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By tdc
#394851
Asking for opinions; I'm a new student and i was talking with my instructor about ideas for my first hang glider purchase. I don't want to own multiple gliders so which glider would he recommend I buy. He talked and described multiple brands and models both new and used. He showed me a picture of a used "pulse" and said it would be a very good glider for me, BUT he challenged me to ask around for opinions. So please chime in.
I'm a guy 180 lbs 55yr in very good physical condition, been dreaming of this most of my life. Its finally made it to the top of my priority list.
Thanks for your input.
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By RobertKesselring
#394853
I'm, also a newbie, so take what I say with a grain of salt. This is just my experience. I trained with a Falcon 3 and bought a Horizon ET, so these are each 1 model behind the current Falcon 4 and Horizon II, but I believe the pros and cons will probably be the same. The Pulse, as I understand it, is very similar to the Horizon except that is lacks the curved wing-tips and VG, which makes it somewhat less expensive.

I do like my Horizon. I'm hit-and-miss on my landings but that's my fault, not the gliders. In fact, in my opinion, the Horizon is more forgiving on landings then the Falcon 3 that I trained with because you have the option to land with some VG, and that makes it easier to stall the whole wing when you flare. (If you don't stall the wing tips, that's when you go nose down and whack) Even so, I've had a couple hard landings with it (flared too early and zoomed up). In both cases I bent the base tube. Base tubes are easy to straighten and don't have to be absolutely perfect to fly with because they are under tension, which tries to pull them straight. Down-tubes, on the other hand, have to be perfect because they are under compression, so a slightly bent down tube may buckle under load, and that would be very bad. Bend one of those and you have to replace it. Being a landing-challenged individual, I appreciate the fact that the Horizon bends base tubes instead of down-tubes.

Launching takes a little different touch with the Horizon. You do have to run faster, and the glider is heavier, so it is a more athletic endeavor, but the Horizon is just as forgiving of sub-optimal technique as the Falcon, more-so if you launch with some VG. It hasn't bitten me yet and my technique is far from perfect. The Horizon does have flatter glide than the Falcon, so on flat slope launches you can put more distance between you and the ground more quickly. Which one will be easier/safer to launch will depend on where you launch and how athletic you are.

So, my impressions of Falcon 3 vs. Horizon ET.
Horizon is marginally more forgiving of flawed technique on both launch and landing.
Horizon is designed so that the piece you are most likely to damage is the cheaper and more damage tolerant.
Falcon is lighter.
Falcon demands a marginally less athletic pilot.
Falcon is less expensive.

If I had it to do over again, the only thing I'd do differently is scrounge up the extra cash and get a new Horizon II instead of the used ET that I did get.
User avatar
By magicpotato
#394854
I think this should be more of a discussion between you and your instructor. Your instructor knows how you fly, where you are in your progress of flying, launching, and landing skills. Every glider is going to fly different, and takes time to get used to. Each new situation and site will have its own demands, and for a new student the glider shouldn't be a changing factor while learning skills. I still have my falcon 3 and fly it at most new sites that I go it as it's my most comfortable glider that I know. I pull out my double surface after getting used to the area. Don't worry about having a couple different gliders, it is a part of the sport since we need a vast range of experience to be proficient. Also, the Falcons have very good resale value, along with other single surfaces. I'd stick with any single surface (falcon, target/Fox, Malibu, fun, EZ, RX2) until you and your instructor agree that you have a good handle on your basic flying skills. Even then, stick with it because there is always more to learn, but if you're wanting to cover more distance then consider a beginner level double surface (Pulse, Horizon 2, etc). But, regardless of my advice, you should be seeking the council of your instructor alone on this descicion as he will be the one having to train you on the new glider, and everything after that.
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By Helix3
#394857
9M Pulse is my favorite wing to date - love it better than my Falcon + better than my Sport 2 for the reasons listed in post #4 - http://www.hanggliding.org/viewtopic.php?t=34272.

Important thing to note - make sure the used Pulse leading edge material is dacron and not the crappy tri-laminate that will flake even if it's never exposed to the light of day.

Consider springing for a new Pulse, especially since this will be your only wing.
North Wing just put them back in production :thumbsup:
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By TomGalvin
#394863
magicpotato wrote:I think this should be more of a discussion between you and your instructor.
His Instructor told him to ask around.

