You've got a site with this perfect run beside
a driveway. It's long, there are no obstructions except line snagging
beans to your left and right. But it's crosswind. What to do?
This situation has come up in my flying a lot, especially since I
deplore taking off over water at beaches. If there's enough room on the
beach, inflate into the wind then turn to launch along the beach. That
way, if your trusty thruster coughs unexpectedly, you can simply land
straight ahead and dry. But if the beach is narrow, this technique may
Launching from a road may require this method.
It relies on the fact that if you lay out perfect in a calm wind but
start your run to the right, the wing tends to come up crooked and flops
over to the right. Likewise, if you takeoff with a left crosswind, the
right side of the wing catches air first and flops over to the left. We'll
use those forces to counteract each other.
The example below is a north launch, down an abandoned road, in a
light west wind.
Lay out the wing as you would if launching north in no wind -- the tips
will be over the edges of the road and the wing's centerline covering the
road's centerline. The launch is like any other forward except
that instead of running north down the centerline, run a few degrees to
the right (east) toward the downwind edge of the road.
As the wing comes up it will get blown over to the right AND start to
turn into the wind. You may have to turn into the wind (toward the
upwind or left side of the road) a little, accelerate then steer back down
the road. As you run down the road, accelerating, the wing will be crabbed
left and trying to twist you left as it lifts. This is a likely time to
fall, be careful! You can counteract this twisted run by accelerating a
few more steps then popping up with some brake application.
I wouldn't recommend trying this unless you're very consistent at successful
launches and even then be willing to take on a greater risk.
Of course it's always best to takeoff
and land into the wind, but sometimes you just can't. During this launch,
the wind was coming immediately from the pilots left—exactly
perpendicular to the launch path.
15 covers crosswind launches. This was an experiment to photograph that
technique in a way that could be printed clearly. This is intended for
launching off the wind due to site limitations, such as driveways, where
you can't always line up into the wind.
It it's ever this windy (5-8 mph) then just pull the wing up in
a reverse and steer down the road. That is safer and more reliable. This
demo was done strictly to photograph the method in a way that would make it
by Tim Kaiser.