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All things hang gliding. This is the main forum. New users, introduce yourself.

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By Peregrination
#399224
Hello, I'm Tobias. I haven't yet gotten a hang glider, but am a big hiking fan, and have a question about flex wings. Why has there not been glider in development that can fold up more portably than the length of your car? I would love the idea of flying to more remote locations in the mountains and packing the craft up for a day hike, than tipping it toward the wing again off a cliff to soar home. I understand the idealism of this, but it is a genuine question. Of course there are structural issues of keeping a wing stable when it can fold along its edge, but I can imagine several ways it could be done, at least basically. I can't be the only one who has thought of this. I'm coming here asking for the experience you all have, and if any word has gotten around if anything is being done about this. It would still be a very heavy pack, especially if adding a small motor for extra push out of more dense areas, but it's an interesting idea to me.
#399225
It's a matter of engineering trade-offs. What are you willing to give up in order to get smaller pack dimensions? Weight? Cost? Performance? Durability? Set-up time.

There's really very little motivation to develop a backpack hang glider because there already exists another backpack aircraft. Paragliders are more portable, lighter, cheaper, and quicker to set up. Hang gliders perform slightly better, handle turbulence better, are more durable, and look way cooler. Pick the aircraft with the characteristics that most appeal to you.

Or better yet, learn to fly both. Then pick the aircraft that best suits the day.
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By DMarley
#399232
Yes, in fact, Wills Wing produces a collapsible hang glider. It's called a Falcon. But you have to order it built for "short packing."
It takes a bit to reassemble the glider from it's short pack condition, but it's do-able. Short pack Falcons can be as short as 6 feet long in packed condition, though at around 45 to 54 lbs they will give you a good workout while climbing up the mountain. Assembling the short-packed glider will likely take you some hours in good working conditions, longer in unimproved conditions.
Other HG manufacturers also have short-packed gliders, though some like Moyes are not so short.


https://www.willswing.com/hang-gliders/falcon-4/

Launching off an unknown mountain launch site without any local knowledge of conditions is folly for even expert pilots. Especially if the 'launch' is newly explored without any previous local knowledge. But it's been done, so it's not impossible.
Same with landing, though a good XC pilot can usually locate an appropriate spot of clear field and land safely most of the time.
The point is, even if you are thinking about humping a glider AND other gear up a mountain , you'd better be well versed in the mountain's launching area and conditions and possess advanced piloting skills. You'd most definitely want to do this with at least one strong mate as well as good comms for the area's conditions (cell phone, 2-meter radio, etc).
#399235
I'm dubious about the feasibility of backpacking even the 6 ft short pack wings. It seems like if you're that ambitious, and have a hiking buddy, it wouldn't be that much worse to each carry 1 end of the regular 18 ft pack length.

If the goal is to access remote flying sites with a hang glider, another option to consider is FLPHG. Never mind the hike, just fly to where you want to go under power :-)
#399250
RobertKesselring wrote:
Sat Jun 24, 2017 11:34 am
I'm dubious about the feasibility of backpacking even the 6 ft short pack wings. It seems like if you're that ambitious, and have a hiking buddy, it wouldn't be that much worse to each carry 1 end of the regular 18 ft pack length.

If the goal is to access remote flying sites with a hang glider, another option to consider is FLPHG. Never mind the hike, just fly to where you want to go under power :-)
I've heard a lot of chatter about the FLPHG. Someone even told me you can take off from anywhere, no slope needed. Is it just a hang glider with a motor? Can it behave like a normal hang glider too and use the motor only for boosts? What other advantages does this plane have?
#399251
It's a harness with a motor that can be used with most existing ordinary hang gliders.

Yes, you can take off from a flat field with no slope. Once at altitude, you can shut the motor off and fly it like a regular hang glider, if you start to sink out, you can re-start it (If you bought the electric start option) and motor back up. Also, you have the option to just fly around under power all the time, if you just want to sight see. Performance is limited. If you live at high altitude, the motor, prop, and your hang glider are all less efficient and you may not have enough performance to fly, especially on hot and humid days.

So the up-sides are...
No more sled runs.
Lots more potential flying sites.
Can fly in stable air if you don't like turbulence.
No need to fly close to terrain seeking ridge lift (This is a HUGE factor for me, as I am very risk averse)

Downsides...
Cost. If you buy new and pay for training you can easily spend $8k+, assuming you already have a wing.
Noise
Not covered by USHPA insurance.

