WISIL at Flugtag 2003 Miami
WISIL FlugTag II - WAU Over Miami 

By Warren Beauchamp

The WISIL team has once again made the cut as an official Red Bull Flugtag competitor, this time for the November 1st, 2003 Miami Flugtag

Len Brunkalla came up with the idea and submitted the entry, Bob Burger will once again be the pilot, and Bill Murphy will supply the hanger (garage) to build the craft. Everybody builds! This time a more simplistic aircraft and a more complex skit was in order. See the WAU "team bio" on the Flugtag site.

Rheihold Platz was the designer of the Platz Canard, upon which our project is based. The WISIL design is based only on estimations from three low-grade photographs, and a few paragraphs of text.

Bill built a small model using miniature aluminum tubing to test the concept. He found that it wouldn't fly unless the winds were taught.

Len 'the WISIL Guy' [lenzbenz@hotmail.com] writes:  "After much flailing of hands and written complaints, the situation with the Flugtag Miami staff have calmed down, and the project is proceeding,
though altered. After having had specific instructions posted on their internet website, for Red Bull Flugtag Miami, the powers that be, changed their instructions, just days after we had committed our travel arrangements, and materials purchases, to the tune of neary $2000.00.They had also decreed that NOTHING would be salvaged, ALL WILL BE DESTROYED! I was been really perturbed.....okay really PO'd, that a professional promotions office would pull a stunt that was so blatantly unprofessional.  In addition to that, we learned that the original liaison for this red bull event, had been taken off this event. I had e-mailed logical and pointed arguments to their contact, while Bob schmoozed in Miami trying to persuade. In the end, we elected to not use our pricey and proper
materials, and go with cheap and questionable. Red Bull will live with us arriving on Thursday afternoon, as long as we guarantee that our assembly time will be brief."

Bill says that the plane is almost done. They built it out of conduit and plastic tarps instead of the more expensive materials. This glider will actually be flight tested! They are planning to drag it through a farmers field this Sunday!

The plane did not fly during the first test flight session. Bill, Bob, and Len and busily making modifications as they only have one more weekend to try a flight attempt before the plane must be shipped to Miami for the Flugtag. I will try to make it to the next flight test, to record the momentous event of Bob taking flight!

WAU Final Glider Test
Bill, Bob and Len make one last fight attempt before having to pack up the WAU (pronounced WOW!) glider and ship in off to Miami.  This picture shows them fastening the main wing to the undercarriage.

Click on the pictures for higher resolution images.

Len and Bill stretch the wing tarp and attach the front spar. The canard wings are in the foreground.
Len attaches one of the canard wings, while Bob walks under the to remove one of the pre-tensioning straps.
Bill makes a final inspection, it's ready to go! 

The idea is to use Bob's truck to tow the glider fast enough for a liftoff. It's got plenty of sail area, is it enough to lift 100 lbs of glider plus 200+ lbs of Bob?

Bill attaches the tow rope. 
Bob gears up for the flight attempt. Helmet? Check. Full face protection? Check. Flak jacket? Check!

Bob's t-shirt says "I do all my own stunts".

We nicknamed the cat under Bob's left armpit "copilot" as it was climbing on the plane while we were putting it together, and seemed to want to go with Bob...

Winds were westerly and variable from 3 to 7 MPH. Not enough to bother the glider, but enough to help a bit.
Warren takes a break from his grueling job behind the camera to test the pilots seat. The handles are used to move the canard wings up and down for steering.
Run two ends in catastrophe. The canards were lifting hard, but the main wings were just luffing. One of the main spars bent from the stress.
The 1.5" conduit tubing bent just behind the seat clamp. Fortunately a spare tube section was available, and after a hour of wrenching, hacking, and filing, the WAU was ready for another test.
We tried removing the rear wheel to give the main wing more of an attack angle, raising the seat, and adding a rope to stiffen the main wing, but there was still not enough air getting under the main wing to lift off the ground. Maybe if they can find a cliff to launch Bob off of...
The WAU did survive all the testing, but never lifted off the ground. Bill, Bob and Len are planning on further tweaks to tighten the main wings and possible raise the front a bit more before they have to ship the plane to Florida on the 22nd. They will be in Miami for Halloween and then launch the plane into the Atlantic on November 2nd!

Flugtag baby!

Miami Flugtag 2003             Not...
The Miami Flugtag was cancelled by the US Coast Guard due to high wind conditions, but not until all the contestants had brought their machines to the beach in Miami and were ready to fly. It's hurricane season in Florida, and winds were gusting up to 40MPH. 

Pictures by Bill Murphy. 

Here are some of the machines lined up on the waterfront across from downtown Miami, ready for final construction. There were a great many more serious attempts at flying at the Miami event than there were in Chicago.  The actual event site was South Beach. Bill and Len mentioned that this is a "tops optional" beach which sometimes made for interesting distractions.
Some of these guys were very serious. It's really too bad that these machines would have been relegated to the dumpster after a short flight attempt.

All was not lost. The Miami Flugtag has been rescheduled for April 2004. They still held the scheduled pre-flight and post flight parties, so the weekend was a great opportunity for the WISIL team to have a nice Halloween weekend vacation and drink lots of Red Bull in warm and sunny Miami before returning to cold and dreary Chicago.

Also the nice folks at Red Bull have rented storage space in Miami for all the vehicles until the Spring 2004 Flugtag. Spring should work out much better as there is not a threat of hurricanes then...
Many of the Flugtagers made hang glider clones. Not very original, but they have a good chance of flying.
Bill says: "The red thing on the sand that looks like part of a real hang glider is actually one of the wind surfer kites on south beach, like the one shown flying over the water in an earlier picture."
More airplane bits are unloaded from a huge rental truck. The WISIL team didn't have the luxury of local transport, so had to make their plane pack up really small.
The WAU won't be taking up a lot of space in the warehouse. As shown in this picture, It all packs down to a couple small boxes and tubes for shipping.

The WISIL crew had made a couple of last minute  improvements to the design since the last test flight such making the undercarriage with the wheels so it falls off at launch to save weight, and reshaping the backs of the wings to make the main wings tighter, as Bill found that helped in the model.


Bob Buerger shows the WAU kite, which was built by the WISIL team in Miami just to fly on the beach.  They found that as a kite, it need a lot of weight on the tail to keep it from spinning around.



Tropical storms threaten Miami...

Bill, Bob, Len, Sah'Ma and Yin will return to (hopefully sunny!) Miami in April to try again!

In The sprint of 2004, the intrepid WISIL Flugtag team returned to Miami. I was a windy day, but the promoters decided to go ahead with the event. The "airstrip" was set up a a huge barge about 100 feet offshore. The team pushed Bob down the 50 foot runway, but a crosswind caught the WAU and flipped it sideways over the side of the barge, over the netting, spilling Bob into the Atlantic and dropping the WAU on top of him. Nobody was hurt, but it was a scary experience. See the video of Bob's short trip at the end of the video HERE 

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