Episode 136- Rene Falquier and the ABC’s of Glider Design


Many of our listeners have been requesting more shows on gear and especially what goes into wing design. Here you go! Rene Falquier recently completed a year-long aeronautics and engineering thesis with BGD in France. In this episode we dive into how a wing comes to fruition. How much is science vs craft? How much is wing development driven by design philosophy? How does the design process work? And critically- does knowing anything about wing design help us become better pilots? You be the judge! Rene and I had a blast with this show, and I learned a ton. We’re trying something new out starting with this show after getting all the great podcast survey responses by dropping in a tip at the top of every show- let us know what you think and enjoy!

Here are the links to Rene’s thesis if you want to take a deep dive!:



Here is the Base 2 tech video we discuss in the show from 1:01:37 to 1:02:37:


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Show Notes: 

  • A review of travel and medevac (repatriation) insurance best practices with Bianca Heinrich
  • The thesis, sailplanes, aeronautics
  • Design tools manufacturers use
  • Technology in wings
  • Changing the degrees of freedom
  • Paragliding design and surfboard design
  • The design loop and possibly eliminating prototypes
  • How do gliders improve and is something as radical as the Sharknose in our future?
  • What about test pilots?
  • Objective vs human criteria of a glider
  • The “black art” of design
  • The certification process and the cost involved in bringing a wing to market
  • The roadblocks to wing progression
  • The fluid structure interaction- lift and drag and aerodynamics
  • Does understanding design help us pilot better? Analysis vs feel
  • Confidence in design
  • Risk and attitude
  • Flying polars- get off the brakes! How much bar?


Mentioned in the Show:

Nik Hawks, Bruce Goldsmith, Bianca Heinrich, Eduardo Garza, InReach, Garmin, SPOT, GEOS, IMG Signature, Global Rescue, World Nomads, DogTag, JD Castile, BGD Designs, Felipe Rezende, Gin Gliders, PWC, Tom Lalise, Niviuk, Ozone, Torrey Pines, Kari Castle, Malin Lobb, FlyEO, Chrigel, Aaron Durogati


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Speaker 0 (0s):

Speaker 1 (14s): Happy new year, everybody. Welcome to another episode of Cloudbase Mayhem let's hope 2021 is a little rosier than the last And things. Continue to seem pretty crazy out there in the world, certainly here in the States. But yeah, let's just hope we get back to some normalcy soon. This is a great show with my friend Rene on Glider Design, which we will get two here shortly, but I wanted to, before we did, I wanted to thank all of you who have contributed to that survey.

We put out quite a few weeks back, we continue to get awesome responses there. And I have decided with the help of Nick Hawks, who I've got a show come up with soon, and, you know, a lot of people were requesting more shows, kind of a focused on a beginner and intermediate pilots. So we've got this kind of fun, Q and a and M and a show where he ans ask me a bunch of questions. And I asked him some on his development and coming up in a few weeks. And he also, after looking at their survey responses thought, Hey, you know, you should drop in a tip or two to the front of every show because I I'm getting a proper buried in requests and information and questions, both just directly via email.

And also in that survey, we got a ton of, and I realize just how hard it is going to be to cover all these questions in talks with the guests that kind of range all over the place. So these are going to be real specific topics and you know how to climb better. And we'll just drop it in to the front of every show from now on. And you let us know if you like that. So I'm either going to do this by myself, or we're going to do it with a guest. And today I've got my good friend, Bianca Heinrich who've has been a race.

And with a Duardo in the XLVs, we've been flying together a lot over the years, and she was just involved in an incident and had some thoughts on making sure that we're covered. This is something that I've been harping on for years, but a lot of people still travel and it just doesn't take high priority. And then something happens and it becomes a real cluster. So this is something we really need to take on as a community to make sure we have the appropriate insurance and appropriate medivac and get home insurance.

So it doesn't become a something that our community, our friends and family have to be a shelling out in some cases more than six figures. So it's an easy thing to do and they're easy answers. And so we just want to encourage you to get educated and take it on. So Bianca, thanks for sharing with us, your thoughts on all of this. I really appreciated your document and we're going to pair that up with my kind of ongoing document

Speaker 2 (3m 0s): That I have on the website on Cloudbase man.com on insurance. And so take it from there. What did you learn in this kind of scary incident and how can we be better prepared as a community?

Speaker 0 (3m 13s): Yeah, thank you. Gavin so I, if you use BAK as a news movie, and also you decided to really get the best insurance up there and be prepared at a special, you've been traveling abroad and you traveling abroad, it's really important to be covered for the three things. So you need search and rescue insurance. This is a source and the best option for that is typically the DUS SAR, high risk insurance that help us paradise in hang-gliding.

So we have to make sure it does cover paragliding in writing besides so search and rescue, you got to get X like expatriation services. So you need to make sure if you add a hospital, if you're in a hospital abroad, you have to be able to get home. And if you can't take in a commercial airliner, you have to have an extra plane coming in and day getting You. And so this was very important if you have any preparation songs and besides the search and rescue. So I had to be procreation in terms of this, you also need medical insurance abroad.

If you end up in a hospital, a lot of times they want cash guaranteed before they do anything, or if they do do it, that you do, the surgery is something they're not going to release. You don't have a guarantee of payment on your insurance company. They're our only a few options is out there. Then there's a couple of medical expenses for paragliding. And these basically comes down to the IMG signature insurance that cover a hundred thousand dollars.

They can come up paragliding. It is a little bit of a question of whether the cover paragliding is in competitions. So just be aware of that, but there's also the word no months, I guess, doc check extreme those cover medical expenses, kind of a thousand dollars, which is not a ton, but it is, is pretty good. And U of a need of that is about that amount of you have a big surgery. That that's basically what it will be. So make sure you have coverage, not just for repatriation, with lots of all the actual medical expenses.

Speaker 2 (5m 23s): Okay. Yeah. And it's good to point out folks. This is two separate things. In most cases, in most cases, you know, the geos used to have this high risk benefit slash medivac insurance that you could couple with your search and rescue on your device. Or if you hit your search and rescue, it's the, if you, if you hit your SOS on your device, they are going to come get you regardless. But now it's this question, Mark. Now the garment bought them out that they don't offer this high risk benefit on that.

And so you might be up for a big bill, but I'm being told by global, if you have say global rescue insurance or, or a med, a jet or medivac insurance, and put that in your emergency notes, you know, if, if, if I press the SOS, it's most likely spinal, I'm a paragliding pilot or whatever you are. And here's my policy. And here's who to contact here is the 800 number. Then geos should activate whatever you've told them to activate. So that's the workaround that we know of right now.

But again, like what Bianca is saying is really important to understand that there's travel insurance that you need, you know, so this IMG signature WorldNomads or a dog tag extreme those the only three we know about the cover paragliding in hang-gliding that is once you're out of the country, that cover medical expenses where you are, that's very, very important. And then the second one is getting you home. That's that could be a massive bill if it's a private jet, so, or a helicopter or something else. So that needs to be global rescue med jet, or what was the other one

Speaker 0 (6m 56s): There's it is also covered. And this is included in retinal Motz and it is also in dark take extreme sort of you, if you just do a couple of trips a year, you can actually get that as a, you know, two in one, basically, if you get docked take extreme, or if you get two months, you get expatriation with it and get medical insurance with it. The Andrew signature does not have repatriation services at all. So that's just Medica. That goes basically for that neat, neat in combination of a rescue, basically And you can get the sequencer insurance, the IMG signature on the blue, a rescue website, if you are a member there.

