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>>> Hang glider ALIEN

Bible home » Hang glider : Alien

If you have additional information (ex: specificity of piloting, various characteristics...) on the hang glider Alien by Hiway Hang Gliders, you can supplement his card by adding your comment or write to us :

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Alien. Similar to Spectra Aolus. Designed by Joe Binns for Hiway. Hiway cancelled the project. Binns brought the 3rd or 4th prototype to the 1982 XC Classic in Owens Valley.


I was in posession of two of the Alien prototypes back in the mid to late 80s but they are now long gone. The small model (135 I seem to recall) I donated to the hang glider museum based in Weston-Super-Mare, Somerset, back in 2000 or there abouts. This is or was run by a chap called Jason Bord
(google 'hang gliding museum'). It's handling was a compromise between hi performance and handling, both of which demanded critical handling techniques. The carbon fibre tensioners on the wingtips were designed and rigged such that washout and trailing edge flexibility were minimal. Consequently, turning her into a strong thermal would demand huge effort and concentration. Max gliding to the next lift would require very precise attitude setting or performance would be seriously degraded.
It proved to be a very sturdy machine and would wingover bast 90deg without any nasty frighteners. I took it to Mere, Wiltshire in 1985 and took the trophy for the timed precission event. Halcion days!
The larger version (I don't recall the actual size but believe it might have been a165) Was very docile but had very little to offer in performance. I only flew it a handfull of times. I don't remember what became of that one but I fear she hasn't survived to this day. I have a number of fotographs that I would be happy to post on your website if there is sufficient interest.


Actually I designed al the Aliens. Joe Binns helped with test flying and did take one to Owens, but had crashed and bent a leading edge without realising it so it did not perform well. Ist proto type was a 135. Off course the nicest and most promising. Then the 145 which flew and handled really well. Then the 150. Never worked. It was originally just a research vehicle but Hiway pushed to have it developed instead of taking my advice and revamping the Demon to keep it competative


At last, a chance to say "Nice one Bill!" to the man himself. I always felt privileged to own and fly such an extraordinary machine. I bought the 'Yellow Budgie' from Paul Farley back in '84' for a hundred and fifty quid. Best money ever spent at the time.

I couldn't help thinking at the time that with a little mod on the tip roots to make them move more freely, perhaps by mounting them in roller bearings, some of the handling characteristics might have been addressed quite successfully. She was exceptionally difficult to hook into a big thermal and could be a handful in turbulence. Had a few frighteners close to the ground on occasion. However she'd go up well once established in lift but the sink rate would let her down in the transit. I felt that I was probably a little too heavy for her wing area or at least would have been on any production glider of the same size in that era, but had a lighter pilot been at the controls in strong lift or marginal conditions she may have come to grief many years ago.

In smooth air she handled like a dream and was very controllable and inherent stability in all axes was dead positive.

In contrast the larger machine (I believe had previously been owned by Mike White) although a tad more awkward to rig -having had a detachable 'A' frame- was infinitely more manageable in all conditions though struggled to make the most of available lift. It was less competitive than the 135.
The budgie faded into retirement in 89/90 and was stored under-cover for a number of years before I reluctantly released it to the hang glider museum. I felt that it might at least enjoy some exposure as a notable piece of great hang gliding history. It seems though that that might be a long time coming.

Jason Board who conceived the idea is struggling to realize the dream and could use some help. Great idea it is but lacking resources.

Bill, I don't know if you are still involved in the game or have contacts who might be interested in giving me some idea as to what it might cost to resurrect the beast but I may in the not too far future be in a position to do such. Provided that Jason is willing to release her back to me for said project. She is after all sitting in the dark and forgotten by all but myself. Shame.

I did email some photos of the machine to this website but nothing published to date as can (not) be seen. Happy to email you some if at all interested.

Thanks again for a truly awesome design Bill.