The key to life is not accumulation. It's contribution. Hands that serve help more than the lips that pray.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Triple Seven (Aljaz,Urban) Interview 30/3/2020

Hello, Aljaz, Urban !
I hope you are all doing well with your family. The world is facing a serious pandemic and I just wanted to give some hope and information to the pilots that are quarantined at home.
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions.

1- I’m totally convinced that 777 will never release a product if both brothers are not completely satisfied with it! And that leads to superb flying machines. Knight, Rook, Queen, Q-light, King…Every glider has IMHO, a secret ingredient called (efficiency)
What can you say about the Rook 3 in that matter? What would the pilot expect from the new high B glider? concerning performance, climb, speed perhaps?…

777: Hi Ziad, and thank you for having us. Indeed, Rook 3 got its final shape in the long run of testing over the past three years. We always want to offer our pilots a wing that will stand for at least three years in the future. Therefore we need to take more time to do things right. The Rook 2 was now on the market for four years being competitive through the whole period of its existence, but, now it is time for a new one. The performance growth curve was exponential with Rook 1 and Rook 2. Still, soon, the overall leaps in performance in the high B class stalled a little bit on the market, especially if you want to offer the wing that still feels right for the high-B class pilots and isn't pushed into the B from somewhere else.
With Rook 3, we phased our design more on the side of the overall package where performance is not revolutionized, but overall handling with great climbing was taken into the count even further this time. We took the experiences from other models with the line layout, the BC system, the materials, and optimized those into the Rook 3. The PPSL, Aramid mesh of the lines, proved with really extended trim longevity in Queen 2. Therefore it was obvious we will use this mixture also in Rook 3. We redesigned the BC system to a double gearing system, which makes the pull easier. The system is made additional to the existing riser, which is essential from the safety side as you are still flying on the proper risers, and you don't have the lines attached to the system itself. 
2- Ziad: Any performance comparison with the Rook 2? 
777: Of course, we did quite a few rides next to one another. As mentioned earlier, we're not doubling or revolutionizing the performance over it, but there is a slight edge in the float-ability of the Rook 3.

3- Ziad: Any light Rook 3 following? 
777: indeed, since we were able to come up with the wing with minimal count and length of plastics in the canopy (these are only in the leading edge and short), we believe we will be able to offer quite a light wing soon, which will be based on the Rook 3.

4- Ziad: We saw a few pics of the King2 on the web. Is it a 3 liner? Since the 7 aspect ratio King S had that feedback through the brakes with good precision and nice feel in thermals, what can you say about the feel on the King 2?  I know it’s still a prototype, but what can you tell more about the King 2? 

777: With King 2, we hope we are in the last stages of development. The overall package seems to be there, and it will have it in the three-line concept, of course. The wing itself is a completely new wing, the same is only AR 7 compare to the first version.   There are 14+more cells, a new profile is more optimized for high-speed stability, S-shaped plastic suspension support in the cell walls is present here as well. There is a new straight plastic material PA 11 for profile support and a new thinner Dyneema dsk99 lines like on the Gambit.  

5- Ziad: What can we expect from the King 2? Did the team at least compare it with the latest creations? 

777: We're fortunate to have a good group of great pilots here in the area who are flying all kinds of wings—also the latest D class two liners. Let's say that we feel that we have a good wing in hands.

6- Ziad: Any 2 liner with D certification in the near future? 
777: Of course. When? We don't know just yet, maybe 2021... :) 

7- Ziad: When pilots will expect the Bishop? And what did 777 focused on in the development stages?  
777: The King 2 project left the Bishop wing on the side a little bit. The focus with the Bishop is, of course, ease of use with longevity for the true commercial use of the wing. The tandem market is interesting; some are doing their top to bottom flights, searching for a bulletproof wing, then we have alpine tandem pilots who seek better handling with added performance. We're trying to add all of this into one good mixture for both worlds. 

8- Ziad: Is Triple Seven considering to release harnesses in the future?  
777: With the team, we have here, we're all the time fully occupied with the development of the wings. Adding this part to the business would obstruct the quality of the wings design. We don't want that

9- Ziad: Anything you would like to add concerning new releases? 
777: Indeed, the whole world is facing hard times at the moment. We were lucky enough to have the latest prototypes here in the house, so we can test and finish them so when we are back on the hill, we can all enjoy the new wings and freedom again. We wish all the pilots to stay healthy in these times.

