XC TrikerAir Creation Tanarg 80hp BioniX 15M

0O2, 0O4, 0S5, 0Q5, 14S, 1O3, 3S8, 3W5, 9S3, A39, AVENAL, CALIFORNIA VALLEY, CN12, CYQS, DIXON, FOT, Headquarters, ID85, K1O3, K3O1, K3O8, KAST, KAVX (Catalina Island), KAWO, KBOK, through KBUR, KC80, KCCB, KCMA, KDAG, El Mirage Dry Lake & Flying J Ranch-El Mirage, KFHR, Over LAX midfield & LAX school, KFUL, KGCD, KHAF, KHRI, KINW, KIYK, KIZA, KKIC, KL52, KLGD, KLKV, KLPC, KLSN, KLVK, KMPI, KMRY, through KNTD, KO22, KOKB, KONP, KORS, KOXR, KPGA, KPRB, KRBG, KRBL, KRNM, KSBA, KSBP, KSDM, KSHN, KSMO, KSMX, KSNS, KSZP, KSZT, KTOA, KUAO, KUKI, low pass KVBG, KWHP, KWVI, KZPH, L06, L08, L09, L61, MATANCHEN, Monument Valley, NV74, Dry Lakes, O46, O69, Over KLAXPHHN, PHDH, S16, S51, S89, SALTON Sea x3, Slab City, Stocking Meadows, through KSEA, A few that won't be mentioned (OR/MX/Sltn), Through TRONA GAP, UT25, WA09, Yosemite, 49X, KHII, L62, L17, KFCH, KCVH, CA66, KOAR KSFF 73S 72S S94 KPUW S68 Bill's Ranch S27 KGPI (Glacier) 58S 2MT1 53U 8S1 7S0 52S S09 S34 KTHM S83 KDEW, L88 (New Cuyama "X"d- low pass), KRIR (FlaBob), L35 (Big Bear), KSBD (KTOA <->San Bernadino @ NIGHT ! :)  L45, KBFL, L05, O26, Over Mt Whitney Summit at 17,200', L73, KMIT, L19, L84, KOXR, P20, L54, KFUL (Trike Lecture), KCLR, YYWG YCOR YHAY YIVO YWTO YMIA YBRN YDLQ YTOC YPOK YWGT

~ 166 Airports, Fields, or off road (4 Countries- hopefully more soon :)

If you put all your airports/off airports on SkyVector, you can make a cool map of the places you've been.  These are mine:

      In North American Continent (US, Mex, Canada, Hawaii)

      In AUSTRALIA  (MegaFauna 2014, etc)

      ALL  (get's a little crowded in this view)

  • Pages
  • XC Triker
  • Hang Gliding from a Triker's Perspective-- Going Back is Going Forward

Hang Gliding from a Triker's Perspective-- Going Back is Going Forward

Last updated by XC Triker Comments (22)

Categories: Training / Learning to Fly a Trike, Hang Gliders

The mission to Wallaby Ranch was three-fold:

1) Check out a used low hour trike a friend at the ranch told me about that might be available at a great price (it was such a potential deal, and Ken was so excited to make sure he got it that we had to keep it secret until it was done)

2) See Sun N Fun  (it really was spectacular-- lots of planes, lots of vendors for devices our aircraft and we could talk to them right there about their product-- I squared away several questions I had about products I wanted & now am much more clear on what fits best (such as which ADS-B equipment & software).  and finally

3) to do some Hang Gliding at the World Famous Wallaby Ranch Hang Gliding Resort!!!

We figured with so many things to do, there was no way we weren't going to have a great time!!  We'd get at least 2 of 3, or maybe all three and a new cruiser trike for Ken!!!  (Turns out I sold my wing too!!!)

On the plane ride out, I handed Ken the Dennis Pagen ("Dense Pages") Beginner Hang Gliding book and we went through it (~ 5 hour plane ride).  Being a trike pilot made most of it straight forward- Rogallo Flex wing, weight shift, landing patterns, etc.  Ken had already gone to the dunes with me in my wife's training glider-  so we had talked about hooking in, cross-controlling (moving your head/shoulders toward one corner bracket but not your hips -> feet opposite direction = no actual shift in weight / CG).  It was very windy in the dunes, so gliding was limited but he got in a couple small runs foot launching from a small dune.


Now Ken's goal was to learn how to Aerotow--  pulled to 3,000 feet in a two-place tandem glider behind a specialty built hang gliding towing plane called a Dragonfly.  Taking off and landing on wheels to aid in the initial training.