I started on a Pulse. It's a good wing for a new pilot with solid skills, and a great all around wing as you gain experience. Be prepared to spend a couple of extra days on the training hill compared to those on single surface wings, getting dialing in during launching and landing.
By Markvg
#394864
Check out the Oz Report. Euro is down. You can get a great deal on a RX2 formerly the Relax. I bought one from Urs last year. Great handling glider, fun to fly, easy launch and landing. Big cool factor as not many pilots have them and they have sexy Italian engineering. Oh yeah curved tips. And now cheaper than US entry level gliders. Checkout some of the videos on YouTube. The RX2 is used as a first day trainer. It's cool, easy to fly, and the sky is not full of them. Other RX2 pilots should chime in. Everyone I speak to who has flown one smiles about handling and the joy of flying it. Just saying I love mine and I have been in this hg thing for 35+ years. Still having fun.
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By AIRTHUG
#394866
Best glider is, hands down, the newest Falcon (Wills Wing) your budget can afford. The original Falcon was revolutionary, and they've gotten incrimentally better with the 2, 3, and 4 models... with the 4 being by far the best "current" option.

There are plenty of other first-purchase options that are also way good... but if you're asking what is the best, it's the Falcon fo' sho' :thumbsup:

I'm a H5, Master Rated pilot, instructor, tandem instructor, accomplished aerobatic, XC, and competition pilot... and in addition to my top of the line race machine, I myself have a Falcon 4 of my very own... and I fly it more than my other wing(s)!

All the things that make it the very best new pilot/first-purchase glider, also make it appealing to even the most hard core of hang glider pilots, too. Light weight, fast set up and pack up, quick and responsive handling with low roll pressures, ability to slow WAYYYYY down making working light ridge lift or small thermals much less work, forgiveness allows doing things we would *never* consider, never mind attempt, in a so-called "higher performance" glider. In most metrics, EXCEPT FOR GLIDING EFFICIENCY AT SPEED, the Falcon 4 is *the* highest performing hang glider available today.

You will never *need* another glider (but, as is human nature, you might WANT another glider many years from now... but you'll want to ADD to your quiver, still holding on to your Falcon!)
User avatar
By red
#394873
RobertKesselring wrote:I'm, also a newbie, so take what I say with a grain of salt. . . .
I've had a couple hard landings with it (flared too early and zoomed up). In both cases I bent the base tube. Base tubes are easy to straighten and don't have to be absolutely perfect to fly with because they are under tension, which tries to pull them straight.
Robert,

Basetubes should be replaced when bent significantly, or repeatedly. The damage done to a basetube by being bent is only concealed, not repaired, by repeated straightening. I believe that all gliders should have a Basetube Safety Cable inside the basetube, if at all possible.

https://user.xmission.com/~red/#gm

To your good health,
User avatar
By RobertKesselring
#394877
red wrote:I believe that all gliders should have a Basetube Safety Cable inside the basetube, if at all possible.
Thanks for bringing that up. My glider had one when I bought it used. I thought the previous owner had installed it until another pilot I know, who bought his new, said that his came that way from the factory. Kudos to Kamron for the factory safety cables. :thumbsup:
By JackieB
#394881
I have a Falcon 4 that I bought new and simply cannot express how much I appreciate this glider. The Falcon provides a level of performance that will meet the needs of most of us (those who can't fly every week, year round) for years, if not forever.

But most of all, the Falcon helps keep me safe as I make the inevitable mistakes that lead to me becoming a competent pilot, ready to move up if I wish. Knock wood, I have never had a bad landing, blown launch, broken link on tow, etc. But I have been in situations that I am sure would not have ended smoothly and safely if I was flying a higher performance glider.

The only other glider I would consider if I was just getting started is the WW Alpha, which is even more docile than a Falcon. But I am delighted with my Falcon and don't have any desire to move up yet even though I have been flying it for a few years now.
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By Felix
#394882
It really all depends on you! If you're looking to fly locally, "inside the bowl", a nice, easy to fly and forgiving single surface glider such as a Falcon is perfect! If you think you'll want more performance go with a Sport 2 or something similar.
Good luck and enjoy whatever wing you pick!
User avatar
By AIRTHUG
#394905
old newbie wrote:Sport 2
As a new pilot's first hang glider?! :shock:
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By _css_nate_
#394907
Falcon is an excellent glider, i weight 150 and own an F4 170 bought new and optioned it out. I probably fly it more than my wings. Very quick to set up and always fun. Can really dive in and land anywhere.

I've flown the new NW Pulse 10m and 9m. Omg they are absolutely fantastic. Effortless handling and decent glide. Ground handling is best ever. If you have access to a pulse that your instructor approves of, for a good price, just go for it. The 9m would be too small for you; it was almost too small for me. 10m would be about perfect.

Falcon 4 is a good choice. With an extra strong 205MT trailing edge option the sail will last a long time. Longer than a Pulse's, or so i figure. The short-pack option is nice to have as well if you ever travel. WW has some cool options.

Anyway, both are superb choices. So, I'd def. go with both :thumbsup:
By Comet
#394908
red wrote: Basetubes should be replaced when bent significantly... ...all gliders should have a Basetube Safety Cable inside the basetube...
While I respect a conscientious attitude toward safety, I think you may be overly cautious. Apparently Wills Wing concurs with me, because I currently own a Wills Wing glider with an original round aluminum speed bar factory bent a "significant" 45 degrees at each corner, and with no internal safety cable. It is standard wall thickness, not the .095 version. It is the third such WW basetube I've owned.







