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

Monday, April 20, 2020

Interview ADVANCE 20/4/2020 MM, Valery Chapuis, Simon Campiche, Kari Eisenhut, Silas Bosco, Christian Proschek

Interview ADVANCE  20/4/2020 
MM, Valery Chapuis, Simon Campiche, Kari Eisenhut, Silas Bosco, Christian Proschek

1-  What can the R&D team comment about the internal structures of current paragliders? Are we still far from a more solid and cohesive structure in order to produce a 6 AR or lower glider with 2 line design?
The engineering of two-line gliders does not require excessive solid structures. Much more important is the right balance between sufficient stiffness for a clean surface on the one hand and enough flexibility to absorb the energy of possible turbulence on the other hand; this is the goal to strive for. Actually, this logic applies to every paraglider design, but we will have to find quite innovative airfoil shapes to satisfy the requirements made at a low aspect ratio wing with merely two suspension line rows (or groups of line rows). Certainly, it would be imaginable to realize a very stiff wing that only needs two rows of suspension lines. For instance, one could think of reinforcing the ribs with loads of plastic or Nitinol wires. Or very stiff but foldable materials for the ribs could be used. Such an engineered glider would probably fly very well. But the problem is that, as soon as it comes to extreme situations the glider still has to have the ability to absorb the energy of turbulence in order to ensure safe and comfortable operation.
Probably in the next couple of years, the manufacturers will accomplish to create new low aspect ratio designs that satisfy the criteria stated above. First, we'll see such design in the C class and someday even B gliders won’t be special having just two rows of suspension lines.

2- I think every pilot in the world question ADVANCE ’Winglets”. Could those winglets be removed in the future? as there’s a lot of wingtip designs with swept wings that have good aerodynamic efficiency, and they do also reduce the vortex effect.  Or ADVANCE will insist on keeping them for the future?
Nobody can imagine an ADVANCE wing without its winglets! Only ADVANCE is using winglets in the paragliding construction, but winglets are well known in general aviation for reducing the vortex. We made very serious aerodynamical research and we are sure that the benefit is higher than the drag they generate. Some years ago we analyzed the effect of winglets carefully by CFD methods, and the result was that they reduce the drag by about 2.8 % depending also on the model. This corresponds to a glide ratio improvement of about 1.5 %.

3- Before releasing a new glider in a B, C, or D category, does ADVANCE R&D try to get another good glider from a different brand with similar certification in order to fly it, feel the difference and see if their new product will have a difference regarding comfort, agility, climbing abilities, or gliding at speed? Of course in moving air?
Of course, it is of immense importance to know what our competitors are creating. To see where are their strengths and which behaviors clearly would need improvements. Not knowing which other good or bad gliders are around would bring the risk of running into a tunnel and very likely overestimating the quality of our own gliders compared to the totality of paraglider designs.

4- What about light materials? It seems that the light materials are becoming more durable, and it's now being used by many manufacturers in their regular everyday glider use. Does the light material help in faster recovery after a collapse? What is the benefit of light materials besides reduced weight?
Light material’s durability, in fact, is much better than its reputation. This is the reason why even the “heavy” versions of gliders are being designed more and more with light materials. Mostly the interior design is the first way to go for when optimizing the weight of gliders. The weight of used materials clearly has an impact on the behavior of gliders in extreme situations. However, we would be careful stating that light materials generally improve behavior in extreme situations. As light materials are often softer than the heavier materials the stability is clearly affected. There are cases where this can have positive effects but there are also cases where the resulting behavior is influenced in a bad way. Collapses can recover faster but do not always in each and every design. Also, we have to mention, that fast re-openings of collapses are not always good. So we often try to slow down the re-opening process by just a bit. In terms of safety, it is more important that the glider flies straight and doesn’t stall accidentally after a collapse than re-opens as fast as possible. Gliders with lower weight canopies have a lower moment of inertia. This means that their resistance against angular accelerations about every axis in space is also lower. This can make the glider stop earlier when shooting forwards after a collapse because it needs less force to stop the unwanted movement. 

