Thermalling

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Postby mochamon » Wed Mar 11, 2009 9:16 pm

Hey everyone,

I have been lurking here for a few months now and have just joined. I just wanted to say Hi and ask a quick question. I want to start soaring in my Lazair and I am curious as to how it will handle the thermals. The way I see it is, if it is ok to fly my hang glider it should be ok to fly my Lazair in the same conditions. Would you say that that is correct? safe? and should I get a chute before I thermal?

Blue skies,

Mochamon
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Postby ozzie » Thu Mar 12, 2009 2:49 am

G'day
yes you can thermal your Lazair. plenty of fun too. i just avoid summer here as they are a bit to much for me. sometimes it was a bit to hard to bail out and get down. i find autum is best with light winds and much smoother lift. one mod i have been wanting to do is put a set of spoilers on the wings to get some sink happening if needed. i do recommend a backup chute i wear an old skydive rig with just a round reserve in it.
if you are used to thermalling your hang glider you will do ok with the lazair. it also ridge soars well too.
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Postby JPXman » Thu Mar 12, 2009 5:04 pm

i would advise becoming proficient at piloting a lazair WITH the engines on before you attempt to land WITHOUT them on.

there is no guarantee that when you shut them off at altitude to do some soaring that they will fire right back up when you fall out of the thermal you've been chasing and are at 1000'AGL and dropping at 300ft/min........

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Postby mochamon » Thu Mar 12, 2009 5:35 pm

Hey Guys, Thanks for the quick response.

Ozzie,
I don't mind getting bounced (try a mid summer flight in a hang glider and you'll know) around as long as I know my ship isn't going to rip apart. I can use my hang gliding parachute ( it is rated for 440lbs, just over what the Lazair and I weigh). I saw a picture on the internet somewhere with a spoiler modification, something I would like to add as well. Not being able to get down is a scary thought, I have had that happen in my Paraglider, needed new underwear and shorts after that flight.

Tyler,

I do plan on getting lots of airtime before planning to thermal. I want to learn and practice everything I can before I start thermalling. ie single engine failure, dual engine failure, wingovers, steep stalls, flat turns. I will most likely spend this year thermalling with the engines running at zero thrust. That way I won't have to worry about restarting the engine when it is time to come down, or up. (something I am very worried about and am actually considering buying two Fresh Breeze Simonini's {FBS}. one pull every time). The FBS's have some sort of ignition that will fire at less than 100rpm, so very easy to restart. I definetly don't want to experience an engine out without practice.

Cheers,

Lee
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Postby Chappy » Fri Mar 13, 2009 12:15 am

Hi Lee,

Generally, yes, not much different than your hang glider. If you're prone to chasing T-storms, maybe not, as your Lazair (model?) may not be as capable of negative G's (or perhaps more so if you fly a topless) as the HG you fly. Aerodynamic controls are an advantage over weight shift in rough turbulence IMHO, but whatever. As far as chutes, most Lazairs are not fitted with them, as they predate ballistics, and have not been updated, although they certainly can be. Personally, I think they're most valuable to those that fly in crowds, like you may be doing now if you fly from a restricted mountain launch or club truck/aero/winch flat land tow. The only time I've ever seen a chute deployed was five minutes after I arrived at an International Hang Gliding competition. Three HG's were in the air, and two turned into each other. One broke up on impact and threw a chute. The other was undamaged. I'll bet they were both very happy they had chutes that day!

As far as spoilers are concerned, by learning airspeed control, and also slipping techniques (assuming you don't have an early series 1), you can do 90% of what spoilers can, while keeping the craft light and simple.

As soon as you begin to feel a bit comfortable in your Lazair, you might want to try progressive dead stick landings. First on final, then on base, then on downwind, etc. And none of that "shoot for the numbers" bull that they teach in private pilot training. Shoot for a good third of the way down the strip or field for touch down. Then, if you sink faster than you thought you would, you're not screwed. You probably already know that. As a glider pilot, this shouldn't be too uncomfortable for you. Many pilots are just sooo uncomfortable shutting off the engines that they just keep putting this off until one day an engine quits, and they freak. Not good. A properly rigged Lazair should have a glide ratio close to a modern HG'er, at least 12:1. This shouldn't be too uncomfortable for you if you are an experienced glider pilot. If you aren't getting a good glide, your Lazair is not rigged properly! Several people over the years have fabricated light pods that can improve glide. I don't think the popular aftermarket upright fairing/windshield offered much if any increase. There was talk recently of a plan to clone the rather heavy fiberglass factory enclosure from carbon fiber. That might be something for you to keep an eye out for.

A single Simonini with fancy prop will most likely set you back about what a decent Lazair costs! The Rotax gets the job done. Invest in electronic ignition for them and you should be close to the modern engine's reliability, and for a ton less money. The Prince P-tip prop will give you better climb performance than the original stacked factory props, but for engine off gliding, the stock props will probably generate less drag, and save you money for your CF pod.

If you have never flown a stick plane before, you really should try to get some exposure to one. The switch from stick to weight shift confuses many pilots, so I would assume the same could be true making the transition from weight shift to stick.

Anyway, just my opinions, others my differ. Please get lots of input as your needs are a little outside the norm as far as the way most Lazair pilots use their machines!

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Postby Shannon » Fri Mar 13, 2009 9:36 am

Hi Lee, the first questions I have are what Series Lazair do you have (I, II, III, Elite), what engines are on the plane and what is the condition of the plane ? Is it modified ? Any Pics ?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AlTbZ-oucYc
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Postby Don » Fri Mar 13, 2009 1:13 pm

Hi Lee,
Welcome aboard! If you have Rotax 185's go through them top to bottom. New crank bearings, seals and gaskets should run about $40 per engine. Bearings and seals are available at NAPA. The gaskets through Wildfire. There's easy to follow rebuild instructions on the Lazair Force web site. There's also a couple of ignition threads here on Lazair.com. A friend suggested to me that I might want to consider a Mejzlik 34x12 carbon fiber prop for a replacement to the original bi-props. It wieghs less than the bi-props and has a little more slip than the P-tips at about a 1/3 the cost. Post some pics!
Good Luck and Enjoy,
Don A774
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Postby mochamon » Fri Mar 13, 2009 4:24 pm

Hey Guys,

Thanks for the warm welcome and the great info.

I have an unmodified Series II using Rotax 185's. The plane and engines are in great shape. I am going to add some pics of my plane from the ad I found it on.

I have 50+ hours in a cessna and about 15-20 hours in a hang glider and 2 in a paraglider. I love slipping, I just didn't realize that it was almost as effective as spoilers and now that I know, no spoilers for me. As for the the Simonini's, I have one already and am thinking of making a second Lazair with the Simo mounted in the middle. It puts out around 140lbs thrust and the prop will only cost $450. Thanks for the prop info, I will definetly check that out (maybe a couple for my Dad as well.)

Thanks again for the great info, I'll probably bug you for more later:p

PS Thunderstorms scare me in a hang glider, let alone a Lazair.
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Postby mochamon » Fri Mar 13, 2009 4:27 pm

I can't figure out how to post a pic. It keeps saying that I cannot upload that type of file. It's a jpeg file. What can I post?
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Postby lazairiii » Fri Mar 13, 2009 4:28 pm

Where are you located?
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