Hang gliding 2000 to 2003


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Hang gliding 2000 to 2003

Hang gliders: Airwave 166 Magic 4 and Aeros Discus 148
Harness: Solar Wings Edge 2
In-flight camera: Ricoh FF-9 compact 35mm film

This page continues from Hang gliding 1998 and 1999.

Art based on a photo by Joe Alendifer of Chris Wills and his daughter Kelly in 2000

Art based on a photo by Joe Alendifer of Chris Wills and his daughter Kelly

That looks like a standard Rogallo that Kelly is not attached to in this gathering of vintage hang gliders at the beach in 2000. Chris was the first ever US hang gliding champion. The glider behind looks to me like a Seagull of the late 1970s judging by its parabolic curved leading edge tube.


Art based on a photo by paraglider pilot Nick Greece at Torrey Pines, San Diego, in 2000

Flex-wing hang gliders without a king post and top rigging started to become popular around the turn of the century. Strength in the negative-G sense is provided by structure inside the wing.

Gary D launches at Kimmeridge on the Dorset coast

Gary D launches in his Airwave Magic 3 at Kimmeridge on the Dorset coast in about 2000

Nevertheless, some of us prefer a glider with top rigging.

Gary D flies out from launch at Kimmeridge on the Dorset coast

Flying out from launch

Gary D flying an Airwave Magic 3, at Kimmeridge, on the Dorset coast, in about 2000

Gary D flying his Airwave Magic 3

Hang glider pilots Lucy and Gary in about 2000

Lucy and Gary in about 2000

Lucy’s wing is a Pacific Windcraft Vision Pulse. Its red streamer on the king post indicates that, at this time, she had less than 10 hours flying time after qualifying.

Lucy G about to launch in a Pacific Airwave Pulse at Mere, Wiltshire, England

Lucy G about to launch at Mere, Wiltshire, England in about 2001 (no larger image available)


Art based on a photo by Bob Dear at a hang gliding competition Harting Down in mid-April 2002

Art based on a photo by Bob Dear at a hang gliding competition Harting Down in mid-April 2002

That’s me in the orange puffer jacket. I was co-organizer, or ‘meet head’, of this inter-club competition.

Spring competition Wessex versus Sky Surfers at Harting Down in about 2000

Pilots at the end of the spring competition, a combined event of the Wessex club and the Sky Surfers, at Harting Down in about 2000

Photo of a hang glider maneuvering close to the ground

Gary D beats up the ridge in early 2003. Photo by Dave D.

Ron Smith waiting to launch in a hang glider at Monk's Down in early 2003

Ron Smith waiting to launch at Monk’s Down in early 2003

Ron Smith flying a hang glider at Monk's Down in early 2003

Ron at home in the air at Monk’s Down in early 2003

For an older photo of Ron Smith flying, see Hang gliding 1976 and for a photo of him standing on the hillside with two other pilots, see under Celebrate monks in Hang gliding 2004 and 2005.

Philosopher’s hang glider

(Discus reads like discuss, geddit?)

At Kemble in 2003

“A little more work needed on your line-up, I think, Hoskins.”

My first or second flight in the Aeros Discus. Pic by Dave D.

My first or second flight in the Aeros Discus. Pic by Dave D.

The Aeros Discus outperformed even contemporary ‘topless’ competition gliders in 2003 and up to about 2007, when the newer crop of rigid wings started to appear. Although some pilots disagree with my assessment (not all) I found the Discus somewhat stiff in roll and it seemed to have an odd feel that I call ‘power steering’. It always responded, but, whenever I wanted to increase my roll rate and shifted my weight farther over to effect that need, the glider’s roll rate stayed the same. The Discus has a narrow control frame, as if in recognition of that characteristic.

However, its main drawback in my estimation was its excessive tendency to ‘wind in’ to turns (spiral instability). I largely cured it, initially by using a wider control frame base tube, then by refitting the original tube and adding longer side flying wires. With that minor change, its handling overall was good. And its performance was simply amazing.

Warning: If your glider relies on reflex bridles for emergency dive recovery, increasing dihedral in that way (or decreasing anhedral) is likely to reduce the bridles’ effect. The Discus relies partly on inboard reflex bridles, but the more important outboard struts are unaffected.

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Hang gliding 2004 and 2005

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