A little background from PMA here,
What is Safety Class? Nobody knows for sure. We have heard that DHV doing the manoeuvres out of Certification envelope to find the worst behaviour in the glider. In this case the manufacturers have no chance to prepare their glider in advance because they don?t know what exactly DHV is doing and what the manoeuvres are. The manufacturer will most likely get their glider ?failed? at DHV after certification is done. For sure it is possible to ?fail? any glider; you just have to do some cracky-strange-manoeuvres and put the glider in coma. Voila!
One of the DHV arguments is to find safe gliders. But what is a safe glider? Is it a glider that is not possible to collapse? Is it a glider that is not possible to Spin? Or do the spiral? Big ears? What about pitch stability? Should it be no pitch at all?
-Will it be possible to steer this kind of glider?
Well, I don?t think this will be a good safety glider. Do you? I don?t think we can speak about perfectly safe glider; we should speak about SAFE PILOTS! We should speak about EDUCATION, we should speak about RESPECT the weather and our own skill. I am not sure that every school instructors learning the new glider technology to their students, they might not know it themselves. What is the different about the today?s glider compare to 3-4 years old gliders or older gliders (depending when the instructor got his/her instructor license). Here we can discuss a lot and to learn a lot. In my opinion the instructors and ?old? instructors must all the time try different new gliders, to understand the philosophy of the wing and to discover the new technology. I could have written page up and page down about this issue, but I think we all understand the importance of knowing the new gliders before educating the student in correct way. And then we have the pilots done the license for years and years, yes another topic?.
In the end every pilot is responsible for their own safety and to avoid incident and accidents. It is no way that a glider can do everything for you. ?Well maybe in the future, you can buy a glider where you can plot-in the destination on the instrument and then you lean back and enjoy your reading or social media while the glider flies itself. Then we would have lost the beauty of flying, no?
I believe it is important to support EN standard and to change some of the ?old? WG6 members to new, fresh and passionate pilots. Can you believe that DHV still sitting in this group and then they are working on their own way for ?Safety class?? It is ridiculous. I really don?t have words for it.
The worst part is that some federations are supporting the idea of DHV?s Safety class. These federations have been in WG6 since early days, and they have used hours and money to create and develop the EN standard. They should be supporting the EN standard instead of killing it! Safety class is not certification and it is not comparable and repeatable (see PMA statement) as EN standard is. The manoeuvres in EN standard can be repeatable if you respect the standard. DHV don?t respect EN.
Certification of a glider isn?t a proof of safety. Certification is here to classify the gliders and to guide the pilot to choose the right glider to their own level. It is important to read and understand the flight test report and in the same time read the level recommendation from the manufacturers.
Almost 2 years has gone, and the issue about ISO 17020 in Germany is still very hot. In between I have got a little baby and I have use some time at home with the sweetest little thing in the world. And of course my first priority hasn't been this blog. However, I have always been in the background and have been updated of what has happened in this field.
The process ISO 17020 has been very long and expensive. In the post dated 29-09-13, I explained about the cost only to start the process, but also we had to rent one person only for this purpose of handling the documents. And then it is the cost of calibration, the cost of updating our existing equipments, the work hours of all Air Turquoise members and to loose half of our customers. The total cost to implement ISO 17020 was about 200'000 Euros. It's pretty much money for a small company like us and which could have been used differently for us or something else. For example, last two years we have given donation to a charity (water supply in Africa and environmental research) instead of traditionally present to our partner-customer. This year we will probably do the same, but obviously not so big donation. Can you imagine what we could have done with 200'000 Euro for to help people in need ????
It isn't just complaining about the money-problem, but rather this whole system and all involved parties deciding a ?dead end solution? for the tiny paraglider community.
Then the news about The French testing house can do a shortcut to be accepted in Germany, they don't need to go through the ISO 17020 process and DAkkS. We did heard some rumours about the french way, but when it was confirmed we thought : ?What the f...?. It just shows us how stupid the rules are in Germany.
Some predict the certification in German will disappear and we think that as well, for sure this ISO 17020 doesn't make much sense anymore. But if the certification in Germany disappear, I'm sure new "rules" in Germany coming and make difficulties for us. It's been like this since we started EN-certification.
Somehow I would like to highlight some advantages of ISO 17020, that we are getting better in procedure and to prepare the different tests and so on. But for the most important part of certification of paraglider; the flight test. How can we calibrate that? How can we make sure that the flight test is done in same way as in Air Turquoise as the other test houses? We have too many examples that this aren't the case. What we have ?failed? here of some gliders have passed very well few days later at other test house. Not only paraglider flight test, but also test of harnesses. We have got one explanation saying that it is ?easier? to pass the glider and harness at another test house than us. Is it because it's only us following strictly the rules? Why isn't ISO 17020 helping with that ? DAkkS doesn't have any technician and they know nothing about our sport paragliding. It meaning that they doesn't know how to handle for example the flight and load test. However they know well the administration, but that will not make paragliding safer. The main aim of GPMA (German Paraglider Manufacturer Association) with this accreditation was to calibrate the test houses, but it fact the opposite has happened. In each corner (every test house) thinks they are the best and then they are making their own and different rules. And most likely this will not help our sport, would it?
Finally we have got the ISO 17020 accreditation. We did the audit in May quite successful, DakkS mention our test house did it with less non-confirmities than the other test houses. This is normal since we have had ISO 9001 since the beginning and we know well the ISO-way. But the response from DAkkS hasn't been the fastest and then we have some misunderstand issues (both ways), probably because of some language difficulties. Or maybe someone has hampered this process so we even looses more customers... ? Because after the audit we had some non-conformities A,B and C. And DAkkS said we had to fix them before we got the accreditation. BUT when the A,B and C were done, DAkkS said we also have to fix D, E and F. WTF !!!! Why they didn't said that in the first place ? They continued like this 5 times before all new "non-conformities" were done. I'm sure that someone did that for to delay our accreditation as much as possible. Anyway were are here and we have got the accreditation, but there is no reason to celebrate that. It is too stupid to do that.....
As I said, we are here and we are still working as before : We still want to satisfy our existing customers with the best service as we can. By working after the same test procedure in the best honest way (by strictly following the test rules) and of course with the shortest possible response time. We will thank our existing customers for truly believe in us and that they know we are serving them as good as possible. And maybe some day we can win back some of our "old" customers.
Hangar 7 in Salzburg, just before the press conference of Red-Bull X-Alps
Again Germany does something else than the rest of the world. It looks like they aren?t part of this planet.
Well for us the situation is very strange and not good for our sport, paragliding. First of all Germany doesn?t accept European law, the EN standards. ?You can try to find an explanation of why, but you?ll not find any realistic one.
Secondly ?they? think they?re above all others and they wouldn?t consider external expertise or advice. You might say I?m coming with too hard statements, but this is the facts.
I?ll try to explain simply why the last development isn?t good for our sport, but first a small background story. LBA (Civil Aviation) has done the supervision of LTF certification (named DHV for 6 years ago), but they?ll not perform this job after end of this year. We don?t know exactly reason why LBA doesn?t want this job anymore, but we can imagine they are tired of all mess that were done in the past concerning certification of paragliders/paramotors. The German PMA (Paragliding Manufacturer Association) had to find a replacement for the supervision and with help from European Academy (Test house in Germany which lost the LBA accreditation this year) they arrived at ISO 17025. It means someone has to accreditate the Test house which has the ISO 17025. The ?someone? is for example DAkkS. DAkkS is an accreditation institute in Germany and they?re for example accrediting other companies to do certain standards. PMA was coming with this bright idea, without knowing anything what ISO 17025 is, because the idea was that now every Test houses will have the possibilities to perform LTF certification from their own country?s accreditation institute, for example SECO in Switzerland!!! Except that SECO doesn?t want to take part in such a small scene like Paragliding?. Short explained ISO 17025 it?s for work in the ?white room? in a laboratory; a part of it is the quality system of the management and second part is the calibration of instruments, tools, sensors etc.
So finally I come to my point. ISO 17025 is not useful for testing paragliding! Simply because we cannot do flight test in a white room, we cannot calibrate our test pilot?s mood and in every step we?ve to explain in a procedure why for example results cannot be the same every time. We know for example that in flight test the results can differ in different altitude, humidity, temperature and air-pressure. However, European Academy just got accreditation from DAkkS and we spoke with them in St.Hilaire last weekend. At this moment European Academy only take care about instrument such as bending test (part of structual test) and not the flight test at all. Obviously flight test it?s too difficult to fit into ISO 17025. And now the cost; for us (Air Turquoise SA) the cost will be just huge, because we have no sponsoring. Just for to apply for the ISO 17025 is about 15?000 Euro. Then we must invest in some new equipment and we have roughly come to 20?000 Euro the first year. For yearly maintenance of ISO 17025, the subscription and auditions will cost about 5?000 Euro yearly, maybe even more because of all tools and instruments must be calibrated before every test. Who will pay for that? PMA says the manufacturer will pay, but of course the manufacturer will increase the prices for the pilots and not only for German pilots!!! Or the worse that small manufacturers will only have afford to certify one size of the model. Not only the cost is huge, the administration work will just increase like Mt. Everest!
So, why so much effort for doing ISO 17025 and all the calibrations of everything? And why forget about flight tests? The last 20 years we didn?t have any structural failure on paragliding equipment, I don?t speak about the glider didn?t pass the yearly check as recommended as in the user manual. BUT that we have several accidents where the pilots spiral to the ground in neutrality spiral or they got huge collapses following by crash to the ground. Many pilots are dead because of that. Flight test is important and the most essential for our job, certification. End of story.
We also spoke with PMA in St. Hilaire, and they all agreed that the test houses should at least do the same flight test (use the same standard), but they haven?t got any solution of how. For many years we have worked hard for to test together with the other test houses, for to kind of ?calibrate? test pilots among test houses, but without any success. We truly believe that testing together or sharing the experience is crucial for to get approximately the same results. Today and with the future ISO 17025 the test houses will find different results and that?s not being good for anyone.
Of course Air Turquoise will do ISO 17025 if necessary. We have already coming far into the file. We believe however this is not necessary and security is much more important than any ISO, administration or bureaucracy. We already have too many accidents and there must be another way to get through the eye of a needle to Germany than ISO 17025.
Since Alain didn?t write anything yet about last summer, I?ll write a little.
We started our holiday in North of Norway, the region of midnight sun. I had a big rush to finish my dress before leaving, because I needed it in the wedding of my brother.
We packed our bags with clothes and gifts (wine, chocolate, cheese) we had a big program ahead of us. We arrived well at my parents place; my father was kind to pick us up at the airport with his car and afterwards his boat ?Sira?. It is such a nice feeling to going with the boat and leaves the busy civilisation behind. Out there are just the fjords, the islands and the sea! I must not forget the silence; at my parent?s place there is no traffic than some boat traffic. There are no cars, no planes, no trains, no shops and hardly cell phone coverage. What a relief, this is the paradise! For Alain he really looked forward to fishing salmon, and he went out three times per day with my father and fished salmons. If he wasn?t fishing salmon he was fishing cod, coalfish, wolf-fish, lumpfish. Well, I didn?t want that wolf-fish in in the boat, so it had to go. Alain was really sad because he wanted a picture of it : - )
One day when the weather wasn't so good, we drove with the boat to Hammerfest, one time it was the most norhtly city in the world. I haven't been here for many years, so it was great to visit the town.
The weather was excellent on our holiday; it was very warm for the season and almost no rain. However there were clouds always in front of the midnight sun. Only three days we could actually see the midnight sun, out of 2 weeks (for sure better than nothing).
We celebrated traditionally the midsummer night (23rd of June) with fire, barbeque and drinks in the nature (Stor-Pollen)?. And it was raining like h?. Wet and cold we were it was nice to return to home just few hours after leaving.
After one week in Pollen, we went to the other side of Finnmark, Tana to visit my brother, my sister-in-law and their twins. It was great to see them again, the twins are growing so fast so it is bit difficult to follow their development.
Alain could fish salmon in the famous Tana-river, but he didn?t get anything at all!! We followed one evening a friend of my brother who is fishing traditional way the salmon in the river. That was a nice experience and it was absolutely thrilling moment when the salmon got caught in the net!
One day we left for Hammningberg, it is a place at the end for the European road! Here is an old fishing reception and historical very interesting place. However, on the road to Hammningberg the nature is absolutely stunning. We never have seen such things in our lives. It is really worth going there because the place is just out of the blue.
The day before leaving Tana we had a big birthday to celebrate, the twins!!! I was really happy I could be part of it. I will never forget this day! Then we drove for 6-7 hours, from the East-Finnmark all the way to the West for the wedding to my big-brother. This was an amazing event and the weather again so beautiful! We had a great time there and we had chance to meet many of my family (cousins, aunts, uncles etc). After the wedding we just had couple of days left of our holiday, and we spent the days in Pollen (my parents place). This is the best place to be?
After coming back to Switzerland, we worked one day before we drove to Salzburg. Red Bull invited us for to see the X-alps preparation. We met the athletics and the organization. We could feel the tension (or excitement) of the athletics the closer we got to the start of the race. The highlights were anyway the ?Hangar 7? and ?Hangar 8?. I mean wow?I have no words how great the exhibition of planes, formal 1s, playing tools to Red Bull athletics were. And then we got special tour with Hannes Arch in the Hangar 8 where all the maintenance of the plane runs. We got so many great impressions and of course this will never be forgotten!
Well, Alain had a SIV course the days after and I had to go to Paris for WG6 meeting, so we couldn?t be on the take-off when the X-alps race started! I was there two years ago and I know it must have been just GREAT!
And then work-work-work. The summer was just beautiful and warm. After long winter and bad spring and the beginning of summer, I enjoyed every minutes of the nice weather in July and August. I had also visit of Margrethe and Livar from Gjesdal, and Therese (my niece) and Tor-Inge now living in Trondheim. It is great with visits from Norway. And soon my parents and aunt and uncle to Alain will arrive !!!
Pictures from the spring and summer will soon be here (only friends and family)