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FAQ about Paragliders


FAQ Gliders

Paraglider inspection

When should I send my glider in for an inspection?
After one year, or about 100 hours of use and sun exposure (which ever comes first), or check with us whenever you think your wing isn't performing as it used to. 
If the main lines are made of Dyneema, it is recommended to have the first inspection at about 80 hours, or one year, which ever comes first.

If you plan to purchase a used glider, have it inspected first.

What are the possible risks if I do not have my glider inspected?
A good inspection will help determine if your wing has any weak spots, which will compromise your safety.  Weak spots include:

1.   UV damage to lines and fabric
2.   High porosity
3.   Inner core or outer sheathing damage to lines
4.   Stretched and/or damaged lines
5.   Seam failure
6.   Damage to hardware, such as quick links or pulleys
7.   Undetected rips or holes
8.   Wing deformities
 
Weak line strength may cause the lines to break in cascade partially or completely during stalls or 360 for example.

Fabric porosity plays a big role in the way your wing will react and may cause parachutals, changes in wing speed including glide ratio, and difficulties during wing inflations.

Lines that shrink or stretch change the geometry of your wing therefore causing your wing to react differently.  This will compromise the safety of your paraglider.

Should I have a partial or full inspection?
When buying or selling a wing, or if you haven’t had your wing inspected in a long time, a complete inspection is in order.  If your glider hasn’t been flown much in the last year, you take very good care of it and check it regularly, a partial inspection could be the answer.  When in doubt, a complete inspection will give you peace of mind and may save your life. 

What does an inspection entail at your shop?
- Verification of the serial number and production date
- Thorough cleaning of the wing (usually done on a wing hoist)
- Complete visual inspection of the top and bottom surface of the fabric and of the interior and cell walls
- Inspect the condition of all seams and stitching
- Porosity test
- Rip test (to check fabric strength)
- Inspection of each line for inner core damage and damage to the outer sheathing
- Measure of each line with a tension weight, comparing them to original line charts and correcting their length
- Line breakage test (we break the main, intermediate and top “A” lines and measures line strength with a digital sensor - more lines are  tested if the results are not favorable)
- Inspection of the brake lines for wear, proper adjustment and length, and attachment to the toggle (our shop will automatically replace both main brake lines for free if they are two or more years old)
- Inspection of the risers for stretching and shrinkage, inspect all stitching, confirming the integrity of each attachment point and inspecting the trimmers, quick-links, keepers, pulleys, snaps, speed system and toggles
- Replacement of worn or missing rubber O rings
- Stitches are performed on slipping trimmers to fix the problem.

Upon completion, you will receive a detailed written report of the inspection and all repairs with a sticker of “certification/approval” for your paraglider inspection.Grant Fitz Ontario Canada


Aging of the material

Do all wings age in the same way?
Wing manufacturers use different materials, so each fabric will age differently.  The wing has many components; the fabric, the lines and its profile.  All these have their individual aging factors. This is why each manufacturer issues a manual with all the pertinent characteristics and statistics of the wing. 

Are the paraglider manufacturers responsible for this aging?
Aging of the material is normal and manufacturers do their best to make the wings as resistant to aging as possible.  The reason a wing ages prematurely is neglect, abuse and/or ignorance.  These factors may result in its safety to be compromised and its life expectancy to be cut in half.  The wing owner plays an essential role in its aging process.

What precautions should I take to optimize my glider's longevity?
Kept in the best conditions, an average wing should offer a lifespan of approximately 500 hours.  We suggest that after 250 hours, all the main lines be changed. 
The principal responsible factors for the premature aging of a paraglider are UV factor, mildew/humidity, heat or severe temperature changes.
Leaving your wing out in the sun when not in use may shorten its lifespan.  Packing a wet wing will also shorten its lifespan considerably.  One should make sure it is stored in a dry environment, not too hot, nor too cold. 

Launch sites may be important also and a grassy field is preferable to sand and rocky terrain.  Although there is no substitute for a certified inspection, you should visually inspect your wing often between professional inspections.  Choose a suitable area to launch your glider.  Lines caught on roots or rocks lead to unnecessary strain on the attachment tabs during inflation.  Snagging lines may rip the canopy fabric or damage lines.

