Short for Estimated Time of Arrival.

eta: the seventh letter of the Greek Alphabet.

In Japan this was a term used to describe those people who handled tasks which were considered to be exceptionally distasteful: executioners, butchers, undertakers, midwives, and tomb attendants - in general, any job which required the handling of the dead or the remains of the dead. Even the makers of leather armour could be considered Eta.

The term possibly comes from "etori", or "butcher".

Eta were considered practically subhuman, especially in the Edo era, and were treated much like India's untouchables, the castless caste. To have Eta familial roots remains a stigma even today. These people are currently known by the euphemism "Burakumin".

Addendum to sensei's node: "Eta" can also indicate an individual who may once have held position and status, but has been so greatly shamed as to have been reduced to the level of the untouchables, even if that individual still does or is capable of doing more honorable work.

Basque for "Basque Homeland and Freedom."

The ETA, founded in 1959, is a Basque separatist group that fights for an independent Basque state in northern Spain. They use urban warfare, mainly car bombs and other explosives to attack prominent politicians, judges, policemen and soldiers. The organization finances its campaign through kidnapping, bank robbery and a so-called "revolutionary tax" on Basque businesses -- a payment that is widely regarded as extortion.

On September 16, 1998, they declared a "unilateral and indefinite" cease-fire, but in November 1999, they started bombing again. The Basque people are the oldest indigenous ethnic group in Europe. They have lived uninterrupted in the same region since the beginning of recorded history. The country has a population of about 3 million. In a recent election the ETA's representatives received only 200,000 votes: at this point the majority of Basques do not support the campaign of violence.

Eta means 'and' in basque as well. Example: Beñat eta Dunixe! Kontuz!! Translation: Bernhardt and Denise! Careful!!

The Euskadi ta Askatasuna or ETA, were founded in the Spanish Basque country in 1959, during the repressive Franco regime, as a radical offshoot of the more moderate Partido Nacionalista Vasco, or Basque Nationalist Party. The ETA's name is variously translated as "Basque Homeland and Freedom" and "Basque Fatherland and Liberty". Their goal was an independent and sovereign Basque homeland (Euskadi, in Basque), with its capital at Guernica, and their method was violence.

The ETA started its campaign with a series of bombings in cities throughout the Basque Country, and a failed attempt to derail a train carrying fascist veterans of the Spanish Civil War who were heading to a reunion. The Franco Government's response, predictably enough, was to crack down violently, and most of the ETA fled the resulting torture and reprisals into the exile of the French Basque country. From there they carried on a low-level campaign of occasional bombings and assasinations, probably with a certain level of tacit support from the local population, if only because of the repressive nature of the fascist Franco government.

The turning point came in 1976. Franco died, and a new, democratic government was established in Spain. The new government met most of what had been the ETA's demands. Spain underwent considerable devolution during the period, and the Basque country was given its own, relatively powerful local parliament, and the Basque language was no longer suppressed. At this point, the ETA returned to Spain and established its political wing, the Herri Batasuna (Sinn Fein to the ETA's IRA), but most of their impetus for existence had fled.

During the late '70s and '80s, the ETA dwindled to a radical core of die-hards who were willing to settle for nothing less than a totally independent and sovereign Basque nation, and were prepared to act more and more violently to achieve this. They gradually alienated much of their popular support, and in 1983 a new group, the GAL, or Anti-Terrorist Liberation Group, appeared, that had as its sole raison d'etre the hunting down and killing of ETA members. The GAL was almost certainly a creation of the new Spanish government, though this was never conclusively proved.

In the late '80s and through the '90s, the ETA declared and broke a series of truces and cease-fires, and had its popular support dwindle to almost nothing. The Herri Batasuna had terrible results in the 1996 Basque country elections, getting less than 20% of the local vote, and in 1997 it was dissolved entirely, when, in the aftermath of the particularly unpopular ETA assassination of a local Basque leader, proof surfaced which seemed to conclusively prove the Herri Batasuna was an arm of the ETA.

The ETA still exists today, and is still nominally active, though it probably only consists of a few dozen active members and a few hundred more supporters.


The Eta is the customized Bentley of gliders. It is huge, beautiful, and costs over a million dollars. The controls and interior are taken from the high performance ASH-25. Dr. Reiner Kickert is heading the design team. The sugar daddy behind it all is Hans Werner Grosse, among others. Grosse is a record setting pilot himself. The plane is called the Eta, after the Greek letter symbolizing efficiency.


The Eta was first concieved of in 1996. The financiers founded Flugtechnik & Leichtbau to design the plane, no holds barred. Carbon fiber was chosen as the design material of choice. The design was modeled and tested in a wind tunnel August-December of 1996. At the end of 1997, the design was frozen, and plans for building a prototype begin.

The construction of this plane was full of difficulties, and even yielded some new construction methods. Construction of some parts independant of design changes begin in 1996. The a mockup was fully assembled in early 1998, and sacrificed to the stress test Gods. The plane passed 42,000 hours of simulated stress testing, making it certifiable for a life of 14,000 (one third) hours. This is 2,000 hours above the required minimum. Construction of a second wing for break testing was begin. In early/mid 1999, the model wing was completed. In mid 1999 it was static tested, and broke after forming a semi-circle. After they pick up all the carbon fiber shreds, they begin building a flyable prototype.

The prototype was finished in July of 2000. The plane passed its' ground vibration test during the month. On July 31, the plane flew for the first time. It was publically demonstrated the day after.

A new lighter fuselage was built in March of 2001, and construction of the second prototype was started.

Building and Design Charicteristics

This plane is full of new technologies and design characteristics. This plane uses an insane aspect ratio of 51.3 feet of wing length for every foot of width. This is about the limit of current fiber technology. Oddly, longitudal trim is adjusted by changing the angle of attack of the rear stabalizer. This is not often used in gliders. The wing also has a "chord skip". The wings widen suddenly about 3/4 of the way out. This allows for drag reduction while turning.

The plane uses many new manufacturing techniques. The wing spars were built as prepregs. The wing surface, being large and thick, was vacuuminjected. As far as safety goes, the cockpit is kevlar lined to prevent the carbon fiber from shattering in the event of a crash.


  • Wing Span: 30.9m/101.38 feet
  • Length: 9.84m/32.28 feet
  • Height: not specified
  • Maximum Weight: 920 Kg/2029.3 pounds
  • Takeoff Weight: 850 Kg/1873.9 pounds (Depends on the glider-some were built heavier, and not within FAI rules for open class gliders. heavier gliders can still compete, but are not allowed water ballast.
  • Empty Weight: UNKNOWN
  • Wing Loading: 380 - 500 N/m2 7.93-10.44 lb/ft2
  • Wing Area:18.6 m2/200.21 ft2
  • Stall Speed:UNKNOWN
  • Maximum Speed:UNKNOWN
  • Engine:Solo 2625: 47 KW/64 HP
  • G limits:UNKNOWN
  • glide ratio: not officially released, but suspected to be in the range of 60-70 to 1, making it the highest performance sailplane ever.
  • Production Volume: 6 hulls made as of 2004, one destroyed in testing, two totaled in crashes.

Sources: Fundamentals of Sailplane Design, and atlas for composite info.

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