Airchair Update Page

by Mike Sandlin ................................ Last edit:   January 15, 2017


In this clip the Turkish Goat flies a complete ground tow, well flown overall. The Hall wind speed indicator is visible and looks

stable the whole time, I can see the indicator moving smoothly. The yaw string is on the sweep cable, I had trouble reading that

on my Goat so I mounted it near center line on a short offset from the nose tube.

As usual, the rudder pedals are twisting in use but are not much of an issue. In flight, but not on the ground, the ailerons are a

little washed out relative to the flap panels, that's ordinary and not a problem. The GoPro lens is not my favorite, it looks like the

Goat has tremendous sweep back, but maybe this is suggestive of the future. I have not seen the belts with a chest buckle before,

this is something new.

This is the only Goat with arm rests, a true flying garden chair!

Goat Glider Turkey - GoPro


The Goat 2 drawings are back by popular demand (one guy wrote in). See the Airchair Technical Drawings Page and get the zip

file there. [These old dxf files may be hard to open, try for a bitmap view if necessary using Irfanview with the CAD plug in.]


Here's a video of a Spanish airchair, a design I have not seen before. Thanks to "Nest of Dragons" website.

Spanish version of Compact 110


Edgars Koks and friends are building a Goat in Latvia:

Latvian Goat

There are lots of ideas here, some details on water jet cutting of the flat metal parts (good job, better than my hack saw),

computerized tube drilling, and use of composites, also some superb oblique views of planned  assemblies. This is all pretty

fancy, I hope they are willing to let this plane out of the box so it can do some real flying, which means taking some hits and

possibly breaking things!  This is going to be impressive.

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Oz Goat  

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February 1, 2003....First flight of the Goat! There I go, down the hill in Goat 1 after a rolling launch, 13 years ago in San Diego, California. The struts had no fairings, the wheelbarrow wheel was in use, and the glider weight was 125 pounds. The fabric was just dope sealed polyester without any silvering, except for the spray panted rudder. The struts were not detached for transport, they just rotated up flush to the bottom of the wing.

This was all carried on the flat padded hang glider rack on the top of my pickup truck. The removable fasteners were the "quickpins", not ordinary bolts, but tapered assembly pins that were retained in flight. Quick assembly by one person and transport on a simple car top rack are still major contributions to practical operation and frequent flying.

Development continues all around the world, hopefully in the direction of lighter, simpler, and easier. My judgement is that a dozen years of efforts to enhance performance have resulted in nothing of substance, and the way to fly better in a Goat is just to find a satisfying way to fly it frequently.


Alan Beavis in the Yando Goat, soaring in Australia, made a 102 mile Goat flight from Boort north in December, 2015

(see KMZ file at the Airchair Yahoo Group webpage). From that ground track file I concluded that most of the distance

was covered while circling, which I would not have expected.


From the same start point the Archeopteryx glider has made flights up to 375 miles, and probably didn't circle as much,

since it had a much higher average speed. Although the Archeopteryx has an enclosed pilot and an aerodynamically

much cleaner airframe, it may serve to suggest how far we could possibly go with an airchair.


However, I don't think we have to go that way. My new year's wish is that pilots who want high performance will fly an

Archeopteryx while the Goat is developed in the other direction, becoming a lighter, simpler airchair that is easy to operate

and frequently flown.

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For a good time, look at lots of Goat flying videos! Search for "Goat glider -simulator" in the video category in your browser search engine.

(I had to research how to exclude a search word, that's the "-simulator" part, to exclude all the Goat Simulator game videos).

To be sure you can find some of the new and special videos, here are a few:


Another video from Alan Beavis in the Yando Goat, spring soaring in Australia, plus...