Thank you very much for your answers!


Saturday, March 28, 2020

Interview Michael Nesler

In those difficult times, I'm trying to send glider designers some questions in order to give you a more comfortable way to spend the time at home. Here's is a very interesting interview with Michael Nesler.
I knew about Michael Nesler's designs since I began to learn paragliding. He is from the “golden era”
His exceptional profile!
( Click personal)

Dear Michael,
At first, I hope that you and your family are doing ok! The conditions in Italy are critical, and hats off to the Italian doctors, nurses and everyone involved…God be with you all!
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions.

Ziad: I have flown your designs recently. Let's take for example the Nyos RS EN-B.  It doesn’t have a shark nose, or the back positioning A’s, the lines are not that thin as some high B competitors, but it seems to glide as good as the best!  In your opinion for the moment, is positioning the A’s far back, for a high B is a must for selling? or there’s some benefit in that category in cutting through the airmass? Will this work for a B? Knowing that the latest Ozone R5 doesn’t seem to have the shark nose of the older models.

Michael: What ultimately determines the performance of a paraglider is very complex. Let me give you an example: If I have the Nyos RS made in China, it will fly like the one you've been flying. If I have it built in our factory in Croatia with the same files and materials, it will fly much better.
According to the experience of the last years, the dependency of performance is roughly distributed like this:
* 35% project
* 25% material
* 40% manufacturing quality (cutting, sewing, control)[/i]
Of course, the media and customers get off on technical, tangible details such as shark nose, A-loops, etc., but precision is much more important.
The fact that the Shark-Nose cost performance has meanwhile been accepted by other manufacturers. That's why they still install the rods crossed at the opening, but when you look at the profile shape without opening, there is little left of real Shark-nose.
In summary: If you could make any model you wanted with better materials, individual cuts, and very good sewers, it would be vastly superior to mass production. But no manufacturer can afford that.
The position of the A-Loops is not important for performance, only for safety and durability. And this is contrary to each other: Either more safety and shorter service life - or vice versa!

Ziad: I’m impressed! I never knew that it would differ that much! There are companies in Srilanka doing a clean job on paragliders. Do you still think that if it's done in Croatia or should I say in a more delicate and precise way it would fly better? How better please? What are those differences?

Michael: No, factories in Srilanka, China and other places are doing a clean job for economical serial production. But they are far away from the maximum possible.

Ziad: You said earlier that they can't afford that?  why? Can you comment, please?

Michael: Simple to calculate: Cutting 16 layers (8 gliders) on rotating knife cutter or high power laser needs nearly 8 hours = 1 hour/glider. If you make a single cut with high precision, you need also 8 hours = I glider!
A good sewer needs 30-40% more time to finish a perfect wing. So in the end, the glider will cost, also using the best material, quality control, individual trimming, ca. 60-80% more. Nobody will pay for this!

Ziad: You also said: On a competition glider, no one will use a shark nose if its cost performance! The Enzo 3 and B11 use it. What are your thoughts, please?

Michael: They are far away from real Sharknose: if you don't watch the crossed ends of the rod in the vent, but the real shape of the profile, you will see that there is nearly no shark-nose anymore! Only simulating a step on the vents you don't get a real shark-nose: te vent area is filled with a compressed air cushion!

Ziad: There are lots of nice ideas for designing paragliders. I always wondered if we put all them together in one glider, would that be beneficial? Some could be for marketing purposes, but some works quite well… I mean for all the classes, probably a shark nose, RAST, a 3D clean leading edge, and all the internal technologies, optimized unsheathed lines, etc, etc…  or there’s something that today's designers cannot overcome.

Michael: I am currently working on an EN-D two-liner, which we have both with and without a shark nose. In the lower speed range of the certification, the Sharknose doesn't make sense, it just causes disadvantages.
If I were given the job of building the perfect glider, I would:
- Take this material here: (I've built a couple of base wings with this, brilliant!)
- Cut the glider individually by laser
- Glue all panels before sewing
- Accompany the sewing personally
- Use Vectran lines
The absurd thing is that such an existing model would fly better than a new, allegedly improved one of conventional design.

Ziad: Why Vectran lines?

