Saturday, May 30, 2020

Triple Seven Rook 3 MS

Triple Seven Rook 3 ( The next level High -B!)

I have flown in the past Triple Seven high-B gliders, the Rook1, and the Rook2. In 2020, here is 777 latest high B glider the Rook 3 with an aspect ratio of 5.6 flat and 4.1 projected which is pretty conservative and well-targeted for a High B in 2020.

The openings of the Rook 3 are pretty small, with a shark noose and resembles the Queen 2 ones. The cloth used is “Dominico N20 DMF” with PPSL Liros and Edelrid A-8000-U. The risers use a new BC system enabling the pilot to control the pitch in accelerated flight without touching the brakes. The back positioning intake, the look, and the finish are superb. The glider looks like a tuned sports performance 4X4 race car.

Launching the Rook 3 MS at 93 all up with an X-rated 6 harness, need a long and steady pull. It’s a bit slow to rise in weak wind but it’s going up without a hard point. In Strong windy take off, I found it to be quite gentle in the rise, without overshooting.

The Rook 3 MS was tested and flew along next to a Rush5 MS, Eden 7 S, Ikuma 2-24.

In the air, the Rook 3 has a moderate to light brake pressure with a very good “performance-oriented “ agility. I mean that it doesn’t dive in turns but could core every bubble swiftly and very efficiently. The authority on the brakes with that “performance-oriented “turn is very nice! I’m ‘in love ‘ without B brake authority! Smile

The Rook 3 can be described as having a precise brake input and quite linear, which leads to an efficient adjustment inside the core! 10 to 15 cm of moderate to light pressure will let you turn the glider in any core! A delight!
Its not fair to compare it to the best D, 3 liners of the moment…But it happened to be next to me in the air… The climb rate next to an M7 MS (EN-D) in facing the valley breeze and digging through that airmass showed me that the Rook 3 is a really special kind of high B’s! I could match or sometimes be quite efficient in climbing mode against the wind. You will be surprised! Of course, the edge will always go to the D glider…(In very long glides…against the wind )

I have tried many times with other high B’s and it seems that the Rook 3 was surfing the airmass and floating upward each time there’s a tiny lift.
In weak thermals, the Rook 3 seems very floaty. I was able to float in a tiny lift, waiting for a stronger thermal.

In turbulent air, I was very surprised to find that the Rook 3 is much easier to fly than its predecessor. The Rook 3 is a comfortable high B with a very solid structure. Under it i didn’t feel any awkward movements, or any yaw movement whatsoever. On the contrary, it seems very homogenous and well balanced.
I think that after long flights under the Rook3, one should expect to land with much energy left! And with a happy feel about the handling.

Gliding next to several high B’s especially in moving air, showed me how magical the Rook 3 is. Every light lift is converted to height. It was difficult to come close to that glide under the current high B’s!
Imagine a B glider that surfs the air going up with every tiny lift! No pitch back nor surging forward. Just an efficient glide through the airmass. Of course, sometimes in strong lifts, it pitches slightly back but gets quickly balanced in moving upward without a surge.

The C risers control is smooth and efficient. They control the pitch, if any…just because the Rook 3 stays on its path in turbulent air…
The speed bar enabled me to get 16 km/h over trim on the Rook 3 size MS at 95 all up.

You are not reading a fairy tale!! Grab a demo and see by yourselves Wink

Ears are stable but sometimes they shake. If you pull them moderately once, they will stay stable. Pulling more lines will get them shaky and reopen.

Conclusion: The Rook 3 MS I have here, was purchased from 777. It is one of the first serial B’s.
I know…you will say that this is another fancy writing…and this guy drank a bottle of vodka right before… Smile
Honestly, the Rook 3 is the best and most performant, pleasurable to fly, high-end EN- B glider I have ever tested. Period!
Again, if you are in doubt, do the impossible to get yourself a demo, (load it near the top), just to tease me with your reactions! Don’t fly it at the bottom of the weight range, and comment !! pleeeease ! Smile
Triple Seven has done a superb job on that Rook3. Comfortable, fast, agile, pleasurable in steering, loads of free and usable performance. Forget the Queen2…(They are going to kill me … Smile
Ehhhh, Unless you want more speed and spicy feel.
All the above was very clear for me to state that IMHO, the Rook 3 is the next level High-B.
Happy flights! Smile

Video soon...

