Discus launched gliders (DLGs) have recently become popular in the glider hobby. A DLG is a special form of thermal duration glider that is hand launched. These planes are easy to fly and require nothing more in terms of launch equipment than an able body. We just chuck them into the air and go thermal hunting.
You don’t have to be big or strong to launch DLGs. Height is achieved by technique rather than strength. A weak launcher can easily launch over 50 feet. A strong launcher can break 150 feet and some of the real pros can hit 200 feet. You can get a great flight as you hunt for lift.
Earlier style hand launched gliders used a javelin technique. This worked well but was hard on the body and it was very difficult to get them over 75 feet on the launch. DLGs have a peg in one wing that allows the pilot to spin the plane in a circle using the plane’s own weight to help launch it. This is much less stressful on the pilot and requires very little strength.
Discus launched gliders differ from other gliders in that they are small and light. Typical wing spans run from 30″ to 60″. Their weight typically runs from about 4 ounces to about 15 ounces. There are some nice entry level gliders for under $100.
If you have never seen a discus launched glider being thrown, click on these links: