I now host a new section on Airglow at http://airglow.propdesigner.co.uk/ and I am about to add some photos of Abhilasha at http://pictures.propdesigner.co.uk/html/abhilasha.html some time over the weekend if all goes well and it got me thinking about over-engineering. Abhilasha is a marvelous achievement but it turned out heavier than the designer would have liked, Airglow is probably slightly heavier than it needs to be just to fly but it has been around for nearly 20 years.
Abhilasha uses standard components like standard Aluminium alloy tubing, steel bolts and plywood fittings among other components resulting in a relatively cheap and easy to build aircraft but 15 to 20 Kg overweight. Airglow uses Carbon fibre to reduce it’s weight and plastic ribs that has resulted in a robust aircraft (for a HPA) that has not deteriorated much over it’s long lifetime.
I am not sure Airglow was designed to last as long as it has but I believe it was designed with an extended life compared to previous HPAs that have had lives measured in years rather than decades and it has been used in research.