Airchair   Questions & Answers 

                                                                                                                                                                            Last Edit:  June 14, 2017


Here are some questions about airchair gliders, along with my answers.

I do appreciate comments, new questions, and corrections, but please read the website first and ask questions that show me what you already know (otherwise I'll just be referring you back to the website, which you may have already seen). I know it's easier to send me a list of questions than to read my (poorly organized) materials or to search the web, but I can't allow e-mail to take up all my lazy time. My e-mail address is "m--sandlin" followed by " " (I give my address in two parts to confound harvesting by advertisers).

There are two earlier pages:     Page 1    and    Page 2


June 14, 2017  "...the super goat guys use foam ribs in the wing. It seems that foam would be an easier material to build ribs from than the small aluminum and not to mention cheaper. What is your take on foam ribs and would you suggest them for the goat wing? I know the tail feathers already have a similar design..."

Response: As you can see on my drawings, the main wing rib for the Bug, Goat, and Bloop is just a formed tube that shapes the upper surface of the wing. This is strong and simple, and has always worked well. I'm not sure what people are trying to accomplish with the built-up ribs, I doubt that trying to rigorously control the contour of the lower surface is worth the effort or the weight. On the Bloop 4 I stitched an undercamber into the lower surface to help tension the fabric, but that was quick and easy work with a long needle and thread (see B4A10). Go to the photo album "Bloop 1 & 2" and look at the wing frame on the lawn, it is ready to cover, there are no built up ribs. The Goat wing is the same. I would use this system again.

December 1, 2016..."building a Goat  1 from your dwgs on the web....Did you use the epoxy reinforcing rod in the ribs or are they the same as the flaps no rod?"

Response: Best wishes for your Goat project. The carbon rods are not called for on the wing panels or ailerons of Goat 1 or Goat 4, but they are probably a good idea for any plane that is going to be transported on top of a car. The rods will stiffen and strengthen the panels, which can get a lot of battering during transport. Installing the rods is extra work but they don't add much weight.

September 8, 2015..."I love the goat design but I want a higher Vne. If I build a goat out of 4130 chromoly and tig weld and anneal all the joints will the glider be more likely to go to say 65 mph as a Vne. I live in rural Missouri and locally we have a rural airport with a 4000ft runway but no hills to launch from. I want to build a goat1 with a 480cc tiny twin 16 hp briggs with a redrive. I feel the structural limits of the aluminum goat is from stress at the pin connections along with rivet points. I would just do a high wing pusher ultralight but all the designs have a poor glide ratio. I'm a vet, certified welder and I can bend all the tube as needed. Thank you for posting plans for the public and please consider a goat being used as a better ultralight for us that don't have hills."

Response: The Bloop motorfloater should be good for those who have rural airstrips and no hills, but I know that biplanes are not for everybody. The Aviad MG 12 seems to be a Goat with a small engine, and you can buy one, but that may not suit the innovators who want to use the skills they already have (welding, engine adaptation, etc.). When pilots ask for high speed and high performance, I say that most light airplanes are already trying to provide those  things, so maybe you should look at those. The airchairs and motorfloaters are intended to sacrifice speed, range, climb and glide in order to get people's feet off the ground, and pilots with performance requirements will probably not be satisfied with them.
Structural innovation is fine as long as you keep the airframe strong, but try not to add too much weight. Light wing loading is something you can't see by looking at a plane, but it produces a different kind of flying, the easy and safe kind. Light wing loading produces low speed flying, which is bumpy in turbulence, but in critical situations it is safer because there is more time to think and react, and a typical crash will be slow instead of fast. Ideally, after a crash you want to walk away from your totally destroyed aircraft with a smile on your face, thinking "now I can get a new one"!

I don't see any advantages to using steel for the larger structural elements, its strength to weight ratio is inferior to aluminum.

Look at the
structural design drawings for my Goat, you will see that I don't even mention bolts or rivets, my concerns are mainly for the structural instabilities of the long columns in compression, which are mainly a matter of spar geometry and material stiffness. Steel and aluminum are about equivalent for stiffness critical structures, since they have about  the same stiffness to density ratio, but with the aluminum you get a strength bonus for no additional weight, so I'll go with that, as the aircraft industry mostly does.

The best engines are the modern two stroke paramotor engines. If you adapt an older engine and put your own propeller on it, how will you know that you are getting all the thrust that can be provided? You will have more confidence in a popular, integrated, fully developed modern system. A custom engine and propeller is not the direct approach to getting your feet off the ground, although of course I can see the creative aspect of it.