Our triker friend Jim met us out there too.  Here's Jim prone in the tandem training glider.  Laurie (Queen of the Ranch) is helping the instructor get into his harness before the tow.

Jim Aerotow Tandem

The Ranch is a well oiled and extremely safety oriented machine when it's towing time.  After morning aeortows and between getting the "new" trike inspected, running (it wasn't running at first but we got it purring in ~24 man hours)  and ready to ship, going to Sun n Fun & Fantasy of flight-  Steve Prepost gave ground school on Hang gliding, aerotowing, glide speeds, aerodynamics, tow dynamics, etc

Ground School HG

Wallaby is a great place and both were ecstatic to be "finally" going back to the roots of triking (ie Hang Gliding), experiencing and learning hang gliding, adding to their triking knowledge.

And with that lead up, I hope to get Ken to write about his experience of coming to Hang Gliding from the opposite direction of how triking evolved.  What it was like, what he learned, how it added to triking and what he found different and special about hang gliding vs triking ...


  • Ken


    Well it was a great experience, I'll need to become proficient in solo to get you all the way along the journey, but that will take a bit more time, but definitely on my list of things to complete. The experience was fantastic, and yes the group at Wallaby Ranch are real pro's and the flight line runs like a well oiled machine. I was at a great advantage already having the right instinctual muscle memory to adjust the glider without thinking about  it much. For me there were really two distinct parts. 1 The aero tow - we begin on a climb that takes 10 to 15 minutes or so to get us up to 3000'. The goal is to stay nearly directly behind the tug as the glider is attached to its tail, and getting too far astray can significantly alter the flying ability of the plane. This isn't so difficult in smoother air, but later in the day when it gets turbulent it can feel like a bit of a dog fight.
    Once the tug releases we get down to what its all about. Just a quiet peaceful glide. The speed contrast from trikes is a clear contrast. The tandem glider felt much slower, and  at times it feels like you must be about to stall, but all is well and the glider readily handles at lower airspeeds that we are accustomed to. Of course in hang gliding the ultimate goal is to seek exactly what we avoid as trike pilots - turbulent air... which mean thermals and to stay aloft as long as possible. I got to ride a thermal for just a bit on my last flight. The wing tipped up and we reacted quickly turning into the lift. Just at our level were a few hawks doing the same thing, apparently it was no secret that the thermal activity was picking up nor where it was on the ranch, the birds knew.
    Flying the glider is a bit like a really long and controlled engine out practice. It teaches emergy management, reacting to the wind direction, picking out an LZ and approach pattern, and reading the micro-climatic conditoins in the air and area you are headed for. I think the experience taught me quite a few things that directly apply to trike flying. So in the end I don't see hang gliding as a different thing, but just an extension of triking. Loved every minute of it.
  • cburg

    Since I started out hang gliding in the 70’s, foot launch, tow launch, and “motorized” as we called it then (many motorized iterations including trikes)…trikes have always been nothing more that motorized hang gliders (ridgid wing and flex-wing) in my mind.

  • cburg

    After all you are hanging off all of them..."single point attachment"...that's the category I put them in.

  • white eagle

    Hey cburg them were great days. I remember Bob carolton and I were flying tatilla peak 1500ft vertical lava rock launch and some girl who never had flown in anything before did a tandem flight that day with Bob.l still to this day remember seeing the low passes on the ridge screaming with streaks of tears down her face for a death defined 3 hr flight.she married Bob 2 months later and now run a world class sailplane facility. Ken awesome dude you joined the ranks of hangie.

  • cburg

    I should add that back in the day…there were hang gliding “purists” who would never think of flying “motorized” and those of us “motor heads” that smelled like gas and two-stroke oil…and had grease under our finger nails.

    This was one reason trike growth was so excruciatingly slow. Us “motorized” pilots were a pariah, and no self-respecting hang glider pilot would ever fly with a motor. Consequently, the most likely people to grow triking weren’t even remotely interested. We were quickly tossed out of the HG magazine…but Glider Rider catered to us.

    Most new trikers back then (and now) were non-HG pilots.

    They complain about hating the noise and vibration…me too. That’s why I wear headphones AND ear plugs and sit on foam. No louder than wind noise on an HG.

