Many technical details and solutions you see upon close examination of a UP wing were pioneered or improved by UP. This article introduces a few of them:
Negative 3D shaping -a new seam at the leading edge. Here the cloth is cut and sewn concavley (instead of convexly as in traditional 3D shaping). This ensures that the paraglider (cloth) is under tension at the forefront of the leading edge. Especially in accelerated flight, in turbulent air and while gliding into wind this brings an enormous increase in performance, since the leading edge forms beautifully clean and without denting.
Mini Ribs – wings with high aspect ratio (A/R) and many cells must have carefully controlled trailing edges in order to avoid a rhythmic ballooning-induced shortening of the entire trailing edge in turbulent conditions. This is where the Mini-ribs come into play, by controlling the amount of ballooning that is possible at the trailing edge. The mini ribs also improve glide performance as such, since a ballooning trailing edge is bad for the airflow at this important section of the aerofoil.
3D shaping – newer UP wings benefit from an even more carefully controlled leading edge section through the 3-D-Shaping, where a seam across the top surface at the most critical point of the leading edge keeps ballooning here under control. This means the aerofoil, although always an approximation on paragliders, is closer to the ideal than in wings where this technology is not applied.
BTS and BTS2 – the Brakeline Tensioning System and its 2. generation reincarnation allows the UP designers the option to have less tension in the trailing edge than would normally be necessary for in-flight comfort and handling. Trailing edge tension is great for these things, but negatively influences glide ratio (L/D) especially at higher speeds. With BTS we can have very little tension when the air allows for it, and immediately increase it when it is needed, i.e. in turbulence and when turning. The BTS further allow us to precisely adapt the brakeline tension to the user segment, and to make the pressure increase through the brake range more progressive. In BTS the brake line runs through a small ring sewn onto the trailing edge, and attaches a few cm to the inside of this ring - this effectively pulls the trailing edge together spanwise, shortening it. BTS2 sees the brake line split in two some 70mm from the trailing edge, and accomplishes the same as the BTS but with a more direct feel at the pilot's end, and with less additional weight.
FSS and RSS – the UP Front- and Rear Stabilising System, thin Nylon® battens in the leading edge/over the C-line attachment points, first introduced on the UP Pico as a means to reduce canopy weight and complexity by doing away with the industry-standard Mylar® reinforcement in the leading edge. Since then they have found their way into all new UP wings because they offer many advantages. They maintain the shape of the most important part of the aerofoil for longer than Mylar® and can be easily replaced in case of need. They are also lighter and more precise than Mylar® and ensure trouble-free launching even after hundreds of hours. The RSS battens distribute load from the C-lines all over the rear half of the canopy, making D-lines obsolete and thus reducing drag.
Race Risers – the UP 12mm Kevlar® reinforced risers for the performance-oriented paragliders were introduced along with the first incarnations of the Targa and Trango series wings. They offer less drag along with increased strength, but many beginners find them a little more fiddly on launch, so they are only used on our advanced wings.
Negative 3D shaping If you take a closer look at our latest paraglider models since the En-D 2-liner Meru, you will immediately notice another seam at the leading edge.
Exactly this is the negative 3D shaping developed by UP designer Franta Pavlousek. Here the cloth is cut and sewn concavley (instead of convexly as in traditional 3D shaping).
This ensures that the paraglider (cloth) is under tension at the forefront of the leading edge. Especially in accelerated flight, in turbulent air and while gliding into wind this brings an enormous increase in performance, since the leading edge forms beautifully clean and without denting. In addition, this allows a safetyrelated construction of the wingtips and also saves weight! In order to prevent bulging at the leading edge either - additional material e.g. by adding rods in the middle of the cell (more weight) would have to be used or - the wingtips would have to be made stiffer. Wingtips that are set slower and therefore under increased tension deteriorate the flight characteristics and also cause more vortex, which in turn would negatively affect the performance of the paraglider. --> The negative 3D shaping is therefore the best solution to ensure a clean leading edge! At UP, we already rely on the safety and performance-providing design feature of negative 3D shaping for our EN-A wing Dena. The following paragliders have been equipped with it so far: Dena, Kibo2, Lhotse2, Kangri, Meru and Guru. For further explanation please also have a look at our video! Have fun watching :)