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A video of just how good reflex wings are


clivefreeman
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Careful Clive, they say in the video that it recovers better than any certified paraglider. Well, we know that's not true, especially on the asymmetric test where the Nucleon gains a number of C's. You also now can't induce asymmetric collapses on a number of new ENC+ paragliders. I guess this is another of those 'handbag' videos regarding safety of Reflex and none Reflex wings emanating from the USA. Richard.

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The Nucleon was pretty violent in its collapse, I appreciate that Ryan went out and did this but new guys need to know that is not a great recovery. It reinflated fast but could have easily gotten a cravat, especially if that were to happen because it was induced by mother nature, not hand pulled. Its aspect ratio also makes it want to horseshoe more in a full frontal, if unchecked, that would be a bad situation.

It is rated ENC for a reason, I keep seeing these debates on newbs getting put on these, bad idea...

Sure in reflex mode it is indeed stable, which is great and rather impressive. I'd really like to see some sort of calculation for reflex wings that shows how much pressure is needed to collapse a reflex glider, taking into account its wing loading. I think a formula could be made showing this.

My standard pg glider doesnt take much more than 50-60 pounds of pressure to induce a collapse, but it also reinflates like nothing happened and is uneventful.

Need to get some wind tunnel testing done on one of these things, how cool would that be!? I know the expense/profit ratio wouldnt work out so well for our small flying niche but a lot of advacements could be made. They could always scale down wings to test them in a smaller wind tunnel.

Jeff

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I apreciate that, but for us folk who cant actively fly we can use full reflex and enjoy the flight. I only fly in pretty benign conditions anyway. But if it does get rough you can let your wing do its thing. i would like to learn a bit more about active flying but do i need to with a reflex wing ?

Thanks Clive

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In answer to Clive's question.. IMO the answer is yes, you DO need to be able to fly actively (even if you fly a reflex wing)

Here's why.

1 We takeoff in slow to neutral mode. Turbulence is often near the ground, which is the worst time to have a collapse. Collapses can be prevented or reduced substantially by active piloting.

2 Whilst floating around in neutral to slow trim, taking photos etc, imagine encountering some freaky air. Which can you do quickest.????? Weightshift and brake control OR let the trimmers out to full reflex ( and if something nasty is Allready happening to your wing, do you really want to change to full reflex ???)

3 The most fun in our flying is the shear adrenaline rush associated with thermalling. But you dont get to do that unless you can pilot actively.

I'm sure there are plenty more that other people have thought of. Can anyone suggest any reasons not to aquire the skills.? It's easy enough. Just groundhandle with your eyes closed

It's probably better than just relying on the wing.

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Snowed in here, so thought I'd bring this one to the top again, just to see if anyone had any thoughts on active piloting and/or reflex technology/ combination of both pilot input and type of wing flown.

I personally fly both reflex and conventional wings and wondered if anyone had more ideas to share.

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Just one for the relative newbie’s, as this can be an extremely dangerous situation, if not treated properly. To rely on your wing not to collapse is folly. All wings collapse (some more than others, but this is not quantified), it's the way they recover which is important and that's where the EN tests excel. The wings’ behaviour under recovery collapse are now fully and properly quantified, more so than under the old DHV system and previous Afnor/Acpul methods. The recovery tests are passive (no active pilot input) and this ‘should be’ the worst scenario. A pilot with insufficient training and/or experience could make the situation worse. ENA wings are best followed by B, C, D and then uncertified. Most PG wings are fully certified at all speeds and manoeuvres within the weight ranges, Most PPG wings are not fully certified. I.E. recovery collapse untested in some situations: either excluding one, some or all of speed bar, trimmers, weight range, manoeuvres. Please be careful and fly with some extra height and a reserve. Get properly trained. Read and fully understand your wing EN test report. Go on an SIV course. Richard.

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But from what i can gather people have been flying reflex for years and never had a colapse. So isnt it more important to not have the colapse in the first place. I know its better to know how to acively fly but i bet most people dont know how to do it that fly reflex. Especialy when you first start out , so for me to fly my synth im confident its not going to colapse. And if i get thrown about on landing or take of i would just try and fly it straight , and keep it safe. I would not of thought a siv coarse would not be necessary. And hopefully as i get more experienced i will naturaly start to adjust to my wings needs. I wonder how many people on here have experienced a colapse on a reflex or have done a siv coarse.

Thanks Clive

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Richard and Clive. Thanks for the well thought out replies. Very good advice, of course, in your first message Richard. I haven't done SIV course either yet, aside from some informal struggling in strong thermals, at height. Not sure if I would class SIV as neccessary either Clive but I'm sure it would help with sorting problems encountered and building confidence and understanding. If only flying benign conditions or smooth air it probably wont matter too much which wing,you use either, within reason. But I found as most do, that you tend to go up in slightly stronger stuff as experience grows. Pilot choice of course? Not always... I landed first a few months ago and watched my 2 buddies struggle against a wind that picked up rapidly as I landed. They were on full reflex to make groundspeed in order to reach me. Landing before reaching me was not a good option because of terrain and rotor. One was looking like an accordian and the other had a couple of good 30% tucks. They were both on full reflex. Granted, neither collapsed or lost height, but I wouldn't want to see it any closer. The tip to tip boys flew some rough stuff on reflex wings too. Like to hear from any of them as to what effect those type of conditions had on the wings.

