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December 2008

  • Hang Glider's Technical Notebook.  Write a  short requesting e-mail to Dr. Finbar Sheehy; he will send you the full 111 page classic hang gliding book. The book is out of print. He offers the book free (good price) in PDF format for your paper printing; he retains the copyright and appreciates your request. He likes one e-mail per permitted copy (forwarding copies to others is highly discouraged, as he holds the copyright).    Good deal. Nice gifted lift to all!   Free.
  • Harry Suds 
  • LIFT  phrases    Newly launched tool..  Get in on the fun!  Each Lift phrase has a surprise link.
  • ASA-NewsGroup   Sift for HG ideas.  Send your ideas for all.
  • GoFlyXC    (and wonder about the future of XOHG, i.e., cross-ocean hang gliding)
  • Pilot Workshops   (sift for what could apply to HG)
  • International Battery  (sift for feeds toward electric-assisted launching of HGs)
  • Watch the short animated ad.  (and wonder...)
  • Every little bit of lift  Being Prepared by Gary Trudeau
  • A foundation to assistive launch to soaring?  Yuneec  Wonder about HG, about RC gliding back to club base a unit for the next club member to use to get to soaring altitude. Wonder about sails and canopies that are solar-converters that recharge the batteries. Wonder further about going ultracapacitored. Wonder about lifetime no-wear materials. Wonder about near-zero friction in prop and motor rotating parts with advanced lubricants.
  • Gossamer Albatross   PDF of 1979 article.
    Lessons toward special niche hang glider construction?
  • Odd paddle wing has yet to affect hang gliding. 
  • Thomas H. Purcell, Jr.     Flight Dynamics (pres: Thomas H Purcell Jr.), Raleigh NC    Built flexible-wing glider.  Perhaps 1961. Details are invited.   Skysurfer Magazine of May/June 1973, page 9, published by the owner of Aeronautical Publishers,  shows Purcell with a wing that holds the mechanical inventions embedded also in the Fleep and the wing of the team headed by engineer Charles Richards.
    THOMAS H. PURCELL JR. Thomas H. Purcell Jr. died Oct. 13, 2007, at UNC Hospital in Chapel Hill, N.C.
    • http://www.newsobserver.com/2007/11/11/78965/engineer-flew-his-own-way.html
    • http://findarticles.com/p/news-articles/progress-index-the-petersburg-va/mi_8168/is_20071017/thomas-purcell-jr/ai_n53963196/
    • http://www.ncmuseumofhistory.org/collateral/articles/f03.flight.imagination.pdf    Contains the following note for study and discussion:
      "Purcell studied engineering at North Carolina State University. In 1961 Purcell, using photographs of Rogallo’s design from a magazine article, constructed a sixteen-foot-wide glider with an aluminum frame that he tested by towing it behind an automobile at the Raleigh-Durham Airport. Purcell called Rogallo one day, and the two engineers agreed to meet. When Purcell arrived at NASA, he was surprised to find himself surrounded by engineers who were asking numerous questions about his FlightSail glider. Purcell had figured out how to do something that NASA had not—achieve stability in a towed glider. He continued to work on his glider. He replaced the wheels with floats for towing it behind a speedboat. He flew the pontoon glider for the first time at Lake Waccamaw on July 26, 1962. It worked so well that he never went back to land-based liftoffs again. This was the first water-based use of the Rogallo wing." ©2005 North Carolina Museum of History.
      Office of Archives and History, N.C. Department of Cultural Resources              [One would have to compare the water-based use dates of the Mike Burns group that used the Rogallo wing in a kite glider in some kinds of tests in 1962-3; just when Burns' group towed the Rogallo kite-glider for the first time in tests would be pertinent to this study; Burns managed to exhibit the triangle control bar that was well recorded in 1908 in Breslau for a Breslau hang glider in the cable-stayed format with hung pilot as we still use in many hang gliders today.  So, was Purcell or Burns first over water; or indeed did any of the tow and releases of the Paresev go over a body of water ????   [ ]   ]
      • Tom Purcell features his FlightSail on p. 37, April, 1962, of EAA's Sport Aviation
      • See note from L&S 22 regarding FlightSail.
      • He would later develop some evolutes and obtain a patent:
    • Francis M. Rogallo flew in the Purcell device kite-glider over water.
    • http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1088114/1/index.htm   Dec. 10, 1973, article, extensive, but with some errors and incompleteness. But the article is robust.

  • PhotoFly Dec.19, 1971
  • Did you gift lift someone with a copy of the DVD movie Big Blue Sky ?
  • Fred Ballard ... giving so very many a great Lift in life. Tandem lift specialist!
  • (PDF, 3 mb)  Sustaining Soaring, A Model Approach
    by Dean Sigler     The author has prepared a "Sources and Resources" related to the main topics in the main article.  
    Be sure to click the presentation notes or comment balloons on many of the pages for notes that Dean Sigler made for his presentation.    

    The contents of this article will be explored and discussed in the coming months.
    Be sure to send in your related comments. Editor@UpperWindpower.com
  • Lift note #65        Solar Power Game-Changer: “Near Perfect” Absorption of Sunlight, From All Angles Antireflection advance may change the solar game.  Consider home HG takeoff rooftops charging assistive electric launch. Consider higher absorption in HG converting surfaces.
  • Ryan Voight.... Wings Over Wasatch Hang Gliding  
                            www.airthug.blogspot.com  .......... www.wingsoverwasatch.com
  • Dave Santos inspired: LIFT :: Lights in flight things.

