Glider Tuning

Is your glider or trike becoming difficult to fly?  Is your wing turning off one way when you take your hands from the controls?  Are your landings growing worse even though your technique hasn’t changed? Its time to contact Rohan on 0409 678 734 to arrange a wing tune-up and trim.

Rohan has flown every type of Australian-made hang glider since mandatory certification in 1981, specifically every certified Moyes, Enterprise Wings and Airborne hang glider.   Rohan has been involved with development and tuning high performance hang gliders at top level hang gliding competitions since 1988.   Rohan has also had input designing and developing training and intermediate hang gliders since 1992.

A wing tune-up and trim will commence with a full inspection – Rohan will be checking all frame components, batten profiles, sail tension and the like before test-flying.  If any parts are required to bring the glider back to airworthy standard Rohan will contact you to advise cost and expected delivery/installation time.  After test flying Rohan will make any adjustments necessary to ensure your glider will fly as it was designed to fly by the manufacturer.  In some cases sail degradation and damage can make a glider impossible to correct – a new sail may be required.  Further customising of the aircraft’s handling can be made to suit the owners preference.

Wing tuning and test flying is charged at $250.  Additional labour for more than three test flights or to remove and fit parts or sail repair is charged at $55 per hour.

If you purchased your glider new from us, the glider test fly and tune is FREE for the duration of your ownership – parts replacement will be charged at standard retail prices.

“On Saturday I flew the C4 at Three Sisters. That was the first time since you have tuned it.
It is a different glider now 🙂 It’s much better. Finally I feel confident to pull the bar in to land or to cover some ground. There is no more of the squeriling around. I found that it trimmed hands off at around 37 kmph at which point the bar was at about my forhead with the harness middway between head down and head up. It still thermals nicely. The wind was about 15 knots at the top with a steep gradient bringing it downalmost to zero on the ground but the landing was still easy, just a couple of jogging steps.
Thanks very much you have done a great job”.

See more details on the tuning process

The recent topless hang gliders have many small adjusters built in to aid tuning. Floater and intermediate gliders are less complicated but can also be tuned when required. The glider’s manual usually has a trouble shooting/turn adjustment chart that’s worth the read.

First thing I do when tuning a glider is carefully profile the battens to the chart, make them perfect – including the nose battens.

Second step, check all tubes for bends or dings or imbalanced sleeving/dodgy repairs. Where fitted, check the eccentric rings, leading edge tension straps, sprog mounts, tip wand angle and tip wand tension settings, make a note of any non-symmetrical settings and replace any damaged or corroded parts. Mark the tip wands for left, right and front if they’re not already marked. The entire airframe should be symmetrical and to manufacturer specs.

Third step, set the glider up, insert and load all battens. Equalise all batten tensions to “not quite tight”, there should be none that stand out like hungry dog’s ribs. Most batten ends wind in and out with 1mm pitch thread, others have bungee or rope. You want a smooth profile along the span (at 75% VG if it has one). Sometimes this step will highlight problems like too much leading edge tension/ imbalance and or tip wand tension/ imbalance. Both trailing edge and profile should be straight and smooth with minimal distortion and wrinkles by the time you’re done.

Fourth is check sail for twist symmetry – with glider set up, hold the nose down and align your head along the keel with chin on the nose, look over the top of the leading edge to compare the wash-out at different span positions by altering the nose up/down with VG off and 75%. This technique can highlight eccentric ring, tip wand angle, tip wand tension and or sprog imbalances. The sail should be perfectly twist-balanced when you’re done. With cam VG gliders make sure the cams are not skewed during this test. This should be done on a flat surface with zero wind and balanced lighting conditions both on the glider and background.

Fifth step is test fly, – test for wind-in severity and balance. Test for straightness and pitch pressure through the speed and VG range. Test for stall speed, hysteresis, recovery and balance. Make any adjustments as per the manual till the glider fly’s how it was designed to, personal preference on wind-in, roll response and pitch pressure can be adjusted in. Trim speed should always be 15 to 20% faster than stall speed if you want the perfect flare timing. If you’ve done the first four steps thoroughly there should be very few adjustments and just one or two test-flights required.

Most mylar gliders need tuning two or more times a year as the sail distorts with each UV hour and pack-up, -mylar shrinks with UV and it wrinkles.  Try flattening a sheet of paper out to the same size after its been scrunched up just once.  😉