Here is a good site maintained by one of my mentors who has been flying FLPHG for several years now. He's written a couple articles about it that give a lot more detail. http://wind-drifter.com/

Also, there's a whole subforum here devoted to it.

Disclaimer: I have not yet flown FLPHG, though I have done enough research and talked to enough people who have to decide to buy one. Should be arriving next month :-)
#399252
My response to this sort of question is: "Why do you need to backpack with a hang glider?"

Hang gliders are capable of flying deeper into the wilderness than you are capable of hiking. It easily feasible to take off from a relatively nearby hang gliding site and soar many miles (or hundreds of miles) into remote back country. The problem is, most pilots would rather think of elaborate methods of hiking a glider than take the time and effort to make themselves into a good enough pilots to soar their glider virtually anywhere they want to go.

In my hang glider I have traversed innumerable Wilderness Areas and National Parks, locations not accessible by any other means. I have overflown lava beds, volcanoes, lakes, deserts, waterfalls and glaciers. I have looked down on wildlife, hikers, backpackers, cross-country skiers, and motorcyclists who were no doubt shocked to see me soaring above a location that had taken them perhaps days to reach. I have also flown much higher, longer, and farther with a hang glider alone than with any powered unit (powered harness or trike).

Who needs to hike it in? Work on improving your cross country flying skills instead.
#399255
How low can you get with the glider? It's all up to how much danger you are able to tolerate of course, but are the very lightest gliders able to kite on the wind, to go as slow as possible? I know dune gooning lets you do that, but of course it requires strong coastal headwinds to keep afloat. If I'm sounding dreamy, just remember that I have not actually flown a hang glider yet, so nothing is exactly tied down by experience, ahah.
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By DMarley
#399258
It would appear that the few that have responded to Tobias have not bothered to understand his first post. He actually likes to hike! OMG! Could it be that someone has slightly different interests than the majority of these lazy pilots that only wanna fly?
I'm with ya, Tobias, in a way. I enjoy running mountains. It keeps my blood pressure and weight in check and legs and heart in shape. Plus I get a large charge from jumping boulders and rocks and downed trees (I know, strange pleasures at 54 years young). I also routinely carry some ballast to add to the challenge. Around 40 - 45 lbs when I'm feeling randy. That's for roughly 6 to 10 miles of running up and down the mountain of the day. At least I did before I tore the peroneus tertius tendon in my foot. That's healed well enough now, so I'm slowly getting my strength and endurance back. Ran up and down Pilot Mountain last weekend just fine.
Running always allows me time to daydream while navigating the rocky trails. One of my daydreams is to carry my hang glider to the top instead of the ballast. I thought it would be best to do this early in the morning so few would see me sweating and wonder what the **** I'm carrying. That, and an 18 ft long object on my shoulder on narrow twisting trails is hardly safe for anyone else.
There is a nice West-facing rocky cliff that would do fine for setup and launch. Plenty of LZ's within an easy glide without help from thermals. And the altitude difference is around 1100 ft. Nice.
But of course, this is just a brief daydream while huffing and puffing and sweating as if taking a shower on a hot summer's day running up the mountain. Doing this would be completely illegal. At least on that mountain. Oh what fun!
Yup.... just the goal I needed to motivate myself to get back into bad-ass shape. Thanks Tobias.
#399260
I like to hike too, but I can't imagine an enjoyable hike with an 18 ft, 60 lb pole on my shoulder. Besides that, I'd be concerned about creasing the mylar and friction damage to the dacron since it would only have 1 point of support and be bouncing and moving around the whole way.

Seems to me that PG is the obvious choice for hike-and-fly. Especially if the intent is an early morning sled run with no turbulence, but having never flown a PG, take my opinion with a grain of salt. :)
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By TomGalvin
#399265
Brace mountain in New York is popular with paragliders, but a few "crazy" hang glider pilots make the trek too. It's about a half mile hike if you get a lift on a club approved vehicle, if the jeep track is not washed out. It's about 2 miles in summer without the ride, and 3 miles when the access road is closed in winter. Several of us feel Brace is worth the effort.

