Air Turquoise refuse to test EN D competition wings

Alain Zoller

Alain Zoller Photo: Marcus King

Alain Zoller and the team at Air Turquoise have issued a statement saying that they have made a ‘decision to stop immediately certification of “Gun” competition gliders’. Quite what this means for the competition scene until the new competition class comes into force in 2015 is anyone’s guess. But, for now it seems that it puts a stop to any further development in this class of glider. It will also be a bitter pill to take for those companies that have already spent time and money on their next generation EN D competition wings for the upcoming season.

Here is the statement in full:

3 weeks ago we sent a newsletter regarding our reaction about EHPU decision of not accepting new competition rules. Then CIVL decided to create a competition class but only from 2015. In fact 2015 is just an upcoming year, when you start to looking behind the scenes and see the endless discussions between parties, you realize that a new competition class is probably not going to happen so fast. There is too much politics involved and too many working group with technical unqualified persons. Of course in this way it will be hard to find an easy solution of creating a competition class.

For us is unacceptable to wait and to continue with such “Gun” in EN D certification. We know that there are about 0.15% of pilots worldwide flying with “UNCERTIFIED” gliders. “Uncertified”, because we’re strongly convinced the EN requirements are not respected especially in competition.

We should stop hiding our face behind CERTIFICATION, it’s a very good “filter” for to compare gliders between models and with criteria really precise. But again and again, all tests and manoeuvres are done by professionals pilots in calm air, with one specific harness, in according and the respect of the standard EN 926-2. Certification doesn’t show the real capacity of the glider when flying in for example rough conditions, and it happens often in competitions. The EN standard is a very good way for pilots when choosing a leisure paraglider, but it is not applicable for GUN competition gliders.

These are very few reasons why we, Air Turquoise team has come to a decision to stop immediately certification of “Gun” competition glider.
We’ve had many long discussions internal and with the tests pilots. With adding all the details and problems we are seeing, we finally arrived at this conclusion. Beside of that we didn’t have any pilots motivated for this job. The skill of tests pilot is not good enough for to fly under full security frame and we don’t want to support the “political” way heading by EHPU, CIVL, PMA until they have found concrete and final solution for a competition class. We’ve heard too often that the tests houses should react. It means what? So “they” can sneak around without actually doing anything and to avoid responsibility?

We’re really sorry for manufacturers which have already invested a lot of energy on the project. We hope they can understand and support our decision. We are here for further information if needed.

Fly safe and happy landings
Air Turquoise SA

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