Golly, it's been a Tad over 11 months since the last post in the greatest thread in the history of hang glider online forums and what better time than now to add simple cheat to the mix.
By 'cheat' I am referring to the use of anatomical curb feelers as an aid to monitoring near-ground proximity and as an adjunct to performing a more effective ground skim.
To that end I went for a couple of flights two days ago with the expressed intention of landing with long-ish skims and the tips of the toes of my Merrell trail running shoes caressing the turf along the way.
I even enjoyed the added bonus of unusual airflow during each landing setup which necessitated doing unorthodox approaches unless I wanted to include downwind skills along with altitude sensing tactile radar.
After I posted the video at 3AM that night I was surprised at the number of hits it received. It even garnered one dislike vote from some hater, troll or twat.
So why would anyone even want to perform a long, low skim with his or her toes touching the surface anyway? For me the reasons are pretty straightforward:
In my case I suffer from poor spacial orientation and 3D perception. In other words I barely know where the ground is in proximity to me and too often blow landings by getting into a mush while too high.
If I skim with my toes then my feet are far enough under me and knees bent so if the wind suddenly dies, switches or reverses I can promptly start taking running steps if and as needed to keep lateral control and prevent a whack or ground loop in the process.
It's a lot easier for me to do a good flare and hold it all the way until the stinger and/or my feet touch down. I don't get that sick feeling that I've just jumped off of a picnic bench backwards then take back the flare.
I can better focus on feeling the back-pressure build up as the airflow begins to to separate from the upper surface and the glider goes into mush and starts to settle.
Anyhow, I envy those pilots who execute umpteen flawless landings time and again. In my case I need to cheat and so over the course of seven years of bad and good landings the one trick that has given me more good landings in conditions good and bad and during periods of physical and mental fatigue has been having the tips of my toes brush the surface during my skim. BTW - I don't do Cirque du Soliel show landings. Not interested.
Caveat: Obviously I don't want my toe striking a rock at 35mph so there are limits to its application. I figure that the more I use it the more I'll do a good low skim in general, with or without the curb feeler hack.
Anyhow, here's the result: https://youtu.be/x_YLJzdE43I
Hopefully, one or two other similarly problematic pilots such as myself out there may benefit from it.