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

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By DanJ
#404552
Hi all,
Looks like a great forum.
I have a Mazda 3 and would like to transport my glider on it. If possible, I'd like to only use roof racks without adding the support to very front of the car. I'd like to avoid welding or permanently changing the car.

I've read the other posts here and searched online. So far I'm seeing 3 possible ways to do this:
1. The Barfly from "IC2"
2. The Glider Rider from "Wings and Sails"
3. Attach a ladder to roof racks.

I'm not sure if the first two are even still available. But either way, has anyone accomplished this without adding a front support? Or does anyone have any ideas?

Thanks,
Dan
User avatar
By remmoore
#404554
Most smaller vehicles need some type of additional support than just roof racks - even if it's just for general stabilization. I would go with installing a rear trailer hitch (bolt-on, non-permanent) and use a plug-in t-bar rear rack. You could then get away with simply tying the front of the glider to the front bumper or similar to keep it steady.

I gotta say, though, there's nothing like a real glider rack to protect your wing from transportation damage. A minimalist rack scheme may come back to bite you.

RM
User avatar
By remmoore
#404563
Ladder racks work in general but create many more friction points on the glider than is desired - or recommend by manufacturers. Ladder racks need to be tied to the cars front and rear for stabilization.

RM
User avatar
By red
#404564
DanJ wrote:
Mon Aug 20, 2018 7:48 pm
Thanks RM. If I can't get that working , do you know if the ladder idea worked out for people?
DanJ,

A trailer hitch receiver with a T-rack (bed extender) makes a fairly good set-up. You can get trailer hitch receivers for the front or back of many cars. Boaters love the front hitch receivers.

http://user.xmission.com/~red/FrontRack.htm
https://user.xmission.com/~red/#ts

If you use a ladder rack, you can pad every rung of the ladder with pool noodles or zip-on pipe insulation, cut to the length of the rungs. Use zip-ties to secure the foam in place. A glider or a ladder rack would put a lot of force on any "roof-only" racks, so I would recommend a tie-down at one or both ends of the glider or ladder, to the bumpers or car framework. Tie the ladder rack to the car, then tie the glider to the ladder rack.
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By DanJ
#404577
Many thanks! Sounds like attaching a rear Trailer Hitch with a Truck Extender would add the third support point pretty easily without needing any welding or a ladder.
User avatar
By raquo
#404580
That really depends on the dimensions of your car and on the smoothness of roads that you drive. Ideally a glider should not be protruding more than 3-4 ft past the front-most or rear-most point supporting it.

Also check your local laws, some places don't allow carrying loads that extend so far behind the vehicle.
User avatar
By remmoore
#404582
DanJ wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 11:02 pm
Many thanks! Sounds like attaching a rear Trailer Hitch with a Truck Extender would add the third support point pretty easily without needing any welding or a ladder.
Something I want to clarify - the vast majority of racks I've seen do not make permanent modifications to their vehicles. No one welds rack components to their car's structure, for example - they use existing bolting locations. There are plenty of mass-produced bolt-on components which can be used as the foundation of a glider rack. Trailer hitches, brush guards and tow hitches work well for adding rack components.

Regarding welding - it's a very liberating experience to be able to weld up your own rack system. Dealing with nuts and bolts, searching for parts that will fit together and not be an annoying mess - all that goes away with a welder. And it's not just HG-related stuff; I just repaired a metal lawn chair that was in otherwise great shape, for example. Welding is awesome, and doesn't take a tremendous amount of time to become reasonably proficient. I bought a brand-new good-quality MIG welder for $300 and it's great for light-medium weight projects. It also takes up no more storage space than my vacuum cleaner.
Lincoln Welder.jpg
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By DanJ
#405039
Hey Guys,
Wanted to give an update - another HG pilot in my area told me about Remora Racks, they are made by an HG pilot for this exact solution. I ordered one and used it for the first time this past weekend. It worked great! They use suction cups and are adjustable in both height and width. You can also tie them to 4 points under your hood in addition to the suction cup attachment. I got roof racks for my Mazda and taped rubber pipe covers over them for the ride. I drove above 60 mph and everything went great.
Thanks for all the help,
-Dan
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By pec1985
#405044
I've always used a ladder, has been working great for the past 6 years. Just make sure there's good padding in all the steps that touch the glider. As Robert mentioned, there are a lot of friction points, so the padding is important.
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By magicpotato
#405048
I think the best way to go is weld a rack on or near the bumper. Though, all these other options are great as well. My only caution is to anchor your ladder or suction cup mount to the frame, or a solid point in the engine bay, as I've heard issues with the hood warping over time by anchoring things just to the hood.
User avatar
By red
#405049
Campers,

FWIW, a long one-piece ladder would be better for the glider, rather than an extension ladder. A folding ladder that folds out very flat would also be good.

Note the "extra" section of ladder under the tail of the glider here, used to avoid heavy support pressures on the middle of the glider. Without that extra piece, most of the weight of the glider would be on the single center rung of the extension ladder.

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