APCO Aviation - Frequently Asked Questions

- How is a paraglider constructed at APCO?

A paraglider is constructed from a top and bottom surface connected by ribs. One top and bottom pannel, together with the connecting rib is called a cell.

In some models, secondary ribs are of a diagonal design and sewn between the main ribs. Each cell has an opening on the front lower part. The cells fill with air under pressure forcing the panels to take the shape dictated by the airfoil section of the ribs.

In APCO the philosophy is to have a person or a team of people making as much as possible of a complete unit from start to finish, with vital stages completed by one individual. Your glider is therefore cut as a set and sewn as a set, and the line set on your glider has been individually cut as a set and sewn as a set.

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- How should brakes on APCO gliders be adjusted?

The way the line should be adjusted is to have not less than 10 cm of movement before activation of the brake when the paraglider is inflated above your head. It should not be adjusted so that it starts to pull the trailing edge down when in a state of hands off .

On the Zen and Futura an additional brake line is installed to activate the stabilizer for improved handling. It should be adjusted in a way that the stabilizer is activated after 60-100 mm. free movement of the main brake line. Caution should be taken when the main brake line is adjusted to accordingly readjust the line activating the stabilizer, in order to maintain the same free movement of the brake before the stabilizer was activated.

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- How should lines be maintained and or replaced?

Superaramid lines are known to be sensitive to the influence of the elements. They must be carefully inspected periodically. The pilot in their own interest must observe the following points to ensure maximum performance and safety from the glider.

  • It is mandatory to change the bottom A & B lines on every paraglider once a year or every 100 hours of flight, which ever comes first. The rest of the lines must be checked yearly and replaced if necessary.
  • Every six months one A or B bottom line must be tested for minimum 50% of the rated strength. If the line fails - all bottom lines must be replaced.
  • Towing, schooling and tandem flights: Our paragliders are manufactured for recreational flying. Professional use of gliders towing, schooling and tandem flying requires more frequent line inspection and replacement of A& B lines with heavier lines.
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    - What are the holes in the Bagheera?

    The diagonal ribs used in the newer gliders made by APCO (as well as the trailing edge ribs in the Bagheera is stitched to the centre of the panels of the top surface. Unlike other ribs, the position to stich these ribs have to be marked, which is done by punching small holes in the correct position.

    The small holes do not influence the gliders performance, and are not mistakes, but neccesary for the accurate manufacture of the glider.

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    - In what colours can APCO gliders be ordered?

    Each model has a standard colour pattern, and a standard range of colours. We prefer to stick to these patterns and colours to improve product identity, but custom colours are available, at an increased cost. It is also possible to put logos on the gliders, specifically for sponsored gliders. Contact us for more information and quotes.

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    - What is meant by "hook in", "all up" and "pilot" weight?

    The three different terms used to describe pilot weight have led to some misuderstanding. During certification, "all up weight" is quoted, which is the total weight of the pilot and all equipment, including the glider. This is the correct weight to use when calculating wing loading. At APCO we have always used "hook in" weight, to refer to what our gliders are designed to carry. It therefore excludes the weight of the glider. The technical information about all our gliders refers specifically to hook in weight. "Pilot weight" is a potentially confusing term, and is not used by APCO.

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    - What is APCO's policy w.r.t. fitting of trimmers?

    Our gliders are usually not certified with trimmers (except for tandem gliders (Futura Tandem) that are certified with trimmers as standard), and are therefore provided without trimmers. However, in certain special situations we are willing to provide trimmers, with the understanding that the glider is then not certified.

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    - What materials are used at APCO?

    The glider is made from high tear resistant Ripstop Nylon cloth, which is P.U. coated to zero porosity and siliconized to make the fabric greatly resistant to the elements.

    The cloth for the top, bottom panels and ribs are of different types due to their different functions.

    The lines are made of Superaramid covered with a polyester sheath for protection against wear and abrasion and the bottom section of the brake lines are made of Polyester because of its better mechanical properties to resist the bending around the steel ring of the brake line guide.

    The carabiners that attach the lines to the v-lines are made of high corrosion resistant stainless steel.

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    - Why is the specific cloth used?

    Lately this has become a hot issue especially on some markets, so we would like to share our experience and opinions on this matter with you. Due to APCOŪs use of superior paragliding cloth and our 3 year/250 hour warranty, some manufacturers have felt threatened and believe that APCO has been taking too big a slice of their market share. (I wish that this was the case and all that was required to increase the market share was to improve the quality of the cloth! It takes a lot more than putting some silicone on cloth, the product has to offer competitive safety, performance, service and price.) They therefore have searched to find a new method of increasing their sales. APCO is being attacked and some magazines and other publications have recently published a number of articles claiming that porosity is unimportant and that it is actually better to use porous cloth. We view this as a naive attempt to convince žunimformedÓ customers that žBlack is WhiteÓ.

    The facts are as follows: During 4 years of using this cloth we have not received a single claim for deteriorating performance as a result of loss of porosity in the cloth - so we actually have not paid a single penny to satisfy customers within the frame of our warranty. Please check with your competitors how many times they have had to battle with a customer because the glider did not launch or stalled due to porosity problems.

    We have made a comprehensive study, comparing cloth quality. The results are that the porosity of our new cloth is 2-3 times better and the tearing resistance is 10%-15% better than cloth used by our competitors. After 500 hours of use, the porosity of our cloth will be 10 times better and the tearing resistance will be 7 times stronger.

    Hours Used Porosity - JDC Porosity Meter Tearing Resistance
    APCO Competitor APCO Competitor
    New 800-1000 sec 300-500 sec 4.5 kg 4 kg
    500 200-250 sec 20-25 sec 3.5 kg 0.5 kg

    These results have been proven a number of times and are easy to display. On every APCO paraglider there is a small section of non-siliconised cloth where the logo is applied (all the rest is siliconised). Since there are 2 different types of cloth on the same glider, which undergo the same atmospheric conditions and exposed to the elements for the same number of hours, it makes the experiment precise and gives reliable comparative data. We often have used gliders here and obtained the same results, showing the advantages of silicone coating on paragliding cloth.

    Another typical argument we often face is that the porosity is good, but the cloth is bad due to too much elasticity. Again this is untrue and we do not wish to argue as to what is better for the glider - elastic or rigid cloth - we leave that up to you. However, what matters to the customer is whether our product flies as well as or better than our competitors product, and if it still flies the same or better than the competitor product after 200-400 hours of flying. If you find that our used products performance has deteriorated the same as or less than our competitors, then the inevitable conclusion must be that the claim that želasticity of fabric is bad for our productsÓ is untrue, imprecise and speculative. Much additional ink could be wasted over this particular subject, but I believe that your own experience will coincide with our findings. We often receive phone calls from our dealers thankfully noting that school gliders they previously used in their schools had to be thrown out after one year of use in the school and now that they are using APCO Prima with silicone cloth, the glider is still as good as new for a second/third year.

    If you have any other observations, EMAIL us with your remarks.

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