October 11, 2014..."The plastic saddles as drawn in B4W7 and B4W10 for the joints from spar to compression strut on the upper wing and lower spar to strut brackets: do you had any information on what type of plastic you used? I assume you milled these to shape from dowel stock?

Secondly, in B4N1 and G4W3, there are spacers between the seat and nose tubes; and between the compression strut and spar attach brackets on the G4 drawing. Are these spacers sections of 6061 t6 tube cut to length, or some type of AN hardware?"

Response: No milling for me! Straight out of the catalog, (Aircraft Spruce, nylon ultralight saddle). Spacers can be short lengths of small tubing.

April 25, 2014..
." Where do you buy the material for your control systems? i.e. "marine snaphooks", "marine pulleys", and your control line"
"Is the tow point called out in the technical drawings suitable for auto tows?"

Response: For hardware, you may want to get the specification on the drawing and check it out on a search engine. (I don't know which of a dozen aircraft you may be referring to).
The tow points on the various airchairs, all on the front of the nose, are the ones I used for all kinds of towing. I will not advise on what is suitable. I found the tow point at the nose to be adequate, stable and easy to use.

March 30, 2014... "I have a private pilot's license....and ... a few questions. First, can the Goat4 be built solely from the technical drawings provided, or are there other plans out there? Also, is there a complete build log I could view, so I know what I would be getting into?" 

Response: Do a web search for "Goat Glider build blog", there are some out there. Also look at the Airchair Yahoo Forum for alternate drawings and opinions (better yet, join and ask specific questions). Generally, each homebuilt airchair is different, but I haven't seen anything much better than my Goat1, 2, or 4. My drawings are a description rather than a plan, but they have been used as a basis for building (but they get changed, as noted above).

February 8, 2014......... "I am an experienced sailplane pilot / instructor with over 500 auto tow launches. My planned launch method for the Goat 1 will be a similar launch process with lighter line, 90% gross weight weak link, and much slower launch airspeed. Without data, and only prior sailplane experience to rely on, I estimate tow NEVER EXCEED SPEED to be 30 mph airspeed. Do you have any experience with this launch method that might define safe launch airspeed and / or other procedures that differ from sailplane launches?"

Response:  500 auto tows! Launching the Goat should not be much of a challenge after those. I expect a slow and casual climb, so if the truck speeds up so I can't climb without a lot of airspeed and back stick, that's too fast, and I release. This may be different for you, depending on your weight and whether you have moved the hookup point back from the nose, as some people have. I favor the nose hookup for the initial ground tows because it gives lots of feedback, a tow that is too fast will pull your nose down, keeping down the line tension for the release. I've flown the Goat with an airspeed indicator because somebody else put it on, I don't use one for airspeed control, just for comparisons to other aircraft. I don't recall reading the airspeed on ground tow.
If the tow is too slow, I can't climb or maintain normal airspeed, and again I release. I agree that about a 30 mph airspeed on climb should work.
The standard weak link strength would be 100-120% gross weight, but I see no problem with being a little weaker, as long as you are prep ared to respond quickly to a line break.

December 2, 2013..... " I'm living in Poland (Europe), I have 30 years old and I'm starting my adventure with flying. I mean I would like to start.
Now I'm starting with paragliding, for this moment more theoretically but when spring will come, I would like to make some practices.

On the internet and I've found your web side and i'm very interesting the GOAT construction.
Because glider can fly faster than paragliders :)
However I'm living on flat area and It will be hard to find a cliff or mountain, so my first question is .
Does GOAT construction can be with the engine from paraglide for example? Does anybody was try this type of technological mix?...

My another question is ,
How many time is need to build this glider?"

Answer: You seem to be looking for an adventurous and low burden way of getting off the ground. Paragliding and hang gliding are
a good start, they get you up and teach the basics. They are an end in themselves, and if you want to fly airplanes you can do that too.

One drawback to a Goat glider or airplane is the need for three axis control skills, which will require instruction in an airplane or sailplane.

Motorizing will let you fly in flat areas without organizing a glider launch operation.

A transition from hang gliding or paragliding to a slow, two axis airplane will not require three axis skills. The Bloop, for instance, is a two axis
plane intended to provide simple, slow flying  like a paramotor. Paraglider pilots who want to motorize might want to fly a paramotor or paracart,
but it might be that the Bloop would be easier due to lack of canopy issues.

