Welcome / About This Forum

General discussion about the sport of hang gliding

Welcome / About This Forum

PostPosted by Zack C » 2010/11/23 05:23:34 UTC

In September of 2010, hang gliding safety activist Tad Eareckson entered a discussion on the Houston Hang Gliding & Paragliding Association's discussion group that would result in his being banned from the group within two months. But despite the controversy over Tad's 'arrogance' and 'condescending tone,' I was impressed by his knowledge, logic, and respect for science, which included a great deal of his own research and experimentation. My attempts to carry out a rational discussion with him were continually sabotaged and eventually aborted by other group members, many with little interest in or comprehension of the discussion.

I wished to continue the discussion, and I knew others in the group were interested in it as well. But Tad had been banned from every group he entered to date, so we needed a place of our own where knowledge was prized over personality. And thus the idea for Kite Strings was born.

The purpose of Kite Strings is to foster serious discussion regarding the practices and technologies of modern hang gliding. This is a forum ruled by science, truth, facts, reason, and logic. Anyone with a respect for these principles and a willingness to learn and engage in rational discussion is welcome to participate.

The forum is still in its infancy, so we don't have much in the way of structure or posting rules. Until we're large enough to have a need for more, all topics will be under a single forum. As for rules, just keep it civil, stay on topic, keep topics in line with the forum purpose, and don't lie or misrepresent others' statements.

Note that you may subscribe to forums to receive email notifications of new posts. Also, the forum currently does not allow attachments (including images) to be uploaded with posts. However, you may display images by uploading them to a site like Photobucket or Flickr and linking to them using the Img button.

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Re: Welcome / About This Forum

PostPosted by Tad Eareckson » 2010/11/30 17:45:12 UTC

Zack,

Thanks zillions for setting this up. I've been envisioning something like this for a long time and the timing was about right for it to happen.

Speaking for myself, a few opening comments which sometime down the road may congeal into part of a mission statement...

Priorities...

Birds are a billion times cooler and more important than hang gliders and the people who fly or don't fly them. We've got way too many bipedal monkeys pushing the former into oblivion. I'm with Lindbergh on that score. If you're bleeding to death on the cliff face 'cause you failed to check your hook-in status and there's an active Peregrine eyrie between the point at which you snagged and me at launch you better know how to tie a tourniquet and have enough water and granola bars to get you through until the kids are all safely fledged.

Hopefully the reason you're flying a hang glider is because since age five you desperately wanted to fly as much like a bird as technology and physics would allow and not because you always wanted to do no step standup landings in the center of a target circle.

Safety...

Lotsa people assume that when I'm talking about and advocating safety I'm threatening their god-given right to snatch a goody bag off a two foot high traffic cone while skimming 60 mph just beyond the finish line or want to require everybody to install fat pneumatic wheels on the faired carbon basetubes of their topless bladewings.

Not in the least. I'm just threatening their god-given rights to run off a cliff without checking immediately prior that they're connected to a glider and fly with whatever stupid cheap dangerous crap they feel like slapping on the ship for a mission critical function.

I'm also not in favor of everybody who gets into this sport getting back out alive. There've been more than a couple of miraculous survivals which have left people in positions to continue to negatively influence the sport enough to maintain or raise the overall kill rate.

Participation...

Corollary to Zack's description of who's welcome to participate.

That describes a decided minority of hang glider folk. Were that not the case the sport would not be the clueless, irresponsible, insanely dangerous, mutant, bastard branch of aviation that it is now and there would be no need for this forum to exist.

I've got a very long list of people I've known over the years and decades who are very decidedly NOT welcome on this forum and never will be. I'm still a believer in giving someone the benefit of the doubt once or twice - despite the fact that that latitude has never paid off any time in memory - but after that...

I'm looking for three types of people to participate in this forum:

- old or new folk who really know what they're talking about and can help in getting good information up and available to the public;

- new or old folk who are mostly clueless but don't like the smell of what they're being fed by the mainstream and wanna get and do things right; and

- everybody in between.

But I'll take quality over quantity any day and I'll be content enough if the forum never grows beyond a public conversation between Zack and me.

Civility...

I don't mind being called an arrogant asshole. Somebody who fires an invective like that is usually so low on the evolutionary scale that he doesn't have the slightest clue what the conversation is about and I score points as soon as the source is considered. Sometimes I get it from someone who genuinely believes I don't know what I'm talking about and it triggers a productive conversation. And - best of all - the person may have a valid point and I get an opportunity to pick up some valuable information and refine my thinking on an issue.

