Thursday, 26 January 2012

Valle Super Final - Gliders - which witch is worst?

Everyone wants to know which glider is best and there are some truly bizarre theories floating on the forums. So here is my take on it:

1. You can't make any conclusions after one day of racing

2. Most super final pilots don't need time to 'get into' these wings simply because the handling is by definition better than R10/11 and we are all flying the medium size with the notable exceptions of RusselA and PauloZ and one or two others

3. Compounding point 2 is the fact that there are two types of pilots present: the fat guys, like myself, who fasted to lose 15 pounds of lard to squeeze into the very top of the 115kg weight limit (with the aid of impress 3 and a borrowed Beamer reserve); and the skinny runts who had to feast like sumo wrestlers to claw their way to 95kg at the bottom of the range (with the aid of the kitchen sink and ballast). The result is obvious.. Same gliders, same pilots, but different wing loading.... So it is expected that Eric will climb better than me while giving up speed and glide because we are flying the same wing with almost 10kg difference. Someone can go and crunch the numbers around that and conclude that it does not make all that much difference, but any race pilot will tell you it makes a huge difference. This was exactly my personal experience ... I felt I could put more speed on when I needed to make up time and to pick up 15 or more places on the leg back from Elefant, but at no time did I feel I was dominant in the climb.

4. If the above were not enough then consider yesterday's task was not a task to compare gliders because there were several crux decisions that decided the result. Why else would so many very big names end up so far down the order? When a task is easy you see almost no anomalies in the results.

5. It is easy to think another glider has better glide than you at a world cup because there is almost always someone higher after a crossing or glide. That is normally simply a case of them having left higher than you or before you.

In conclusion I predict that by the end of the comp consensus will be that the gliders are almost the same and that wing loading will be the deciding factor on speed, glide and climb. Remember also that weight ranges are largely theoretical and it takes time to figure out where the sweet spot is.

The Swing glider looks as good but in this case we know it is a little slower because Torsten said so (the other sizes will be certified with more speed). Looking at the results we might think it is one of the fastest right?


Dansk paragliding said...

Thanks Puppy, appreciate it,

Mads S

Tom Payne said...

Hi Andre,

For info, the difference between flying the same wing at 115kg vs 95kg is 10% in both speed and sink rate.

The heavier pilot has:

- 10% more speed at trim (say, 39.6km/h for the fatty verus 36km/h for the skinny, i.e. fatty is 3.6km/h faster)

- 10% more speed a full bar (say, 59.4km/h for the fatty, 54km/h for the skinny, i.e. 5.4km/h faster)

- 10% more sink rate at the same brake position (e.g. fatty min sink rate is 1m/s, skinny min sink rate is 0.9m/s, i.e. 0.1m/s difference)

I know which end of the weight range I'd rather be for competition in good conditions!


AndreR said...

Hey Tom

Thanks for that. In reality no-one is flying @95kg, but some are around 107-109 so more like 3-4% difference which is more difficult to detect especially in these conditions. I had no choice, but very happy to be @ 115kg :) We are all pretty much flying flat out anyway with very few blow-outs and the line has proved to be way more important as previously suggested.