Ozone answers.

par KzoAirlines  -  18 Décembre 2009, 22:16  -  #Partenaires

"We read the forums with interest and wish we had more time to get more directly involved with a lot of the interesting topics, such as Killing the Carbon.

Reading the thread we believe that the overall gist of what pilots think is the same as what we think. For sure, there are doubting voices and those are quite right. It is usual when a significant change to the norm happens and there is limited information available. However we have been saddened by the definitive position taken by the majority of manufacturers who are members of the PMA, particular those we have looked up to due to their reputations for helping lead and shape the future of our sport in performance, technology and excellence. The decision by the PMA recommending that CIVL place a restriction that is designed to ban the use of a higher tech light and flexible material is, in our eyes, a significant attempt to step backwards!

We don’t mind standing in the minority of manufacturers who did not vote for this restriction, particularly when that minority includes long standing manufacturers that have always strived to stand up for the essence of our simple sport. But having been a long standing proponent of serial class we find it ironic that it has been largely left to us to defend an innovative open class wing. But defend it we must, as the right to develop our sport using innovation is under attack by a PMA recommendation whish at best could be termed as short-sighted and hasty.

We cannot understand why companies, that are meant to believe in developing our sport to hopefully benefit all pilots, are so keen to restrict materials that have helped develop a lot more than our humble sport. To restrict so quickly when only positive benefits have been demonstrated (performance and stability) and to raise doubts and use scare tactics where no negatives have been seen, is breathtaking in its knee jerk reaction.

Like most innovations we would hope for a reasonable grace period to prove or disprove the true worth of the innovation. It was so fresh we do appreciate that most members of the PMA, possibly, did not appreciate what they were voting for or against. And for sure we were not going to help by giving away too many secrets, however, we did not wish to inhibit the chance to find out more by raising the possibilities of patents, valid or not. But it looks like we made too big a leap for some manufacturers to swallow. To this end we find ourselves defending open class innovation.

We are not defending carbon per se, as this may not be the way forward, but we are defending the right for designers to develop wings in a reasonable context and be allowed to move with the times and explore new developments without thinking their invested time and energy is going to be sabotaged by a rule change.

However, as the proposal from the PMA appears designed to specifically ban the use of the flexible carbon used in the bbHPP, we would argue that the use of flexible carbon rods that go partially along the chord are more in context with the paraglider as we know it, than perhaps other protos at the Superfinal that pilots were seen carrying over their shoulders, because of the hassles of packing and the fear of damaging full chord-wise structure. Yet they never really formed part of the PMA debate. Fortunately, for us and interested pilots, we also have a clever way to make a proto R10 - 2Liner that is flying as well as the bbHPP without any carbon and still pack up small, but we still think that the use of carbon is very interesting to save weight and complexity.

The PMA is a great organisation, formed originally to help push through the implementation of the EN standards, and it really made a difference. But now, we are concerned that a lack of direction and a lack of an open and fair voting structure is causing its integrity to be questioned by its ultimate customers who it should be working towards supporting. We hope that they (or I should say we, as we are a member) can remedy that unfortunate position.

All we ask is for pilots (and PMA members and ultimately CIVL) to see more of the paraglider, the bbHPP, and then make a more considered and informed opinion. Forget the materials – those are immaterial to some extent!! Just see whether it is a paraglider as you understand it. OK, it is different to most of the wings that we fly as it looks quite scary with such an aspect, but that is not unusual in the competition world. We hope that seeing a video may even persuade some members of the PMA to change their vote as we appreciate they may not have undestood what we have done and the ensuing confusion that the recommendation has caused, which is not good in our small sport.

There is a news piece on our website that hopefully answers a lot of the questions and shows the bbHPP video, we hope that, like us, you see a paraglider!
Please check out... http://www.flyozone.com/paragliders/en/news/headlines/13904

I hope this helps!
Mike on behalf of the whole Ozone Team"
Mike Cavanagh OZONE