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By dbotos
#402334
Let me just state for the record that I am under no disillusionment that either of these ideas would likely be financially feasible as a business venture - they would have to be one of those rich person / lottery winner extravagancies.

Idea 1: The 360 training hill. Just what it sounds like - a decent-sized hill plopped in the middle of a big enough piece of flat(ish) land that would allow you to launch in any direction (and also have enough room to land out from the hill in that same direction), assuming the wind speed and gust factor were okay. Apparently there's a manmade ski hill up in Canada that is just plopped in the middle of some flat land:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackstra ... p_Ski_Hill

https://steprobin.files.wordpress.com/2 ... g_8648.jpg

https://steprobin.files.wordpress.com/2 ... g_8660.jpg

Building a hill from scratch would require expensive heavy machinery (and their maintenance), lots of diesel fuel, and operators to actually move the dirt. Costs could be minimized if you limited how far you had to move the dirt. Maybe dig a man-made lake nearby (to get the dirt for the hill) that could be used for wakeboarding (thinking one of those overhead tow parks), kite surfing, and/or small sailboat instruction/recreation.

Idea 2: The Pivoting Ramp Hill. If you only need a strip to run down that happens to be facing into whatever the current wind direction is, why not have just that? Picture a 30-foot diameter tower ~100 feet tall. Hanging off that tower and able to pivot around it would be a 30-foot wide ramp structure, guessing at about 30 degrees to the flat ground. The top of the ramp would have "fangs" that kind of hug around the tower so there's not a big gap there. Obviously, there'd be some safety considerations, like users not falling off the sides of the ramp or the top of the tower. Wonder if this or the man-made dirt hill would end up being more expensive...
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#402343
Definitely a "Not for profit" proposal. However, this whole flying thing has it's roots with the hill that Otto Lilienthal had custom built for his gliders.

http://www.lilienthal-museum.de/olma/ewright.htm

Maybe, just maybe the "Build it and they will come" theory could work here.
#402346
Yes we do need training hills! I feel lack of reasonable training hills is a primary cause of this sport's decline.
This can only be done if the right people set the priority and purchase the land.
#402347
That's why Bobby Bailey designed the Dragonfly. That's why Brian Dahl and Dave Broyles, the fathers of scooter towing, put a lot of effort into developing their mode of launching. (smart-ash reply)

But, I completely understand your point, David. Scooter and aerotowing have little relation to FSL or cliff launching.
Perhaps creating a tower out of some 40 ft shipping containers stacked upon each other and welded into a solid structure. I saw a video some years ago of a series of containers situated with their longitudinal axis oriented in a vertical position, providing an 80 ft repelling/training tower. Would require a small crane to lift the gliders onto the top platform. Wind conditions would have to be extremely mild for safe manipulation of the glider.



...Or, go get a few runs off the training hills at LMFP. Their hills make excellent use of the typical, daily breezes at their location. Then, while you're there and checked out by the instructors, launch off their cliff.

We'll get to Boomer sometime soon, David! I promise.
:)
#402359
flybop wrote: Definitely a "Not for profit" proposal. However, this whole flying thing has it's roots with the hill that Otto Lilienthal had custom built for his gliders.

http://www.lilienthal-museum.de/olma/ewright.htm
That is great - never knew about it. Found some more info / pics of it on this page. 15 meters (~50 ft) high.

https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/fliegeberg
#402360
mtpilot wrote: Yes we do need training hills! I feel lack of reasonable training hills is a primary cause of this sport's decline.
This can only be done if the right people set the priority and purchase the land.
It would definitely be nice to have more hills around to train/practice on. Land cost could definitely be a significant cost depending on the features it has and proximity to centers of population.
#402361
DMarley wrote: That's why Bobby Bailey designed the Dragonfly. That's why Brian Dahl and Dave Broyles, the fathers of scooter towing, put a lot of effort into developing their mode of launching. (smart-ash reply)

But, I completely understand your point, David. Scooter and aerotowing have little relation to FSL or cliff launching.
Perhaps creating a tower out of some 40 ft shipping containers stacked upon each other and welded into a solid structure. I saw a video some years ago of a series of containers situated with their longitudinal axis oriented in a vertical position, providing an 80 ft repelling/training tower. Would require a small crane to lift the gliders onto the top platform. Wind conditions would have to be extremely mild for safe manipulation of the glider.