So that's how it goes together in a little bit. So if you have, you had a membership of a rescue, get the question a little bit by competition, or you might want to think about it in a different race, because it clearly stayed in their fine print that they're not having competition, but if you get where nomad score extreme, dark tech, extreme covers both of these, but you still always need also the sauce options. So then that kind of three things to think about switching, to ask you, finding you and bring you to the nearest hospital, the medical expenses.

So the hospitals that I brought up charging, you oversee for the services that you have to pay, that you don't have to get surgery. That can be easy. And then lastly, how, and even get home. So you got to be powerful. All of those, we actually experienced that lot of times and normally, and then services when You in kind of be able to find you in a way to the new hospital. And a lot of times I don't even shop for that and its kind of a normal service, I think, but then you might need to transfer from the small hospital to the big hospital.

Was I going to charge you for that? If you are not in short, so you would pull a rescue for example, to provide that as well, the best ground transport in the air transport. So we have a rescue wouldn't have on the ground transport from a small hospital to the big hospital and then maybe hold on so many things to think about, but you got to make sure it would be a lot. How about

Speaker 2 (9m 2s): Yeah and I, I, I like making this a really simple step. What I love about making a spreadsheet before your group goes now. And usually when you're a part of a group, you know, whoever's running, it will be doing this or when you're in a comp it's just automatic. You have all your you've already given them all your insurance information and, and everything else. But most international comps don't demand. They only want you to have your insurance from home. So, you know, I've never been asked, do you have global rescue You do you have IMG signature? So one of the things about having a list with your group is that it makes everybody accountable.

You know, I personally don't fly with anybody if they don't have an inReach, that's just my that's my personal thing. I don't, I don't want to be involved in an incident where somebody doesn't have an inReach. I just think it's totally irresponsible of us as pilots. So secondly, if you had this sheet, you know, I'd really think about it. Am I going to fly with a group of people that aren't insured in Columbia? I don't think I want to be involved in that. So it makes everybody accountable. You can have this sheet and all the contact information, a friends and family. What if something happens who to contact, et cetera, et cetera.

But you can also look and go, Hey Jo, you don't have any insurance. What are you doing? You know, it's super easy. It's super cheap. It's only a few bucks a day that let's literally what this comes down to. Its a few bucks a day. And so it's just something we really, really must do. And you know, if you travel a lot and you don't do a lot of different flying kind of things, you know, something like the yearly global membership global rescue works really well for somebody like that, you know, that's, this is what it should be. What I get, I get, I am the signature for every trip. And then I have global rescue for the year.

I used to do the geos. That was a really great cause it was one shop, but they don't have that anymore. That's not being offered. So that's what I do. But like Bianca said, there are other, there are other routes and this is something that we've really got to take on with our community. So please look into this, please go to the article on the website is all been updated on what, what the various options are and recommendations. So just go to Cloudbase Mayhem not come and put it in a search term insurance, you will see it and reach out to Bianca or I for more solutions in ideas.

And if we've missed anything, please let us know.

Speaker 0 (11m 14s): Yeah, I think that's really the, the, the, the point to bring home is to be all of a responsibility to make sure all our buddies are flying buddies, have that information accessible. And And in our insured really? If they're not going to make sure that there's been a real need.

Speaker 2 (11m 33s): Yeah. And I understand you were involved in this incident where the, the victim had IMG signature and they just guaranteed the a hundred thousand, you know what you said? And that's, that's the other thing we haven't mentioned yet. Super, super duper important. As soon as you get hurt, you got to make the call. You got to call your insurance company right away. This is not something where they'll back do it. You can't go back them two months and send them all the bills that doesn't work. You got to right away. You got to call the insurance company. So-and-so's had an incident. Here's what we're dealing with. And then they can start and then they can immediately just go, okay, what do you need help?

Do you need that? You cannot do it from the back.

Speaker 0 (12m 9s): You said they don't organize it. They're not paying for it. Then I need to organize things. I need to organize the ground, transport, the air, transport, all those things. And they provide a guarantee of payment. That's fraud up to the max and the middle of the insurance. That's the only way you're going to get this page. And what happened basically in most recent cases, basically, they're like, well, if you didn't get this guarantee of payment, the hospital's, you're not going to lose the patient. So you gotta get in big trouble as you cannot, you cannot come up with the money. They're not going to let you go.


Speaker 2 (12m 41s): And one final little thing that I just wanted to put out to our audience is be mindful right now of what COVID is doing in the hospitals. I had had a friend of a friend just got hurt, spinal injury. That was not stable down in Columbia, a place that many of us go year after year after year. And they could not get her into a big hospital period. They're not accepting foreign. I don't know if it was foreign or just trauma, but they're not being because COVID is so overwhelmed in the hospitals there, they, they wouldn't, they, they wouldn't accept her.

And so it was several days where they were dealing with, what did we do with this spinal injury? Because she was too unstable to put her on a medevac flight to get her home. So be thinking about that, that's, there are some things that insurance doesn't cover, you know, we, depending on where you go and what you're doing, it's a risk. And I'm not saying don't travel right now. I'm just saying that it's it's riskier than it typically is. And it's good to do a little bit of homework to find out where you can safely go because trauma, a Mary minor trauma incident is massively labor intensive in a hospital.

You know, when Ben broke his back, there were 20 people, at least a minimum on that first 24 hour shift. That's dealing with that. So, you know, a lot of hospitals just don't have a staff right now to deal with, with a big trauma incident.

Speaker 0 (14m 7s): And it's also a good point in terms of the permits. These, these metabolic Plains need permits to come in to a foreign country for the community that they're getting these permits. Now it takes longer than that as well. So it's, it's all a problem. So a lot about it before we go somewhere and ready to go,

Speaker 2 (14m 29s): Bianca, thank you. I really appreciate it. Okay. Helping you with dad. And here is the main show through my friend. Rene Falquier. He is a young pilot and Jason is pretty hard and he's flying an ENC and totally addicted. And this is all of us are, and he got a thesis. He's a, he's an engineer and put together his thesis, submitted it to

Speaker 1 (14m 53s): Bruce Goldsmith over at BGD designs. Cause he was living in Switzerland and went and did a year long project with BGD on Design philosophy. And this was one of the things that a few people really wanted in the survey results was more about gear, more about technology, more about Glider design. I've always been a little worried to take this on an audio format, but Rene did an awesome job. And we really had a blast with this conversation. And I think you're gonna very much enjoyed it.

Its kind of the science vs craft and how they tackle Design how wings improve and just what they're up against in terms of certification and all that kind of stuff. So I think you're going to enjoy it if you are in the wings and you're in a tech and unifying, you'll enjoy this conversation with Rene cheers. Rene, it's awesome to have you on the show and then really excited to talk to you at, in the last time we saw each other, we was down in via and I understand you had to race on for a family emergency, which I'm really sorry about.

I understand you've had a pretty tumultuous year outside of COVID we're all having a pretty tumultuous year, but before then you were, you were doing a very cool project with BGD, which we're going to talk about and why don't we start this off with hearing a little bit about your flying history and how you got involved in this whole a Design project with BGD

Speaker 3 (16m 24s): Hey Gavin absolutely. It's it's an honor to be on the show. Thank you. Thank you for having me. Yeah, it definitely has been quite the year, but I'm happy to be kind of wrapping it up on, on a positive outlook and yeah, so a little bit, I guess, about my flying history, I am firmly in the intermediate category 300 hour range, which I know on a recent show was kind of highlighted or flagged as the start of the one of the danger zones. So, But yeah, just be mindful of that.

