For those who yearn to fly cross country in an airchair, we're back to August 2005 at the landing site of the100 kilometer Goat1 flight. The tired but satisfied pilot, Floyd Fronius, is folding back an aileron to begin the disassembly for the drive home. To get here, Floyd flew over those mountains in the background (the Santa Rosas) after crossing over the mountains on the other side of those (the Lagunas).
This is Floyd Fronius performing a rolling launch in the Goat1 at Horse Canyon in June of 2004. I asked Floyd to "float it off" for the picture, and here's the result. In August, 2005, Floyd flew from here on a cross country flight of more than 60 miles, reaching altitudes above 13,000 feet .
Here's the Goat1 where it landed after the 100 kilometer cross country flight mentioned before. Floyd found a perfect landing spot, a mile wide field of baked mud, on the highway, with no fence.
This is near Thermal, California, in the Coachella Valley .
Takeoff: 32"46'29 N, 116"28'36 W
Landing: 33"37/32 N, 116"10'54 W
Bug2 is seen here launching from the cliff at Torrey Pines Gliderport, San Diego, California, in December, 2003. Floyd Fronius is the pilot, warmly dressed and holding a cup of coffee in his left hand.
A smooth wind is blowing at about 30 mph. into the 300 foot high cliff. Hang gliders can be seen high above, farther down the ridge.
This could be an airchair at the start of a tow, but it isn't. In a strong wind, on a static line, Floyd Fronius is just floating in place as I take this picture. This is the Goat1 on a tethered flight at El Mirage Dry Lake, near Palmdale, California, in July of 2004.
This image provides a good idea of the maximium angle of attack of the aircraft, and provides a good view of the hand deployed emergency parachute mounted on the side of the nose below the pilot's seat
Take a good look, you won't see many soaring biplanes. Here's the author myself in flight in Bug4 over Horse Canyon, San Diego, California, in spring, 2004.
Note the reflection in my sun glasses (you can see my left hand holding up the digital camera on the horizon). A hang glider is visible just in front of my lower right wing tip. Even when it is warm on the ground, an insulated flight suit comes highly recommended for airchair flying.
The boltaceous construction of the Goat1 is what I call "garage technology". With no welding, no machining, no molds, no jigs, no spray rig, it's mostly tubes and cables put together with nuts and bolts. That bulge under a cover flap on the left strut junction is a drogue chute which may be deployed in flight to add drag for short field landings. The red and yellow handle is for the hand deployed emergency parachute, which is rigged to bring down the pilot and glider together, tail first. On the nose tube you can read the aluminum alloy marking, "6061 T6", good enough metal but nothing fancy.
A self portrait by Floyd Fronius in the Goat1, this time over launch at Otay Mesa, San Diego, California, in May of 2004. In open air flight, the view is complete and when you are high you are really feeling it.
Goat3 gets walked up the hill for another training flight, November 2006.
Novice training is not easy for the student pilot. There's a lot going on, with all three controls needed from the very beginning, the need to steer while rolling, and having to balance on a single wheel. The basic training formula is: "nose level, wings level, steer with your feet".
After the first high flight in Goat2, I landed, stepped away, and took this picture.
The yellow drogue cute, which can be seen collapsed on the ground, allowed me to come down steeply over those bush tops in the background. The drogue also shortened my ground roll, so I had only a short push back to the disassembly area. I use a drogue chute for almost every landing in the Goat, in lieu of airbrakes or spoilers.
Amid the flowers of spring, Bug4 sits in the landing zone after a weekend soaring flight.
This sesquiplane airchair has proven to be practical and pleasingly compact, as well as stylish, although it will never be a high speed flyer. April 2004
Banked into a thermal and climbing, Goat3 is soaring over the California desert in summer, 2006.
The orange yarn on the little mast is the yaw string, telling me I need a little more right rudder. The ball on a line is the release handle, which I pulled to release the tow line at
the end of the aerotow, then wrapped around the nose tube to keep it out of the way. The plastic tape on the nose tube is my pitch attitude indicator, I keep it visually on the horizon, as shown, to maintain a constant airspeed.
Mounted higher up on the nose tube (but not visible in this photo) is my soaring (and only) instrument, a combination audio variometer and digital altimeter
Shown here is the first test flight of Goat3, just a low hop from a rolling launch down a hill (Otay Mesa, San Diego, California, May 2006) This Goat has a more sophisticated airfoil than Goat1, with a slightly smaller wing area of the same span.
This wing was a little too small for me in light conditions, so when I designed Goat4 I went back to the original (larger) Goat1 & Goat2 wing area, allowing slower flight.
A prospective pilot sits in Goat4, hoping for more wind. The wheel is chocked so the glider will not roll backwards while windjamming, which means just operating the controls on the ground for practice. This is harder to do well than actual flying.
This was at Tehachapi, California, September 1, 2007.
Flight instruction is underway in Goat3 at a training hill, November 2006. The Goat nose is down on the ground, as it is at the beginning and end of most flights. This rolling launch will allow a brief floating flight before a landing in the grassy field. Notice the yellow hang glider which has just landed out in front.
Goat4 lifts off from the Horse Canyon, (San Diego, California) launch slope on April 1, 2007.
This shows myself, the author, at the controls, performing a reasonably stable rolling
takeoff. With my original tail art I am setting the spring fashion trends.
Photo by D. Metzgar
The Pig has simpler controls and a lighter wing loading than any of the Goats. Hopefully this glider will allow infrequent or novice pilots to make more satisfying flights and to make the usual mistakes with less troublesome results than other designs.
Unlike the conventional three axis control system (yaw, pitch, and roll) this two axis control system (fast/slow, right/left) is similar to that of hang gliders and paragliders, so they should readily be able to make a transition to this machine without sailplane training. Here we see the Pig hooked up for truck towing in September of 2008, Eric Lentz Gauthier at the controls.
The Pig (Primary Instruction Glider) is making it's first flight down the training hill on October 18, 2007, in San Diego, California. This is a two axis glider, controlled by elevator and rudder, with no ailerons. It was launched by rolling down the slope on its two BMX bicycle wheels.
Ground handling of the Goat1 in high winds can be just a matter of flying the glider with one hand while walking to the launch.
Floyd Fronius is the pilot, at Torrey Pines Gliderport, San Diego, California, December 2009
The Red Goat launches over winter surf. The wind is light, judging from the lack of white caps on the ocean, and from the loss of altitude on take off. The ailerons and rudder are being used together to command a left turn. The elevator is in neutral position, indicating proper balance for this airspeed. Since the pilot has nothing to do with his left hand, he might be holding a cup of coffee, or just grasping the strut as shown here. Torrey Pines Gliderport, February 2010, Floyd Fronius is flying,
Goat2, the simplest and lightest of all. Floyd Fronius and two potential airchair pilots view the glider, Januray 2005.
The Yando Goat, flying in Australia: "Snapshot from video then a bit of tweaking, taken about 2/3 of the way through the flight when I was pretty high. Hopefully these reports will show that the goat can be quite a capable XC craft on the right days"..."4.5 hours for a 118km triangle flight" December, 2014
by Alan Bevis
A two Goat soaring day! Here we have me, the designer, with Goat 1 and Goat 2 loaded onto hang glider racks, in the San Diego back country.
We roll launched with the hang gliders, got high, got low, then eventually landed at the clearing almost visible behind the brush above.