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By USHPA7
#404676
On Thursday, August 23rd, at Point of the Mountain UT, I did my first high launch in 39 years. Here's the link to the Video:



In 1971, when modern sport hang gliding got its big start, I designed and built a flying wing hang glider I called the Colver Skysail and taught myself to fly. After I retired that glider I flew several commercially built hang gliders made by Eipperformance and Wills Wing. Then in 1979 I switched to hot air ballooning with a foot launched balloon I designed which I named the Hangstat.
I flew hang gliders all through the 1970's but later only a few small hill low flights during the years after that. Then in 2015 I started flying again at Dockweiler Beach, CA from the 15 feet high sand ridge there. Now three years later I'm at Point of the Mountain, Utah, to make my first flight higher than 25 feet in those 39 years since 1979.
I was there for four days but the weather wasn't right for me until the last morning. However, the wind was blowing at 18 mph so I did need to do a wind launch. I had long time renowned instructor and aerobatic pilot John Heiney assisting me on launch. He wisely had me practicing ground handling well back from the edge. If I had not been able to control the glider in that wind I'm sure he would have told me to not launch. So you will see a couple of minutes of ground handling before i approach the edge of the hill and launch. As I stood there John could see I was ready to go and he said: "Are you going? I answered "yes". He dropped both hands to show he was not holding on to any part of the glider and I launched.
I had preplanned the flight to fly out beyond the lift band and make a bottom landing even though the ridge had good lift at that wind speed and was top landable for the others flying that morning.
The flight was great but a little more turbulent than i expected but not too bad. I rocked the glider from side to side a little to test its roll response because I had not turned a hang glider more than a few degrees in 39 years!
As I approached the time to set up for landing I spotted the field's spot landing marker and decided to head for a landing there. I made my final turn and then another adjustment to align with the spot marker and then it was time to put my feet in landing position. However, i misjudged the ground contact point and tripped to end up landing on my wheels instead of my feet.

My wish is for all HG pilots to be doing this when they are 83.

Frank Colver
#404678
Congratulations, Frank.

You’re a recycled teenager. You are still young at heart.

It is good to have the pride and passion and going for the thrill of it all.

Just like the joy of a newbie on the training hill.

Exciting, way to go!
User avatar
By bigbird
#404687
USHPA7 wrote:
Sun Aug 26, 2018 12:48 am
My wish is for all HG pilots to be doing this when they are 83.
Frank Colver
I'm just hoping to still be healthy, active and alive at 83 :). I wish I'd known you were going to be flying at Point of the Mountain, I would have driven from California to join you. BTW, where was your Colver vario? Great job, Frank.
By Roadrunner71
#404690
Well Frankly this Video caused me to start thinking about my situation. For this coming March 28th It will be 9 Years since I pounded myself into the ground. For yes it was on March 28th that I pounded myself into the Ground. Believe it or not, even with my lamenting on this site at times how I injured myself. Thank you Guys for not chastising me for my lamenting about my last landing in flying my Predator. Hell, you Guys have not given me a hard time at all. You Guys have been a tremendous , a very plentiful source of encouragement for me. I really do believe that even though I have, nor will I probably will never meet just about every one of you. I Fell as though you Pilots are my Family. Yes you are my Sky Brothers And my Sky Sisters.

It is fun though how this experience has enabled my Body to Loose Weight. For Today I am a 110 pounds lighter than I was on March 28th 2010. I was 290 LBS. I believe that loosing weight will be a positive for me regarding to climb when I am say in a Thermal.

Loosing all this weight coupled with my Pounding in on March 28th 2010. Well these two factors have created a great source material. Yes IO have drawn upon these two incidents as a great sources of material for me to draw upon for my being able to draw upon for ; "TALKING TRASH". Yes, I always liked to talk Trash.

Here is another point I want to say: I had that Bad landing, yes that Landing was BAD! It was horrible. I Never thought that I would pound in upon Landing. Sure, a Tumble, Structural Failure, Mid-Air. Anything but a Landing! Guys I am not typing Trash here. Those of you that have never seen me land. If you care to ask John Heine y. Check this one out: John said once via a post that he made. John said regarding my Landing prowess. For John wrote: "Chris McKeon Sees L-Z's where other Pilots do not"

Back to: "TALKING TRASH". Actually what I am about to say right now is very well might not necessarily end up being my Boasting, Talking Trash. Well I was talking to John one Day. I told John about a conversation that I had with Pilot-X. I told John that when I was talking to John to Pilot-X, that I Told {X} that the Day very well might come when {X} and I will be in the Same Thermal. Both of us working the Thermal for the best climb rate. Well {X} said to me: "I will eagerly look forward to that Day." Get this: John replied to this by saying something like this: I also look forward to that Day. I think that this is so Cool! For to have two of my good Flying friends saying that they Both want to be "SMOKED REGARDING THEIR ABILITY TO KEEP ME FROM CLIMBING THROUGH THEM IN A THERMAL." This is just so Cool! These guys are rooting for me, and my Recovery. THANKS X, AND JOHN!

O-K Here is some "NON-TRASH TALK" talk by me. My ability to climb very well might be stronger than either John, or X's now. Why? Well because I have lost 110 pounds. I am as over yesterday anyways. Well I was One Hundred Eighty One Pounds Yesterday morning. The rate that weight has been coming off has slowed down for sure. So I do not think that I will be able to loose another hundred pounds. I really do not think That this 6'3" Man will ever weigh 71 lbs.

O-K: I'm going to list my Phone number. Feel free to call me; Chris McKeon 925-497-1059 CCMCK@GOLDSTATE.NET
We can talk about our Love if Flying.
By blindrodie
#404711
Fantastic Frank. Your hope is also mine as far as age and flying ability!!

8)
By USHPA7
#404733
Here's the link to the wing mount camera provided to me by Bob K.



It's been shortened to exclude most of the pre-flight ground handling

Notice how much less wind there is in the LZ compared to launch. That and the high elevation density probably both contributed to my tripping in the landing. Toto, we're not at Dockweiler anymore!

You can see that i was flying it a little fast (speed is your friend) but that I let it out a little more as I got more comfortable in the flight. This glider trimmed with attachment point a couple of inches in front of the control bar unlike other WW's I have had.

Many happy memories of the flight,
Frank Colver
By USHPA7
#404739
Thanks Jonathan, it's good to be back.

I'm also back into glider design. I've designed a Basic Trainer HG that should be as easy to learn on as the "standard" Rogallo was but without the negative characteristics of that design.

Goals are: easy ground handling, large area, high camber "floater" for easy launch and land, good pitch damping, quick roll control, and a target weight of under 40 lbs. This glider is strictly a training hill glider and ease of flight and control takes priority over glide performance. I've built and test glided a 1/5 scale FF model of the design and it exceeded my expectations, so I'm going ahead with a full scale construction project. Hopefully I'll end up with a design that will build enthusiasm in a first time student to want to continue and move up to one of the gliders we see on the slopes today. I've been running an open source thread on my basic trainer design ideas on the US Hawks Forum for anyone who is interested.

Frank
By USHPA7
#404807
I got an email from my son Matt who flew bamboo and plastic at the first Otto meet, May 23, 1971 and continued to hang glide for several years after that and was USHGA #6. here's a quote from his email after he saw the POTM flight:

"Dockweiler is a gateway drug. Now you've gone from beer to weed. Next it will be Crestline".

No comment from me,
Frank Colver
BTW - I understand Crestline is very mellow in the early morning - hmm..... :wink:
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