NEO-Koroyd back protection: information and advice

Gin Gliders use several different types of back protection, such as airbag, Aerobean and NEO-Koroyd. Each of the types has advantages and disadvantages. The choice of protection type is dictated by the type of harness and its target market. Gin Gliders use the NEO-Koroyd protector in the Genie race 4, Genie lite 3 and Genie x-lite cocoon harnesses.

Rationale for use

The NEO-Koroyd protection has several advantages in the harness, particularly in XC and competition harnesses. Compared to other protection types it can be lighter, thinner (for reduced packing volume and increased aerodynamic performance) and more rigid (for better handling and comfort in flight). These qualities also enable the extension of the protector to cover a greater length of the back.

In terms of impact absorption, NEO-Koroyd offers unique advantages due to the dissipation of energy by the deformation of the material, noise and heat. This results in a linear absorption (no “bottoming out”) and low rebound compared to other protector types.

Efficiency at low impact forces

Since the NEO-Koroyd protector achieves its effect by crumpling, the Koroyd tubes need to be somewhat rigid in order to resist any damage which could be caused by multiple softer impacts or transit. This unique physical property raises the question as to the efficacy of the protector at lower impact forces. Laboratory tests have shown that Koroyd starts to crumple from a 30cm high drop at a falling speed of 2.4m/s (approximately half the speed of the EN standard for rescue parachutes).

Tests were also performed in Air Turquoise Laboratory, Villeneuve, Switzerland following the EN1651 test procedure. Drop heights of 50cm, 100cm and 165cm gave G results of 16.5 @3.1m/s, 24.6 @4.4m/s and 30.1 @5.7m/s.

Real world outcomes

A relatively small percentage of serious impacts in paragliding involve a direct vertical fall on the bottom, so laboratory tests can only offer an approximate indication of real world performance.

Anecdotally, Gin Gliders’ own direct experience with NEO-Koroyd thus far in real incidents has been positive, notably including those featuring high impacts. 3rd party reports have included a variety of outcomes, but the precise nature of these impacts is often difficult to establish even after thorough investigation.

Obviously, no protector can guarantee safety. The primary means of staying safe in paragliding should always be the avoidance of flying in conditions and/or with equipment beyond the capability of the pilot.

For further information, please read this NEO-Koroyd whitepaper.