The really vile incivility that will not be tolerated... You get asked a question which - no matter how you answer it - will reveal you to be the incompetent dangerous fraud you are. So you just turn around, walk out of the conversation, and bank on the fact that three quarters of the readership are too stupid to notice. That time honored hang gliding trick ain't gonna fly in this classroom.

Focus...

There are many aspects of hang gliding that are extremely dangerous when compared to analogous operations in conventional aviation.

Foot launching is dangerous but it allows us to exploit environments, situations, and opportunities not available to conventional aviation. On 2009/11/27 Chris Thale blew a launch in substantial wind at Henson Gap and was killed. Extremely sad - but that's not the sort of issue we need to discuss a whole lot. We KNOW how to launch a glider off of a ramp on a windy cliff. There are no significant questions as to what went wrong and is no controversy or misunderstanding about how to do it properly - although one does wonder what he and his crew were thinking to turn what should've been a routine no brainer into such an obvious and catastrophic pooch screw.

The focus needs to be on the areas in which hang gliding culture has been monumentally clueless for decades and where the most easily preventable death and destruction is occurring: unhooked launches; towing; and landing.

Paragliders...

This is primarily a hang gliding forum BUT...

Bagwingers are more than welcome to participate as long as the discussion stays within the areas in which the two flavors of aviation overlap. You guys have lethal problems remembering to secure yourselves to your wings just like we do and just about everything in towing is analogous.

But I'd rather that discussions about dealing with collapses be kept over at the Paragliding Forum.

Sailplanes...

I'd love to get input from sailplane people 'cause that's the model we need to be shooting for.

Kite Strings...

My dream name for the forum.

Strings as in discussion threads - obviously.

But my first love in hang gliding has always been towing - a discipline which has been butchered by the stupid unaccountable corrupt evil bastards who control this sport. So Kite Strings as in some day I'd like to see hang gliders towed with at least half the common sense and competence of a ten year old kid flying a stunt kite at the beach. No tension gauges, weak links, spotters, hook knives, or radios - and a tiny percentage of the crashes at launch.

So let the arrogance and condescension begin!

I believe we were discussing weak links when so rudely interrupted. (And it was your move).

P.S. I can be contacted outside of the forum at:

TadErcksn
at
aol
dot
com
---
Edit - 2014/02/20 18:55:00 UTC

For revised/current policy on activation see Post 57:
post5669.html#p5669
on Page 6 of this thread.
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Re: Welcome / About This Forum

PostPosted by Tad Eareckson » 2011/01/14 20:59:02 UTC

From our recent off forum communications...

Thanks for setting me up with the Double 0 license. I fired a blank at boog and everything seems to be working fine, whether or not my name lights up in red. I'm breathing much easier now.

I'm not sure how civilized the discussion would be if the people you're criticizing were here to defend themselves. =)

When, as you suggested, googling my name found this:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/USHPA/message/444

Warren Narron - 2009/02/16 16:18

Davis, the Censure Bully, Straub, Strikes Again

Now Davis suppresses tow release information from Tad Eareckson on the Oz Report forum.

I call foul on Davis for being such a controlling jerk 'moderator' bully that just can't stand any free and open thought.

For whatever reason, Davis has a mental limitation that can't tolerate free thought. His actions are an impediment to the ongoing innovation and safety considerations of hang gliding.

This is a serious offense, in my opinion.

Davis effectively killed that thread by again being the bully.

Tad, answers the censure threat from Davis, here:

http://ozreport.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=14931

Davis,

Yeah, I get thrown out of better bars than this all the time. Having learned, retained, and applied a bit of fifth grade science and math tends to put one at a real social disadvantage in this society.

What goes around...

That said, I do hope to see more people considering your ideas and progress within hang gliding as a whole, and this forum has potential to help there.

Flattered, but...

The vast majority of "my" ideas aren't my ideas. A lot of my ideas predate my participation in the sport and a lot more predate my birth by a fair number of decades. When they're MY ideas...

"Oh yeah. Tad. Real asshole. Called the FAA 'cause people weren't doing things HIS way. Never got more than two or three hours. Doesn't even fly anymore..."

How I wish "Tad's Lift And Tug" were "Rob's Lift And Tug".

One thing that could help with rankings is if you put a link to the forum on your site.

Thanks. Put a couple on my Flickr site.

Don't expect the site to ever compete with HangGliding.org, though.

We're not playing anything close to the same game. I want the top five percent and no more. Jack's already got legions of dregs and is more than welcome to them. The more they listen to each other the better the gene pool gets.

