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last Para-Newbie News-n-Pics, Aug08, Issue #0020.
August 27, 2008

Fresh Paragliding Stuff

Selected News, Image, Paraglider

Issued on Wed, Aug 27th 2008, Issue #0020
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, a story came up which combines paragliding and technology with a bit of a twist. However, it's a story that will never be told here... Why on earth not? Well... (gulp) the News Of The Month is the fact that I will not be continuing this humble newsletter any longer!

Firstly, my sincere apologies to anyone who has only subscribed in the last couple of months. At least it was free...

Secondly, a word for those who have stuck around for many months, enjoying my writing style and paragliding photos. If you care to visit the website from time to time, just click on What's New? in the side-bar. That will still provide a feed of fresh paragliding content for a long time to come. Most of these new website pages are created by visitors to Paragliding Tales and Reviews. Those visitors are active paragliding pilots.

Thirdly, I should try to explain this to some degree shouldn't I... Umm... Let's just say I can't justify the effort any more. When the site started, I had thoughts of getting back into the sport again. Due to personal circumstances and the lack of support for paragliding in South Australia, I never got to fly at all. Instead, I re-visited an old interest in kites. The results of this can be found at the My Best Kite website. Incidentally, this site also has a free newsletter, which I fully expect to last for many years!

I hope that all the above hasn't given the impression that Paragliding Tales and Reviews itself is 'on the way out'. It will continue to be a well-maintained, informative paragliding site with an increasingly 'flying community' feel as time goes on. It's main area of future growth looks to be visitor-contributed paragliding pictures and wing reviews. That fits so nicely with the website domain name doesn't it!

In my dreams I still soar, so this website is here to stay. Actually, I do get to soar Rokkaku and Delta kites up to 400 feet AGL, check it out at the kite site blog... Any kind of light-wind kite can be thermalled. :-) Now there's something for those non-flying days, if you are a ridge flier and the wind direction is off ...

RIP Para-Newbies News-n-Pics

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 have been bringing you a great new pic every month. Hope you enjoy this final featured picture, below.

Just click on it to enlarge.

An Apco tandem wing skimming sand and surf. This is the only image of a tandem that's ever featured in this newsletter.

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 SOL Torck - not actually an out-and-out Competition wing, but near enough since it's rated LTF 2-3. If you're a newbie, you won't be flying one of these any time soon, but it's included for your interest. Something to drool over perhaps! Nothing hugely in-depth here, just a few notes based on

  1. what the manufacturer is saying about the wing, plus,
  2. some basic technical data, assuming a ready-to-fly pilot weight of 95 kg (210 pounds).

The SOL Torck paraglider inherits many technological features from past designs at the Competition level. The best SOL wings have often broken World records, the company is happy to point out. The Torck differs from previous SOL wings in its class with new airfoil shapes, new layout and a new trick or 2 to slice off the last possible ounce of drag. These changes help the canopy to keep its designed shape even at the top of its speed range. Here's a short round-up of the Torck's design features:

  • SOL have managed to reduce the cell opening area by 22% - a great help in preventing deformation of the wing at high speed
  • High projected aspect ration - a rather flat wing, span-wise in other words! Less drag, longer glide
  • No less than 5 types of fabric are used to construct the canopy, in such a way as to make it tougher yet lighter than ever before
  • .
  • This is actually old-hat at SOL - the molds are cut with Laser equipment
Here's a few very basic numbers describing the M version of this wing...

pilot take-off weight: 80-98 kg (170-208 lbs)
wing weight: 6.6 kg (14.0 lbs)
wing area (projected): 21.8 m (235 ft)
wing span (projected): 9.9 m (32 ft)
aspect ratio (projected): 4.5
min sink 1.0 m/s (197 fpm, 3.6 kph, 1.9 knts)
best glide ratio: 9.8:1
speed min: 23 kph (14 mph, 12 knts)
speed trim: 39 kph (24 mph, 21 knts)
speed max: 55 kph (34 mph, 30 knts)

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

The SOL Torck paraglider is written up in quite a bit more detail on the website.

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