Monday, April 20, 2020

Interview ADVANCE 20/4/2020 MM, Valery Chapuis, Simon Campiche, Kari Eisenhut, Silas Bosco, Christian Proschek

Interview ADVANCE  20/4/2020 
MM, Valery Chapuis, Simon Campiche, Kari Eisenhut, Silas Bosco, Christian Proschek

1-  What can the R&D team comment about the internal structures of current paragliders? Are we still far from a more solid and cohesive structure in order to produce a 6 AR or lower glider with 2 line design?
The engineering of two-line gliders does not require excessive solid structures. Much more important is the right balance between sufficient stiffness for a clean surface on the one hand and enough flexibility to absorb the energy of possible turbulence on the other hand; this is the goal to strive for. Actually, this logic applies to every paraglider design, but we will have to find quite innovative airfoil shapes to satisfy the requirements made at a low aspect ratio wing with merely two suspension line rows (or groups of line rows). Certainly, it would be imaginable to realize a very stiff wing that only needs two rows of suspension lines. For instance, one could think of reinforcing the ribs with loads of plastic or Nitinol wires. Or very stiff but foldable materials for the ribs could be used. Such an engineered glider would probably fly very well. But the problem is that, as soon as it comes to extreme situations the glider still has to have the ability to absorb the energy of turbulence in order to ensure safe and comfortable operation.
Probably in the next couple of years, the manufacturers will accomplish to create new low aspect ratio designs that satisfy the criteria stated above. First, we'll see such design in the C class and someday even B gliders won’t be special having just two rows of suspension lines.

2- I think every pilot in the world question ADVANCE ’Winglets”. Could those winglets be removed in the future? as there’s a lot of wingtip designs with swept wings that have good aerodynamic efficiency, and they do also reduce the vortex effect.  Or ADVANCE will insist on keeping them for the future?
Nobody can imagine an ADVANCE wing without its winglets! Only ADVANCE is using winglets in the paragliding construction, but winglets are well known in general aviation for reducing the vortex. We made very serious aerodynamical research and we are sure that the benefit is higher than the drag they generate. Some years ago we analyzed the effect of winglets carefully by CFD methods, and the result was that they reduce the drag by about 2.8 % depending also on the model. This corresponds to a glide ratio improvement of about 1.5 %.

3- Before releasing a new glider in a B, C, or D category, does ADVANCE R&D try to get another good glider from a different brand with similar certification in order to fly it, feel the difference and see if their new product will have a difference regarding comfort, agility, climbing abilities, or gliding at speed? Of course in moving air?
Of course, it is of immense importance to know what our competitors are creating. To see where are their strengths and which behaviors clearly would need improvements. Not knowing which other good or bad gliders are around would bring the risk of running into a tunnel and very likely overestimating the quality of our own gliders compared to the totality of paraglider designs.

4- What about light materials? It seems that the light materials are becoming more durable, and it's now being used by many manufacturers in their regular everyday glider use. Does the light material help in faster recovery after a collapse? What is the benefit of light materials besides reduced weight?
Light material’s durability, in fact, is much better than its reputation. This is the reason why even the “heavy” versions of gliders are being designed more and more with light materials. Mostly the interior design is the first way to go for when optimizing the weight of gliders. The weight of used materials clearly has an impact on the behavior of gliders in extreme situations. However, we would be careful stating that light materials generally improve behavior in extreme situations. As light materials are often softer than the heavier materials the stability is clearly affected. There are cases where this can have positive effects but there are also cases where the resulting behavior is influenced in a bad way. Collapses can recover faster but do not always in each and every design. Also, we have to mention, that fast re-openings of collapses are not always good. So we often try to slow down the re-opening process by just a bit. In terms of safety, it is more important that the glider flies straight and doesn’t stall accidentally after a collapse than re-opens as fast as possible. Gliders with lower weight canopies have a lower moment of inertia. This means that their resistance against angular accelerations about every axis in space is also lower. This can make the glider stop earlier when shooting forwards after a collapse because it needs less force to stop the unwanted movement. 

5- I’m an old fashion pilot…So excuse me if I personally find that hammock harnesses despite their superb back and support comfort, do not offer the best precise weight shift in strong and turbulent air. Will ADVANCE consider a harness that can be used both ways to please everyone? but with a seat board that can be placed “above the seating straps “, not just sliding it over the protection, which doesn’t really change much.
A hammock harness is a possible choice for a pilot, not an obligation. Some like it, some don’t. At ADVANCE we know what the benefits are and we love flying with hammock harnesses, like thousands of pilots all over the world flying our Impress and Lightness models. It’s reducing the weight and the volume of the harness, it eliminates the problem of a too large or too narrow seat-board. But more important than this, it gives the pilot a precise feeling coming from the wing, but not exaggerated like it can be with a seat-board. The feeling is something personal and we cannot tell “this is good or this is bad for you“. With the new IMPRESS 4 the pilot can decide to fly with or without seat-board, depending on the wing and the mood of the day. In the end it is the pilot’s choice.

6- What can you say about the future Sigma11 ? in terms of brake authority in turbulent air versus the Sigma10. In rough air, some pilots commented that longer brake pull was needed on the S 10. And I have received emails about bigger sizes of the S 10 that I didn’t fly that was not that agile!
Comparatively the upcoming SIGMA11 benefits from direct and progressive handling and we are very satisfied with it. The canopy is more compact but also more reactive to steering inputs. This results in excellent controllability, not only in turbulent air but in every situation from ground handling over long-distance flights to the top landing. The pilots for which the SIGMA11 is intended are the same as those for the SIGMA10, there is no change about this: it's for an experienced pilot, no doubt.

7- Can you please also comment about the “usable” performance of the S 11 protos in moving air + speed, if you have already measured for an S 10 similar size.
We are proud of being able to say that the performance of the SIGMA11 is even higher than that of the SIGMA10. We massively improved the feeling whilst flying in turbulent air. The canopy feedback is softer and the pitch is very stable. This results in a very high usable performance.

8 - It is super difficult to improve a successful model with the same aspect ratio and a 2 years' time. Any future Iota 3 on the draw boards? Does the same aspect ratio imply?  Any comments?
Yes, you are right it is a very hard and difficult challenge to improve a well-appreciated wing. But between a new model and its predecessor, there are 2 or 3 years and we could learn a lot making protos and research for the other models of our range. The IOTA 3 project start is in the near future. We can tell you more about that at the beginning of the 2021 flying season, just be patient!

9- When to expect the first Impress 4 harnesses?  And could you please comment a bit about the latest and final version?
The production of the IMPRESS4 started and we may deliver from June, but you know that the actual world health situation makes everything more complicated. It is a competition and XC harness with an extremely high level of comfort and equipment, and a very low weight starting at about 6 kg. Another very special point of the IMPRESS4 is that it can be used with or without a seat-board. It will come as a complete set with a rucksack, a carbon plate, a windshield and 2 pod-handles for the reserves. More information soon on our homepage.

10- Can ADVANCE elaborate on the future design and what pilots must wait for? A new 3 liner D for example ?  or a daily use 2 liners?
We have with the OXA3 such a simple and easy two-liner that we are of the opinion that there is no need for three-liners in the D-class at the moment.

Thank you very much for your time in answering those questions! Looking forward!  :-) 

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Interview SKYWALK . Mr Arne Wehrlin .

Dear Arne, 

I hope you are doing well in those difficult times! 
As all pilots in the world are staying home, I thought that I could ask designers a few questions about their products in order to keep the pilots home give them hope and to inform them about Skywalk product expectations. 

1- Ziad:  How’s Skywalk managing this crisis? Is the team working from home? Will this situation affect the production of the development and construction of the new gliders? 

Arne: Hi as nearly the world market is shut down, it is clear that it is a very difficult situation for all in our market. We have a lot of people working from home and we have normal daily work with a few people. We offered pilots to check their wings now during the shutdown and we are receiving quite a lot. So our workshop has plenty of work. Still, some markets sell as they reopened like china or have some have no shutdown. Therefore we consequently started direct shipments from our Thailand production.
Customer service and warehouse are running with a lower capacity due to less turn over but we are able to react fast if the situation will change to better sales.
From the R&D, for sure the most difficult situation is that our designers and test-pilots are blocked in Austria Tirol, but we hope that they are allowed to fly in the near future.

2- Ziad: One of my favorite gliders was the CAYENNE5 XS. Many pilots around the world loved the nimble, direct, precise brake and overall feel of that glider. Actually, the TEQUILA4, CAYENNE5, CHILI4, and the X-ALPS, all had this little SPICE that gives you the exact thermal feel, even the excellent low B TEQUILA 4. With the T5, this SPICE feel was substituted for overall comfort and more accessibility. My question comes to the new crop of gliders. Will the CAYENNE 6 inherit that magical feel and brake control of the CAYENNE5? 

Arne: Generally I think besides the T5 where the target was to have a LOW B with fewer movements, I think you know that the ARAK has the SPICE and the comfort together. So we made a great step into comfort and spicy taste in the new wings. And this was also the goal that we reached for CAYENNE 6. We are very satisfied with the direct and intuitive handling of this wing.

3- Ziad: Did SKYWALK try to see the difference between the CAYENNE 5 and CAYENNE 6 in moving flying side by side? If yes what are the differences that pilots will expect? 

Arne: The CAYENNE 6 will have good comfort for the pilot to get easily all the performance together with spicy handling. It is easier to fly fast with this wing, as it is stable and has a great pitch control with very light and efficient C Steering. It is again a very good climber and pitch stability give an extraordinary performance during turbulence. Steering pressure allows comfortable long flights. Besides these things, we will use a new material which is extremely strong and extremely robust. The TX-Light material. It was developed exclusively for our kite brand FLYSURFER and it is kind of bulletproof. It has an innovative triple Rip-Stop which makes it very strong against wear and tear even though it is only 33g.
When you glide with a C5 besides a C6 you will see the performance difference and if you turn flat or steep you will climb very good. But the efficiency you can reach flying with a C6 is the main difference to CAYENNE5.
You know: the X-ALPS4 wing was recognized as the best glider during the last X-ALPS. Even pilots flying competitor wings stated this and the C6 is based on this X-ALPS4 knowledge..…. So we love the C6, and we expect pilots will feel the same :-). They can be curious.

4-Ziad: When pilots will expect a light version of the C6? SPICE2? 

Arne: At the moment, our goal is to finish in these difficult times the homologation of C6, as DHV is not able to fly these days. Even though our designers cannot fly. So it's not easy to predict now when a SPICE 2 is coming. The CAYENNE 6 is quite light but when we have it finished, then its easier to tell when the new SPICE is coming. These days, it's not possible to predict seriously.

5- Ziad: IMHO, the CHILI4 still has super close overall performance as the best B’s of the moment, but with a pleasurable handling and nimble brake feel. Where could you place the CHILI 5 in that matter? And will it possible to add more gliding power and climbing ability? Can you please comment on the CHILI5 expectations?  Will it be a Cumeo2 also

Arne: You are right the same as CAYENNE 5 is still a great performing wing the CHILI 4 is still also at the top of the performance. So thanks to our R&D Team, they are really making such high-performance wings. If I would have some wishes then it is an optimized movement of the wing during turbulent conditions. This should be a little less, even though in our philosophy we like some movements of the wings. We like that the air starts to be visible with our wings. Our wings are not hiding too much of the conditions the pilot is flying in. So the pilot knows whats going on. We want that the pilot can read the air with our wings in a comfortable save way. No surprises about what is happening. But also comfort to fly relaxed on long flights. So this is the goal and all this is resulting in our new wings like ARAK, X-ALPS 4, CAYENNE6 and then CHILI5.  So our goal to reach is clear and we see with ARAK and X-ALPS 4 that this is the right way to go for Skywalk. Besides the feeling the pitch stability and connected with this the performance in turbulent conditions will still be the part to improve step by step. And our wings will climb very efficiently, this is part of our DNA.  

6- Ziad: Will Skywalk release a D glider for regular use? 3 liner or 2 liners in the future? We discussed in the past about those super tiny risers on the X-alp glider, and you replied that this is the only version available. Any option for more robust material in the future? 

Arne: This still stays a tricky question. At the moment it is not even clear what X-ALPS Athletes prefer in the Competition.
3-Liner and used to fly with better performance or 2 liners with less performance. So the rumor is that the 2 liners have a better gliding then 3 liners, but if you make a 2 liner very light for X-ALPS you lose a lot of performance so the X-ALPS 3 liners have sometimes even more performance then the 2 liners.
So it's still not easy to decide. We are discussing with our athletes like Paul, Simon, Tommy … what they need for X-ALPS 2021. So at the moment, I cannot tell you more about the 2/3 Liner development these days. We know that our X-ALPS 4 (3 Liner) is one of the best X-ALPS wings on the market. It's just also a kind of “fashion” flying a 2 liner. So in our eyes, 2 Liner make sense for competition but maybe not for all kind of competitions.   

7-Ziad: The X-ALPS harness with inflatable back protection is indeed a great harness. Many pilots wished for a slightly rugged version. Is it hard for Skywalk to just change the outside material for the same specs? 

Arne: I think actually the pilots who ask for a slightly rugged version do not mean exactly what you say. I think the Range X-ALPS 2 is very successful because it is light and very comfortable, safe and small packing volume and for this all it's still robust. The people who want a more robust version would also want a little bit more foam in the seat. They want to have space at the front container for a bigger rescue. They need a bigger place for some ballast, they want a tube hole for the toilet during xc flights. They want some more pockets, zippers…..So actually they expect all a bit more details. This would mean we need to work on the rescue container and so on….. So I think if we just change a bit material, then the pilots would say I expected a bit more of this or that. So in our eyes, the right strategy is to work on a Pod harness with all these features and still small packing volume and a safe PERMAIR-Protector. And this is what we are doing but this still needs time, but we are working on it. The Range X-ALPS 2 shall stay light that the pilots who want to get a light safe high-quality small packing harness, can get one from Skywalk. And these pilots would not like it heavier. So we want to keep the positioning of the products clear and do not mix all up, as, in the end, we would have nothing clear anymore.