...Or, go get a few runs off the training hills at LMFP. Their hills make excellent use of the typical, daily breezes at their location. Then, while you're there and checked out by the instructors, launch off their cliff.

We'll get to Boomer sometime soon, David! I promise.
:)
Doug,

Ha ha - can you tell it's been too long since I've flown? I got bit by the foot-launch bug at Kitty Hawk this summer. Running with a scooter tow until you're just running through the air is fun, but there's just something so cool about going from running to flying all on your own.

I like that rappelling shoot-house. That got me thinking - I wonder if you could use some hollow things to save on how much dirt you'd have to move to create the hill (people often do this with big culvert pipes when making dirt bike jumps). Like a bunch of those shipping container stacked together (maybe connected internally like rooms in a house) and covered with some minimal amount of dirt. Or build a big geodesic dome as a hollow inside the hill. Maybe one of those rebar and shotcrete ones (might have to use some pretty big rebar or make rebar trusses). Different construction method, but here's one that was down in Antarctica (article is 3 pages - click at bottom for other 2):

https://antarcticsun.usap.gov/features/ ... fm?id=1984

David
#402404
I've seen grandstands mounted on wheels. Put the word out that you're looking for such a thing, somewhere someone is trying to find a way to get rid of theirs.

Get all of the pilots to donate their old obsolete glider frames and build a structure that can be dragged around to face the wind.

When riding through the mountains in the Eastern US I saw a lot of places that could be flown if you had a "cherry picker" truck. Put pilot with glider on a ramp installed where the "bucket" was and lift him up over the tops of the trees for launching.

Funny all the crazy stuff I can think of, especially with this good medicine I bought.
#402408
That ramp on the cherry-picker concept gave me another idea: Another round tower 30 feet in diameter x 100 feet tall. A ramp of suitable length would be mounted on a track structure that encircles the tower. The track structure goes up and down like an elevator and the ramp can ride around on the track to get facing into the wind. You'd want some good locking mechanisms to keep the track structure at the desired height and the ramp at the desired angle. Plus, you'd have to have confidence in the pilot's ability to get airborne before they run out of ramp so they don't do a Wile E. Coyote off the end. :thumbsup:
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#402409
You guys must be on the same medicine I bought.

The future of ultralight gliding, (and that may include "hang gliding"), will be electric motor gliding. If it makes you feel better you can say "ultralight soaring".

Hillside launching and towing up will still exist, but I'm betting that motor gliding will dominate.
#402410
David..
Nice ideas.
Only 100 ft hight?!? That's a kiddy hill. Like Boomer (a small training hill near us).
And the expense! I hate to dissuade dreaming, and I hope that I don't, but...

Believe me, you will launch off of Boomer perhaps only a few times at most before you will progress to something like Big Walker Mountain. Your landings I've seen are solid. It's just the FSL AoA that you need to accustom yourself to. Once you re-familiarize yourself, it'll be a quick transition.
It's the LZ that may concern you out the most. It did me after coming from the big, flat LZ at LMFP. But I did just fine and so will you. Just keep calm, and keep your speed up no matter how fast that hill side seems to approach your mortal body. That's why at Blue Sky I was practicing my aggressive diving approaches and sometimes pissing-off Steve, rather than doing sedate approaches and landings like he preferred. With some scolding, I kinda succumbed to his wishes since it was his party, but ya still gotta be aggressive in the approaches..... a pilot is never is 100% sure of what the conditions are closer to ground and it helps to punch through that crap and gradient with plenty of airspeed. Especially at BWM's LZ, as well as many other LZ's where we (and you will) fly. It's just good practice in order to stay in one piece and achieve consistently good landings. (how'd I get here from the tower discussion?)

While it is possible, it would not be probable that a typical pilot that would be interested in this kind of tower launch, would be able to soar from this launch. And SOARING is the name of the game. Certainly not Gliding. What the frack?... Why are our ships not referred to as Hang Soarers? Or even Hang Sailers? Most sailplane pilots refer to their ships as sailplanes.... meaning that they can and do harness the currents of the air. Gliding only denotes falling at a slower rate than free-fall. Neophytes and laymen refer to sailplanes as gliders, as do some pilots that don't know any better. (I'm full of silly opinions)

I like the boom-crane idea, 'cept the acceleration of pilot and wing may swing the boom in the opposite direction. Wile-E miss-adventures there. Unless perhaps guy wires were strung to the ground. BIG boom truck. In cammo livery. Commando hang sailing. I like it.

