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latest Para-Newbie News-n-Pics, Apr08, Issue #0016, monthly.
April 30, 2008

Fresh Paragliding Stuff

Selected News, Image, Paraglider

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Issued on Wed, Apr 30th 2008, Issue #0016
Paragliding Tales and Reviews
12 Muscatel Cct, Old Reynella, S.A. 5161, Australia

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Table of Contents

  1. News of the Month
  2. Image of the Month
  3. Featured Paraglider

News of the Month

After the usual scouring of the Web using a number of world news resources, I came across an item concerning the Turkish town of Ölüdeniz. Now, I've written a bit about this amazing paragliding location before. That was in an article which has been published here and there online. However, the reporter in this case managed to dig up some interesting snippets of historical information regarding the paragliding activities in Ölüdeniz.

"Mad people's sport" Helps Sustain Turkish Town

Source: Today's Zaman, Turkey

Date: 16 Apr 2008

As early as the late 1980s, a small number of University students could be seen experimenting with paragliding in the local area. Then in 1990, a pilot named Murat Tüzer came to town. Before long, he could occasionally be seen floating down to the nearby beach all the way from the summit of nearby Babadag Mountain! Others followed, and the number of pilots hovered around 100 or so every year for a decade or 2.

Crazy people, thought the locals, risking life and limb by parachuting into town! In the customary Turkish way, they would curl their lips at these mad parachutists. And where's the plane? We didn't see or hear anything... Paragliders were a new thing in this part of the world.

From the pilots' point of view, flying from Babadag was no 'walk in the park.' Back in those days there was no paved road to the top. So these keen paragliding enthusiasts had to become mountain-climbers as well. Lugging all their gear, it was a long trudge to the launch area on the summit. A crude launch it was too, just a cleared patch in the dirt, about 20 square meters, that's all. After the hard work however, there it was - a magnificent, beckoning vista. A giant sled ride to the beach far below!

Incidentally, Ölüdeniz means Dead Sea.

That Was Then, But Now...

Incredibly, the head count of people gliding from the summit is now in the tens of thousands every year. Murat Tüzer, that original pioneer pilot, now owns a local company called the Sky Sport Company. He's got his eyes on pushing the annual number of pilots and passengers up to 400,000 every year! Nearly half a million. Wow. What an amazing location, with the launch site access and extensive sandy landing zone to support those kinds of numbers.

In fact, paragliding has now become a symbol of Ölüdeniz, and injects a healthy amount of income into the local economy. Nearly everyone in the town benefits, directly or indirectly, from all the flying activity. All those pilots and tandem passengers have to eat somewhere, have to sleep somewhere... Not to mention all the money changing hands for instruction and tandem flights.

I've already mentioned Tüzer and his company. He's not the only one, there are at least 10 other companies that cater mainly for tourists who crave the Babadag flying experience. For example, there's Ikarus Sport Aviation, owned by the organizer of the Ölüdeniz Sky Games Festival.

Last year, more than 40,000 people paraglided from Babadag. How does that compare with your local site?

A Good Book For Free-Flight Paragliding

Paragliding - A Pilot's Training Manual. Do you have at least a few hours of soaring experience under your belt? Keen to learn much more? This book will fill out your knowledge nicely. Just remember it doesn't take the place of your instructor!

Complete Reference For Powered Paragliding

Powered Paragliding Bible. This is one of a couple of good books that people are using before and during taking up power paragliding. It's great if you want a really complete reference book about the sport. Authored by Jeff Goin and Dennis Pagen and published in April 2006. That Pagen name pops up a lot in light aviation literature!

Image of the Month

There's plenty of paragliding imagery on the Web these days, much of it so-so. Thanks to some paraglider manufacturer friends of mine, I can bring you some great pics that you might not find anywhere else. Hope you enjoy this month's featured picture, below.

Just click on it to enlarge.

Here's a Niviuk F-Gravity pilot, throwing his wing around a bit. Let me guess... A moderate breeze is flowing over that ridge, so there's plenty of slope lift to play in. It's cold, hence the pilot is wearing full-length clothing. With all that cloud cover in the background, perhaps there's a bit of rain around... Apparently, this wing was designed with acro in mind, although in the right hands it will still go cross-country.

Featured Paraglider

This section focuses on a recently manufactured and certified paraglider that has been written up on the Paragliding Tales and Reviews website. This month, it's the Airwave Sport 4. Nothing hugely in-depth, just a few notes based on

  1. what the manufacturer is saying about the wing, plus,
  2. some basic technical data.

So what is Airwave saying? In a nutshell, with this wing they are continuing to aim for better safety, stability and what they call accessible performance. That last point came out after they asked a range of Sport wing pilots about their experiences. All previous versions of the Sport wing were represented in the feedback received. Rather than sheer glide performance or safe feel or top end speed, these pilots really liked how easy it was to get a decent sink rate out of the wing during thermal climbs.

Airwave's concept of accessible performance goes beyond just thermal climb rates, but that's the main emphasis apparently. Another emphasis in the Sport 4 is stability in roll, which has been achieved by removing a cell from the center portion of the wing. It's a 52 cell wing now.

The final point I'll mention here concerns the recent question of whether to use 3 or 4 rows of lines on a new glider. Airwave has actually ended up doing both on the Sport 4! Apparently, although there was a slight performance advantage with the 3 line setup, the 4 line prototypes were noticeably easier to fly. The end result is 3 rows out near the tips but 4 rows in the center, which proved to be a worthwhile compromise. Also, this paraglider has only 3 risers which cuts down drag forces a little more. Less drag, better glide.

Here's a few very basic numbers describing the M version of this wing...

pilot take-off weight: 80-105 kg (177-232 lbs)
wing weight: 6.2 kg (13.7 lbs)
wing area (projected): 22.8 m² (245 ft²)
wing span (projected): 10.2 m (33 ft)
aspect ratio (projected): 4.6
min sink 1.0 m/s: (197 fpm, 3.6 kph, 1.9 knts)
best glide ratio: 8.6:1
speed min: 23 kph (14 mph, 12 knts)
speed trim: 37 kph (23 mph, 19 knts)
speed max: 52 kph (32 mph, 27 knts)

Min Sink and Best Glide figures are rubbery of course - many factors can cause small changes in these. Pilot weight for example.

The Airwave Sport 4 paraglider is written up in quite a bit more detail on the website.

Bearing in mind that this paragliding newsletter and in fact most of the website is really for 'newbies', any constructive feedback is welcome! In particular, what would you really like to see in this newsletter? Just reply to this email and tell me your thoughts.

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