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topic: Joseph "Joe" Schmucker (17 articles)

The Flying Apes

March 16, 2019, 8:44:03 EDT

The Flying Apes

That's how it got started for Joe

Joe Schmucker

Joe Schmucker <<wingloader>> writes:

I'll soon have paid off my business loan early. As soon as I finish paying it off, Sarah will allow me to fly again. In Nov 2015, I bought the business unit I created while employed at a local company here in Buffalo. I took out a five year loan and told my wife I wouldn’t fly again until I paid off the loan. That way if I bit the dust while flying she wouldn’t lose our collateral on the loan. I’ve almost paid it off. Of course I will have to get back into shape to get down to flying weight but that is the incentive I need. Maybe this fall, we shall see.

It looks like the writers of Planet of the Apes in 1974 were stoked about hang gliding too.

This is where it all started for me. I was watching an episode of Planet of the Apes (season 1, episode 14, December 20, 1974). I dreamed of flying (literally) ever since. In the fall of 2000, I discovered that I could learn to fly 86 miles to the East of Buffalo, NY with the Rochester Area Flyers. However, I had to lose 100 pounds to get to the max hook-in weight for the Eaglet training glider before May of 2001. I was so afraid I could not lose 100 pounds before the next spring, I took drastic measures and lost 60 pounds in 2 months. Yea, I know that’s not healthy, but it was worth it. Being 6’ 4” with a head full of rocks that was about as trim as I could get. I managed to get to 240 and our head instructor Henry Boesl said the glider would hold me but I’d have to run mighty fast to get airborne. I got my first high site flight that summer. My quadriceps still have funny lumps where I tore them during training.

Discuss "The Flying Apes" at the Oz Report forum   link»

Soaring at Quest Air

September 3, 2015, 9:07:45 MDT

Soaring at Quest Air

A sunny playground with cushy air

Joe Schmucker|Quest Air|video

Joe Schmucker <<wingloader>> sends:

https://youtu.be/Nq_9WXiaryM

Discuss "Soaring at Quest Air" at the Oz Report forum   link»

2015 Green Swamp Sport Klassic »

April 5, 2015, 10:32:52 pm EDT

2015 Green Swamp Sport Klassic

18 mph winds at 2,000'

Davis Straub|Green Swamp Sport Klassic 2015|Greg Dinauer|Jeffrey "Jeff" Lawrence Bohl|Joe Schmucker|John Alden|Jon "Jonny" Durand jnr|Larry Bunner|Quest Air|Rick Brown|Tom Lanning

Despite a NAM/XCSkies forecast for 7 mph winds at 2,000' at 2 PM, it was 18 mph at 2,200' at 2 PM. Launch conditions were relatively mild with winds about 10 mph on the ground. The wind at 2,000' was supposed to be east southeast. The winds were northeast on the ground and in the air. The air was supposed to be rising at between 700 to 900 fpm, I didn't find any lift on my first attempt and about an average of 10 fpm on my second. Larry was able to climb up from 900' to 4,000' in 450 fpm.

The task was stopped with the report from me of the winds aloft and increasing winds with the northerly component at launch. Should be a low scoring day.

The scoring is completely screwed up so far: http://soaringspot.com/gss2015/results/club/daily/day1.html

