Air Turquoise, the paragliding test house that is involved in Enzogate, has issued a statement clarifying its position on the Enzo 2, the Ozone glider at the heart of the controversy that hit the Paragliding World Cup Superfinal last week.
Written by chief test pilot Alain Zoller, the statement says that the test flights they carried out on Saturday confirmed that the glider’s in-flight behaviour was “within the EN norm” but adds “this does not mean that the glider is certified in this configuration”.
The statement adds to the political furore around the Enzo 2 flown by pilots in the Superfinal, which took place in Governador Valadares in Brazil and ended at the weekend.
The glider flown by pilots in the comp was found to have a longer trailing edge to the one originally tested and certified EN D, leading to calls from manufacturers and some pilots for the competition result to be considered invalid.
Under the current rules only certified gliders can be flown in the World Cup.
Air Turquoise say that for the glider used in the Superfinal to be “verified” the test procedure must be flown at minimum and maximum weight.
They add that they feel “harshly criticised” for modifying the archived model in order to test it with an extra long trailing edge, as they did on Saturday.
This is in response to an email sent to members of the Paragliding Manufacturers’ Association on Monday by PMA chief Hans Bausenwein in which he suggested Alain Zoller “should have never ever altered the test sample”.
In the email Bausenwein wrote: “This is a big mistake, because now nobody can compare anymore the tested sample with a production wing.”
When the trailing edge issue came to light in Brazil the PWCA agreed mid-comp that the gliders of the winning pilots would be taken to Air Turquoise to be compared to the sample glider stored at the test centre. Under testing procedure the test house keeps the sample glider for later reference.
The idea was, to counter any accusations of unfairness, the comp wings would be compared against the sample glider.
The three podium wings on their way to be compared against the sample glider are all Ozone Enzo 2s.
However, when the glider was test flown on Saturday “pinches” were unstitched from the sample glider in the store – changing it from how it was when it was tested and certified EN D.
Defending this today Air Turquoise say: “The pinches were referenced and marked on the seam; thus, measurements of the wingspan, on the trailing edge, were done many times, and are easily reproducible and controllable. The legitimacy of our actions was verified and confirmed by our advisors competent in this matter.”
Air Turquoise say they feel “powerless” facing, “the disbelief of politics, competition organisers (PWCA included) and deciders.”
They write: “We have been summoned as ‘prosecutors’ of our sport, whereas our true role is to ensure that the gliders we certify stay conform to the criterions defined by the applicable norms.
“We work as close as possible to our conscience, and to the respect of this norm’s complexity; we have made and evaluated some findings, but it is not a testing lab’s place to sanction one or another actor, and in particular judge who has won a competition.”
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