Farewell to Hobie Alter, creator of the Hobie Hawk

Mar 31, 2014 6 Comments by

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.”


Debra Cleghorn, Featured News

About the author

Executive editor About me: I’m a publishing professional who has a passion for aviation and RC, and I love creating issues, books and a website that help RC pilots to enjoy this sport even more. I admire scale aircraft and enjoy the convenience of flying smaller electrics.

6 Responses to “Farewell to Hobie Alter, creator of the Hobie Hawk”

  1. Brian Schöenly says:

    I have always wanted a Hobie Hawk. Most of my friends at the flying field had one. Years ago, I saw an ad from Ross Models, they had acquired the original tooling and we’re manufacturing the New Hobie Hawk and I just had to have one. I am happy I bought one. It is fun to fly and looks beautiful in the air.

  2. A.Lynn Lockrow says:

    What a great glider design. I owned 2 of these birds and sorry I ever parted with them !!! Blue Skies and fair winds Hobie A.

  3. Tatsuo Sugita says:

    It was good memory on my life that I was hankering to have not lnly Hobbie Surfboard, Hobbie Cat but also Hobbie Hawk at 15 years old. I`ve seen a sail plane (I didn`t know the name) he fly in a pictur of advertising Hobbie surf board on Surfer magazine. His life style infuluence to me since I`m sufing and flying RC ariplane at 60 year old.

    Enjoy eternal flight, Mr. Hobbie.

  4. Ciro Ferrari says:

    Brigadier sky for you friend. He built a beautiful dream. Always flying in the skies of Earth.

  5. Rick Walterreit says:

    Is this the whole article

  6. Steve Colligan says:

    By far one of the coolest sailplanes and 20 years ahead of it time. I’m proud to say that I have been acquiring and protecting 4 of these. My original, I got from a friend 25+ years ago that needed to be rebuilt after a crash. I assume that this article is announcing Hobie’s passing even thought it does not say that. Hobie has had an amazing contribution to the world. It is not often to find vision, talent and passion in one person. Life is precious, make the most of it!

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