Wills Wing has received many suggestions that we convert our hang loop and harness main lengths to the DHV standard. The Wills Wing standard, which dates back to 1973, is for a 55' distance from bottom of hang loop to basetube. The DHV standard is 47.25' (1.2 meter). We have carefully considered this suggestion, and have decided not to change our standard for the following reasons.
1) The required shortening of the harness suspension lines would significantly increase longitudinal compression on the harness adversely affecting comfort.
2) Thousands of Wills Wing pilots with harnesses made to our normal stock suspension length would not be able to hook in to any gliders made with the DHV standard length hang loop. Unlike the present situation where it is relatively easy for a pilot to extend the hang loop length by adding another loop, there would be no easy solution to the problem of a hang loop which is too long for the harness mains. A pilot would have to either change out the hang loop or have their harness mains re-made to a shorter length and their harness re-rigged.
The reason most often given for manufacturers to convert to the DHV standard is that by standardizing suspension lengths across the industry we would eliminate the need to use make-shift suspension system extensions, and by so doing we would enhance safety. This argument is hard to support, however, in light of (2) above. The Wills Wing suspension length convention pre-dates the DHV standard by probably ten years, and there are a great many harnesses in use which are made to this length. While it is relatively easy to lengthen a suspension system safely, ( a single loop of twice the extension length required, hooked to the carabiner, passed through the gliders main and back up loops, and hooked back to the carabiner), it is much more difficult to shorten one safely. In view of the large number of Wills Wing harnesses in the field which are made to the Wills Wing standard length, it would probably create a larger safety problem if Wills Wing were to convert to the DHV standard at this time.
The other problem with the argument in favor of standardizing is that it won't eliminate the need for custom loops or harness mains. The same harness on two different pilots with different body types will not hang at the same length (increased pilot girth shortens the harness suspension length) and also different pilots have different individual preferences (by as much as several inches) about how high above the basetube they want to hang.
Note that Wills Wing does offer DHV standard harness mains and DHV standard length hang loops as an option on glider and harness orders so that any customer who wants to standardize their equipment to the DHV specs can do so.
Any pilot who needs to hook in to a standard Wills Wing glider with a 55" hang distance while using a harness made to the DHV harness standard 1.2 meter hang distance, need only clip one end of a 16" long loop of 1" tubular hang loop material to his carbiner, pass the other end through both the main and the back up loop on the glider, and then clip the other end of the 16" loop to his carabiner. In this way, the extension amount is correct for both main and backup, the hook in process is very simple and not ambiguous, there is no larksheading involved and no significant likelihood of not being fully hooked in. The pilot can keep one end of the 16" loop attached to his carabiner as he moves from one glider to another, and the hook in process is only very slightly more complicated than hooking into a normal loop of the proper length. It is simpler and less confusing than hooking into multiple extensions on mains and backups. (What happens, for example, if he hooks into the longer main and the shorter backup by mistake?) The 16" inch extension loop becomes a four strand connector of 1" tubular, and is good for about 12,000 lbs, or as much as the standard carabiners used in hang gliding.