Day 1, yesterday, Sport Class, Preliminary results
Davis OzGAP 160, Task time: 07:00:00
QUEST - GROSS
Task length: 38.4km
# At Launch: 11, # Who Flew: 8, # At Goal: 0, Total Distance Flown: 7 km, Average Distance Flown: 1 km, Nominal Distance: 20 km, Minimal Distance: 5 km, Nominal Goal Percentage: 20%, Nominal Time: 1.0 hour, Minimal Time: 24.0 hour, Day Quality: 0.011, Launch Validity: 0.815, Distance Validity: 0.029, Time Validity: 0.491, Pilots with speed points: 0, Handicapped, Available Distance Points: 10, Available Speed Points: 1, Available Start/Departure points: 0, Available Arrival Points: 0, Tmin: 24:00:00,
#CNPilotTeamGliderHcapStartDist.Points
1.110Willie Van CaulartCANWills WingFalcon 2 19514513:44:185.0km12.48
2.105Greg SessaUSAWills WingU2 16010014:45:496.8km10.28
DNF.126*Adrian SanchezUSAWills Wing Ultra Sport 1471065.0km9.12
4.112Owen McDermott-BerrymanCANWills WingU210013:29:075.0km8.60
DNF.114*Cory BarnwellUSAWills WingU2 1601005.0km8.60
DNF.402*Davis StraubUSAWills WingT2C 1441005.0km8.60
DNF.101*Jim WeitmanUSAMoyesLitesport 41005.0km8.60
DNF.118*Richard WestmorelandUSAWills wingRam Air 1461005.0km8.60
DNF.121*Clive BeddallCANMoyes2006 Litespeed 4S1000
DNF.113*John AldenUSAWills WingU2-1451000
DNF.107*Jeffery BohlUSAWills WingU2 1601000
DNF.108*Rick BrownUSAWills WingU21000
DNF.403*Larry BunnerUSAWills WingT2C1441000
DNF.122*Matt ChristensenUSAAFH 22800
DNF.116*Glenn CurranUSAWills WingU21000
DNF.401*Greg DinauerUSAAerosCombat C-12.71000
DNF.106*Michelle HaagUSAWills WingSport 21060
DNF.124*Mick HowardUSAWillsWing T2C 144800
DNF.119*Spencer KindtUSANorthWingLiberty1000
DNF.404*Tom LanningUSAWills WingT2C 1361000
DNF.109*David LopezUSAWills WingT2C800
DNF.104*Lance MacleanUSAWills Wing Sport 21060
DNF.103*stephan mentlerUSAMoyesLitesport1000
DNF.102*Antonio MercadoUSAWills WingU21000
DNF.115*Fernando MilaniUSAWills WingSport 21060
DNF.125*Kelly MyrkleUSAAeromot. Super Ximango1060
DNF.111*Dana PasternackUSAWills WingSport 21060
DNF.104*Joe SchmuckerUSAWills WingSport 2 1761060
DNF.123*Jonny ThompsonUSAA-151000
DNF.117*Alex TrochezUSAWills WingU2 1441000
DNF.120*michael williamsUSAWills WingSport 21060
* File not yet delivered
DNF = Did not fly

Looks like a nice day tomorrow with a southeast wind.

Attacking the messenger - The French suck big time

Sat, Jun 28 2014, 11:16:00 am MDT

Well, at least Stephane Malbos does, but there are others.

CIVL|Facebook|Joe Schmucker|Sté|Stéphane Malbos|Stéphane Malbos|video

In case you weren't aware of this, hang gliding is dangerous.

If you've been following the Oz Report reports on the 2014 East Coast Championship, you'll remember the stories of the accidents there and the reasons for them, especially the long series with Joe Schmucker and his attempt to get back to the airport. I convinced him to write about it and after much begging got him to publish his video.

https://OzReport.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=37786

https://OzReport.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=37685

Please remember that I was the meet director at the ECC.

Lately I've published reports from on site observers on some accidents and difficult conditions at Annecy at the Sport Class Worlds, etc. Well, it appears that this is making the organization very unhappy (they told pilots to stop being so negative in social media postings). I'm not the only one publishing reports that might not be totally flattering. You can find the reports on Facebook and in personal blogs that I've linked to.

Even the Annecy safety director has reported: https://OzReport.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=131232#131232

That was before he pulled out of the Oz Report forum. Interesting.

Now I've looked back over some blog postings from on site observers and checked to see what has happened to them and found them to be scrubbed of bad news, the news that I quoted.

Can you say censorship?

What are these guys afraid of?

CIVL has an incident database that they ask meet directors to contribute to. I wrote to all the pilots that had incidents at the ECC and had them fill out reports. One wasn't able to at first as the CIVL database was down.

Will the meet organizers continue to put pressure on pilots to keep smiling?