Dragging the glider over grass, soil, sand or rocks, will significantly reduce its lifetime and increase its porosity.


Ground-handling

·         When landing, never let the canopy fall on its leading edge.  The sudden pressure increase can severely damage the air-resistant coating of the canopy as well as weaken the ribs and seams.

·         When preparing for launch or when ground-handling, be sure not to step on any of the lines or the canopy fabric.

·         Do not tie any knots in the lines.

Storage

·         Avoid packing your glider when it is wet.  If there's no other way, then dry it as soon as possible and away from direct sunlight.  Be careful to avoid storing your canopy when damp or wet:  This is the most common reason for canopy degradation.

·         After flight or when storing, always use the inner protection sack.

·         When storing or during transportation, make sure your glider isn't exposed to temperatures higher than 50°C.

·         Never let the glider come in contact with chemicals.  Clean the glider with clean lukewarm water only.  Never clean using abrasives.

·         For long-term storage don't pack the glider too tightly.  Leave the stuff bag slightly open to allow any moisture to evaporate.

·         After tree or water landings always check carefully the glider.  If you suspect the glider may be damaged in any way contact a reputable glider shop.

·         Do not let your glider come into contact with seawater.  If it does, rinse the lines, canopy and risers with fresh water and dry it away from direct sunlight before storing.

Manufacturing process of fabric for paragliding:

Edited by olivier on Vimeo:

More information on paraglider fabric on Porcher Sport website:
http://www.porcher-ind.com/espace_plus.php?rubrique=1251&sad_flag_ID=2

Repairs

·         Small holes in the canopy can be repaired using adhesive tape.

·         Larger repairs or cell replacement should only be carried out by a reputable glider shop.

·         Damaged lines should be replaced by a reputable glider shop.  When a new line has been fitted always check its length against its counterpart on the opposite side of the wing.  After replacing a line always inflate the glider on flat ground to check that everything is in order before flying.


How are repairs made? 
Our repairs are made to factory specifications using matching fabric.  Once repaired, the glider is nearly always at 100% airworthy condition.


How much will a repair cost?
Our rate is $40.00 per hour, plus materials.

A post repair test flight is performed by Eric Dufour free of charge on all major repairs. 

Can you give me an estimate?
If you e-mail one or more pictures of the damage, we can usually give an approximate estimate. 

Otherwise you’ll need to send us your wing and we’ll contact you with to inform you on the repair's options with the estimate, and get your approval prior to beginning the repair.

Paraglider Repairs

English translation, by Christiane "CC" Moisan, of some words from Bertrand Maddalena, founder of Rip'Air, the biggest world glider shop, in the June 2007 issue of the French magazine Parapente Mag:

Washing / Desanding

During a PPG trip you’ve taken off or landed in a dusty LZ and the extrados (upper sail) of your wing is dirty and dusty.  What to do?  Here is Bertrand Maddalena’s (Rip’Air) suggestions:  “No matter what, no direct water (like hosing it down) as water is retained in the inside stitching.  The best:  hang your wing by the trailing edge and shake it well.  Then delicately rub with a humid rag the areas where it is soiled (this will probably leave some spotting).  Ground handle it or fly it to make sure it dries properly.  As always, if you can, do not pack it tightly and store it in a dry area (never store it in humid conditions).

Sand in your wing

Bertrand Maddalena:  “It must absolutely be taken out as sand is abrasive.  Take your wing by the trailing edge and shake it well, and don’t hesitate to use a small vacuum cleaner inside the cells.”

Beware of the fake inspection reports

Bertrand Maddelena (Rip’Air) speaks of his concerns about fake wing inspection reports.  “I have seen recently very good faked inspection reports.  With today’s data processing (computer) it is so easy!    The only way to fight this is to verify the validity of the report with the concerned glider shop.  As far as Rip’Air is concerned anyone asking validity of a report is done at no cost.  Just send us an email, asking for the copy of the report that you need.  
Here at Paratour, we adopt the same policy.
   Someone is selling you a wing with a Paratour wing inspection?  Don’t hesitate to verify with us the validity of this report
.