8- Ziad: Is Skywalk considering a heavier pod harness or even a 5 kg pod harness? 

Arne: This is what we talk about but the goal is to be lighter than 5 kg for sure. I think in the question before you asked exactly for the harness which is needed in this question now. Otherwise, we would have a 1,8 kg a 2,4 kg and a 5 kg harness which makes less sense than having a 1,8kg and a 4kg harness. Because with our PERMAIR-protection the packing will still stay small. J

9- Ziad: Anything you would like to add concerning SKYWALK products? 

Arne: CAYENNE 6 is most important and we talked about it already but the Mescal 6 with the Agility System is an incredible step forward. This system allows you to change your handling when you grow from a student into an independent pilot. The wing grows with you. The system is law secured and its such a great development, that we are sure it will be a big step in the market for the future. In our flysurfer kite products, it is normal that the kiter can change the behavior of his kite, by some adjustment possibilities. So the result is the agility system in the Mescal 6.
It is a system where you can change the complete brake Geometry of the wing. You have two options, the comfort mode, and the sport mode. In the comfort mode, the brake is pulled more in the middle and in the sport mode the wing is pulled more at the outside. The wing is delivered in the comfort mode and when the pilot is more experienced he can change it by himself or the dealer can change it. He has in both modes the EN A class.
It will be interesting how this system will go on in the future.

Thanks a lot. Bye Arne

Ziad: Thank you, Arne, for taking the time to answer my questions ! Looking forward to the Cayenne 6! :-)  

Monday, March 30, 2020

Triple Seven (Aljaz,Urban) Interview 30/3/2020

Hello, Aljaz, Urban !
I hope you are all doing well with your family. The world is facing a serious pandemic and I just wanted to give some hope and information to the pilots that are quarantined at home.
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions.

1- I’m totally convinced that 777 will never release a product if both brothers are not completely satisfied with it! And that leads to superb flying machines. Knight, Rook, Queen, Q-light, King…Every glider has IMHO, a secret ingredient called (efficiency)
What can you say about the Rook 3 in that matter? What would the pilot expect from the new high B glider? concerning performance, climb, speed perhaps?…

777: Hi Ziad, and thank you for having us. Indeed, Rook 3 got its final shape in the long run of testing over the past three years. We always want to offer our pilots a wing that will stand for at least three years in the future. Therefore we need to take more time to do things right. The Rook 2 was now on the market for four years being competitive through the whole period of its existence, but, now it is time for a new one. The performance growth curve was exponential with Rook 1 and Rook 2. Still, soon, the overall leaps in performance in the high B class stalled a little bit on the market, especially if you want to offer the wing that still feels right for the high-B class pilots and isn't pushed into the B from somewhere else.
With Rook 3, we phased our design more on the side of the overall package where performance is not revolutionized, but overall handling with great climbing was taken into the count even further this time. We took the experiences from other models with the line layout, the BC system, the materials, and optimized those into the Rook 3. The PPSL, Aramid mesh of the lines, proved with really extended trim longevity in Queen 2. Therefore it was obvious we will use this mixture also in Rook 3. We redesigned the BC system to a double gearing system, which makes the pull easier. The system is made additional to the existing riser, which is essential from the safety side as you are still flying on the proper risers, and you don't have the lines attached to the system itself. 
2- Ziad: Any performance comparison with the Rook 2? 
777: Of course, we did quite a few rides next to one another. As mentioned earlier, we're not doubling or revolutionizing the performance over it, but there is a slight edge in the float-ability of the Rook 3.

3- Ziad: Any light Rook 3 following? 
777: indeed, since we were able to come up with the wing with minimal count and length of plastics in the canopy (these are only in the leading edge and short), we believe we will be able to offer quite a light wing soon, which will be based on the Rook 3.

4- Ziad: We saw a few pics of the King2 on the web. Is it a 3 liner? Since the 7 aspect ratio King S had that feedback through the brakes with good precision and nice feel in thermals, what can you say about the feel on the King 2?  I know it’s still a prototype, but what can you tell more about the King 2? 

777: With King 2, we hope we are in the last stages of development. The overall package seems to be there, and it will have it in the three-line concept, of course. The wing itself is a completely new wing, the same is only AR 7 compare to the first version.   There are 14+more cells, a new profile is more optimized for high-speed stability, S-shaped plastic suspension support in the cell walls is present here as well. There is a new straight plastic material PA 11 for profile support and a new thinner Dyneema dsk99 lines like on the Gambit.  

5- Ziad: What can we expect from the King 2? Did the team at least compare it with the latest creations? 