Joe on plowing

June 11, 2014, 8:03:17 CDT

Joe on plowing

Carrying a heavy load

Highland Aerosports Flight Park|Joe Schmucker|Mike Barber|video

http://ozreport.com/18.107#1

http://ozreport.com/18.108#2

Joe Schmucker <<wingloader>> writes:

As you probably know, I crashed on the second day of the ECC comp. I was very lucky and crashed into very soft, recently planted soil. If you've seen the video of my crash, it was pretty obvious it was pilot error. Davis goaded me into posting the video or I would not have posted it. I didn't think there was anything to learn from it other than Joe can make a crater. I've had a lot of people thank me for posting it. Thank you all for your kind words.

I want to thank Adam and Sunny for racing to my aid (and several others too). I hope you didn't end up with poison ivy!

There were a couple things that I learned from this event:

1) A glider is very heavy when it is on top of you.

2) A camel back is something I will always carry. I needed it to rinse out my eyes after plowing.

3) Make sure your phone and/or radio is easily accessible in case you need to get to it to call for help. In my case, it was in my front left pocket. I would not have been able to get to it if I had broken my right arm.

4) Don't trust that a wind mill is facing into the wind. I always thought that the gearbox portion of the windmill was on the down wind side. I had a down wind landing on Day 1 because I relied solely on what I thought was the best wind direction indication a pilot could hope to have.

I once paid money to Mike Barber to tell me that a large percentage of crashes occur because people are lazy and try to land close to a road etc. so they don't have to carry their equipment that extra 100 yards. I wish I had listened to that advice.

I appreciate that nobody said, "You know, you may have fared better if you lost some weight." I am pretty sure that some of you thought that but out of courtesy did not say it. I am 6'4" and I have a huge cranium! So, I am by default a "big guy". We all take safety very seriously. We sometime screw up and pay some dues. In my case, I could stand to lose about 30 pounds. That could make a significant difference in my wing loading and my stall speed. So, I have committed to myself that I will not fly until I get rid of the those extra pounds. Here's my real litmus test. If I feel uncomfortable enough in my appearance that I won't take my shirt off when setting up my glider, I'm not ready to fly.

I think the extra weight would be a positive in the air. But when I come in to land, my ground speed is much faster than I like it to be. It seems like I used to come in to land and the glider would slow down a lot more before it was time to flare. I see other people land and it seems like their ground speed is way slower than mine. I've no idea if it is real or in my mind. Could my track log show ground speed as I am bleeding off speed to flare? I should check that out and see.

Thank you all for making my time at Highland Aerosports a great time. They were two very memorable days and I did have a personal best distance on Day 1 coming in about 2km short of goal.

2014 East Coast Championship

Day 7 and final results

Sat, Jun 7 2014, 9:27:48 pm EDT

Aeros Combat|Aeros Combat GT 15|Aeros Combat L|Aeros Discus|Airwave Vision Pulse|Bob Filipchuk|Brian Boudreau|Bruce Barmakian|Charles Allen|Cory Barnwell|Dana Harris|Dan Lukaszewicz|Dave Proctor|Davis Straub|East Coast Championships 2014|Felix Cantesanu|Greg Dinauer|Greg Sessa|Highland Aerosports Flight Park|Hugh Mcelrath|Icaro Laminar Z8|J.D. Guillemette|Jim Messina|Joe Schmucker|John Claytor|John Dullahan|John Waters|Knut Ryerson|Michelle Haag|Moyes Litespeed|Moyes Litespeed S|Moyes Litesport 4|Richard Elder|Richard Milla|Soraya Rios|Tom McGowan|Tom Mcgowan|Wills Wing|Wills Wing Sport 2|Wills Wing T2C|Wills Wing Talon|Wills Wing U2

http://soaringspot.com/ecc2014/

Task 7:

1. Greg Dinauer Aeros Combat 12.7 02:26:13 1000
2. Davis Straub Wills Wing T2C 144 02:26:22 994.02
3. Charles Allen Icaro Laminar Z8 12.8 02:40:06 837.19
4. Tom Mcgowan Moyes Litespeed 03:34:53 546.85

