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Paragliding Surfing Disclosure Number: IPCOM000007840D
Publication Date: 2002-Apr-29
Document File: 5 page(s) / 21K

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Ocean /air Surfing April 27 2002

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Oceanair Surfing 

April 2002

1. The Concept

The purpose of this creation is to enable persons with existing paragliding skills to pilot their gliders in the sky in much the same manner as a surfer controls the speed and direction of his surfboard across the ocean. This is accomplished by attaching  hardware to existing standard paraglider equipment to enable the pilot to stand upright on a small surfboard shaped platform located below the regular harness and attached to the paraglider directly at the carabeners. The paraglider  is then piloted  from this position.

Paragliders are characteristically flown with the pilot in a sitting position whereby the control of the wing is accomplished by the pilot's manipulation of the wing by pulling down the trailing edge with the brake handles, placing more weight on the A (forward) risers with the speed system and by the movements of the pilot within the harness to place more body weight on one side than the other by leaning left or right. It is the weight-shift aspect of control that is the primary pilot input in the surfing of the sky although initial flights have given us information indicating that a combination of inputs may best bring about the highest and most consistent degree of control. In other words the shifting of the standing pilots weight from one side to the other in addition to the application of wing braking on the loaded side would appear to do the best job in directional control. Research continues and if it is found to be preferable the two systems may be eventually be linked  so that they function in tandem.

The airborne surfing concept here is one whereby the rider not only maneuvers the board in the sky while standing in similar fashion to a surfer's stance on a surfboard but does it wherever possible  in relationship to the areas of lift and sink he is feeling through his feet just in the the water borne equivalent where the surfer adjusts his angles and directions according to the shape of the wave. This is a key point and was the starting point for the whole idea.

2. The Hardware

The board: We have progressed through several designs and materials in the course of our testing .Currently a fiberglass and wood composite is being flown , approximately three feet long and nineteen inches wide, somewhat surfboard shaped  with enough width to enable the weight control system to work. The next board (prototype 4)  is in preparation, it is a small surfboard of fiberglass and foam construction and somewhat larger at around 5'5"long and 20" wide. The underside of the flying board  is flat with no fins and the nose is curved slightly upward (surfboard shape). In terms of size we have found that the wider the board , the longer arc the edge of the board will travel through about it's longitudinal axis when one side is depressed by the pilot's foot and it is this distance of travel that will directly affect the rate and bank of the turn as the wing above is correspondingly depressed. The challenge...