In 2009 I felt my pre-production Icepeak3 had too tight a ass. I released 12cm on the trailing edge, stitched by a professional workshop. I then had a different and marvelous wing.
This is no Ozone bashing. I simply came to the conclusion that only them can solve with the less damages possible the situation. So it is more kind of Ozone helping. My intention was to produce a decision tree. But time and energy lacked to complete the sketch. Words making sentences should fulfill the purpose.
Law, Legal, Responsibility
First stage is about legal topics. Two main systems exist to build law: everything is written, right and wrong, Napoleonic way or everything depends on variable context and judge decision, common law way.
Let’s suppose that next week Enzo2 Full Race does not go through tests. Legal consequences are huge, with pilot/customers complaining, calling for manufacturer liability. Insurance of pilots having accident, like AXA for French pilots repatriated from Brazil, will have an easy trigger to unspring their lawyers. Other manufacturers will claim unfair behavior and biased business competition. Like car, cellphone or microwave manufacturers, Ozone could call back all units sold and stitch again the trailing edge with the length used for certification, that would close the legal case.
Rules, Ethics, Sports
Let’s suppose now that next week the Enzo2 Full Race goes through test flights with success. OK for the legal, Ozone is backed. In that case we would have post-event certification. Do we accept prototypes again? No. But OK for the wing to be accepted in future competitions.
What about sport? It is more a matter of acceptable tolerance, production tolerance, material/fabric tolerance. Not all ethical rules are written. All our states have ethical committees to advise and settle upon unexpected new forms of life, behavior, technologies… Ozone tried, and failed. They based and recognized their action, gaining 40 times 1cm on the trailing edge, on the fact that no tolerance specification existed. No tolerance existed because no production tolerance is required for stitching mylar on 12m. It does not stretch. No tolerance existed, right, but acceptability did not exist too.
Can the judge feel guilty for correcting the sins of his beloved fellows standing at the bar? I am no judge but feel like that. So that in all cases, Enzo2 Full Race are out of the SuperFinal classification.
When we entered into the PWCA Committee together with Denis in 2011 and worked on a practical procedure for glider check, we rapidly came to the conclusion that cheating from pilots could be enforced but tuning from manufacturer could hardly be. Also, is your 30 hours EN-B supposed to still match the flying tests and the physical specifications? Not sure. That is the reason why PWCA implemented its own tolerances, not defined by manufacturers, to ensure a wing is maintained to standard trim by its pilot.
World Cup in Mexico is in 2 weeks time from now. What will the PWCA do? Competition season will open next month in European countries. The case will certainly not be settled yet. What will federations do? FAI/CIVL meeting is scheduled in February to discuss about next century and regulations for flying on the moon. What do we expect?
In times of crisis I do believe incremental change is not the correct answer. Either you decide to stand right and still in your boots buried in a block of concrete, or you recognize the situation and move forward with disruptive innovation.
A solution could be to accept all manufacturers declared EN-D wings because if a manufacturer says a wing is EN-D it is. Another would be to say competition wings fly no faster than 65km/h with physical limitations, have lines and attachments proved with sufficient physical resistance and an A/R less than 8. All current wings could fly. Safely.