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Paraglider washing

Here is what Bertrand Maddalena has to say about it:

Bertrand Maddalena

''Washing a paragliding is not recommended.  The water enters the wing from the seams, glues the fabrics together and it does not dry.  The coating, which is placed inside the ribs, is then destroyed by the moisture.  There are only bad points when a wing is washed, because the fabric properties are destroyed.  As for the lines, we saw outer sheath of poor quality lines, shrinking in water. 

But sometimes it is necessary to clean a glider, if it has had oil or other chemicals on it, or also cow poops, which is very aggressive.

No product should be applied on a wings, even if the pH is neutral.  But if you must clean it with a product, it is necessary to use a mild soap, like "Savon de Marseille" type, or a neutral PH product.

Always use a white cloth so that the color does not rub off the wing.  The cloth must be kept moist, and not wet, to prevent the water to enter the paraglider by the seams.

You must rub gently, starting from inside the spot to the outside, to avoid concentration of the product in the center.

Always rinse with clear water with a damp cloth.

These operations must be done in open air if possible and with a little wind that immediately dries the moisture and of course, in the shade, which is very important.  Water on a wing exposed to the sun increases the UV phenomenon.

When rinsing a paraglider, do not hang it, to avoid deforming the ribs with the water's weight.  It must be rather installed on a slope (if possible) and in the shade.  Use a very small water shoot to flow over the wing, and if possible in the inside.  Then you must softly give some air to the glider by shaking it a little.  It is very good if there is a little wind. 

Shortly after, you can inflate it.  Drying the wing in the wind is fine and never forget to stay in the shade.

''Washing risers is not impossible, but not recommended.  There is no risk for the polyester webbing if washed at 30° Celsius (85° Fahrenheit ).  But the problem is related to any small metal parts set on the risers that cannot be removed.


If these metal parts are made of stainless steel, there is no problem.  But if it is a shoddy metal or steel, there is a risk of rust and therefore damaging the strap.


Pulleys with ball bearings do not support well water.  Metal pulleys rust, but no problem for plastic pulleys.


We could hand wash risers in clear water, but have to make sure to dry them thoroughly, which is not easy, as the folds in the strap retain water, which can attack the metal.


For this reason I do not recommend washing risers (as well as any other part of a paraglider).  I always favor the life span of a paraglider and safety rather than aesthetics.''

In conclusion, it is better to have a dirty paraglider that keeps its properties, but if washing is really needed, it is a question of the lesser evil.''

Glimpse of some of Bertrand Maddalena's accomplisments:
did​​ his 1st paragliding flight in 1988;
-He has built his 1st paragider in 1991;
-From 1991 to 1993, he
has been in charge of the implementation of the Sup'air workshop in Poland;
-In December 1993, he created the repair and inspection of paragliders workshop Rip'air, in France, which became the largest one worldwide.
-He was -and still is- involved in the development of lightweight products with different paraglider manufacturers, such as Dudek, Gin Gliders, Flying Planet ...
-He has set up workshops for repair and inspection of gliders in countries such as Chile, Brazil, Mauritius, Macedonia ...
-He is an expert witness;
-He is a paraglider instructor at the FFVL and SNMP (National Union monitors Paragliding - France);
-He has been hired by paragliders manufacturers to improve the working tools of their inspection workshop.