I could always post a new topic on HangGliding.org and/or the Oz Report forum advertising Kite Strings...that would probably bring the largest volume of people in, but I'm not sure if that's the approach you want to take (might bring people you don't want).

See above - and same for the Davis Cult. On the other hand, there are a few people on the Houston forum who merit lifetime passes... John Moody, Dave Williams, Mark DeMarino... Charles Schneider - despite his absolutely lunatic take on the hook-in issue.

A fair smattering of others... Al Hernandez, Chuck Pyle (if for nothing else, being smart enough to tip off the people too stupid to understand that no one was being forced to read me), Gregg - I'd like to get him to engage long enough to reach a resolution.

Who's Mike Bomstad?

AKA "Wonder Boy". Generic bozo who's not happy with just one way to get blown off tow while he's standing on his tail. You can check out the kind of contributions he makes at:

http://www.paraglidingforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=28697
Weak links why do we use them. in paragliding.

commencing 2009/12/12.

I think if we start contacting a few of the right right people and keep the riffraff out we'll get some worthwhile participation and hit a critical mass.
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Re: Welcome / About This Forum

PostPosted by Zack C » 2011/01/31 14:38:08 UTC

Tad Eareckson wrote:A picture! Cool. Didn't think we could do that.

We can't store images on this site (unless we pay), but we can embed images stored elsewhere using 'img' tags.

To display a photo stored on Flickr, navigate to the photo's page and click 'Grab the HTML/BBCode' under 'Share this'. Select the desired display size from the dropdown and click the 'BBCode' radio button. Copy the code text and paste it into your post where you want the picture to appear. You can also just put the 'Grab the link' link between img tags in your post if you don't want the picture to be clickable or captioned.

To display a photo stored on Photobucket, navigate to the photo's page and click 'IMG code'. This will copy the photo's link and IMG tags to the clipboard. Then, just paste the clipboard contents in your post where you want the picture to appear.

You can display any image on the web if you know its URL (usually obtainable by right-clicking the image) by putting it between img tags (press the 'Img' button above your post text to generate them at the cursor location).

More on tags in general here:
http://www.bbcode.org/reference.php

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Re: Welcome / About This Forum

PostPosted by bobk » 2011/02/18 02:13:12 UTC

Wow!!! Great forum Zack!!

It's very cool that you would do this for a friend who had been banned. My hat is off to you and your respect of free speech.

For your information, I started a forum this past summer called USHawks.org, and I'd like to know if you would mind me linking to this forum (in the "Affiliates" area where HGAUSA is also listed). I agree with a lot of what you've suggested about Tad's blunt way of presenting information. But I also agree that it's very often good information, and I believe it (and he) deserves to be heard. So thanks to you for giving him this platform, and I hope you don't mind if I link to it on US Hawks.

Also, in case you're interested, I'm hoping that the US Hawks Hang Gliding Association will eventually become what the USHGA started out to be ... an association of pilots and for pilots. You're welcome to join us, and the best part is that it's free.

Anyway, I just want to finish by again saying it's very cool that you went to this much trouble for someone else's free speech.

Best wishes,
Bob Kuczewski
Join a National Hang Gliding Organization: US Hawks at ushawks.org
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Re: Welcome / About This Forum

PostPosted by Zack C » 2011/02/18 03:38:37 UTC

Hi Bob,

bobk wrote:...I'd like to know if you would mind me linking to this forum.

Not at all. Now that Tad found your forum, however, this one may become less relevant!

bobk wrote:My hat is off to you and your respect of free speech.

Thanks, but I really just created this forum so Tad and I could continue our discussion (which had become impossible on the Houston group where it began).

I respect your tireless commitment to positive change (as I do Tad's) and will be keeping an eye on USHawks.org going forward.

Zack
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Re: Welcome / About This Forum

PostPosted by bobk » 2011/02/18 06:20:26 UTC

Zack C wrote:Hi Bob,
bobk wrote:...I'd like to know if you would mind me linking to this forum.

Not at all.

Great!! I've already taken the liberty of referencing your site in one of my posts:

http://www.ushawks.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=607

I can add it to the front page of US Hawks in the US Hawks Affiliates section below HGAUSA if you like. I'd like to use the US Hawks to integrate more of our clubs and groups, and adding your site (KiteStrings) works just fine.

Zack C wrote:I respect your tireless commitment to positive change (as I do Tad's) and will be keeping an eye on USHawks.org going forward.

Then please come join us as well. We'd be happy to have you!!!

Bob Kuczewski
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Re: Welcome / About This Forum

PostPosted by Tad Eareckson » 2011/02/18 16:56:39 UTC

Hi Bob,

Welcome to Kite Strings. An honor and a privilege.

