In order to find out the advantages and disadvantages of single skins, our instructors have put together this list. What is the difference with double surface wing, let's look at it in detail!

Strenghts
Weaknesses
Take off and groundhandling
  • Easy take off in the mountains.
  • Fast inflation: gives more time for decision making and acceleration (+ or – need less space before point of no return, in mountain/alpine for example, or in complex conditions).
  • Allows for easier take-offs without wind (light backwind). (If the pilot knows his basics, the wing never replaces the pilot, it’s not magical unfortunately)
Gliding
  • Speed/finesse in the wind (you won’t be able to cross country with it… but that won’t stop you from sharing the euphoria of the nuelles at the base cloud for your flights with friends). However, there is no magic here either, a classic wing (over)flown by a beginner will not do much better in terms of movement.
  • To fly around, you will have to develop tactics and analysis, particularly in terms of placement in the air mass.
Pitch
  • Dampened in pitch. This gives you a first access to the rising air masses, which is a bit easier to handle. And its lower sink rate also helps in this case.
Strong wind
  • If reverse take off is not mastered and the wind is blowing, it is difficult to keep the wing on the ground to do a forward launch. The singke skin also requires learning. Fabien’s strong wind tuto will show you the techniques.
Learning
  • Versatile for learning, it allows you to make your first flights in the first thermals with more cushioning than a double surface school wing. Its lightness can make it noisier in the air. It will fly more overhead but not as far, it barks but does not bite.
Single to double skin
  • Need to go back to training course if you want to switch to a classic wing once you decide to go further: acro or cross country. The adaptation is however very fast because of the knowledge accumulated at this level by the pilot (as in the classic to single skin direction in fact…). And you really expected to have a career as an ace pilot without having to go back to training? It’s nice to dream 🙂
Weight and compactness
  • Some classic wings do very well in terms of weight, but the compactness of the single skin gives access to multi activity combos -> travel, skiing, bivouacking, trail riding, climbing, kayaking, pony trekking, etc.). A weapon to do many things.
Maintenance
  • Requires a more conscientious owner in terms of maintenance. Obviously no wing, even a classic one, can withstand careless maintenance or handling. For the lightest single skin, you have to be a bit more careful to get the same life span. But our students are doing very well ;p
Progression
  • In the case of a beginner, its specificity (weight/compactness) means that you won’t need to sell it compared to classic beginner equipment: you’ll always be happy to have a compact and light wing in the closet, for trips, bivouacs, autumn trekking, skiing in winter, etc.
Adventure
  • Less good thermal insulation to sleep in when bivouacking ;p
In short
  • A wonderful toy to do groundhandling in all conditions! And on top of that you can take this wing everywhere with you! (even at work for the afterworks groundhandling/kombucha, or at the weekends of the baptism of the little nephew of the beautiful aunt… who knows, if there is wind! mouahah)
And...
  • The space inside the cells is also less ample: it will unfortunately be impossible for the less conscientious pilots to breed grasshoppers in them. However, they will have less trouble finding their gloves or vario 🙂

Barbie & Régis

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