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Delta Wing Phoenix VI.B

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This object is on display in the Boeing Aviation Hangar at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.


In 1973 and 1974, Bill Bennett and his hang glider designers experimented with numerous variations of the standard Rogallo wing. Bennett then incorporated the results into a new line of hang gliders he named the Phoenix series. On these gliders, Bennett increased the leading edge convergence angle from 80 to more than 95 degrees. The first Phoenix hang gliders flew with a long fantail, a device thought to improve stability. Total wing surface area was slightly less than standard Rogallo models but the aspect ratio (wingspan to wing chord ratio) increased substantially. As Bennett continued to develop the Phoenix series, he increased the leading edge convergence angle even further, and removed the fantail after flight experience showed that it did not increase stability.

The docile handling characteristics and good stability of the Phoenix VI made it a popular trainer at hang glider flying schools. More experienced pilots also favored this model type because it flew relatively fast, had good rough air penetration and handling characteristics, and the glider could soar on updrafts far better than earlier standard Rogallo designs. This success encouraged Bennett to develop the Phoenix series further, and variations continued to appear well into the 1980s. In the next variant, the Phoenix VI.B, Bennett and Boone added 'deflexor' cables mounted on the wing leading edges to stiffen and carefully curve the wing for better flying performance and increased stability. During assembly at the factory, technicians rigged and tuned the glider to fly with a tendency to pitch up in high-speed flight. This built-in auto-recovery mode was aimed at helping pilots recover safely from high-speed dives. The VI.B also used wing tip battens arranged in a radial pattern. This technique made the tips stiffer, reducing drag and improving roll response. The keel of the 'VI.B was shortened and Bennett added additional battens that extended all the way from the wing leading edge to the trailing edge. By tautening the wing in this way, performance improved at low and high speeds.

Gift of Bill Bennett.

Manufacturer: Delta Wing Kites and Gliders Incorporated

Country of Origin: United States of America

Dimensions: Wingspan: 9 m (29 ft 5 in)
Length: 2.7 m (9 ft)
Weights: Empty, 19 kg (41 lb)
Gross, 109 kg (241 lb)

Physical Description:White / light blue / purple / dark blue sail; without harness or cover bag; 18ft. 5 1/2in. leading edge long; aluminum and dacron; 1974.

Inventory number: A19840715000

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