Opening time is the most important reserve criterion. If a reserve has to be thrown at low altitude - and that is often the case - a single second can make all the difference. The Beamer 3 light's special shape and particular folding technique help it open up to 50% faster than normal round canopies; the Beamer 3 light is setting EN Test records.
LOW SINK RATE
Assuming a reserve is open with its paraglider in a stable situation the next most important thing is sink speed. Low wing loading and modest forward speed give the Beamer 3 light an unrivalled low sink rate. The EN certification authority has confirmed a sink rate of 3.9 m/s at maximum weight of 120 kg (without the paraglider). The additional braking effect of a paraglider reduces this value to less than 3m/s.
When developing a Rogallo our main focus is how it works with the paraglider. After reserve opening the paraglider can stay attached (the usual emergency situation - no quick release/cutaway). Here the Beamer 3 light really plays its trump card, and is far superior to the smaller models on the market in this respect. After a fast opening the Beamer 3 light quickly takes control. It goes into very slow forward flight and therefore does not encourage the paraglider to disturb it. The Beamer 3 light achieves its stability, among other things, by its low wing loading. This accords with our recommendation: Don't put your trust in anything under 40 m2.
As a special feature we elected to further develop the braked opening configuration for the Rogallo - successfully applied to the Beamer 2. This results in even less forward speed and provides what most pilots need - the advantages of a round canopy's vertical flight path, plus those of a steerable forwards-flying Rogallo. For example, if the Beamer opens alongside a rock face, or in strong wind, its initial descent will be almost vertical. Then, after its steering lines have been activated, the Rogallo's forward speed can be used. If the pilot has enough height he can then steer the Beamer 3 light away from danger (e.g. rocks, water, buildings etc.).
The braked opening configuration automatically includes another important effect: what is known as 'downplaning' is effectively prevented. This scissoring problem happens when paraglider and reserve (round canopies too) both develop forward speed while pulling against each other, and both head straight downwards. This raises the sink speed markedly, and the risk of injury dramatically. The Beamer 3's pre-braking and its large area oppose this: the braked Rogallo surface refuses to be accelerated in this way.
STEERING AND FLYING FORWARDS - THE BEAMER'S SPECIALITY!
Paraglider under tow: In real-life reserve-throwing situations the paraglider can become a massive problem. In many cases the paraglider is already collapsed, both during and after reserve opening, and therefore prevented from flying. Here the Beamer 3 light descent is a pure pleasure. The canopy reacts immediately to steering commands and sinks at its slowest rate. When the reserve is thrown while the paraglider is flying normally, such as during SIV training, the descent characteristics of both Rogallo and round reserve can be affected. If the paraglider reopens itself during a reserve descent it can easily be prevented from flying by B-stall, or reefing in. This will greatly improve steerability. Countless examples in practice confirm the problem-free behaviour of all Beamers in every possible situation.
Paraglider tangled up in the Rogallo lines: Here pilots with a cutaway system can fully appreciate the Beamer 3's qualities. Glide performance doubles - with slightly increased sink speed. Cutaway carabiners mainly make sense in competition flying (more risk of collision) or for acro. A suitable seatbelt cutter, secured on a long bungee, would do the same job in an emergency
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Here are the most frequently asked questions and their answers.
Will the Beamer fit in any harness or front container?
Yes. The Beamer 3 can be stowed in any harness reserve compartment, or in a front container (e.g. all High Adventure models in M size). Connection is either at the carabiners (front container) or at the shoulders for harnesses with built-in reserve compartment. N.B.: For shoulder support the harness must have the relevant shoulder harness support loops.
Can I do safety training over water with the Beamer 3?
Yes. Fabric and lines are of a high quality, long-lived and tested in sport parachuting. In the last three years we have carried out more than twenty openings with a Beamer 2, mostly for reserve packer training or demos. The laser measurement of the lines and the tearing values of the fabric show no signs of degradation, and the parachute continues in use.
Do I have to cut away my paraglider when I throw the reserve?
No, the Beamer can be steered without problem. Complicated cutaway systems are not necessary. More about this under 'steerability' - the Beamer's speciality!
What does the Beamer do after opening if the pilot does nothing?
The Beamer 3 works without problem with a passive pilot. It flies forwards very slowly and remains almost undisturbed by a wildly spinning paraglider.
Can I steer my Rogallo reserve without cutting away?
Yes. The paraglider energy stays low because the low forward speed, and it can be B-stalled with little effort - and held there with one hand. The free hand can be used to steer the Beamer. With enough height available the pilot can pull in the paraglider, allowing more forward speed to be gained.
Was happens if the paraglider tangles with the reserve?
In the worst case this is similar to what happens with a round reserve. The Beamer's much faster opening is a clear advantage, however. This reduces the risk of the reserve tangling with, for example, a spinning paraglider. The Beamer 3's large area does also improve the chance of a quiet and slow descent with a problem paraglider.
Is the Beamer 3 complicated to fold?
Not complicated, but different. The Rogallo reserve is now widely accepted in the paragliding scene, and there are many recognised reserve packers with Beamer experience. These will know how to deal with the new simplified Beamer 3 risers and the brake shortening system.
Can I use the Beamer 3 at a flying weight of only 70 kg?
Flying and steering behaviour is not a problem at 70 kg; just the forward speed and sink rate will be lower than with a heavier loading. Even at light load the fast Beamer 3 opening still holds its own against small round canopies.
Can the Beamer still be steered with twisted risers?
Yes. The steering lines run freely up and down within a protective channel, even with twisted risers. Twists with a shoulder mounted reserve can turn out to be somewhat awkward (head pushed forward) - the situation is less problematic with a front container. When the paraglider is pulled in fully or cut away the twists quickly untwist themselves, again more easily with the new Beamer 3 riser system than with previous Beamers.
Alex Hollwarth, Research and Development Team Skywalk Paragliders
"When test flying I don't have to think about my Beamer. The very fast opening, low sink speed and the ability to steer have already got me out of some bad situations."
Mauro Pianaro, Italy
"I've flown with a steerable reserve for 15 years - I'm a believer. (…) Coming down under a normal round reserve has had catastrophic results for me."
"I just feel safer with this reserve!"
Anselm Rauh, EAPR Testpilot
"While doing some testing yesterday I threw my Beamer for the first time, after I'd had a cravat I couldn't get rid of. There wasn't time to cut away. The 110kg landing was no harder than quite a few less-than-perfect everyday paraglider arrivals. Looking back I felt happy I'd put this reserve in my harness last year!"
Raul Rodriguez, Acro World Champion - many times
"A serious safety backup system is essential for acro flying. My Beamer is the perfect solution, and it's my best friend as well - it's steerable and only weighs a couple of kilos!"
Barney Woodhead, UK
"I would just like to say thank you to the staff at High Adventure. I had to use my Beamer yesterday, it opened very fast and I had a very slow and safe landing. I really am grateful and will highly recommend it to my friends."
Timothy Stahl tossed beamer 2 rogallo
“I was dialing into in my new harness, and I decided it was time to try a full stall. Well, I entered the stall asymmetrically and stayed in the unstable position too long, resulting in some twists. I was unable to get the twists worked out before reserve throwing altitude, so I tossed my beamer 2 rogallo. The beamer opened quickly and without any forward motion. Actually, I had some difficulty wrestling with my riser-twisted glider to stop the mirror-effect, so I never got to deploy the brakes on the beamer. Still, in this no-forward-speed configuration, the beamer put me down like a feather. Hurray! and hopefully next time I will even get it flying.”