How to Build a Hang Glider Design

By Mateo Zeske
Hang gliders can be dangerous to fly if the design is faulty.

Hang gliding is an exciting method of one-person aircraft travel. Hang gliders have a rigid, wing-like frame, and the person is held in place via a strap or harness connected to the frame. Other important components of hang glider design include a control bar, crossbar, sail, wires. Knowing the elements of a hang glider can help you craft your own design, but most experts believe it is unsafe to fly a hang glider made DIY-style.

Find some paper and a pencil and draw the aircraft grade aluminum tubes that compose the frame of the glider. Include a triangle shape that would be formed from two leading-edge tubes and a keel that splits the middle in half and forms the nose or forward angle of the triangle.

Sketch a crossbar that connects the keel with the leading-edge tubes. This hangs back from the nose and adds support to the structure. The crossbar should be able to be folded for compact transport, then unfolded in preparation for flight.

Draw a control bar under the keel, connected to the frame at a right angle, and behind the crossbar. The control bar should be a smaller tube also in a triangle shape that the person uses to direct the hang glider. In the final product, the control bar is detachable and re-attachable so that pilots can assemble the glider at the location of flight.

Create aircraft grade steel wires in the design, which will support the different weights and stresses put on the glider during flight. Draw four landing wires that attach to each intersection of the crossbar and leading edge, the keel and that connects the nose to the king post. Two nose wires attach the nose and control bar. Make two real wires aligning the keel and the control bar and two front wires to form a connection between the control bar and where the crossbar and leading-edge tubes meet. Find places in the sail's pockets to include plastic battens that help stiffen the sail. Again, the wires and battens should not be a permanent part of the glider's structure but components that can be assembled before flight.

Represent the king post in your design, connected to the keel adjacent to the control bar. A king post provides a buttress for the wires.

Add a sail to your design. The sail is what enables the aircraft to float and is usually made out of nylon.

Draw a harness in the design the pilot can hang from. Harnesses should have adjustable straps to conform to different body types.

Collect all the parts you need and assemble them as depicted in your design. Find a person who knows a lot about safe hang gliding to evaluate and test your glider.

Warning

Most experts believe it is unsafe to fly a home-made hang glider.

About the Author

Mateo Zeske has written professionally for over five years, including articles for "High School Sports," the industrial "How to Get Started with a Talent Agency" and community-oriented e-zines. As a filmmaker Zeske worked with production companies Hit It and Quit It, Road Dog Productions and masterminded the series "Bastardized Product." He holds a Master of Journalism from the University of North Texas.