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  • Wingboard Tow

    One of my co-workers and good friend Aaron has been working on a project for a couple of years that I would like to share with you. For all of the details please go to http://www.wypaviation.com/wingboard.html

    After watching the video and reading up on what he has done make sure you click on the Current development link to see what is happening next.

    I have agreed to be the tow plane pilot for the 40% scale wingboard test flights. We will be using my Bill Hemple 38% Super Decathlon powered (over powered) with a DLE 170. A bottom mounted frame has been added so that a tow release can be used from the bottom of the airframe. Gliders ride above the tow plane but the wingboard is more or less dragged with the tow plane so it stays below the tow plane.

    What has happened lately is that Aaron was contacted by CNN about his project and they would like to feature the wingboard on a new adventure program they are currently working on. The end goal of the wingboard is to have it towed behind a full scale tow plane with a human pilot riding the wingboard.

    I'll keep you posted on where we are at and what is going on. It should be exciting!
    Attached Files

  • #2
    Well the flight test was a success! More successful than we wanted...........we got to test the emergency recovery parachute system. We are still working the videos to put together the whole story but the flight went from smooth flying to oh, crap parachute deployment in about one second.

    According to what we can see from the four cameras we were using the tow started off picture perfect and the first lap around the flying site was smooth as silk. The second lap was looking good until we decided to drop altitude and attempt a low fly by. I approached the runway in a decending turn and the airspeed picked up a little too much which caused the winglets on the wingboard to flutter. The yaw acceleration rates got so high that the ankles of the rider sheared and the rider fell off. The whole system went unstable at that time and the call CUT! CUT! CUT! was made and I hit the tow release and Aaron hit the parachute release. Big D was safe and continued flying unscathed. The parachutes deployed on the rider and that is when we found that the parachute reefing system needs some work as the deceleration was too much for some of the riders parts to handle. The rider ejection pulls the wingboard chute and it worked perfectly.

    It was really something to see the scale wingboard and rider being towed around the sky and flying silky smooth. At least until the flutter got us. According to the GPS data when the airspeed approached 65 mph is when the flutter started. Now we know that we have a speed limit that we need to keep track of. The wingboard will be getting a real time airspeed sensor added to the telemetry system and the winglets will be remade this time using 3D printed PLA instead of foam cores.

    The damaged rider is being repaired and will go into another captive tow test to make sure everything is still working and then we fly for CNN in two weeks. Wish us luck.

    BTW: George Epps came out to watch and was simply amazed at all of the technology we had at hand.

    Comment


    • #3
      Interesting story Tim.
      Looking forward to following the wingboarder along this journey!!

      Very cool

      len
      Len Buffinton
      Team Horizon Hobby

      Comment


      • #4
        We have been contacted by CNN and the video will be shot on December 4th or 5th.

        Several modifications are being made and we will have real time airspeed telemetry this time. A person will be calling out airspeed from the laptop PC that will have the telemetry data.

        I'll keep you posted on our progress.

        Comment


        • #5
          Here are some pictures taken from the video camera on the ground. They are digitally zoomed in from about 2000 ft away so they look pretty grainy but at least you can see what happened.

          View the photos from right to left order. I can't seem to figure out how to reorder them without doing a complete re-upload.

          Another flight test is planned for November 21st.
          Attached Files

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          • #6
            At what field are you flying for the CNN filming Tim?

            Jeremy and Ben
            SCCAAA TT TN

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            • #7
              We will be at Epps field. The flight is planned for 10am this Friday. Saturday is our backup day if we have any problems.

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              • #8
                So, how did it go?

                Jeremy and Ben
                SCCAAA TT TN

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                • #9
                  SUCCESS!!!!!

                  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cNNSSugEGCI

                  We did two flights and both went without a hitch, well, one minor one but it didn't do any damage. The tow line got wrapped around the tow planes tail when we started doing rolls.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Link to CNN video.

                    http://www.cnn.com/videos/us/2015/12...-of-adventure/

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                    • #11
                      Hi Tim.
                      That was really interesting. Congratulations on the successful towing and tell Aaron I LOVE it.

                      Nice piece of footage!!!!

                      MORE>>>>>
                      MORE>>>>>
                      Len Buffinton
                      Team Horizon Hobby

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                      • #12
                        awesome story...great to to see on CNN! Hope to see more as you get closer to 100% size! Yes, many congrats...

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                        • #13
                          And we never went over 400ft AGL.........wink, wink.

                          Thanks guys!

                          We will have another round of tests to do once the weather warms up some. Piloting the tow plane was one of the most nerve racking flights I have ever done. We had about 40 people on site and a BUNCH of cameras so the pressure was really on to not screw up. All three of my landings that day were near perfect, but did they show even one, no. But, then it wasn't about tow planes so I guess I can live with that. The three pointer I did on the final flight was a thing of beauty if I may say so myself. I do have that footage at least from my own camera.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I just caught the last few seconds of a report on the wingboard on the Science channel, "2016 in Tech, What's Ahead: CES Edition". Program is scheduled to repeat at 10:00 PM tonight. The wingboard segment was near the end of the hour long program.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              The wingboard article will be on the CNN morning show tomorrow. The video was released in the UK today.

                              Aaron has been invited to Ontario Canada to use their wind tunnel to gather additional data. I might be going along to do the video shoot of the tests.

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