777: We're fortunate to have a good group of great pilots here in the area who are flying all kinds of wings—also the latest D class two liners. Let's say that we feel that we have a good wing in hands.

6- Ziad: Any 2 liner with D certification in the near future? 
777: Of course. When? We don't know just yet, maybe 2021... :) 

7- Ziad: When pilots will expect the Bishop? And what did 777 focused on in the development stages?  
777: The King 2 project left the Bishop wing on the side a little bit. The focus with the Bishop is, of course, ease of use with longevity for the true commercial use of the wing. The tandem market is interesting; some are doing their top to bottom flights, searching for a bulletproof wing, then we have alpine tandem pilots who seek better handling with added performance. We're trying to add all of this into one good mixture for both worlds. 

8- Ziad: Is Triple Seven considering to release harnesses in the future?  
777: With the team, we have here, we're all the time fully occupied with the development of the wings. Adding this part to the business would obstruct the quality of the wings design. We don't want that

9- Ziad: Anything you would like to add concerning new releases? 
777: Indeed, the whole world is facing hard times at the moment. We were lucky enough to have the latest prototypes here in the house, so we can test and finish them so when we are back on the hill, we can all enjoy the new wings and freedom again. We wish all the pilots to stay healthy in these times.

Thank you very much for your answers!


Saturday, March 28, 2020

Interview Michael Nesler

In those difficult times, I'm trying to send glider designers some questions in order to give you a more comfortable way to spend the time at home. Here's is a very interesting interview with Michael Nesler.
I knew about Michael Nesler's designs since I began to learn paragliding. He is from the “golden era”
His exceptional profile!
( Click personal)

Dear Michael,
At first, I hope that you and your family are doing ok! The conditions in Italy are critical, and hats off to the Italian doctors, nurses and everyone involved…God be with you all!
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions.

Ziad: I have flown your designs recently. Let's take for example the Nyos RS EN-B.  It doesn’t have a shark nose, or the back positioning A’s, the lines are not that thin as some high B competitors, but it seems to glide as good as the best!  In your opinion for the moment, is positioning the A’s far back, for a high B is a must for selling? or there’s some benefit in that category in cutting through the airmass? Will this work for a B? Knowing that the latest Ozone R5 doesn’t seem to have the shark nose of the older models.

Michael: What ultimately determines the performance of a paraglider is very complex. Let me give you an example: If I have the Nyos RS made in China, it will fly like the one you've been flying. If I have it built in our factory in Croatia with the same files and materials, it will fly much better.
According to the experience of the last years, the dependency of performance is roughly distributed like this:
* 35% project
* 25% material
* 40% manufacturing quality (cutting, sewing, control)[/i]
Of course, the media and customers get off on technical, tangible details such as shark nose, A-loops, etc., but precision is much more important.
The fact that the Shark-Nose cost performance has meanwhile been accepted by other manufacturers. That's why they still install the rods crossed at the opening, but when you look at the profile shape without opening, there is little left of real Shark-nose.
In summary: If you could make any model you wanted with better materials, individual cuts, and very good sewers, it would be vastly superior to mass production. But no manufacturer can afford that.
The position of the A-Loops is not important for performance, only for safety and durability. And this is contrary to each other: Either more safety and shorter service life - or vice versa!

Ziad: I’m impressed! I never knew that it would differ that much! There are companies in Srilanka doing a clean job on paragliders. Do you still think that if it's done in Croatia or should I say in a more delicate and precise way it would fly better? How better please? What are those differences?

Michael: No, factories in Srilanka, China and other places are doing a clean job for economical serial production. But they are far away from the maximum possible.

Ziad: You said earlier that they can't afford that?  why? Can you comment, please?

Michael: Simple to calculate: Cutting 16 layers (8 gliders) on rotating knife cutter or high power laser needs nearly 8 hours = 1 hour/glider. If you make a single cut with high precision, you need also 8 hours = I glider!
A good sewer needs 30-40% more time to finish a perfect wing. So in the end, the glider will cost, also using the best material, quality control, individual trimming, ca. 60-80% more. Nobody will pay for this!

Ziad: You also said: On a competition glider, no one will use a shark nose if its cost performance! The Enzo 3 and B11 use it. What are your thoughts, please?

Michael: They are far away from real Sharknose: if you don't watch the crossed ends of the rod in the vent, but the real shape of the profile, you will see that there is nearly no shark-nose anymore! Only simulating a step on the vents you don't get a real shark-nose: te vent area is filled with a compressed air cushion!

