Slope soaring with inversion of control

Who ever thought you could move the slope!

When we're paragliding, at least when slope-soaring, we're relying on the fact that air is flowing over a hill, and this is causing an updraft. So normally, you sit around on your hill waiting for the airflow to be right, and then you launch and hope it will stay that way.

These guys have taken an entirely different approach to slope-soaring. They move the slope!

Of course, this means the air flows over the slope correctly, but they can also move the slope to suit the flying machine and make sure it's properly supported on its cushion of air

I haven't seen a better illustrative example of the inversion of control in a long time. Plus it made me laugh like a crazy person, which is always good.

Thanks so much to Phil, my skipper on the Boston Harbour Trip I took on the weekend, who constructs these things, and introduced me to them with an online Walkalong Glider Tutorial.

Since then, I've discovered all kinds of strange things which people are doing, including flying dead butterflies.

Forward weight is achieved by painting the head and legs with clear nail polish. Although this adds weight to the Butterfly, it adds strength to the head and legs and provids a more robust handle. Balance can also be affected by the drying process necessary to stiffen the wings: the body contains more fluid than the wings and undergoes a correspondingly larger weight reduction after drying. The position the wings relative to the body will affect wheather the center of gravity moves forward or aft during the drying process.


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