Hang gliding 2015 to 2019
This page continues from Hang gliding 1996 to 2014.
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.
However, many pilots prefer the simplicity of the flex-wing.
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.
This photo of Grant Crossingham made the cover of the November/December 2017 Hang Gliding & Paragliding.
Notice the shadow of the camera and its stalk on the under-surface of the sail.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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:
- Outer battens and underside battens
- Dive struts
- Outer leading edges
- 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.
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.
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.
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