Hang glider racks

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Accessories and Modifications' started by DavidGKano, May 19, 2011.

  1. DavidGKano

    DavidGKano New Member

    Jan 31, 2011
    West Lebanon, NH
    2010 Prius
    It's "pay back" time for this forum. I got ideas how to do this on my Prius by searching and found the fellow that made a rack for his Gen II. I have a Gen III, so the solution is a bit different.

    The solution for the rear is a tow hitch (bought it from U-Haul) and a hitch mount bike rack, on which I've attached a T shaped bar made of electrical mechanical tubing (EMT), braised at the joint. Photos of the whole thing will be attached.

    The more interesting and challenging part was the front rack. I ended up purchasing an additional tow eye and used the two of them to mount my rack. See attached photos.

    To keep the front rack from swinging forward and back, I used a long horizontal member attached to the front roof rack. This has U shaped pieces of tubing braised to the ends and a length of old bike inner tube taped and stretched around to hold it in place. Note that one end of the inner tube is taped right to the tube with duct tape and the other end threads through a loop of fiberglass tape and tied in a simple over hand knot. Again, see photos. Once the glider is on the rack, it will hold and not be exerting any significant forward and back forces, because you will strap it to the roof racks too. But I wanted the rack to stay put when there is no glider mounted.

    Again, the rack is made of EMT, braised at the joints. You can braise this stuff with a common Mapp - Air torch, available at hardware stores, and braising rod available at welder supply shops. Use goggles for safety and do it outside so you don't breath the fumes (probably poisonous!). I cut two slots axially in the end of the tubing so I can bend ears of metal out to create more surface area hitting the side of the tube to which you are attaching. You will need a vice and a vice grip or crescent wrench and a ball peen hammer. Ah well, for more details on how to braise do another google search!

    I hope there are other Gen III hang glider pilots out there! I got 50+ MPG (according to the computer) on my trip to West Rutland, VT from my home in West Lebanon, NH. The road (Rt 4) that I use is all 50 mph to 30 mph or less in the towns, just the speeds and type of driving where the Prius shines! I think the fairly clean design of a short front rack (long enough for two gliders) and keeping the glider in the center next to the fore-and-aft tube, helped me keep the wind-age down.

    Happy flying and driving!

    Attached Files:

  2. Insight-I Owner

    Insight-I Owner 2006 Insight-I MT + 2011 Prius

    Aug 29, 2009
    Essex, CT
    2011 Prius
    I carry rowing shells on the roof: a 31' double and a 27' single. The double rides in a cradle consisting of a 14' aluminum 2"x3" box section beam with a sling bolted on each end. The shell is strapped to the beam, which is U-bolted to two crossbars. Sort of like this: Single Boat Covers, Single Boat Slings, Big Boat Covers, Big Boat Slings, Rower Accessories except I remove the riggers. My single has a special cradle but it's the same general idea. Where the hulls pass over the front bumper, I attach two nylon web straps to each boat to snub any oscillations. The other ends of the straps are secured to something solid at the front.

    For the Prius, the guys at Rack Attack screwed/riveted a pair of Yakima tracks to the roof. The curve makes this tricky, but we got about 42-43" of spread between the bars, which helps stability. The nice thing about the Yakima crossbars is that they attach/detach quickly, so the aero can be cleaned up when I'm not carrying boats. Like you, I got a second towing eye to attach to the front bumper for the snubbing straps. When I had a Subaru, I found a hole under one of the bumper struts to clip onto, but the strap tended to scar the front bumper - the tow eyes should work better.

    The boats are carbon fiber so they are light. The single weighs <30lb and the double <60lb, so adding in the weight of the racks I'm close to the weight limit for the roof. Oh, and the oars and riggers fit nicely inside!!

    Next time I'm hauling a boat on the roof I'll try to remember to post a shot.

    A number of other rowers I know haul singles and doubles on their Prii.