Final Totals:

1. Bruce Barmakian Wills Wing T2C 136 4913.06
2. Greg Dinauer Aeros Combat 12.7 4560.29
3. Davis Straub Wills Wing T2C 144 3821.55
4. Jd Guillemette Moyes Litespeed S4 3037.99
5. John Waters Aeros Combat L 15 3026.09
6. Jim Messina Moyes Litespeed S 4.5 2953.45
7. Charles Allen Icaro Laminar Z8 12.8 2941.23
8. Bob Filipchuk Aeros Combat GT 15 2397.18
9. Dave Proctor Wills Wing T2C 154 1449.28
10. Tom Mcgowan Moyes Litespeed 967.38
11. John Claytor Wills Wing Talon 160 276.18

Task 7 Sport:

1. Hugh Mcelrath Wills Wing Sport 2 01:39:20 1060
2. Brian Boudreau Wills Wing Sport 2 155 01:43:18 980.21
3. Dana Harris Wills Wing Sport 2 155 02:17:47 660.81
4. Cory Barnwell Airwave Vision Pulse 02:21:01 640.73
5. Soraya Rios Wills Wing Sport 2 135 02:29:32 592.70
6. Richard Elder Wills Wing Sport 2 03:00:45 468.69

Final Sport:

1. Felix Cantesanu Aeros Discus 3798.89
2. Hugh Mcelrath Wills Wing Sport 2 3519.46
3. Cory Barnwell Airwave Vision Pulse 3258.15
4. Brian Boudreau Wills Wing Sport 2 155 3044.54
5. Dana Harris Wills Wing Sport 2 155 2810.15
6. Richard Milla Wills Wing Sport 2 2804.88
7. Knut Ryerson Wills Wing Sport 2 2440.09
8. Soraya Rios Wills Wing Sport 2 135 2417.55
9. Richard Elder Wills Wing Sport 2 2203.56
10. Greg Sessa Wills Wing U2 1982.97
11. Michelle Haag Wills Wing Sport 2 135 1156.05
12. John Dullahan Moyes Litesport 4 649.96
13. Dan Lukaszewicz Wills Wing Sport 2 482.98
14. Joe Schmucker Wills Wing Sport 2 175 462.76

A higher resolution version of Joe plowing

June 4, 2014, 7:21:04 EDT

A higher resolution version of Joe plowing

Talk about burying your head in the sand

Highland Aerosports Flight Park|Joe Schmucker

Joe Schmucker sends:

Rules of thumb for pilots

June 4, 2014, 7:20:05 EDT

Rules of thumb for pilots

What we use every time we are flying

David Glover|Highland Aerosports Flight Park|Joe Schmucker

http://www.farnamstreetblog.com/2014/06/gerd-gigerenzer-risk-savvy/

Fix your gaze on the tower: If the tower rises in your windshield, you won’t make it.

Thanks to David Glover. Joe Schmucker could have used this to judge whether he was going to get over the tree line or not.

Joe plows

Tue, Jun 3 2014, 8:00:46 am EDT

See the story behind this video in yesterday's Oz Report

Highland Aerosports Flight Park|Joe Schmucker|video

Joe Schmucker sends:

http://youtu.be/BaScVhk3Xxw

Be sure to check out the frame capture at the end of the video from the moment of impact.

Thanks to Joe for being a good sport about putting up his video. We all had a great time with it here at Highland Aerosports. He wasn't feeling too bad after taking out lots of aluminum.

Quest Air's Final Glide Contest

January 22, 2014, 10:09:34 pm GMT+0900

Quest Air's Final Glide Contest

Stay above 300' AGL

Dean Funk|Joe Schmucker|Jon "Jonny" Durand jnr|Quest Air

Mark Frutiger <<info>> writes:

It's in the books, the first Final Glide competition at Quest is over, (almost). Eleven pilots flew twenty one one on one match races over two days. Scoring and rules for the comp were simple, two tugs towed two gilders to the same altitude and position upwind of the first turnpoint and released them at same time. The first glider to complete the course with at least 300' of altitude received the win, time did not matter. 1st, 2nd and 3rd for each pool was determined by the number of match wins. The top two from each pool advanced to the single elimination "Best of Show" round.

