The Hang Gliding Historical Committee is tasked with preserving and celebrating the rich history of hang gliding.

Volmer Jensen

Postby JoeF » Sun Aug 19, 2012 1:29 pm

Volmer Jensen Image
VJ-__________'
He modeled, built, and piloted while being a welcoming spirit to many. Bring for read, see, and discussion your favorite gems from the life and influence of Volmer. Twenty years before the mid-1900s' "hang gliding renaissance" Volmer foot-launched his three-axis-controlled biplane hang glider VJ-11. He helped to format the 1970s hang gliding scene while being wary of the flex-wing; he gave us a foot-launched three-axis control cantilevered hang glider featuring thick airfoil and Irv Culver wing twist. May we trace his various wings and know his blessings to hang gliding which are still unfolding. Have fun finding, posting, and discussing Volmer gems.

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Volmer's Production Models Shop encircled the production of a famous movie prop: U.S.S. Enterprise http://startrekhistory.com/models.html
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Image
Volmer piloting. Other photos will show someone else flying his VJ-11; the name of the pilot is sought.

Article written by Volmer Jensen and published by the Soaring Society of America, September 1971.


Published by Soaring Society of America in September of 1971, with some comment about the May 23, 1971 Otto Meet in Newport Beach, Volmer Jensen wrote:FIRST CONTROLLED HANG GLIDER?
A great deal of interest was shown at the recent Championship hang glider meet (July Soaring). Approximately 15 hang gliders were flown. There was a flight every five minutes — and a "crackup" every five minutes. It was absolutely hilarious to watch these gliders go through uncontrolled flight. All were controlled by shifting the body weight which had practically no effect on the attitude of the craft. It is easy to understand that shifting a pilot's weight of 150 pounds laterally by six inches is not enough to lower the high wing. This results in the lower wing digging into the ground and ending up in a 180-degree ground loop that faces back up the hill again! I found this out by building two hang gliders 40 years ago. Then 30 years ago, during the war when we couldn't fly any aircraft within 150 miles from the coast, I thought it would be fun to build another hang glider. I knew the C.A.A. wouldn't mind since I was only going to slide down the hill. However, I put controls on it, and I believe it is the first hang glider in the world to have three-dimensional controls. Even the Wright Brothers did not have a hang glider; they lay down in their glider to fly.

I installed elevators and ailerons, controlled by the right hand with a device shaped like a + sign and a rudder by the left hand, using a short rudder bar. It flew great. Many glider pilots tried it including John Robinson, National Soaring Champion for 3 years, and Irv Culver, Lockheed aerodynamicist who helped on the stress analysis, and even fellows with no previous flying experience. We could take off in 3 steps down the hill and sometimes land by just bending our knees. On some flights we even gained altitude which I recorded on 16mm. color film.

As soon as one's feet leave the ground by 12 inches, one feels like he's 1000 feet in the air. This is a very exhilarating experience and a safe sport as evidenced by no injuries of any kind to the contestants at the meet. If each glider at this meet had controls, it would have taken off at the top of the hill and flown to the bottom with perfect control.

We can furnish you with a complete set of blueprints — 8 photographs and full scale rib layout. The cost of materials is approximately $400.00. We do not furnish a kit or materials.

To facilitate your delivery, please make your payment by cashier's, certified check, or money order.

IF YOU HAVE ANY MORE QUESTIONS PLEASE SEND A SELF-ADDRESSED AND STAMPED ENVELOPE.

Please tear off and sign, include with your payment and MAKE A COPY OF THIS AGREEMENT FOR YOURSELF.

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VOLMER AIRCRAFT [Omitted: Volmer contact information ... please respect their privacy ... these plans are no longer available]

Please find enclosed $50.00 as full payment for the right to manufacture one and only one VJ-11 Hang glider from your set of plans and photographs comprising 4 blueprints - 24 sq. ft. 8 photographs and full size rib layout. I agree to pay you an additional sum of $50.00 for every additional airplane or any part thereof built by me or anyone else from all or any part of these plans or photographs or any copy thereof. I further agree not to sell or loan these plans or any copies thereof except upon such terms and conditions.

[Omitted: blank lines for your signature, address, date and telephone]
JoeF
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Re: Volmer Jensen

Postby soar8hours » Mon Feb 04, 2013 4:48 pm

Volmer Jensen was a brilliant man with wonderful designed hang gliders.
He was way ahead of his time too.
I owned a VJ-23 Swing wing and a VJ-24 Sun Fun as well.
Engineered well and very nice gliders.
I think their not very portable configurations lost to the flex wing in the bag concept.
Tommy Thompson

"Experience is no substitute for Safety"
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Re: Volmer Jensen

Postby Merlin » Tue Feb 05, 2013 5:37 pm

I owned a VJ-23 Swing wing and a VJ-24 Sun Fun as well

I can only imagine your photo album. I hope you're digitizing that stuff!

I think their not very portable configurations lost to the flex wing in the bag concept.

So true. In the NE we spent a lot of time hiking gliders thru the woods, setting up in the scrub, and taking three steppers out of the slot. Nothing beats a Rogallo for that type of stuff.
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Re: Volmer Jensen

Postby JoeF » Fri May 17, 2013 9:16 pm

Ad for plans in 1972 for the VJ-11 hang glider
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VJ11ad1972plans.JPG
VJ11ad1972plans.JPG (58.65 KiB) Viewed 334 times
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