Hang gliding

Hang gliding

is a kind of sport in which competitions are conducted on an aircraft heavier than air consisting of a carcass (three main duralumin pipes connected at the leading point in such a way that a fan is formed in the horizontal plane and several auxiliary pipes and cables), stretched to dense synthetic fabric.

The pilot, connected to the central pipe of the structure by a special suspension, holds hands with the trapezium (triangular construction of pipes, fixed in a certain position with thin steel cables). To control the flight, the athlete needs to change the position of the body in space relative to the point of attachment to the aircraft.

Hang gliding is officially recognized by the World Federation of Aviation Sports (Federation Aeronautique Internationale) in 1974, and in 1976 the first World Championship in this sport was held.

Hang gliding appeared in 1974.

As a sport, hang gliding was officially recognized by the FAI on September 27, 1974. But he was born much earlier. In the late 40’s. The last century, an American, Francis Melvin Rogallo, decided to make a kite to entertain the children. In this work he was helped by Gertrude’s wife. Designed by an aviator engineer, the toy possessed excellent aerodynamic qualities. Watching the behavior of the snake in the air, Rogallo realized – by the same principle, you can make an aircraft capable of carrying a fairly large load. On March 20, 1951, the inventor received a patent for the “Rogallo Serpent” created by him, and in 1957 he presented his aircraft to the NASA competition (the most effective means of landing for space vehicles was sought). The invention was approved as one of the best options, renamed the “Rogallo wing”, but after a series of tests it was rejected because of the problems encountered during the operation of the deployment system. In the 1960s, NASA’s articles on the new invention interested athletes who first used the “Rogallo wing” only for towing, and only a little later, after several design changes – for flights on it. Officially, the date of birth of hang gliding – May 23, 1971 – that’s when the athletes gathered in California to honor the memory of Otto Lilienthal (a German engineer who worked on improving the planning aircraft and who died during the tests of one of them) proposed to unite the “Rogallo wing” and balancing glider in a single design (hang-glider).

Initially, a hang glider appeared in the US, later – in other countries of the world, in particular in Russia.

Wrong opinion. The first to master the new aircraft was the Australian athletes, who in 1962 adapted the “water snake” (this was the name for the somewhat reduced copy of the “Rogallo Wing”) for towing after the boat. They equipped the aircraft with useful innovations: a triangular shaped handle and a seat for the athlete, who controls the movement of the “snake”. Flights of this kind in the USSR were conducted in 1967 (not towing flights – since 1972), at the same time the idea of ​​creating a “paraplaner” (at that time was called a hang glider) equipped with a motor was being developed. And in the USA, the “Rogallo Serpent” appeared only in 1969. By the way, it is the American Dave Kilbourne who has the idea to start from a take-off (in our days, starting from the feet and landing on the feet is one of the main signs of hang gliding).

The name “hang glider” for the name of an aircraft of a certain form is used in all countries of the world.

Initially, the mentioned aircraft was called the “Rogallo Serpent” (the name perpetuated the name of the inventor), then it was renamed the “Rogallo Wing”, and after a while, when work began on improving and practical application of this design, many new names appeared.Due to the similarity with the Greek letter “delta” (Δ), this aircraft has received the corresponding names: in Russia – hang glider, in Spain – ala delta, in France – deltaplane, in Italy – deltaplano. In other countries there were several variants of the name. For example, in England – delta and hang-glider (hang from glider – “planning aircraft”) to designate a conventional hang glider and an aerial sled or tactical hang glide for a name This type of aircraft used by the military (for example, for noiseless flights across the border). In Germany hang gliders are called Drache (“dragon” or “kite”) or Drachenfluggerät (“kite flying machine”). For coarse-wings in different countries also there are special names (for example, rigid wing (from English “rigid wing”)).

To take off, a hang-glider should climb a high mountain, one of the slopes of which is almost sheer, and jump down.

This method of starting is really possible, but it is used very rarely, mostly by climbers wishing to accelerate the descent from the conquered peak (in this case, they sometimes have to wait several days for a suitable wind speed to start). Most often, hang gliders start “off their feet”, i.e. just run down the mountainside (preferably not very steep and devoid of vegetation) – when the take-off speed is reached, the hang glider takes off. It is also possible to accelerate the aircraft to the required speed by using towing (by means of a winch) or by aerobuks (in this case the hang glider is attached with a cable to the aircraft equipped with a motor, flies up with it, and, after reaching the required height, disengages the coupling). As a tow, hang-gliders sometimes use a balloon (Dave Kilborn first tested this method).

