Testing new paragliding gear

Testing new paragliding gear

Saturday, January 9, 2016

EN-C comparison update Inserting the Cure M, the Volt 2 SM, and the Nexus S.



EN-C comparison (Update)

Easiest to manage in the category. 1 being most friendly user. (Most comfortable to fly for the average "C" pilot): After many flights, some changes occurred…Constant feedback…

1- Alpina 2 = Advance Sigma 9 = Mac Elan =Volt 2 SM = Carrera plus M = Swing Nexus
2- ADVANCE Sigma 8 25 = Artik 4 25
3- GRADIENT Aspen 4 26 = Triple seven Queen = Cure M
4- NIVIUK Artic 3 = AD Volt SM =BGD Tala M = Ozone Delta 2 = Cayenne 4 = SOL Lotus one M
5- GRADIENT Aspen 5 26 =U-Turn Passion SM = Carrera = Sky Argos
6- MacPara Marvel 25 = UP Trango XC 2 = Cayenne 5 XS
7-NOVA Triton 2 S
8-Trango XC 3 SM

Handling in rough air: (The one that you can turn even in rough air)

1- Gradient Aspen 4 = Volt 2 SM = Alpina 2 = Sigma 9 = Artik 4 25 = Cayenne 5 XS
2- Nova Factor 2 = Cure M = Artic 3 = Cayenne 4 S = Ozone Delta 2 = Triple seven Queen = Nexus = Carrera = Elan= Triton 2 S = Carrera plus M at 105!
3- U-Turn Passion SM= BGD Tala M= Argos=Aspen 5 26 =SOL Lotus one M
4- OZONE Alpina 1 M = UP Trango XC 2 S/M = = Trango XC 3 SM
5- UP Summit XC2 M = Marvel 25 = Delta M =AD Volt SM
6- Artic 3 Race

Performance in calm air at trim speed (no activity):

1-Triton 2 S = Cayenne 5 XS = Trango XC 3
2-Triple seven Queen M  = Cure M
3- NIVIUK Artic 3 Race = Volt 2 SM = Swing Nexus S = Cayenne 4 S= BGD Tala = Alpina 2 = Carrera= Aspen 5 26 = SOL Lotus one M= Artik 4 25 = Carrera plus M
4- NIVIUK Artic 3 = U-Turn Passion S/M =UP Trango XC 2 S/M = Ozone Delta  2 = Elan = Argos
5- Nova factor 2 S = Marvel 25 = Aspen 4 26= Sigma 9
6- Advance Sigma 8 25 & Ozone Alpina M & Ozone Delta M = AD Volt SM
7- U-Cross S
8- UP Summit XC2

Performance at "trim speed" in head wind glides and ‘Average’ turbulent conditions:

1-Triton 2 S = SOL Lotus one =Cayenne 5 XS =Trango XC 3
2-Triple seven Queen M = Cure M = Swing Nexus S
3- Alpina 2 = Aspen 5 = Artik 4 25 = Carrera Plus M
5- Carrera = Volt 2 SM
6- NIVIUK Artic 3 Race = U-Turn Passion SM = UP Trango XC 2 =   Ozone  Delta 2 = Elan = Argos
7- Skywalk Cayenne 4 = NIVIUK Artic 3 =AD Volt SM = BGD Tala= Sigma 9

Performance at " bar " in headwind glides and sudden lifts :

1- Triton 2 S = Triple Seven Queen M =Trango XC 3 SM= Cayenne 5 XS
2- Alpina 2= Aspen 5 = SOL Lotus one M = Cure M = Carrera plus M .
4- Carrera = Elan = UP Trango XC 2 S/M = Ozone Delta 2 = Volt 2 SM= Swing Nexus S
5- NIVIUK Artic 3 Race = U-Turn Passion SM = BGD Tala= Sigma 9 =Argos = Artik 4 25
6- NIVIUK Artic 3 = Aspen 4 =Cayenne 4 S= AD Volt SM

7- Nova factor 2 S


Climb rate in weak but “difficult” conditions < 0.5 m/s (not homogeneous thermals ,low in the inversion) :

