Monday, March 7, 2011

Evaluating a glider

It is really a hard time for me when evaluating a new glider and having a live conscious make the job even harder.

I fully understand that in a glider development there is lots of pressure, money to be spent on R&D, worker, expenses, prototypes, tests before certification, the certification and its cost, the construction, the sales & marketing…. All that is with the passion involved to create a new glider better than the old one, with the ingredients to make a safe, but competitive design in today’s hard fight for existence.

The company investments are huge, and any flaws will lead sometimes to disaster consequences.

Today's trend is to bring a certified glider more friendly user,even thought the aspect ratio is sometimes increased, with the ability to use frequently the first bar.
Raw efficiency is for open class paragliders.The certified ones (EN-D's)of the same year, will always be two steps behind in performance because of safety issues.

When a new glider appears on the market, many pilots start to dream, for what it will bring them to glide endlessly or float effortlessly, and safely into the atmosphere.

Before I begin any test I always think for whom the glider has been designed for. Just a reminder that the majority of pilots are very demanding, we like to be the higher ones, or the fastest and therefore if any glider is a lesser climber, or have a less glide lead us to make wrong conclusions. I think that every glider could have flaws and virtues .The best doesn't exist in life, but in our heads.
We strive for performance but forget who we are. Some would prefer handling to performance, or security over speed, or even speed over certification.

That’s why our taste and our abilities to fly a certain glider will differ a lot.

In those past years of flying and testing, I sense glider “efficiency” in the air. This glide efficiency cannot be measured in moving air, but the
difference is clearly seen to the eye, and that’s why I make the videos.

Happy landings,

Ziad.

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