The Aviad Zigolo is close to a Goat and uses a paramotor engine. They do some soaring in it, they sell kits, so have a look if you think this is a good mix.
See the Goat Q&A website for Goat building time estimates, but there is no fixed time, everybody does something different.

November 4, 2013   "Goat...... find out about: Differential aileron deflection. ?"

Answer: "Differential aileron deflection" usually refers to rigging the controls so that the upward moving aileron goes way up while the downward moving aileron only goes a little down. This is intended to reduce the adverse yaw in turns, so you won't need as much rudder deflection to get a coordinated turn. It's the normal setup for conventional sailplanes and airplanes.
The Goat already has some differential aileron deflection, but it is small because a big differential would reduce the rolling power of the ailerons, which I don't consider a good trade off. The Goat ailerons are sized for keeping the wings level in a moderate breeze while sitting on the ground before takeoff, so you don't need a helper to run with the wing tip and keep it level until a higher airspeed is reached.

July 2, 2013
  "How do the controls fell on the goat 4 glider, de they have any slack or play that is unconfortable, how do they do in time, do they gain play because or the wearing of aluminum parts in the sistem?

I prefer the cable braced wings than the strutted version, is it that much draggier that everybody chouse the strutted version?
 the thicker wall ..., i mean will it create any problems oather than weight?
Being heavy it means tall, and that means longer legs also, so the control stick is a litle (4 inch) shorter fo me intend to make it longer, but that will limit a bit of control surface moovment, my qestion is how much (aproximatively in any measture) you think the ailerons and elevator shoud move in each direction?
The goat 1 flyes for a wile (10 years o so) do you know what problems or maintenace dit it need ( weared parts or so) exept fome fabric covering wich i know it was changed."

Answer: The Goat and Bug control lines can develop slack due to stretching of the Spectron lines, which is minor. The control lines can be re-tensioned anytime, or just use the new type lines which are a Vectran/Dyneema mix and don't stretch (see G4A9). This control line hardware is just sailboat running rigging, these problems were encountered and worked out by sailboaters. There is additional slop in the controls due to elasticity of mounting and structures, but I do not find it "uncomfortable". Stiff controls are better, but if the plane does what you tell it to do that is of greater importance. 

No wear of aluminum, steel, or control line has been detected, just busted up landing gear and worn down skid plates. Maintenance might involve control line tension adjustment, lubrication of moving parts (silicone spray on control lines and pulleys works well), and air in the tire (take a hand pump).

Wing struts versus cables has been discussed elsewhere. I will not comment on design changes such as control modifications.

1. What about building an airchair, making design changes and using different materials? Will you help me? (April  2009)

Answer: For liability reasons I will not endorse specific design changes or material substitutions. I may be willing to make some general comments as long as the question has not already been asked and answered on my website.

    The main issue with regard to design changes (or even without them!) is pilot confidence when it comes time to fly. You won't get much airtime if you have doubts about your glider, especially if you want to soar and stay up in turbulent conditions. We airchair pilots are aviation pioneers, and courage is required. Even without innovation, when you soar an ultralight you will, at times, get thrashed and trashed by the atmosphere, so get ready!

    My confidence in my gliders (Bug, Goat, Pig) is based on using structures well proven in hang gliders. I have not done any large scale structural testing, but  tubing ladder frames like mine, braced by steel cables, have been used by rigid wing hang gliders for many years with satisfaction. I fly at a hang glider wing loading, with about the same  weights and speeds as a hang glider, so I feel that by applying a small additional margin of design strength I can use similar structures and take advantage of the history of safety that hang gliders have provided. Well known hang gliders with structures similar to mine might include the Fledglings, glider Quicksilvers, Icarus 2 & 5, Voyager, etc. 

2. Can I use different size tubing and other alloys and tempers? (April 2009)

Answer: Generally, using thicker wall tubing will not weaken an airframe, it will usually make it locally stronger but heavier.
    Using a stronger alloy of aluminum should not be a major problem, either. It will add some strength, although it may be more apt to corrode and should not be used for parts formed by bending, since stronger alloys are sometimes weak when bent or unsuitable for bending.
I use mostly 6061 alloy aluminum (temper T6  for tubing). It has a long history of safe use in hang gliders and ultralights, and has good properties of strength, formability, and corrosion resistance. Tubing and extrusions are readily available in this alloy. 7075 alloy aluminum is the modern hang glider standard for ribs and large tubes used under bending loads, but it's benefits are marginal. It can be hard to get and is harder to work with than 6061. Remember, you can accept a little extra weight when you don't have to pick the glider up and run with it!
    Aluminum tubing will bend or dent before it loses strength, so the extent of possible damage due to some unfortunate incident can usually be determined by visual examination (unlike many composite tubes or structures). There will be hard landings and rough handling, and decisions will have to be made in the field about whether the glider is still airworthy.