1- SOL Lotus one M = Cayenne 5 XS = Volt 2 SM = Carrera plus M.
2- U-Turn Passion S/M = Ozone Delta 2 ML= Elan = Cure M
3- UP Trango XC 2 S/M= Delta 2 SM = Alpina 2 = Carrera M
3- NIVIUK Artic 3 = Marvel 25= Aspen 4 = Skywalk Cayenne 4 S = BGD Tala= Carrera S= Argos = Triton 2 S = Sigma 9 = Artik 4 25 = Trango XC 3 SM
5- Artic 3 Race = AD Volt SM = Triple seven Queen = Swing Nexus S

Climb rate in punchy thermal conditions :
1-UP Trango XC 3 SM = Cayenne 5 XS = Cure M
2-UP Trango XC 2 S/M = Ozone Delta 2 = Alpina 2 = Carrera M & S= Elan = Sol Lotus One =Volt 2 SM= Carrera plus M.
3-U-Turn Passion S/M = Cayenne 4 = Marvel 25 = Artic 3 Race = BGD Tala M = Argos = Triton 2 S
4-Swing Nexus S = Artic 3 normal = Aspen 4 = AD Volt SM = Triple seven Queen M = Sigma 9 = Artik 4 25

Brake description :
-UP Trango XC 3: Moderate pressure, linear, precise, agile is homogenous conditions.
-Cure M : Agile, direct, precise, linear.
-Swing Nexus S : Moderate, smooth, average agility.
-Volt 2 SM : agile, precise, crispy and linear
-Cayenne 5 XS: Sharp and very direct, precise, agile even in turbulent conditions, short and efficient!
- Artik 4 25 : Moderate brake travel, linear , precise, agile .
-Sol Lotus, Short, moderate to hard, precise, linear.
-Triton 2 S, short, direct, linear, precise, average pressure.
- Aspen 5 26 , moderate brake travel, moderate to agile in turns, light.
- Sigma 9 Direct.
- Elan linear and direct, smooth.
- Argos Linear light to moderate and direct
- Triple seven Queen M (relatively short and linear, precise, medium pressure,like D2 SM )
- Alpina 2 SM (soft,linear,longer than Delta 2 SM ,agile moderate to light pressure)
- Carrera S (shorter than Alpina SM,linear, precise, agile, moderate pressure)
- Ozone Delta 2 SM, ML (linear, short ,precise ,agile with moderate pressure)
- BGD Tala M (Long and linear, fairly precise in turbulent conditions, moderate to light pressure, forgiving)
- Nova factor 2 S (very direct and precise)
- NIVIUK Artic 3 (Linear, precise, agile)
- Skywalk Cayenne 4 S (Moderate pressure, Agile linear, forgiving, smooth!!)
- Gradient Aspen 4 26 (Agile,moderate,linear,forgiving,smooth)
- U-Cross S Direct and agile if the conditions are smooth, and a bit less in turbulent ,the glider must settle first)
- U-turn Passion SM ,light to moderate, linear ,agile.
- UP Trango Xc2 S/M (medium pressure, precise, fairly agile, short)
- Marvel 25 (precise, moderate pressure, needs a bit of work in turbulent conditions)
- Ozone Alpina M (A bit longer than Factor 2 and a bit softer , more precise and shorter than the Delta M and much better turning behavior) 10-
- AD Volt SM ( Needs a bit time to enter the turn in moving conditions) - Niviuk Artic 3 Race
- Sigma 8 25 (very close in handling ,a bit long but still agile)
- UP Summit XC2 M (Long average agility to good)
- Ozone delta M (Soft, long and average precision)
‘NEW’

(Most efficient C glider in overall XC flying ) IMHO
(1 being best) .
The one i personally feel that will gave me the most efficient XC for overall use. (ratio of comfort efficiency)

1-Cayenne 5 XS (By a small margin to the A 2)
2-Alpina 2 SM = Cure M
3-Triton 2 S = Sol Lotus One = Trango XC 3 = Carrera plus
4-Aspen 5 26 ( very efficient at second bar ! )
5- Ozone Delta 2 = Up Trango XC2 = U-turn Passion = Carrera M & S = Elan = Artik 4 25 = Volt 2 SM = Swing Nexus S
6- BGD Tala M = Niviuk Artic 3, A3 Race, Skywalk Cayenne 4, Mac Para Marvel, Ozone Alpina M, AD Volt SM, Triple seven Queen M , Argos, Sigma 9 (Easy and solid)

