Safety checks on 16 paragliders from the LTF-A and B classes
Virtually anyone who has an interest in staying safe should see this long and detailed article from the DHV, it is very educational and informative without being partial to any wing or manufacturer, and it highlights that fact that even EN B wings may be too much for occasional pilots to cope with if something untoward happens.
GIN wings – DHV safety notice for Boom GTO’s
This affects: Boomerang GTO XS AIRT GS_0313.2010, Boomerang GTO S AIRT GS_0314.2010, Boomerang GTO M AIRT GS_0315.2010, Boomerang GTO ML AIRT GS_0316.2010, Boomerang GTO L AIRT GS_0317.2010
Maillon safety warning
This comes from one manufacturer, but is almost certainly relevant to any paraglider. Basically it show how just slightly overtightening the nut just a tiny fraction makes it come off the other end and become dangerous.
Gin Boomerang advice – direct from Gin
We strongly advise you not to fly in the rain on the Boomerang GTO and Boomerang 7 paragliders. These high performance gliders are very susceptible to deep stall in the rain.
“The development path of modern high performance paragliders (high aspect ratio, 3 lines, profile type and high camber profiles) bears no allowance for these kind of gliders to fly when wet. If you see a shower coming during a flight, even a light one, we strongly advise you to go to land immediately.
“If you do fly in the rain, and if you enter a stall, which generally happens when you enter lift, do as follows. Do not perform any actions with your brakes, do not steer the wing, push on the “A” risers. If this is not sufficient to recover the flight, push the speed bar and maintain the action”.
Incident at Selsley – a glider with unsheathed lines lost some PG upper brake lines as the pilot pulled up for a reverse launch. Fortunately the pilot noticed. The offending stone was nothing more than a small rough pebble, and the Selsley launch is as nice and smooth a grassy place as you could wish for. So the advice is – take care with unsheathed lines, and always make a visual check before you actually launch.
Paraglider lines can melt if not laid out on launch correctly
Evidence from Long Mynd Pilots has shown that the very act of not laying out lines cleanly on launch can cause friction burning as they suddenly get pulled tight against each other – this can be bad enough to lead to structural failure. Also bear in mind that any knots when pulled up tight during launch can kink the fibres and weaken them invisibly. This is a warning to all of us to not just throw the kit out of the bag and assume it will form a nicely shaped wing without any damage. Who actually spends time to look in fine detail at the lines – I don’t but I’m going to take more care from now on. Hang Glider pilots always check their wires on pre-flight, but PG pilots don’t, even though they are absolutely just as important.
UP paragliders – safety notice from DHV
The safety notice is in German and I haven’t tried to get it translated in case I’m wrong – so please go to http://www.dhv.de/typo/index.php?id=3940&item=176&backpid=5517 if you have almost any kind of UP glider built in the last three years.
Recently manufactured Wills Wing Hang Gliders – safety notice relating to hang point straps.
Moyes Litespeed hang gliders
Moyes have sent out the following advisory notice to owners of Litespeed hang gliders:
The Litespeed range of hang gliders has been DHV certified using 2mm (1 x 19) side wires. We recommend that all gliders with 2mm (1 x 19) wires should change their wires every 6 months or every 50 hours or immediately upon any sign of fatigue or kinking.
We recommend that if a pilot plans to do aerobatics or any high ‘G’ maneuvers, they should change the side wires to 2.4mm (1 x 19).
All Litespeed’s will now be produced with 2.4mm (1 x 19) side wires unless the customer requests 2mm (1×19) wires.
DHV certification is not affected by changing to different wires, provided that they have been correctly tested and shown to be at least as strong as the certified type.
Customers requiring replacement wires or more information should contact their local dealer or Moyes direct.
When placing an order for side wires please ensure that you provide the serial number and A-frame options fitted.
Location of Emergency Parachute connection for Hang Gliders
Unsure of exact details that this refers to, but is sound advice if difficult to follow on most makes of harness.
