Hand Catching with Style
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Home > Articles & Tips Index > Flying > Hand Catching with Style

[Courtesy of J.P. Morere, jpmorere "at" home.com - January, 1999]

I do not know anybody else's tricks, but for my own opinion:

1) You must be able to place the plane EXACTLY where you want it! If you cannot land the plane where you want it, then you are not likely to be able to catch it. You need to be able to bring the plane TO YOU.

2) The easiest catches are at minimum energy. In other words, it is best for the plane to by flying as slowly as possible at the moment of the catch. Of course, this will probably mean that if you miss the catch, the plane will stall and drop to the ground (just out of reach).

For catching HLGs, I normally bring my plane in coming directly at me, flying knee to waist high. About 10 feet away, I bring the nose up, pointed about at my shoulders. This eats up the last of the airspeed, and makes the catch nice and gentle. If done just right (best in very light winds) it will stall and drop right into your hand. This is less a catch than a landing on your hand, and is very pretty and a great feeling to accomplish. I do my best to grasp the fuselage, as the fuse us MUCH more durable than most wings.

There are hazards to this approach. If I miss the plane, it does not miss me! Also, if I drop the plane, it usually drops on its tail. Yes, I have cracked the tail doing this, so I now try harder not to drop the plane.

If I am catching anything much heavier than an HLG, I modify technique this to point the plane just above my head on the last step so I do not receive a painful surprise if I miss.

Good sky; J.P.

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