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Colver Swing Seat

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Sun Jun 03, 2018 1:04 pm

First, there was the Colver Sky Sail ...

  Then there was the Colver Variometer ...

    Last week Frank unveiled his latest contribution to the sport of hang gliding ...


      The Colver Swing Seat:

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Frank Colver flying the Colver Swing Seat at Dockweiler
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The Colver Swing Seat is a modernized version of the seats that Frank and many others flew in the early days of hang gliding. This topic is dedicated to discussions about the design and flying of the new seat.

Thanks Frank!!
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Re: Colver Swing Seat

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Sun Jun 03, 2018 1:19 pm

I didn't get pictures of everyone who flew the Colver Swing Seat at the 2018 Otto meet, but here are a few frames that I found among my videos.

Andy Beem:

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Joe Greblo:

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John Heiney with assist from Joe Faust (Frank in the background):

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Re: Colver Swing Seat

Postby Frank Colver » Sun Jun 03, 2018 2:10 pm

And here is a young woman named Erica giving it a try. She and some of the others soared the bluff in the swing seat & holding the uprights of the adapter bars.

I remember form my old days of "dune grooming" that the upright position makes it easy to watch a wingtip that is close to the sand.

For me it was like being home again, as soon as I was in the air. I always loved seated position hang gliding. :thumbup:

Frank

Erica trying my seated harness.jpg
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Re: Colver Swing Seat

Postby wingspan33 » Tue Jun 05, 2018 3:21 pm

Up in my garage attic I've still got my original Eipper-Formance seated harness. :thumbup:
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Re: Colver Swing Seat

Postby Frank Colver » Tue Jun 05, 2018 4:51 pm

That's how this thing got started. I was spending time at High Energy Sports with Jim Fenison as he developed his suprone harness along with their expertise. I knew that Betty was going to drop by to say hi so I pulled my Eipper/ Sears swing seat off of the old Flexi Floater control bar and brought in there as a nostalgia thing. I hoisted myself up on their winch hook to demonstrate how it worked as one transitioned from running to sitting. As I was swinging about I commented that I loved to fly in these things. That's when I thought: "hey why not make a 21st century version of the swing seat from the seventies".

Along with their guy who works miracles with a sewing machine, Jacob, we hashed out the design and the result was what you see in the photos. As usually happens with any new design, a couple of problems were found at Dockweiler that day. Today I was back at HES and Jacob did another fantastic job of correcting those. In my opinion now, this seated harness design is good to go.

I also now have the control bar adapters with a nice rounded curve at the bottom corners.

Frank
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Re: Colver Swing Seat

Postby Frank Colver » Fri Jun 08, 2018 9:36 pm

Here's the finished adapter bars mounted on the control bar.

I also narrowed the seat insert width to bring the hang straps in farther on the shoulders and snug things up a bit. That also takes some more weight out of the harness.

Frank

finished version.JPG
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Re: Colver Swing Seat

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Sat Jun 09, 2018 9:51 am

That looks nice and clean Frank.    :thumbup:

Good job turning the photo upside down too.    :)
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Re: Colver Swing Seat

Postby Bob Kuczewski » Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:07 am

Yesterday I made my first flights in the Colver Swing Seat. Frank, Joe, Mike, and I were taking turns with the Condor 330 at Dockweiler. The Condor was configured for the swing seat with Frank's innovative alternate down tubes (attachable and detachable in literally a few seconds).

My overall review can be summaized in a few words: Wow, that's a fun way to fly!!

More specifically, the seated position was very comfortable and provided good visibility and control. Even more noticable, the landings were so easy and natural that they just sort of "happened" with almost no thought or effort (remember, of course, that we were flying a Condor 330 which is a very easy landing gilder already).

The only part of the flight that presented a challenge was launching. I think it's fair to say that all 4 of us noticed some difficulty getting into the air. I think the problem is that the hang straps are pressed against the front of the pilot's shoulders during the run. So the force on the glider is coming from very far forward of the pilot's CG during the run. But of course, in flight the force can only come from the pilot's CG, and that requires a transition from the pilot leaning forward (during the run) to the pilot sitting back (during flight and landing). That was probably the source of our launch difficulties, but further review of the videos might help determine if that's the case or not.

Overall, it was a very very fun way to fly, and it's great that Frank has put so much time, money, and energy into the project.

Thanks Frank!!      :salute: :salute: :salute: :salute: :salute:
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Re: Colver Swing Seat

Postby Frank Colver » Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:33 am

More details on seated flying:

Yes, we all realized, after many launches that we were trying to run in a position that was too upright because we felt the hang straps on our shoulders and we were holding the bar adapters too far forward. The result was not a high enough running speed resulting in low ground skimming launches. We also did prone harness launches on the same glider with the adapters removed and compared running positions.

What we discovered was that the pilot running in the prone harnesses was leaning farther forward in a better "sprint" position than when in the seat harness and could develop more speed. So, we returned to the seated harness, with the adapters, and with a greater determination to lean harder into the straps and to hold the adapter bars at our hips. Doing that gave us launches very much like the prone harness launches. Ironic, that we had to relearn what most hang gliding started out with in the seventies - swing seat launching. Mike (Magenta Blue Sky) reminded me that we used to run with the base tube against our stomachs. Now we had to imagine a virtual base tube where the adapter bars are located because the real base tube is farther forward in a glider still rigged for prone. Having the hands on the bars opposite the hips, where the seated base tube would have been, and leaning hard against the hang straps enabled us to get the glider up to speed in the launch run.

All of this emphasis on launch technique has kind of overshadowed the joy in flight and landing we all experienced. In flight, the ease of twisting around made us all turn and wave back toward the hill and generally move around. I turned and waved to Bob and Joe on my first flight of the day. It is such a comfortable and casual position to be in it just makes you want to goof off. We all remembered Bob Wills, in a swing seat, flying in every position imaginable, including hanging upside down (don't try this at home kids).

Good landings are for the most part effortless because the lack of vertical straps behind the back allow the pilots weight to be moved farther aft when flaring. Those are the landings I remember from the "old days" of flying seated (Back in the day I personally chose to never fly prone).

Speaking of base tubes; two guys, Mike and Joe, both put their feet up on the base tube in flight and leaned back in a semi- supine position. I can envision a fusion here of seated and suprone hang gliding. Where a student learns to fly in a seat harness and then moves on to the suprone harness and Fenison Fly Bar in their hang gliding career.

So, yesterday was well spent in learning (or relearning) the old joys of swing seat hang gliding and the techniques required.

Frank
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Re: Colver Swing Seat

Postby Frank Colver » Wed Jun 13, 2018 9:29 pm

Here's me waving to Bob and Joe on my first flight with the modified seat harness.

Flying in this position makes you want do do something and not just sit there. :wave:

Frank

Me waving to the gallery.jpg
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