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The E-help.

This wonderful little electric powered system for hang gliding was developed by our good friend Reidar from Norway. I include his post about the E-help, verbatim since I can't put it any better. :) Though we have all dreamed of this I only know of Reidar who has actually built one. (Their might be others but we just don't know about it). Reidar, well done on you making this dream come true for all of us.

Reidar writes...

"Hi Johan,

Plan for E-Help is to share the building plans for free with the HG community. No secrets, just the opposite. Learn from each other to improve the consept. We have 5 units flying in Norway now and several are under construction in various contries. So far builders have got from me a bunch of pictures showing how it is built. And a shopping list for Hobbyking.com. And support e-mails from me, answering tech questions. There have been some good and some not so good copies. As the norwegian flying season is coming to the slow part now (ice & snow soon) I will finnish the detailed instruction manual how to build this thing for yourself. And just put it out there on the web for free. Maybe start a forum on the web for easier sharing of ideas, experiences and thoughts.
 
Already now some skilled builders have developed the consept a bit further with higher thrust for same electric power. Different prop and battery choises. So I think by sharing this thing globally we will see that it deveolps by itself into a very efficient and useful tool for hangglider pilots. Whitch is the goal. I have no commercial plans for it. Just want to fly more and this thing actually have made that happen for us.
 
The E-Help is a zero-sink system optimized for thermal flying. Not beeing too much in the way for thermalling and gliding with modern topless gliders when turned off. Most pilots thinks it is a flatland start tool for a big singel surface. Whitch it is not. It can flatland start but that it is mostly for show-off and when totally abstinens for some flying. It doesent do flatland start well. With the small prop it has only 30 kg thrust for a current consumtion of 200 amperes at 60 volt for take off power. That is not very efficient for climbing to 2-300 meters. When getting to 2-300 meters the batteries are depleted and unless You have got a thermal by then it is all over. We have learned that what You want is to use the batteries slowly over a long time flight. What works best is to launch from small hill and add some thermic or rigde lift to get aloft in otherwise too weak conditions. Then up there use the remaining 70% electric power carefully to move around with 30% power setting at zero-sink and sniff up som big fat thermals that lift You higher up. We also use the electric to cheat after topping a good thermal and want to get back to the front of the ridge again without loosing altitude. Full VG and 30% power on that small course pitch prop modern gliders just zooms flat up front of the ridge. Then getting very high over the valley and can move to where often the better thermals are. The coloured confetti dots polluting the terrain view down there below is called PG, of fluffies. Flying thermals 90% of the time and cheating effectively with electric is an own style of flying.  We often launch in "good" conditions with electric where "everybody" gets up. Then I get as high as them over that mountain with no battery consumption. And leave them horisontally with electric. Just move up the valley flat with electric were I can fly for myself and try out the more interesting terrain or cloads. And get home again with a combination of regular XC and just bridging the difficult parts of the terrain with electrics. Our 20Ah batteries at 60 volt is pretty limited energy. If start burning amperes to fly in flat or sinking air it is over and down pretty quickly.
 
If You look at that video the skilled Revolution topless pilot is moving around using the electric power very carefully and conservative. He never climbs with electric, just moves around horisontical. The modern topless gliders only need some few 5-6 kg thrust and 50 amperes to stay at zero-sink. Giving this tool to a skilled competition pilot has been pretty interesting regarding tactics. He has over many flights developed to a fine art how to get most out of his batteries. And he was the one naming it the "zero-sink system". Don't use it for climbing. You should use electric power like drinking beer, slowly and long. Not in a burst.
 
Johan, I will send You the bunch of pictures and I can assist You e-mail support if You decide start building one. Check out what the guys in NZ are coming up with first. There is a T2C with NZ style E-Help theoretical 30% better thrust performance than ours soon to fly down there. Callum Fisher is the name of the builder/ pilot. He has crunched some volt/ampere/prop numbers and also found an alternative motor and prop combo if flatland start is the goal.
 
Brg
Reidar"
 

For more pics on the Ehelp see the gallery and video section of the Gallary


 

 Thank you for your interest!