The U.S. division of Strausberg, Germany-based glider manufacturer Stemme introduced its new president, Mark Stevenson, today at the Sun ’n’ Fun Fly-in in Lakeland, Fla. In his new role at Stemme USA (Static Display MD-12), Stevenson is responsible for the U.S., Canadian and Mexican markets for the Stemme Peak Performer S10 glider, which has a retractable propeller.
According to Stevenson, the company has recently moved from dealer-centric sales and service network to direct sales and service. “Because of this, we are boosting our sales and service network. Right now we have full coverage across Europe and Australia.” The company is still building up the U.S. network.
There are currently 75 Stemme S10s in the U.S., Stemme said, but only approximately 40 are actively flying. Stevenson is now reaching out to owners of the inactive S10 gliders to offer them maintenance or other services that could help to get these aircraft flying again.
Meanwhile, the company is on a campaign to show that even though the S10 is a 20-year-old design, “it can still do things that other aircraft simply cannot,” said Stevenson. On this note, Stemme invited Luca Bertossio, a 24-year-old world glider aerobatic champion from Italy, to fly the S10 “to see what he could do with it.” While Stevenson stressed that the S10 is not an aerobatic glider, he said Bertossio has given even longtime company demo pilots a new perspective of the aircraft.
Speaking at Sun ’n’ Fun, Bertossio said the S10 is a “unique aircraft that does just a few things, but it does them at a very high level.” Because the aircraft features a 75-foot wingspan, roughly the same as that of the DC-3, he said he was skeptical about flying the S10 since he though it wouldn’t be a good performer. “I was really wrong,” he said. “It flew great.”
Stevenson was so impressed with what Bertossio can do with the S10 that he hired him to fly the two-seat glider on aerial display this July at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis. “His passion for flying and especially gliding and his high-performance presentations match perfectly with the aspiration of Stemme,” said Stevenson.