In order to fly, a hang glider needs a wind.

This is not quite true. Started from a height of 100 meters, the hang-glider, even in absolutely windless weather, can fly from 600 m to a mile and a half. But in order to stay in the air for a long time, while flying considerable distances (counted in hundreds of kilometers), the athlete needs not so much the wind as the ascending air currents. Most often, hang-gliders use dynamic flows (“dynamics”) or streams of flow (formed at the site of a wind collision with an obstacle, for example, a rock), or thermal (thermal) flows or “thermal” (due to the heating of some areas on surface of the Earth).

The pilot is under the hang glider only in the horizontal position.

Yes, it is to this position of the pilot’s body that hanging systems of various types are designed (the simplest of them are a system of straps connecting the pilot with a hang-glider, the more complex ones look like a sleeping bag equipped with a zipper and allow the pilot to stay in flight for several hours, not experiencing fatigue and discomfort at the same time). However, in some cases (immediately after the start and before landing) the hang glider has to take a vertical position, it is not so convenient, but still possible and is provided for by the design of all suspension systems.

Hang pilots are required to be able to handle the parachute and in case of an emergency situation, disconnect from the aircraft in time.

The rescue system for pilots flying at altitudes in excess of 100 m is really developed on the basis of parachutes, which are attached to a suspension system in a special knapsack. But it is not necessary to completely disconnect from the suspension system in order to use the parachute, since the rescue system is designed to ensure the safety of not only the pilot, but also the aircraft.The main task of the hang glider is to release the parachute container from the knapsack in time, the opening time of which is calculated so as to minimize the possibility of engaging the lines for the design of the aircraft.

Hang gliders only fly during the day.

Basically yes. And the training is conducted in the mornings and evenings – at this time of the day the weather is most stable. In the afternoon, the wind and thermal currents are intensified, because this time only experienced hang-gliders use for flights. But there are also night flights (most often during the show, arranged at the end of the competition or during the holidays), undertaken by experienced extreme pilots.

People with suicidal tendencies often come to hang-gliding.

People with the above inclinations are most often eliminated during the preliminary selection stage – during the tests for adequacy and test flights with instructors on a two-person hang glider. In addition, the observation of a novice athlete continues throughout the training process.

The hang glider is used only for entertainment or in sports.

Yes, but in addition, this aircraft is sometimes used in agriculture in order to treat fields with pesticides (this method is very economical). Use this aircraft for military purposes, more often for reconnaissance flights over enemy territory or for espionage.

The shortest and most spectacular type of hang gliding competition is acrobatics.

Indeed, competitions of aerial acrobats on hang-gliders (this kind of competition is also called a freeride), performing aerobatics (“dead loop”, wingover (butterfly), “hill”, “corkscrew”, etc.) exciting. In addition, it is very convenient to observe what is happening over the mountain slope (it is more convenient to make such flights above the spurs of the rocks) – without changing the location one can see the whole flight from beginning to end. No less interesting is speedgliding (from English speed – “speed”, gliding – “gliding”, “gliding”, “planning”). The main task of the athlete in this form of competition is to be at a relatively low altitude with a maximum speed to overcome the distance marked on the mountainside by special milestones. The performance of the athletes in both of the above disciplines lasts for several minutes, since a flight with a high speed along a trajectory abounding in sharp turns and bends does not allow you to hold the aircraft for a long time at a high altitude. The organization of such competitions is a troublesome business and very expensive, therefore on the territory of the CIS countries there are almost no competitions on speed gliding and aerial acrobatics on hang-gliders.

During the hang gliding competition, pilots set the speed and duration records of the aircraft in the air.

