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  • Low priced Sails for SSDR

    Keep interested in the potential uses for SSDR of older two-seater types; they're well over strength without a passenger and flown at 300 kilos maximum, usually 90 kilos shy of max tested weights; a Mercury 582 is a hot performer, especially as restrictions on power, exhaust and so on are effectively rescinded at a stroke

    Couple of days ago I noticed that John's website at Ace Aviation was advertising replacement sails for Q2 Pegasus wings, as a factory new sail for a Betts failed machine is not cost-effective at over three grand, the aircraft's so much scrap (even as an SSDR) unless a decent replacement can be had. The Ace manufactured wing sails were standard at 995 delivered UK, and 1,275 with added Technora reinforcement; that sad hangar queen could be got back in the air for around 1-1.2k, opening up the potential for SSDR for a wider cross -section of folk with limited disposable income.

    Then a recheck today got a surprise; the names 'Pegasus' and 'Q2' were deleted from the description, and a general flexwing type substituted, an email or two later to them and I was up to speed with what happened, apparently Bill Brooks had fired a strongly worded email to Ace Aviation and they'd bowed down and removed all reference to Pegasus and Q2. Something to do with copyright apparently, although I've never seen this applied when buying brake parts from Halfords openly described as to fit onto (say) a BMW...?

    Should this be accepted or rejected, as sweeping side the last of the old restrictions and costly rules? SSDR means the old protectionist overregulation has vanished for that class of aircraft; a permit Q turning up for inspection with a new sail would need a factory invoice in the records, so the BMAA system will stop any malarkey with two seaters using pattern sails. I fly one of Ace's wings, and one inspector who'd just bought a new genuine Pegasus sail for his Quantum said the quality of my little Cyclone fabric work compared favourably with his; someone once told me that John taught a couple of the folk at P&M how to make sails, as he goes back to the earliest days of Microlights and HGs.

    Thoughts? I'd buy and fly one quite happily

    Kev
    G-KEVA
    BMAA 5696

    "If anybody ever tells you anything about an aeroplane which is so bloody complicated you can't understand it, take it from me: it's all balls."

    R.J. Mitchell :- Designer of the Supermarine Spitfire

  • #2
    Low priced Sails for SSDR

    I think it would depend on exactly what was said. If it stated that the sails were replacement sails for Pegasus wings then it could be inferred that the wing would still be a Pegasus wing after being recovered and I could understand the objection to that. If however it is made clear that in the course of converting a Pegasus wing for SSDR the replacement sails can be fitted then the case for objection would I feel drop away. At that point the wing is no longer a Pegasus wing and cannot be advertised as such. I think that it could then be described as a former Pegasus wing converted to SSDR application.

    Rick

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    • #3
      Low priced Sails for SSDR

      If the quality is comparable with the factory, I would have no problem buying one for SSDR, especially with that saving

      Is there a demand for them? If so, them why wouldn't P&M bring their sail prices down for the old trikes?
      People would always pay a premium if it came out of P&M, but over 2k difference is just too much

      Has anyone bought one yet?

      Comment


      • #4
        Low priced Sails for SSDR

        Update; just had an email from John Penry-Evans:-

        "But on SSDR, this is going to happen. It is open for anyone to buy parts and make parts from any source. At least we are a reputable source to buy sails from and use the exact same sail cloth as they do together with the Ptfe sewing thread, which has longer life than the material to which it is sewed to.

        We've sold many Q2 sails to the USA and all have been happy, and all have been made from better material than the original ones. The original Q2 sails started to break down on the trailing edges. So we offer a better sail than Pegasus ever did as we use a more modern carbon laminate trailing edge cloth (including the Ptfe sewing thread above), P&M have only just introduced this different sail cloth over the last couple of years."
        G-KEVA
        BMAA 5696

        "If anybody ever tells you anything about an aeroplane which is so bloody complicated you can't understand it, take it from me: it's all balls."

        R.J. Mitchell :- Designer of the Supermarine Spitfire

        Comment


        • #5
          Low priced Sails for SSDR

          Conrad supplies pattern parts for Rotax 912 engines, and I guess the engine is an important part of the plane as is the wing. I at some point in the future will need to replace the sail on my Quantum 912, did you say the sail itself is over 3 grand or is that the whole wing Kev??
          Dai

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          • #6
            Low priced Sails for SSDR

            The instructor at Beverley replaced his with a Pegasus factory sail and I'm sure he said it was over three grand at the time, it did go like stink afterwards though, 70mph cruise seem to recall.