High winds on Saturday kept us from getting the final flight for Best of Show and 3rd place in the kingposted pool done before dark, so we'll fly those at another time.

The course consisted of a downwind run to a turnpoint, then a push to another turnpoint 4 km northwest of Quest which was used as the handicapping tool. The higher performance the glider, the smaller the diameter around this turnpoint. The finish was a 400 meter cylinder around Quest with a 300' hard deck for safety. Completing the course below 300' counted as a loss.

There were some great match ups and close racing. The closest race was between John Hope and Eric Meibos. They crossed the finish within seconds of each other but John was just below the 300' minimum, so Eric got the win.

Just for fun and to see how well tandem gliders really fly, Dean Funk flew a Northwing tandem with a different passenger each round. He scored three wins in four attempts, with his only loss coming in a round where both gliders failed to make the course. We'll handicap the tandem and single surface gliders less in the next event.

The Litesport 4 piloted by Stephan Mentler was very impressive on glide and he racked up 5 wins in 5 rounds. He'll fly against Dean on the tandem for top honors. With the current handicapping, Stephan will have to fly very fast to make up the extra distance.

The final results were;

Kingposted (single surface and Sport 2's)

1st Tony " Super" Mercado, Falcon 170

2nd Dean Funk, Northwing T2 tandem

Open (High performance kingposted and topless)

1st Stephan Mentler, Litesport 4

2nd John Hope, U2 145

3rd TBD Joe Schmucker or Kim Braswell or Cliff Rice

Best of Show

TBD Stephan Mentler or Dean Funk

3rd Jonny Thompson, Litesport 4

I think there was enough fun had by all to make this a regular event. We'll schedule another one for some time in the spring.

Discuss "Quest Air's Final Glide Contest" at the Oz Report forum   link»

Hot at ⁢Quest Air »

Tue, Aug 27 2013, 8:15:18 am MDT

Summer flying

Joe Schmucker|Quest Air|video

Joe Schmucker «Joe Schmucker» writes:

Yea. It's hot in Florida in August. However, it's a lot cooler up above the clouds!

Here's a video of one of the coolest flights I've ever taken. Mark Frutiger said "get your stuff on and let's go" so I did. It was only 10 am and I knew it wasn't because the lift was good.

http://youtu.be/cjHRj1IU59o

Cloud base was at about 1200 feet so it didn't take long to climb above the clouds. I chopped out the last part of the flight where I boated around above the LZ for about 15 minutes at about 800 feet. Even at 10am, I was able to stay up for a while.

An hour later or so Spinner and I flew for an hour and a half at cloud base (3100 at 1pm) until we just felt like landing.

I've been here at Quest since Wednesday and I've flown 3 of the 4 days (waited too long on Thursday and missed the window of opportunity). There is about a 2 hour window of great conditions then it over develops and rains for a while.

Just awesome flying here. Thank God the business office is air conditioned.

Discuss "Hot at ⁢Quest Air" at the Oz Report forum   link»  

Pins on Exxtacies

May 14, 2007, 6:39:05 MST

Pins

They could be falling apart.

Joe Schmucker

Joe Schmucker «rigidwing» writes:

I was doing a preflight on my Exxtacy yesterday and I found that a critical component seemed to have gone *missing* from my glider.

In the center section where the wings connect to the keel, on my glider there are two "conical" shaped retaining plugs that join the right wing to the keel. They are fitted with pip pins so that you can easily remove one of the D-cells (for a long carry-in I guess...). The pip pin on the bottom plug was missing!!! How could that happen??? My first thought was that someone took it because they needed one in order to fly. I thought, geeze, no problem, it's just a pip pin, but you could have left a note!!!! If that plug were to fall out, I would definitely have a catastrophic failure.

