These might just save your bacon or at least your glider and maybe your vacation or flying trip.
Album by NMERider. Photos by NMERider. 1 - 28 of 28 Total. 100 Visits.
enlarge 68KB, 900x459 1 Drop-streamer-01 Vinyl and aluminum drop streamer that I mount every time I fly whether I think I'll land out or not. I have had to use it when landing locally and none of the windsocks was light enough to show me what the wind was really doing. You just never know.
enlarge 70KB, 800x534 2 Drop-streamer-02 I attached these using 4 lightweight rubber bands mounted on the outside of my left or right downtube with the rubber bands below the front wires and above the rear wires so thy point into the wind.
enlarge 69KB, 900x492 3 Drop-streamer-03 To deploy, I just grab it from the outside and break the rubber bands. I hold it in my hand until I think I am above the point where it will drift to the location where I want to land. It's better to have more than one since they can wind up in trees or on roofs, etc.
enlarge 117KB, 800x541 4 Drop-streamer-04 The most difficult material to find is this cheap vinyl tablecloth that I get from my local 99 Cents Only store. Be sure to buy the rectangular cloths. 54" x 108" or 1.37m x 2.7m
enlarge 100KB, 800x638 5 Drop-streamer-05 If you can't find this brand, then look for the lightest vinyl tablecloth you can find. 4 sheets = 0.006" or 1.5mil thick per sheet or 0.04mm per sheet. That's nearly tissue thin. Heavier material will not work because in light wind it will just bunch up into a little pile and not lay over or blow around. Never use aluminized Mylar streamer material because it can trigger an electrical arc and start a fire or kill somebody, including you. Everywhere I fly and land there are naked powerlines.
NO ALUMINIZED MYLAR PLEASE!!!!!
enlarge 105KB, 800x553 6 Drop-streamer-06 Total weight for a 4" 102mm wide streamer is ~37g
enlarge 123KB, 800x591 7 Drop-streamer-07 This aluminum bar weighs ~24g so the streamer weighs ~13g. Consider that it's 18' long x 4" wide (850cm x 10cm) and weighs so little, it can drop very quickly but stop in mid air and still drift over with the breeze.
A short, conductive aluminum bar is unlikely to bridge two live wires. For extra security why not wrap the bar with a few layers of electrical tape or heat shrink tubing?
enlarge 141KB, 800x656 8 Drop-streamer-08 Lay out one panel of vinyl film
enlarge 110KB, 900x522 9 Drop-streamer-09 If space is limited fold up the excess.
enlarge 108KB, 900x485 10 Drop-streamer-10 Apply a layer of transfer tape. This is the tape that is just adhesive and has no film. You can also use a thinner strip of Seamstick tape or other, tackier double-backed tape. If the tape is too stiff or too strong it will damage the vinyl film which is extremely fragile.
enlarge 125KB, 800x604 11 Drop-streamer-11 Lay out the contrasting panel of vinyl and hold in place with drafting tape or other gentle removable tape. Otherwise when you go to peel away the basting tape the vinyl will get damaged.
enlarge 116KB, 800x637 12 Drop-streamer-12 I try to be careful when I mate the two layers vinyl. Be certain the vinyl extends past the double-backed tape of the streamer will get fouled when you try to deploy it.
enlarge 88KB, 800x534 13 Drop-streamer-13 I was doing okay up to this point and then....
enlarge 99KB, 900x501 14 Drop-streamer-14 ...I botched up the last bit and had double-backed adhesive exposed that I covered up with some lightweight Scotch tape. Doh!
enlarge 115KB, 569x800 15 Drop-streamer-15 The whole 18' long banquet-size, cheap vinyl table cloth.
enlarge 118KB, 800x564 16 Drop-streamer-16 I There is no perfect method to proceed from here. I do a series of Z-folds.
enlarge 147KB, 800x650 17 Drop-streamer-17 More Z-folds.
enlarge 92KB, 486x800 18 Drop-streamer-18 One more Z-fold
enlarge 52KB, 900x207 19 Drop-streamer-19 Then I roll it the rest of the way.
enlarge 117KB, 800x593 20 Drop-streamer-20 I have some extremely sharp sewing shears and can cut through all the layers at once. Use can also use a straight-edge with a fresh utility knives or a quilter's rotary cutter and a self-healing cutting mat. Use whatever works for you.
enlarge 111KB, 900x425 21 Drop-streamer-21 This batch will be made a little bit wider at 4.5" per streamer.
enlarge 114KB, 900x426 22 Drop-streamer-22 I can cut these out very quickly like cookie dough with my eBay special industrial sewing shears.
enlarge 127KB, 900x388 23 Drop-streamer-23 Next I need to open up each one just enough to be able to roll it into the yellow portion. I use red for the outside and yellow for the inside. Use a color scheme you can remember so you know which end is upwind or downwind.
enlarge 194KB, 800x754 24 Drop-streamer-24 All rolled up and ready to store until I have the aluminum cut and smoothed.
enlarge 134KB, 900x370 25 Drop-streamer-25 Looks like sushi.
enlarge 98KB, 800x505 26 Drop-streamer-26 Stored away until I have the weights cut.
enlarge 85KB, 900x504 27 Drop-streamer-27 I use 1/8" x 1" aluminum from the hardware store. Different countries may have different stock sizes. The bar should weigh at least what you saw earlier. The most critical thing is the streamer material which much be as lightweight as possible. See the weight shown earlier. Denser material will cause failures. You can compensate for heavier material by making the streamer longer. You will have to test it when you don't need it to make sure it will serve your needs.
enlarge 115KB, 800x552 28 Drop-streamer-28 Use double-backed transfer adhesive if you can find it. Otherwise use a mild double-backed tape. If it's too strong it can damage the thin vinyl. Note the smoothed edges and radiused corners.