Seedwings, Inc. is one of the oldest and most innovative hang glider producers of the United States. Founded in 1975 by its current owner, Bob Trampenau, Seedwings and the Sensor series has had a tremendous influence on the worldwide technological progress of hang gliders and the sport in general. Numerous groundbreaking innovations have been introduced by Trampenau and are now integral components of today’s highly developed, high-performance hang gliders, such as:
Many of these features were introduced by Seedwings and Bob Trampenau before 1980.
The Sensor 510, built in 1980, employing many of these features began a successful winning streak that lasted nearly a decade. The Sensor 510 series introduced Variable Geometry in 1982, popularized the raised hang point for high performance gliders, introduced the (Bull Feather) tail fin and high rib density defined sails.
Building upon the previous Sensors experiences, Seedwings designed an entirely new glider in 1990. The Sensor 610 improved upon its predecessors in every way. It was lighter, stronger, faster and higher performance. The new Sensor was also configured to allow for the introduction of flaps interconnected with the VG in 1992. The new Sensor 610 also introduced fabric sheer ribs to reduce ballooning of the double surface at high speeds and hard leading edge inserts', all by 1993. In 1995 Seedwings introduced modern low drag truncated trailing edge and turbulated streamlined tubing.
By the end of the 1990's, with the emergence of topless semi-cantilevered flex wings, cantilevered composite rigid wings and an growing interest in ultra light sailplanes, Seedwings embarked upon a cantilevered carbon spar topless Sensor design with flaps, called the Sensor 610CF. The technical challenges were great but still more achievable than a composite rigid wing or sailplane. The experience would become invaluable for future projects as well as continuing the advancement of the flex wing.
Over the course of 30 plus years Seedwings has produced over 1,300 units. This was accomplished with the enthusiasm of a great number of customers in the heyday of hang gliding and the help from some wonderful and invaluable employees. The achievements of Seedwings and Bob Trampenau could never have been realized without this help from others. The topless Sensor is undergoing design changes to the VG and washout system. The carbon spar is also being redesigned and the new glider might re-emerge in 2009. Currently, Seedwings builds small batches of a half dozen Sensor's at a time. The Sensor F5 and new 710 are at the pinnacle of high performance king posted flex wing development and are by far the lightest weight and easiest to fly and the most enjoyable high performance hang glider that Seedwings has ever built.
The original goal to design and build a foot launched sailplane has never diminished. The Petrel project morphed into the Sunseed which transitioned into the Sensor series hang glider. The ultra light soaring industry has continued development and so has the original Petrel concept. Today, with modern materials and new understandings of low speed aerodynamics, it is the desire of Bob Trampenau to complete the development of a new ultra high performance all launch vehicle that can be fitted with self launch capability. This new vehicle can have multi role capability that being primarily a foot launched, all launched or motor glider, alternatively it can become a high-altitude long endurance platform. Its current configuration uses modern aerodynamics yet simple component based design. Seedwings is ready and capable to research, develop and manufacture just about anything that will fly at low speeds and at almost any altitude.
About Bob Trampenau
Early on Bob showed a propensity for flight. At age 15, he soloed in a sailplane and was competing in the top 5 in National F/F and indoor model airplanes. He received his private pilot’s glider license at age 17 and was showing ability for insightful design and high level craftsmanship while still in his teens. Going on to college in the early 70’s, Bob received his B. S. from SUNY Brockport. During his college years, he became inexorably connected to the emerging sport of hang gliding. His desires to create, solve, develop and fly became the foundation of his career. Realizing the great need for safety and performance solutions, Bob quickly invented and put into practice major developments to establish today’s current methods and configurations for hang glider design and construction.
His company Seedwings is named after one of his first designs in 1975, the Sunseed, is one of the pioneering producers for free flight technology in the United States. For over 30 years, Bob has introduced many of the most influential innovations in hang gliding production. He basically laid the ground work and established in his own production the modern high performance hang glider years ahead of its time, and is currently manufacturing his own custom line of gliders, having produced over 1300 units. His designs range from complete composite 100 pound sailplanes, flex wing and rigid wing hang gliders and even some conceptual lighter than air vehicles. His range of abilities is wide and skillfully employed. Visually, Bob is an artist; technically he is an engineer, scientist and aerodynamicist. His strongest talents are solving fundamental questions in light aircraft development and then skillfully bringing these concepts to use.
He has tested, documented and certified for airworthiness the majority of what he has invented and produced. Over the course of 30 plus years, his gliders have won many contest's, which are testimony to their success. The hang glider you see today is owed to the creative and productive mind of Bob Trampenau.