It is VITAL that the Emergency Parachute Bridle is attached to the Harness only and INDEPENDENT of the ‘hang point attachment’ to the harness. There is also a very big argument here in favour of Long Nylon Bridles on the parachute.… (1) You must not allow a rotating wing tip to hit the Parachute Lines – lines can easily be broken in this manner but it won’t take out a 25mm tubular nylon webbing bridle. (2) Kevlar bridles are usually too short and have practically No Stretch to take out Opening Shock. Nylon has a 30% stretch under load and so acts a very good spring and damper during hard openings. In the USA, the minimum length for a HG bridle is 35 feet. This is probably a bit over the top but the distance should be.….. Harness Attachment Point – to – Emergency Parachute Container – then up to 2 or 3 feet past the wing tip on a ‘Clapped Hands’ glider. This distance will vary on different wings but it will be quite long on a large Tandem Wing. And don’t forget.… Minimum of 9mm Mailon link on a single bridle… even on PGs.
Icaro Laminar Hang Glider airworthiness
The main hang-loop attachment failed on an Icaro 2000 hangglider (with King post). The failure resulted from the sharp edges of the eyelet used in the webbing. The failure occured during flight, but had no further consequences, as the backup hang-loop immediately took over. The particular eyelets have been used by Icaro 2000 in their products for 20 years. This is the first failure. Control checks have shown that in a very few cases, sharp edges may be present where these eyelets have been placed. Icaro 2000 have immediately stopped using this type of eyelet. Together with the DHV, Icaro 2000 issue the following safety note:
All customers who have a king-post hangglider with a serial number of 8703 or less, must check the hang-loop eyelets for sharp edges. Defective hang-loops must be replaced.
This check must be performed before the next flight.
Go to the DHV website for photographs of the problem http://www.dhv.de/typo/index.php?id=3940&item=173&backpid=5517
Courtesy of Malvern club Reserve Repack
The event was successfully held in Upton village hall with approximately 20 people practice throwing and repacking their reserves.
- Particularly for the new and inexperienced but equally applying to anyone. When buying a reserve, make sure its suitable (Ask Mike Townsend if in doubt). E.G. some steerable reserves (Rogelo types etc) can be significantly more demanding to operate in an already stressful situation. Failure to control both your wing and reserve can lead to them down planing against each other which is potentially catastrophic. Down planing can also occur with normal reserves but in this situation you only have to control your wing
- Do Not leave packing aids attached to the reserve, or to the deployment container and do not secure the inner deployment bag to the reserve. (In one incident Cable ties had been used to pull through the bungee loop in an outer cloverleaf type container so that the pin could be inserted, unfortunately this cable tie was not removed and completely stopped the reserve deploying.)
- VELCRO! If Velcro features in your reserve closure make sure you have the strength to open it. Velcro binds over time so it is best to prise it apart periodically and reclose it gently to prevent this happening. (In one incident the pilot took three attempts to extract his reserve resulting in a time of over 5 seconds. In a low level deployment it could make all the difference. We have also had people totally failing to deploy in previous years).
- Look for the Handle! (Several people reached for the handle but did not look for it and subsequently fumbled taking two attempts adding a second or so to their time). Again at low level this could make all the difference.
DHV airworthingess advisory – may affect any harness or reserve parachute – HG or PG)
Two paraglider pilots have sent their reserves to the DHV for examination. While being re-packed it was noted, that the outside of the inner-container was covered with a thin layer of a sticky substance. In one case, the reserve was stuck so tightly, that a deployment was only possible after physically peeling the outer-container from the inner-container. It is most probable, that an emergency deployment in flight would not have been possible. Both reserves had not been re-packed at the scheduled intervals recommended by the manufacturer (one 10 months, the other 26 months). The manufacturer of the material used for the inner-container explained the chemical process believed to be responsible for this behaviour: should the outer-container be made from a fabrik with a polyester coating, a migration of the softening components may occur, resulting in a partial dissolution and more or less sticky substance. The two cases investigated involved reserves from Finsterwalder/Charly. Due to the large variety of reserves and harnesses, and the resulting combinations of inner- and outer-containers, it is probable that reserves from other manufacturers will also be affected. Due to this, the DHV issued the following airworthiness directive:
At every scheduled re-pack of a hang- or paraglider reserve canopy, the inner- and outer-containers are to be checked for the presence of a sticky substance. Should such a substance be determined, even in small amounts, then the manufacturer(s) of the inner- and outer-containers must be contacted and a replacement containers are to be used.
