Former hang-glider pilot, i fly sailplanes since 91, firstly in Grenoble and then in Romans (both in French Alps).
Private gliders hangar of Grenoble airfield feature the biggest concentration of ASK14 self launching gliders of France and probably of Europe. The fancy was lead by a local well known pilot. This machine is a Schleicher of the 70's. Its wing is from the K6, shortened a bit, fuselage is specific. Engine is 2 stroke, flat 4 cylinder by Hirth. Its lightweight is around 250 kg and it claim an L/D of 27, but a sink rate of a good glider (can't remember the exact figures, no data book at hand).
When i started learning cross-country flying, i found valuable help and many to learn from some former hang-gliding fellows, having shifted to soaring before and now flying those ASK-14. Alfhought i flied in good recent plastic sailplanes it was really difficult and sometimes impossible to me to follow these so called outdated machines. We already knew that pilot skill is making the difference more than the glider. And i saw that a well driven good climber can defend his aging handicap in the often tricky conditions of the Alps.
Moreover autonomy et quick operation of a light self launching glider are amazing. To see my friends flying away 15 or 20 minutes after they arrived at the airfield began to make me think :
Logically, technical progress of the last thirty years should give means to do better than the ASK-14, without trying to reach the ultimate high end performances. In counterpart ultralight class could give yet more freedom of use.
That is the Graal target.