skyglider: news

Testflights of the SkyGlider G2:

All of us remember Oliver Furrer and his impressive freefall gliding world record over the Swiss Alps in December 1998. Following this event Oliver decided to do additional experiments, and about one year after his record flight he announced a second generation of gliders: The SkyGlider G2. This new board was designed and built in Switzerland during 1999 by Holtec GmbH, TS Skyboards and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich.

The latest aeronautical technologies were applied for computing the structural requirements, to make aerodynamic calculations and to choose the best construction materials. The G2 was designed in a similar way as a regular aircraft and special attention was given to improve the flight performance, reliability and safety compared to the first generation of SkyGliders. Initial test jumps with the new version were done by Oliver during a weekend in April 2000. During those days at the Lapalisse airport (France), the engineering crew, ground personnel, friends and other interested people were closely watching the spectacular drops.

However, after exiting the plane, the G2 always showed a tendency to make aggressive back loops and to turn the surfer around. It then suddenly entered an uncontrolled spinning, so that Oliver had to separate from the board. Thanks to a recovery parachute, the SkyGlider landed on a field without any damage. After analysing the video recordings the team realized that the SkyGlider’s front wing had generated too much lift.

After some readjustments on both wings they both had the same lifting power in proportion, ensuring stability during the flight. In addition, stronger carbon-suspensions were added to better connect the wings to the board. Accompanied by a WingSuit jumper acting as film crew, more test jumps were made during July 2000. Towards the end of the testing phase, the SkyGlider again started to spin and entered into an uncontrolled rotation. At this stage the experiments were finished and intensive debriefings were held, resulting in a detailed test report. In view of its ongoing instability it was not possible to start a commercial production of the SkyGlider. But nevertheless, the whole project was a great adventure for Oliver and all involved and it brought a lot of new insights concerning the aerodynamic behavior of flying boards.

More information's can be obtained by contacting Oliver Furrer.

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