Hobie Alter, famous for his sailboats and surfboards, was equally well-known in the RC glider arena for his high-performance Hobie Hawk, released in 1974. In the feature photo, he’s on the August 1974 issue! The Hobie Model Company sold over 10,000 of the high-performance gliders. Here’s a great interview with Hobie from the HobieHawk.com website’s history page.
Q: How did the design of the Hawk come about and how long did you spend developing it?
Hobie: “Well, I tinkered around with the design on my own (apart from the Hobie Cat Co.) for about a year at my home. I finally convinced Hobie Cat Co. that we should build this plane. We spent around 6 more months working on the design. It was expensive to tool up – one of the smallest parts, the dorsal which is injection molded, cost $12,000 for the mold alone – that was a lot of money back then and that was just one small part. We had jigs for everything, it cost a lot to get set up to build this plane.”
“I did it the way I wanted too – each part used the best materials available for the specific application. It was a complete package and we had the capability to make the Hawk so we did. There was nothing else out there like it at the time, everything else was a balsa build up kit, I wanted to produce something much different, something that could take a the punishment and was faster to build for the consumer… and yes, although the wing was complicated it was not difficult for us because of our background in the sailing and surfboard industry, foam core laminating was what we did.”
Q: What was one of the strangest things you did with a Hawk?
Hobie: “Well, I built up one that looks kind of like a P-38 with a twin boom fuselage joined at the tail with a center pod cockpit if you can imagine that. I actually still have it and it’s hanging right here in my home at the moment.”