It's very cool that you would do this for a friend who had been banned.

One of my goals here is to get Zack pissed off enough about the state of hang gliding so that he starts getting banned from stuff - like the rest of us jihadis.

My hat is off to you and your respect of free speech.

This is not a free speech zone - there are gonna be some serious academic restrictions here. And neither of us (you and me) is a free speech absolutist anyway. We may part company on our positions at some point but let's start with something I know we have in common.

Neither one of us is gonna tolerate spammers. We've been fortunate over here to have just had one so far and I deleted and banned the crap out of him. Hawks has been flooded with them and the effectiveness of the forum has been compromised (like when I was wading through a sea of crap looking for familiar faces on the membership list) and your effectiveness has been hampered by having had to take the time to deal with them.

Now let's take a look at this...

http://ozreport.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=592
Linknife

Sam Kellner - 2010/03/28 00:12:14

Do you think that release in your avatar is fail safe?

Tad Eareckson - 2010/03/28 14:53:57

If you can grab the barrel of the similar release with which I fly and pull it back it will - INFALLIBLY - dump you off tow with any towline tension between between 26 ounces and over 750 pounds.

Since my weak link blows at around 468 pounds that's a lot of overkill.

And since the Dragonfly drivers don't really give a rat's ass about the weak link on their end of the line that tends to be a HUGE amount of overkill.

If the towline tension were below that minimum I'd need to use two hands.

The release in my avatar, by the way, is under a direct load of 400 pounds (i.e. 800 pounds towline tension) and can be actuated with a pull of just under 20 pounds.

BUT...

There are occasional situations in towing - and, more to the point, OFF TOWING - in which you WILL die if you take your hand off the basetube, so - practically speaking - no freakin' way is it fail safe.

HOWEVER...

If you take the trouble to rig that release so's that you can fire it with both hands on the basetube - which I have done a couple of different ways - then yeah, it IS absolutely fail safe. And if you mount it on the keel you can get the slack line performance down to zero.

Sam Kellner - 2010/03/28 21:21:18

I can see how that "release" would not release at all, especially with 400lb of load.

Jason Dyer - 2010/03/28 21:27:31

Jeez sam, don't get him started or this thread will be 30 pages in no time.

Sam Kellner - 2010/03/28 21:41:19

Image Yeah, I don't even read all of those long winded "explanations". Image Image

Tad Eareckson - 2010/03/29 00:55:43

Yeah, Sam, I'm absolutely one hundred percent positive you've never read an explanation about anything.
(...and it annoys the pig.)

Jim Gaar - 2010/04/01 14:53:14

Saving the HG industry, one dipshit at a time.
It's a safe as the pilot using it. Therefore I would recommend you not try it Tad...

Jason Dyer - 2010/04/02 02:11:38

I couldn't care less if you don't like the way I or anyone tows.

Tad Eareckson - 2010/04/02 09:49:36

I've NEVER said I don't like the way YOU tow. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Most of this kinda lunatic bullshit happens at altitude where we can get away with it and pretend that we don't have a problem. We need to kill a lot more people in the short run to knock us out of denial mode, get us to clean up our freakin' act, and get some sane standards encoded and enforced.

So you just keep pretending that you can handle the situation better than Eric Aasletten did and I'll be more than happy to add you to my ever growing collection of data. Same goes for anyone else who's got more time for smartass remarks than for doing anything positive towards preventing the next Rob Richardson, Holly Korzilius, John Woiwode, or Steve Elliot.

Sam Kellner - 2010/04/02 12:56:29

Would/could not release at all. No better than any others.

Tad Eareckson - 2010/04/02 16:32:15

Based on what? Your totally useless say-so?
Please describe how.

Butch Pritchett - 2010/04/02 23:21:11

Tad that turd is getting back in the punch bowl.

Tad Eareckson - 2010/04/02 23:23:44

Fuck you.

Butch Pritchett - 2010/04/02 23:40:24

There are some people out there that you can't talk to like that with having a bad day sometime later in your life.

Tad Eareckson - 2010/04/03 05:23:45

Yeah, but if you don't constantly stand up to stupid Nazi scum - even if you hafta do it all by yourself while good men stand by and do nothing - then the stupid Nazi scum is gonna win every time.

Sam Kellner - 2010/04/03 02:33:48

When you pull your release and nothing happens , and you shit your pants, then you will know how!

Tad Eareckson - 2010/04/03 05:23:45

And still no description. So we're agreed then. Nothing more than your dime a dozen stupid useless opinion. Super!