Faster at second bar ( if equally loaded ) :
1- Queen M
2- Passion=Cayenne 4= Artic 3 Race = Aspen 4= Argos ,
3- Cure M = Delta 2 = Sigma 8= Alpina 2= Sigma 9= Aspen 5 = Cayenne 5 XS =Trango XC 3 SM= Triton 2 S = Sol Lotus One = Artik 4 25
4-Volt 2 SM = Trango XC2 = BGD Tala = Carrera= Elan = Swing Nexus S

Big ears efficiency:
-Swing Nexus S: Stable, fairly efficient, reopen quickly.
-UpTrango XC 3 ( stable and ok for a 7:0 aspect ratio glider! )
-Cayenne 5 XS ( small -2m/s and stable, little big and un-stable on this size )
-Cure M (stable ears, efficient)
-Volt 2 SM (stable ears, efficient)
-Aspen 4 26 (very efficient in big ears) = Nova Factor 2 =Cayenne 4 S =
- Ozone Delta 2 = BGD Tala = Queen = Alpina 2 = Carrera (stable and efficient)= Sigma 9 =Elan =Argos = Sol Lotus One= Artik 4 25
Artic 3 = Artic 3 Race = U-Turn Passion SM =Triton 2 S (stable moderate ears ) =UP Trango XC 2 S/M= AD Volt SM = Aspen 5 26 .
- Marvel 25 (moderate use of big ears-moves a bit)

The Triton 2 S requires much more energy from the pilot to control it in heavy conditions.
The Lotus one has also some impressive performance, but to place it wherever you want in turbulent conditions requires also some finer inputs.
The Aspen 5 is really some great glider at second bar! It resembles the Triton 2 S in full speed glide! …To extract the full performance it needs an active piloting for sure and the way to turn it quickly in turbulent cores needs a little time.
The Cayenne 5 has the edge in surges into thermals, and the superb sharp and direct brake travel!
In weak conditions, it requires a bit more to handle than the Alpina 2 but it’s a very efficient C glider. If only the ears were a bit more efficient and stable …
The Trango XC 3 is demanding to fly regarding the surrounding C’s. Of course it’s very efficient in cutting and climbing. The glide is good also but it needs the most energy to handle in this specific category!

The BGD Cure surprises by the ratio comfort/aspect ratio. The overall package of performance, accessibility and pleasurable feel is very nice.

The AD Volt 2 SM is a very comfortable glider to fly with a very nice brake authority. The Climb rate is ‘great !

The Nexus is a very comfortable glider to fly. I wished for an efficient climb ,especially in moderate to weak conditions.The trim speed is fast and it gives an immediate confidence inspiring feeling.

UPDATE for usability:
Please remember that sizes differ a lot and surely the loading's! Other sizes may have other characteristics …
The first 4 places are very close. Indeed superb machines! Different taste for everyone …
The most important: Only the pilot will make a difference.
C & D gliders: UPDATED.
This grade is to say how busy a glider is, in strong conditions, or the one that’s more difficult to manage, comparing to the B category.

Since this is a very delicate comparison, i must point out that the glider that has quicker authority on the brakes like the Triton 2 will enable a good pilot to keep it swiftly overhead. Some doesn’t have that quick response and in strong conditions they won’t keep the pilot as busy, but he will be the ‘passenger’ for a short lapse of time …
The grade doesn’t indicate the one that recovers easier or harder!!Only that keeps you busier! Most will have easier recovery than the higher graded!

