Project Flight Evolution. New line of canopies ‘EVO’
Before we even go into specifics of the design of the Skylark Evo line of canopies, we would like to ensure our customers understand the important design features of any ram air canopy and how these features translate into aerodynamic performance? While this write up is not intended to be a comprehensive thesis on design and aerodynamic principles of how ram air canopies fly, we would like to touch on a few very important points, everyone needs to understand while selecting their next wing. We believe, understanding these basics will help to make better-informed decisions and to also better understand and appreciate all the new features of Evo line of canopies. We believe that the result of this education will be beneficial for both, our clients and our sport as a whole, as it will promote competition and lead to better canopy designs for all of us!
Quality of the Leading edge
It should be common knowledge that the design of the leading edge of a canopy has a big impact on the aerodynamic quality and flying characteristics of the wing. This is even more important as the speeds and wing loadings increase. V-ribs optimally distribute aerodynamic forces to minimize the deformations of the lift-producing, leading edge part of the wing. This leads to an average of a 15% increase in such vital aerodynamic properties as speed and glide ratio. We suggest that our customers pay special attention and observe very carefully how smooth the leading edge of the canopy they are considering purchasing is while in flight. The smoother the surface is and fewer wrinkles there are, the better-quality wing they are looking at. We believe we raised the bar quite high with our Evo line of canopies when the quality of the leading edge is concerned.
Sculpted Trailing Edge
If lift “lives” on the leading edge of the wing, then drag lives on the trailing edge. Most of the modern RAM air canopy designs have a flaw, where the trailing edge tends to overinflate at higher speeds. This leads to a deformed shape, higher drag, and decline of the entire aerodynamic performance. “Fat wing” designs also respond slower to the pilot’s inputs. In the EVO line, Skylark introduces brace like reinforcements (mini ribs) that keep trailing edge thin and ‘crisp’ even at higher speeds. As a result, EVO canopies are more responsive to pilot’s inputs.
As canopy designers, we know firsthand that it is always hard to find the optimal speed for the canopy deployment. Openings that are too soft “eat” extra altitude and prone to go off-heading and openings too fast bring extra impact to the pilot’s body. On the Evo line canopies, the G-force of the opening impact has been dampened by combining V-rib design with teardrop-shaped, ‘staggered’ cross ports.
On the ground, all canopies are still exposed to the forces and dangers of the outside world. Did you know that it is very easy to snag a stitch on traditionally manufactured canopies? It is not uncommon as it may sound, we’ve seen those in our shop many times! Snagged stitches can lead to the distortion of the wing shape that can significantly degrade wing flying characteristics and even make its piloting outright dangerous. In the Evo line of canopies, we utilize closed (hidden) stitching technique in the design of non-loaded ribs, that are most susceptible to these snags.
Easier Reline and Service
Even small mistakes while relining a canopy can lead to significant deviations to factory settings and entire canopy performance. Our new stabilizer design makes installing lines much more straightforward. The new design also translates into longer lasting lines in these critical attachment points and consequently fewer relines.