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Wheels occur in hang gliding for many uses: landing styles, landing safety, downwind wheeled landings, leg-or-feet-challenged pilot choice, rolling take-off, glider rolling, carting, HG flight-simulator wheels, wheels of HG tow vehicles, wheels on vehicles that transport pilots to launch points, etc. Care to fit use with wheel design and mounting method has brought forward many products. There are yet questions being resolved about wheels; research and design continue to supply niche needs. One rule or one proposal just may not fit the full spectrum of hang gliding interests.

Proposals

  • BigWheels.jpg
    Much of the time, but not always: "All hang gliders should be equipped with wheels." Red notes: "WHEELS: All hang gliders used to teach flying MUST have wheels. This is not a subject for debate; walk away (while you can) from anybody who thinks wheels are optional for lessons. I recommend that the first glider that you own should have a set of wheels." That proposal seems to have high consensus for training flights intended for landings on soils; exceptions can occur when other means are appropriate (ski, skids, rollers, rolling floats). When one is first beginning hang gliding, the glider will be equipped with a set of large wheels like these shown to the right; and many of one's early landings will be on the wheels. They would also be appropriate for your first glider. Entering any beginning instruction where there are not large wheels on the basebar or basebar extended would be cause to abort the efforts, even if the training is on flat ground running the glider. Why? A trip or stumble possibly followed by a digging-in to the ground of the TCF basebar could result in a sudden stop of the airframe, a rotation of the keel for a nose whack! and a swing-through of pilot's body with possible hitting of head on wires or keel with potentially life-changing results, broken neck, and even death. Wear wheels that match the ground texture so the airframe can roll forward, if something goes off plan.
  • Pneumaticwheels.jpg
    Also very popular for your first glider are these pneumatic wheels:

One may see expert pilots with smaller wheels on their gliders (not always the expert thing to do, however), but those wheels are not for beginner or novice pilots. And for some reasons experts pilots may wear large flat-faced wheels or other devices like skis, skids, or floats. Flight plan may have one alter the choice of wheels or other device in place of wheels.

Uses of wheels in hang gliding

Landings

  • When it occurs that the airframe (frequently the TCF) touches the ground first, one does not want the airframe and wing to come to a sudden stop if relative motion between the glider and ground is positive; a sudden stop of the airframe and wing would see the momentum of the pilot's body still operating to move the pilot quickly through the TCF and toward the nose and swinging into the keel or root chord of the wing; this scene has been the cause of broken necks and death. Wheels are one choice for helping in this kind of landing circumstance; alternatives are rollers, ski feet, frontal skids, and rolling water floats.
Planned wheeled landings should have the wheel design matching the ground texture; small or large wheels of sharp profile can cut into certain turf and provide less than desired rolling.
Unplanned wheeled landings bring ground textures that may not match well with chosen wheels.

Landing on water surfaces

  • Having floaters that are also wheels provide guard against sinking in some designs. Landing on a floated raft and then rolling further into the water to be floater assisted from sinking?
  • The wheel idea morphs some to the floats and boats attached to hang gliders. Floats.

Wheel aspects to consider

  • What is the tread design? Is the wheel flat-faced or with a sharp circular cross-section? One cuts more easily into damp lawns than the other.
  • Special wheels that may be mounted on non-circular basebars are available.

Fast downwind landings

In XC efforts where unfortunate surprise brings one to a choice to do a long downwind landing, then wheels might just be the fortunate things to have; and those tiny sharp wheels just might not be fit for the ground texture met.

Futurisms or ideas or questions about wheels in HG

  • The PG pilots might wear shoes mounted with wheels.
  • For certain planned landings, a HG pilot might wear skates mounted on shoes, just as skis have been used many times for snow landings and takeoffs; in 1969 Bill Moyes skied to get speed on a slope; in 1961-2, the Paresev gliders used three wheels for landing on concrete flats; aqua-ski-kiters used sometimes water ski on feet and floats on basebar and aft keel end.
  • What might be stored in the interior of wheels? Air, water, medicine, foam, etc.?
  • What about very fat-faced wheels?
  • Wheels-when-wanted (WWW) is a teasing conception. Have wheels put away for low drag, but bring them to the fore when wanted for the landing sequence.
  • Explosive deployment of broad rollers?
  • Explosive deployment of large-diameter broad-faced wheels?
  • How to plan so mounted wheels won't be needed?
  • Managing risks on any flight: what are the chances that wheels will be a saving grace?
  • Are pilots flying without wheels taking what risks without the wheels?
  • Flyability wheelchair wheels are increasingly showing a presence; how might such be optimized?
  • Rolling on wheels into a launch has its space.
  • Using wheels in aero-towing (AT) either with attached wheels or by way of detaching wheel cart.
  • Deliberate planned wheeled landings on known surface with planned appropriately shaped and fitted wheels is something that can bring desired skills. Not everyone or everytime is foot-landing the best thing; sometimes and for some people wheeled landings are best. But all will be a happier situation when adequate wheel design and mounting are in place.

Wing-tip wheels

Aft keel wheels

Alternatives to wheels

  • Rollers
  • Ski at feet of TCF.
  • Ski on feet of hang glider pilot
  • Skis
  • Skates

Hang glider patents or applications for patents involving wheels

  • Hang glider wheel apparatus by Brad D. Kushner. A hub includes an inner surface that defines a noncircular, and preferably airfoil-shaped, aperture. The aperture is sufficiently sized and shaped for the inner surface to circumscribe a member having a noncircular cross section for retaining the hub to the member. Etc. Filed:May 27, 2005
  • Audet instructs for simulator

Audet1.jpg

HG wheel links

Seedwings Europe offers wheels (or in USA here) for the following base bars: - Round 28 mm - Seedwings / Bautek airfoil (haven't seen those anywhere before) - Wills Wing Litestream - Wills Wing carbon - Aeros carbon

Wheel terms

Wheels, hub, control-bar wheels, tail wills, tip wheels, landing wheels, tow-cart wheels, get-us-to-launch wheels, tandem landing gear, Hall Wheel, Finsterwalder Wheel, landing security, free-rolling wheel, braking device, Hot Wheels, axle, wheel plug, locking mechanism, VG, no VG, corner brackets, safety wheels, mounting brackets, brackets, wheel kit, wheels for streamline basebar, LiteFlite Tandem Hang Gliding Wheels, UHMW wheels, clip-on wheels, tire, ribbed tire, pneumatic tire, front wheels, rear wheel, rear wheels, solid wheels, optional steering rod, wheel launching, wheel landing, trike, bicycle launch, Finster wheels, Delta Training Wheels,


HG videos featuring wheel matters

Mounting wheels

  • Compare mounts that are inside of the TCF legs with mounts that are outside TCF legs
  • Tandem HG wheels
  • Other wheel mounts
  • Double wheels for aft keel or single wheel
  • Powered-harness wheels