Northwing is developing a short pack version of the skysurfer that sounds like it will be a good hike and fly candidate.
User avatar
By DMarley
#399281
RobertKesselring wrote:
Sat Jun 24, 2017 10:19 pm
I like to hike too, but I can't imagine an enjoyable hike with an 18 ft, 60 lb pole on my shoulder. Besides that, I'd be concerned about creasing the mylar and friction damage to the dacron since it would only have 1 point of support and be bouncing and moving around the whole way.
The idea of an 'enjoyable' hike is very subjective. If the goal is attained amid struggle and pain, then some would call that enjoyable.
I ran up and down Pilot Mtn again today in 88 degree heat. Nice and warm. It hurt. My foot is not completely healed. And I swear the boulders were bigger and taller. And more downed trees to vault over. But damn I had fun. I enjoyed the struggle immensely. And now I'm pooped, relaxed, and take solace in that I again conquered that mountain with a good elapsed time and am well on my way back to bad-assery. :roflcat: Oh, you laugh? Ok.

I think it would be a real hoot of a challenge with a hang glider on my shoulder after I'm back in shape. The harness would be wrapped around the glider bag as padding and chafe protection. It could be do-able. But..... it's a state park.... the rangers would be very displeased with someone who would attempt the heinous act of flying off their rock. Perhaps I'll practice with a small boulder in my back pack. Just in case.



Dan Racanelli --"Just the attempt will be the adventure." Exactly.
viewtopic.php?t=5510
#399286
DMarley wrote:
Sun Jun 25, 2017 8:45 pm
it's a state park.... the rangers would be very displeased with someone who would attempt the heinous act of flying off their rock.
Might want to look up VA state park regs.
In WV, specialized recreational activities like hang gliding are perfectly OK on state park land. You do have to call an office ahead of time and tell them what, when, and where, and you do have to have the relevant training to do it safely. Given that though, the call is a formality. They want you to enjoy the park. That's what it's there for.
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By flyingcat
#399287
The short answer is: you can't hike & fly with a hang glider.

Even though there are hang gliders that short pack to even 2m and are extremely easy to rig up & down and make no compromises regarding handling nor performance (I'm talking about the Finsterwalder-Charly Perfex and the Funfex), they are quite heavy machines. Mine is about 21Kg plus the weight of your harness + emergency chute combo which is between 4 and 8Kg, you're going to be walking out and about with ~30Kg on your back, up a mountain, for hours. It's just not going to work. Or at least, in my opinion, it's not going to be worth the effort.
These bags that come with these gliders are not the greatest for carrying on your back. It's too clumsy and you have to walk at a certain angle. Works for 1Km tops. After that your back is going to start killing you.

I'm sorry and sad to say this but hang gliders are just not meant for hike & fly ;(
User avatar
By TomGalvin
#399291
You can get a glider, chute, harness, water combo down to about 25kg. It just takes money. That's about 5kg more than what I take for a week backpacking on the continental divide at 12,000ft/4000m. It is not going to be worth the effort of the majority of hang glider pilots.
#399424
Ran across this picture of something you might be able to use on a hang gliding hike'n'fly...

If you made the joints in such a way that it could be disassembled, the tubing could be carried in your harness. Use wheels that can be installed on your base tube.
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By flyingcat
#399427
RobertKesselring wrote:
Sat Jul 01, 2017 10:04 pm
Ran across this picture of something you might be able to use on a hang gliding hike'n'fly...

If you made the joints in such a way that it could be disassembled, the tubing could be carried in your harness. Use wheels that can be installed on your base tube.
This is great. I have seen one like this IRL made out of old uprights (nicely cut, of course) but if one could make something like this picture, but replacing the thin metal axis/rod with the speedbar and the wheels of the same glider, that would be great! then you can reuse most of the parts from the glider and the tubing can go in the harness when gliding down.
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By raquo
#399458
You're asking a bunch of hang gliders why they aren't paragliders. There are many historical, technical and business reasons and you're not going to get a full picture here.

We are stuck in a local maximum with HG design – all the gliders are virtually the same design with different performance vs handling tradeoffs, the competition is almost entirely about getting an extra half point of glide or extra half pound of weight or a slightly better handling than before.

Most people tend to think that this local maximum is the best we can do, or that it's good enough. And our gliders are made by a few well established companies which have a lot to lose on radical innovations and not much to gain. And individual designers don't have the knowledge, resources, or risk tolerance to take their ideas past paper.

If you really want a hikeable hang glider, your only choice right now is a Finsterwalder-Charly glider. None of the other currently produced hang gliders are designed for routine disassembly down to 2 meters.

Or just take up a paraglider. They're quite performant and safe nowadays if you have a head on your shoulders.

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