More Wedge Tail Eagle Encounters






Goat flying in Turkey


Floyd Fronius on a Red Goat cross country flight in Arizona...beautiful, simple, and long enough to let you play your favorite music:

SCFR Floyd Task 4    , 


The Red Goat and a pair of Superfloaters entered a sanctioned hang glider competition in Arizona, introducing Class Four competition in a mix of hang gliders,

rigid wings, and airchairs. Floyd Fronius in the Goat was the Class Four winner (first ever)!  (Also first ever homebuilt ultralight glider to win a class victory?) See the video:

Airchairs at the Santa Cruz Flats Race


Goat Takeoff at SCFR, 2015     My comments: this looks like a fairly typical aerotow launch (or several edited together). The tow line is attached at the very front of the nose, in a stable position clear of all snags.

The wing runner is usually on the upwind wing, on the left in this case. Floyd uses rudder and arm signals to try to start the tow, but the tow pilot seems to be watching the wing runner, which is probably a good idea

since he is the one who can see everything. The runner gives a low wave and the tow pilot takes out the line slack and stops. Then the runner gives the full circle wave that means the line is tight, start the flight.

The glider starts nose down, but gets pulled nose up and has to wait to get enough elevator authority to get the nose back down to level, probably a sign of weak headwind and a slow accelerating tow plane.

There is plenty of beautiful open space out front, so the glider pilot has lots of options if there is a line break. 


Floyd Fronius on the SCFR Takeoff video: "What this shows is bad technique. This was one of my first aerotows in a long time. You can see that I start with the stick centered in pitch. The correct method is shown in the Task 4 video [see above]. Start with the nose on the ground and the stick fully forward, then bring it back slowly till it lifts off. Works every time".



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Floyd Fronius in the Red Goat opens his cross country season with another awesome cliff launch at Mount Laguna (Kwimee Point, in San Diego County, near Mount Laguna, California). His description:

"Here are some photos from my flight on 4-12. It was a great day. I was there with two hang gliders. When we arrived it was blowing 20 so we waited till it backed off a bit. I launched last at 2:45. Got to Granite at 4000 and left at 8000. Headed for Volcan. Flew with a golden eagle during the crossing and again on Volcan. The convergence was to the west and difficult to reach. I left the north end with a plan to land at Ranchita. Got the best climb of the day over the hills on the east side of San Felipe to 10100 feet. From there it was an easy 10 mile glide to Warner airport. Flight time was 2:15. More flights to come."


This looks like that 10,000 foot spot, following the sailpane around at cloud base. The  airport Floyd is flying towards
(26.4 miles from launch) is off to the right of the lake bed plain, maybe not visible here.
 

A comfortable landing at the local gliderport at Warner Springs, with Hot Springs Mountain in the background.
He probably landed from that direction, I think the wind indicator, that white pseudo-sailplane, is pointing toward the camera. On the ground, it's common practice to turn the glider three quarters or so into the wind so it is stable and will stay put.
No doubt the truck is on the way so the glider can be carried home on cartop.
 

January 18, 2015...........Here are a couple of links to videos of the Red Goat at a local fly-in here in San Diego, California:
Palomar Mountain Launch
Palomar Mountain Landing





As far as I know, Floyd Fronius continues to be the only pilot in the world rolling off hillsides in an ultralight sailplane for weekend soaring. As always, he flies with hang gliders and paragliders at local launch sites in ordinary conditions.



December 22, 2014 ..............Alan Bevis flying in Australia reports:

"Had the Yando Goat out on the weekend (haven't flown it since early October as I've been flying my hang glider),
4.5 hours for a 118km triangle flight landing back at the airfield. Cloudbase was 10000+ feet and best climb rate was 1100 feet/min."



"Snapshot from video then a bit of tweaking, taken about 2/3 of the way through the flight when I was pretty high.
Hopefully these reports will show that the goat can be quite a capable XC craft on the right days.
"

        Thanks for the shot, Alan! I don't know how you took this photo, I suppose your trained eagle was out in front with a GoPro.

This is the first 100km+  triangle flight in an airchair that I have heard of! It's an airchair world record, and that long flight time

is also about as long as I can remember. Congratulations Alan! (Yando/Boort was recently the origin of a world record flight to goal by a

class 5 hang glider, so it must be a hot spot for eagles and ultralight soaring!)

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Here's a link to a video of a motorized Goat doing a flight test in Crete. One source says this RC engine will have about 17 hp.

