2015 Xmas Season Wind

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2015 Xmas Season Wind

Postby sd » Thu Dec 24, 2015 9:21 am

I don't fly a small speed wing PG, but I do recognize the appeal. It seems the optimum thrill might be gully flying on snow runners down steep mountains with multiple touch and go transitions between ground carving and pulling away from terra firma into big hoppy jumps? Something I can fantasize about but never actually do for a number of reasons, including the likelihood I'd screw up and get diverted by a hard impact, but I do like watching the videos.

We are in the midst of a string of windy days at Bates (plus Wilcox, The Brotherhood and Ventura Avenue). The PG speed wings enable PG pilots to fly in stronger conditions and execute short pendulum gyrations (the period and speed of a pendulum is mathematically related to the suspension length), however, it is my perception that the optimal aircraft for windy Bates days is a small HG rather than a PG.

Small speed wing PGs can do maybe 30ish plus? Small HGs loaded heavy get much better sink and glide performance. They can go 60ish plus. Like a small PG compared to a full sized soaring glider, a small HG is much easier to control than a full sized HG with more roll authority and faster rotation rates, so you can do snappy closely coupled aerobatic maneuvers. It often blows 30ish in the Channel, so penetration is a typical issue for speed wing PGs pilots, plus launching even a tiny PG in the wind can be technically challenging. It rarely blows anything close to 60 (although the Ventura and Santa Clara river mouth reporting stations were clocking 45ish the other day), so a small fast HG has a speed range comfort margin offering less anxiety. HGs are also much easier to launch in the wind (with the proven technique, which entails getting down over the edge so the entire aircraft is enveloped in the same flow without the lip transition issues).

Small PGs look like fun in the right conditions, but their optimal operating window is narrow. Small HGs have a much wider operating range plus they outperform speed wing PGs in almost any condition. I don't think anyone is currently producing a small rigid wing HG? but they have the potential to be super snappy at the higher airspeeds, plus the troublesome weight of a full sized rigid wing HG would be reduced and more manageable.

Just some food for thought. Some of the current speed wing PG pilots are actually HG defectors. Perhaps they (myself included?) might want to dust off their old harness and consider a small HG for windy days? The existing PG pilots that are considering a speed wing might want to give Willy (local HG instructor) a call?
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Re: 2015 Xmas Season Wind

Postby gracecab » Thu Dec 24, 2015 9:58 am

I for one would split the cost of a HG with any local HG wannabes for these windy Bates days. Each vessel has its own perks and drawbacks, but I like the ridgid wings for super windy times... though watchin Aaron swoop around on his miniwing makes it very tempting too. We have options!
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Ventura, CA
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Re: 2015 Xmas Season Wind

Postby Forger » Thu Dec 24, 2015 11:44 am

Last year I told Steve Pearson of Wills Wing that they should market a hang glider speed wing. I could see having a lot of fun on high wind laminar days or even light wind days with smooth long LZs. A small bullet proof wing could probably be made for less than 40 lbs. He wasn't the least bit interested. :(
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