Posted on the PPG Truth unlimited yahoo group by Elisabeth at ParaTour. She has over 10 years experience repairing wings with hundreds repaired. Elizabeth is one of the top wing repairers in the United States and likely the world.
I have been attacked by Dell I would just want to post this e-mail, to state the facts.
Last June, while visiting the Sky factory in Czech Republic, Martin Nemec, the Sky CEO, told Bill Heaner, Jeff Goin, Eric Dufour and I that Bill Heaner was now on THE American Sky importer.
At Paratour’s Glider Shop, we now do porosity tests on the upper AND lower sail, just like they do at RipAir in France, which is the biggest gliders shop in the world.
For this K2 mentioned by Dell, the porosity was good on the upper sail, but the upper sail ALSO failed on the rip test. The upper sail has to pass the porosity tests AND the rip test. If the lower sail fails at the porosity tests (which was the case for this wing), this is still ok, as long as it passes the tear test. But this wing failed on the tear test: It started to rip at 500 gr. It needs 600 gr. to pass and we normally go until 1,000 gr (1 kg) without any problem during the rip test. If a glider shop takes the porosity tests without the tear test, this is not complete.
When a wing fails at the fabric tear test, it simply fails the inspection, no matter what. This wing is not airworthy anymore and the pilot who would fly this wing today would put himself at risks. A repair plus a full inspection would have been more income for me, but it
unfortunately failed the tear tests and the pilot only paid for the porosity and fabric rip tests and a patch on the long tear it had, so it can be used for ground handling.
At our shop, no one pays for a full inspection if his/her wing fails and we certainly do not do any repair on any glider that is not airworthy, except patch work, so it can be good for ground handling. We first start by the porosity and tear tests. If it passes, we then do to the line breakage tests. If it passes too, we can complete the whole inspection. The USPPA is for pilots and instructors and has to date nothing to do with glider shops. In fact, there are no certifications for paraglider riggers in North America. In Europe, you can have DULV, and I think that only RipAir is DULV certified outside of Germany. I first learned at Swing, in Germany, who are closely working with DULV and later I learned much on the
detailed sides at RipAir in France and I am very fortunate to have Bertrand Maddalena (THE master in glider inspection & repairs worldwide) answering my questions for any details or particular cases.
When I informed the pilot that his K2 was not airworthy anymore, I never proposed him a wing (I stay very professional). Whatever wing he flies now, we never sold it to him.
Here is a link on the repair on a K2 I did. Its owner still flies and likes his wing:
I want to add that when we state that a wing is not airworthy anymore, most pilots will not be surprised. But for the ones who believed that the Skytex 27 fabric is as good as any other paraglider fabric, or almost… this is another story and some contact Dell, thinking
that their wing has a defect, which is not the case. By the way, we did not -and do not- offer wings to people who have a wing that fails inspection. We stay professional.
Last months, Daniel Constantini from Porcher in France (manufacturer of the Skytex fabrics), came visiting us and we spent 2 days together. I learned much more on the subject and also on how it works on the paraglider manufacturing and the paraglider fabric manufacturing industry, including who does what and how.
In a previous Paramotor Magazine issues (can’t remember the months), there was a good article with Anatoly Cohen (the Apco owner) about fabrics.
There also has been a good one the issue # 379, February 2008, in the French magazine Vol Libre, which CC translated in English after all the misinformation Dell wrote on light fabrics, so people can get the right information:
Elisabeth : – )
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