AD Volt 2 SM @ 90 all up *7
Swing Nexus S @ 94 all up *7
Mac Elan M (@98all up) *7
Up Summit XC 3 S (@94 all up) *7.5
Mac Elan light 24 (@90 al up) *7.5
Advance Sigma 9 25 (@91 all up) *7.5
Niviuk Artik 4 25 (@91 all up) *8.5
Ozone Alpina 2 SM (@92 all up) * 8.5
Delta 2 SM size (@ 92 all up) *9

777 Queen M (@ 101 all up) *9
BGD Cure M (@ 90 all up) *10

Aspen 5 26 (@98all up) *10
Skyman CrossAlps S (@90 all up) *10.5
Sol Lotus one (@ 98 all up) *11
Skywalk Cayenne 5 XS *11
Ozone Mantra 6 SM (@94 all up) *12
Gin Gto 2 S size (@94 all up) *12.5
Up Trango XC 3 SM *12.5
Triton 2 in S size (@ 96 all up) *12.5 (M size could be different)!
Niviuk IP6 23  (@98 all up) *13.5
Ozone R-10 S  (@ 98 all up) *15.0

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Mac Para ICON

The Icon 24 has arrived. Waiting for a good weather...hopefully next week !
Mac Para Icon 24

The last Mac Para EN-D glider I test flew in February 2011 was the Magus XC2. I still remember a comfortable glider, with very good climb rate at the time, inside the D category.

After five years, Mac Para launched the ICON, with 7 aspect ratio, and with a clean 3 line configuration.
The Icon has a strong shark nose, and full unsheathed lines.

I flew the Icon 24 from 93 till 98 all up.
Launching the Icon 24 is very easy and smooth. The glider inflates as a block without any structure movement. In 5 km/h  wind, a gentle and steady pull will place it quickly overhead. In strong wind, the pilot must control the surge, which is really easy for the D cat.

Flew the Icon in different conditions, from smooth thermals to turbulent ones, and surprisingly, the Icon strongly remind me of the feeling I got when I flew the Elan !
Of course the Icon needs more active piloting, but this ‘shock absorbent’ feel is present !

The Icon 24 has a similar comfort of the Mantra 6 but with a slightly softer feel in turbulent bumps!
Actually I found it best to fly the Icon 24 near the top weight for a more compact feel and enhanced homogeneity.

The trim speed is around 39 km/h and the top speed is at 57 km/h taken at 1000 ASL fully usable!

Applying bar, from the first half, to top speed, the Icon has a very good glide angle and an efficient usable speed range.

The handles on the C have lots of pressure and slightly harder to pull than the M6, even at full speed, but usable to dump some surges if the pilot is used to that method.

The glide angle at trim and especially accelerated is competitive in the middle of this very competitive D category.

The strong point of the Icon, is the float ability and the climb rate especially in weak conditions.
A good pilot can stay endlessly in weak cores waiting for a stronger lift !
The Icon doesn't dive in turns. The brake pressure is moderate, with 25 cm to steer the glider and nice agility in smooth cores. It gives the D pilot an efficient flat turn, with smoothness and efficiency.

The Icon 24 has moderate to good agility in disorganized thermals, slowing the turning ability a bit, and giving the impression of a solid homogenous glider.

Entering the moderate thermals the Icon 24 slows a bit and enters smoothly with a positive vario without any excess in pitching.
Strong thermals and bumps needs a loaded Icon, with some bumping and back pitch presence, but fairly small and quite manageable.

Big ears are stable and stays tucked, in smooth air. In turbulence they have tendency to reopen. The structure stays solid, with no wobbling or shaking. They are efficient and applying bar during ears give a better sink rate.

Conclusion: Any pilot who flew the Elan for Mac para, will find that same pillow feel under the Icon, with of course more pilot control.
The performance over the Elan is obvious, logical and well targeted. The Icon will inspire confidence to any D pilot, and has enough overall performance to keep him well satisfied.
It seems again that the “fly in peace” motto, of Mac Para is not just some marketing words, rather than a true commitment towards the pilots in our small, but magical flying community.    :-)



Update: After later attempts on glide with an M6 SM, I think the Icon 24 has the edge in head wind efficiency with a slightly faster trim speed.

 




Friday, January 1, 2016

Air Design VOLT 2 SM


Air Design VOLT 2 SM

After test flying the Volt 1 and the Rise 2 from AD, here’s the Volt 2 in SM size .

The Volt 2 has lots of features, a shark nose profile, all unsheathed lines, vortex holes, adjustable brake handle, there’s 2 lines per side, and on each line level there are(2A, 2B, 2C) . The C lines are split into a fork for a C and D attachment on the glider.
The construction is very neat, and it looked very tough to the last detail.

