Paragliding equipment New Zealand
Air Design U.F.O. Ultralight Flying Object

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UFO

The UFO is a revolutionary single surface glider with no bottom sail, developed by Stephan Stieglair and Joe Keppler. With this new design, it has been possible to reduce glider weight to just 1.7kg (in size 16²).

First appearance and impression of the UFO is that the design is completely unconventional, but we’ve built in flying characteristics to be more or less the same as what you’d expect from a standard conventional glider.

Our main goal during development was to create a very light and usable glider. For alpine applications, it’s important to have a wing with good speed and durability. The UFO fulfils both criteria. Trim speed is around 38km/h (at 75kg) and can be accelerated up to 43km/h via a speed-system. Although using lightweight materials, we’ve incorporated durability with the integration of edging tapes along the ribs. Another direct result and benefit of the concept means that the glider has an extremely low packing volume.



RAM-AIR-STRUTS
With the implementation of our ‘RAM-AIR-STRUT’ technology, we are able to achieve excellent speed and performance (glide angle around 7) within the hike and fly category. These struts are v-shaped closed cells that are pressurised by ‘shark nose’ styled leading edge intakes. These self-inflating struts provide the glider with greater overall stability in all flying conditions.

Launch
The art of simplicity…

Irrespective of whether you’re adopting a forward or reverse launch technique, the UFO inflates overhead with one step, and resists overshooting tendencies that you may normally expect within the category. The canopy design actually ensures that the glider centres itself without pilot input.

The special concept of single-surface technology translates to enhanced lift - meaning that the lift that the 16² generates is more comparable to a conventional 19², and that’s why launching is so easy. Even on the smallest of take-off locations, it’s possible to launch effortlessly thanks to the compact dimensions of the UFO and its outstanding starting behaviour.
Design Goals
Featuring a completely new construction, yet following the virtues of its predecessor, the VOLT2 showcases far greater performance whilst demonstrating well-balanced flying characteristics and behaviour.

The original VOLT stood out from the crowd as a great performing classic EN-C. It was an impressive climber that provided solid feedback, balanced with flying characteristics that highlighted our renowned comfort-in-flight feel that many refer to as ‘rock solid’. p main objective that we have achieved with the VOLT2 was not to position this glider within the outer limits of the EN-C category from a handling and comfort perspective, but to offer outstanding outer limit performance.

Flying
At first launch, the UFO feels completely different to any other conventional paraglider due to the construction. With the exclusion of the bottom sail, glider feedback is more direct in nature. The overall impression in flight is confidence inspiring, yet agile. Climbing behaviour in thermals is excellent, and the glider remains stable in all conditions.


Pilot Profile

Overall, the UFO flies almost like any other conventional glider and demonstrates comfortable and well-behaved all-round flying characteristics. It only takes a short time in the air to get used to the low dampening – meaning that the glider provides greater feedback in the air. We recommend the UFO to pilots with existing experience of flying mini-wings.

Design Details
• RAM-AIR-STRUTS: self-inflating ribs for more stability

• Ultralight Dyneema risers with incorporating a 3-line configuration (A,B,C) with accelerator

• Polyamide rods in leading edge for enhanced performance

• 3D-cut leading edge

• Light-weight construction (Skytex27, unsheathed lines, lightweight risers)

• Edging tapes integration on ribs for durability

• Rapid descent manoeuvre capable (big-ears, b-stall, spiral)

• Excellent starting behaviour

• Very small packing volume

• Glide angle around 7, trim speed at 38km/h (at 75kg) to 43km/h (accelerated)


FAQ

Pitch Control Behaviour

Compared with a standard paraglider where pitch instability can lead to extreme overshooting, the UFO at times can feel pitch active, but this pitching is always exhibited in a controlled degree. A conventional paraglider can overshoot further than that of the UFO.

Landing

Due to the design contributing to minimal pitch inducement, flare behaviour is different to that of a conventional paraglider. The glider requires a fast and late flare prior to touching down. When landing with ample headwind, standard landing technique flare is sufficient.