Should I buy a Used or a New Wing?
Buying a used wing - nice article on buying used
Here are a few things to consider:
- Money - A new beginner wing will cost around $3000, while good quality, airworthy used wings can be had for around $1000. The money saved on the purchase of a used wing could be put towards the purchase of a harness, parachute, or lessons.
- Level of Commitment - If you can dedicate a lot of time to flying (several days a week), chances are you may 'out-grow' a beginner wing in a few months, leaving you with a desire for more performance. If you are not able to fly as often you may not want to risk damaging a shiny new wing with your lack of experience.
- It can take a month or more to get a brand new glider. If you are anxious to get flying right away, a used wing that is available immediately may be a better solution. If you are going to buy a WillsWing Glider, check the inventory on their web site for availability dates.
If you do buy a used glider
- Consider replacing the flying wires. A set of flying wires should cost less than $100. German (and maybe others too) hang gliders have to replace their flying wires every two years. Buying a used glider means you don't know whether the wires have been pinched during assembly. Best is to have a used glider inspected at a shop.
- If you find the hang loop is either too long or too short, do not improvise to get the right length! Instead measure the required length and order a new set of hang loop with backup loop.
Single Surface or Double Surface Glider?
A single surface glider has the most simple sail type, comprising a single sheet of material, and is the design used by most novice gliders due to their benign handling characteristics and low flying speed. Although the leading edge of the frame will normally be enclosed in a pocket at the front of the sail, the cross tubes are exposed, which makes the glider less efficient.
Double surface gliders have a separate upper and a lower sail surface, which enclose a volume of air, and usually the cross tubes too. Since this wing shape has some volume, the cross section is more like an aerofoil - a much more efficient wing design. The wings of high performance gliders have double surface over nearly their entire area, to closely match the designs of aircraft/sailplane wings, but to maintain this internal volume and shape, much more sail battens (perhaps 30) are required, compared to lower performance gliders (e.g. 18 on an intermediate, 10 on a novice glider).
Double surface intermediate gliders, having only slightly more demanding flying characteristics than single surface models, but sufficient performance for soaring flight, make ideal first gliders.
Good Choices for first wings
Pacific Airwave Pulse or Vision mk IV or North Wing Horizon
Will Wing Falcon 1,2 or 3
The easiest to fly, and lowest performance wing for beginners. Lots of advanced rated pilots keep their Falcons for those light boring days. You cant go wrong with a Falcon.