Launching the Volt 2 is as easy as any moderate aspect ratio C glider, with no tendency to overshoot and an immediate take off.

The Volt 2 SM at 92 all up, has a moderate brake pressure, coupled with a direct, precise steering power. The Volt 2 has a superior agility over the Rise 2 and the Volt 1and can be described as fairly agile. Coring thermals are really pleasant as precise turns can be adjusted with each pulled centimeter.
I believe the Volt 2 is the first improvement in Air Design gliders, that goes in the right way concerning agility and pleasurable feel.

The second feel-able improvement flying the VOLT 2 is the climb rate !
Well, I can tell you, that team Air Design outdone themselves this time with a glider that can climb in weak conditions very efficiently, putting it next to best climbing ones in the C category !

Stephan Stiegler's gliders for the B and C class have a reputation of being comfortable to fly. And flying the Volt 2 in moderate conditions felt quite comfortable, resembling the Elan, Sigma 9, and other moderate aspect ratio C glider.

The trim speed is around 39 km/h at my loading and the top speed in the first part of the 50’s .
The glide ratio is good and on par with those C gliders mentioned above.

Big ears are efficient , stable, and a good way to get down. They open smoothly .

The Speed bar has a moderate pressure and the speed is fully usable in moderate turbulence.
The handles on the C to control the pitch in accelerated flight is very efficient. In fact AD has the most efficient C steering capability among many gliders i have tested. If you have flown a Rise 2 you will know what i mean, and the Volt 2 C steering is as efficient and usable !

Conclusion:
I always favor climb capability over glide capability.
It is always better to arrive "comfortably" 10 m lower and still flying, rather than 10 m higher and not being able to catch that low save.

For me the VOLT 2 SM will be an Air Design success by the amount of coring pleasure, comfort, and climb capabilities.
It gave me a feeling of a tough, well built, reliable C glider any good pilot coming to the C category would be satisfied flying it !

 

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Triple Seven KING ! S & M

Triple Seven KING 


Triple Seven KING

Triple Seven gliders was founded by two PWC flying brothers, that used to work with several manufacturers and their reputation at the time was the fast flying ability and the competition at the highest level.

Triple Seven was born and their first products in the B and C category were the Rook 1 and the amazing Queen which still has the best glide at full speed for a C glider !
Then came the Rook 2 which sits on the top places with the best performers in the B category with a very good accessibility.
The gliders made by the Valic brothers, seems to inherit a high performance aim with a relatively comfortable handling each in their respective category.

Now the King EN-D is here…
The King has a strong shark nose with a 3 line layout. The lower lines are small but sheathed, the mid and upper ones are thin and unsheathed, and the extremities + the brake line geometry are very thin micro lines.
I have the S size (75-95) which i flew from 90 all up till 95, and the M size (90-110) flown at 107.5 all up.
My recent D gliders for this comparison are: The Mantra 6 SM and ML, the Peak 4 21 and 23 , the Avax XC 5 26, the IP 6 23 .

Launching the King S and M in, 5 km/h to + 15 km/h , needs a steady pull to accompany the glider. It’s a slightly slower than an M6 to reach overhead, but it’s surely very easy for a D glider as it goes up in one compact piece !

Flying the King S with the same X-Rated 6 harness i used for all the mentioned gliders, showed me at 93 all up, a moderate to agile glider and could be similar to the Mantra 6 SM agility flown at the same weight also.
The brake travel is short to moderate, resembling also the M6 SM brake travel .
The differences in thermal entry is that the King S pitches slightly back a little before entering.
The King M flown at 108 doesn’t have that pronounced pitch back movement and gives a neutral one instead.
The King could be described as a comfortable D glider when flown in moderate turbulence.
Flying the glider is some nasty ‘winter’ turbulent air, the King needs more active piloting than a Mantra 6 MS and slightly less piloting than a Peak 4 21 i was test flying at the same time.
The glider movements in some lee side thermals are sharp with always a marked back pitch on the S rather than a forward pitch. The M size showed me a more neutral pitch.
Of course sometimes it pulls you to the thermals, but in the relatively “moderate” turbulence conditions i flew it in, (only the summer conditions will give a better idea) , i found it easy to control the forward pitch, and in some macaroni stuff, i wished for a more neutral pitch on the S size.