In our days, competitions for the maximum duration of a hang glider stay in the air are no longer being conducted (the maximum duration of this aircraft in the sky over the sea is 32 hours, over the mainland – 11 hours 47 minutes). But the records of the speed of the flight are actually being installed, and not in any convenient place for flying, but when passing certain standard distances (the record indicator is 208.19 km / h, it was at such an average speed that Jean-Marie Clemen (France) 1000 km). There are competitions in which pilots try to reach the maximum possible altitude (the difference in altitude between the level of the start and the maximum height that a hang glider can take into account) is taken into account. In this case, pilots are equipped with special masks, which allow not to suffer from hypoxia, inevitable in rarefied air at high altitudes, and special devices that fix their achievements.The most popular direction of hang gliding competitions is a competition in the range of flights (the record is 700.6 km – this is the distance that Manfred Rumer from Austria overcame on July 17, 2001). In order to fly the maximum possible distance, hang-gliders go to certain places (most often – in the zones of Australia and Africa with a subtropical and equatorial climate), where often there are strong thermal flows. Competitions of this kind require the investment of considerable funds and the attraction of a large number of attendants.

According to the rules of some hang gliding competitions, the pilot determines his route himself.

Yes, competitions in this format are really held. The pilot is given a certain degree of autonomy by flying tasks such as “open range” (the pilot chooses the start time during the day, as well as the direction and length of the flight) and “flight on an arbitrary route” (in which case the hang glider also chooses the points through which his route passes , but the choice is made not arbitrarily, but from the list of possible turning points provided by the organizers of the competition). It should be noted that the task of “open range” is not played out very often, since it takes a lot of time and money to bring hang gliders to the launch site, finishing at different points, sometimes separated from each other by hundreds of kilometers.

The newest equipment is the guarantee of victory in the match.

Like a new aircraft, any equipment (vario, GPS, camera, etc.) should be tested first, and for a fairly long time (some pilots spend up to 50 hours flying time for this). Only in this case it is possible not to be afraid of the refusal of any important part of the equipment. Experienced hang-gliders believe that before the competition new equipment, even the most expensive, it is better not to purchase, preferring, perhaps, older, but reliable ammunition.

During a quick dive, the hang glider may lose control.

This feature was inherent in the models of first-generation hang-gliders, on modern vehicles the problem of loss of controllability during fluke dive (ie dive at high speed) was solved.

Communication on the radio during the flight helps beginners hang gliders to master the skill of flight.

Experienced athletes consider that in the process of training it is much more important to see your instructor and try to repeat this or that maneuver after him. If visual contact takes place – the need for additional information exchange on the radio disappears. If the student does not see the instructor – communication on the radio will not help much, since he will have to make decisions independently, drawing conclusions from the circumstances that develop. Therefore, mastering the skill of flight, novice gliders should make minimum use of the possibility of radio talks with the instructor, in exchange developing observation, sensitivity and the ability to concentrate exclusively on the flight.

To gain experience is best in independent flights.

It is really better for a novice hang glider to fly in the maximum free airspace – to minimize the possibility of collisions. But more experienced athletes try to visit competitions of various kinds as often as possible, since they consider that any experience (both positive and negative) received during the competitions helps in improving the flight skills. After all, at such times a person shows maximum concentration and concentration. In addition, there are many aircraft in the air, for example, you can easily verify the correctness and expediency of several options for solving the task at hand – and draw appropriate conclusions for the future.

To demonstrate the highest possible performance – you just need to follow the leader, as accurately as possible repeating its route.

This is not the best way. After all, weather conditions are unstable. For example, thermal flows are by no means constant, and at some point they begin to lose their lift (“die”). Yes, and the wind at any time may increase or become much weaker than required. Therefore, experienced athletes do not aspire to repeat the leader’s route exactly, but make up their own, choosing the most favorable time for launch and the most powerful thermal cycles.

The hang glider, delayed at the start, has no chance to catch up with the main group.

Not always. Much depends on the strength of the streams, as well as on the skill and observation of the pilot. If the thermal flows are weak, there is very little chance of winning. But in the presence of strong flows, the outsider has the opportunity not only to catch up, but also to overtake his rivals. After all, the main group that does not know where the most powerful thermals are located flies slower than the athlete who is moving in the rear guard, and along the trajectories and speed of the aircraft in front of him can draw conclusions about the location of the most powerful upward currents and, accordingly, course.

First you need to get a hang glider, preferably a newer and more expensive – on it, in fact, the future sportsman will learn to fly.