Then I think I figured it out. When you unfold the wing, those lugs have to be able to rotate. I've noticed in the past that they are REALLY TIGHT. I had to use a c-clamp and a custom jig to push it out when I had my keel repaired. I believe that the top of the head of the pip pin was broken off as the wing was opened because the plug was tighter on the wing component than on the keel component causing the pip pin to be rotated into the keel. I think the top of the pip pin is aluminum and is somehow fitted onto the shaft of the pin by friction so if it was "pushed off", the shaft of the pin would easily slide out of the opening.

So, beware. Check your pip pins! I'm actually going to replace the pip pins with a standard pins and a retaining rings. It is possible for the failure to occur in mid flight. The pip pin might LOOK fine when you do your inspection, but it could be on the verge of falling apart.

Discuss Pins at the Oz Report forum     Digg This  Reddit  DelIcioUsdel.icio.us

"Yipes" the Fruit Stripe Zebra

October 17, 2006, 8:53:50 PDT

Yipes

Hang Gliding Zebra

Joseph Schmucker

Joseph Schmucker (Algonquin Studios Inc) «v-jschmu» writes:

I found this gum wrapper tattoo in my pack of Fruit Stripe gum and I was thrilled to see "Yipes" the Fruit Stripe Zebra on a hang glider. I've loved that brand since I was a kid and now I know why!

Discuss Yipes at the Oz Report forum

Recreational Boating, unsafe at any speed

August 1, 2006, 4:25:33 pm CDT

Boating

They should be out hang gliding instead

boating|Joseph Schmucker|weather

Joseph Schmucker (Algonquin Studios Inc) «v-jschmu» writes:

Per the June 8, 2006 Buffalo News sports page D5, Boating section, I quote:

"Unsafe boating

Forty-two people lost their lives during the Coast Guard Auxiliary National Safe Boating Week, May 20-29, held prior to the local event.

Auxiliary officials have cited many reasons for the deaths, including the possibility of alcohol use, along with weather conditions and failure to wear life jackets.

The Coast Guard Auxiliary has sent a stern warning to the rest of us to practice safe boating. That means making sure the boat meets state and federal equipment regulations, being knowledgeable about safe boating practices and using common sense. For more information and Safe Boating Class times and locations, go to www.wynboatsafe.org."

That's just plain crazy. Forty-two people? I wish I knew how many fatalities per boating capita that comes to. I'd guess is pretty darn high.

Sport Class at the Florida International

May 3, 2005

Get all together.

calendar|Joseph Schmucker|USHGA

Joseph Schmucker «v-jschmu» writes:

I really had a great time watching you and the other top dudes flying and making goal on days I couldn't even stay up in the air. I was really humbled. I thought I was a better climber than that, but I know now that I have a lot to learn (patience is a big one). I know I'm just small potatoes to you and the other pilots, but I really felt welcomed by you and the others. I appreciate it very much.

I used to fly RC airplanes and the club members were always snooty asses who treated newcomers like crap. I kind of expected that when I went down to Florida and I was surprised at how cool everyone was. Maybe someday in the near future I'll be at a comp with you and meet you at goal. That's my goal anyway.

Thanks again and good luck at your next competition.

(editor's note: The USHGA Competition Committee supports the Sport Class and encourages meet organizers to have a Sport Class. It worked well at the Florida Ridge. I hope to see it used at the upcoming East coast Championships. If you'd like to enter the competition but don't have the glider or the experience to compete with the big dogs, please come and fly with all of us. See the Oz Report calendar for the contact.

I think that it would be great to also see it used at the Big Spring Open.)

Discuss sport class at the Oz Report forum

Photo/Caption contest

September 23, 2004

Making a splash.

Joseph Schmucker|photo

Joseph Schmucker «v-jschmu» writes:

This was from Tuesday, August 31 at the Finger Lakes Aerosports Flight Park. I was launching just after you did when I hit a pond of standing water. We'd had a lot of rain on Monday. Fortunately, I had a really good grip on the rope!

