The application of “Ears” provides a method of descending moderately at around -3 to -4 m/s. Applying ears increases the angle of attack of the wing and also the loading of the remaining open surface.
When the ears are applied it must be appreciated that the ground speed will reduce by 3 to 5 km/h and in order to maintain this descent technique, the pilot must continue to physically hold in the ears. This action therefore removes the ability of the pilot to apply active piloting to the wing and the only safe means of direction control available is the use of weight shift. If ears are applied for any considerable length of time, pilot fatigue could also become an issue. During a tandem/dual flight, even the assistance of an active passenger cannot fully alleviate these issues.
Whilst a solo pilot is applying ears, the angle of attack can be reduced and horizontal/forward speed easily increased by use of the speed (bar) system. This is not an option for a tandem/dual pilot and if holding in the ears by conventional methods, access to the trimmers is also obviously restricted.
These problems have been recognised by NIVIUK Gliders and as a result they have developed the EAR LOCK SYSTEM. (ELS).
The Ear Lock System is standard equipment on the TAKOO 3. This system provides a simple and effective solution for the tandem/dual pilot when quick descents are required with the use of ears.
ELS enables the pilot to lock and unlock the ears as desired.
ELS gives full control to the pilot with the ears applied.
ELS lets the pilot use the ears as long as necessary with no physical effort at all.
ELS allows the pilot to use the trimmers without concern or restriction.
ELS locks in the ears and prevents accidental opening.
ELS still allows the conventional application of ears (it is optional)
ELS can easily be uninstalled without affecting the rest of the equipment.
Ears (ELS) ON - Simply take the ear line and pull it downward until the knot passes through the ELS (lock system); then move it slightly horizontally forward, locking the knot in the V groove.
Ears (ELS) OFF – To Release, pull the ear line down and release the knot from the V groove. Then guide it vertically as it goes upward and back through the ELS (Lock System)
It is better to release the two ears separately. To perform the ears as a descent manoeuvre in the classic way, take the external A line on both sides, as high as possible and pull them downward and outward. You will see the wingtips fold down. To reopen them, release the lines and they will reopen by without assistance. If this does not happen, brake progressively on one side and then the other. Asymmetric reopening is recommended in order to avoid compromising the angle of attack, particularly flying near the ground or in turbulent conditions.