Serious medicine for sure whether we ingest it or not! In David's case, his is all natural.
#402412
Lazypilot,

Electric propulsion will be dope when the battery and motor technology gets to the point where it's light, efficient, safe, and cost-effective enough for HG applications. Having on-demand power without the maintenance and sometimes finicky-ness of gas engines will be great. Not to mention self-launching from flat ground offering a lot of flight opportunities.

Doug,

What got me thinking about more training/practice hills (and it ideally not dependent on a certain wind direction range) is two-fold:

1. It would open up the sport to more people. It seems like there's so many hurdles and uphill climbs to get into this sport. One less would certainly be welcome.

2. For existing pilots to have a place to practice launches and landings, try different gear, and just have some "play" time. Regarding the latter, it seems like in life sometimes we get swept along in making "progress" - trying to get to that next step. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure soaring is awesome and I'm looking forward to it when I get to that point. But I remember how much fun I was having 20 feet off the ground on my first scooter lesson or foot-launching the low-performance Eaglet off the steep end of the big dune at Kitty Hawk and making a bird-of-prey landing on a little bump of sand with a tuft of grass on the top of it. It'd be nice to have options - fly the big sites when conditions are right, but also have somewhere to foster new pilots, keep skills sharp, and have some low-pressure fun.

I'm all for the dive-it-in landings. I'd rather have more airspeed than less, especially anywhere close to the ground.

I think my thoughts may be more guided by withdrawl recently than ingestion! :wink:

David
#402417
It's almost so bad that ya just wanna go out and purchase that paramotor rig, dontchya?!?
I was watching some guy named Gott and his paramotors recently on yt. I like his flying style, all except his way-too-close proximity flying. He keeps his airspeed up, especially on approach.
It all looks quite easy. And convenient. No wonder so many newbs are attracted to paragliding and motoring rather than hang gliding.
The funny thing is, though, many times when an experienced PG pilot takes his/her first tandem on a HG, their eyes are opened and the lightbulb gets really bright and all of a sudden they don't view us as dinosaurs any longer. Next thing you know, they're taking HG lessons. Well, ok, not always.
I'm not saying we have to come up with a new glider that compacts down to a backpack sized package. It's difficult and pricey enough to design and manufacture for decent performance within a large package.

IMMHO (right), what is needed are more places that are similar to LMFP if we want to grow the sport. They have no shortage of students, there. No shortage of flying opportunities or sites, either. And the saving grace is that they are located near a good-sized metropolis. And no matter what ills some believe of Matt, he's done a yeoman's job developing that place from a washed-out valley with a crappy launch, all the way through to making it an excellent and safe flying resort for pilots, families, students, tourists, employees, campers, etc. On the other hand, I've heard some tales about Matt that would possibly make Trump blush, and to say we need to clone Matt would be overkill I think. But you get the picture. Until you've witnessed the awesome spectacle of LMFP and all it's flying goodness, all it's open, FRIENDLY, experienced pilots conversing and disseminating knowledge to newbs, the parties, the comradery, the fun, even on a warm autumn's day, you'll never know how much fun you've been missing while not actually soaring. This is what really helps attract new people to the HG lifestyle. It's other awesome people who are easy to be around. Yeah, flying is awesome too, but you have to land sometime, and when there's fun people to be around, landing is just the beginning. So there, there's my plug for LMFP. And other future resorts like it. That's how we need to be building the sport. IMMHO. right.

But then there are others who don't want all the camradery, and other, more experienced pilots ready to share their ideas.... no, they want to be the (not so) big fish in the tiny pond. So then you get the very small clubs that only accept a pilot if he/she has all the right credentials. And bows low to the club gods. And they certainly don't want to expand their club because it may make the launch a bit more crowded. And more possibilities of accidents. And over time, with the wrong policies, that quaint, little launch will become a hotbed of activity. Oh, God save the queen.

This is a good part of why HG is not as popular as PG. PG pilots are a different breed. Their more open. They're not as rigid (figuratively). Their smaller clubs operate more like the LMFP model in my mind. The PG'ers I've talked to and flown with have a much more easier-going attitude in all things. They don't get all pissed off at one another when some pilot makes one bad decision followed by good decisions.
Of course I'm writing in generalities, but I've seen some real winners in the HG arena that I haven't seen much of in the PG'ers side of the air. Perhaps many of the HGer's have become older than their birthdays would suggest.

