The Science of Acro ParaglidingCalin Popa has taken the sport of aerobatic paragliding¬†into levels of precision that it’s never seen before.

For years, Calin Popa practiced the difficult moves required to pull off a Rhythmic SAT. He failed time and time again. He realized that what he needed was an instructor that could tell him the precise timing of each move. Failing to find such a teacher, he set out to build one.

Popa used his training in civil engineering, and help from software engineer Ovidiu Ban, to build the Voodoo Trimbulind Robot (VTR). The VTR is a portable computer that gathers data, crunches the numbers, and provides a paraglider with real-time step-by-step instructions for any number of acrobatic routines.

The VTR contains a gyroscope, accelerometer, compass, barometer,¬† GPS receiver, a data processor and a voice unit. The entire device fits inside a Tupperware box, and attaches to the user’s harness.
During flight, sensors on the VTR collect measurements that reflect speed, altitude, orientation, and acceleration and other physical forces. These are then processed and used to give the paraglider perfectly timed commands for performing a pre-programmed maneuver.

The Science of Aerobatic ParaglidingAfter testing his invention numerous times, Popa signed up acrobatic world champion Pal Takats to help him refine the VTR. Their tests have generated enough data to take the device to the next level.

The result is a portable robot that shortens the learning curve for paragliding acrobats who are looking to perform routines that previously would have taken them countless hours to master.

The patent for the VTR is pending approval, but Popa estimates that the device will be available for sale sometime this summer. You can visit his web site to learn more about this project at http://metagliding.com/

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Images courtesy of and Copyright by Calin Popa.