May 12 dawned clear and bright in the Hautes-Alpes region of France, and as morning opened up, dozens of aircraft – powered and not, fixed and rotary winged – joined up at the famous Gap-Tallard airfield. These very disparate machines, from microlight to Porter to Lancair and built by factories and individuals all shared something important in common, and they came to celebrate that common bond at the world headquarters of BERINGER Wheels & Brakes, which designed, built, and opened its new factory and hangar right on the airport in 2011.
All day, pilots, builders, and owners compared notes and learned about each other and their machines. In seminars, they learned why a weight savings and increased strength add up to more than performance – they also add confidence, especially when the pilot is already running near capacity.
The Beringer anti-skid system, long a favorite among homebuilders and now incorporated into the Alto and other LSA, as well as the Pilatus PC-6 (with others on the way), is one such example. High-energy brakes for high-energy machines (like the ubiquitous Lancairs) is another; and extremely light and compact but powerful systems (like the “F1” wheels and internal-mount disc) would be yet another.
Beringer’s STCs were in evidence in the factory and on the field; and guests (the Beringer family treats customers like family guests) got to see the Rémi Beringer-designed wheel, brake, and tire dyno, which loads test samples in maximum load, at speed, and at different slip angles, even as it can test the braking power available, all the way into RTO (rejected takeoff) red-disc territory! This dyno is unique and so useful that Michelin used it to test its special (140-pound pressure!) single main tire for the Solar Impulse machine that landed at the Paris Air Show last year, and which just cross the Mediterranean Sea from Switzerland to Morocco.
Beringer patents were on display and were explained, as visitors spent the day looking at the beautifully-machined exhibits, drawn right from the parts bins. The new lightweight nose- and tailwheels also drew a lot of looks.
Other test benches (where Beringer’s pre-assembled lines are individually tested before shipping) and exhibits of the long Beringer history (in both aviation and motorcycling) were displayed in the factory and hangar. (Note: Gilbert and Véronique Beringer, as young marrieds, developed a high-performance sidecar, and demonstrated its effectiveness, as they teamed up to win the French Rallye Championship. Many Beringer parts have since been used on championship-winning motorcycles in world and Moto GP events.)
In keeping with the great camaraderie and family atmosphere, there was food and relaxation available, as well. Organic sausages on the grill, with a sip of local wine – these, with the Back Door Blues band, made a perfect ending to an altogether lovely day.
Partial list of aircraft in attendance:
--The Lancair Legacy of JP Castel: it appreciates its new HE (high energy) wheels and
brakes, with its 85kt landing speed
--Incredible paint scheme on Paul Prudent’s G1 towplane
--ELFE S4 and Pégase gliders
--WT9 Dynamic Turbo
--Bush wheels for the Savage of Pierre Beaulieu, ULM Prestige
--the Magni Gyro of ULM Light System with the brand new kit BERINGER. (The J-Ro from DTA could not fly in but Jean Michel and Guilaine didn’t want to miss the event and drove in.)
--The MCR of JB Duchatelle equipped with the 3 wheels and pedal brakes (pilot & co-pilot) and the ALIR anti-skid plus parking brake valve.
--The Lambada of Alain Barthère on display with it brother,
--the Samba that flew from Rhône with Samir Elari, ULM Découverte.
--Three Skyleaders flew in from Montpezat d’Agenais, Base ULM St Exupéry, leaded by Philippe Boucherat. The first wheel and brake kit was just delivered (June).
--Eric Barberin de Barberini flew in with the Shark that holds a class speed record
--Pilatus PC-6 of Icarius, equipped with the three wheel & brake complete kit.
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