  • white eagle

    Motorized developed almost completely because of hang gliders.American aerolights former electraflyer were major hang glider producers.who dissolved there hang glider production to produce the eagle and the falcon. I do remember ushgma kinda snubbing powered hang gliders but at that time they were very underpowered hang gliding was trying to prevent the huge amount of fatalitys associated with hang gliding and powered hang gliders were contributing. It at that time was ruining the sport.a lesson that triking is now entering?this sport owes its roots to HG.Larry Ben abruzzo maxie Anderson led the charge with their wourld balloon achievements of which I was proud to be part of.willswing and guicksilver all led the charge all owe there respects to Otto lienthal, regallo. It was my hang glider that was used in the film flying with the condor's off the Andes with Kurt gowdy and the American sportsman.Larry couldn't get the footlaunched eagles zenoah engine to work at that alttitude so he called me up to ship him down my spirit 200. Iam glad that engines did developed but it owes its soul to hang gliding pioneers. I believe that soaring trikes could offer the safest form of flight even above ppgs with a little work.fast trikes are headed for major trouble for manufactures if they don't rein in the f 16 mentality and don't tone down the back into a better safety envelope.Ive seen it all happen before from the inside of manufactering to the 9 fatalitys that I predicted before they happened.triking still has a lot to learn. From hang gliding. Judge me at you're will but iam dedicated to make this awesome sport safer.

  • white eagle

    Cburg I kinda remember those articles in glider Ryder.I remember me and my buddy john talking about it on launch one time and saying wow we could go sky camping.so what I said previously was not meant to contend you.I remember having interest as a hangie in the motorized thing that was happining and was advised against it.iam saying that hang glider pilots such as cammeron and yft or Scott Johnson and many developed this sport.

  • cburg

    We agree. My point (for readers who were not involved back then) was the predominate culture at the time. “Motorized hang gliding” was stigmatized back in the late 70’s and early 80’s. You may recall the horrific episode on “That’s Incredible” (as I recall) with Fran Tarkington, where they showed a guy flying a WW SST (I think) with a Soarmaster. He stalled and tucked and tumbled. He was paralyzed. Lots of well-deserved drama. This was years before the damaging 20/20 ultralight episode.

    We had a similar Soarmaster fatality right next to the Astrodome here in Houston, in front of a huge crowd not much later. The high thrust-line Soarmaster killed quite a few folks (not sure how many). The Gemini System with two engines on the control bar down-tubes (with gas inside the down-tubes) was safer. Many years later came the ”Minimum” (the Mosquito predecessor) that you had to fly with the bare stuffed at all times.

    It’s understandable why us “motorheads” were shunned. I bought a prototype Soarmaster "trike" and never even saw a trike fly…but did see a picture of one a few feet off the ground with a Phoenix 6-D on it. I put my prototype Fuji-Robin trike on my 6-D…not sure what to expect…but it turned out to be easy to fly. I was hooked. After years of foot launching and towing…I knew this was for me.

    Despite owning many other types of aircraft…I’ve never fallen out of love with trikes.

    As far as the trending you discussed…I agree. We have these high-speed slip/spiral fatalities with small wings that have not been adequately discussed and explained. I’ve triked 10 meter wings up to 29 meter wings.

    Contrary to most trike wing/HG manufactures, I have been a long-time proponent of low-aspect ratio wings for triking, despite their comparative inefficiency. I feel they are more suitable for “triking only” applications (especially small wings). A soaring trike...of course...then efficiency really matters.

    You are right in alluding to the fact that the legacy of the sport is written in blood..just like the safety policies of the petrochem, power generation and offshore drilling industries I grew up in.

  • white eagle

    Well written cburg will be friends forever bud. I truly see that iam not the only one concerned about last summers events.iam just glad that someone else as youreself is putting this up. I was a very cautious hang glider pilot for that I won no awards other than iam still here and flying. But those of us that did survive should raise are voices of what we've learned from the past.as we proceed down the road of bigger faster more gadgets and low and slow we our going to have to settle our concious in that same blood.student will have to step into the 912 f16 when they should fly a 172 for a few years.wow soarmaster I remember that cutting off a few feet.well written my friend cburg

  • cburg

    Thanks David.

    Some called them "toe choppers".  I think more toes were lost than lives.  Other examples of painful experience...the Mariah:



    The Dawn:


    Both "High Performance" gliders had guys singing the tumbling blues...



