Help Building A Very Simple Hang Glider
Before anyone says this isn't safe, the glider is not going to be used for actual glides. A friend and I have been wanting to make something that will just float us to the bottom of small hills around our homes. Nothing that will achieve any major altitude. I was wondering if anyone had any designs for one of these? Also we are wanting to make it as cheap as possible, so what materials would you recommend for the frame as well as the fabric material? Starting off small with something simple to float down hills with, then someday I hope to build my own actual plane. Thanks for the help!
All it takes is a gust of wind and you are more than high enough for it to hurt quitea bit, even kill you, if things go badly. I would look around for designs for primary gliders such as the EEA reprints of the 1920s-1930s FLYING AND GLIDER MANUALS.
For a more modern interpretation look to Mike Sandlin out in San Diego and his BUG, GOAT and especially PIG ultralight glider designs. I can't think of anything more suitable, past or present, than his PIG design, and all of his "airchairs" are designed to transport in the back of truck or on the roof of your car.
Originally Posted by Ryan Hornback
Last edited by cluttonfred; 05-15-2012 at 02:06 AM.
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I built a regallo wing hang glider in the 1970s based on an article in, I believe, Popular Mechanics. It was built out of aluminum pipe and clear plastic sheet. It was 18 feet long and had a 27 foot wingspan, and was really a big kite. We flew it down hills in Louisiana. At the time we built it, the motto of the hang glider club in California mentioned in the magazine article was "Never fly higher than you are willing to fall" - a rule we never violated! Fun, but in hindsight, risky. Be careful.
Building a simple hang glider ...
Ryan: I understand your desire for flight, and really want you to succeed. A short flying career and a long time in a wheelchair or pine box is defintiely not what you have in mind ...
Ask any pilot: the most dangerous phases of flying any aircraft are taking off and landing - you are proposing that because you will be conducting your entire flight in this "low to the ground" phase that you will be safer. Please think this over.
I am a pilot, and hang-glider pilot. I want you to get into both activities safely and survive to enjoy them for your whole life. It does none of us any good if you injure or kill yourself.
If you are low on funds, you can buy a used hang-glider for as little as 1,000 (less than that is likely junk). But you will almost certainly get hurt if you try it without some training. There are many hang-gliding schools around the country (even here in Canada), just find one and invest in some lessons.
Building an airchair is also an option, but will cost you as much or likely a little more than a used hang glider - and again, getting some training is very important.
If you are really low on funds, then I suggest you look for work with a hang-gliding business or airport, volunteer your services in exchange for flight time or lessons. Or use this as motivation to find a job or a second job, and save your $ for flying.
Please read-up on the history of hang-gliding on wikipedia. Please note the number of the early pioneers who died learning how to make safe gliders. You could search the web for plans (popular mechanics even published some), build a bamboo and polyethylene plastic wing like the pioneers - but you may very well learn a hard lesson that has already been learned.
Back in 1973 I built a "Hang Loose" chanute type glider. The plans said it would cost $25. I think it cost closer to $75 to build. It had a 28 foot wing span made from four 14 foot wing sections with 4 foot chord and 4' struts beween the wings. Struts were stuck in bottle caps screwed to the spars. Right and left wing sections were connected with simple metal straps and 1/4" bolts. The tail fit in a bent metal strap ____||____ .
Mostly it was "door jam" wood 3/4" thick, 1 1/2" wide X 14 foot front and rear spars and the tail/longerons (?). Most of the rest was 3/4 X 3/4". I seem to recall all the gussets were cardboard. Wings were covered in plastic sheet, stapled in place. Wing ribs were bamboo heated and bent to shape then stuck in bottle caps screwed to the spars to hold them in place. If I built one today I think I would use pink foam insulation for the ribs instead of bamboo and hold them in place with duct tape. I found my copy of the plans 5 years ago when we moved but they are burried somewhere in a storage place now. You can find videos of the glider on YouTube if you do a search for; Hang Loose Glider.
Take a look at the cover of the June July 1974 issue of Science Mechanics magazine . You can see it on Ebay. It is another version of a $50 glider.
Last edited by DocFont; 05-18-2012 at 04:13 PM.
Reason: added information
Hills in Louisiana? Sounds fishy.....
Originally Posted by n43511
My friends and I built a rogallo wing out of bamboo in the early '70's also. Stay away from the "true" rogallo form, they can not pull out of a dive! The president of the national club found that out the hard way at 15 feet and rests for eternity in a box.
The first one we built was of bamboo in 1972 after one of us saw one flying on a beach in southern California. I had a large piece of parachute from a Gemini capsule my father had given me when I was a kid, and we used it for the cloth. It had no harness, we hung from our armpits. Over time it evolved to irrigation pipe and plastic sheeting. We built a harness and flew it from a seated position. We had problems with the inverted T control bar as it would bend slightly and knock the rigging out of whack, so we put diagonal bars on it to stiffen it up. It occurred to us that we no longer needed the middle bar, so the trapeze was born. I'd like to think we were the first, but I suppose everyone thought of it at the same time. It took us a few flights before we figured out that we could fly it hanging horizontal. We picked hills with the same slope as the glide ratio, but sometimes it would soar.
Someday when I digitize the old photos I'll post them
Foot Launched Flyer
I built several standard Rogolo type hang gliders in the 70's from aluminum tubes and plastic drop cloth. They flew quite well for what they were and had several advanced concepts that are popular today such as speed bar and topless. If you are safe and serious you may contact me for more details. Design had 20 foot kiel and leading edge with a 86 degree frame and 90 degree sail cut for a 4 degree billow. I considered this an improvement over the Eipper that was available at the time. Weight was about 35 to 40 pounds which is much less than the standard hang glider today. It was for the low and slow flight that you are discribing.