Thank you for reading my post. I will start with a little about me. I have been flying one form or another aircraft for 35 years. Everything from a Huey to a hang glider plus tons of R/C planes. Yes I got the bug early as a boy. I am an engineer but NOT an mechanical or aerodynamic engineer. I have build a BD-5 and have the kit downstairs for a Long-EZ. I am a proficient machinist with a commercial CNC Mill and lath in my shop plus most every other tool you can think of and a few you can't (grin). There is even an industrial robot down there (he is still waiting for a job)
With all that said, what do I want? I want a Aeriane Swift'Light. Problem is there current price is close to $30,000 dollars and over a year wait. I would love to build an aircraft in this category. So just what is that category to me?
1. Foot lauchable at most hang glider sites (rolling launch were applicable)
2. Attachable engine for self launch
3. Right stick control for easy flight and ground handling.
4. Prefer the no-engine weight less than 120 lbs. I may need to run with this and even that is a bit much
4. When the engine, fuel, controls and misc support for it are attached, under 155 lbs
5. Able to hold me at 225 lbs
5. Glide ratio > 20 to 1 minimum.
6. Removable wings. Set up and tear downin less that an hour. 30 min would be great
7. No unrecoverable flight modes (tumble, flat spin!)
1. Glide ratio > 30 to 1
2. One person assembly
4. Able to fly at 60+ without having the glide ratio drop below 18 to one (most flying will be in the 20-30 mph range "fun") faster is to go "somewhere"
Things I can accept:
1. Wings carried in box on top of car
2. Longer set up time than most hanggliders.
3. If it met all of the above goals, up to two years to build at 6+ hours per day (hope for much less)
4. Price, no greater than $15,000 and that seems silly for a 100 lbs of plastic and glue, but comparatively, probably reasonable
Looks like a flying wing is the best choice if done right. No tail to strike on the hang glider ramp after your run. No drag, weight, or control systems from tail surfaces.
Things I don't know how to do. Engineer a wing.
1. Do I need winglets? Are they worth the effort, what shape, size and airfoil should they be?
2. Swept or plank? (plank seems easier and more stable. Is it?)
3. How to choose an airfoil. Or worse yet, design one.
4. How to determine wing loading and then come up with a spar/rib/skin that will support me.
5. Does the wing need to have a full composite skin to meet my criteria? “D” cell, fabric trailing edge seems more complex.
Learning the "things I don't know", NO!, It is not worth going back to college and getting another degree. Is there another way? I also would need guidance on WHAT to study.Example: Horton. Yes, a great man and pioneer but most of his teachings are very obsolete today. Even what Ilan Kroo did with the Swift is getting stale. Where is the new/pertinent stuff? Don't want to be overwhelmed with junk I don't need to know.
I have been reading on here and may other places and it seems there is a lot of interest in this form of flying. I find many started and only a couple completed works.
I went to all these sites: (and many more)
http://www.sailplanehomebuilders.com/ nearly all the companies listed there for plans or kits are gone or the product weights 400+ lbs
http://m-sandlin.info/ Mike is great! I would like to improve the performance and get rid of the tail.
http://www.marskeaircraft.com/flyingwings.html Jim Marske has also done some great work but don't think I could get that Pioneer III on my shoulders and run. Where would the motor go? Can I have the wings?
http://www.lutz-drachenbau.de/index.html Sky project....not done....probably too spendy from Germany and flies too fast to run
http://www.carbondragon.us/ Won't be flying with my buddies. They would have to tow me up then drive to launch and maybe I meet them in the air
http://www.aeros.com.ua/structure/al/al12_en.php Beautiful, No prices, little info. No one has one.
So tell me, am I all wet and just dreaming? It sure seems the specific knowlege I need should already out there, how to find it?