5- I’m an old fashion pilot…So excuse me if I personally find that hammock harnesses despite their superb back and support comfort, do not offer the best precise weight shift in strong and turbulent air. Will ADVANCE consider a harness that can be used both ways to please everyone? but with a seat board that can be placed “above the seating straps “, not just sliding it over the protection, which doesn’t really change much.
A hammock harness is a possible choice for a pilot, not an obligation. Some like it, some don’t. At ADVANCE we know what the benefits are and we love flying with hammock harnesses, like thousands of pilots all over the world flying our Impress and Lightness models. It’s reducing the weight and the volume of the harness, it eliminates the problem of a too large or too narrow seat-board. But more important than this, it gives the pilot a precise feeling coming from the wing, but not exaggerated like it can be with a seat-board. The feeling is something personal and we cannot tell “this is good or this is bad for you“. With the new IMPRESS 4 the pilot can decide to fly with or without seat-board, depending on the wing and the mood of the day. In the end it is the pilot’s choice.

6- What can you say about the future Sigma11 ? in terms of brake authority in turbulent air versus the Sigma10. In rough air, some pilots commented that longer brake pull was needed on the S 10. And I have received emails about bigger sizes of the S 10 that I didn’t fly that was not that agile!
Comparatively the upcoming SIGMA11 benefits from direct and progressive handling and we are very satisfied with it. The canopy is more compact but also more reactive to steering inputs. This results in excellent controllability, not only in turbulent air but in every situation from ground handling over long-distance flights to the top landing. The pilots for which the SIGMA11 is intended are the same as those for the SIGMA10, there is no change about this: it's for an experienced pilot, no doubt.

7- Can you please also comment about the “usable” performance of the S 11 protos in moving air + speed, if you have already measured for an S 10 similar size.
We are proud of being able to say that the performance of the SIGMA11 is even higher than that of the SIGMA10. We massively improved the feeling whilst flying in turbulent air. The canopy feedback is softer and the pitch is very stable. This results in a very high usable performance.

8 - It is super difficult to improve a successful model with the same aspect ratio and a 2 years' time. Any future Iota 3 on the draw boards? Does the same aspect ratio imply?  Any comments?
Yes, you are right it is a very hard and difficult challenge to improve a well-appreciated wing. But between a new model and its predecessor, there are 2 or 3 years and we could learn a lot making protos and research for the other models of our range. The IOTA 3 project start is in the near future. We can tell you more about that at the beginning of the 2021 flying season, just be patient!

9- When to expect the first Impress 4 harnesses?  And could you please comment a bit about the latest and final version?
The production of the IMPRESS4 started and we may deliver from June, but you know that the actual world health situation makes everything more complicated. It is a competition and XC harness with an extremely high level of comfort and equipment, and a very low weight starting at about 6 kg. Another very special point of the IMPRESS4 is that it can be used with or without a seat-board. It will come as a complete set with a rucksack, a carbon plate, a windshield and 2 pod-handles for the reserves. More information soon on our homepage.

10- Can ADVANCE elaborate on the future design and what pilots must wait for? A new 3 liner D for example ?  or a daily use 2 liners?
We have with the OXA3 such a simple and easy two-liner that we are of the opinion that there is no need for three-liners in the D-class at the moment.

Thank you very much for your time in answering those questions! Looking forward!  :-) 

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Interview SKYWALK . Mr Arne Wehrlin .

Dear Arne, 

I hope you are doing well in those difficult times! 
As all pilots in the world are staying home, I thought that I could ask designers a few questions about their products in order to keep the pilots home give them hope and to inform them about Skywalk product expectations. 

1- Ziad:  How’s Skywalk managing this crisis? Is the team working from home? Will this situation affect the production of the development and construction of the new gliders? 

