Avoiding Wing Blowouts During Inflation

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Randy's picture
Joined: 05/05/2002 - 10:38
Posts: 4615
Avoiding Wing Blowouts During Inflation

Useful info on how to avoid blowing out your wing during inflation. Gong claims half the blowouts are due to the bladder getting crinkled up when packing up the wing wet and subsequent inflation. Naish reports a similar issue. As happens often in Seabreeze threads it devolves a bit but contains useful info none the less.


What happens in a black hole stays in a black hole.

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webguy's picture
Joined: 12/31/2000 - 22:01
Posts: 13538
Re: Avoiding Wing Blowouts During Inflation

Relevant parts

Patrice Guenole' writes:

it's a real subject that explains a lot of explosions: when you roll a wing, the bladder in the batten or the leading edge can move and that's normal. Except that when the Wing is soaked, the bladder can get stuck by suction at the wrong place in the sheath. It sticks 10cm further than its normal place for example. The next time it is inflated, the bladder is put under tension and may explode as a result of this movement and tension.

This phenomenon has been neglected for a long time because it didn't happen with Kites. No reason to imagine that this problem would happen with Wings.

But a Wing is different from a Kite:

1/ It is always wet. What is rarer in Kite is a constant in Wing. If only to get in and out of the water.
2/ The diameter of the bladders is two to three times bigger, leaving a lot of room for the bladder to move in the sheath when you deflate.

The solutions :

A/ Try to roll your Wings only when they are dry. But this is often impossible.
B/ Unroll your wing completely flat before inflating. Do not inflate them while they are still rolled up.
C/ Gently shake the struts before inflation to remove the bladder from the fabric. Gently.
D/ Make sure that the bladder is not wrinkled during the inflation process: you can see this at half pressure.
E/ At the slightest doubt, deflate and re-inflate. It takes one minute.

The bladders are made custom for each strut and each leading edge of each Wing. Nothing is standard. And we can't lock them in place because they have to be removable and light.
So to this day, only being aware and cautious can protect you from this problem.

Reminder: do not rinse your Wings with chlorinated tap water as this would remove the chemical protection of the fabric, thus its strength and durability.

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