Oct 29, 2018

Big Ears and when to use them


Edited: Oct 29, 2018

Hugo recently learnt how to use big ears and speed bar when flying with Reuben. His questions was: Last flight day I learned Big Ears and Speed bar, this means that I can used these now when I want to or I should do only when the instructor tell me to do ?

Like, Will be ok get close to the ridge get some high and do Big Ears or use the speed bar to training or I should wait the instructor call or I should use it only when I really need ?

Is better be High or is better be Low ?

Oct 29, 2018

1. Big ears + speed bar are the most useful descent technique to get out of increasing ridge lift and wind, because you maintain good forward speed and can steer well. That is not the case with most other descent techniques.

2. When the conditions are perfect and lightish, we usually try to be as high as possible. When the conditions are very strong and marginal, we should stay lower and in front of the ridge, in order to have have the options to use big ears + speed bar in case the wind increases and we need to get down. If we are high and far back, it becomes very hard to get down, because we still have to fly through the strongest lift and the compression on our way to the beach. 3. When you fly in the initial training area, only do manoeuvres as instructed.


4. Once you do some more independent flying away from the front of the launch, you should self manage your height. Discuss with your instructor prior to to the flight, if it is suitable for you to practice such manoeuvres by yourself.

Oct 30, 2018

Big ears then speed bar? Is this the order of action? Is it sketchy to try for big ears when speed bar is already pushed down?

Oct 30, 2018

yes, usually big ears first, then speed bar. Mainly because you decrease the angle of attack with the speed bar, so you would increase your risk of causing a large deflation when pulling down A-lines, plus you would increase the reaction of the glider to the deflation.

So, get your speed bar ready, as in heel on it, not pushing. Then put big ears in, then push the speed bar.

To let it go, let go of the big ears first, then release the speed bar. Not at the same time, because both actions initially increase the angle of attack.

I was thinking about Big Ears + speed-bar. I understood the speed-bar increase speed decreasing angle of attack and the Big Ears we sink faster because we decrease the lift (wing area).

Both together make sense to me, Big Ears reduce lift (wing area) but introduce more drag, decreasing speed, with the speed-bar I increase speed reducing angle of attack. When you start to go down the wind is less strong (gradient) and you go faster upwind.

Only speed-bar make sense as well, the wind increase and I want get off the ridge or I am in a sink area and I want to cross it faster.

Is there a scenario where I should use only Big Ears ? Or the "normal" is always Big Ears with speed bar ?

Oct 30, 2018Edited: Oct 31, 2018

people use big ears only to increase sink when it is not windy and forward speed is not a big issue. Still, since big ears increase the angle of attack due to the drag on the wing tips, it is better for forward speed as well as stability to use about 1/3 speed bar at the same time, just to put the angle of attack back to normal. Below is an article I wrote years ago, which spells it all out.





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