3. How about using those fixed trailing edge "flap panels" on the Goat as in-flight adjustable flaps (i.e., adding a flap control system)? (April 2009)

Answer: This could be done, but I doubt that it would be worth the design, construction, operational effort, or the increased burden on the pilot (an increase in control complexity is always a burden on the pilot, even if there are other benefits). Most simple sailplanes do not have flaps for exactly these reasons. The high parasite drag of the Goat makes it essentially a one speed glider, perhaps with little or no glide benefit to be gained from raising the flaps to fly faster. Lowering the flap panels for soaring might not benefit the Goat because it is already designed for slow speed flight (i.e., the flaps are already down). 

A flap might be useful to lower the stall speed for a rolling takeoff, but the effect would be marginal and I doubt that it would really make much practical difference. 

In the landing pattern, using flaps for glide path control  might be a good thing, but I don't favor them. 
First, at hang glider wing loadings there are no devices that will allow any airchair to fly a fixed pattern in  afternoon turbulence without maneuvering for approach control, so why install complex flaps which cannot serve as the primary method of glide control anyway? Even if you did have landing flaps that were powerful enough to overcome lift and sink at low wing loadings, they would be too powerful for any low time pilot (or maybe any pilot) to safely use. Only a few sailplanes use landing flaps as the primary glide control because they are tricky and require somewhat involved and critical  procedures. 

Secondly, even though the Goat is not high performance even by hang glider standards and doesn't really need special devices for getting down, there are already ways of adding drag. Some like to slip (flying slightly sideways to add drag), but I avoid anything requiring skill, so I use a drogue chute for almost every Goat landing. Of course, in addition to slips or a drogue, you will still have to maneuver to a landing under some lift and sink conditions, but this is just what hang gliders and paragliders have been doing all along.

    The loads produced by my use of a drogue chute attached outboard on the struts or flying cables are not known to me, there have been no tests or structural calculations. I expect 30 to 60 lbs. of force on the chute bridle, and, as you see from my frequent use of it, I have decided that this is acceptable. Concern over drogue chute loads might seem to favor flaps, but the flap loads are also unknown and untested.

4. What are the trade offs on the Goat regarding the cable braced wing versus the strut braced wing? (April 2009)

Answer: The Goat1 has a strut braced wing which is compact and quiet in the air. The top of the wing is open and clean (look at the Gallery Page for good photos of strut Goats and cable Goats). Presumably this is the highest performance Goat, it has made a 100 km. flight. The struts fold up flush with the wing, but perhaps could be made removable for transport. Weight is the main draw back, both from the struts themselves and the long internal sleeves inside the wings.  The long sleeves provide a lot of outboard cantilever wing, keeping the struts as short as possible to keep them strong in compressive loads. The wide nose section of the Goat4 would also contribute to keeping the struts short (the Goat4 nose section was originally designed for Goat3, which had struts).
    The Goat4 has a cable braced wing, a little draggier and noisier, but light and easy to transport and store. This type of wing has short internal sleeves and not as much outboard cantilever length, because with cables there is no reason to minimize length (at least not from a compressive load point of view). This creates a classic primary glider structure.
    These two gliders fly about the same. I do like the quiet flight of the struts, but the weight of the struts plus wing panel can be restrictive, especially for trying to load a wing on top of a car in bad conditions. The total weight difference between the two schemes is about 15 or 20 lbs., maybe 7 to 10 lbs. per disassembled wing panel, which is a lot for one person already near the upper limits of what can be lifted.
    If I were designing a Goat5 (which is always a design concept but is not being seriously considered for construction at this time) I would probably use struts, mainly to find a way of removing and folding them for transport. 
I would use some of my advanced or revived ideas which are found on the Pig, such as prismatic rudder pedals and a boat seat, for instance. I might try making the nose skid broader and less grabby, and perhaps the nose section could be made stiffer in torsion by adding some shear bracing to the top frame. The reason for attention to the nose and rudder pedal stiffness is to try to duplicate the rudder feel of the Pig, which is excellent and benefits from the very stiff box kite airframe. The rudder feel of the Goat is a little spongy compared to the Pig.

