Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Niviuk Icepeak 6 - 19 Flat / 60-80kg - Good at 80kg!

Flying for the first time my Niviuk Icepeak 6 19, Superb climbing and faster than the IP6 21 due its higher loading, unfortunately all small sizes of the IP6 do not use proper XS scaled lines, it uses the lineset of the XL size, losing almost 1 point in glide due the super thick lines. The IP6 - 19 flies its best at 80kg, so for me I still have to carry 10kg of water ballast every flight unfortunately. Hopefully I get an Icepeak 7 17 flat (no ballast needed) after this one wears out ;)

Paragliding Location - Devils dyke hill, Liddington hill, others, etc..

A thought about the problem of low wingloading and oversized XS and S gliders in paragliding.

Paragliding ladies and light pilots you may want to take notice on this.....

You most probably are flying a wing that is far larger than what would optimum for you to fly, even although you may be inside in the correct weight range claimed by the manufacturer.

Ive Been flying for over 8 years over 15 different wings from 8 different manufactures, from small as 14sqm flat to extremely oversized small 26sqm flat gliders in all conditions, from DHV1/ENA to competition wings, and I know that most paraglider manufactures do not make the XXS, XS or S gliders small enough, instead of spending some time in these smaller wings, to get them to certification with optimum size ex 19sqm flat for 80kg all up pilot , 17sqm flat for a 70kg all up, they make them 3 to 6 meters larger than what would be ideal, because bigger gliders with low wingload are slower and get certification easily without them having to spend time on them. If your flight weight is from 60-80kg you may not surprisingly find out that your wing may be over 22sqm flat in same cases

Paraglider manufactures do it because they know most pilots are not aware of this problem and will buy their wings based on their weight range recommendation, doesn't matter how oversized, dangerous and collapse prone the wing may be due low wingloading. Ladies and light pilots need to wake up for this problem in the paragliding world, I've seen ladies getting blown back to the hill and hurting themselves because her glider was too large and unstable even Although she was inside the weight range, while everyone else was flying forwards. I almost got myself hurt in the same way and a few girls have died like that and nobody does anything. The only way of fixing this problem is by boicoting manufactures who does not bother scaling down  the sizes small enough for an optimum wingload.

After flying all these wings for so many years I can safely say that the minimum wingload for ladies or light boys fly modern paragliders depending of the (glider class, arc and other parameters) is no less than 4kg/sqm flat. Before buy your wing check the aspects, the flat and projected area. so do the maths yourself and your wing. For some pilots this maths is simple thing, but for many pilots they never done it, and it makes a world difference in the air, so divide your total weight equipped by your size of glider ( flat area) (high arc wings may differ a bit) and check what is your load per sqm and check if its close to 4kg/sqm. if your up to 80kg equipped avoid flying anything bigger than 20sqm flat. 

when manufactures separate the size of their gliders by 2 square meters and 20kg between sizes, thats when a more even ideal wingloading is achieved throughout all sizes.

Example of a modenr EN B glider with good ideal wingloading distribution through out all sizes.( Glider data created by me taking in consideration RE numbers, current average EN B class Aspect Ratio among other parameters)

Sizes Area Flat        20                        22                       24                        26                            28  
Weight range        60-80                   70-90                  80-100                90-110                    110-125
Wingloading at 80kg-4.0kg/sqm   90kg-4.1kg/sqm    100kg-4.2kg/sqm   110kg-4,3kg/sqm   125kg-4.4kg/sqm

Exemple of a modern EN D competition glider with ideal wingloading distribution  ( Boomerang 9 example, The size 17 and 19 was created by me based on RE numbers, aspect ratio of the boom 9 and other parameters that I have experience with )

Sizes Flat Are Flat      17.5                     19.4                       21.2                        23                      24.8  
Weight range            65-85                   75-95                  85-105                95-115                    105-125
Wloading at     85kg-4.85kg/sqm   95kg-4.89kg/sqm   105kg-4,95kg/sqm   115kg-5.00kg/sqm   125kg-5,04kg/sqm

As one can see above, both gliders are good example of a more optimum wingloading distribution throughout all sizes without disparity, other 2 gliders with good wingloading distribution thoughtout all sizes is the GIN Carrera and the Niviuk Peak 3

Example of a paraglider with bad wingloading distribution Ozone / Mantra 4 EN D  (only 1.5 meter between the sizes).

Sizes Flat Are Flat      23.1                     24.6                       25.6                        28.1                      29.6  
Weight range             65-85                   80-95                   90-105                100-120                   115-130
Wingloading at   85kg 3.6kg/sqm    95kg 3.9kg/sqm    105kg 4,1kg/sqm    115kg 4.3kg/sqm    130kg 4.4kg/sqm

As one can see above, the disparity of wingloading between the smallest size and the largest size is colossal, making the smallest size much slower (wingloading translates to speed), the glider is also less stable due the light load, just a reminder that the mantra 4 is not an EN B with low Aspect Ratio that can be flow with lower wingloading without problems, this a high aspect ratio wing that needs high wingloading for more stability in strong turbulent days, bear in mind that 3.6kg/sqm flat is maximum wingloading one can get in the Small Mantra 4, if one are 75kg in the (middle of the weight range) than your wingloading is going to be even less, just 3.2kg/sqm.   

