no defined stall.

       The construction using a variety of materials most suited to their characteristics, resulted in a design lighter but also stronger. Amazingly, to me, is these proven qualities have been ignored by other designers. - both in aerodynamics & construction.

       There are too many high flyers [Ha!] to name,  who have achieved brilliant things with Shadow aircraft.....World Championships have been won; Competition against modern opposition - & beating them 30 years on; long distance flights to Australia [twice], India, Beijing, Tanzania, USA coast to coast; even being coined 'The long distance Traveler.

        Mostly used for Sport / Pleasure but many diverse roles evolved;  Training student pilots;  flying with floats;  crop spraying insect plagues;  DEA in USA;  NATO;  Surveillance in many forms like Border patrol, high powered cameras, thermal imaging, linescan;  armed with Stingers in S. America,
Chain-gun trials, Lockheed's interest & trials.  Police searches for murder suspects injured and/or missing persons, suicides etc.

       Featured in two major films - Slipstream & Dragonheart.  A Shell TV Advert lead to an order for 24 Streaks by the Indian Air Force - the largest order ever for this category of aircraft.  Shadows were licence built in USA & South Africa with a total build, including England of 415....subsequently flying in 32 countries & performing in many air shows including Farnborough & Paris.

       My age, 72, I do not seek accolade for the accomplishments of this design - I have had sufficient but I do relish a feeling of Pride when amongst a gathering of up to 40 of my fellow owners & their aircraft.  The safety of this design, the serviceability it holds & the very comforting feeling when at the controls and especially the fact that this aircraft does not bite.                                            

Best Wishes

David Cook.