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Last edited by Comet on Mon Jan 02, 2017 4:23 am, edited 4 times in total.
By hangcat
#394909
I suggest you buy a used Falcon. Fly it for a season before you decide to move up. You'll have just as much fun on it as you would on a double-surface glider. Get your launches and landings down. Learn how to thermal. A Falcon is the perfect glider for that.

Does your local site require a glider with a good glide? Chances you don't need a double surface wing.

If you get a good deal on a used Falcon, you can probably sell it for near what you paid for it.

Make sure you test fly a Moyes Gecko when you move up. It has better handling and performance than a Sport 2.

Met a new pilot from back your way who complained about being pressured by his dealer/instructor into buying a double-surface wing as for his first glider. He later regretted getting it, docile as it is.

Another option is to rent a Falcon for a few months. See how you like it.
User avatar
By red
#394913
Comet wrote:
red wrote:Basetubes should be replaced when bent significantly... ...all gliders should have a Basetube Safety Cable inside the basetube...
While I respect a conscientious attitude toward safety, I think you may be overly cautious. Apparently Wills Wing concurs with me, because I currently own a Wills Wing glider with an original round aluminum speed bar factory bent a "significant" 45 degrees at each corner, and with no internal safety cable. It is standard wall thickness, not the .095 version. It is the third such WW basetube I've owned.
Comet,

Factory bending over an ample radius does not count, for the first bend. Even so, the "grayness" seen where anodized tubing is bent is actually a pattern of micro-fractures in the metal. In the field, however, pilots usually bend basetubes because of wheels, which is a tiny-radius bend. That tiny radius makes all the difference, because all the force concentrates there. It's just human nature for a pilot to look at the now crooked wheel, and try to bend the basetube back to some semblance of normal. The second bend there does not fix anything; it makes things worse, but the problem is concealed. My post above makes an issue of repeated bending, not manufacturing.

From the Fun-and Games department: Get three heavy nails. Bend two of them about 45 degrees over a board, and then straighten out one of the bent nails. Drop all three nails into the same glass of Coke. See what happens in a week. Corrosion always attacks first at a bend in metal.

Hopefully a Safety Cable never gets needed (used), but it is the difference between a rather minor incident and a parachute ride (if the pilot was even high enough for a parachute deployment). Pilots here can chime in with their own broken basetube stories, and the Safety Cables that preserved them and their glider when needed. Safety Cables have truly prevented injuries, and worse. I can tell you by observation what happens when a basetube fails (due to repeated bending), with a pilot who did not recognize the risk, and did not have a Safety Cable.

You are certainly free to make your own choices, as to your safety. I doubt that anybody will prevent you from flying with an "empty" basetube, but any questions about that topic from your fellow pilots will be coming from a good place.

Please do not confuse valid manufacturing processes with accidental high-stress deformations.
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By entelin
#394917
AIRTHUG wrote:Best glider is, hands down, the newest Falcon (Wills Wing)

...

I'm a H5, Master Rated pilot, instructor, tandem instructor, accomplished aerobatic, XC, and competition pilot... and in addition to my top of the line race machine, I myself have a Falcon 4 of my very own... and I fly it more than my other wing(s)!
...
+1 to this.

Here's the thing, Falcons are awesome at a number of things. One of which is climbing. At first you are going to get more airtime flying something light and slow than you will flying something fast. Particularly if you are flying coastal ridge or mountain sites where you have reliable mechanical lift. I have both an F4 and U2, I use the F4 at sites I'm not familiar with or when learning new things, if my home site was somewhere like Funston instead of flatlands I'd fly the F4 all the time!

Either way though, get a falcon or something in that category first. Once you feel the need for more glide performance get something in the sport class, selling the falcon if you feel the need to do so.
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By mbadley
#394918
IMO - you are not going to buy 'one' glider and fly it for the rest of your career. Getting a good used one to develop skills on will be your first step and probably will serve for a couple of years. If $$$ is no object, then go for the Falcon line and be happy - however most of us have budgets, so - older Falcons are great and continue to have good resale value. The Pulse, a great glider - not so much resale market. (My advice - go with the Pulse. Great value, so what if you never re-sell it)
As you develop your skills, you will be hungrier for gliders with more performance - and lucky for you - there will always be good used gliders as stepping stones up to the day you decide you want to pick your own colors and finance a new one.
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By willyd
#394921
The Wills Wing Alpha is the best glider for a new student in my opinion. I've probably logged a few hundred hours on them and absolutely love them. I've also had some of my most fun flights on them. (I'm an h4 and instructor.). I also fly a T2C, but fly the alpha probably half of the time. I've had some great XC flights on the alpha too. You can land it almost anywhere!

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