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Untangling glider lines

by Had Robinson

As a rule, do not let the ends of the two risers flip through the lines.  Keep them separated from the lines at all times.  Gliders get tangled when the entire wing flips through the lines at some point OR the risers flip through the lines.  Thankfully, untangling is done by un-flipping, so to speak, the risers through the lines even if the wing going through the lines at some point is the original cause of the mess.  Everything can be untangled just by manipulating just the risers.


1. Make sure the glider is pulled out as far as possible from end to end and that it has its bottom surface facing up and that no lines are wrapped around the glider.  Stretch out the lines as far you can from the glider, as if you were going to clip in.

2. Separate the two risers and their lines from each other so you can work on one set at a time.

3. Starting with one set, stretch it out as far as you can from the leading edge of the glider.  Usually, one or two lines from one riser set may pass through the lines of the other set.  You can see this when the lines are stretched out as far as possible.  You may have to pull on the tangles so that the lines are not knotted.  Even though the lines are crisscrossed everywhere, they still can be tensioned and straight.  This must be done before the next step.

4. In your hand, look for the inner A riser and pull it enough to see if there are any other lines on top of the inner A lines that go to the leading edge of the glider.  Pull those lines back and over the top of the inner A riser in your hand.  There may be multiple lines on top.  If things are a complete mess, grab the inner A lines where they connect to the glider and work your hand towards the riser.  Let any lines that are in the way be pushed towards the end of the riser and over it.  Once you have the inner A riser in your hand and the lines are clear all the way to the leading edge, you are 50% done.  Once the A's are clear, it is super easy to unclear the rest of the lines.

5. At all times, hold the inner A risers in your hand while you are manipulating the rest of the riser lines/end.

6. Do the same for the outer A lines, if needed, as in step #4, above.

7. At this point, you will be able to see where the end of the riser may have flipped through the other lines.  Start with the B's to see where they may have flipped through the C's and D's (if it has D's).  The goal is to work through the riser sets, one at a time, starting with the A's.

8. The riser ends can be flipped through multiple sets of lines and this makes untangling difficult.

9. Once you have finished working on the one set of riser lines, do the same for the other set.

10. Always kite the glider after untangling the lines to be sure you have completely untangled the lines.  Launching with a cravat can be extremely dangerous.  Pilots have been seriously hurt because they failed to see a single tangled line!