The Oz Report Is...
A near-daily, world wide hang gliding news ezine, with reports on competitions, pilot rankings, political issues, fly-ins, the latest technology, ultralight sailplanes, reader feedback and anything else from within the global HG community worthy of coverage. 38759 bytes.
Steve Pearson writes:
The tuning of the S3 is more user adjustable than a S2 or U2. In general, a Dacron S3 is noticeably lighter handling and more responsive than a Mylar sail but loosening the sail tension on the leading edge can make a huge difference. You have a much greater ability to configure an S3 to your preferences.
Pete Montgomery writes:
I especially like the leading edge length adjustment on the S3 (that wasn't on the S2). For those who don't know, it is a series of holes in the join of the aft leading edge tubes that lets you adjust leading edge tension really quickly and in very small increments. Correct if I am wrong here Steve but my understanding is that reducing the leading edge tension actually flattens the wing (increases trailing edge tension). I know a lot of folks think that to make a sail flatter you need to crank up the leading edge tension but this in fact has the opposite effect.
The Race is not a tuning spec. The Race is simply a pricing option that gives you the following at a discount over the sum of all each option separately:
Mylar upper sail
Mylar lower sail
Mylar leading edge
The Mylar sail is unlikely to have a performance benefit over Dacron at this level of glider. Believe it or not but the performance gain from Mylar is not so much from its slippery surface as many believe. There is a boundary layer that negates this effect. What gives the extra performance on a competing wing with a Mylar sail is the resistance of Mylar to stretch. So more span-wise tension in the sail gives you less twist and higher performance.
But in an intermediate wing the tension is less critical. So I doubt you will get much performance increase if any by going to Mylar and as others have said, the extra stiffness of the Mylar does detract very slightly from the handling. Having said that, the handling is so easy that a Mylar S3 is still a super sweet handling glider.
The Dacron is cheaper, will last longer and can be had in some really vibrant colors. The Mylar looks crazy modern and high tech and in theory is fractionally lighter (I mean, fractionally!).
So to conclude, it is more an issue of image and personal taste. A bog standard Dacron S3 will go just as well as a Mylar one and be cheaper. Personally I tend to recommend to my customers (I'm a dealer in the UK) to upgrade to a Mylar leading edge as our hills are always super muddy and Mylar is easier to keep clean and fresh looking than Dacron. The lower 'window' Mylar is my next recommendation as it looks super cool but without the handling and lifespan issue of going Mylar upper.
Raked tips - you will find some say they make all the difference and others say they don't have any effect whatsoever. So again, this is more personal taste than anything else.
It was flyable, soarable, and cross country able for five days starting the day before Thanksgiving. Mick and I took advantage of two of those days and tried to go cross country on the fifth day, Sunday, but it didn't work out for us.
Cu's on every day.
Stronger winds on Saturday but it would have been easily possible to fly to the northeast. This wind direction (southwest) is usually pretty severe in terms of the towing conditions and hard on the tugs pilots, but Jim Prahl said that it was not like a post frontal day, which is usually when you experience a southwest situation and towing was actually without drama. In fact the high over Florida has been keeping the front out for days now. Looks like it will come through on Monday.
Lots of pilots flying here and having a great time every day for five days. So nice that this coincided with the long weekend.
We'll see if things warm back up again by next weekend.
Photos by Victoria Nelson.
After a great day of flying on Thanksgiving the forecast for Friday was similarly spectacular with light winds, 500+ fpm lift, cloud base at 4,200'.
I called a task going south to the round about at Dean Still and highway 33 and back to Wilotree Park. After our too short of a task yesterday I wanted to be sure to call one that was long enough for short days, but allowed us to actually get back to the park before the lift quit.
We were off again a little before 1 PM with cu's in the sky inviting us to join them. They were fewer and more widely spaced than on Thanksgiving. Still I was able to pin off earlier than yesterday and climb at less than 200 fpm to 3,200'. Mick was pulled up and climbed up under me.
