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By once&future
#391282
Looks like there's a Mill for sale in the classifieds. I have no association with the seller, but 15 years after selling mine, still feel some nostalgia for flying it. After 3 years of flying the Mill exclusively I decided it wasn't for me and went back to flex wings, but it remains probably the most controllable foot-launched wing I've ever (or will ever) fly.

That said, I never could really get comfortable with the extra couple of steps it required on launch - particularly on the short, high altitude ramps of my favorite sites. Also, though the tip rudders allowed for spot landing with as much precision as I could ever manage in a flex wing, landing the wing on anything other than reasonably smooth terrain was something I never became comfortable with - a significant problem in the heavily brush strewn LZs I frequent.

I don't mean to denigrate the Mill at all. On tow it was far superior to any flex wing I ever flew. Even in turbulent conditions I never had a problem maintaining control either on aerotow or "bumper towing" from a static line on a ground vehicle. If I was a flatland pilot I'd probably still fly one (or perhaps have moved up to a SWIFT-lite). For the sort of flying I like to do, though, it just didn't quite work me.

I know Steve Morris, the designer of the Millennium, frequents this site and can offer all sorts of counter-examples (and cool videos) showing the Mill can do all the things with which I felt uncomfortable. Steve's a fine pilot, a brilliant designer (and an old friend) so I don't want to contradict him. I just wanted to offer a more "typical flex wing pilot's" impression of his baby.
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By Helix3
#391283
Description infers there's a chute packed inside the wing. Where + how big is it?
By once&future
#391284
Helix3 wrote:Description infers there's a chute packed inside the wing. Where + how big is it?
One should ask the seller for specifics, but back when I flew mine a ballistic chute was mounted to the rear hoop/headrest of the hang cage. I used a Quantum 440 for my chute to give you an idea of total size.
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By mlbco
#391290
No arguments from me Fred!

If I were 20 years younger I might take issue with some of the inconvenience factors mentioned but not at my current age. The caveat is, there are no flights I want to fly that I wouldn't fly my Millennium, which is too say I'm a very much toned down recreational pilot these days.

You were around at the beginning of all this when we conceived of and then designed the Swift (1985-1986). The logic for the Swift was that we would push the limit in favor of performance and safety, giving up ease of launch and ease of foot landing. The Millennium was supposed to be a "floater" version of the Swift but that changed when the Exxtacy was released and we needed to increase wingspan and reduce area to stay competitive. The glider is heavier, needs a bit more room to launch, and a smoother area to land. Many sites support this but not all areas do. If there is a clear chunk of slope with 5-10mph (or more) blowing up, I'll take a Millennium over any flex wing. On landing, I'm safer if I can use the wheel so I need a smooth area, no cactus or irregular creek beds for me! I also have no problem in extreme conditions like winds up to 30mph on launch. I never wanted to fly in that stuff in a flex wing but the Millennium made it much easier. I still take my wing to Marina beach once a year to prove to myself it works well in a confined area.

The way I look at this is: Would you like your hassles on launch and (maybe) landing but have a superior experience in the air, or vice versa? I suffered through years of " my flex wing does what it wants, not what I want" and opted for the Class 2 gliders I helped design instead. I would never try to talk someone into one of these gliders, aside from the Aeriane Swift, they aren't in production anymore, but I'm glad I started flying one 25 years ago.

Thanks!

Steve

P.S. The photos below show a production test flight day with 5 Millenniums present, 1999 (#5 flown by me taking the photo!) and also a launch from the ramp at Marina this year.
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By cdobsonus
#391306
I LOVE my Mill!

I also own a U2 and have owned and flown a variety of other hang gliders, but I love the Mill. My U2 only gets flown once or twice a year.

Convenience? Yes, it is heavy and I wouldn't want to have to carry it far to a launch or land too far from a road. On the other hand, I can set up and preflight while my flying buddies are still stuffing battens.

Performance? Crazy. The numbers I've seen published would tell you that unfaired as mine is, it's on par with the topless flexies. I beg to differ. I am NOT a great pilot, yet I find it pretty easy to fly higher, farther, faster, and longer (duration) than most others anytime I fly. And when I land, I am not worn out from rowdy air or a long time in the air.

Landings? I prefer to use the wheels, but I am confident I could foot land if I needed to. So far, I've never found I've needed to even while doing XC's. Because I am so sure I can put it down where I want, I find I am more comfortable on an XC than I was with my topless. Final approach glide slope can be so precisely controlled by deploying both rudders simultaneously, it's child's play.

Thank you Steve and company for designing and building what I believe is the best glider on the planet for my wants and needs! Although I haven't flown a Swift. Yet. :-)
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By Toomb
#391311
Would anybody be willing to share a history of the millennium with a newbie? Why is such a wonderful glider no longer in production? Why were so few made? Just curious why such a great glider isn't being produced any longer.
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By Helix3
#391315
Toomb wrote:Would anybody be willing to share a history of the millennium with a newbie? Why is such a wonderful glider no longer in production? Why were so few made? Just curious why such a great glider isn't being produced any longer.
Asked SM the same thing. If I remember correctly, he said there wasn't enough of a market. New those things cost over $10k.
By alexMill
#402051
Toomb wrote:
Fri Sep 16, 2016 6:46 pm
Would anybody be willing to share a history of the millennium with a newbie? Why is such a wonderful glider no longer in production? Why were so few made? Just curious why such a great glider isn't being produced any longer.
They are made in Russia. Conceptually similar, not a copy. It is called Egoist. Communicated with the manufacturer .... from 15K $
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By Toomb
#402056
How ironic that this thread was resurected ? I was just watching old hang gliding videos from the mid 1970's , and saw someone fly a Mitchell wing and another fixed wing glider. Again i wanted to ask here why these designs have faded away. A millenium for $ 10000-15000 doesnt seem unreasonable.....
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By miraclepieco
#402063
cdobsonus wrote:
Fri Sep 16, 2016 12:43 pm
Performance? Crazy. The numbers I've seen published would tell you that unfaired as mine is, it's on par with the topless flexies. I beg to differ. I am NOT a great pilot, yet I find it pretty easy to fly higher, farther, faster, and longer (duration) than most others anytime I fly. And when I land, I am not worn out from rowdy air or a long time in the air.

Yes indeed. Rigid wings turn sled ride days into soaring days, scratchy days into XC days, XC days into record days.

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By BBJCaptain
#402087
I couldn't agree more with Fred and Steve!

Rigids is what got me back into HG and I wouldn't fly anything else! I just love my Millennium!

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