Thanks all for your input. I like the idea of rocking up to thermal then going prone to glide. My harness makes it tough to adjust on the fly. It has a string and cleat system which is functional but not something I can operate when I'm wrestling with a thermal or really in chunky air at all.
Windsmith, thanks for your detailed response. I think you hit many valuable points here. There is an internal frame that comes right up behind the shoulder blades. I did some hang tests and decided to adjust the shoulder straps shorter. This improved the balance of the harness significantly. I also noticed while I was hanging around that I need to practice relaxing. I seem to be holding myself at attention in the harness. I'll have to monitor this while I fly to see if it makes sense in context of actually flying.
In the end, I know I have some strength issues as well. My computer geek pencil neck just isn't up for extended hours of laying prone. I'm going to come up with an exercise system and see if I can get it built up. If all else fails, constant force helmet line
Thanks again all!!
wingsmith wrote:Hi PJ,
I had a second look at your photo and noticed the forwardmost harness support rope attaches to the harness somewhere aft of your armpits. I don't know the internal support configuration of your harness, but if it is not doing its job or is out of adjustment you are trying to support your upper body, arms, neck and head from your upper chest and arms on the bar. I am assuming some form of internal support frame tied into the shoulder area of the harness, and it would appear that your shoulders are well forward of the end of this frame. If you go completely limp in your harness do your shoulders and neck slump, and where does the harness start digging in to you? Where do you actually feel the support digging into you normally? I have spent hours hanging in my harnesses at home and making adjustments before becoming satisfied they were adequate, and have had numerous 3-7 hour flights in complete comfort. Just hanging continuously for three hours or more will highlight issues you would not notice in just one hour or less.
From recent postings on the Covert harness, folks have addressed shoulder discomfort by moving aft in the harness (cutting the aft foot rest/fairing down and tightening their shoulder straps) and hanging such that their shoulders are more directly under (vs ahead of) the front of the internal support, and their shoulder support is closer, more direct and vertical. I don't know if you can move back in your harness without extending the boot, but it is worth a look.
Other factors that come to mind are learning to relax between control inputs. My long flights were in a very tight Sensor 510 that required lots of muscle. I was only able to break 3 hours or so after learning to momentarily hang limp in the harness between each major control effort. In the off-hand chance that muscle tension is the culprit, try to deliberately relax your neck and shoulders after each input, for the whole flight (obviously don't do this if you are about to hit a mountain). I have known of pilots hanging their head off the edge of their bed for long periods with weights hanging from their helmets to train the neck muscles for long flights, if you feel simple neck strength is an issue.
Hope this helps you find your way to painless flight. If not, I leave you a quote from my mother after meeting me in the LZ with my arms hurting too much to break down my glider right away after a long flight: "Isn't that why they call it Soaring?".
Bill Dodson (wingsmith)