Hang gliding 2015 to 2019


Home (contents) Chronology Hang gliding 2015 to 2019

Hang gliding 2015 to 2019

This page continues from Hang gliding 1996 to 2014.

ATOS

 Richard Mosley in an AIR ATOS rigid hang glider
Richard Mosley in an AIR ATOS

The design of rigid hang gliders, which use aerodynamic controls (ailerons or spoilers) for roll control rather than weight shift, continued to advance. Compare the ATOS with the Apex, a similar rigid hang glider more than 20 years earlier, in Hang gliding 1994 and 1995.

Steve Whitfield launches from Monk's Down in October 2016
Steve Whitfield launches from Monk’s Down in October 2016
Steve Whitfield flying with soaring birds at Monk's Down
Steve W again

U2

However, many pilots prefer the simplicity of the flex-wing.

Wills Wing U-2 hang glider at Monk's Down, north Dorset, England
Wills Wing U-2 posing at Monk’s Down, north Dorset, England
Wills Wing U-2 hang glider flying at Monk’s Down, north Dorset, in June 2015
U-2 at Monk’s Down, north Dorset, in June 2015

Wills Wing 175 Sport 2 hang glider turning final at Monk’s Down, north Dorset, England
Wills Wing 175 Sport 2 turning final at Monk’s Down

This is not as dire as it looks. He made a good landing. The Sport 2 is similar to the U-2, but it is lighter to carry, quicker to rig, and has easier handling characteristics. However, its glide angle and sink rate when flying fast are not as good. The Sport 2 has since been replaced in the Wills Wing range by the Sport 3.

Circling in a hang glider in a thermal at Bell Hill, north Dorset, in July 2016
Circling in a thermal at Bell Hill, north Dorset, in July 2016

British hang gliding champion Grant Crossingham trying out a U-2 in August, 2016
British champion Grant Crossingham trying out a U-2 in August, 2016

This photo of Grant Crossingham made the cover of the November/December 2017 Hang Gliding & Paragliding.

2017 hang gliding calendar cover photo photo by Everard Cunion over north Dorset in the summer of 2016
2017 hang gliding calendar cover photo over north Dorset in the summer of 2016

Hang glider flying over the beach at Ringstead, Dorset, in August 2017
Over the beach at Ringstead, Dorset, in August 2017

Notice the shadow of the camera and its stalk on the under-surface of the sail.

Hang glider and paraglider in flight at Ringstead, Dorset, England, in 2017
In-formation superhighway, September 2017

Rio 2

Simon Murphy flying an Avian Rio 2 hang glider in 2018
Simon Murphy in his Avian Rio 2

The Avian Rio 2 is a British-made glider of light weight and it combines good performance with nimble handling. Its pedigree goes back to the Aerial Arts Clubman, a beginner glider of the early 1980s made in Sussex. (See the related topics menu Southdown Sailwings, Vulturelite, and Aerial Arts of Sussex, England.) Avian hang gliders took over its production and a they developed a more modern and refined design, the Elan. They then created a range of flex-wing hang gliders that catered for beginners and experts. Avian is, as of this writing in 2020, the only hang glider manufacturer in Britain. During the coronavirus emergency of 2020, Avian manufactured protective wear for health service personnel.

Laminar

Voytek struggling to find lift in his Icaro Laminar hang glider at Ringstead on the coast of Dorset, England, in 2018
Voytek struggling to find lift in his Icaro Laminar at Ringstead on the coast of Dorset, England, in 2018

The Icaro (Italy) Laminar is typical of high-performance flex-wing hang gliders in its absence of a king post and top rigging. Negative loads are borne by an extra-strong cross-tube assembly, usually made of carbon fiber. Voytek’s Laminar even has a carbon fiber control bar (base tube).

Voytek flying an Icaro Laminar in July 2018
Voytek struggling for height

The resemblance between hang gliders made by Icaro and those made by Moyes (Australia) is that Icaro initially manufactured Moyes wings under license in Italy.

