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George D. Avramidis

I know my wing load, now what?

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Posted (edited)

Yes, my wing load is 1.0 which corresponds to 1 lbs / 1 sq/ft, so? What's up next?
I mean how does this affect my undercanopy flight?
Does this mean I fly 1 meter forward, 1 meter down? If not how can I calculate this?
What's my airspeed? (What's my ground speed with stillness (0 knots))

Am I missing the point here?

Literally any response will be helpful :content:

Edited by George D. Avramidis

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5 answers to this question

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Have you read Brian Germain's Downsizing chart (actually the article that goes with it) yet? It's a sticky in the Canopy & Swooping forum. He talks about it some. His book, The Canopy and it's Pilot is a good source of info too.

Your wingloading is simply a ratio. Weight to canopy area. It gives an idea of how fast your canopy will go. How quickly it will respond to control inputs. 
But just an idea. Any concrete numbers need to be actually measured. 

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(edited)

All it means is that you have one data point to use in assessing what kind of performance you can expect from your canopy. It does not answer any of the questions in your post. There are so many variables that your questions are not answerable in this format on this forum.

Even experts are unable to exactly answer questions about glide ratios and airspeed just by calculations. The only way to know is live measurements. Fortunately this data is not really needed in skydiving .

Edited by gowlerk

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The WL will only tell you the ratio about the force (your weight) applied to each square feet of your wing.The glide ratio and airspeed is influenced by the canopy size, the canopy shape, number of cells, material, the trim, and other variables and they are not a fixed number, it's dynamic according to the inputs given to the wing. If you think a high performance wing, it can have a lower glide ratio with the commands released on a level flight, if compared with a student wing, but it's also much faster and it can "store" much more potential energy, so you have a longer recovery arch ending on a infinite glide ratio (horizontal flight) for a certain amount of time (it's how you do swooping), something not attainable with a student wing.

To resume (there's many other variable, this following is simplified): 

- Same wing, increased WL (if you compare two jumpers with different weight under the same wing, or if you put some lead on you): the glide ratio will not change, but the speed will do; ie: you can have a more powerful flare.

- Smaller wing, same WL (you scale down the wing but so the jumper weight): the glide ratio will decrease, the speed will increase: same consequences as before, but amplified;

- Smaller wing, increased WL (you scale the wing, but increasing the WL; ie: using a smaller wing than before, or adding weight on you): the glide ratio will decrease even more and so the speed (will increase): again, decreased glide ratio with no commands, much faster speed, much more energy to use during the flare... so you end doing those swoooops.

 

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And if you're not interested in swooping, or not interested in swooping yet, a lower wingloading gives you more leeway to explore the edges of your canopy's performance, without as much fear. Because 1.0:1 is not highly loaded at all; that doesn't mean it can't hurt you -- it can. It's just that it will tolerate a much wider variety of small or not-so-small mistakes without spanking you. The downside is that you won't penetrate as much into winds -- however, if you consider that that penetration comes at the expense of a sportier downwind landing if you need to, maybe more conservative wind evaluation isn't such a bad thing.

Wendy P.

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