NOV 2018


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NOVEMBER 2018 20 CompositesWorld WORK IN PROGRESS A small Swiss company has developed a fast and easily deployed manufacturing method for producing a competition-worthy rigid hang glider. A highly manufacturable, high-performance hang glider » "We returned ... with the conviction that sailing flight was not the exclusive prerogative of birds." — Otto Lilienthal, 1874. ose words, written by a hang gliding pioneer, speak of a rich history of design development, one that continues today to attract enthusiasts drawn to soaring like a bird — without the noise of an engine. Switzerland is particularly well known for offering ideal hang gliding conditions — that is, tall mountains with steep slopes that serve as launch sites for pilots strapped into their gliders, as Helmut Wehren can attest. Wehren heads up a project group, dubbed "Wehren Emcom xxtherm2," aimed at manufacturing the high-performance rigid hang glider of the same name in Jegenstorf, Switzer- land: "e project was initially just for fun, among a group of friends." He notes, "But we realized our initial ideas and first aircraft didn't consider manufacturability, so six years ago we started on a second aircraft design, the xxtherm2." e Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI, Lausanne, Switzerland) defines three classes of competition hang gliders: flexible wing hang gliders, where the pilot is suspended, typically in a sling or bag, and controls a delta-shaped wing with simple weight shifts; rigid wing hang gliders that require spoilers and ailerons for flight control; and Class 2, Subclass O-2 rigid wing hang gliders with flight controls and a fairing or small cockpit. Pilots in all three types have set impressive soaring and distance records over the years. e all-carbon composite xxtherm2, intended for such long-distance competi- tions, falls into the third category. Building a better hang glider Says Wehren: "In 2006 we had only the intention to build a foot-launchable glider for our own flying, without any plan to produce it. e xxtherm1 was designed the classic way: first some crazy ideas, Two generations of all- composite hang gliders The progenitor of the xxtherm2, the xxtherm1, is shown here, at a launch site in the Swiss Alps. Both it and the xxtherm2, under development, are all-composite rigid wing hang gliders that fall under Class 2, Subclass O-2 rules for competition hang gliders. Source | Wehren Emcom xxtherm2 By Sara Black / Senior Editor

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