This is not true. After all, in order to learn to fly, you do not need the newest and “fancy” hang-glider, which requires a remarkable skill of the pilot, the speed of reaction, clarity and precision of movements, etc. You can, of course, buy your own training hang glider, but you should take into account that as the skill grows, both the amateur and the athlete have a desire to master the control of the device with the best aerodynamic qualities capable of developing high speed. Consequently, the acquired training hang glider will no longer meet the requirements of the pilot, and will have to spend a considerable amount to purchase another device, with better characteristics. Therefore, it is best to start training on special training aircraft provided by clubs and hang gliding schools, which, in fact, conduct training for future pilots. And only after mastering all the necessary skills and skills to buy a personal hang glider.

Hang gliding is extremely expensive.

Yes, if you get knowledge in commercial training centers (you’ll have to shell out about $ 10 for a lesson). In addition, the purchase of new hang-gliders by well-known manufacturers will require considerable costs (prices for branded aircraft “start” from $ 1000). But the cost of training and equipment can be significantly reduced if you master the flying skills in one of the hang gliding clubs (most often for training the future pilot does not pay anything at all, limited to membership fees of about $ 60 for six months and participation in the club’s activities) and to purchase hang-gliders used (the training apparatus costs about 200 $, sports – about 400 $).

It takes a lot of time and effort to assemble a hang glider.

It depends on the type of aircraft mentioned above. An ordinary hang-glider can be assembled in 15 minutes, and even faster, if before transportation to the place of start it is not possible to disassemble it completely (up to 2х0.3 m), but divide only into the main parts, packed in a cover about 6 m long. , to prepare for flying hardwing, have to spend at least 40 minutes.

For flying hang-gliders use old aircraft, they fly low, slow and clumsily.

Most often, such an opinion can develop in a third-party observer, who has the opportunity to contemplate teaching hang-gliders, where the basics of pilot skill are learned by novice athletes. The flight of experienced athletes using more modern aircraft, to track is not so easy, because they very quickly soar to a height where they simply can not see them from the ground.

The hang glider is more dynamic in the air, and also easier and more accessible than the glider.

Yes, a hang glider is cheaper than a glider, and training in this easier and easier to fly aircraft is faster, and the requirements for the pilot are not that great. However, according to aerodynamic characteristics, the glider surpasses the hang glider. The weight of the hang glider is about 30 kg. The weight of the hang glider varies from 25 kg to 40 kg, and the apparatus used during training is slightly lighter than the sports models and coasters.

The design features and aerodynamic characteristics of all hang gliders are the same, there are only small differences in the design and material from which these devices are made.

No, hang gliders are divided into several types, which have rather significant differences:
– training (designed specifically for training beginners), characterized by low speed and not the best aerodynamic qualities. At the same time, these machines are inexpensive, easy to maintain, light, and very stable in flight;
– transitional – are used both by athletes who wish to improve their flying skills on sports models, and by amateurs (“frellaers”) who master hang-gliding for their own pleasure;
– sports – have the best flight performance, are able to develop the fastest speed. At the same time, these aircraft require the pilot to demonstrate a fairly high level of skill.
The best aerodynamic qualities (more than 19 units versus 17 for conventional hang-gliders) are equipped with rigid-wing aircraft – aerial vehicles equipped with aerodynamic controls (flaps, ailerons, flaperons) designed to minimize the pilot’s physical efforts during aircraft control. Instead of a standard construction of pipes, the coiled-wing frame is a caisson made of composite materials. However, it should be noted that such devices are not only the most difficult to manufacture (and, as a consequence, very expensive), but also very low maintainability.
In addition, hang gliders are divided into single and double (the so-called tandems that are used for training beginners flying skills, as well as for familiarization flights (the so-called “pokatushek”)), mast and non-mast (they include the latest models of sports flying devices, the design of which allows to minimize aerodynamic resistance).

Sport and Ghost models are sporty.

In fact, the model “Sport” refers to transitional hang gliders, as well as some models of “Ghosts” (although the newest aircraft of this kind can indeed be considered sporty).

Sports hang gliders are used only in sports or in preparation for them.