And I have been flying a little over four years as of this year, formally with BGD S team, which is just this awesome opportunity and something I'm really grateful for. And a, an extension of my involvement with them is part of my master's thesis, which started as part of an industry project or you have to do for the aeronautics program at the university that I was studying and that I was enrolled at in Stockholm and a professor, there was a sailplane pilot.

So when I got to talk to him about paragliding, he suggested that I try to find this project and the paragliding industry, which led me to go to the 2018, could the car with a CB and, and an idea to pitch. And that's what I linked up with with Bruce And with Tom though, this is co-designer and the rest of the R and D team, we talked it over and we just came to this agreement that fit what they needed and what the university needed. And that was the start of this, of this really exciting project.

Speaker 1 (18m 5s): And you sent me the project, which is not exactly layman's terms for me, but described what the project is in, you know, give us a brief on that. What, what was it?

Speaker 3 (18m 16s): Yeah, so the, the project fit aside of, of development, which it gears towards helping designers create virtual prototypes. And what I mean by that is that the designers, and we'll talk a little bit about this kind of the Episode develops, but designers have these tools that currently are more akin to a as Philippe put it in his Podcast kind of a designer's pencil, right?

So it lets them draw out the geometry that they're, that they're intending to create. So the shape of the Glider the shape of the canopy, the line placements, but the software doesn't really tell them all that much about how the Glider is going to behave or even whether the Glider was going to look that way. So tamales is working on this incredible structural simulation program, which resolves the actual of the canopy. Once there, is there a dynamics involved once the Glider is loaded. And what I did was create a software that takes that output and then runs a series of analyses on them to then give some feedback on how the Glider was going to perform and how the Glider is going to behave and pitch specifically at the start of the project.

We really want it to do all degrees of freedom. So we want it to have roll in your included, but really in those six months we realized just getting pitch alone was, was a six month project. So that's what my thesis was, was gearing towards.

Speaker 1 (19m 49s): I love that, you know, you pointed out in your, in your thesis that is this kind of a cool combination between science and craft. You, can we drill down into that a little bit like the, you know, this gin CCC wing, that was a, that was brought out for the, a, the Swiss PWC. I think the only PWC we had this year unfortunately, but you know, it took after the fins of a humpback whale. Yeah. I think it was a humpback, right? Yeah.

Fascinating. And so how much of it is yeah. Drill into that a little bit, you know, when you, when you're a team starts to develop a wing and Bruce said on his show that you never really starting to develop a wing, you're always just refining a wing. You already have it's it's a very rarely just starting from scratch, but in the case of gin, in, in some ways it was, it was just a whole new, okay, how can we just make a radical Here

Speaker 3 (20m 49s): Jack? No, it's, it's super interesting. 'cause, you know, our aircraft are, are pretty tricky in general from a design and analysis standpoint because there degrees of freedom. So what I mean by that, as you know, up, down left, right forward back pitch roll y'all they tend to be coupled so changes to one of these degrees of freedom will affect the other ones, but in paragliders we really only have one active surface for that, which is the canopy that affects all of them. And this has in contrast to say a fixed wing aircraft, like a plane that has its main wings.

It has the, the stabilizers in the back. It has a big tail thin. So you have a lot of active surfaces to try. And de-couple how these top of these managers and how that ties into, you know, the difference between craftsmanship and hard engineering is that there are a lot of readily available tools to do the analysis, to do this simulations and to do that engineering front. But the reality is that designers rely very heavily on their own experiences. I think on a, on a, almost a different spectrum for those familiar with surfboards, there's a similarity in how they're made and a surf board a shape versus rely on these templates.

No, we'll work in a set in a similar way. A paraglider designers have the idea of, of a starting point. And then they have the analysis tools and simulation tools to supplement that. But the fact of the matter is that there's very good paraglider is being made without kind of heavy analysis or our simulation tools. So designer's have to find that happy medium between their experience and, and their craft and that black art that they have been so attuned to and leveraging all these new cool tools that are starting to crop up.

Speaker 1 (22m 33s): So are you saying with the, with the kind of software engineering in the, in the simulation tools that you have, does it, does it keep our, does it allow a manufacturer like BGD to, to skip a prototype to actually skip one of the stages where that you can go, okay, we can see that this is going to need this and this and this, and you don't actually have to go back to the factory, make a wing, test it, you put a test pilot on it, take it through the, the rigors and then, okay, it's going to need this, this and this.

Can you kind of skip some of those steps? Are you still have to do all that?

Speaker 3 (23m 9s): So that's, that's actually been the target. I think of implementing these new simulation tools is to try and reduce the number of physical prototypes. So I think if we look at it from this Design loop standpoint, right, is the designers have their objectives. They know what they're starting with. Then they go into the actual geometry. So designing the shape of the canopy, the internal structure, the attachment points and all of that. And then by running it through these simulation tools, they'll get these outputs that will let them make decisions on whether that prototype is worth, even making.

Right. So at that point they can go back and, and alter the geometry and go through this virtual prototyping stage before getting to the physical prototype. So in the latest Glider that BGD developed, it's a high be called the bass to, they had something like 57 virtual prototypes versus seven physical prototypes. And what I heard from Bruce was that those seven physical prototypes were actually all really good. And they were focusing on the, I think if we were to divide a paraglider into a tangible parameter side versus intangible, tangible are things like performance and pitched ability and pitch behavior versus the intangible ones are things like how it feels, right.

It's hard to really get an analytical parameter for what a Glider feels like or, or the type of feedback that it gives you. So all seven of those physical prototypes were really good on the tangible side and they were, they were just honing down into those more nuanced human aspects of feel.

Speaker 1 (24m 44s): When can they say, okay, this is done. I mean, is that, is that it just seems like you could just keep going with that infant infinitum. You never end.

Speaker 3 (24m 56s): Oh my God. Yeah, no, that's so it's really funny because I think if a teacher I saw was Bruce and Tom on the design side and then our in a person's wife is, is managing kind of the more sales operations basically.

Speaker 1 (25m 11s): So that's what you need. You need, you need the bean counter to, to go done where we were releasing this to the world.

Speaker 3 (25m 18s): Oh, absolutely. And I think if we were just to let Bruce go to his devices, I think you were working on one of these wings because he's just, he wants it down to the nth detail, but there are these realities of, Hey, this thing needs to come out. This thing needs to be put out to the market and we need to get some feedback. So I think the answer to your question is it just depends on what the reality is. If you have the time and the funding and you just really don't care about how long it takes You man, you could have just hone it down.

Yeah. Ad infinitum. And I think that's, that's a big part of the reason why wings get iterated. As you know, we see these step releases of these families of wings that over time are just going in the direction of some optimality, right?

Speaker 1 (26m 5s): Th that's a good term step release. Do you see, you know, and spending all this time, you go behind the scenes and in the programs and talking to Bruce and the designers, is there something like the, the huge advance that we saw with the shark nose? Are you guys still talking about the game? He does. Most of the people I've talked to you that seem to be in the design space, feel like, you know, at this point it's, it's little things it's better sewing.

It's better, you know, but, but in terms of something that just radically changes the performance of a glider, like the shark nose is probably, but then they always say, well, you know, you just never know of course, but is there, is there something like that coming

Speaker 3 (26m 57s): I so I think that the way to treat this, this question is we're gonna try a little visualization exercise, and then I need you to work with me here. So when we look at the optimization and the optimization problem, right, we're trying to get to the theoretical maximum of whatever we're treating in this case, a pair of Glider and what that optimality curve looks like. If you will, is on the vertical axis, you have the performance in this case.

