Longstanding Airwave designer and 2007 paragliding World Champion Bruce Goldsmith’s defection to Advance is one of the highest-profile designer moves for many years. Advance fans around the world are rightfully asking the question, what’s happening at Advance and why? XCMag’s Bob Drury asked Advance’s PR man Valéry Chapuis just those questions.
Is Thomas Ripplinger leaving or stepping down as head of design
No, of course not, Thomas isn’t leaving. He remains the leader of Advance’s design team. He’ll now be the leader of an even stronger team.
So, is this a natural expansion of the Advance design team?
Absolutely. Paragliders are used in more and more varied applications these days from paramotor wings to the lightweight X-Alps machines. We need a larger design team to maintain Advance at the leading edge of the increasingly broad field of our sport.
How will Bruce fit in to the design team? What will his role be?
Bruce will first work on the design manifest for our new wings: with the marketing and sales staff for a market [certified] wing, or with the comp pilots for a comp wing. Then [together] with Thomas he will design the wing itself. We can then merge both their ideas into our prototypes. He will fly with our test pilots, analyse the behaviour of the wings, and work in partnership with Thomas to discuss the needed improvements.
Because we have known him and his work for many years, so we already know his skills and abilities. Because of this we feel he’s the best possible choice to strengthen our team. We met several times and both of us had a good feeling that working together would be very positive for all of us.
What do you feel he can bring to the team that you don’t already have?
We have all we need, but we need more! We have a wealth of experience in our design team, but what is quite fascinating is that Bruce’s design and testing experience is different from our own. He will complement our existing team by bringing new perspectives.
You’ve had Bruce with you all last week. What were your first impressions?
That he is already part of our family, it is like we were always working together! We were nearly sad to see him leaving to go back home…
Will Bruce be competing this year for Advance?
Yes, but with his main target to bring feedback for our gliders, to support our pilots, to look at the competition… What else can he do, he is already World Champion!
You’ve already said that only your closest factory pilots will have access to your top prototypes this year, will Bruce be flying them?
Yes of course, he is now a factory pilot.
Any final words on Bruce joining you?
It will be a great year for sure!
Bruce Goldsmith writes Icaristics, a monthly column on flying techniques, for Cross Country magazine
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