Hang gliding 2020
This page continues from Hang gliding 2018 part 2. (I have nothing for 2019.)
Cameras: Fuji FinePix HS 50 EXR and Fuji X100F
I took these photos at the old rifle range hill at Mere, Wiltshire, UK, in June 2020.
The glider here is a Moyes (Australia) Litespeed RX3.
And this is a light-weight single surface (exposed cross-tubes) Freedom made by North Wing of Chelan, Washington State, USA. In the variable conditions at this site on this day, with sink and patchy lift, the highly maneuverable Freedom outperformed even the rigid wings most of the time.
The red streamer on this Aeros (Ukraine) Target indicates that the pilot has fewer than ten hours air time.
Conditions became too strong for paragliding later in the afternoon
Hamish and Tim were among several flying rigid hang gliders. Unlike flex-wings, rigids use conventional control surfaces for turn control, relying on weight-shift only for pitch control.
Tim has the trailing edge flaps lowered. They increase the camber of the wing, which increases both lift and drag. The result is slower airspeed and a steeper approach, which is easier to judge and it reduces the risk of over-shooting the chosen landing spot.
Cameras: GoPro Hero 3 silver edition, Fuji X100F, and Fuji FinePix HS50EXR
Glider: Wills Wing 145 U-2
I took these photos at Bell Hill near Blandford Forum (that’s a town, not a web site) in north Dorset, UK, in July 2020.
See under External link for a short video clip by Roly the sailmaker of my launch, from which the accompanying screenshot is taken. I notice my right wing is slightly low. By the look of it, that was a natural correction, likely from the wind coming from the right, but initially pulled round by the bushes, so it seems to be coming straight in. (That is retrospective speculation because we do these things automatically without recalling the details.)
For the air-to-air photos I used a camera mounted on the control frame.
As well as two camera set-ups on the glider, one of which I had not tried before, my variometer (an aid to staying in rising air) had stopped working and I failed to check it earlier in the year. Fortunately, Gary D lent me his. In addition, this was my first flight since 2017…
Tony W specked out to near cloudbase in his Avian Rio, but he landed at the bottom just as I was carrying across to the launch slope. In addition, the sole paraglider in the air was sinking back nearer us standing on the hill. However, some minutes later, a flock of birds spiraled up directly in front of the hill. I was somewhat slow in reacting, but when I launched, there was enough rising air in the vicinity to get me above the top.
The 18-inch mechanical cable release to the new camera malfunctioned part way through the flight. Fortunately, it stuck in the on position and the camera just kept firing every couple of seconds or so. I headed out to the landing field after 20 minutes of aerial photography combined with struggling to find and stay in fragmented thermals rising from the two spurs and a prominent tree patch in the middle of the bowl-shaped ridge to the right of launch.
It ain’t over ’till it’s over. I had applied some ‘VB’ — that is, I had pulled a chord that flattens the sail a bit in flight — which improves performance at the cost of stiffening roll control. For landing, I want no VB applied, but I had attached Gary’s variometer in such a way that it prevented me from releasing the chord from its cleat. (Luckily, I had not applied much VB.) The air at ground level was moderately turbulent and I had to use strong pitch and roll corrections to keep the glider into wind and level. I landed at a swift jog after 25 minutes in the air.
I took these photos at Bell Hill in September 2020.
Rotational inertia is proportional to the square of the distance from the center, so I have changed to this simpler and lighter bracket for my GoPro. Furthermore, here I mounted it on an inboard strut. The view is not as good, but the glider’s handling should be better. (Whether it makes a significant difference, I do not know.)
This topic is continued in Hang gliding 2021.
Video clip by Roly the sailmaker on Facebook of my launch in July