Paraglider design requires being an engineer, having an idea of tailoring and being a dreamer willing to bring dreams to life. There is a lot to consider before you even start to bring the first ideas onto paper or into the computer.
The more you think in advance, the less prototypes you will need. In fact, it´s not a result of a high number of prototypes which prove that you did a good job as a designer. An experienced designer will know where possible problems might be with a new wing, even before the first prototype ever flies.
For the production of a paraglider you always have to rely on people and the best technologies available – sometimes you also have to invent ways to make ideas come true. But a pure technological approach without skilled people will not be enough – you have to know how precise, machines and the people operating them can be.
To manufacture a car requires about 5 hours of labor. A single paraglider requires 50 hours of manufacturing time. Using the latest manufacturing equipment enables us to keep our production within Europe, even though labor time in East Asia costs 10 times less! We are talking about extremely skilled and highly motivated people, who have to be trained and educated. They have to understand what the designer intends and why accuracy and doing things a certain way is so important.
All technologies used to design and manufacture a paraglider should follow the design requirements and not the needs of the marketing department. Sky Paragliders has been using „3D-shaping“ technologies since 2005 – because we know how to tailor. We never made a big fuss about it, because it simply is the best way to produce a glider. Another example is mini-ribs: They are usually produced using seams on the outside of the wing – exposed to abrasion. We prefer to invest time into optimizing trailing edge tension to make those ribs obsolete – we simply don´t need them.
How many lines does a good paraglider need?
Well, more than you will find on many current gliders. Lines are more than drag that should be avoided: They are providing shape and stability and connect the pilot to the wing. You can reduce the number of lines, but you will reach a point where you have to invent solutions for problems you never had before. And you don´t gain 25 percent of performance by simply leaving the D-lines off: D-lines are much less than 25 percent of all lines (don´t forget stabilo- and brakelines!). But you will have to reinforce A-, B- and C-lines – which leads to larger diameters with more resistance.
You also need plastic rods if you want to produce a 3-liner. Which leads to wings that have to be packed and stored in a very time-consuming and complicated manner. And that is not what the essence of paragliding should, be in our opinion.