Peter Nitsche flies a paraglider with a speedbag and seated reclining harness. To guide the paraglider, the pilot must keep his body tense while shifting his weight. To do this he supports himself with his feet on the footboard of the harness. This plate may be exposed to extreme forces in extreme situations, such as sudden maneuvers before sheer rock walls—comparable to a passenger car brake pedal that is pressed all the way to the floor to avoid an accident. In such situations one must be able to rely on the material holding up. “The footboard must therefore be of high quality and especially stable. However, it also must not be too heavy, since it is at the lowest point and otherwise would interfere at takeoff and landing. In addition, it must have exactly the right size in order to give the pilot secure footing, but not interfere with the aerodynamics,” explains the flight instructor.
These are all properties that the composite material Tepex dynalite from the LANXESS subsidiary Bond-Laminates, fulfills. The continuous glass-fiber-reinforced high-performance composite, based on high-tech plastics, are used, for example, in the RANGE X-ALPS paraglider reclining harness from Skywalk GmbH & Co. KG. The footboard consists of a sandwich composite, only one centimeter thick, which is made from a thin cover layer of Tepex and a honeycomb core made of polypropylene from the firm EconCore N.V., each only half a millimeter in thickness. The harness was used in an alpine crossing in July 2015. In this event, the participants had to cover the distance from the Austrian city of Salzburg to Monaco alternately by foot and with the paraglider – 1038 kilometers through and over the Alps.