Special thanks to those
who sent this issue's gift
for All.


Malcolm Allison

circa 1910-1915

Malcolm Allison     Library of Congress (LOC).  The place is Governors Island just off (south-east) of Manhattan across from the Statue of Liberty. Photo 09848v shows Brooklyn across the East River I believe.      Michael Grisham (pilot HG, HG researcher; Crestline Soaring Society member::  thanks for your research, Michael ... nice lift for All ... )

Bain News Service, publisher. Malcolm Allison - with glider [between 1910 and 1915] 1 negative : glass ; 5 x 7 in. or smaller. See photo. Notice that a higher resolution photo is available; also a very high tiff archival copy is available. Notice the tow lines at the wing tips. Notice also the lower wing trailing edge extension about 2 to 3 feet from the tips.  Observe the firm curved airfoil format.  In the two photos seen so far, a seat of any sort is not seen by Lift editors.

The original New York Times article is here.     New York Times: October 9, 1911, Monday, Page 4, 1241 words

A text type version of the article for study is here for Lift:

Airship You've Seen Over Governors Island Is the Toy of the Post's Children.
It Was Made by Col. Allison's Son, Malcolm, Out of Varnished Cambric and Birch Wood---Now Being Repaired.

The secret of the Governors Island airship, the short flights of which in the late afternoons for weeks past have made many persons in Battery park and on passing ferryboats wonder who the aviator was and the kind of a machine he used, is out. The machine is a fifty-pound biplane glider, and the inventor and maker is Malcolm Allison, the 17-year old son of Col. James N. Allison, U. S. A, the commissary officer of the Division of the East of the army.

The machine is housed in the aeroplane shed built for Wilbur Wright at the time of the Hudson-Fulton Celebration, and young Mr. Allison is now busy making repairs due to an unexpected fall a week or so ago, when an army boy who was gliding stuck his feet too far forward, thus breaking the equilibrium and causing the machine to fall. The inventor is not only repairing the machine, but he is also adding some improvements, among them a stationary instead of a swinging seat and a new rear control.

The flight have been at heights of from ten to fifty feet, and in several of the mthe [sic, many flights the?] glider has traveled more than 500 yards before coming down. In all of the flights the passengers have been drawn from the youthful population of Governors Island. One of those who made a splendid flight of more than 100 yards was Miss Alice Judson, a niece of Gen. Leonard Wood, Chief of the General Staff.

When the wind is strong the glider behaves fine, Malcolm Allison said yesterday, but when there is only a gentle breeze a tow of some sort is generally necessary in order to get into the air. The Governors Island children do the towing.

The planes of the glider are twenty feet long and four feet wide, the surfaces being of varnished cambric. The wood is birch, and the planes are held in position with birch supports and wires, the same as are the planes in the big biplanes of the Wright and Farman types.

Every part of the machine is the work of Malcolm Allison, and every one of them was made on the back porch of Col. Allison's home, which has been fitted up as a workshop by the boy inventor. The tools and the lumber and cambric all cost about $12.

The starting point for the flights is generally the grass-covered incline on the south side of the enlisted men's barracks, opposite the Statue of Liberty. There the boy or girl who is to take a spin in the air gets into the swinging seat and jumps off, that is if the wind is strong enough to get the glider into the air without the aid of a tow. If the wind is too gentle, there are plenty of youngsters waiting around to act as the tow.

Young Mr. Allison said yesterday that he was perfecting a plan by which he can use a horse to tow. The only thing troubling him is to bet [sic, get?] a horse that won't be frightened when it is hitched to something that will go up as soon as he gets a moving. The inventor said he did not expect to use more than one rope, which would be about 400 feet long and which would be made fast to the center of the lower plane. He woudl [sic, would] find a way, he said, to release the rope in the event the horse became frightend [sic, frightened] and tried to run away.

Amusing stories are told of what the Governors Island glider has been mistaken for. Many have concluded that it was the real thing and that it was operated by an aviator tuning up for a cross-country flight. One day a reporter saw it from a ferry boat, and that afternoon his paper came out with the announcement that it was what was left of a machine that was used by Atwood on his record-breaking flight from St. Louis to New York. Another theory was that a Governors Island officer had invented a new machine that would revolutionize aerial warfare. Several aviators of note have seen the Allison glider, and all of them pronounce it a very clever piece of work.

========================== End of the article.==========
HangGliderHistory.com ANALYSIS of the early New York Times article is briefly done here on December 18, 2008:
1. A 17-year old youth built a 20' span biplane hang glider.
2. Malcolm Allison flew his glider considerable distance.
3. Malcolm Allison permitted many of his friends to fly his hang glider.
4. At least one girl significantly flew the hang glider. Miss Alice Judson, a niece of Gen. Leonard Wood, Chief of the General Staff.
5. The article did not report of any pilot injuries.
6. The first version of the hang glider had a swinging seat. And while with such a swinging seat, the flying boy was able to change the position of his legs.
7. Many of the flights were launched by the towing assistance of neighborhood youth.
8. Malcolm Allison used a damage incident as an occasion to improve upon his design. He explored a control surface and stable seat instead of the swinging seat that he first reportedly used.
9. Mistaken interpretation by published reporters occurred. Did those publications recant and correct their stories?


Harry Martin images.   Harry, thank you for your decades of care over hang gliding!
Why have an electrically assisted hang glider?   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKOEQVgONh0
Found card of 1972-1973 set: Ken de Russy   .... Otto member   Shown address is not current. 
                      Related article.
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