And then on your horizontal axis, you have the effort invested for each incremental game. And what you have is a diminishing return curve. So if we look at the history of a paraglider specifically, you know, of any aircraft, it is an inflatable pair of foil over your head that it is intended to Glider at the beginning. Every increment was going to be huge. It didn't take that big and effort to get that next step in performance, because there was a very obvious things that could be addressed.

And then as time went on, it seems that that performance increase per year started kind of flattening out. And I think that, yeah, the shark nose was a huge step, but I think since then, we're getting into that part of the curve where each incremental bit of performance just takes that much more effort. And I'm not sure that four paragliders as we know them, there's going to be a huge step. There is a theoretical, maximum performance. It can be achieved for a given aspect ratio in a given size.

And I tried to run some numbers on it. I think we're, we're not there yet, but it's starting to get to that point of the curve. That's really flattening out. And I think if we see a big step, it's not necessarily going to be in paragliders as we know it, but there's intervention potential in playing with different canopy shapes that might shift us to a different curve entirely

Speaker 1 (29m 6s): Shapes. You mean like the, the wave knows of the gin or becoming more like a hang glider or something else.

Speaker 3 (29m 15s): I think the gin example is a good one of something that could potentially shift the curve if you will. But, but what I was referring to is more of that stuff that you saw between hang gliders and paragliders, and Bruce, I actually had this very interesting article on how free flight is actually been trending towards less performance. Right. We started with sail planes. Then we went on to, to hang gliders, which don't perform as well. And then the paragliders, but on the other hand are access to, it has just exponentially increased.

Sure. To think in the context of human Free flight, the fact that we can fly off a mountain and realistically to hundreds of caves out of a backpack, I think is pretty close to the ultimate. It's incredible

Speaker 1 (30m 2s): About the testing side of things. And I know that's not specifically what you were working on, but I've always thought, gosh, I'd be like the worst test pilot because I get so excited about everything I used to be like. Yeah, that's perfect. That's awesome. Obviously you get to where you have a much finer feel for a Glider and okay, this needs to change and that needs to change in what causes that change. But tell me about, you know, like when you're saying that the base that just came out or is just coming out this high end B will, will the test pilots just be, you know, Bruce level, you can fly anything or should you have also test pilots that are, that's what they fly or a and BS

Speaker 3 (30m 45s): That there is a funny anecdote side to that of which is that during my time at BGD I was, I was having that conversation with Bruce of, Hey, you know, what does, what do I need to do to become a test pilot? And Bruce just looked at me kind of point blank and just said, you're not crazy enough, should make them a pretty bad test pilot. And, and that kinda caught me off guard at the time, but he's like, yeah, you just, you don't strike me as having that confidence. If I can pull that huge deflation overground.

And I know I'm going to sort it out and in working with a test pilots, they're cold man. Like those kinds are so gnarly. They'll, you know, in Google don't you are seeing not only our test pilots, but other brands are doing their testing too. And I mean, the stuff you see the test by the student is pretty out there. And once that all sunk in, I, I realize Bruce probably was right. I'm not sure. What do you mean?

Speaker 1 (31m 43s): Do you mean that they're just incredibly confident that they just don't, they just don't,

Speaker 3 (31m 48s): It would be incredibly confident, but also incredibly competent. Right? I mean, that's the thing is they're not worried about it, but just as importantly, I'm not worried about them either. You know, like you just, they just look completely in control. And part of that might be ours. Part of that might be kind of their, their psychology, but they're definitely, they're very attuned to what they're doing. And so then to also answer part of your question of whose really during the testing, I mean, all those guys are pretty expert level, but I do appreciate that while I was there.

I was included in that test loop, but kind of on a late stage of the, of the testing for a given prototype, right, is once the actual test pilots had, had, had their way with it and said, yeah, this is what we think this is where it's going. It was almost like Here, let's hand it over to Rene is probably a lot closer to the target audience of this Glider than we are. And I, and I would be involved on, on that end of things, which was really cool.

Speaker 1 (32m 51s): Can you single out the, the step or the person or the software or the test pie? What, what part of it is the most critical to creating the best wing,

Speaker 3 (33m 5s): The designer's ability to make decisions at that interface between a objective criteria of a Glider and the human criteria of a Glider? I think that's, that's where you would find kind of the best quality Glider because we're always shooting for performance and we're always shooting for a certain, you know, pitch behavior or a certain pitch characteristics, but there's something to be said about a designer's ability to filter out all of those very technical jargon-y nuanced things and translate them into a Glider that you can hand to someone.

And it makes sense to them from a handling perspective, from a behavior perspective. And that second part is it's really intangible, right? There's no software that you can run a Glider through and say, Hey, this Glider is going to be really well-received by the reaction time of an EMB category pilot. And who knows maybe as we get better at parameterizing kind of extracting those parameters for the different behaviors, we'll be able to tune into that.

But right now that's definitely in the black art experience side of a, of a designer.

Speaker 1 (34m 23s): This is, yeah, I'm glad you brought up black art. I mean, it seems to me that with all of these manufacturers, you know, ozone without Luke Bruce with, or without, or BGD without Bruce Olivia Neff without Nivi, how do they survive? Can they keep making great products? It seems like, you know, without the visionary, without that, you know, a post of this is who we are and the, the genius behind these folks making these wings I do they make it putting you on the spot here?

Speaker 3 (35m 7s): Well,

Speaker 1 (35m 9s): Let me ask that a different way. How critical is that person?

Speaker 3 (35m 13s): I think they're super critical for something that struck me about my time with BGD and seeing how Bruce and, and thumbnail is the Tom is, is 25 years old. He is, he's grown up around paragliding, and it's clear that in working as a co-designer with Bruce it's, I'll put it this way. A pair of Glider designers are not the type of job that you post and say, you need this experience and these requirements, and please interview, and we'll see how it goes.

It's, it's a lot more akin to an apprenticeship and in my eyes, like you really need to be working with someone who's been doing it for a long time and learning the ropes and, and kind of taking it on from there. So I think these brands do survive, but there it's going to be important for all of these visionary designers to pass that on in some apprenticeship style of learning, because there's a lot of room for, for philosophy. And that's what I kind of keep alluding to this, this meeting point between the objective tangible design criteria and those intangible human aspects.

And that's what I think makes this sport so exciting from a, from a design standpoint to is you can really see that philosophy of play out across a different brands. I mean, a gin generally has these very different characteristics to say an ozone signific to say a BGD. And I think that that's the designers influence. That's the amount of leeway that they have to implement those more human aspects. And I love that. I loved that you can pick up the different wing and they can all be like objectively good on a performance or behavior standpoint, but the feel is going to be completely different.

Speaker 1 (36m 58s): This might be, yeah, that's, that's very cool that this, this might be something that's a little bit before your time. And I don't know if this is something that you're still seeing that much, but In in my even, you know, compared to the legends short history in the sport, but there there's always been, you know, until pretty recently there have been bad Wing's, you know, there's, there have been, there have been wings that get released where you're like, look, they kind of missed the Mark on that. That doesn't seem to be happening really across the board.

I, I don't see a, you know, wings being released these days by any company that isn't really pretty damn good. I mean, I only fly in Navy. Well, except in the last next house I flew to zeolite, but so I'm limited within their brand, but, you know, there's a, there that was always kind of a common thing that pilots would talk about, you know, and now it seems like they're, you know, there are definitely misses at the CCC end because the you're talking, you know, have a 1% at that end.

I mean, they've just, they've got to go or they just don't compete. So that's just more, really more speed, but, you know, and, and people will learn how to deal with the handling of, of anything at that level, if they can get a little bit more performance, but in the ma in the, you know, on the, the wider range of Glider is that most people fly, you know, a to D they're they're seems to be everybody is making good wings.

Speaker 3 (38m 33s): Yeah. I think to your point, that's I was pretty fortunate to come in to this sport at a time where it seemed that, that Jeff just that's where things were gearing towards and I've had the chance to fly a variety of wings, mostly in the BIA. If I've had the chance to sample a few CS, specifically, the, the cure two, I think with BGD a bit, a couple of other ones. And I think what I have found is that on the object, again, like back to this too, the objective tangible things, I, yeah, to your point, I have a hard time saying that like, Oh, I feel this way.

And that's just this death trap. I never want to go near that thing. No. I mean, the, there, they all seem to hit those marks. And again, the difference is that I found, or just the subjective things like, Oh, this wing seems to go great. But the handling to me is, is a little dull or maybe it's to live leader or does more subjective elements. And that's where I think it's just important to you to try different wings and, and find out what works, what works for you.

Speaker 1 (39m 33s): Do you accredit this, you know, all the manufacturers making a pretty solid wings is that, is that because the software and the kind of the engineering side has, has caught up with these, you know, designers, wild plans and hopes and dreams as the mesh just gotten the it's gotten more synergistic between the two,

Speaker 3 (40m 2s): You know, I think that would be, I would have a hard time giving you a definitive answer, just given my somewhat limited exposure to the entire design space. I think what I would attribute it towards is that Many, if say if one manufacturer comes out with a wing in that way, sort of sets the new safety standard for a given class, any wing that gets released after that, by other manufacturers is going to be held to that bar. So there is this catch-up game that's being played on the safety spectrum, as well as the performance spectrum.

'cause, you know, if a manufacturer releases say a new two liner D that has just incredible safety characteristics, given that it's to align or D and then another manufacturer releases they're in year two liner D and it performs just as well, but it's twice as a, twice in a handful, they're just not going to be able to keep up. It's not going to sell. Right. So I think there's that catch up dynamic at play.

Speaker 1 (41m 4s): I just, I can't imagine maybe I'm sure you got a, you know, a firsthand account of this, but it seems relentless to me seems like it must be you're, you're constantly feeling like you're constantly catching up. What does it like kinda behind the scenes? I mean, obviously there's some things that I'm sure private or Bruce wouldn't want to expose to the world, but what, what can you tell us about that side of it? Just maybe business side that's kind of fun or something that most of the audience probably does not know.

Speaker 3 (41m 39s): I think And, and specifically speaking to the relentlessness of the pace at which things are being released.

Speaker 1 (41m 46s): Yeah. Just, just the, I would imagine it's, it's one of these businesses where your, like, you just can never feel like you can take a day off and sit on the couch. It's just, this is just this constant need to, you know, like you said, if, if the new EA, you know, high-end, ENB are the new C comes out and it's just, you know, a, a, a factor better than your wings obsolete, you don't have to create that or better yet, you know, lets use the Xeno is the, is the example of Here, you know, the, the Xeno has just been an insane seller and huge for the ozone brand.

And it just really set the tempo at that two liner D level, you know, and there's no reason to produce a wing that didn't beat the Xeno. You wouldn't sell it.

Speaker 3 (42m 38s): Right. And and I think it's a very telling that the Xeno two is how many years it is, you know? Right. It's been man close to four more years. Yeah. And so it, it speaks a lot that, that there hasn't yet been released there. And I think what that's trending towards and something that I, yeah, I kinda noticed it when I was kind of in, in that area behind the scenes is there is a relentless pace because there are these, especially these incremental innovations that very quickly start to make a difference to consumers.

But I wouldn't say that there is unnecessary iteration, you know, some brands might be doing it. I, I wouldn't be able to say specifically which ones, I mean, I'm sure there is a business case to be made about like, Hey, just create the perception of new, but overall, I didn't get that impression of the, one of the paragliding industry as a whole. Right. It seems that things are iterated when they need to be. And I think that's also partly because I'll put it this way, no one is getting filthy rich off of paragliding. Right? Like that's, that's the other element does everyone that I met that worked in the industry was there because they loved it.

I mean, that's, there's just this passion that goes into every site and every element of it and Philippe pointed out really well in his Podcast buy, trying to put a number on it of just how expensive it is to release serial class gliders and certify them and to just make it viable. So there really isn't a lot of room for unnecessary iteration. You have to get it right.

Speaker 1 (44m 13s): That blew me away. What did he say? It was six figures. Right. And that is

Speaker 3 (44m 17s): Yeah, like a hundred K for about four sizes. And, you know, I did have a direct look at any of the finances, but just at a order of magnitude, it makes sense. I can totally see that.

Speaker 1 (44m 30s): What are the, what are the things you hear from, from Bruce and the team that are the kind of the biggest roadblocks to progress? Is it the testing? Is it the market? Is it funds?

Speaker 3 (44m 47s): I think if you asked all the different vendors, this question you'd probably get different answers. And I think part of it is a part of the answer is lie and where the different vendors are hedging their bets. And I think with, with BGD Dave made a tremendous investment in time and resources. And for example, helping me out with my thesis Tom's PhD is, and the fluid structure interaction, which I definitely want to talk a little bit about, which has this incredibly technical projects.

And so BGD, there's hedging their bets on breakthroughs coming from the ability to, to simulate things. But I'm sure that if there was a lot more funding, we'd go a long way towards kind of throwing more money at the problem.

Speaker 1 (45m 33s): Do you go down that road a little bit? You, you just said a whole bunch of words that I didn't even understand a fluid dynamics. Tell us about that side of things.

Speaker 3 (45m 44s): Yeah. So fluid structure interaction. So I guess before we start talking about that, we want to take a bit of a step back and try to look in a pair of Glider as a whole, right? So the most important forces that we're experiencing in the air, our lift and drag, and by far the biggest contributors to both lift and drag definitely lift, but also drag is the canopy itself. And so how do you quantify those forces is generally the field of aerodynamics and within aerodynamics there's this other subcomponent called computational fluid dynamics.

And that is a word that either strikes fascination or absolute terror and to the engineers at work with it is, Oh my God, it's, Here looking at these equations. And I remember the first time I saw them in my class, I just thought like, okay, this is getting really, really serious. And what's interesting about the equations that govern fluids is that so far they've proven to be mathematically correct, almost down to the particulate level. You can in theory, to describe a room full of air particles or a parcel of air particles down to the particles with those equations.

But the problem is that it gets computationally very expensive. So, and I guess the way to visualize how that problem is set up is if you, if you imagine the canopy kind of just sitting and in some 3d space and you create a bunch of dots around it and those dots represent the air around it. And then those dots are linked to the adjacent ones with little lines and those lines represent the equations that link each particle to the one that's next to it.

And I wanted to add the caveat here for the listeners that might be familiar with CFD, that this analogy isn't a a a hundred percent correct, but it we'll get the point across. And so you have as many equations to one of these problems as there are links between two given particles or in between the number of particles that you have in your problem. And part of the classes are a part of the courses you take in CFD. One of the classic things they have to do is to draw out how big or a room of air or do you need to get to the point where you have a problem that will take computationally more time than there is time in the universe.

It gives you a sense of the scale of, of these problems. And so CFD is become like, you know, the equations and everything that governs it is definitely a scientific, but the implementation can be a bit famously, a bit of a black art within engineering of just knowing how to play with a match and playing with where did you make those links and how many, you know, particles or equation links you realistically need to get to a good solution. When a problem And CFD in this field of, of fluid dynamics can get very good, especially if you know the shape that you're dealing with.

So if you have a rigid object like a ball or even a car, you can get really, really good results, especially if you have a way of verifying them, say with a wind tunnel. Now the problem with not just paragliders, but all aircraft is that aerodynamic forces can get very large. And so anything that's subjected to forces is going to deform. The, this is classically studied under a field called Aero elasticity, which the feedback loop at studying is that the air dynamics say over a wing are going to deformed that wing.

And now when the wing is deformed, it's going to create a different set of aerodynamics, which then to form the wing further. And so there's this feedback loop until it settles at a given shape. And with a pair of Glider. It's easy to imagine because everything's so damn flexible, right? The canopy's made out of ripstop. The lines are hard, are in Dyneema and, and whatnot, but what's important to emphasize here. This is relevant even for fighter jets. I mean, this field is, is important in anything that flies.

And if the listeners want to scare themselves out of flying in planes, if you do a YouTube search for something called flutter testing, there's these incredible compilations from NASA labs and where, you know, aircraft prototypes are just literally shaking themselves apart because they hit resonance with their own aerodynamics. And this is, this is a carefully studied phenomenon. And, you know, listeners will be happy to know that all commercial aircraft are subject to a very rigorous testing to make sure that they can't even fly.

And in areas where this happens, at least not a normal operations, right? And so to bring it back to paragliders fluid structure, interaction comes down to this idea that is air flows over a surface. It will change the shape of that surface, which in turn changes the air dynamics. And eventually it has to settle and back to the computational fluid dynamics problem that I described. You have all of these equations that are tying the air particles as they go over a given object, but now you also need to create parameters for the canopy itself.

So you need to give the problem or the computational problem, the information that it needs about the ripstop nylon about the lines, about how they stretch and how they had to form so that this piece of software can spit out the actual shape of the pear. Glider down to the wrinkle. Once it's subjected to airflow.

Speaker 1 (51m 29s): Good Lord. I still count on my fingers. Rene she had to imagine actually trying, trying to figure all this stuff out is fascinating.

Speaker 3 (51m 40s): It's a wild problem to have. And then, I mean, I, I, I definitely understand it at a conceptual level, but I'll be honest with you, man. If someone came up to me and said, Hey, you need to implement this. I'd be pretty intimidated. It's I can't emphasize how, how tricky the problem with this.

Speaker 1 (51m 56s): It is understanding this side of our game. Do you think it makes you understand aerology you, do you know how forces work, how a Glider works. Do you think it helps you pilot?

Speaker 3 (52m 13s): I think, I mean, if I could translate all the analytical knowledge and piloting know-how, I would absolutely love that. And that isn't to say that that doesn't help it. It certainly does, but I think when it comes to actually flying a wing there's, there's this analytical side that can help. But I, I would think that a pilot that goes by feel is going to outdo the pilot that goes by analysis on almost any day, right?

Because I think with analysis, we can quickly and, and I've, I see myself doing this all the time with an analytical mind, we can sort of force our assumptions on what we're seeing, as opposed to just feeling it out and seeing what's actually happening in front of us. We always need to be careful with, with analysis in terms of not getting what's called observer bias, right? Like we have a theory of how something is. And we look for evidence that points towards that theory.

A lot of the times ignoring the evidence that might go against it. So I think more than more, whether it helps me be kind of a better pilot at a piloting level, I think it helps a lot with my risk management, because I'm able to kind of conceptualize these things and really break them down to the nitty gritty,

Speaker 1 (53m 40s): Knowing that's a, that's a cool segue knowing the behind the scenes more like you do and what most people will, will never get. Does it make you more confident or less confident in gear? And I don't mean And, I don't mean obviously a, I'm not asking you about BGD wings. I'm talking about flying in general, you know, does it, does it give you more confidence in what these craft can do or does it, you know what I'm saying?

Speaker 3 (54m 12s): Yeah, no, I totally get what you're saying. And it actually, it brought back a memory of when I, when I first started to fly, you know, Torrey Pines is an interesting place learn to fly because it's a bit of a peanut gallery, not just by their pilots, but the general public there's this viewing area. The, you know, people are out having lunch or whatever. It's a beautiful place to go and have a picnic. So we have a lot of people just in the greater San Diego area that come out and a lot of people are curious and they're asking questions.

And, and I remember when I was learning, there is a sky. And you said, well, aren't you terrified? I mean, looking at what you're flying it's this is just nylon in strings. Like what, why are you so sure this thing's not going to fall out of the sky? And I remember at that time, I just thought, Oh, it makes perfect engineering sense. Like, it's just in my head. I was like, Oh, it totally adds up that this thing's not going to fall out of the sky. So I think early on, I noticed that just understanding how, how it works. And maybe at that point it was a blind faith, but I could make sense of it in my head.

And that made me a lot less scared of it. There's this fudge factor, right? This fear, uncertainty and doubt that just, it wasn't there because I could wrap my head around how these things worked. And now that I've actually been kind of behind the scenes and, and seeing what's going on, I would say that's reaffirmed the way that the testing is done. The way the load testing is done. I mean, they're rated up to eight times maximum weight with a safety factor. So that translates to AGS with a safety factor in there's a military aircraft that have a maximum G loading of six GS.

So that gives us a sense. Yeah, but in general aviation aircraft, I think a maximum G loading is well below that. So it gives us a sense of what our, you know, at a first glance, very simple looking aircraft and accomplished. It's incredible. How did you get into flying? So I grew up, it, it started with a Calvin and Hobbes comic of all things. There's these little strips where Calvin buys these scale models and he's, he's having his fantasies.

And he's, I don't know, flying in F four all over the place. And then the fr starts malfunctioning. And then eventually he crashes. And the next strip is him putting together the scale model. And it's just this massive glue and parts everywhere. And that is in my head at 10 years old, I was like, I want to build scale models and I want to build these little planes. So I started just, all my allowance just went towards that, like buying glue, buy kids, buying paint.

I think over the, you know, from when I was 10 to 18, I must've felt close to a hundred and painted them. And by the end of it, I was submitting them to a little competitions, having a ball with it. But that's what started turning my head or as well, what if I eventually get into aeronautics design and, and, and designing these things and how that would work. And then that spurred well in interest in just what it would be like to fly. And so that curiosity it's just been getting fostered ever since I was ever since I was a little kid.

And when I was 16, my dad was Swiss and we were visiting family in the South of Germany and France. And we were there for four a week. And my dad says, Hey, why don't we go to one of these paragliding courses? And I thought it was an awesome idea. So we signed up and we went and did it together. And, you know, it was the equivalent of like a P one, just first flight getting off the Hill and, and just an easy grassy, takeoff in an easy grassy landing.

And I think at that point, it really stuck in my head, but my parents made a very clear to me that my dad actually walked away from that experience. Just quite a lot of apprehension. Yeah. He didn't have such, I think he just didn't have the coordination. You ended up landing in some cow pies at one point, which probably a little bit. And so they made it very clear to me if I ever wanted to do it, it was going to have to be on my own terms.