            You won't get away with pattern airframe parts though Dai; engines are legally documented as possible to fail any time (even 912s) but airframe items catch the full Monty on restrictions. I tweaked a cable on a Chaser once and was grounded immediately.

            Cheers

            Kev
            G-KEVA
            BMAA 5696

            "If anybody ever tells you anything about an aeroplane which is so bloody complicated you can't understand it, take it from me: it's all balls."

            R.J. Mitchell :- Designer of the Supermarine Spitfire

            Comment


            • #7
              Low priced Sails for SSDR

              I agree for safety, but over 3k for a sail is mega expensive. Can anyone shed some light on this price please as if my sail needed replacing on the next permit and it was over 3k, it could potentially finish my flying.

              Comment


              • #8
                Low priced Sails for SSDR

                A new Quik sail is over 3000. My first one lasted 7 years. The second one hasn't failed yet.

                Laurie (2)

                Comment


                • #9
                  Low priced Sails for SSDR

                  How are hang glider sails made and by who,don't they come up to spec

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Low priced Sails for SSDR

                    Dave Nixon wrote: How are hang glider sails made and by who,don't they come up to spec
                    I'd say from my limited research on materials for various low priced aircraft that it is not workmanship that causes sails to fail, it's lack of UV resistance.

                    If you look around the various hang glider manufacturers, most of them are happy to tell you what they make sails from, and how they choose those materials. Manufacturers like Moyes, Airborne and Wills Wing (the first two with microlight experience) have enormous experience of making sails to last, in areas with very UV radiation, and Wills Wing now get Dimension Polyant to make aviation sail cloth to their specification.

                    I have have only see three or four examples of sails that have failed due to poor workmanship across the complete gamut of HG, PG and microlights. They usually fail due to material degradation. The PG industry got this licked over 20 years ago, and one of the PG cloth manufacturers has a bespoke UV ageing facility that can age to a number of standards and methods, now open to third parties to make use of.

                    Sails are cut and stitched in a sail loft, similar to the one I wrote about in the visit to Ellipse in the Jura, you need a decent table to cut on, some way of accurately cutting to the templates supplied, and the necessary skill to sew something that is actually a 3 dimensional object, even if it does fold flat.

                    Once you have found out what you potential purchase is made of, then it's time to look in the sailcloth catalogue to see if its component cloth is in the bargain basement or the high tech portfolio.

                    Porcher Sport make high quality cloth for a variety of aviation applications.

                    Technora (undyed, yellow-ish) when used as a material for PG lines is lifed to 150 hours. It suffers badly from UV degradation and needs to be dyed to protect it from same. It is also rather poor for fatigue, and will lose up to 50% of its strength when put through the 5,000 cycle test used for PG lines.

                    What you are seeing is the cost difference between regulated and unregulated. Those in favour of regulation need to show us what the benefits of the extra costs are.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Low priced Sails for SSDR

                      The sail is just as much a structural part as the tubing inside it. Also more critical and more difficult to define. Any one who is not completely inept could cut and drill a tube and its relatively straightforward to buy the material and work out the dimensions from the old bit. It's a whole lot simpler than sails.

                      Sails are really quite complex. Details of stitching type, machine settings, stitching patterns, detail reinforcing and materials and exact patterns and assembly make huge differences in strength and handling. The higher performance sails demand pattern accuracy to 2mm or less to ensure consistent handling characteristics, and make the difference between a sweet wing and a dog with heavy and / or dangerous handling.

                      Change material spec at your peril too - stretch characteristics between materials can dramatically change handling and also strength - if there are layers of cloth and all stretch in a matched way then they all lend a hand in a build up of strength. If one is stiffer than the others then it alone is subject to all the loading. That can cause sudden failure and then a cascade failure of the remaining layers. It can also change sail shape locally and alter handling dramatically.

                      These things are not just kites, they are high tech pieces of textile engineering. Please don't think that any old rip off copy will be fine and save you a few bob. It really isn't that simple. The quality of the sewing and finish is only a small part of the whole, so don't be too taken in on that element alone.

                      So eyes wide open chaps - SSDR places responsibility on you - so educate yourselves and proceed with caution. If you can't get an oginal sail then you need to ask lots of questions about how close it us to the original, how many are flying - and for how long - research the materials etc, ask advice from those that really know about the subject, and flight test very carefully and systematically step by step opening up the envelope to determine that the handling and stability are satisfactory. This really isn't simple stuff.

                      Paul

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Low priced Sails for SSDR

                        PS cost difference - might be a bit of regulation overhead, but most likely its recovery of the R&D costs, product support, and using local western labour. And don't forget shipping duty and VAT so tub are comparing like with like.