Like you Clive, if anyone has had a collapse on reflex, I would like to know more about it. As Richard rightly said, they aren't tested in this mode. It also might be 2 different things to have a deliberately induced collapse or one that mother nature produced.

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Dave how strong was the wind blowing when you landed in the strong wind. I flown in about 15mph and landed pretty quick all was ok, with no problem with the wing. So i was wandering at what sort of wind speed would start to colapse a reflex wing. I generaly fly below 10mph but sometimes like you say you can get caught out.

Thanks Clive

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I had full frontal during the tip to tip.

I was on full fast trim and full speed bar.

It was a 26 Revo.

The weather was terrible and we should not have been flying.

I lost about 50ft or so, before the wing popped back out again and started flying in the same direction as we had been.

The event lasted a matter of a second, the adrenalin lasted a few days!

Looking at it from the comfort of the office chair... It was a non event (at the height that I was at)

It was caught on camera from my handheld... It is on the Tip to Tip DVD.

SW :D

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I missed that one Si. Sounds scarey. Was it filmed from the ground or did you have the camera in the air ? I'll take another look. Proves that they will collapse then. Glad to hear it recovered well and quickly. Pressumeably you let the bar back when it went ????

Clive...Not so much to do with the wind speed (which got up to about 15mph) but the direction. When it's brisk and coming from Dartmoor it always tends to be a little bumpy here (about 6 miles north of the moor) We just ride up through the bumps and it usually smooths out at 1500 ft AGL. The other times we've found it to be a bit spikey is when there is a cold front approaching. Lovely and smooth after it's gone through. You've probably learnt all about Met in the classroom.

I've had one or two surprise thrashings on what might be construed as a reasonable day to fly too. These are the ones that catch you out and get the heart racing, as Simon mentioned. I've looked around after to see if I could see why. One was obvious, and we shouldn't have been there. Big cumulous cloud, taller than it was wide, about 5 to ten miles away. Just after a heavy shower too so we were numpties. The other was a steep wooded hill lying away from the sun not far from a big hill lying into the sun. Air rushing down the first and up the second producing a large swirling mass of air.

The only other time I've had wingtips folding in was when practicing not such perfect wingovers, where I didn't apply quite enough outside brake. Like quite a few others I had a tendancy to hold the risers when things got exciting to the next level. Still do sometimes I must admit.

Hope that helps Clive. Do you have a more experienced buddy to fly with ? Helps alot when deciding whether to fly or not.

Dave

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Dave already knows about my collapse last year but I thought I would share it with you guys,it might stop you making the same mistake as me.

First off the wing was not at fault it was my mistake that caused it. I fly a revo 28 and was approaching my farm to land ( on slow trim ) when I saw 3 of my mates standing in the yard watching me. As I was at about 300 ft I applied some power and did a tightish 360 which was when all hell broke loose. I must have flown back through my own prop wash which caused an asymetrical collapse, the wing spun 180 degrees putting me back in the turbulent air causing the other side to collapse.Not knowing what the hell was happening I was off the power and raised both hands to let the wing sort itself out,which it did.

Upon reinflation both the wing and I were pointing straight at the ground at 100 ft. I think I muttered a quick goodbye to the world because even if we pulled out of the dive before hitting the ground there were 40-50 ft trees right infront of me. We easily missed the ground and the pendulum motion of me swinging under the wing caused us to climb steep enough to just clear the trees and I managed to catch the following wing surge with the brakes,applied power to clear power lines ( When shit happens! ) and landed safely.My mates thought I was going to die ( one apparently grabbed hold of anothers arm) and people who saw it from a distance said that although they knew nothing about parachutes,they knew that they should not be at such strange angles to the ground.

Once again, this was pilot error and I am full of praise for the wing for sorting itself out.

Alistair

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I had a bit of a hairy flight a couple of weeks ago and got caught out down wind of landing site about 2 miles with wind picking up from 5mph on take off to 15mph off shore making very turbulent conditions, i was in full reflex (revo 24)to penetrate through the wind to get back above land but decided to fly actively which i personally felt more comfortable with which may have been the wrong thing to do but at the time it felt right.

My reasons i did this is the conditions were so bad and i thought the wing was going to collapse anyway and i would rather have a collapse in non reflex mode as the recovery would be less severe.

I personally use reflex mode to fly faster and not to rely on in turbulent conditions as i try to stay away from turbulent conditions in the first place.

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Crikey Matt ! You were between the devil and the deep blue sea (literally) How scared were you ? Very interesting that you chose to active pilot in non reflex mode rather than rough it out on full speed. Especially with the sea behind you and a strong headwind. I'm guessing you weren't that high and your skills are good.