Michael: Vectran has less elongation, is more stable during aging, am stronger. It would be perfect as main lines, also with cover. But till today nobody is producing Vectran baselines for Paragliders (with colors, coating/cover). But they are used for many years in high-performance skydiving canopies.

Ziad: What are your thoughts about a super designing tool? Will a futuristic superior software help in the design of our flying machines? Or are we still limited by the materials?

Michael: We have long been outside the reasonable tolerance with regard to production and material. It will hardly be possible to increase performance with conventional and inexpensive solutions.

Ziad: I was always fascinated by the internal structure of a glider. For example, the UP Escape had some cross reinforcements that were never been seen lately?  Is it right to believe that internal structure is the main key to performance and safety?  Are we still far in this field?

Michael: I know the Escape very well, I made it. But this construction has one main disadvantage: too much waste, too expensive!
The inner life serves only one purpose: Less lines! There is one clear limit: the strength required by the certification. Most high-performance gliders push this to the limit. So you couldn't have less lines. A highly complex inner life is interesting and light, but it is certainly not a parameter with which you can improve performance.
Unless you build gliders with over 100 cells, they would become too heavy without 4 or 5 cell spacing.

Ziad: What are the benefits of using very light construction of RAST on a 7 AR 2 liner glider? I think you surely thought of that!

Michael: I have been flying it for 3 months now and it feels like an EN-B paraglider to me. I fly it here in the Dolomites in conditions where others prefer to stay on the ground with the B-gliders, and I feel comfortable. What I miss is better take-off behavior in snow and tailwind and big ears.
But I have now found a solution for this, including certification without folding lines.

Ziad: What are your future projects? Any new harnesses? certification for the 2 liner?

Michael: I am working on a harness for pilots who like to fly very precisely with weight and want to be a perfect unit with their equipment.  This will be a niche product: Ultralight, high strength (with Kevlar fabric and Dyneema), with seat board and no cross bracing. So completely against the mainstream. This is not a Swing order, but a Profly project.
EN-D is in work and should be approved according to Corona.

Ziad: What do you think about seat and seat-less harnesses? Rear fairing or not?  Which do you think is more appropriate to your liking?

Michael: We have several harnesses here for testing our gliders. And have found that flight behavior, performance, and safety are more influenced by the different harnesses than by the trimming.
I am surprised that the manufacturers of harnesses do not even adhere to the requirements of the certification regarding the height of the main suspension. Most of the current harnesses have a much higher main suspension than the certification requires. In addition, the newer harnesses are being cross-braced more and more. This allows weaker pilots to fly with higher classified gliders, but it reduces performance significantly compared to flying a simpler glider with a good harness.
In all comparisons, I still find the old Woody Valley GTO-Xalps Race (2.2kg, with a board) the best for me.

Ziad: what if we were all flying the same model and there were no other models?

Michael: Then no one would be able to blame the material for bad flights, no one would be able to boast of being an unpaid brand ambassador, and no one would be the hero anymore for flying such a great, dangerous glider.
Ziad: Would this be less fun then?

Michael: Let's face it: the whole discussion about performance is only needed by the manufacturers, the salespeople, and the media. After all, what else would they be able to captivate us, pilots, with?
I still like to build high-performance machines on commission, but nobody really needs them.
Most pilots would be better advised to work on their technique, perception, and psyche instead of constantly stunning themselves with new material.

Ziad: You mean like one design glider for "Olympic games"? But that will also be branded somehow...
Michael: Here we have been shortsighted! If we got a one-design class for competition (ok, different brand, but very strict parameters like in sailing or formula one) we would be since many years in the Olympics! The same model means, that the results come from the pilots and not form the glider (and the money to buy always the best wing)

Ziad: A message for the pilots staying at home?

Michael: This is a good time to start thinking about flying:
* Why am I flying?
* What's in it for me?
* What would give me more performance?
* What are my goals and wishes when I fly?
It is best to write (on real paper!) because this keeps all-important channels of perception involved (sight, hearing, touch).

Thank you very much for your time!

Best regards,

PS: Every designer has his own perception and futuristic ideas. The above interview was made to show a different and interesting point of view.
IMHO, the best glider you seek is the one that makes you feel good, and that special 'you' is a very personal matter Smile
Stay safe!


Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Interview Ozone. Luc Armant . 24/3/2020

For all the pilots quarantined at home, I made a small interview just to cheer you up in the meantime.

Ziad:  Sometimes it is really difficult to produce a new glider in specific 2 years intervals, as the technology don’t work on a fixed date rather than a quality time for good research and development. 
How is OZONE managing this, knowing that each glider until now has a certain advantage? 

Luc: We have no pre-defined date strategy here. What is sure is that after about 2 years of a product like Delta or Rush, we start to sell nothing, even if the glider is still very competitive in his category. When we see that the selling of a model is dropping down, we start working on a replacement, and we only release the replacement once all of us (the team is made of 5 pilots: Dav, Fred, Russ, Hono and I) are 100% convinced that the new one is a step forward. Sometimes, it’s just a small step sometimes it’s a giant step, but always a step. And sometimes, we don’t manage to do it soon enough and we spend one season without selling anything of the previous model.
I know that pilots are sometimes complaining that the models are renewed too often. But let me tell you a bit more about our experience of model replacement. In the EN B to EN C segment, no matter if your model is still competitive, you don’t sell it anymore after two years. The reason seems to be that these pilots do not have the means to judge by themselves, even with the help of social media, if an old model is still competitive. That’s where you can help with very accurate and objective reviews, but I know it’s a tough job.

The reason is that in these segments, the pilots have the means to judge a product no matter his novelty. After 3 full seasons, we are still selling Enzo3 for the 4th season as competition pilots want the best glider no matter if it’s old, and you just need to participate in a top-level competition to make yourself a good idea of the true performances. We were still selling Magnum2 tandem after 6 seasons, as it was a proven good tandem product amongst professionals.  Conclusion: pilots should not try to not rely only on the release date to decide which product to buy. When they do too much of that, they encourage manufacturers to renew their models more often.

Ziad:  what are the main differences that Ozone worked on, for the Delta 4 over the Delta 3?   

Luc: For this project, we found out quite early how to improve performances significantly (in speed and in glide), with even better safety behavior, and with a good solidity at speed despite no collapse lines were used. The rest of the project development was spent trying to get a nicer feel. The brake pressure was not right, the yaw response was not perfect, the second part of the brake input was lacking, etc. I was sometimes swearing myself in the air. This was the most difficult task of the project!  After more than 12 years of developing gliders, I’m still puzzled to see how much I don’t know about paragliders! I’m puzzled to see how sensitive it can be to find the right balance. 2 cm in a tension strap, 1cm in a profile thickness, 1cm in a tab position, few mm in trimming, etc. More than ever, I’m grateful to Russ and Hono for their fantastic work in this project, in fine feeling and tuning.

Ziad: Lots of pilots missed the Delta 2 MS linear handling and brake response.  What would you say about the Delta 4 in that field? 

Luc: I think it’s even better in the way that it’s not relying as much on chord deformation to obtain the last nice feel of the second part of the turn. Personally, I’m very focused on keeping a very nice yaw response toward the end of the brake range. I think it gives an important part of safety as well when you are thermaling along a slope. To me the Delta4 is a beauty, it behaves like a very solid 'wood feel 'in the turbulences but at the same time, it handles like a light small bicycle. My first and last flight with the production sample was just when the French lockdown started. It was a bizarre feeling, mixt of ecstasy (due to the wing) and frustration (due to the coming blackout).

Ziad:  Are we going to expect a Zeno 2 shortly? Any dates?  If yes, can you describe what are the benefits over the famous first version?

Luc: We were just starting to be full-on Zeno2 project. We flew 3 prototypes and 2 others are coming, but at the moment we are grounded, forbidden to fly, each of us confined. I hope you understand that it’s quite early to comment on anything about this new model!

Ziad: As a designer, and a pilot what is your message toward the intermediate pilots in terms of safety and evolution? 

Luc: Fly an easy wing for your level, and fly a lot to build up skill if you want to step up. Nowadays, easy wings are offering plenty of performances.

Ziad: In those difficult times, any message you would like to give to the quarantined pilots around the world?

Luc: I’m one of them. We have grounded birds and that’s painful, especially while spring is popping out outside. Let’s hope to meet each other soon in the air!

Thanks, Luc! 
Everyone please stay safe, and hopefully, we will be free to fly again!