Nov 28, 2008

From Tom T...

Here's me taking off in my "trike," or motorized hang-glider.

Hi Paul,

I hope you're having a good Thanksgiving. Now that you're talking seat-of-the-pants aircraft and mat surfing, I have some comments on that!

Like on a hang glider (and a mat!) change of direction is controlled by the pilot shifting his weight. Climbing is accomplished by pushing on the engine accelerator pedal. Flying one of these things is a lot like mat surfing, except, unlike riding an ocean wave, you can't see the bumps and chop in the air you are flying through. You respond entirely by feel.

The control bar is attached rigidly to the wing, so all wing movement caused by thermals or other turbulence is transferred directly to your hands. Steering a trike is just like grabbing the front corners of a mat and subtly steering it across a wave face. Turning a well designed trike wing is mostly just thinking about which way you want to go. It takes very little effort to shift your weight under the wing, and start a turn.

I started flying to replace surfing in my life, and not long after I quit flying I started mat surfing. Only the vehicle has changed, it seems to me.


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