The Supair ALTIRANDO LITE is aimed at Progression Class pilots (typically flying EN A or EN B) who want the security and simplicity of a traditional upright harness but are wanting to make their kit light and compact. It features a split-leg support system and a seat plate. The harness reverses to form a backpack, and it inflates in the air to give you certified airbag back protection that appears large and effective.
The material choices have been made more for durability than for weight-savings. This is wise given that most of the pilots who will use it may still be clipping the occasional thorny bush during flying (see the video below). This is also essential when your back protection relies on the integrity of the fabric.
The nitinol wire helps to pre-shape the back protector pocket somewhat, but it really needs the whoosh of air as you launch to fill it properly. Be careful not to hook your feet together when flying, as you can block the air intakes which are on the bottom of the harness. Supair chose this position instead of using side scoops so as not to interfere with the reserve pocket and handle, and to prevent deformation during packing. It would be better to use it with the optional stirrup which keeps your feet extended out front.
There is an air valve inside the rear of the harness which allows the air to fill the rear chamber. Unfortunately Supair have not included a pocket to secure items you put into the storage area, so they can collect at the bottom of the space and block the valve at times. If you’re smart, you’ll clip a small bag in here to hold things against your back. There’s a large volume to carry things – bear in mind you have no backpack to fold away, it’s part of the harness!
There is a zipped gusset that expands the volume of the backpack, and once I released that I had no problem fitting my standard M wing (neatly folded in a Supair Rolling Pack) into the Altirando Lite M, with a light flying jacket, helmet and instrument.
Inflight pockets are limited to one small pocket that is awkward to access. There is no flight deck for instruments, so you’ll need a leg or chest-strap mount, or a light riser vario like a Syride or an audio-only vario stuck on a shoulder strap.
Most pilots want an integrated reserve container, to reduce clutter during launch. But because the reserve must sit towards the handle side, you get an asymmetric lump in the backpack that makes the carrying slightly less comfortable. With separated systems (harness, bag) the wing is usually packed against your back, so comfort is improved. Having said that, the ALTIRANDO LITE is comfortable enough to carry for an hour or so, having good adjustable shoulder straps, a chest clip and a basic waist belt with a nice zip pocket.
For a beginner pilot, this is a very reassuring harness in flight, being very stable while still providing some feedback and a bit of weight shift control via the seatboard. More experienced pilots might find the geometry restrictive. There is a bit of freeplay in the movement around level, but it tightens up at 30 degrees of bank angle, and prevents further weight shift input as the split leg strap ‘crossbraces’ your higher leg. I asked Supair if there was a way to improve the roll freedom with legstrap adjusters.
Clement Latour replied: “It's in our specification to have quite a "stable" harness that is easy, because this harness is mainly aimed at progression pilots. The chest strap adjustment can largely influence the behaviour of the harness. We could have added leg strap adjustments but this would have introduced the possibility of asymmetries and we wanted the harness light and simple.”
So it’s definitely not for acro or pilots who like to ‘waga’. It’s perfect for low airtime pilots who want more security as they explore the many Alpine hike-and-fly sites, or like the idea of travelling with a smaller paraglider bag. It’s also suitable for regular pilots who want to calm down their overly agile wing somewhat, and like the convenience and durability of a well made reversible harness for recreational flying.
Supair ALTIRANDO LITE video review
Join us for a quick overview followed by an in depth analysis of the ALTIRANDO LITE