A dream, to be lived again and again. This is how Christian Ciech, hang gliding instructor and several times world champion, describes the unique experience of free flight.
It is an experience that, to be enjoyed to the full, demands apparatus that is absolutely safe, comfortable and flawlessly designed, just like the gliders offered by Icaro2000 of Sangiano (Varese) a leading company in the construction of hang gliders, helmets and accessories that hired Ciech and other sector experts.
Over years of activity on airfields (in both a teaching and a competition capacity), Icaro2000 has gained enormous expertise, which it constantly applies to the development of a series of hang gliders that have repeatedly topped the podium at world-level sporting events.
These impressive results are the fruit of ongoing efforts to improve the entire hang glider structure, with the focus placed as much on the reliability of the aircraft as on the pleasure to be derived from using it, even in extreme conditions.
Always acutely aware of the crucial importance of ensuring the hang glider’s personal safety, the technical team at Icaro2000 recently decided to strengthen the wing fixing system, completely revising the design of the hooks used to attach the sails to the hang glider frame.
The collaboration of the company Plastì based in Barasso (Varese) – www.plastisrl.it, – which operates the field of plastics processing and also engineers items aimed at the sports market, proved essential in optimizing the performance of components made of engineering polymers.
First of all, the compound used to make the new fixing devices had to provide extreme mechanical strength, lightness and versatility. Naturally, it also had to be tough, in order to guard against the risk of brittle failures due to impulsive stresses transmitted from the wing to the supports holding it. Last in the list of requisites was excellent resistance to environmental conditions, humidity and solar radiation.
In the end, Icaro2000 and Plastì opted to use LATAMID 6 CUVHPX10 G/35, a structural compound for injection moulding obtained from a high polymer PA6 base that is toughened and stabilised to withstand heat and weathering. The real strongpoints of this material are its mechanical strength, conferred by the glass fibre reinforcement, and the excellent toughness of the elastomer dispersed in the matrix.
The performance of the new fixing devices is far superior to that of the previous solution, which was also based on reinforced polymers. As a result, a safe wing-frame anchoring is guaranteed even in situations in which, previously, the sail risked becoming detached. The final tests, passed with flying colours, included special flight manoeuvres and simulations pushing the test aircraft to the frame’s structural load limit.
All this provides a further illustration of how LATI customers are able to successfully use structural compounds in various challenging, cutting-edge applications.