But I heard smaller sizes are worse no? YES and NO,  If the wing area and line thickness is scaled down properly giving similar wingloadings (tiny bit less than the bigger sizes, due the Reynold numbers) and same size accelerator travel as bigger sizes then the answer is NO, they are not worse, the loss of performance will be negligible. In the other hand if the glider is oversized, giving very low wingloading compared to its bigger sizes than the answer is YES, it will be much worse, slow, less collapse resistant, more prone to collapses in turbulent air, the speed and glide in head wind specially will be far less efficient than in the larger sizes, all due the low wingloading, and girls doing comps will have no chance against the boys on glide.

There are a few parameters that comes into play like arc flattering, among others but roughly speaking, given the Aspect Ratio and data of the gliders we have today, pilots should be flying the weight range of 60-80kg   EN A 21sqm flat, EN B 20sqm flat, EN C 19sqm flat, EN D 18sqm flat. 

This problem doesn't happen in the hanggliding world, I've been seeing girls getting hurt in paragliding due this oversized wings for almost a decade, the few times I tried to speak about this problem on public forums I was overwelmed with misconceptions about smaller gliders and subsequently silenced by forum moderators about the subject,  I always hoped that the manufactures would do something about it, but they never did, for pure convenience and money saving. Recently I asked a brand  Niviuk to design a glider for me with the parameters I wanted, an Icepeak 6 19sqm flat, it became the best and safest glider I ever had, with a dream handling, tame easy recoveries, stunning speed and climbing abilities, I made few over 100kms flight with it this year At 80kg equipped my wingloading is 4.3k/sqm flat  and I'm able to climb and fly faster than ever before with confidence that I wont be blown backwards in strong wind easily like i always been when flying 21-23sqm flat wings.   Its time to put this out, I'm thinking in doing an article about it, but by now the message is out

My advice for light pilots under 85kg is for the time being (Brands may change, specially after this article). Avoid old gliders from Swing (Although swing finally decided to change, with the mistral 7, dropping from 24 to 21sqm flat 60-80kg so I recommend the mistral 7 for light pilots) Avoid gliders from SOL, UP and OZONE, in Ozone's case, their gliders may be small but their weight range is only up to 70kg, which doesn't help either.

My interview with

How old are you?

Age? Do I need to answer it? Ok, I'm more than 20 and less than 25 :)

Where did you grow up?

I grew up with my grandparents in a little farm in the country side of Minas Gerais State in Brazil until I was 6 years old, then we moved to a small village where I could start studying, later on when i was 12 years old I went to live with my mum in the city where I was born, Patos de Minas small city of Minas Gerais State south east of Brazil, 200km from Araxa city a well known place for flying.

Where are you based now?

Now I live in London - UK. When I turned 19 years old, living in Brazil, for personal reasons I left University where i was studying Biology, Engineering and nursing, I gave up of everything, sold almost all my belongings (not my paragliding gear of course :) It was just enough to buy an air ticket into the UK and an English course in London, full of dreams, with no friends, no family here neither a job or money, with my cloth bag and my paragliding gear on my back, came to Live in the UK an try a new life away from home. I intend to live in the UK permanently, between UK and Brazil. Because of work, I live part time with my English boyfriend (actually my husband we got married almost a year ago, but I still haven't got used to call him husband :)

I did use to have a lot of Pets, but not only normal pets like dogs etc, I had from parrots to falcons, I did Learn Falconry with an experienced falconer and trained falcons and hawks before I start flying myself, probably that's where my connection with Zoology, biology Science comes from. When you grow up in the country side of Brazil, is almost inevitable having a lot of wild animals as pets, always having a big connection with birds, i was always fascinated by their ability to fly.

Are you married, single, do you have kids?

After 3 years together I recently got married with my English boyfriend, no kids at the moment, but one day yes.

What do you do for your 'day job'?

I'm a hairdresser, nightclub dancer, among other spicy things lol :)

Do you have a project you'd like to promote?

Not necessarily a project, but as i believe a few dozen of people will read this and I want to use this space to remind people the importance to have a more ecological life, walk more, cycle more, buy an electric vehicle over a fossil fuel one, ask the government for more investments in clean energy, go vegetarian, its proven with studies of our DNA, humans are naturally vegetarians, meat short our life span with many diseases, not to mention the camps of concentration where animals are put to death every single day of the week for the beef or burger go to our tables, on the top of that being a vegetarian you live longer helps you look good, slim and in shape ;)

When, how and why did you start paragliding?

