Who am I?
What is the purpose of this website?
I am a private pilot (airplanes and sailplanes) and hang glider
pilot, with a background in physics, biology, and oceanography. I
began flying RC gliders and control-line airplanes in the early 80's,
full-scale sailplanes in '85, airplanes in '94, and hang gliders in
'97. I have a special interest in exploring the physics of flight--and of hang gliding in particular--and have spent many hours in the air using some rather unusual (but simple) devices to collect data on yaw-roll coupling in hang gliders, on pitch and sideslip dynamics in a wide range of aircraft, and other similar topics. The main purpose of this website is to communicate those findings to a wider audience, and also to share photos and stories relating to the joy and wonder of flight. I hope that some of the content will be of interest to the specialist who shares my interests, and other portions of the content will be informative and interesting to just about anyone. I also enjoy watching raptors and other soaring birds, and musing about the physical principles underlying their evolved forms, their ever-changing choices in wing shape and mode of flight, their hunting, soaring, and migration strategies, and so on. I grew up in Wichita KS and now live in Corvallis OR.
I don't have a background of formal education in aerodynamics, nor do I have piloting experience in exotic high-performance aircraft, nor am I a hard-core competition pilot in the various forms of soaring flight that I participate in. If you believe that the pilot who wins the most contents or logs the most XC miles or who has been trained by the military to fly at the speed of sound invariably has the best understanding of the physics of flight, you might not find much of interest in the experimental and theoretical portions of this website. My own experience is that there is little correlation between practical piloting ability and an understanding of the underlying physics of play, and that a healthy sense of scepticism, an active curiousity, and an open mind sometimes serve better than thousands of hours of piloting experience.
You can also read about some my ideas in past issues of Hang Gliding magazine:
|"A New Perspective on Hang-Glider Turns" (February 2000)|
|"More on Slips, Turns, and Spirals" (July 2000)|
|"An Angle-of-Attack Indicator for Hang Gliders" (February 2004)|
Contact me at:
steve at aeroexperiments.org
627 SE Lilly
Corvallis OR 97333