Most often this is true, since aircraft of this kind, originally designed to achieve the highest possible results, are quite difficult to manage and very expensive. However, in some cases it is on sports hang gliders that simply avid lovers of high speeds fly, sparing no time and money for their hobby.

Sports hang gliders are most often mastless.

Yes, when it comes to the latest sports models. However, it should be noted that a few years ago, both training, and transitional, and sports hang gliders were masted.

Flights of hang-gliders are not regulated by the rules, the main thing is to follow the route.

So it may seem only at first glance. In fact, in the sky, as on earth, there are certain rules of motion. For example, you need to overtake the opponent on the right. Hang gliders, following the group, fly not one after another, but are arranged in the form of a fan – so it is much easier for athletes to observe the dynamics of air flows.And just like motorists, deltaplanerists with experience closely follow the actions of newcomers, in time to step aside, giving way to an inexperienced pilot.

Flight hang gliders can prevent precipitation, fog, frost, strong wind.

According to experienced athletes, frost is not a hindrance to flying (if there is adequate equipment), and the fog does not hinder. A little rain or snow will not stop those who want to fly, but the strong precipitation, accompanied by wind gusts – is really an insurmountable obstacle. The most favorable weather for the flights is either a complete calm or a gentle wind (and the blowing is desirable with a constant force in the direction perpendicular to the slope from which the hang gliders are going to start, since a strong air flow, for example, from the side or from the rear can create a lot of problems at the start), together with a clear sky, adorned with white cumulus clouds with a dark bottom (one of the indicators of the presence of thermals).

The bigger the cloud, the more powerful the thermal stream that is under it.

No, only small cumulus clouds with a dark bottom indicate the presence of thermal fluxes. If the cloud is too large and casts a very large shadow on the ground (“overdone”) – most likely the flow leading to its formation and development has dried up. Because pilots hang-gliders necessarily devote a lot of time to a close inspection of the surrounding area within a radius of 5 km, and try to avoid “overdeveloped” clouds, forests, swampy and shaded soil, water spaces and areas of the sky that are devoid of clouds, as it is in such places (so-called. Athermic zones), strong downward air currents appear most often.

In those places where there are no clouds, there are no thermal flows.

Most often it is really so – in the so-called “blue holes” (just like hang-gliders call cloudless areas of the sky), instead of rising thermal flows, descending ones are formed. However, there are exceptions – if the air is too dry, even if there are ascending currents (called “blue thermals”), clouds do not form.

Thermal can be displaced due to mechanical impact on them.

For example, a rabbit running on the ground or a paraglider flying through the air can “tear off” the thermal stream from its origin. No, according to studies, neither humans, animals, nor any machines (cars, aircraft), nor power lines, fences and ditches affect the displacement of thermal flows of influence.

Hang gliders often fly over tractors that process fields, because during the operation of these machines thermal streams appear.

The operation of tractors does not in itself lead to the formation of thermals. And hang-gliders fly over them for another reason: during operation, the tractor raises dust, the vortex of which serves as a clear guide to the presence of a thermal at one place or another. This feature is very useful in those days when cumulus clouds signaling the presence of thermal streams are not formed due to a low level of humidity. However, there are many other factors that the pilot should take into account (for example, if there is a choice between the shaded field on which the tractor operates and an empty piece of land well illuminated by the sun, experienced hang gliders will choose the second option, since there is a high probability to find thermal flow).

Elevations are thermals generators, because an experienced pilot prefers to fly over a line of ridges.

Yes, it is. But there are times when you should choose a route passing over the plateau, and not over the ridges (for example, in the evening, when the east-west ridge under the influence of the wind cools down faster than a plateau with a more stable temperature regime).

The best trajectory for the rise in thermals is a spiral.

Undoubtedly, however, it should be borne in mind that climbing over a too shallow spiral will result in the hang glider falling frequently in the leeward part of the thermal and, as a consequence, slowing the rate of ascent. At the same time, too steep spiral trajectory leads to a loss in the rate of ascent, and it is quite difficult to feel the flow during a flight built in this way. According to professionals, the most effective trajectory is a steep enough spiral, in which an aircraft can not keep too much speed. At the same time, the pilot should be extremely careful, in time to feel the direction of motion of the constantly moving core of the thermal flow and correct the flight direction in time. It is also very useful to conduct visual observations, for example, behind other hang-gliders or the behavior of birds. This will avoid a collision and choose the most effective flight route.