  • white eagle

    Cburg wow that dawn I forgot about I wonder if this was the first strutted wing and it appears to be topless.back then there was a lot of copying going on. I think Larry was accused of copying some of willswings stuff.we shipped alot of stuff to Delta wings,lookout,kittyhawk,willswing and breen microlights in England.our aerodynamical engineer was a crazy German who excaped from east Germany by sailplane he flew it into an anvil head to avoid detection ripped the wings off and bailed into west Germany.he was allways building the weirdest looking things in his hanger.and his name was rameul. I sure miss alot of folks from back then.

  • XC Triker

    Hey Guys, lots of good insight.  Thanks.  I swore I never would fly a trike either  ; )  Hated the noise, complexity, weight etc.  It was OK for them to tow me up to altitude, but then I was off ...  Eventually did get a relative of the toe chopper-- a mosquito NRG (under) powered harness, and tried a Doodle Bug too!!   :0

    Love my trike now though, powered adequately, refined, safe, reliable and easy to get a air fix with.  For me, they're not meant to be, or most adept at being the fastest things in the sky, in fact, when they slow down, their best attributes come out.

    Triking and HG complement each other--  took a while, and many lessons, for them to do so though.

  • cburg

    The Albatross ASG 23 in 1979 was the first strutted "modern" hang glider to my knowledge. I wish I had one.


    I have some old literature and photos of it somewhere.

    Unlike the Dawn I am not aware of any of them tucking & tumbling

  • cburg

    Here is what a 33 year old wing design is capable of. My 21 meter Atlas and 21 meter Raven were great fun to trike. There is no current production trike that can do this anymore…it’s a shame. I still trike my 29 meter Harrier (copy) and the 21 meter Raven (both 33 year old designs…modified).

    Nowadays…faster? Yes.
    More fun? I wonder.

    I flew my brand new wing this weekend and although it was fun…it wasn’t any more fun that my 33 year old wings are and were.

  • white eagle

    Dam I couldn't get the video on my smarter than me phone.xc that video of you flying you're toe chopper a must see for all .l must say I've never seen such an dedicated never give up launch run.I think I would have fallen on my face half way through that.hey cburg I love reminisceing?on old day flying photos how about a section just for that.ww raven that was a great wing.my flying buddy john flew a mesquito and an Antares hang glider.ill never forget when he landed in a misquite bush at dry canyon Los cruced NM. Ouch!

  • cburg

    They also called them "Scaremasters" instead of Soarmasters.

    The vid was of the Atlas 21/R532 trike.

  • XC Triker

    Hey David, thank you!  Cburg also!.  Here's the video of me launching my "Toe Chopper" you were referring to-- as you can see this Mosquito was a bit underpowered-  you can hear my pal Bax barking in the background ...

  • white eagle

    Holy cow looks like you ran for s touchdown and decided to punt on the one yard line.did you ever have to run like that cburg.that misguito took forever to get airbourne.cburg didn't they have some pictures of you putting that robins on your pheonix seems somewhere around 80 83 ushgma rings a bell?

  • cburg

    The day I was going to fly the Mosquito the guy in front of me (there were five of us), blew the launch and broke the prop in no-wind conditions. I decided then and there…based on what I could see of the performance that it was not for me.

    Yes, I had a 250 Fuji/Robin that I was flying in late 79 on a Phoenix 6-D. I flew it several years on many other wings and then I became a Flight Designs dealer and started selling JetWings when they arrived to the market. My favorite wing on it was the Bennett Streak. Only problem it had a 100 (seemed like) battens and was a dread to set it up.

    Everyone who flew my 160 Streak loved it and ended up buying one. Note it had a fully detached lower surface and was different than most double surface wings. The lowered surface could move independently from the top surface, thereby improving the handling. They flew even better when they were loaded up with a trike. Wish I would have never sold it. One of my favorites for triking.


  • white eagle

    The first streak I saw fly was a rainbow pattern sail.it was beuitiful and ridgesoared very nicely. I knew I wanted one but never got the chance.I think they had pretty good handling unlike the duck or the comet that you had to lug into a turn.

  • cburg

    Yes, much better. I triked my Duck (still do occasionally) and it's a pig compared to the Streak.

  • cburg

    Before I bought my first Streak I spent a lot of time discussing it with the designer, the late Bob England (who as I recall also designed the Highway Demon). He was killed flying a paraglider soon afterwards.

    He convinced me the Streak was superior to anything flying at the time. He also talked me out of getting the 180 for triking and instead use the 160. He was absolutely correct about everything he had explained to me about the wing. No telling what he’d be capable of contributing to the sport if he were still alive.