    Grasp the concept: these gliders fly and soar just fine! The kind of improvements that would really make a difference are not these little flying details that people keep asking about (like what kind of fairings to use on the tail struts). Instead, we should seek airchairs designs that are more practical and attractive to own and use, involving easier transport, quicker assembly, compact storage, garage maintenance, better crash safety, etc.
    In my vision of the sustainable future, airchairs are commonly flown as a form of local aviation, along with the paragliders and hang gliders, but at a much lower level of risk because they are more stable, easier to fly, and protect the pilot better in
ordinary crashes. They will be commercially available, but kept severely simple and made from readily available materials so they can be maintained and repaired at a garage or hangar level (like the early hang gliders, they may never go back to the manufacturer). Airchair flying will be accepted as recreational and casual, mainly striving to stay up in light conditions, with cross country flights seldom exceeding 100 kilometers. There will be a lack of emphasis on serious contests, record setting, high performance, or increasing market size, so that airchairs remain simple and can provide an entry level to faster and fancier forms of aviation.

5. "I was wondering if there was a materials guide and a step-by-step instruction on building this [Pig1]."
Answer: No, just the drawings for now. Someone could make up a materials list from the drawings and post it, which would be useful.
    In the future I may add some pages onto the Pig Page with some design and construction comments, but right now I'm still busy working on the glider. I do plan to post a new zip file with revised drawings sometime this summer, since  some of the rigging and strut details are changing.

6. "... I wanted to build a glider.  My biggest concern is pilot size, I am 6'1" and 215.  Is the Goat4 a feasible flying machine for me.  Also. what areas in Southern California would I find one of your designs flying, I live in Los Angeles and there is a hang gliding hill right behind us, Sylmar." (August 2009).
Answer: Read more of this website, and you'll see I've written a lot about this "heavy pilot" issue down through the years. Size is not the problem, but a heavier wing loading will change the flight characteristics of a Goat type airchair, and I don't know if you'll like it or not. A pilot your size has flown one of my gliders without any great problems, but it was not soared.
A Bug4 has been flying at Crestline (San Bernardino) in California, but it may be down now for new fabric. Sylmar (a.k.a. Kagel) would be an excellent place to fly an airchair (I flew it for years, it's a great local site, and the launch is suitable for rolling take offs). You'll have to get started getting a hang glider or paraglider rating to fly it, though.

7. "I am taller and heavier ... than ...the goat was designed for, but I want to maintain the 1.7 lbs per sq ft wing loading...would you recommend only increasing wing span or chord or both to increase the wing area." (September 2009)
Answer:  For a Goat airframe weight of 140 lbs., my weight at 160 lbs., the gross weight is 300 lbs., the wing area is 174 sqft., so the wing loading is 300/174 = 1.72 lbs./sqft. I have had a lot of fun at this wing loading, which is in the hang glider range, and when I  tried a heavier wing loading (Goat 3) I was dissatisfied (could not slow down), so I think you have the right idea.
The Mojave Goat reportedly added a foot of span to each wing, adding 10 sqft., allowing another 17 lbs. of weight, so a 187 lb. pilot can now fly with full capability, minus whatever structural weight was added to get the span increase (I have no details on this). They could have added the same area by increasing the wing chord 3.5 inches, probably without tail changes but maybe with adjustments to keep the wheel and pilot in the right place relative to the center of lift. We're now up to a 200 lb. pilot, if we increase both span and chord. Weight increases do require more structural strength to get the same margins of safety, so calculations must be made and structure added. Note that the Mojave Goat folded wing is carried on a long trailer, whereas my Goat wing main panel is sized for car top transport. You have 15 lbs. of airframe weight that can be added (onto the current 140 lbs.) before you reach the F.A.R. Part 103 limit of 155 lbs.
The simple answer is that this heavy pilot issue will keep coming back, again and again, until a skilled and dedicated designer does the big job and a new prototype gets built.

Large pilot size, as opposed to weight, has not been much of an issue in this outdoor flying situation, but customization of the rudder pedal location is possible.

