Hang gliding drawings
I no longer have the original painting from which this photocopy was made. As best as I recall, it had a plain light blue sail and I saw it on one of the rare visits to Kimmeridge by the Birdman (of Wiltshire) team in early or mid 1977. The ‘radialized’ tip battens and that there are three battens each side, indicate that it is likely a development of the late model Firebird, but one that pre-dated the Firebird S with its larger number of chord-wise battens equally spaced across the span. See Firebird under External links for more.
I have no record of when I drew these images and I cannot be sure of their accuracy, but I believe them to be about right.
The Manta Fledgling was a ‘semi rigid’, which actually means a rigid wing using drag rudders for turn control, but made of aluminium tube, polyester sailcloth, and steel cables, much as flexwings are made. Although its wing was efficient, all the extra cables that held it together generated much drag, so its performance advantage over the top flexwings of the time was not huge. In addition, it was more difficult to transport and more complex than a flexwing.
The Super Scorpion, made by Hiway of Abergavenny, Wales, was said to be based on the Moyes (Australia) Maxi.
Note that the Southdown Sailwings Sigma has a very wide nose angle. Instead of crosstubes to brace the leading edges, it uses a bowsprit and cables.
As mentioned earlier, the Comet was not the first flexwing hang glider to enclose its crosstubes inside the sail. However, it is not much of an exaggeration to say that the UP Comet’s blend of performance, simplicity, and handling rendered all other hang gliders scrap when it appeared in 1979.
Chronology in History of hang gliding
Firebird in Birdman and Solar Wings of Wiltshire, England on Hang Gliding History