We noted a large blue hole to our south and as we weren't getting to cloud base we decided to head southwest to the cloud over Bay Lake (not a lake but an intersection).
Our climb rates on multiple thermals on the way were between 100 and 200 fpm on average and we climbed to 3,700' at Bay Lake before heading south east toward the next line of clouds. With no predominant wind direction and very light winds, there were still various lines of clouds a few miles long.
We continued working weak (less than 200 fpm) lift until we got to yesterday's turnpoint at the intersection of 474 and 33 where we were finally able to find lift that averaged over 200 fpm and took us to cloud base at 4,200'.
There was a blue hole to the south but Mick felt that it wasn't that long of a glide over it to the next east west cloud street and since he was at cloud base he wanted to try it to see if we could make it. I could see a very small fire, or at least some smoke in that direction so I also headed south.
I joined Mick in a thermal about two kilometers downwind of the smoke and we climbed out at almost 400 fpm to 4,300'. Mick went south to the next cloud but for the first time he didn't find lift under it and turned to make the turnpoint at Dean Still. Hearing that there was no lift in that direct I headed straight to the turnpoint and met up with Mick. We headed north to the next cu.
The lift was over the radio towers that are astride highway 33 on a little hill. We worked 70 fpm from 1,900' back to 3,200' as the day got later and later. It was almost 3 o'clock and I was concerned that the lift would soon stop.
I asked Mick what he wanted to do and he said, well, that we could meander around in this weak lift or head east to the good looking line of cu's. I said I'm heading east and Mick agreed to also. 250 fpm average up to over 4,300'. We were just getting up to the bottom of the black cu's. Now we had a chance to make it back to Wilotree.
Unlike when we headed south there were now cu's over highway 33 with their shadows far to the east. We climbed to 4,400' just south of 474 and then headed for a vertical cu over the glider port.
That cu didn't work and Mick was off to my east over 33 as I continued on the west side of 33 over to a north south set of cu's over a large grove that I often use as a good spot to find thermals. Down to 1,900' I found 174 fpm 10 kilometers from Wilotree and called Mick over. We climbed to 3,900' which got us easily back to the flight park at ten minutes to 4. We were very happy to make it back as tomorrow looks soarable also and we could leave our gliders set up.
Everything basically just worked out. We had to be patient when things were tough and had to take weak lift, but the lift kept showing up when ever we needed it. We chose to follow the clouds and not try to rip through blue holes without the assurance that we could make it with enough altitude to get up at the next cu.
Stephan Mentler <team> writes:
To my fellow competition pilots, the Florida based hang gliding competitions - in April of next year - are moving forward pending official USHPA re-sanctioning. This includes the Paradise Airports Nationals, Wilotree Park Nationals, and the 2nd FAI Sport Class World Championship. The respective competition dates along with registration process is provided on the Airtribune sites.
The competition organization understands that there will remain many unknowns regarding COVID-19, even with the development and distribution of a vaccine. Pilots who sign-up for a competition and submit payment will be entitled to a full refund of entry fees minus $3.00 (three dollars) or the foreign equivalent if they are unable to attend due to impacts of COVID-19. This includes government-imposed travel restrictions, government-imposed restrictions on sporting events, surges in cases, pilot illness, pilot family member illness, etc. The $3.00 (three dollars) is retained to pay for anticipated non-refundable Organizer competition expenses.
There are a couple of changes - other than the impacts of COVID-19 from previous years of Florida hang gliding competitions. The first and most impactful is the retirement of Davis and Belinda from official Organizing and Meet Directing duties. As competition pilots, we owe them an enormous debt of gratitude for their personal sacrifice and doing what can be a thankless job. Without their commitment to organizing the Spring Florida competitions from the Green Swamp Klassic to the Nationals series, I suspect that the Florida and Big Spring competitions would have died-out a long time ago. Thankfully, they have volunteered to help the new organization team, as needed to get things going for next year.