Discuss photos at the Oz Report forum

Wills Wing Sport 2 - a mini review »

September 8, 2004

Crashed on the third test.

cart|Joe Schmucker|Rob Kells|Wills Wing Sport 2

I got a chance to fly the Wills Wing Sport 2 at the National Fly-In in Macedon, New York. I plowed it in off the cart on my third flight, so I didn't get to do all the testing that I wanted, but I got some idea of what the glider was like before I wrecked it.

When you transition from a rigid to a flex, your first tow is a little squirrelly. Then things settle down on subsequent tows. If you don't have a lot of experience doing this it takes a lot longer to get your flex wing muscle memory back.

Given one's predilection to be behind the control curve when hoping from a rigid wing on to a flex wing glider, I did find the Sport 2 rolling from side to side on my first tow. Combine that with the fact that I was hanging too low and I wasn't in the most objective situation to evaluate the glider.

Still I got to fly it around for almost an hour on this first flight so I got a feel for the glider. On the next flight I hiked myself up four inches and I was able to get myself in a head down position without being under the bar.

Last year I reported on how great the Wills Wing U2 was to tow, but this was after I had towed a lot of other flex wing glider just before I towed the U2. I asked Rob Kells and he felt that the Sport 2 wasn't quite as on rails as the U2 in towing. I'd say that it was close.

The Sport 2 has a VG and it is very easy to pull on and let off. It was actually useful and didn't wear my arm out. I used it a lot during my two flights. (I loved the U2 VG also.)

When I pulled the VG rope all the way on I really did have a hard time turning the glider. That is it did want to fly straight with the VG full on. When I was towing I had it half on as per Rob's suggestion.

Last year I flew the U2 145 and the 160. I liked the 145 more because it was such a toy. I could just do anything I wanted to do with it and it would respond right away. The 160 just had more surface area that I had to muscle around.

The Sport 2 comes in a 135 and a 157 model. I was flying the 157 model, which is the main stream model. It wasn't quite as responsive as the U2 145.

On the other hand, I was able to come in to thermal at less than 400' AGL under Joe Schmucker, who is a big guy and was flying a WW W2 160. I then thermaled through him on the Sport 2 157. I have to admit that I'm lighter than Joe.

When I pulled the VG all the way on and pulled in the bar I was going 36 mph. Rob Kells tells me if I had stuffed the bar I could hit 55 mph (10 mph slower than the U2 top speed). I am use to pulling in as much as I did on the Sport 2 and going 55 mph on my AIR ATOS VX. I just wasn't use to pulling in so much to get the higher speeds.

Of course, the Sport 2 is designed for the less experience pilot. It is the third step in the five fold path (Falcon 2, Eagle, Sport 2, U2, Talon). It is made to be easy to land and to not over speed when the pilot tries something unusual like their first slipping turn (without realizing it).

With this in mind the Sport 2 has about twice the bar pressure of the U2. The U2 has only 3 pounds of pressure with full VG and full bar stuffed. The extra bar pressure is to keep the less experienced pilot from over doing it.

I reported last year that the Talon had twice the bar pressure of the U2 although Rob Kells claimed this year that the Talon and U2 have about the same bar pressure. Hmmm!?

The Sport 2 is made to land easy, so that the up and coming pilot has a favorable experience and wants to keep flying hang gliders. I found it a joy to land and had a great time getting up in the control bar with my monkey bar position pulling in with my bare feet. I have a lot more control because I don't wear shoes and just have that natural toe grabbing advantage.

The Sport 2 is the first flex wing glider I had tried the monkey bar position for landing after really liking this position for landing on my ATOS. I was able to control the glider as much as I needed to and came out of the control frame at the last second to land.

I did have a second flight and things were a lot better when I was hooked in at the correct height. The glider was easy to thermal with 1/4 VG. I didn't have an opportunity to thermal it for hours as it was a weak day, but it seemed pretty responsive.

I'd say that the Sport 2 is a lot like the Wills Wing Eagle but with a VG. It feels like it is a ways from the U2 in terms of glide performance, but would be less of a handful for landing for the less experienced pilot.

Wills Wing is quite clever to have this five fold path for pilot growth, making incremental safe steps to allow to smooth progress.

Discuss at the Oz Report forum