hang height

Gerolf in the alps.

I became aware that I was flying clipped in quite high relative to the control frame. I had both the standard hang loop and a standard harness which, I guess, between them are always going to be set a little high as a default. This photo below was the moment when I could see that I was hanging far too high. I began to look around to see what I could do.

It felt difficult to get objective opinion on what the advantage would be of dropping my height, so in order to take a view I began to look towards other pilots. I could see some had spent time considering all aspects of their performance so I started asking for help and wondering what to do next.

my position was too high

11 December 2012

Hi Rich,

I have a question about hang height…

I am getting a hang loop made that is aimed to lower me much closer to the basebar – partly this is due to advice given – but more from seeing photos of other pilots who I think have spent time tuning their setup, and would have thought about their hang height in terms of performance…

Now I have just a standard harness and the supplied loop and am about as high as you are in the photo you posted on the 22 Nov and mentioned you felt too high…

in your opinion – what is the correct height and what things do you think about when you are looking at your position on your glider from the point of view of comps and XC and generally trying to be efficient.

Hope you dont mind me asking – I am finding it hard to get objective info… my local pilot contemporaries all think Im a little mad from their comments…

btw – I have just got myself a WW T2 154 – flown it a little – its great !!! looking forward to the BOS next year too…

see you there…


Rich Lovelace

Hi Scott
A lot is personal preference and of course if you can fly low to the bar without discomfort. Rule of thumb is fist height above the bar. That is with your angle of dangle retracted so in thermal slow fly position. As you pull on speed for glide you should also be extending your angle of dangle so you will be more head down so the wind is hitting the top of your helmet if you are looking down or smack in your face looking up.

I fly almost touching the base bar most of the time if I can. The great advantage of hanging so long is the glider is more stable, easier to land as you can get further back(if long arms) and the glider is much easier to steer of course as you can swing further across the range which makes for less fatigue.

Bottom line is…….get the longest you are comfortable with. Almost touching the bar is best;-) for some……..

Hope this helps a little?


Gerolf in the alps.

I then found a blog that had details of a guided trip through the alps by Gerolf HeinrichsI knew from my reading that if anyone would have spent time thinking about the best height to be in your glider then it would be him. So I used some of the photos of him as a guide, between Rich and Gerolf I was convinced I’d have a go myself. How much I wished I had been on that course, it would have been a dream come true.

So in the best scientific tradition I looked at some photos of me gliding – and made some reference measurements – from the tip of my chin to the tip of my nose and then made some measurements about the distance I was above the bar using my arm as a datum after some fiddling about I came up with 18cm so I briefed in a new hang loop at an extra 15cm, thinking that 3cm clearance would be fine.

flying at the Dyke with my new lower position

I was worried then about the first flights – took my time, missed a marginal day but then eventually managed a few flights in light conditions at the Dyke. Its early days but the feeling I have is that it is just as Richard suggested it would be. I feel more comfortable in the lower position. Much more stable, in that I was not feeling quite as active while generally getting through the air, so I look forward a lot to this season when I will be testing myself in competition in a bid to see me flying miles away from launch.

Update – Harness adjustments – Apr ’13

I have made some other smaller adjustments to the harness. The Woody Valley Cosmic harness has a rope knotted through a carbon fibre back plate. The back plate has 4 holes that then give you some adjustment on the position and balance of your position in flight.

Screen shot 2013-04-04 at 15.04.47

I have been playing with these separately aiming to make the transition to upright during landing easier. However on the last flight where I had moved them to the rearmost available adjustment I noticed that the backplate was sitting much better on my shoulders. In the previous image I am still shoulder high relative to the base bar and the back plate is pulling on the spandex part of my harness creating lumps. On my last flight in the image above I am more shoulder down and the lumps have gone as the backplate is pressing down on my shoulders, the position is now more as I imagined I should be.

I felt this configuration quite pressed into the glider, lookout was or felt restricted a little but then I was not feeling that well this day so a few more flights are needed. My feeling is that if I move the forward rope forward then it will more easily balance me on the glider. It may also reintroduce the issue with the back plate in this case I would return to the current setup.

Update – Landings – Oct ’13

I have had a difficult year with a few things, landings being one of them. Some approaches I accept have been too slow but quite a few have seemed to dump be onto the ground feeling like there has been no energy to flare at all. Too slow.

The whole issue of bringing speed into landing I think is amplified by having a low hang position and moving your CofG point back. I have been determined to work through this and figure out what to do to fix it rather than constantly move stuff about on my glider. I made some better landings in Austria and a great one in Wales so its there to be had – some of my problems are to do with confidence and some with my decision making on approach.

I think these things in that order are almost universal. I will spend the winter practicing this as I know its something I need to sort out almost before anything else.

My feeling is that it is well worth critically assessing your equipment and making changes where you are able and testing the results. I am very happy with the difference I am feeling while flying and almost shocked when I look back to how things were and how accepting I was of that situation.

Getting to cloudbase
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