8. "Regarding G2W10, is there a sleeve for the Cabane lower part of the pipe?" 
(September 2009)
Answer:  In the vertical center tube of the Goat cabane, there is no sleeve, but I considered using them and saw no great penalty for using them there. I decided not to use sleeves in areas where two bolts were holding two plates sandwiched onto the tube, figuring that the bolted plates were enough reenforcement without additional sleeves. This was a very marginal situation, and I could have done it either way.

9. "...elevator gap-seal. Do you think that (lack of this) will cause the elevator to be less effective?...I'm contemplating using duct tape, because I already painted the elevator... Any ideas? did you arrive at your VNE (velocity not to be exceeded, i.e.,maximum allowable airspeed) of 45mph? The mojave goat was pushed to 50mph, and the croation goat to
55mph." (October 2009)
   Answer:  Yes, a hole in your wing will make it less effective and add drag, so I use gap covers. It may be that the effect is small enough to be neglected in many cases (as it often is neglected for reasons of convenient maintenance and painting) but the effect is there, and I don't choose to build beautiful wings and tails and then fly around with holes in them. The kiss seal between the wing halves is in this same category.
   I have used overlapping pieces of insignia cloth for gap covers (and small fabric repairs) with good results. Insignia cloth is a stick-on Dacron (polyester) fabric with the adhesive exposed by a removing a paper skim from the back, used on sails for numbers, logos, stripes, etc. It is durable and tenacious, and sticks to paint or dope. It is sold off the roll by length from sailcloth outlets, sail makers, etc. in several colors. Much better than duct tape.
   I don't use insignia cloth on paint unless I'm sure the paint is well attached to the wing. If a gap cover or other spanwise tape peels up in flight, it can act like a little spoiler. I've had this happen, it feels like a built in turn, so you have to land and check it out.
   A basic maximum safe airspeed (for a fixed configuration) can be calculated using the maximum angle of attack/load limiting method
. If you stall (maximum angle of attack, at 1 g) at 22.5 mph., then flying at twice that speed (45 mph.) will limit your wing forces to four times the load (4 g) because the force on the wing is proportional to the square of the airspeed. I can accept the idea of a 4g load (even on my designs, which are untested), and for open air flying I see little to be gained by flying faster.

10. "can you expain how to drill perpendicular and parallel bolt holes (like two holes on the opposite ends of alumnium tube) on aluminum tubing? Do i need a drill press and jig(s)?" (February 2010)
Answer: In response to this question I expanded section C3 of the Goat Construction Notes. The new text is: "Holes are drilled with a hand held power drill using a self centering drill bit. Every hole is marked from the outside and drilled separately (see reference line note .....). In tubing, matching holes are drilled through in pairs for final finishing alignment after they are drilled from the outside, unless there is an access problem. My holes tend to be sloppy and oversize, which makes assembly easier."

11. "...any idea of what Extrusions Floyd used to create the new struts on the now red goat (and where he got the material)?
They look good and are flatter than the extrusions I have been exploring for use (some made for Struts / jury struts on PMA Taylorcraft parts etc).  I can see how they will allow folding for easy transport - and it looks like a simple and elegant solution to the strut constructions." (February 2010)
Answer: Floyd Fronius used faired cross section extrusions for the wing struts on the Red Goat. This aluminum stock was originally produced for use as hang glider "down tubes", in this case for Seedwings of Santa Barbara, California. There are various versions of faired down tube stock for the various hang glider manufacturers. I don't know if they want to sell it, or in what lengths.
The extruded struts, with heavy internal tubular sleeving for strength, added about ten pounds to the weight of the Red Goat relative to the tubular struts I used originally. The sleeved tubular struts with applied fairings, as shown on my Goat1 drawings, would still be my favorites because they are lighter, and probably easier to repair or replace if damaged.

12. "Why are the bug2 and bug4 wings inclined at an angle, and the goats' wings are fixed without any bending, but are straight all the way across?" (March 2010)
Answer: On my gliders the dihedral angle of the wings is often related to ground contact. The Bug biplane dihedral is set high mainly to provide ground clearance for the lower wing tips while rolling on the single wheel during launch or landing.
The strut braced Goats have a small dihedral angle (the wing  is not straight, see the drawings). This allows short, and thus lighter and less bulky struts, as well as a reduced sideways tipping angle when not flying, making it easier for the pilot to sit down and strap in when the wing tip is on the ground. Aerodynamically the wing when flying will be more efficient, less stable, and the control might not feel as good or be as easy.
On the cable braced monoplane Goat wings the dihedral is intermediate, about 4 degrees, a good all around compromise. The dihedral provides good yaw/roll coupling for easy flying, making the rudder more effective in turns, probably reducing the need for precise stick/rudder coordination.
These dihedral effects are small and usually not noticed, at least not by me. I once tried steering a cable braced Goat using just the rudder, and it was okay but slow turning. I suspect that the Goats with less wing dihedral will not steer as well using just the rudder.

