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Our development team has started its design work on Aspen 6 during the summer 2016. The development team had still in mind the Nevada2 glider which excels in great manoeuvrability, speed, and safe behaviour. The assignment and the goal were clear but not quite easy. The aim was to transfer newly gained experience into a new generation of high performance glider within the EN-C category. After a month of design preparation, the team has chosen from several options the one that fulfils all substantial criterias. At first sight, it can be seen that this conceptually new glider is different from all previous Aspens. Aspen6 has a new frontal shape of the canopy which goes into a loosely released curve with minimal aerodynamic distortion that lowers the induced drag and improves the behaviour of the glider. With increased flat aspect ratio and higher number of cells, it was decided to use three main lines suspension with optimised upper line forks. This concept in combination with its internal (diagonal ribs) structure allowed us to save some extra weight which is always important for the feeling of the glider as well as the glider's behaviour.

The three main line suspension system will be appreciated by pilots as the take off is easier, the responses of the glider are not that steep and the flight itself is more smooth. The drag of the lines is crucial to the performance of a glider so we have prepared two options of suspension system with different line diameters so the smaller sizes of Aspen6 would not lose their performance.

With the most firm suspension of Aspen6 30 handles the load of 8G for 162Kg(!) without any damage. This demonstrates how strong is the Aspen6's structure. In the same time Aspen6 is a semi light glider and in its standard version in size 26 (85-105Kg) weights only 4.65kg. We are also about to introduce the X-Alps light version for XC high level hike&fly.Shock and load test was made for both the normal and the light version.

The development team successfully fulfilled the set goals and Gradient proudly introduces Aspen6. We believe that you will be as satisfied as its test pilots are.

Technical description

The ground plan of Aspen6 canopy is a thin ellipse with small positive distortion of the wing. At the wing tips, a new shape with minimum distortion was used for a minimisation of the induced drag. Together with Gradient VO system the design's approach ensures the minimum aerodynamic drag, high performance and low sink-rate at the whole range of speed.

The Aspen 6 canopy uses three line concept. For a perfect distribution of forces from the lines to the canopy the semicircle string stiffeners were used on the carrying ribs. Stretching string stiffeners were used for a perfectly clean cover in a C-loops area. In the area of ears on the trailing edge were used so-called miniribs, which make the shape of the trailing edge more smooth.

A new shape of the wing has been designed and optimised for our VO system which ensures perfect pressure within the canopy in the whole range of the pitch angles and usable speeds. The VO system designed by Gradient is used by the opening cells to utilise smooth and aerodynamically clean shape of the canopy. It decreases the aerodynamic drag which is significantly lower compared to other, more complicated shapes of the opening cells.

The suspension system has been created from the highest quality lines that are available nowadays. The main non-covered lines are Edelrid Magic Pro from Aramid and the upper level lines consist of the non-covered Liros DC from Dyneema. The lines are protected by a special anti-UV cover. The combination of Aramid and Dyneema materials ensures a high strength and durability of the suspension system.

For the long lifespan and shape endurance, an exclusive material, Skytex Everlast, with double coating has been used. This material was developed by Gradient together with Porcher Sport. The evidence of gliders' long lifetime when using this material can be seen on commercially used gliders (e.g. tandem and school paragliders) which are, even after years of intensive use, in great shape.

Ronstan ball bearing pulleys for the speed system, thin straps of the risers, top-class materials, the guarantee of a lifetime, processing quality, the best service and the 100 % European product – These are all standard assets for the Gradient products.