Ziad: There are lots of nice ideas for designing paragliders. I always wondered if we put all them together in one glider, would that be beneficial? Some could be for marketing purposes, but some works quite well… I mean for all the classes, probably a shark nose, RAST, a 3D clean leading edge, and all the internal technologies, optimized unsheathed lines, etc, etc…  or there’s something that today's designers cannot overcome.

Michael: I am currently working on an EN-D two-liner, which we have both with and without a shark nose. In the lower speed range of the certification, the Sharknose doesn't make sense, it just causes disadvantages.
If I were given the job of building the perfect glider, I would:
- Take this material here: (I've built a couple of base wings with this, brilliant!)
- Cut the glider individually by laser
- Glue all panels before sewing
- Accompany the sewing personally
- Use Vectran lines
The absurd thing is that such an existing model would fly better than a new, allegedly improved one of conventional design.

Ziad: Why Vectran lines?

Michael: Vectran has less elongation, is more stable during aging, am stronger. It would be perfect as main lines, also with cover. But till today nobody is producing Vectran baselines for Paragliders (with colors, coating/cover). But they are used for many years in high-performance skydiving canopies.

Ziad: What are your thoughts about a super designing tool? Will a futuristic superior software help in the design of our flying machines? Or are we still limited by the materials?

Michael: We have long been outside the reasonable tolerance with regard to production and material. It will hardly be possible to increase performance with conventional and inexpensive solutions.

Ziad: I was always fascinated by the internal structure of a glider. For example, the UP Escape had some cross reinforcements that were never been seen lately?  Is it right to believe that internal structure is the main key to performance and safety?  Are we still far in this field?

Michael: I know the Escape very well, I made it. But this construction has one main disadvantage: too much waste, too expensive!
The inner life serves only one purpose: Less lines! There is one clear limit: the strength required by the certification. Most high-performance gliders push this to the limit. So you couldn't have less lines. A highly complex inner life is interesting and light, but it is certainly not a parameter with which you can improve performance.
Unless you build gliders with over 100 cells, they would become too heavy without 4 or 5 cell spacing.

Ziad: What are the benefits of using very light construction of RAST on a 7 AR 2 liner glider? I think you surely thought of that!

Michael: I have been flying it for 3 months now and it feels like an EN-B paraglider to me. I fly it here in the Dolomites in conditions where others prefer to stay on the ground with the B-gliders, and I feel comfortable. What I miss is better take-off behavior in snow and tailwind and big ears.
But I have now found a solution for this, including certification without folding lines.

Ziad: What are your future projects? Any new harnesses? certification for the 2 liner?

Michael: I am working on a harness for pilots who like to fly very precisely with weight and want to be a perfect unit with their equipment.  This will be a niche product: Ultralight, high strength (with Kevlar fabric and Dyneema), with seat board and no cross bracing. So completely against the mainstream. This is not a Swing order, but a Profly project.
EN-D is in work and should be approved according to Corona.

Ziad: What do you think about seat and seat-less harnesses? Rear fairing or not?  Which do you think is more appropriate to your liking?

Michael: We have several harnesses here for testing our gliders. And have found that flight behavior, performance, and safety are more influenced by the different harnesses than by the trimming.
I am surprised that the manufacturers of harnesses do not even adhere to the requirements of the certification regarding the height of the main suspension. Most of the current harnesses have a much higher main suspension than the certification requires. In addition, the newer harnesses are being cross-braced more and more. This allows weaker pilots to fly with higher classified gliders, but it reduces performance significantly compared to flying a simpler glider with a good harness.
In all comparisons, I still find the old Woody Valley GTO-Xalps Race (2.2kg, with a board) the best for me.

Ziad: what if we were all flying the same model and there were no other models?

Michael: Then no one would be able to blame the material for bad flights, no one would be able to boast of being an unpaid brand ambassador, and no one would be the hero anymore for flying such a great, dangerous glider.
Ziad: Would this be less fun then?

Michael: Let's face it: the whole discussion about performance is only needed by the manufacturers, the salespeople, and the media. After all, what else would they be able to captivate us, pilots, with?
I still like to build high-performance machines on commission, but nobody really needs them.
Most pilots would be better advised to work on their technique, perception, and psyche instead of constantly stunning themselves with new material.

Ziad: You mean like one design glider for "Olympic games"? But that will also be branded somehow...
Michael: Here we have been shortsighted! If we got a one-design class for competition (ok, different brand, but very strict parameters like in sailing or formula one) we would be since many years in the Olympics! The same model means, that the results come from the pilots and not form the glider (and the money to buy always the best wing)

Ziad: A message for the pilots staying at home?

Michael: This is a good time to start thinking about flying:
* Why am I flying?
* What's in it for me?
* What would give me more performance?
* What are my goals and wishes when I fly?
It is best to write (on real paper!) because this keeps all-important channels of perception involved (sight, hearing, touch).