(October 2010)
Answer: Sorry, no hang glider drawings, nor Hillhopper, nor some others. These drawings mostly don't exist in any clear form.

14. "I would like to know your opinion on the use Goat as a basic glider training for young pilots (11-15 year). What is the difference between different versions of your glider Goat?"
Answer: Look at my webpage text and photos, and you'll see that I have done basic training with the Goat and Bug. It's fun, but difficult and hard on the glider because the student can'y really stabilize in flight until after they have learned how to fly with the three axis system. The Bug biplane is better than the Goat monoplane for low tow or hillside training because the lower wing will cause a shallow ground loop before a steep one can develop. Best of all is the two axis Pig, which is ten times easier to fly and stays level on its two wheels (see the video). As a teenage novice trainer, the Pig is by far the most effective choice because it will provide immediate succesful flights instead of bungled launches.

15. "...strutted Goat project....
1.  With the rib stitching of the undersurface, is the undersurface pulled tight against the compression struts to create slight under camber or is it stitched to keep it flat on the bottom but resist any
blow down?
2.  After shrinking the top surface does the application of poly brush adhere the fabric to the ribs? I can rib stitch the top surface if I need to.
3.  With your drawings you mention one method of reducing scolloping between ribs is to add span wise slack when covering the top surface.  Are there any other techniques you use?  ie Do you shrink from the mid span out, Edges first, one bay at a time?"  (November 2010)

1. I did sometimes create undercamber by sewing up the lower surface to the middle half of the strut with a curved needle. However, instead of that, on most of my gliders I have a flat wing bottom.
I applied a balsa wood slat onto the strut to make the bottom of the wing flat and flush to the leading and trailing edge spars. I don't see this slat on the drawings (I wish I had shown it), but the flat wing bottom is implied and works fine.
Airfoil variations have had no noticeable effect on flight, so I tend to do what is simple and looks good.

2. Rib stitching with a curved needle around the rib tubes works well and is easy to do. I have not done it in the past, but now I do it a little bit, although I have not yet confirmed a need for it at these low airpeeds.
Fabric adhesion to metal can be strong if done right, but I don't count on it for strength in flight (I depend on fabric to fabric bonding, creating a continuous fabric envelope around the frame).

3. I'm happy with the method of initially attaching the top surface wing fabric to the frame  with spanwise tension and chordwise slack so that the final fabric shrinkage will produce a smooth top surface with minimal bowing down between the ribs. The sequence of shrinkage does not seem to matter much. Wrinkles will form along the inboard and outboard edges of the wing where the fabric attachment has to accomodate chordwise slack, but these will mostly shrink out and then be tape covered, or can be cut out and then tape covered if severe.

16. "What software did Mike Sandlin use for the GOAT 4 drawings?" (January 2011)
Answer: My current software is TurboCAD Designer 14.2. TurboCAD is akward but modern and functional, I chose it because it had a 2 dimensional version and was the most accesible to the most users. It came on a disk in the mail that cost less than $10.

most drawings previous to the Pig were done with the older Autosketch, which is no longer available in a simple version.
It takes time to learn, but CAD is a great design and documentation tool and I encourage anyone with aircraft design interests use it. Anyone who wants to take a serious look at my drawings will need it.

17. ".. my thoughts are wandering around the concept of an electric powered Goat. Perhaps a pusher unit just behind the pylon, between the top and bottom longerons? (May 2011)

Answer: There probably should be a small gas engine tried first, before going to electric, to work out the design and procedures. No one has flown much with a full size tail and a motor at a light wing loading.
Evaluations of electric battery ultralight propulsion systems seem to agree that they provide good performance (like a gas motor) for a short duration, followed by a long delay to re-charge. Even a pilot who just wants a low soaring launch might only get only one or few launches per day. Mechanically I favor the electric engines because they allow the (battery) weight to be placed where desired, but I'll try a gas engine first. There are persons who report that they are working on a Goat-like electric craft.

[END] Document made with Nvu