Good day, I wanted to share this with the free flight community.
I had this idea in the back of my head for a while to make a vario holder that incorporated a mirror. So a couple days before the Big Walker fly in September 2022, I set out to build a prototype for my glider to test out at Big Walker. So I named it named “The Cloudviewer” tossed around “SkyView”…I kind of like SkyView as it sounds more catchy and hip :) But isn't there a restaurant named that?
Introducing the Skyview Vario Mount:
The purpose of the device is to clamp onto the base tube or downtube to provide for viewing the clouds above, or viewing pilots above you, or view pilots behind you.
My first cut prototype used a Honda Helix mirror, some scrap aluminum plate, and a wood spacer block conformed to the shape of the basetube. The aluminum plate has sticky back Velcro on it to attach the vario which also has sticky back Velcro on it.
What I’ve found through use and testing is that this mirror/vario combo does work; I can position it to see the nose of my hang glider while I’m in the prone flying position. It helps me to know what the cloud above me looks like and helps me judge my distance from it. I’ve seen how close other pilots are above me and also birds I’m flying near. With a reposition of the mirror with my hand I can point it to view the trailing edge of my sail and the sky to see what is back there.
My next endeavor is to attach a swiveling camera mount camera mount onto The “Cloundviewer” so I can aim my camera where I choose while in the air. I want something to be able to see from the viewpoint of what I see as the pilot flying. I roughly prototyped this with some electrical tape and and ball swivel camera mount/Sony video camera (see photo). I want to do this to promote the beauty of what we free flyers see from the air as PIC so as to promote the sport through video making for the Soaring Road Trip website (SoaringRoadTrip.com
) and Youtube Channel.
Tom Allan and I talked at Big Walker after he saw the device and we worked on some more ideas on how to streamline the Cloud Viewer and improve the attachment clamp. I didn’t get around to making any more improvements to it yet.
I could try to make these “Cloud Viewers” to and sell them but I don’t want to tie up valuable flying time or fighting my way through the patenting process…as it is costly and silly for a device that has no large market…been there done that. Plus once you tie up an idea with IP rights that often does not meet the inventor’s real goal to get the idea in use. I want to give this idea to the hang gliding community for more safety and for improving our flying experiences. If you like it go build one or have a friend make one for you.
You would have had to been there at last year's “Hyner Ox Roast” fly-in. It was EPIC, and on top of that when Dave H. AKA “Spoons” brought his pole seat to the campfire where everyone looked at it and endless ideas were cast out there as potential add-ons to his creation, all hell broke loose. It was crazy, like an idea fest where wild ideas piled on top of already wild ideas. So I’m looking to “Spoons” to maybe collaborate on this project and maybe we can incorporate his pole seat into it somehow.
When I get a chance to make another prototype for the “Cloud Viewer” I’m going to make these improvements: put a wedge shape under the outside edge of the vario mount so it angles the vario screen toward me so it is easier to see what is on the vario screen. In doing that I’ll also be trying to incorporate some of Tom Allan’s thoughts on how to streamline the clamp mechanism. Also, I’m eyeing up using a mirror that is lighter, one such as the mirror on my KTM enduro motorcycle which is made of plastic and has a big swivel radius. The KTM mirror is much lighter than the one from the Honda Helix scooter. My next prototype will include a camera mount as well.
If you like making things, go ahead and see if you can improve on this idea and share it with the hang gliding community! Perhaps also, maybe the PG community could adapt it for their use, but I sort of doubt they need it, they can just look up at their wing and the sky much easier!
Attached to this email are a couple pictures and you will probably see “The Cloudviewer” on some future videos on SoaringRoadTrip.com
/ and Youtube Channel.
I’m so happy to have been so lucky and blessed to have had the opportunity to get involved with the free flight group, it has enriched my life so much. I just wanted to share that with you all! What a time to be alive and soar with the eagles! Thank you for all the mentoring and good times!
email sign off-
Want more flying opportunities?