The climb rate performance for both the S and the M size in very weak thermals (0.3m/s) is moderate to good resembling the Peak 4 one.
Once the thermals are steady and homogenous the very good maneuverability of the King doesn’t loose any weak thermal, and the flat turning ability, helps immensely to stay in the core. It has much better climb than the Queen in small conditions even loaded.
In those very weak conditions the M6 could still have a slight insignificant edge in float-ability…But i’m being too picky…as you already know Wink

Now comes the glide part.
Doing some glides with the M6, Peak 4, IP 6, showed me for several times a superiority in gliding power for the King S and for sure the M size !
For instance the M6, MS (80-95) at 93 compared to the King M (90-110) flown at 108, gave the King a full + 2 km/h trim speed and for sure an impressive glide angle, like from another dimension ! It looked like chasing a full CCC competition glider !
Flying the King S (75-95) at 93 all up next to a Peak 4 23 (85-105), gave me the same big visual advantage in glide for the King S and as we both used the speed bar, the differences became larger to my favor !
The top speed of the Peak 4 23 is still around +3 km/h more similarly loaded versus the King S size.
I found it that especially around 45- 47 km/h the king glide angle is remarkably better !
I was never expecting a clear visual glide difference ! Usually there’s a small glide difference between newly tested gliders.But not this time !
The King does have indeed an amazing glide…or should i say:
The glide angle is worthy of a King ! Smile
The IP 6 23, still has also more top speed (+ 6 km/h) , over the King S, followed by the M6 (+ 2 km/h) .
I measured the King S top speed at 1000 ASL with 93 all up around 56 km/h with overlapping pulleys.
The glide at that speed is very nice, but i felt that the best glide is around ± 46 km/h for the S size which many XC pilots use frequently.
I found that racing at that speed through moderate turbulent air is quite usable as i was able to keep my feet on the pedal.

Big ears are easy to induce with a stable behavior and efficient descent rate at -3m/s with full bar.
They open smoothly !

Conclusion:
The King is the new reference in gliding power in the D category .
It seems that Triple Seven has built a powerful, fairly accessible, agile, gliding machine for “experienced” D pilots.
Upgrading from the Queen is logical if it was already flown easily for two seasons in strong conditions.
I’m sure that any C or D pilot test flying the King, will be shocked by this superb gliding Albatros Wink 




Thursday, December 24, 2015

BGD Cure


BGD Cure

The Cure is the new BGD glider for the C category.
It has 6.75 aspect ratio and it’s a pure 3 liner, with digressive unsheathed lines all over.

Launching the Cure is remarkably easy for the high aspect ratio! Kiting the glider on the ground gives the impression of an easy wing.

In the air:
Flying the Cure M at 90-92 all up feels quite adequate in overall conditions with a very good control even in choppy conditions.
It can be flown easily from 85 till 95 and still retains a good maneuverability at low weight and good climb even at top weight.

The brake travel is relatively short and direct, enabling a quick and sharp turn similar in reaction and strength to a Delta 2 SM or Alpina 2 SM which is really nice! Coring the thermals with the Cure is pure pleasure! Rough, smooth, turbulent, cores can be surgically cured with this beautiful handling machine.
The strong point of the 6.75 aspect ratio Cure, is its coherent feel through turbulent air.
The roll and pitch movements feel smoother than the ones on the Cayenne 5.
I looked up many times to see if I’m really on the Cure not on the Delta 2 SM, as it felt comfortable enough in the C category.
I noticed also a very taught leading edge at trim and cruising around 50 km /h, as I was able to leave my foot on the bar in moderate turbulence giving the impression of a solid glider.