I always wanted to fly, since when i was a child, having falcons and eagles as pets, drawing people with wings on my school books still wasn't enough for me, the desire for fly was so intense that I was the craziest kid around my age, at the age of 10 I saw paragliding and hanggliding on TV and i tried to build my own paraglider using the stitching machine of my mum and her thin bed clothes, built a 5 meter hangglider made of "papelao". It was when I was 17 that I started truly getting behind my dream and went onto the Internet and look for an instructor, but the nearest place to my city to fly was Araxa around 200km, and the instructor there only teaches paragliding, with little money, the big spending's and hard work of having to travel 400km every weekend by car going to Araxa for my paragliding classes, I had to choose between buy a gear or pay the paragliding course, thankfully my instructor tough me to fly without any charge, so I could buy my gear and start flying, so it was, been flying since I was 18 years old.

What are your paragliding goals?

My goals are be able to compete in paragliding competitions in the future, I've been flying for 7 years and always wanted to compete but never had the opportunity or time for it, now I have the opportunity, so next year I will start competing hopefully :)

What equipment do you use?

At 54kg and 70kg all equipped + 10kg of water ballast I fly an Icepeak 6 19

Harness Supair Delight

Orange ST light rogallo reserve

Aircotec XCtrainer pro

My Samsung Galaxy S3 running XCSoar

Helmet Lubin

Salomon speedcross 2 (ultra light, water proof tennis for snow, mountaineering)

What achievements have you had flying?

Some beautiful XC flights plus in the only competition I ever participated, a small open with less than 40 pilots I manage to arrive 1st place in the goal in the 1st day and 2nd place on second and last task, flying against the boys on boomerangs 3, boom sport and trangos, all that in my 1999 XS APCO allegra, even although I didn't go the podium as I didn't have a GPS to validate my points I was very happy.

What is the worse moment you've had flying?

After 3 years flying, having a big frontal collapse couple hundred meters above the ridge, strong conditions in the arid summer of the Brazilian country side, with dust devils and strong cross wind at the take off, no pilots wanted to take off, only me in my Synergy2 DHV 2 and another pilot in comp wing took off, soon after I took off I realized that was the strong turbulence I ever been trough and i was doing my best to keep the wing open, when I couldn't take anymore and the wing disappeared behind me in a big frontal a little cascate and i manage to reopen the wing and fly away from the ridge with a cravat (almost hit the ridge in the cascade) was the worst experience I ever had flying, all my own fault, young and naive thinking I could go trough any turbulence with the glider.

What is your favorite thing about paragliding?

Be able to fly, glide trough the air, the flying dream.

How has paragliding changed your life?

Paragliding changed my life in many aspects, all for the good.

Do you have any advice for women thinking about getting into paragliding?

Well i would tell them, if you have the desire of flying inside of you, paragliding could be one of the answers, among, hanggliding, wingsuit flying, paragliding probably the best option for girls nowadays, its easy to learn, its relatively safe, and the most important thing, it's light, my gear is only 12kg with pod harness and everything I need, its a light backpack you can carry easily, its an aircraft you can carry inside a train, car, motorbike, isn't it it such an amazing thing :)

Another very important thing for the girls after you decide to start paragliding, different from hanggliding or wingsuit, we girls or light boys have problems in paragliding, due certification and economic reasons manufactures of paragliders have to spend a lot more time and money to manage to certify a truly small paraglider ( smaller than 20square meter flat for 50 to 80kg pilots) due that most manufactures just make their XS or S paragliders bigger than what would be ideal for light girls/boys, around 21 to 23 square meter flat, 3 or 4 meters bigger, with that they manage to get certification easily therefore manufactures spend less time and money on this small wings, which is not good for us light pilots as we need truly small certified paragliders. So there are only a few manufactures who produce truely ideal sized/wingload certified paragliders for the size XS or S. just look around in their specifications, if you less than 80kg all up, try to avoid flying paragliders with more than 20 square meters flat, otherwise it will be too big for you, hard to take off, you can be dragged easily on the ground, it can collapse very easy due to low wingload, any wind and you can be blown back behind the hill and suffer injuries like happened with me when i use to fly big XS paragliders from other companies.

What was the best advice you were ever given?

It was in Portuguese language, not sure if it make sense in English, but was something like, "better you don't take off than you take off and wish you haven't done"

Do you have a saying or motto that you live your life by?

I have a saying with me, as an Atheist person that I am. "Try to make your dreams reality, because life is short and we only have one"

Who are your female roles models?

My female paragliding role model would be Seiko Fukoaka, she is a very good competition pilot and she still retain her woman femininity.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Yes! I'm sorry for my bad English.

I don't have a blog or website at the moment, but I have a few videos of me flying on my youtube channel if anyone want to check it out