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Plastic rods examined

The DHV website carries a fascinating article about the pros and cons of using plastic rods in paraglider leading edges. Prolific designer Michael Nesler (Edel, Perché, Freestyle, Firebird, Icaro, Independence, Profly, Wings of Change, etc) points out that although manufacturers promise better stability, increased performance and reduced weight using plastic rods, there is a downside too.

He asks whether we really need more and more performance. The gains are only marked when flying really fast, and recreational pilots tend to avoid this except in emergencies. Michael concludes that the use of plastic rods instead of Mylar or Dacron reinforcements can have positive benefits in weight, performance, recovery after turbulence and reduced production costs.

However when used simply to improve performance they can introduce a new set of dangers including unpredictable recovery behaviour and reduced safety if they become deformed, and an increased risk of deep stalls when gliders age. The 1,500-word article is a fascinating investigation into paragliding‘s recent big new direction. It can be found, in English, on the DHV website.

Posted: 10 August 2012

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