This new construction seems very successful as it gives a very coherent and homogenous feel. No wobbling and snaking around whatsoever in the normal flying envelope…

The climb in weak conditions is really good. The Cure at 90 all up is an efficient glider to get you some low saves.
Punchier thermals will get the Cure to slightly pitch back but with a fast climb. It has the efficiency of a Delta 2 SM in the very weak stuff which i think is impressive.
Doing some long glides with an Alpina 2 SM similarly loaded showed a very close glide at trim, half bar, and at top speed, with a slight edge for the Cure in lift areas.
The trim speed of the Alpina 2 SM is (+ 0.25 km) over the Cure.
The top speed of the Cure is (+ 0.5 km/h) over the A2.
Gliding at full speed in a relatively moving air, showed that sudden surges are more efficient on the Cure.

The speed bar is smooth and also similar to the Delta 2 pressure, and the full speed is around 55 km/h taken at 1000m ASL.

Big ears are stable, with a descent rate of -3m/s with bar.

Upgrading from the Base is not really a big step rather than a logical evolution for those who already mastered the Base in different conditions with ease.

Conclusion:
Name: CURE.
Ingredients:
Beautiful elongated shape glider, top performance in the category, cohesive structure, comfortable to fly, pleasurable handling, C certification, impressive choice of colors, Smile guaranteed. Smile

Video soon...
Cheers,
Ziad.

PS: Merry Christmas  :-)





Monday, December 14, 2015

XC Tracer

XC tracer.

I flew with this small light black device a few times and the sound was very imminent in climb and very precise. Since my friend Rony is more into electronics than i am, i gave him this small device to test fly and he came back with this:


I have been flying with an XC-Tracer besides my Flymaster vario for a while now so I am getting a pretty good feel about it.

At first I thought of using the XC-Tracer for my hike and fly needs since it is small, idiot proof and logs tracks. It serves that purpose perfectly but I then started keeping it on my regular cockpit as a backup logger for real flights.

What I found out:

° XC-Tracer vario is extremely accurate and has practically no delay.

° The ability to fine tune the sound of the vario is simple enough for the great range of options available.

° Changing the volume in flight is straightforward.

° The saved tracks are easily accessible through GPSDump, and they are correct when compared to the Flymaster logged tracks.

° Linking XC-Tracker to my Samsung Note 4 and XCsoar through Bluetooth works perfectly.

° I dropped the XC-Tracer a few times and I also leave it on my cockpit when packing my harness tight but never had any issues, so it is solid enough for me to keep.
https://www.xctracer.com/en/the-xc-tracer/?oid=1854&lang=en


Thursday, December 10, 2015

B comparison UPDATE. Inserting, the Ikuma, Mentor 4 light XS, Skyman Cross Country S

UPDATE with the Mentor 4 XS and the Skyman Cross country

I have simplified a bit this B comparison, and added the ‘more fun and pleasure to fly B glider, as many pilots don’t always search for + 0.xy in LD on a B rather than “higher fun factor ” glider.
Also i threw some C’s and D’s to give an idea…

Most easy to fly in difficult conditions (most comfortable) :

1-AD Rise 2 M  = Atlas X-Alps S

2-Hook 3 25
= Base M
 

3-Sprint EVO= Eden 5=Advance E7 26 = Kantega XC2= Ion 3 S = Atlas S= Infinity 4 S = Swift 4 SM = AD Rise 2 S Superlight

4-Rush 3 = Mentor 3 S = Summit XC 3 S = Iota 26 = Triple Seven Rook 2 SM = Ikuma 25 = Skyman Cross country S

5-Mentor 4 S = Tequila 4 = Rush 4 = Windtech Bali = Skywalk Aruba 3 S = Carrera Plus S = Mentor 4 Light XS

6-SM-Blacklight = Nevada = Sky Atis = Comet 2 S= Swing Mistral 7 S

7-Mentor 2 = Lightning S

8-Chili 3

9-Carrera S, M


Climb rate in very weak conditions (float-ability)
1-Carrera Plus S @ 91 = Chili 3 S @ 98 = Infinity 4 S@ 90 = UP Kantega XC2 S @ 90 = U-Turn Blacklight SM @ 98 = Atlas X-Alps S @ 92 & M @ 102 = Swift SM @ 90 = Skyman Cross country S

2-Nevada = Rush 4 SM @ 90 = Mentor 2 S (Still Efficient) = Tequila 4 SM = Mentor 4 Light XS
Hook 3 = Eden 5 = Carrera S, M =Triple Seven Rook 2 SM = Lightning S @90 = Arriba 3 S @ 92.