And which I thought was very fair. And in retrospect, very important because it may, it forced me to, to go through the risk analysis process on myself and justify it to myself. So it took me another 10 years or close to 10 years before I had saved up enough money to, to take a course in living in San Diego. I'd see them all the time in Torrey Pines. But I mean, Torrey Pines is a very limited introduction to it, the potential of paragliding and the more I found out, the more I loved it, I mean, this part is just absolutely incredible,

Speaker 1 (59m 10s): Interesting fulcrum. Here that I've, that I've thought about a lot, especially lately the, you know, on the one hand, you know, I'm so envious of somebody like Kriegel hoo, you know, I've learned how to ground, you know, when he was nine and got his license, as soon as he actually got it, you know, to start flying before he was legally able to, and Switzerland, I think it's 14 or 16 or something in there. And then, you know, and that's what he's done with his life. And certainly we're just so much more capable of learning when we're young.

I saw that my, my example with my dad was, was sailing. You know, he, he was a, he played on a tour in golf and in an incredibly solid athlete, he was just very gifted as an athlete. But, you know, he'd tried to learn how to sail. We learned how to sail together when he was in his early sixties. And it was monumentally harder for him than it was for me just cause its, you know, the terminology, it's just harder to learn things when you're older. And so, you know, I didn't learn how to fly until I was 36 and I often, you know, think, Oh gosh, if I could have just learned this when I was 16, but at the same time me it's 16 me up and go 30.

It's just, you know, I don't know if that would have been a very good way to, to see 40. And I just don't know if I would of made it through. We, we have a very different tolerance of risk when we're young. So it's, it's, it's re it's it's, it's especially interesting with this sport,

Speaker 3 (1h 0m 42s): Right? Yeah. I completely agree, man. And, and in retrospect I'm really glad that I got into it when I did, because I had is how do I frame this? I'd had a really nasty surfing accident before I started paragliding, which completely changed the way that I approached risk. And I think if I had started paragliding before I had that surfing accident, it could be, it could have led to something really nasty, just not managing.

I just wasn't managing risk in a, in a, in a way that was appropriate. I was taking way too much risk for the skill that I had at the time. And so it led to a near drowning on a remote reef pass in the Mentawai in Indonesia and it really shook me away. It really made me think, well, how do I prevent this from ever happening again? And I'm glad that I had that before I started paragliding. So in short, I think I'm echoing your point of on the one hand. Yeah, it'd be, you would have been great to start earlier, but I'm really not sure that I had the, to the right a sustainable mentality.

I'll put it that way,

Speaker 1 (1h 1m 52s): But that brings up another interesting point. You know, that Kriegel, we have a quote of his in the book that, you know, people that are, that are too concerned with safety and driving the speed limit and being careful, aren't really a very good fit and paragliding, you know, like if you're worried about surviving, you're probably not going to be a very good pilot, which is whose kind of a, there's a blunt truth to that. Yeah. I mean, it's, there's there's friction and these steps isn't there a lot, like Bruce said, you know, you wouldn't make a very good test pilot.

So you know, some somewhere in the spectrum is interesting.

Speaker 3 (1h 2m 27s): It is, it is. And, and, and there's probably not a single, the way that I manage for is probably doesn't work for someone for, I mean, I'll put it this way. You and I probably manage the risks very differently, but both of you and I seem to be comfortable with how we're doing. And I think that ties back to everyone's risk profile is going to be very different and it has to tie into what your trying to accomplish with a sport. And it has to be realistic to not only your goals, but also you need to have a real honest conversation with yourself about, about your own aptitudes, right?

And and to not sell yourself short, but maybe not oversell your own, your own abilities either. And you always want to have something to reach towards. I think that's really important, but, but yeah, just, I think it varies by by person and it requires that kind of introspective honesty to hone in on what works for you,

Speaker 1 (1h 3m 28s): String Here from your, your project and, you know, Design and your time with BGD. But this is fascinating. I want to go down this road just a little bit longer when you were there and you were, you know, you had this incredible opportunity to share space and air and thoughts and brain power with a proper legend with Bruce. And also I would imagine it would of been kind of a fascinating time because he's, he's devoting a lot of time to his son, son is becoming a really good pilot.

And I think maybe when, I don't know if that was when you were there, but it was went to your head is accident, but I'd love to just know what let's talk about, what you were able to sponge up from that relationship. And, you know, maybe things that the wider world wouldn't be aware of without actually working there.

Speaker 3 (1h 4m 23s): Yeah. I mean, I think as a starting point, just from the offset, the first time that I got the fly with Bruce, I just got the impression of someone who's just so overjoyed every time he flies. And, and it's something that I love seeing consistently all out there because you know, it's not great conditions all the time. Sometimes it's just a sweater, but man, for someone that's been flying for 30 Brown since the mid eighties, paragliders in its like the mid eighties and hang gliders before that has won world championships is just an incredible, incredible things and accomplish our dreams in the sport.

He is still just looks like a kid after landing, after a sled ride and we just totally overjoyed. And that's one of the things that I think I really picked up on there is this is supposed to be fun. This is just, this is incredible. It's it allows us to do things that were previously in our dreams and, and keeping that in mind, there's always a really important and, and he would always have this thing where if it's safe to fly in fly, you know, don't, don't psych yourself out at the Hill. Oh, it's not looking that great today. I mean, if you were there in a fly in a safe to do so then, then do it.

And what that means to different people is obviously relative to, to their own safety considerations. But again, just trying to fly as much as possible. And the other element with Bruce is that he, I mean, he's clearly very analytical in his own, right? But there's this taps into this form, the black arts side of the sport too. And you can see it and just the way you fly as the way he talks about flight, the things that he's picking up on that I'm glad that, that we would be able to have those conversations because then, you know, the way that you would look at a certain clouds or a certain birds are just a ruffle of a certain tree I picked up on, but I wouldn't have picked up on them without him kind of pointing them out.

And in his relationship with TIR, I was there shortly after, well, not shortly, kind of like a year after tears accident. So I was kind of there for his rehab. And when he started kind of getting back in the saddle and you can tell the tear has been around paragliding his whole life, because he got back in the saddle and just went into this, this really technical cross-country right off the bat and lands. He's like, yeah, that felt pretty good.

And that was kind of the extent I'm like, yeah, but you know, what, what did you, what were you thinking about? What are you considering sort of went out and flew the day? It just seemed right. And that's what I realized I can prod all I want. And it's not that he doesn't want it and telling me it's just that he's just operating is operating on a different spectrum there.

Speaker 1 (1h 7m 13s): Well, I've learned in the, you know, in the last bunch of years doing this podcast, I can have people, you know, there's a lot, most have had an accident. And for everybody it's different a, a C it seems like for Many, if you understand why the accident happens, it's a lot less traumatic. And, and sometimes that can just be something you could just get over instantly. Or if you know what happened, it's it's often, it seems like it's more traumatic than a car castle talked about her tumble in, in Austria, which is there a second tumble a, you know, the first one was, was way more traumatic in the Owens, but, and there was injury involved and stuff they're but the second one, she just didn't know why it happened.

And it all worked out fine. She walked away. It was no big deal, but, but it was really traumatic because she didn't know why it happened.

Speaker 3 (1h 8m 2s): Yeah. I think that with tears actually, and I definitely got the sense that he was a very honest with himself about how it came to be, it was a top landing and go down and really kind of aggressive conditions. And, and he was very Frank about it. You said, yeah, it was getting a little cocky. I had done my, I think he had competed in the world's recently and things were starting to shape really well in the competition front. And he's like, yeah. So lesson learned and he had, I think, dealt with the whole aftermath of that accident in a very, with a lot of equanimity.

Right. I think something I like about tiers, he's a pretty stoked guide at any given time in this. This is a joy to be around for that reason. Yeah.

