Features, Gear News

Understanding aspect ratio – what it means for EN B and you

Thursday 1 January, 2015
The new Advance Iota, aspect ratio 5.5 and high-end EN B. Photo: Advance

The new Advance Iota, aspect ratio 5.5 and EN B. Photo: Advance

Paraglider design has advanced in leaps and bounds over the last five years. Sharknose technology, stiffening battens, 3D panel shaping and more efficient line layouts have all worked together to create better, punchier gliders that collapse less frequently and are a pleasure to fly.

However, gliders have also got skinner – as technology has got better the aspect ratio of gliders has increased too. In the sports class (EN B / C) especially, it’s not unusual now to see gliders approaching or beyond aspect ratio 6:1.

And that means the gliders put different demands on the pilot – you need to know how to handle them on launch and in the air to make the most of them.

Gin's Carrera, aspect ratio 6.2 and EN B.

Gin’s Carrera, aspect ratio 6.2 and EN B.

To get our heads around what that means for the pilot on the hill we spoke to three designers: Philipp Medicus from Nova, Gin Seok Song from GIN and Silas Bosco from Advance.

Philipp is fresh from working on the Mentor 4 (A/R 5.4), Gin’s Carrera (A/R 6.2) is famously an “EN C wing in the EN B class”, and Silas is working with Chrigel Maurer designing the ‘Omega 9 Light’ for the X-Alps later this year (A/R 7.0).

Nova's Mentor 4, aspect ratio 5.4 and EN B

Nova’s Mentor 4, aspect ratio 5.4 and EN B

Together they make for compelling reading, explaining what role aspect ratio plays in the design process, what techniques pilots need to know about to fly the new generation of wings and crucially, how to differentiate between wings by interpreting the manufacturer’s figures correctly.

Relying on the EN class of a glider was never enough, and is even less important now.

The full eight page feature will help you stay abreast of the latest developments in paraglider design, and help keep you informed about the characteristics of all the different wings now crowding into the EN B and C categories.

The latest issue is out now, in print and digital, and comes packaged with our annual special edition Cross Country Travel Guide.

Current subscribers are also in with a chance of winning a free paraglider or even a holiday with Babu Sunuwar in Nepal.

Keep up to date with your subscription – and your knowledge – here.

• Got news? Send it to us at news@xccontent.local

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