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Τελευταίες 5 Αναρτήσεις Paragliding And Aviation

Δευτέρα 4 Ιανουαρίου 2010

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David Barish, a Developer of the Paraglider, Is Dead at 88

*Άρθρο των Νew York Times By DENNIS HEVESI

Loping down a slope near a mountaintop or leaping from a cliff, they capture the wind in the nylon canopy they carried in their knapsacks, then rise in a thermal to thousands of feet to float and swoop for mile after mile.For decades, thousands of enthusiasts like these have scaled peaks around the world or climbed hills above rolling meadows to experience the thrills and joys of paragliding. They owe that experience in large part to David Barish.

Mr. Barish, who was once referred to as the forgotten father of paragliding, invented a single-surface airfoil that, along with a similar version by another designer, evolved into the paraglider of today. He died on Dec. 15 at the age of 88 in Manhattan, where he lived.
Mr. Barish was an enthusiast himself: he went on his last flight last year, his son said.
Paragliding and its sister sport, hang gliding, are the fruits of the work of three aeronautical engineers, Mr. Barish among them, who competed in the early 1960s to design a parachutelike device that could lower the Apollo space capsule to earth, gently and on an angle.
“This is the most portable, affordable, unique form of aviation that’s out there, which David made it possible for all of us to enjoy,” Nick Greece, the editor of the United States Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association Magazine, said in an interview.
The scaled-down version of Mr. Barish’s original design “has enabled pilots worldwide to foot-launch from mountains and cross spectacular terrain without an engine, experiencing the landscape from a true birdlike perspective,” Mr. Greece continued. “They sometimes reach 17,000 feet, then land, pack up and hitchhike back.”
As its name indicates, Mr. Barish’s original single-surface airfoil was made from one sheet, sewn from a boat’s spinnaker sail. Later models used ripstop nylon, an interwoven fabric that minimizes tears from the air rushing in to lift the glider. Mr. Jalbert’s double-surface sail was made of two sheets.
These were not small contraptions. Mr. Barish’s model was 90 feet long and 27 feet wide. He tested it by air-towing armored personnel carriers.
“Barish really broke new ground, not only with the device, but also with his testing methods,” said Dan Poynter, the author of “Hang Gliding: The Basic Handbook of Skysurfing” (1974).
Testing methods that Mr. Barish later devised for a far smaller model — 27 feet long and 9 feet wide — eventually made it possible for more than 200,000 people around the world to become paragliders.
“He tested it with an automobile,” Mr. Poynter said, and sometimes from the front of the Staten Island ferry, to adjust its tailoring.
For the first flight, on Oct. 15, 1965, Mr. Barish slipped into the harness and flew about 200 feet down a slope at a ski resort in the Catskills. The current distance record for a paraglider is 311 miles, and the record for staying aloft is 11 hours.
In the summer of 1966, Mr. Barish and his son Craig toured ski resorts from Vermont to California, demonstrating that “slope soaring” could be a viable summer activity for the resorts. Although it would take years before Mr. Barish gained recognition, his barnstorming tour laid the groundwork for the sport.
“It was probably too soon,” Mr. Barish told Cross Country magazine in 2002. “At that time, slope soaring was just for fun. We didn’t know that it might be possible to soar in thermals or dynamic wind.”
David Theodore Barish was born in Passaic, N.J., on July 10, 1921, one of four children of Philip and Gertrude Barish. His fascination with flight was kindled by the landing of a JN-4 “Jenny” biplane across the road from the family home, his son Craig said.
The full realization of what he had helped start struck Mr. Barish only in 1993. He was driving near Ellenville, N.Y., he told Cross Country magazine, when he spotted more than 30 paragliders circling a hillside like a flock of birds

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