A new helmet and headset idea for powered paragliding.
This is a new project to reduce the cost of a helmet and headset combo.
The cost of a new helmet with PPG headset is quite expensive due to the following:
The combination of these three factors leads to an unreasonably high price.
- Unfortunately, helmets carry a 45% import duty into South Africa.
- Furthermore, though helmets are light in weight, they are quite bulky and when we airfreight them from Europe, they incur very high airfreight costs due to their bulky packed size.
- Our very weak currency at the moment is making all imported products quite pricey (and unfortunately there are no local alternatives that meet our standards).
To overcome this problem, we have come up with this new idea which is proving quite popular:
We import just the headsets, which pack compactly and save a lot of airfreight costs (as well as the 45% import duty).
Then we fit these to an inexpensive, locally available helmet.
The problem has been trying to find a suitable locally available helmet that meets the following criteria:
- It must be lightweight, as your head tends to move around a lot in flight.
- It must offer a very wide field of vision.
- It must not interfere with your ability to look up at the wing (so it should not be cut too low behind the head).
- Ideally it should be well ventilated, as ground-handling and launching can build up quite a sweat (In winter, one can wear a ski-mask under the helmet for thermal insulation).
- It must offer sufficient head-protection.
- It must have a suitable place to mount the headset, being an area large enough, flat enough, and as close to vertical as possible, just above the ears.
- It must have adjustable V-straps that will fit around the headset.
- It must have a one-size-fits-all design (in this case, an adjustable band at the rear).
- It must not be too expensive.
After much searching and testing out many different helmets, we found the ideal design.
This is a competition level road-cycling helmet with CE approval. It is extremely lightweight, well ventilated, and meets all our requirements.
The price is very low, as they are not air-freighted into South Africa, but are imported via sea-freight in shipping containers, along with bicycles and all the other accessories used in the cycling industry.
With the cycling industry being extremely competitive with many hundreds of manufacturers, the cost of these helmets has been kept very low through innovative design and manufacturing techniques.
We need to do some modifications to the helmet to fit the headset, including deepening the arch over the ears to make space for the ear-pieces, and fitting a T-Nut on the inside of the helmet which is flush with the inner surface without any protrusions.
The photos on the right side show the result.
We can offer 90-degree Icom jacks (as in the photos), as well as limited quantities of the screw-in Vertex single-jack.
One-Size-Fits-All-design. Adjustable rear-band (by finger-wheel), adjustable chin-strap.
Spring-loaded earcups to press hard against the head, to keep out the noise.
Click-Lock hinge, allows the earcups to lift off the ears while on the ground, but click firmly into place when required for flight.
PTT is on the right-side earcup, however you may request a left-hand version if prefered (most of us fly with left-hand throttle control, hence the prefered right-hand PTT).
Noise cancelling microphone for clear transmissions.
Maximum noise attenuation of the headset, reduces engine noise for the pilot even at low frequencies (27 dB rating)
Sidetone feature allows you to hear your own transmitions (if you hear yourself, you know you are transmitting OK)
These are the Three colour options available.
- Top: Red/White
- Center: Blue/White
- Bottom: White with some Blue trim
If you require a good airband radio for PPG, we can offer the Icom IC-A14 at a very good price.
See features and specifications at: http://goo.gl/ODxWz
NB! A good radio and a decent headset is only part of the solution for reliable and effective radio communications. Unfortunately the standard rubber-duckie antenna does not always work very well in flight on some paramotors. The problem is the proximity of the antenna to your engine's ignition system.
Paramotor pilots may wish fit a decent antenna to their wing.
The Wonder-Whip is a very efficient di-pole andtenna made entirely from only two components:
It is quick and easy to make one yourself.
- a BNC jack to fit the radio's antenna socket and,
- RG-174 Co-axial cable.
See detailed instructions and pictures to make your own Wonder-Whip at: www.xplorer.co.za/wonder-whip
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