The hang glider, reaching the maximum height, should pay attention to the emerging clouds – invariable satellites of good thermals.

Yes, the emerging cloud is most often an indication of the location of the thermal stream. However, pay attention to these formations should be still during the rise in the already found flow – from a great height it is quite difficult to discern.

Fear of flying is experienced only by inexperienced hang-gliders.

This is not true. Professional athletes argue that a strong fear sometimes visited them after several years of hang gliding, when hundreds of hours of successful flights have already been left behind and many victories in various competitions. In their opinion, having overcome this sudden attack of horror, the pilot rises to a new level of skill, activates the hidden reserves of the organism and uses all the skills and skills accumulated in the process of many years of training.

You can learn how to fly a hang glider yourself.

This should not be done – as a result of any mistake an inexperienced pilot can be injured, or even part with life. After all, the hang glider is flying at a rather high speed (from 28 to 130 km / h), therefore it is necessary to control this aircraft with the maximum speed and accuracy. Yes, and the way of thinking will have to be changed – if in ordinary life it is enough for a person to take into account only two dimensions (length and width), then in the sky, assessing his location in space, one should also remember the third (height), and not just theoretically – the pilot of the hang-glider exists in three dimensions at every instant of flight. Mastering the art of flying on a hang-glider should be led by an experienced instructor, and if lessons are held at least 1-2 times a week, after a few months the newcomer will be able to make independent flights at an altitude of about 200 meters.

If there is no money for a new hang glider – you can buy a used device.

Yes, indeed, hang-gliders, second-hand, can be purchased at a much lower price than new models. However, it should take into account some of the nuances. Firstly, hang-gliders manufactured before 1979 are best not to buy, since flights to them often end in traumas. And spare parts of the frame to older models will not be easy to find. Therefore, if the skeleton of the apparatus is twisted, it is better to refuse the purchase. Secondly, it is absolutely necessary to check the metal parts of the structure for corrosion (with special care, inspect the ends of the bushings and rivets with the areas adjacent to them). At the same time, it should be noted that corrosion traces on different metals look different. If on the iron it looks like brown or brown spots with an uneven surface, then on aluminum it looks like a white powder adhering to the surface. The presence of corrosion can also cause a failure to further inspect the hang glider. Third, carefully inspect the skin.If it is made of material produced in limited quantities, it should be borne in mind that in case of damage to find a fabric for patches will be quite difficult. Do not choose your hang glider, the skin of which is damaged by ultraviolet rays. Identify these kinds of defects by pressing the wing with an eraser or with a finger (of course, such actions should be performed only with the consent of the seller). If the fabric is susceptible or completely punctured, its structure is changed as a result of ultraviolet light. Fourth, pay attention to the stretching cables. Remember that their bends and twists can lead to rupture of threads, so it is desirable to replace the side and lower cables (especially if their twisting exceeds 45%) on any hang glider used, even if it was made just a couple of years ago. And, finally, it is mandatory to test the acquired hang glider, having made a test flight on it.

When buying a new hang glider, you should definitely make a test flight on it.

This advice is more concerned with the wings used. New hang-gliders to test before buying is not necessary, since manufacturers mandatory conduct testing and regulation of their vehicles in flight, and only after that hang-gliders are sent for sale.

Some diseases and physical disabilities can prevent flights on the hang-glider.

Indeed, heart disease, scoliosis, vision problems and disability can become a serious, and sometimes insurmountable obstacle to practicing this sport. But there are exceptions. For example, people with poor eyesight can use lenses – in this case they have the ability to fly, and most importantly – to land correctly (after all, good vision helps the pilot to correctly determine the altitude at which he is at one time or another, and land without injury ). Disability in some cases is also not an obstacle for those wishing to fly. Sometimes even people who are devoid of both legs, develop hang gliding (however, for the start they need outside help, and the best choice for them will be the motor-gliders equipped with a special chair – in this case the disabled sportsman will not have problems with landing). It is quite difficult to master this sport to people of low stature with an asthenic physique. However, there is a way out: if a person actively takes up sports and increases muscle strength – after a while all the problems will be left behind.

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