                        Hanglider sails for the high performance types with similar complexity are not so different in price. Our UK manufacturers are not ripping us off and deserve our support where we can - if we lose them it will hurt us more.

                        Paul

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Low priced Sails for SSDR

                          Paul is absolutely correct. Sailmaking is a real 'black art' and it's taken many years and much experience to get even two 'identical' sails stitched by the same sailmaker to perform identically. Having said that, I believe John P-E has the skill to make a decent copy. I fly an ersatz Chaser wing made by Topflight and it performs just like a Betts original, even though it was copied from an existing sail, rather than from original patterns. I'd tend to baulk at a copy of a Quik sail though... Bit too high tech.

                          And pattern parts for a Rotax shouldn't be an issue for even a regulated microlight. Not illegal and worst case is it stops, something we're all prepared for(?). But the engine bearer? - that has to be original.

                          Dave

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Low priced Sails for SSDR

                            All good input, though there's a dividing line (or barrier) here that can require careful thought to get right; tweaked a cable once to match lengths, (ironically on a Chaser) and had permit pulled, determined to drag common sense into the system I carefully load-tested parts above original spec, documented effort but still saw refusal to even consider acceptance by the BMAA, and this was when all sorts of cable length matching issues were plaguing Nigel Beale's customers after he took on the Chaser from Pegasus!

                            It is that BMAA policy that keeps me SSDR; before taking the plunge with an Ace Aviation wing, was told that John Penry-Evans taught at least two members of the current sail making team at P&M and that his wing fabrication skills date back to the earliest days. The system is rightly designed to protect the unwitting from the unscrupulous, but regret to see Bill Brooks attempting to stop Ace advertising their own brand of SSDR Q2 sails, which seems to show Bill hasn't caught up with the rough and tough commercial environment you get when the user can choose competing parts, and the system cannot interfere or block that. I've had two Ace Cyclone wings now and both are on the dozy side of setup, need a bit of shove but reward that with easy handling in bumpy conditions and no nasty overbank or other tendencies. Jim Cunliffe certainly like flying them, at 62 in January I need an easy flex wing to fly, especially on longer trips.

                            Have taken a Chaser to Spamfield twice and both Cyclones too, a four hour 250-miler in summer thermals certainly showed which was easier to fly in hot conditions...Missed the chance at the last SSDR rally to fly the Dragon Chaser to see if it is less lively than it's earlier Brother, and see what improvements Ben and Paul have made.

                            US contacts say that the Ace Aviation sails made for the Chaser over there fly fine, they call them the Prowler apparently; ironically Flylight's Dragonfly uses the Aeros wing made in the Ukraine, the X-Air has a Frenchman importing kits from India selling through the Wessex Light Aeroplane people, and Ace make skins for that too at a big saving. The BMAA won't let them be fitted though, so regulation that Deddington are forced to work with is ending up costing members money even when the parts-source is known, I'd suggest Ace sell Wessex the skins, in which case BMAA couldn't block their use?

                            Roll on the day when Microlights are truly lightly regulated; the wings made to fly at 55-65mph seem to be safest to take gentle liberties with on spec, ones above at 70mph and above seem to risk divergence and need tight control on all this, maybe that's why FAR103 has a speed restriction?

                            Cheers

                            Kev
                            G-KEVA
                            BMAA 5696

                            "If anybody ever tells you anything about an aeroplane which is so bloody complicated you can't understand it, take it from me: it's all balls."

                            R.J. Mitchell :- Designer of the Supermarine Spitfire

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Low priced Sails for SSDR

                              Why is it ironic that we offer Aeros wings on some of our dragon trikes?

                              They don't make Chaser sails for us if that's what you were thinking. We used OEM sails originally then when they were no longer available we moved to our own reworked design using British sailmaker Top flight sails.

                              For Xair parts, they will be working in the same system as we do with the Skyranger. Owners can fit parts supplied by them with Wessex taking the responsibility for them under agreementwith BMAA that they are as per the example used for original approval. Any design or material changes need a mod approval - naturally.

                              Wessex is an agent for Xair and will have a supply agreement with them. Selling pattern parts will probably infringe that agreement and could lead to them having the importership pulled. That would be normal business practice across many industries.

                              There is also the question of responsibilty and support. Wessex will have a margin on the parts it supplies - the agency is about business after all - or they wouldn't have bothered to certify and support the product. A pattern part manufacturer selling direct will always be cheaper because it does have the margin for the local guy,but the wider industry and local on the ground support and service is not itself then supported. So even if there was a legal way to use such parts you have to question whether you are cutting off your nose to spite your face in the long term.

                              Paul

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