Goat with RC engine


   Irish Mountain Goat and Yando Goat
at the Forbes Floater Meet,
Australia, October 2014.

Both of these gliders flew cross country at the meet.
See the drama of 2x Goat action:

Goating at Forbes 2014





Floyd Fronius rolls off the gravel in the Red Goat airchair at Mount Laguna, California, a mountain cliff launch followed by a cross country flight, May 2014




September 25, 2014......Floyd Fronius encountered this sailplane at cloudbase (10,000 feet) over Ranchita, California while flying the Red Goat cross country with two hang gliding friends.

This is cloudbase, dark and cool, often the highest altitude reached on a cross country flight. Traffic tends to concentrate here, so you keep your eyes open and don't get sucked up into the cloud! Cloud lift can be strong and smooth, such that you can relax in the lift and then suddenly find yourself "greying out". If you do start greying out, losing all visibility to the side, seeing terrain only downward and through mist, you need to dive out and get to the upwind edge of the cloud where there is often smooth lift and you can escape into clear air when necessary. (The downwind edges of the cloud are not so good, they are often ragged and turbulent, usually to be avoided unless you are just passing through in that direction and you are willing to get thrashed). A cloud "street", a row of clouds you can move along to easily fly long distances, is much desired.


Floyd is approaching his chosen landing field near Anza, California, to end a 55 mile, 2-1/2 hour flight (he started with a roll off at Horse Canyon). He landed all alone in the field with the stripes, no one else was down in that area or he would have landed with them.

Big fields along the highway, unplanted, without livestock, crops, or power lines, are the best landing prospects.  (A weedy corner in a secluded area can be even better for a landing untroubled by ground authorities.) The landing is announced on the two meter radio from as high as possible (for best reception), usually repeated with the location clearly stated, to the other pilots and the chase truck, even if there is no response ("in the blind"). You want as many people as possible to know where you are, if you want to be picked up before dark. You might call "Red Goat landing on the highway two miles east of Anza, Red Goat at Anza, Anza" or something like that. If your radio call is breaking up, the driver may still recognize your voice, and maybe just hear the name Anza, and when he gets closer you might recover radio contact. On the ground a cell phone may work better than the radio for calling the chase vehicle.

Once again over the mountains and under the clouds, out into the quiet countryside, the Red Goat is down. If you go for maximum distance, you will not always land close to a convenience store.



Link to video clip:

Goat Soaring in Australia, Winter 2014

Yando Goat Soaring, Australia, End of Winter 2014, featuring "Jack the Ripper" eagle, he's back!



Sunday, May 25, 2014......Floyd Fronius has flown the first cross country airchair flight made from a cliff launch! He launched off the main Mount Laguna site in San Diego County, California, and flew with the local hang glider pilots to Ranchita, about 25 miles away. The launch was at 5400', highest altitude was 11,500' over Granite Mountain.

                                                              
          The launch ramp is actually shown in the photo above, it's a short slope going downhill from where the people are gathered,
a mountain cliff launch, the real deal. (This is the Mount Laguna launch, a well known view point along the Pacific Crest Trail.
Back packing hikers headed for Canada sometimes pass in front of the gliders).

This launch has about a six foot roll to a drop off, so it requires a firm wind, which the Laguna mountain summit often provides. This kind of launch may seem pretty crazy unless you have back country hang gliding or paragliding experience.

               
On the left, Floyd views a good landing area. (Up to the right from the four way intersection you can see a white hang glider that has already landed
next to the unpaved(?) road.)  The soaring instruments can be partly seen, clamped to the nose tube.
On the right, the landing field in Ranchita is a popular spot. Cross country flights are easier and more fun when pilots fly together.

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This is me landing the Goat 1, eleven years ago. I just wanted to remind the Goat fans that most of my landings in airchairs have been done with a drogue chute, which I thought was the right way to do it. This is the standard American size hang glider drogue (smaller than European)  attached close inboard on the strut and deployed while high in the landing pattern. In flight it tended to float outboard and low, as shown. It was practical, effective, and never any kind of control problem.

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