...

Releases do not fail because of complexity.

Ya notice that - as much as most of these folk would LOVE to embarrass and humiliate me - not one single individual has cited one single relevant incident?

Steve Forslund - 2010/04/03 08:48:48

Tad you don't need the help, you do a great job by yourself.

Davis Straub - 2010/04/03 12:46:26

Tad is gone.

Jason Dyer - 2010/04/03 13:45:05

awww, I'm going to miss him.

I think in principal he has a good thing going, but his bedside manor needs a little work Anyone that goes against his grain is misquoted and bullied somewhere in a full page of opinion and strife.

Thanks Davis, it will be a better place without him.

As long as I am physically able to operate a trackball, none of those stupid motherfuckers is coming on this forum to engage in that - or any other - kind of free speech.

Because of the aforementioned stupid - and evil - motherfuckers we didn't have another thirty pages of discussion after the Motherfucker In Chief locked me out on 2010/04/03.

At that point the clock on the rest of Shane Smith's life was at 287 days and counting. He would be using Davis's unbelievably stupid aerotow release configuration when he locked out and slammed in.

AFTER and BECAUSE OF Shane there was ANOTHER discussion which didn't go thirty pages EITHER. Mike was locked out and it was locked down at half that as soon as he started homing in on Davis's unbelievably stupid aerotow release configuration.

And right now I one hundred percent guarantee you that the clock is ticking on the next Shane Smith. (The previous Shane Smith was Steve Elliot who bought it on Davis's unbelievably stupid aerotow release configuration on 2009/01/03 - a span of 682 days.) And, not that it should matter, but we're gonna know either firsthand the next Shane Smith or somebody who knows him.

As for Sam, I think you may have him wrong (or I may have misinterpreted your statement). I think Sam is a good and conscientious man, and I would respectfully ask you to reconsider your judgement of him.

No. I don't, you didn't, he's not, and I won't - UNLESS... He starts taking some kind of steps to become a former / ex / recovering asshole. Sometimes a bit of peer pressure is needed to make people better pilots and better people but I'm not real optimistic about this guy. Right now he's just another accessory to murder.

I agree with a lot of what you've suggested about Tad's blunt way of presenting information.

For thirty years I've been watching life and death messages falling flat on their faces after being adulterated with varying mixtures of civility. Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. I'm not getting any younger so now when I identify Tracy Tillman as a fucking moron I'm gonna call him a fucking moron (especially while he's already under fire from a bunch of pissed off tug drivers for making things more dangerous).

Also, in case you're interested, I'm hoping that the US Hawks Hang Gliding Association will eventually become what the USHGA started out to be ... an association of pilots and for pilots.

It didn't work for them and it won't work for us. You can't have pilots controlling aviation - they don't have the brains for it. It needs to be controlled with physicists at the top tier, engineers at the next, and pilots at a distant bottom. And it needs regulation and enforcement with real teeth.

And by physicist I mean anybody who stayed awake through more than half of high school.
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Re: Welcome / About This Forum

PostPosted by Tad Eareckson » 2011/03/03 16:20:03 UTC

Manned Kiting
The Basic Handbook of Tow Launched Hang Gliding
Daniel F. Poynter
1974

KITING IN THE FUTURE

The future of manned kiting is limited only by the imagination. Hang gliding captured the imagination of millions and exploded in popularity it the early seventies. The capability of the hang glider is extended with each passing day. As more flyers take it up and more is learned, the sport picks up more and more momentum. Now these foot launch glider pilots and many others are looking to towing as an alternative launch method and this activity is picking up speed. Joe Faust, Editor of Low and Slow Magazine envisions cross country gliding trips without any power other than the wind. A glider with its tow line fastened to the ground so that it rises like a kite to altitude. Then it releases the line at ground attachment point and reels it back in to begin its gliding tour. When it runs out of altitude and lands, the process is repeated, again and again. Dan Schmitz has been making bungee cord launches in Iowa.

Kiting is introducing millions to aviation who never would have looked to the air otherwise.

If we can't do quantity we can at least do quality. Now a third of our current active membership consists of important pioneers of the sport.
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Re: Welcome / About This Forum

PostPosted by Tad Eareckson » 2011/03/23 21:16:31 UTC

Hey Chad,

Delighted to have you on board.

Now start asking some questions, giving us some dirt, or picking some fights. We seem to be a bit stuck in the doldrums right now.

Or, failing any of that...

Your glider's fully set up along the road at Lookout. Skipping anything having to do with soaring, list the procedures that follow until you've come to a full stop in the LZ.
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