My own project, the Open Pou
A primary glider build by kids for kids
once said "a genius can be recognized by the simplicity of his
design". Two decades later i found out he was right and ...that i
still had to learn a lot about simplicity.
The Flying Flea has been around for
many manydecades, but ... i thought that the world missed a easy
way to learn to fly it. Ok, you can simply jump into your
Flying Flea, make a hundred groundruns, several hops and at last
take off andland as quick as possible. Voila, first flight done.But
another way caught my eye. It was a Lithuanian project where they
teach children touse the Lak 16 primary glider. They use a closed
loop winch that only gets the kids at low heights but high enough
to learn the basics of steering. I thought that it might be a good
way to learn to fly the Flying Flea. I found out that in the past
many primary gliders were used to teach to fly. Thegerman SG-38
seemed to be simplicity itself. Work of a genius?? Maybe a good
source of inspiration.
"Hey ...wait a minute", i thought. As a Flying Flea the glider
would be 2 axis (just a stick) and by the fact i wanted a total
open design, i could make the glider accessable for wheelchair
users too! Man, what would the smile on the face of adisabled young
person be shining when he would be able to proof himself doing
something that not many can. Imagine him being a pilot.The Open Pou
project was started with that intention.
My first draft gives away that the SG-38 was my inspiration. Using the Open Pou
Yahoo group i told about my idea and showed many drafts that came
by the minute. Here i let you see a few.
During a holiday at sea my son asked to use a fish
shaped go-kart. It was looking like a glasfibre plate with
fish-like silouette with a hole in it where you cansit. I saw a new
possible glider frame in it. Could i use a foam with plywood on
both sides as a frame?Several group members thought it could be
done, but it seemed to be very heavy.
Hans Engels, a member of the Open Pou Yahoogroup, gave his idea
of combining the foam frame with rectangular tubes. It became the
basis of the Open Pou design.
Many details were added by me.
- A fabric
covering supported by flexible tentsticks to get some more
aerodynamic shape inflight.
wingtips while only using one size ofrib.
- A own system
of rib making. Inspired by the system of Alfons Gillis, a old,
remarkable pouducielist that lived near me.
- The steering
system was a result of seeing arigidwing hangglider steering. My
version pushedthe front of the front wing instead of pulling
therear spar. Pierre Mignet advised me at themeeting at Saint André
sur l'Eure in France not todo it this way. He had bad experiences
with arocketsystem of a recovery parachute that wayinstalled at the
front of the front wing of aHM1000. It seemed to make the wing get
less lift.That was the only negative remark he gave. Oh yes, he
mentioned that it would be a wonderful view downwards.
During that meeting i had the front wing of the Open Pou with
me. It was constructed byvolenteer students of my school during
noonbreaks. Their age varied between 13 to 16 years! I guided them
by telling them what to do. They proofed able to do all the tasks.
Ok, plan reading was not their best quality. But i envy their drive
and will to spend most of their noonbreaks in a dusty
The project was at first welcomed by my schoolsdirector. Sadly
...later it was seen as a bad thing for school. Also ... the wood
used in the spar (oregon) became protected by law. I dared not to
ask HansEngels to redo the calculations for the spar in another
material. I tried to convince the director it would be a good
composite project. But he shelved the entire project. Wood or
composite. Sad ...as it did not cost him any money. I did it all
with personal fundings.
It would have been a nice asset to the Flying Flea collection.
It still would. So ...take the challenge to complete the Open Pou