303® Aerospace Protectant™ - Extending the Life of Nylon Paraglider Wings
I first heard about using 303® Aerospace Protectant™ on a paraglider while talking to other paragliderpilots back in 1996, about ultraviolet sunlight damage to our wing fabric. These pilots had used it, so I went to a marine hardware store and bought a couple of bottles.
I applied the 303® Aerospace Protectant™ to my wing which is a Nova Brand Sphinx, it was new in 1994 the wing had about 300 hours of sunlight on it at that time. 300 hours is the average life span of a paraglider wings fabric. mine was still in very good condition using the normal tests of shear strength, and porosity, and cell stitching integrity.
This wing's fabric is Porcher brand fabric.
I put the liquid on the top surface of the wing following the instructions, allowing it to dry in shade. The top surface is the most susceptible surface to sun damage because it is in direct sunlight while flying. After applying 303®, I flew the wing looking for and feeling for any differences in flight characteristics.
I noticed that it flew slightly faster [airspeed] being more slippery now, it inflated easier to, because of less porosity in cloth. No differences in stall charactersitics. Less dirt stuck to the wing also.
I then applied the 303® Aerospace Protectant™ to the bottom outside surface, for total coverage. I flew this wing constantly looking and testing for fabric integrity, tearing, fading,etc. the wing didnt fade much anymore-comparing it with interior cell fabric which hadn't been in direct sunlight. I flew this wing to about 600 hours, it still tested good, as mentioned above. I reapplied 303® to the wing then. The retreatment helped in the porosity test again, water would just bead up on outside surface, and trying to blow thru the fabric showed very little air getting thru if at all.
I kept flying this wing now convinced of 303® Aerospace Protectant™ being a great fabric treatment for my paraglider. I have now over 900 hours on this wing which is un heard of in the paraglider world! It has now shown signs of being worn out, but the fabric's integrity is still good! Can not tear the fabric yet, using the stretch and pull test of cloth between thumbs and forefingers! and the threads are still strong so it hasnt had any deleterious affect on that part of wing construction either.
I can say that 303® Aerospace Protectant™ has been the factor in this wings long life span.
John. T., Las Vegas, NV - Master Paraglider Pilot