:)
#402419
USHPA promotes paragliding not training hills for hang gliders. Someone has to buy the hill since the ludicrous
stigma of hang gliding and all it's current legal trappings prevents someone from letting us use land. If you have
to motorize hang gliding it's no longer much fun for me.
#402451
Doug,

Tell me about it - been following Tucker Gott for a while now and watching his videos, longing for some adventure-type flying like that but in a HG. I'm imagining it's like when I was teenager before I had a car and used to hop on a bike or skateboard and just set off by myself or with some friends and ended up 20 different places along the way on a journey that didn't really have a set destination to begin with.

The resort model is a great idea. Things for pilots to do when the conditions aren't right and things for their family/friends who came along with them to do even when they are. If you had/dug a lake, you could do all the water-based wind and powersports too. Throw in some mountain bike and board trails, ziplines, and ropes courses, etc. Games, music, swimming pool, archery, airguns - the list goes on. It could be like the ultimate summer camp.

This is probably not politically correct, but I get the feeling that the PG crowd seems to be more the farmer's-market, sandal-wearing, Subaru-covered-in-bumper-stickers kinda crowd. All the PG pilots I've met have been nice. I'm sure both sides of the free flight spectrum have their share of nice folks and then the people that you want to not make eye contact with and pretend you don't know.

David
#402452
mtpilot wrote: USHPA promotes paragliding not training hills for hang gliders. Someone has to buy the hill since the ludicrous
stigma of hang gliding and all it's current legal trappings prevents someone from letting us use land. If you have
to motorize hang gliding it's no longer much fun for me.
Hang gliding seems like it's 1% running down the hill to launch and 99% fighting the uphill battle to get there in the first place with the logistics of getting trained, transporting and storing equipment of an insanely awkward aspect ratio that most architects and vehicle designers never consider (and why would they with the relatively small number of participants), keeping sites open (let alone opening a new site), legal and insurance stuff, association politics (including the other form of free flight), etc. If I wasn't a stubborn half-Italian and didn't fall in love with the feeling I got during my first lesson, I would have quit a long time ago.

I think it's been too long of a winter - someone pass some of that medicine you guys keep talking about! :?

David
#402453
dbotos wrote:
Tue Feb 27, 2018 12:41 pm
Doug,

Tell me about it - been following Tucker Gott for a while now and watching his videos, longing for some adventure-type flying like that but in a HG. I'm imagining it's like when I was teenager before I had a car and used to hop on a bike or skateboard and just set off by myself or with some friends and ended up 20 different places along the way on a journey that didn't really have a set destination to begin with.

The resort model is a great idea. Things for pilots to do when the conditions aren't right and things for their family/friends who came along with them to do even when they are. If you had/dug a lake, you could do all the water-based wind and powersports too. Throw in some mountain bike and board trails, ziplines, and ropes courses, etc. Games, music, swimming pool, archery, airguns - the list goes on. It could be like the ultimate summer camp.

This is probably not politically correct, but I get the feeling that the PG crowd seems to be more the farmer's-market, sandal-wearing, Subaru-covered-in-bumper-stickers kinda crowd. All the PG pilots I've met have been nice. I'm sure both sides of the free flight spectrum have their share of nice folks and then the people that you want to not make eye contact with and pretend you don't know.

David
The resort idea sounds great, except for the insane start up cost. It would never be fiscally possible to design a resort based on free flight. But, maybe there is a chance to work with existing places that do have suitable potential flying sites on their property.

I did try this at a very private resort that I used to work at. My proposal was to have a static wing on display, likely suspended on a tripod similar to this,


This idea was shot down largely due to the wrongly perceived hazards. Basically mid and upper management being too afraid to think outside the box. This place, which I am not even allowed to name, is unique in the way it gets it's guests. Basically it is not open to the public.

A likely avenue to pursue would be to approach ski resorts. There are some who are open in the summer with many activities, lodging, concerts, etc. I know there are some ski areas that are used for free flight. Perhaps a proposal could be prepared with the idea of making the resort a vacation destination for hang glider and para-glider pilots and their families?
#402457
flybop wrote:A likely avenue to pursue would be to approach ski resorts. There are some who are open in the summer with many activities, lodging, concerts, etc. I know there are some ski areas that are used for free flight. Perhaps a proposal could be prepared with the idea of making the resort a vacation destination for hang glider and para-glider pilots and their families?
Funny you should mention ski places. Some local paragliding pilots got a new site going at one somewhat recently:

https://www.highland-outdoors.com/parag ... tate-park/

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