RAST in practice
There is a principle in science known as falsification, which says that the accuracy of a statement cannot be proven, but only its invalidity.
We were breaking new ground in paraglider design with the RAST system, so this concept saw us encounter curiosity and interest on the one hand, and understandably, on the other hand, scepticism and reservation as well.
There have been attempts from many quarters to refute the effectiveness of our new technology, by applying time and again the same existing standards used for paragliders without RAST, so as then to compare the results despite the fact that there are different preconditions. What’s more, at the same time the preventative effect of RAST is constantly disregarded.
Adopting such an approach can hardly be considered as evidence that RAST is ineffective.
Our test pilots soon realised during testing that the advantages of RAST were much more apparent under real conditions than in simulation.
It is thus not possible to draw adequate conclusions in relation to the safety of paraglider designs featuring RAST from simulation alone, which is why testing also involved hundreds of hours of airtime in a great range of conditions with independent pilots. Pilots all agreed that RAST proved truly effective in practice and that this system is one of the biggest innovations in paraglider development.
With other new designs, such as 2-liners or paramotor gliders with reflex profiles, safety assessment beyond the pure simulation of collapses has already reached its limits. However, in practice these designs have proved themselves in their areas and today are “state of the art”.
The principle mentioned above means it is impossible to prove that RAST is effective without fail. However, we are able to provide actual examples of canopy stability problems with RAST, which satisfied pilots have passed on to us.
These practical examples demonstrate convincingly how RAST counter-acts any deformation of the canopy and prevents it from spreading back to the trailing edge. However under no circumstances should pilots be tempted by this into switching too soon to gliders with a higher classification because of RAST, as major collapses spreading beyond RAST cannot be completely ruled out, and the glider would then exhibit behaviour typical for its category, to which a pilot must be able to respond.
Besides that RAST still offers so much more:
» The comprehensive RAST special issue with all information, Magazine test reports, pilot feedbacks and FAQs about the “Ram Air Section Technology”. – PDF (59mb)