Arne: Hi as nearly the world market is shut down, it is clear that it is a very difficult situation for all in our market. We have a lot of people working from home and we have normal daily work with a few people. We offered pilots to check their wings now during the shutdown and we are receiving quite a lot. So our workshop has plenty of work. Still, some markets sell as they reopened like china or have some have no shutdown. Therefore we consequently started direct shipments from our Thailand production.
Customer service and warehouse are running with a lower capacity due to less turn over but we are able to react fast if the situation will change to better sales.
From the R&D, for sure the most difficult situation is that our designers and test-pilots are blocked in Austria Tirol, but we hope that they are allowed to fly in the near future.

2- Ziad: One of my favorite gliders was the CAYENNE5 XS. Many pilots around the world loved the nimble, direct, precise brake and overall feel of that glider. Actually, the TEQUILA4, CAYENNE5, CHILI4, and the X-ALPS, all had this little SPICE that gives you the exact thermal feel, even the excellent low B TEQUILA 4. With the T5, this SPICE feel was substituted for overall comfort and more accessibility. My question comes to the new crop of gliders. Will the CAYENNE 6 inherit that magical feel and brake control of the CAYENNE5? 

Arne: Generally I think besides the T5 where the target was to have a LOW B with fewer movements, I think you know that the ARAK has the SPICE and the comfort together. So we made a great step into comfort and spicy taste in the new wings. And this was also the goal that we reached for CAYENNE 6. We are very satisfied with the direct and intuitive handling of this wing.

3- Ziad: Did SKYWALK try to see the difference between the CAYENNE 5 and CAYENNE 6 in moving flying side by side? If yes what are the differences that pilots will expect? 

Arne: The CAYENNE 6 will have good comfort for the pilot to get easily all the performance together with spicy handling. It is easier to fly fast with this wing, as it is stable and has a great pitch control with very light and efficient C Steering. It is again a very good climber and pitch stability give an extraordinary performance during turbulence. Steering pressure allows comfortable long flights. Besides these things, we will use a new material which is extremely strong and extremely robust. The TX-Light material. It was developed exclusively for our kite brand FLYSURFER and it is kind of bulletproof. It has an innovative triple Rip-Stop which makes it very strong against wear and tear even though it is only 33g.
When you glide with a C5 besides a C6 you will see the performance difference and if you turn flat or steep you will climb very good. But the efficiency you can reach flying with a C6 is the main difference to CAYENNE5.
You know: the X-ALPS4 wing was recognized as the best glider during the last X-ALPS. Even pilots flying competitor wings stated this and the C6 is based on this X-ALPS4 knowledge..…. So we love the C6, and we expect pilots will feel the same :-). They can be curious.

4-Ziad: When pilots will expect a light version of the C6? SPICE2? 

Arne: At the moment, our goal is to finish in these difficult times the homologation of C6, as DHV is not able to fly these days. Even though our designers cannot fly. So it's not easy to predict now when a SPICE 2 is coming. The CAYENNE 6 is quite light but when we have it finished, then its easier to tell when the new SPICE is coming. These days, it's not possible to predict seriously.

5- Ziad: IMHO, the CHILI4 still has super close overall performance as the best B’s of the moment, but with a pleasurable handling and nimble brake feel. Where could you place the CHILI 5 in that matter? And will it possible to add more gliding power and climbing ability? Can you please comment on the CHILI5 expectations?  Will it be a Cumeo2 also

Arne: You are right the same as CAYENNE 5 is still a great performing wing the CHILI 4 is still also at the top of the performance. So thanks to our R&D Team, they are really making such high-performance wings. If I would have some wishes then it is an optimized movement of the wing during turbulent conditions. This should be a little less, even though in our philosophy we like some movements of the wings. We like that the air starts to be visible with our wings. Our wings are not hiding too much of the conditions the pilot is flying in. So the pilot knows whats going on. We want that the pilot can read the air with our wings in a comfortable save way. No surprises about what is happening. But also comfort to fly relaxed on long flights. So this is the goal and all this is resulting in our new wings like ARAK, X-ALPS 4, CAYENNE6 and then CHILI5.  So our goal to reach is clear and we see with ARAK and X-ALPS 4 that this is the right way to go for Skywalk. Besides the feeling the pitch stability and connected with this the performance in turbulent conditions will still be the part to improve step by step. And our wings will climb very efficiently, this is part of our DNA.  