I remember you telling me about that one Alistair. Now I've seen it in black and white I'd say there's more to it. Like Jeff below you, I've flown through my wake 100's of times and apart from the odd shake and a rustle as a tip waves in and pops out, it's uneventfull. We should check your line lengths next time I'm there (or you could do it before you go up again) Are you low end on wing loading? You have some cracking thermals out there. What time of year was it ? Your first collapse might've been caused by your wake but I doubt the second one was. You would've lost some height in the first recovery judging by the 180 turn induced. This would've put you below the wash that you hit first time.

Alistair. I think this one bears further examination. You are a carefull pilot and it's no joke facing the ground at 100 feet. Had you encountered big thermals that day? Rob was glad to land your wing at your field, after a thermal or some bad brake input, closed a tip suddenly. Simon did the same here one morning too, and landed. I had over 1000 ft/min climbs in a thermal a mile down the road from you that same day and some whoppers over your woods as I left to fly home at 6 pm. All smooth by the time I cleared Hatherleigh.

Dave

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I agree with Dave there must be more to Alistaire's event than flying through wake, even if it is slow trim lots of brake, down wind turn + wake???

Having had lots of scary moments over the years I find that my instincts are as follows: Stay on fast trim if it gets bumpy, gentle brake inputs only, fly towards the big blue bit of sky if I don't like it where I am, always expect bumpy air over forests or gorse type moorland whatever the time of day, expect the same down wind of these and towns etc. Don't land when its rough if you can help it but wait for it to pass then land. landing on fast trim works but controls are heavy and sluggish and you may need to take a wrap or run it off. Wet wings are very fast and heavy and may collapse and stay collapsed so best avoided but if caught out stay fast trim and very gentle brake inputs expect a fast landing. Ive had large puddles in my wing before and attempted to drain them by full speed bar to tip it out with only little success.

Although not a wing collapse as such on the tip to tip 2008 I dropped like a stone for a count of 4 seconds just after watching Dan do the same. As described on the video I really didn't know what was going on.

Movements of air mass is a complicated subject and we rely on this air mass to keep our buts off the deck. What is reasuring is the way that the wings we fly perform in these conditions.

Anyway I have now spread the pressies over the house for the children (18 and 21 now and still doing it!!!), will finish my mulled wine and off to bed.

Looks good for flying down here xmas day.

Merry Xmas

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Seasons greetings to you too Richard

You must fly my Nucleon soon. Not in the rain though :!: Like to know what you think. Might let you have a play with a M*S**R too.

Yes, airmasses are interesting and complicated. Trying to stay in the bits that are going up and not going down is one thing. Predicting what you're going to get is harder. Nice to know the wing would help if you got it wrong. I'm digging around for some first hand accounts as there seem to be some contrasting opinions out there. Read the report again on my Nuc EN tests. Mostly A's , some B's and a couple of C's and impossible to B line stall. The C's relate to 180 degree turns made during recovery from collapses I think.

Dave

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Well, I hope I never need to do a B line stall!!

But if your into strong thermals... it may hit you one day.

A couple of my Paragliding mates have HAD to do a b line stall a few times as a rapid decent technique to get out of strong cloud suck.

SW :D

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Acording to the manual you can B- stall all be it hard to do. Or do they mean not possible, but then show you how you do it anyway.

Thanks Clive

3.4.3 B-STALL Executing a B-stall on a Nucleon is very hard due to specific suspension lines location in stabilizers area. To enter a B-stall, simultaneously pull down both B-risers (red tape) by 10 – 15 cm. The canopy will collapse across the entire span along its B-row, the airflow over top surface will break and canopy surface will be decreased. Forward movement will be almost completely stopped. Further pulling B- risers is not advised, as tests have shown it to increase wing instability. If the canopy forms a horseshoe with both wingtips in front of the pilot, gently apply both brakes to recover. To exit a B-stall, the risers should be released in a smooth and decisive manner. On quick and symmetrical releasing B-lines the airflow will be reinstated and the wing will surge forward, returning to normal flight. In In contrast to standard paragliders, in case of Nucleon there is no need to counter this surge with brakes - yet another asset of the reflex profile! CAUTION: See the PARACHUTAL STALL chapter. All rapid descent techniques should be practiced in smooth air and only with sufficient altitude only ! Full stalls and spins are to be avoided as recovery procedures, of the extreme manoeuvres, since irrespective of paraglider type they may have dangerous consequences! BY FAR THE BEST TECHNIQUE IS SAFE AND CORRECT FLYING, SO THAT YOU WILL NEVER NEED TO DESCEND RAPIDLY! 3.5 AEROBATICS Nucleon was not designed to do any aerobatics.

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That's interesting Clive. My source was the test report on para@2000. They do differ.

Best thing for strong thermals is to ride em till they spit you off the top isn't it Simon.? Cloud suck is different. No one wants to go up to 50,000 ft

" But if your into strong thermals... it may hit you one day. "

SW :D

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