The Sock was launched at the Coupe Icare last September. The occasion to discuss with Nicolas Cochet, one of its designers.
What was the idea behind the Sock harness?
We wanted a light pod harness but an everyday one. Light (and compact) enough so you’re happy to take it for hike and fly or the occasional bivy project, but robust enough so you’re not scared to take it out of your rucksack even on rough grounds. So we wanted to be below 3kg, with robust materials. Light and durable as always at AD.
Would you say it’s a stable harness?
We wanted it stable and agile. Stable when you hit real turbulent conditions, or have to stall your glider for a recovery without losing control, agile because we like to carve our turns, we like the feel when you weightshift and the glider obeys. We reached that with a stable geometry but a relatively stiff back, hip flanges, and a particular connection of the leg straps: all your movements transfer directly to the risers for a great connection to the glider and efficiency and precision in your turns.. The opposite is true but on some unwanted glider moves, the front triangulation dampens/stops the moves: you never experience the feeling of falling with this harness.
By the way, why did you name it “the Sock”?
The idea is that you’re in close contact with your harness from armpits (or shoulders) to your knees. You’re not « floating », you’re not « squeezed », so you have the contact but not the drawbacks. This gives you the best possible feel, comfort and weightshift efficiency. And it’s unlike all other types for pod harnesses (seatboards, hammocks)… You can also very easily and safely pilot seated (legs bent). For safe top landings for instance or during a flight incident. And it makes it a great first pod harness when you seat a bit upright.
Could you please give more details about its storage capacity?
We wanted plenty of storage and options. More and more pilots go for small bivy adventures, once in a while, they would need it and don’t want a specific harness for that. And it’s always convenient to grab your sandwich or GoPro easily without searching.
What about the protector?
No compromise about safety, that’s our motto. The inflatable protector provides the best ratio shock absorption / volume. We went for that. With great certification results. You can even keep it when you partly fill the volume up with your sleeping bag on a bivy, and fill up the rest with a bit of air. The rescue container: right in front of your eyes. No risk for unintentional opening, always on sight. Rescue ideally pulled out with right hand (egonomically oriented handle and right side rescue risers to the shoulders), but if you have the bad luck to have your right arm stuck, left hand will work too.
If you had to sum it up in few words?
Well, instead of making a superlight harness you can sometimes use for XC, we thought we make a comfortable XC harness you can also use for hike and fly and bivy. That’s the Sock!
You are a XC pilot, could you share your experience with the harness?
I flew about 200 hours with it. I’ve always been a fan of very light pod harnesses, but was limited with airtime. After roughly 6 hours of being myself the harness structure, I was exhausted and/or ending with a painful back. Now I have a harness with a structure. and that’s a big change! So I’m staying fit longer and can fly over 8 hours, landing in good shape. Mission accomplished if the harness had been just for myself!