Reserve canopies suffering from sticky-degredation of their inner- and outer-containers do not meet airworthiness requirements, and are not to be used for flights more than 50 meters above ground level. Gmund, 06.08.09 Karl Slezak DHV Saftey Manager
Harness parachute enclosure issue
The following description is from Kevin Poole who was present at a practice parachute throwing and repack hosted by the Malvern club. It is specific to certain paragliding harnesses, but the issue could crop up with many other types of hang gliding and paragliding reserve parachute containers.
Basically, the first lady pilot to try to deploy “died” because she couldn’t get her reserve out from her ( Sup Air EVO) harness. It turned out this was because she had only been able to pull one of the two pins out when she pulled on the red handle. That was because the string to the second pin runs between the “hook” and “loop” faces of two biggish patches of velcro, and the string was effectively “caught” by the velcro – she didn’t have the strength to yank it out. A big beefy man may not have the same problem, though I gather there was another deployment by a bloke in an Altix with the same design of pins, strings, flaps and velcro, who took two or three big pulls to get his chute out, due to the same problem. Two or three attempts to deploy equates to a height loss of maybe a few hundred feet?
If you look at your Altix (if it’s the same design as the Evo and Altix at the repack, which were both fairly new, I think) you will see there is a protective flap right at the rear/bottom which covers over the pins and has two small holes covered in transparent plastic which allow you to see that the pins are still engaged. That flap is held down by velcro and if you lift it up, you will see that the string to the pin furthest from the deployment handle runs along the suface of the velcro – so when you close the flap up again, it gets gripped between the two layers of velcro. As we know, velcro attaches tighter over time if it is left “unpeeled” – especially if you squeeze it (as you would every time you pack your harness away or sit down in it whilst waiting on the hill). The end result for this girl was that the string to the second pin was held so tightly by the velcro that she simply couldn’t get the pin out at all. And Mr Beefy only managed it on the second or third attempt. When you looked closely, you could see that the string was of a braided type, so that the hooks of the velcro were actually sticking to the string itself, not just squeezing it between the two layers of velcro – this must have compounded the problem. All very worrying if you have that design of harness. I don’t know what other harnesses (Sup Air or others) would have this problem.
Reserve repacking should be carried out regularly
Please think about your reserve, it should be repacked far more frequently than most people do actually do so. The reasons are multiple;
Once the reserve is packed, it is possible to absorb moisture from being left in damp air conditions, not just wet from rain. The moisture once in, will not get back out again eaily and can could mould and midlew which damage the strength of fabric and lines as well as looking bad. Advice from most manufacturers says that the reserve should be allowed to air indoors for 24hours before it is repacked – something that is very rarely done when we have specific repack events where it is deployed and repacked immediately.
The reserve once packed gets squashed more, especially if the harness is the type that the pilot is likely to sit on it whilst waiting for a launch or having their sandwiches. the effect fo this is to almost iron creases into the reserve which have been shown to make the deployment take longer as the airstream takes longer to get inbetween the leaves of the canopy to allow it to open.
Any velcro involved in the system – and many harnesses, both hang gliding and paragliding still use velcro, tends to get more stuck together over time. this is because slight movements between the two faces allow the hook and eyes to mingle together better and really get stuck in well. Add together the fact that if you have been flying, the air is colder, plastic is less flexible and then velcro has been proven to become extremily difficult to release. Even if you don’t repack the reserve, remember to regularly pull the velcro apart, check everything and then refit back to the standard grip.