Thank you very much for your time!

Best regards,

PS: Every designer has his own perception and futuristic ideas. The above interview was made to show a different and interesting point of view.
IMHO, the best glider you seek is the one that makes you feel good, and that special 'you' is a very personal matter Smile
Stay safe!


Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Interview Ozone. Luc Armant . 24/3/2020

For all the pilots quarantined at home, I made a small interview just to cheer you up in the meantime.

Ziad:  Sometimes it is really difficult to produce a new glider in specific 2 years intervals, as the technology don’t work on a fixed date rather than a quality time for good research and development. 
How is OZONE managing this, knowing that each glider until now has a certain advantage? 

Luc: We have no pre-defined date strategy here. What is sure is that after about 2 years of a product like Delta or Rush, we start to sell nothing, even if the glider is still very competitive in his category. When we see that the selling of a model is dropping down, we start working on a replacement, and we only release the replacement once all of us (the team is made of 5 pilots: Dav, Fred, Russ, Hono and I) are 100% convinced that the new one is a step forward. Sometimes, it’s just a small step sometimes it’s a giant step, but always a step. And sometimes, we don’t manage to do it soon enough and we spend one season without selling anything of the previous model.
I know that pilots are sometimes complaining that the models are renewed too often. But let me tell you a bit more about our experience of model replacement. In the EN B to EN C segment, no matter if your model is still competitive, you don’t sell it anymore after two years. The reason seems to be that these pilots do not have the means to judge by themselves, even with the help of social media, if an old model is still competitive. That’s where you can help with very accurate and objective reviews, but I know it’s a tough job.

The reason is that in these segments, the pilots have the means to judge a product no matter his novelty. After 3 full seasons, we are still selling Enzo3 for the 4th season as competition pilots want the best glider no matter if it’s old, and you just need to participate in a top-level competition to make yourself a good idea of the true performances. We were still selling Magnum2 tandem after 6 seasons, as it was a proven good tandem product amongst professionals.  Conclusion: pilots should not try to not rely only on the release date to decide which product to buy. When they do too much of that, they encourage manufacturers to renew their models more often.

Ziad:  what are the main differences that Ozone worked on, for the Delta 4 over the Delta 3?   

Luc: For this project, we found out quite early how to improve performances significantly (in speed and in glide), with even better safety behavior, and with a good solidity at speed despite no collapse lines were used. The rest of the project development was spent trying to get a nicer feel. The brake pressure was not right, the yaw response was not perfect, the second part of the brake input was lacking, etc. I was sometimes swearing myself in the air. This was the most difficult task of the project!  After more than 12 years of developing gliders, I’m still puzzled to see how much I don’t know about paragliders! I’m puzzled to see how sensitive it can be to find the right balance. 2 cm in a tension strap, 1cm in a profile thickness, 1cm in a tab position, few mm in trimming, etc. More than ever, I’m grateful to Russ and Hono for their fantastic work in this project, in fine feeling and tuning.

Ziad: Lots of pilots missed the Delta 2 MS linear handling and brake response.  What would you say about the Delta 4 in that field? 

Luc: I think it’s even better in the way that it’s not relying as much on chord deformation to obtain the last nice feel of the second part of the turn. Personally, I’m very focused on keeping a very nice yaw response toward the end of the brake range. I think it gives an important part of safety as well when you are thermaling along a slope. To me the Delta4 is a beauty, it behaves like a very solid 'wood feel 'in the turbulences but at the same time, it handles like a light small bicycle. My first and last flight with the production sample was just when the French lockdown started. It was a bizarre feeling, mixt of ecstasy (due to the wing) and frustration (due to the coming blackout).

Ziad:  Are we going to expect a Zeno 2 shortly? Any dates?  If yes, can you describe what are the benefits over the famous first version?

Luc: We were just starting to be full-on Zeno2 project. We flew 3 prototypes and 2 others are coming, but at the moment we are grounded, forbidden to fly, each of us confined. I hope you understand that it’s quite early to comment on anything about this new model!

Ziad: As a designer, and a pilot what is your message toward the intermediate pilots in terms of safety and evolution? 

Luc: Fly an easy wing for your level, and fly a lot to build up skill if you want to step up. Nowadays, easy wings are offering plenty of performances.

Ziad: In those difficult times, any message you would like to give to the quarantined pilots around the world?

Luc: I’m one of them. We have grounded birds and that’s painful, especially while spring is popping out outside. Let’s hope to meet each other soon in the air!

Thanks, Luc! 
Everyone please stay safe, and hopefully, we will be free to fly again!