Speaker 1 (1h 8m 46s): So after doing this, you, you, you know, you've been home unplanned home for much longer than you are. You were thinking, you were thinking you were going to be in Switzerland and this year, but what does the future look like for Rene? When is this gonna be your job is going to be something you want to keep pursuing.

Speaker 3 (1h 9m 5s): Yeah. I think I have, I've made a big effort this year to stay involved to the extent that I can on, on the analytics, on the engineering side with, with BGD. And I'm definitely keen to see where that continues to go for me, it's been a lot of fun and it's actually opened up some doors kind of on the wider industry side, hopefully a door that might open it in the future in Switzerland, I was talking to very much an introduction call, you know, just to get to know each other and, and we'll see if it pans out, but it's a, an aerospace consultancy that does pretty much this, right?

The analytics and stimulation for the aircraft on a contract basis. And all of them are paraglider pilots. So they were very excited to see that thesis. And I think more importantly, as I realized, they actually understood what I was getting with this thesis and that built a lot of rapport. So I don't know if that'll pan out where we've said we're going to keep in touch, but that's certainly made me realize that there's opportunities in that direction. And I I'm just a nerd when it comes to these to, to anything that flies and in any of the simulation space, the analytics space behind it.

So that's where I would love to gear that side of my life. And on the flying side, don't just keep on the progression, keeping mindful about it. As I mentioned to you in the past, like there's so many lessons that I feel I've implemented from the Mayhem and yeah, definitely in it for, for a long game. And I'm keen to see what, what comes of it.

Speaker 1 (1h 10m 40s): Rene we just did this survey. We released a couple of weeks ago and I got a ton of great questions. Do you mind if I give you a couple of In we'll end on that. Yeah, absolutely. Man. Any, what is, what's the biggest aha moment in your flying career? Something you either learned with Bruce or just in your 300 hours where we were like, ah, that works, it could be geared to gliding thermal in whatever. Yeah.

Speaker 3 (1h 11m 12s): That's the one that immediately came to there was we're often choking R and D and by we, I mean, pilots, maybe in my range and the intermediate is here in a 300, we're often choking our wings. That's something that came out of, out of the thesis testing when I had to go out and fly a polar, which man Gavin, that's a topic in of itself. How do we do like flight testing for, for verification, for, for performance testing objectively is when I realized man, most of your polar in the break range is in the first 10, 15 centimeters.

Yeah. And I think a lot of pilots are flying with that as a default. And immediately you go into a part of the eye of the polar where you're really just thinking out of the sky. So that was a, that was a big moment when I realized, Oh, you're the nuances of flying with that with break are really a lot shallower than, than I thought before

Speaker 1 (1h 12m 8s): Our recent guests we had on Malin. Labi, you know, he's an instructor with, with fly, you Nikki, you guys know each other, but he was talking about, Kriegel put out this video pretty recently that basically said we should be flying around a full bar all the time. He's talking to two liner, but, but flying around a full bar and you modulate your speed and keep the wing over your head just with the bees, you know, you're so you're and I been trying this lately, but what does, what does Bruce, I have to say about somebody like that?

Is that, how do you guys talk about that much? I mean, that's, that's a, that's a pretty interesting approach. I mean, I've done a lot of flying with Aaron dura Gotti, and, you know, especially in a world cups, there are, there are pilots who use a lot of Mar

Speaker 3 (1h 12m 55s): Yeah. It's, I think there's an important distinction there with the CCC class or even in the two liner D is where you just have a much flatter polar at that end of the speed range. Like you just have a much better Glider throughout the speed bar range and on a three-line, at least when I'm flying, there's a certain point where just pressing more bar gives me a little bit of airspeed, which what might help you penetrate a little bit more, but man, the Glider penalty is just almost not worth it.

Speaker 1 (1h 13m 24s): Yeah. You can't, you can't cross this. You can't take that statement for In down into the three liners. It just doesn't work.

Speaker 3 (1h 13m 31s): No, but there's something interesting, which is that we're starting to see rear rise in our systems for three liners that are, that makes sense. Right? Because for a while we were just putting handles on, on, on the seas for three liners, sort of calling that out of your riser system. But it really wasn't. I mean, we're never going to get to the point. I think where, well that's maybe too strong a statement. It will be very hard to get to the point on a three liner. Then you have the same rear riser control as you have on a two liner. But man, some of these new riser systems that are being put out are really exciting and I don't want to oversell, I know our, our, our behalf too much of a conflict Here with the fact that I'm tied to BGD, but the riser, they put it on the base too actually feels like I have pitched control now.

So to expand on that point of we should be flying on bar and then really just modulating wherever your eyes is, that might be a practice that can start to filter down certainly into the C category and increasingly into the high B category. There's something to be said about flying with, with intent and with speed within the constraints of, of just the skills in our comfort.

Speaker 1 (1h 14m 43s): What's your favorite flying site. And if you can just be somewhere right now and fly where it would be, Oh, maybe they're the same spot.

Speaker 3 (1h 14m 55s): I'd say it's a toss up between via and kit or a heater.

Speaker 1 (1h 15m 2s): You never flown Peter HiTA. I got to get out there. It sounds awesome.

Speaker 3 (1h 15m 6s): It's a very, I love it. It's an intense place to fly, but it's just, I don't know if I'm just biased towards it. Cause that's where I have like my first real exi following a convergence line with a low saves and everything, but I had just found it to be such a fun place to fly in and buy. I think it's, it's just a powerful place, man. This is going to say

Speaker 1 (1h 15m 31s): Interesting that the two places you pulled out of your hat are not the soft, soft grassy slopes of the Alps, but to places that rip pretty hard and you know, by and Peter HiTA.

Speaker 3 (1h 15m 43s): Yeah, I think I like strong conditions and the date is on and I feel good about it. I, it helps me get right into the zone.

Speaker 1 (1h 15m 57s): I asked us with everybody, but people in the answered the survey unanimously loved it. So we'll S we'll ask you as well, this wasn't too long ago for you, but if you could rewind your 50 hour self, what would you change?

Speaker 3 (1h 16m 15s): It's it's funny. I was thinking about that earlier and, and there's something more about the question 'cause this is, this is probably the most important question that you've asked your guests in terms of what I've extracted from the Mayhem. And I think consistently what, I've the lesson that I pay attention to for those guests that would have done something differently is I think there was a, a convergence around the idea of just take things slowly, take things at your time. I've been pretty happy with the way that I've managed my progression.

And so I think I would just tell him to come by 50 ourself to, to keep on that in, just take your time. And you're in this for the long run and there is a whole lot of excitement to be at

Speaker 1 (1h 17m 3s): Rene. Thanks for sharing all of this with us. It's fascinating. Wish you the best of luck, not only with just your flying, but this whole Design side. It's, it's a, it's not something I think I'd be very good at personally, but I do have this dream of, of being a test pilot. I think I would have really enjoyed that side of it. So, but thanks very much. And thanks for sharing this And we will put the, some of the resources you gave me to prepare for this talk up in the show notes and your, your wonderful PDF, which is actually a hysterical considering it's a, that's a very scientific kids.

It's a, it's not exactly layman's terms, but I thought it was really funny. So hats off to you for making something scientific, hysterical, and, but thanks a lot. Rene appreciate.

Speaker 4 (1h 17m 50s): Hey, Gavin it's been a pleasure. Thanks. Thanks again for having me on the show. And I'm, you know, let's hope that we can find ourselves back in the sky again, soon racing, racing and some crazy place like by a or, or wherever it may be. I hope so. Thanks bud.

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