If you repack the harness yourself, practice will improve the speed that you can do it, making a neater job of it, and it also gives you the chance of a practice throw – remember we have the swing installed at the Long Mynd gate, which is ideal for this if you can’t do it from a tree near home.
BHPA advice on selection of Reserve parachutes
Update September 2009 – an Independent test of all manufacturers reserve parachutes by Air Turquoise (who also carry out DHV testing) shows some manufacturers reserves fail, and some are much, much better than others. Ian Currer has written an article about the results which is due out fairly soon in Skywings. Please contact your Safety officer if you are desparate to buy a new reserve and can’t wait until the Skywings report appears (as I’ve seen the pre-release article). A key thing to consider is that some (not all) of the new ultra light reserves are simply physically not big enough, and also worth considering whether there is any real world evidence of them being used (no one seems to know of any evidence and that includes the BHPA and Dealers).
The advice below has been reviewed and validated by Dave Thompson of the BHPA. Further detail is in the BHPA Pilot handbook:
- Get a modern parachute that is the right weight range for you – you must measure your all up weight accurately – that includes you, clothes, glider, harness, ballast/water, the reserve etc.
- Make sure that the canopy is CEN certified – standard pulldown apex types are good – will have been tested to be less than 5.5m/s descent for weight range (thats the worst it can be to pass the test).
- Another consideration is your harness. Make sure that the canopy can fit securely in the reserve pocket in your harness without being too tight a fit and that the routing of the bridle is correct and cannot be pulled by accident. People have been injured far more by accidental deployments shortly after take-off than by deliberate deployments when actually needed. A deployment at very low altitude is bad news – like when you have just put your full weight in the harness and launched.
- My advice – don’t rely on bathroom scales to weigh you and your kit. I’ve never yet found one that is always accurate, some can be a stone or more out and that can make a significant difference to decisions. Ones in Gym’s or office/factory medical rooms tend to be better. I’ve used one that is certified accurate to 1 gram.
Airbag PG harness comparison – DHV – startling reading and some very good advice
(information courtesy of MHGC, BHPA and DHV)
Rucksack harness comparison. The DHV has compiled a very interesting report, in English, comparing five popular convertible rucksack-harnesses.
It outlines DHV testing of airbag effectiveness, particularly in the take-off phase. The report concludes that none of the tested harnesses offered anything like the back protection required by the LTF standards during take-off, and that good results were often dependent on the presence of a reserve parachute.
The DHV notes that accidents frequently occur during this phase of flight. They are to propose additional requirements for airbag design in the next revision of the LTF harness specifications.
The report is available on the DHV Web site – http://www.dhv.de/typo/News_Details_English.715.0.html?&cHash=962ac040f5b6406f3a9fc5eb5f094da6&tx_ttnews[backPid]=3&tx_ttnews[tt_news]=3533
Enclosed Paragliding harnesses
Several accidents (some fatal) have occured as pilots have failed to connect up the main leg straps and had not realised due to the way that the pod and instrument housing encloses around the body and loose straps cannot be seen by the pilots or by-standers. see – http://www.xcmag.com/2010/07/dhv-cocoon-harness-safety-advice/
It nearly happened to me once after slope landing and walking back up the Mynd. A new CP wanted to talk to me at some length and I partly unclipped, then half an hour later a thermal came through, so I excused myself and attempted to forward launch, but fortunately realised before anything happened – any other site or situation could have been much worse.
Releasing from harness over water
Sol harness warning for those with foam back protectors – The models affected are the Flex Virtue DHV GS-03-0353-07, Flex Amazon DHV GS-03-0363-07 and Flex Easy 2 DHV GS-03-0364-07.
PG underseat reserve safety warning from DHV
If you have a paraglider harness with underseat reserve and a speedbar, please check out this link to make sure that you have it fitted correctly. Some good photo’s to detail exactly what it should look like. This is a result of a fatal accident investigation, so the impact if your setup isn’t correct is now known. http://www.dhv.de/typo/index.php?id=3940&item=159&backpid=5180