Philosophy

Our objective has always been to develop and manufacture harnesses at the highest level of technical content…

Harnesses that meet the demands of pilots, both those who are taking their first steps in the world of free flying, and expert or competition pilots.
Our passion for flight has enabled us to move towards this clear and simple goal with great efficacy. Today, the 25-plus years of experience that we have accumulated offer a further guarantee of the degree to which we have attained this objective. Over our company history, we have nurtured customer confidence by means of our reliability, and today we have reduced difficulties that may arise in after-sales service to a minimum, even in a complex and demanding sector such as ours.

Woody Valley products are total connection systems between pilot and wing.

Many companies working in the sector and specializing in paraglider production also manufacture an accessory named a harness. Woody Valley is different in that it considers that the harness is not just an accessory, but rather the means of connection between the sail and the pilot, and a piece of equipment that should be designed and constructed in order to offer optimum comfort, safety and flying performance.

From its origins, Woody Valley has always been one of the very few companies in the world specializing exclusively in the development and production of hang glider and paraglider harnesses, an area that still today represents its core business.

New technologies

Over the course of the years, we have continued to invest in new technology that has helped us to further improve our products. For example:

  • automated sewing machines that enable total constancy in work cycles;
  • hydraulic dynamometers to verify breaking stress of materials, sewn fastenings, or the entire harness;
  • machines used to test the effect of wear on buckles and straps;
  • In cooperation with DHV and Para Academy, we have built a second generation of crash test machines, using the same procedures and the same data acquisition software.
Hydraulic dynamometer and crash test machine

Wind tunnel test (Angelo D’Arrigo)

Angelo D’Arrigo during tests at -50 °C in the climatically-controlled wind tunnel at the FIAT research centre, during preparation for his hang glider flight over Mount Aconcagua in Patagonia.

“ACONCAGUA XP 05”

One of Angelo d’Arrigo’s flying projects was to free-fly over the world’s highest mountains, following the path of large migratory birds. In particular, he was attracted by the mountain Aconcagua, where ascending currents run up the north-west face. Tests were performed in the Fiat wind tunnel, using a harness created by Woody Valley. Angelo d’Arrigo developed a special breathing technique in order to deal with the detrimental effects of low pressure at high altitudes. The technique, named Pranayama, was developed at the Centro di Medicina Aerospaziale dell’Aeronautica Militare Italiana. A documentary of the project will be made by DocLab, directed by Marco Visalberghi, for the National Geographic Channel. The international project involving both Argentina and Italy was made possible by the cooperation and support of the Argentinian Ministers of Defence and Tourism.

History

Today, Woody Valley is one of the world’s leading companies for the manufacture of harnesses. It continues to assist the development of hang gliding and paragliding by means of its innovative products.

The owners of Woody Valley: Elio Valenti, Simone Caldana e Stefano Paissan

’80

The sport of hang gliding developed in Italy in the late 1970s. In the early 1980s, there was still not a real market for free flight equipment, and for this reason Simone Caldana and Elio Valenti, friends and already hang glider pilots, with prior experience in the sector of fabrics and machine sewing, began to make harnesses for themselves and their pilot friends. Their first workshop was a 16 square metre space, a store-room at Elio Valenti’s home.

Woody

1985

After a year they moved into the lounge which they converted into a workshop. In 1985 they founded the company Woody Valley, thus beginning work full-time, and entering a young market that already offered interesting opportunities for development.

The origin of the name Woody Valley is a story worth telling. Woody was the name of a dog who belonged to one of our pilot friends. He was a friendly dog, much loved by the entire group of pilots. Unfortunately Woody died in 1982, and his owner, Riccardo Segata, buried him in a small valley that had become one of our favourite flying locations, and that he romantically renamed “Woody Valley”. Very soon, we all began referring to that location as “Woody Valley”. In the same period, the “Woody Valley” hang gliding club was founded, and it later become one of the largest and most famous free flight clubs in Italy. In 1985, the Woody Valley club merged with another club and changed name. Our company was formed in the same year, and its founders decided to use the name Woody Valley, with its evocative origins and associations.

The earliest products were copies of other products on the market, but the more we flew, the more we began to introduce substantial modifications to improve performance and product quality. Very soon, we began to attain our own characteristics, and we became appreciated for the technical quality and appearance of our products. These are characteristics that have always hallmarked Italian design worldwide.

Valenti factory

1987

In 1987, the company began its adventures on markets outside Italy. In the 1980s and 1990s, one of the largest free flying festivals in the world was held at Bassano del Grappa, on occasion of an international hang gliding competition. For us, this represented a superb showcase, because every year the event attracted all the national flying teams and the professionals working in the sector. It gave us the chance to acquire new importers abroad. Those were exciting years, and we felt as if we were playing a game of “Risk,” placing “WV” flags all over the globe.

early harness

1989

By 1989, there was no longer enough room in Elio Valenti’s house, and so we rented a 400 square metre industrial building. We started to employ staff in order to meet the growing market demand.
In the same year, Stefano Paissan joined the company. He had actually been the company’s first customer and the first person to possess a Woody Valley harness. He is still involved in the development and production of hang glider harnesses, which are entirely manufactured at our premises in Italy.

Aero Friedrichshafen

1989 – 2000

Soon even this new location became too small, and so in 2002 we moved to the premises where we are presently located. At that stage, Woody Valley comprised three partners and 11 employees.

From 1999, some of our paraglider harness production processes have been performed by the company Parapol in Poland, where another 16 people are employed. This decision was inevitable to enable our company to remain competitive on the market.

PARAPOL in Poland

Development of the Woody Valley logo

1985

1989

1998

2009