Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Gin Boomerang 10, GTO 2, Niviuk Icepeak 8, Ozone Enzo 2, Mantra 6, etc Wingloading Comparison.

For those thinking in Buying the GIN Boomerang GTO 2, Boomerang 10 or Icepeak 8 sizes S or even Medium in the case of the GTO2 and IP8 here are a few reasons why you should NOT buy it and buy the Enzo 2 S/XS or Boomerang 9 S instead. Don't be fooled.
Obviously if depending on me, Gin and Niviuk wont sell a single small Boom 10, GTO 2, Small Icepeak 8 or any manufacturer with oversized small gliders in the their range for that matter.

To a better understanding, in a simplistic language, think it this way, the molecules of air are the same size to all of us, that means the advantages and disadvantages between the sizes is applied equally in ALL sizes when compared to each other. For example if Ozone or Gin gave to the XL, L and M the same flat wingloading, but denied the S and XS the same benefit with its advantages and disadvantages, it is absolutely unfair for S and XS pilots, remember wingloading translates (speed, stability and handling).

Smaller pilots already don't have physics in their side, the Reynold numbers, but when manufactures decide to accentuated the problem by refusing to give the S and XS the same wingloading as the M, L and XL it makes matters worse. Small flying beings like insects have extremely high wingloading when comparing their wing to their body size ( wings smaller than their abdomen) compared to bigger flying beings like soaring birds, (wings much larger then their body) that is because for smaller things to cut trough the air viscosity they need wingloading, it is VITAL, it is the KEY for them to be able to move around the air mass.
Here are some common misconceptions for reduced wingloading in the smller sizes and I will debunk one by one.

1- XS and S sizes have more drag therefore it must have less wingloading to achieve the same climbing abilities.

Answer.

Ok, lets imagine this wrong misconception is correct for a moment, so why is the M and L has the same wingloading as the XL? They all fly great. Use logic, the molecules of air is the same size to all of us, so the advantages and disadvantages should be applied to ALL sizes here but it is not, stupidly in the head of some designers it only apply to the S and XS, when smaller things are the most dependent upon wingloading to move trough the mass.
Smaller gliders have smaller circling radius, that means any insignificant small disadvantage in climbing caused giving the same flat wingloading to smaller sizes will be auto compensated by staying near the center of the thermal, where the lift is stronger. Proved many times when flying my Icepeak 6 19 at 90kg 4.8kg/sqm flat and climbing just as good as everybody else.

When one buy an oversized glider who doesn't have the same flat wingloading as the larger sizes, He/She has numerous problems, not only performance disadvantage, more increased risk of being blown to the lee side while everybody else is managing to cut trough the wind, difficult take off's, increased risk of being dragged in rocky terrain, getting blacked out in spiral, easily getting into uncontrollable cloud sucks, uncofortable flight in thermic conditions, all these can lead to death, accidents and taking away the confidence of the pilot in him/herself, when the problem is not necessarily them, He/She may be inside the top of the weight range on the glider but the actual wingarea of the glider is for someone twice of his/her weight.

Ok, Ok, so why manufactures don't give the same flat wingloading to all sizes and fix this problem once and for all, after all they are skygods and know what they are doing?

Answer.

There is not a single reason for this problem, I will list a few and comment upon them.

1- Firstly designers are just people like you and me, nobody knows everything, they are still learning after each project. In the past there were people designing gliders for Swing after reading a single thin book about aerodynamics who actually never flow a comp glider, never the less smaller sizes. After speaking with some designers I can clearly see they are incredibly knowledgeable with medium gliders but they also lack of knowledge and experience when comes to sizing of small gliders.

2- The reason why some designers, doesn't know how to design well small gliders, is because the designer himself usually flies Medium, their light factory pilots are good at pulling collapses and stalls but knows nearly nothing about aerodynamics applied to smaller flying things and they give the designer the wrong input, just like happened with the Small Boomerang 10, which the light factory pilot who couldn't stay in the best bits of the thermals, asked extra cloth for his glider to stay up with the rest of the pack, then of course, his mistake and extra cloth ( lower wingloading, lower speed and stability), is now going to be forced upon all of us, who wanted to buy this glider. I gladly no longer will spend a penny in it.

3- Certification process. Isn't the glider too dynamic to pass certification?. etc...
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In the beginning I thought the problem was Alan Zoiler, but it is not, the problem is a mix of factors and some I listed above. Smaller gliders are not more dynamic when they are given the same number of cells as its larger sizes and a considerable line length between the glider and the pilot. Also smaller people, things ( animals in general ) has faster reactions, so I believe the problem is not at the certification, the enzo 2 XS 20.3 up 95kg is only 0.6m bigger than what would be ideal (19.7m) and it passed on certification with flying colors. So fly if you are a pilot around 90kg, get an enzo 2 XS 20.3 and fly it at 95kg and you are almost as efficient as everyone on bigger gliders, if load the enzo 2 XS up to 98kg you are in virtually no disadvantage.

For almost 10 years I asked politely, for manufacturers to change, they didn't. They are robbing many girls and light boys flying careers and even putting them into dangerous situation with their oversized balloons, its the manufacturer responsibility, when he claims the same trim speed for all sizes of a model ranging from 3.1kg/sqm in the smaller size and 4.2kg/sqm in the XL, that is a lie and irresponsible.

I became fed up of seeing girls getting blown back behind the hill, dying and getting hurt, I almost got myself killed by one of these balloons, I decided it was enough, someone has to do something about it, I decided to passionately fight for this cause. Since 2009 I work educating pilots about the problem and encouraging them to check the actual size of the wing and not just the weight range, some got the message and greatly appreciate it, others usually larger pilots and dealers who aren't directly affected by the problem, tried to silence me and even get me banned from a forum for speaking about the subject. For believing what I'm doing is the right thing, I open my own forum and thousands follow me into it. Educated pilots wont buy oversized gliders, and we manage to hurt the profit some manufacturers make in their smaller wings, forcing them to reduce drastically the size of their small gliders. From 2012 we've seen small 60-80kg gliders dropping from 26sqm flat to 21-20sqm. a 6 meter drop in 2 years.

I would like thanks those who supported me, who embraced this cause for a fairer sport, where women and men have similar opportunities, performance and safety in paragliding. We conquered a lot, but we are not quite there yet.

"A girl who grew up being told she is not inferior to men, will never accept inequality"

Lauren Martins

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