Voytek flying an Icaro Laminar in July 2018
Voytek in the Laminar

Rob Dowdell, Voytek from Russia, and Rob Schwab discuss their hang glider flights in Julky 2018
Détente at Ringstead

Here, Rob, Voytek, and Rob discuss their flights. This photo has a Royal Navy connection in that, in addition to Ringstead facing the old navy helicopter base on Portland, which closed some years ago, Rob Dowdell and Rob Schwab are former navy pilots, Lynx helicopter and Sea Harrier, respectively.

Lightspeed

Rob Schwab flying a hang glider at Ringstead in July 2018
Rob Schwab seconds after launching

That is the holiday town of Weymouth, Dorset, across the bay.

The Lightspeed has long been one of the highest-performing flex-wing hang gliders. It is made by Moyes (Australia); one of the world’s two longest established hang glider manufacturers.

Although Ultralight Products were pioneers in using carbon fiber in flex-wing hang gliders (see under Reynolds’ number in Hang gliding 1990 to 1993) Moyes is possibly the manufacturer with the most experience nowadays. Here is my understanding of Moyes designer Gerolf Heinrichs’ recommended priorities for carbon fiber upgrades when specifying options on a new hang glider:

  1. Outer battens and underside battens
  2. Dive struts
  3. Outer leading edges
  4. Inner leading edges

Carbon fiber, which is even stiffer and lighter than aluminium alloy, reduces roll and yaw inertia by making the outboard sections of the wing lighter. The source of this info is a talk by Gerolf Heinrichs in a Moyes video, which you can access under External links later on this page.


Technical:

When you tighten the sail by pulling on varable billow (VB) you add more tension to the sail, both span-wise and chord-wise. The chord-wise tension compresses the battens, increasing their curvature (camber and, on the inner-most battens, possibly reflex too). The increased camber increases the lift force. That change in the inboard battens has little or no effect on pitch trim (again, in my understanding of the talk by Gerolf Heinrichs under External links) although I would like more info on why that should be. Nonetheless, assuming that is the case, because the outboard area is behind the center of mass, the increased lift force there causes a nose-down force. Therefore, the outer battens need to be stiff to minimize such bending when you pull VB on. Those battens being far out on the wing, the weight saving of carbon fiber is maximally useful in reducing roll and yaw inertia, resulting in more nimble handling.

Similarly, if you suffer the misfortune of a pitch-over, the dive struts must be stiff enough to prevent Euler buckling under compression. The strut is the base of the triangle, the air is pushing down on the sail and on the strut. The cable is under tension, and the leading edge tube in cross section provides the torsional rigidity, all to keep the ‘up elevator’ effect. Again the weight saving of carbon fiber that far out on the wing is particularly beneficial.

What interests me is Gerolf’s point (as I understand it) that the less skilled pilot, typically flying an ‘advanced intermediate’ wing, would benefit most from such weight saving because he (or she) does more maneuvering (because of less accurate anticipation of your position and velocity in 3-D space) than the expert in a ‘topless’ high performance wing.


Rob and Rob carrying a hang glider to the launch area in July 2018
Rob and Rob carrying a hang glider to the launch area
Rob assists Tony Woodley in getting his wing through the gate at Ringstead
Rob assists Tony Woodley in getting his wing through the gate at Ringstead

Like hang glider pilots just about everywhere, in England we struggle endlessly with land-owners, farmers, local governments, and bodies such as the National Trust to retain access to launching and landing areas.

Rob was at this time chief pilot for Virgin Airways and Tony a train driver.


This topic continues in Hang gliding 2020 onward.

External links

Balloon Drop video on YouTube of Rob Schawb flying the Royal Navy balloon, from which Rob Quick was dropped in a hang glider and, for good measure, parachutist Eddie Jones jumps from the basket, all supervised by safety director Rob Dowdell.

Gerolf Heinrichs Talks about carbon Fibre Used in Moyes Gliders on the Moyes YouTube channel