Choosing the right line type

Longevity vs Drag

With any line type there is a correlation between strength, longevity and drag. There is a trade-off between strength and drag. The thicker Vectran 750 will induce more wind resistance, but will be stronger and will last longer than Vectran 550.

As wing loading increases the effect of drag caused by lines becomes more noticeable. Thinner line will induce less drag which is beneficial for high performance wings, however the trade-off will be longevity and require more frequent relines and regular inspections.

Reduced drag can be taken to extremes by competition pilots using line sets made from Vectran 300 or even 200 lb line. These lines are very much on the limits, careful attention should be paid to jump numbers especially if being used terminal.

Longevity vs Pack Volume

In containers where pack volume is tight, the option for slightly thinner lines may outweigh a preference for longevity. In which case dropping down a line size to say V550 will decrease over all pack volume, but be aware you will generally need to change the lineset more often.

Summary of Line Types

Line Type Pros Cons
Vectran High strength for its size. Trim remains constant. Wears relatively easily
HMA Trim remains constant. Wears more easily than Vectran
Dacron Elastic and long lasting Shrinks, which alters trim. Bulky
Spectra Strong and more resistance to wear & tear. Won’t maintain correct trim – Shrinks

Vectran

Vectran is our preferred and most commonly used linetype, standard on all our canopies but the Matrix2. It is a very strong line and doesn’t stretch or shrink easily, so it holds its trim well. It wears more easily than Spectra, especially in hot, dry or desert-like environments.

HMA

High Modulus Aramid (HMA), also known as Technora, is a very strong, small diameter line with characteristics similar to Vectran. More commonly found on our higher performance cross-brace canopies.

Due to its susceptibility to abrasion especially in hot, dry or sandy environments and consequently it’s low lifespan, we only recommend HMA 600 for use on our sport canopies. It’s also harder to estimate the extent of wear on HMA compared to vectran so should be examined often and thoroughly by a rigger. HMA has a big trade off that can sometimes mean replacing the lines well before any other type.

Dacron

Dacron is more elastic than other lines, providing more shock absorption for fast openings. It comes standard on our Matrix2 CRW canopies, and we offer it as an option for Tandems and Omegas. Dacron is a thick, heavy line and adds considerable bulk to pack volume.

Spectra

Spectra is the toughest of all the line types it’s strong and lasts the longest. However, it will shrink due to the heat generated by the slider descending down the lines on opening – so the line may look good, but after a few hundred jumps it will have shrunk unevenly, affecting how your canopy flies and opens. This is especially apparent with more responsive wings at higher wing loadings. Because of this propensity to shrink, we don’t recommend Spectra, but we do still offer it as an option on Tandems, Omegas, Safire 3s and Icarus Students for people who are still fond of it.

NZA Line Types

The line types we offer at NZ Aerosports are:

  • Vectran: V1600, V1050, V750, V550, V400, V300, V200
  • HMA: H600, H1200
  • Dacron: D900, D525
  • Spectra: S1500, S725

The number beside the line type indicates the breaking strength of the line in Lbs. The higher the number, the stronger and thicker the line.

Recommended Line Types and Sizes for NZ Aerosports Canopies

Current Canopies

  • Petra: Vectran 300
  • Sofia: Vectran 300
  • Leia: Vectran 400/550
  • SLeia: Vectran 300/400
  • JVX: Vectran 400/550
  • JFX: Vectran 400/550
  • Crossfire3: Vectran 550/750
  • Safire3: Vectran 550/750
  • Student: Vectran 750
  • Tandem: Vectran 1050/HMA 1200
  • Matrix2: Dacron 525/Vectran 550

Former Canopies

  • Extreme FX: Vectran 400/550
  • Extreme VX: Vectran 400/550
  • Crossfire 1 & 2: Vectran 550/750
  • Safire 1 & 2: Vectran 550/750
  • Alpha: Vectran 550/750
  • Beta: Vectran 550/750

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