This gets us to our second change. In my role as the primary Organizer for next years Florida competitions and also considering the long-term prospects for U.S. based race-to-goal competitions I along with two other competition pilots founded a hang gliding competition specific non-profit organization - the Hang Glider Racing Association Corp (HGRAC), a registered Florida non-profit corporation. This was done upon the advice of past and potentially future organizers and several attorneys.
A little background - some of the requirements enacted by the Risk Retention Group (RRG), for a competition to be insured, transfers a substantial level of risk to competition organizers. This includes the potential for the RRG to refuse coverage for incidents that would be beyond the control of the organizer. Without the creation of a competition specific organization as an additional protection for organizers, it is unlikely that anyone would have stepped in to organize another hang gliding race-to-goal competition in the U.S. To be fair, the RRG has been made aware of the concerns and their leadership is working to resolve them but in the interim - the HGRAC will be the entity under which I along with one or two other potential hang gliding competition organizers will organize U.S. based race-to-goal hang gliding competitions.
The HGRAC is currently composed of a president and two Directors. The two Directors are Ben Dunn and Cory Barnwell. Ben is a former multi-year Open Class U.S. National Team member and Cory is an experienced Open and Sport Class competition pilot. We will be looking to appoint additional Directors if and as the HGRAC evolves.
The comp organization email address is <team>.
Mick Howard and I took advantage of a stellar day to do a little cross country task (out and return) while many other pilots (many apparently from Lookout Flight Park) also got to fly at Wilotree Park before the Thanksgiving Dinner at 4 PM.
The NWS forecast was as follows, sunny, with a high near 82. South southeast wind around 5 mph. HRRR forecasted 517 fpm at 1 PM with RAP saying cloud base would be 4,100'. Wind out of the south at 2,000' at 4 mph. It looked like a great day for a closed task back to Wilotree Park.
Cory Barnwell was off first and well before Mick and I as we raced to get ready. Launching just ten minutes before 1 PM, we saw Cory on his Fizz circling low south of Wilotree after we got off tow. He stayed up but was not able to get up with us.
The first thermal averaged less than 100 fpm to 3,600'. Mick called out that he was to the south east in better lift. I found 180 fpm just over him and we got up, me back to 3,600'.
Heading south southwest I found 100 fpm which Mick liked and he came in under me and sure enough I was soon back to 3,600'.
There were cu's every where so it was easy to know where to go next. Mick headed out lower to the south and found 200 fpm to cloud base at 4,000'+. I came in under him as he climbed out fast and left the lift at 3,900' as he headed south again staying out of the cloud.
We'd been in the air for 50 minutes and were only 12 kilometers south of Wilotree Park. Mick found the best thermal so far that averaged almost 400 fpm and it took both of us to cloud base at almost 4,200'. We were a little bit north of the Seminole Glider Port.
I headed toward a cloud over the sand mines (lakes) to the south southeast. Mick headed south past the glider port. When I found nothing over the mines Mick reported good lift under the clouds 1 km south the glider port. I joined him about 4 km to the west coming in at 1,600'. He was up over 3,000'. The lift averaged over 300 fpm.
Our turnpoint was the intersection of highways 33 and 474 just a little over a kilometer to our south east. It was easy for me to get the turnpoint and come back to the same lift although it averaged about half strength when I returned.
Leaving at 3,700' hearing that Mick was in lift north of me I found 300 fpm average just north of the glider port. I had been hitting 500 to 600 fpm on the twenty second averager. I took it again to cloud base which was over kill given that Wilotree Park was down wind and only 10 kilometers away. I was able to hit 62 mph over the ground with a 5 mph tail wind.
Coming in at 1000' I took one turn around field and came in out of the north field passing the hang glider waiting to launch. I timed it so that tug had just taken the previous pilot and dragged them out of my way. With the wind slightly cross from the east I came in at 26 mph ground speed six feet above the ground and flared after going 144 feet for my first landing since May. I was very happy with a one stepper on good flare timing.
Mick hooked up with all the other pilots circling over head under the clouds.