6- Ziad: Will Skywalk release a D glider for regular use? 3 liner or 2 liners in the future? We discussed in the past about those super tiny risers on the X-alp glider, and you replied that this is the only version available. Any option for more robust material in the future? 

Arne: This still stays a tricky question. At the moment it is not even clear what X-ALPS Athletes prefer in the Competition.
3-Liner and used to fly with better performance or 2 liners with less performance. So the rumor is that the 2 liners have a better gliding then 3 liners, but if you make a 2 liner very light for X-ALPS you lose a lot of performance so the X-ALPS 3 liners have sometimes even more performance then the 2 liners.
So it's still not easy to decide. We are discussing with our athletes like Paul, Simon, Tommy … what they need for X-ALPS 2021. So at the moment, I cannot tell you more about the 2/3 Liner development these days. We know that our X-ALPS 4 (3 Liner) is one of the best X-ALPS wings on the market. It's just also a kind of “fashion” flying a 2 liner. So in our eyes, 2 Liner make sense for competition but maybe not for all kind of competitions.   

7-Ziad: The X-ALPS harness with inflatable back protection is indeed a great harness. Many pilots wished for a slightly rugged version. Is it hard for Skywalk to just change the outside material for the same specs? 

Arne: I think actually the pilots who ask for a slightly rugged version do not mean exactly what you say. I think the Range X-ALPS 2 is very successful because it is light and very comfortable, safe and small packing volume and for this all it's still robust. The people who want a more robust version would also want a little bit more foam in the seat. They want to have space at the front container for a bigger rescue. They need a bigger place for some ballast, they want a tube hole for the toilet during xc flights. They want some more pockets, zippers…..So actually they expect all a bit more details. This would mean we need to work on the rescue container and so on….. So I think if we just change a bit material, then the pilots would say I expected a bit more of this or that. So in our eyes, the right strategy is to work on a Pod harness with all these features and still small packing volume and a safe PERMAIR-Protector. And this is what we are doing but this still needs time, but we are working on it. The Range X-ALPS 2 shall stay light that the pilots who want to get a light safe high-quality small packing harness, can get one from Skywalk. And these pilots would not like it heavier. So we want to keep the positioning of the products clear and do not mix all up, as, in the end, we would have nothing clear anymore.

8- Ziad: Is Skywalk considering a heavier pod harness or even a 5 kg pod harness? 

Arne: This is what we talk about but the goal is to be lighter than 5 kg for sure. I think in the question before you asked exactly for the harness which is needed in this question now. Otherwise, we would have a 1,8 kg a 2,4 kg and a 5 kg harness which makes less sense than having a 1,8kg and a 4kg harness. Because with our PERMAIR-protection the packing will still stay small. J

9- Ziad: Anything you would like to add concerning SKYWALK products? 

Arne: CAYENNE 6 is most important and we talked about it already but the Mescal 6 with the Agility System is an incredible step forward. This system allows you to change your handling when you grow from a student into an independent pilot. The wing grows with you. The system is law secured and its such a great development, that we are sure it will be a big step in the market for the future. In our flysurfer kite products, it is normal that the kiter can change the behavior of his kite, by some adjustment possibilities. So the result is the agility system in the Mescal 6.
It is a system where you can change the complete brake Geometry of the wing. You have two options, the comfort mode, and the sport mode. In the comfort mode, the brake is pulled more in the middle and in the sport mode the wing is pulled more at the outside. The wing is delivered in the comfort mode and when the pilot is more experienced he can change it by himself or the dealer can change it. He has in both modes the EN A class.
It will be interesting how this system will go on in the future.

Thanks a lot. Bye Arne

Ziad: Thank you, Arne, for taking the time to answer my questions ! Looking forward to the Cayenne 6! :-)