3-Mentor 3 S @ 95 = AD Rise 2 M = Atlas S @ 90 = Base M @ 90 = Rise 2 S Superlight @ 90 = Iota 26 @ 95 = Windtech Bali @ 95= Mentor 4 S @ 94

4-Summit XC 3 S @ 93 = Comet 2 S @ 88 = Ion 3 S @ 95 = Ikuma 25 @ 94.

5- Sky Atis 4 = Advance E 7 26 = Swing M7 S @ 92

Climb rate in OVERALL conditions for XC flying (difficult ,weak, or strong) .
“Relatively moving conditions”


1-Carrera Plus S @ 94 = Chili 3 S @ 98 = Carrera S, M =Triple Seven Rook 2 SM @ 93 = Swift SM @ 92

2-Nevada = U-Turn Blacklight = Rush 4 SM = Mentor 2 S (Still Efficient) = Mentor 3 S ( it is very dampened) = Tequila 4 SM = AD Rise 2 M = Atlas S = Base M = Rise 2 S Superlight = Atlas X-Alps S & M = Mentor 4 S .

3-Iota 26 = Windtech Bali = Arriba 3 S @ 92 = Ikuma 25 @94 = Skyman Cross Country S

4-Summit XC 3 S @ 93 = Comet 2 S = Ion 3 S

5-Hook 3 = Eden 5 = Sky Atis 4= Advance E 7 26 = UP Kantega XC2 S = Infinity 4 S = Swing M7 S = Lightning S @90 (These gliders have a superb climb in calm conditions away from the valley breeze. Differences are very small .Its up to the pilot !)

Glide in “OVERALL” conditions (upwind, downwind, racing in difficult conditions) Or “efficiency” ! Done in active air.

1-Carrera S, M = Mentor 4 S = Iota 26 = Carrera Plus = Rook 2 SM = Mentor 4 light XS

2-Mentor 3 S = Chili 3 S (Differences between 1-2 are insignificant ! )

3-Rush 4 = AD Rise 2 = Swift 4 SM = Ikuma 25

4-Nevada 26 (must be loaded at 100 ) = Windtech Bali = Hook 3 = Tequila 4 SM = Mentor 2 S = Arriba 3 S = Skyman Cross country S

5-Blacklight SM (loaded) = Ion 3 S = Sky Atis 4 M = Swing Mistral 7 S = Atlas X-Alps =AD Rise 2 S Superlight = UP Summit XC3 S size (M&L could be different) = Atlas X-Alps S =UP Summit XC3 S.

6-BGD Base M = UP kantega XC2 S = Rush 3 M = AD Rise 1 = Infinity 4 S = Eden 5 = Comet 2 S = Atlas S = Advance E7 26 ( The differences are small with ± half a point in L/D max, in “relatively moderate conditions” . (Racing in stronger conditions will show bigger differences)

Fun feel : “pleasure to fly, “agile” and higher overall fun feeling” IMHO

1-Tequila 4 S @ + 91 kg = Arriba 3 @ 90 all up

2-Base M @ + 91 kg / Infinity 4 S @ + 89 Kg = Swift 4 @ + 91 Kg / Atlas S / Sky Atis 4 M @ + 95 Kg / Swing Mistral 7 @ +92 Kg / Mentor 2 S @ +95 Kg / Comet 2 S @ + 93 Kg / Mentor 4 XS / Skyman Cross country S

3-Rush 4 @ + 91 Kg / Carrera S @ + 92 kg / Blacklight S @ +91 Kg / Blacklight SM @ + 100 Kg / UP Kantega XC2 @ + 95 Kg / Mentor 3 & 4 S @ +95 Kg / Advance Iota @ + 96 Kg / Wintech Bali M @ + 97 Kg / Chili 3 @ + 100 Kg / AD Rise 2 S superlight @ + 89 Kg =Triple Seven Rook 2 SM @ 97 = NK Ikuma 25

4- Rise 2 M @ + 103 Kg / Nevada 26 @ + 100 Kg / Ion 3 S @ + 97 Kg / Hook 3 M @ + 97 Kg /UP Summit XC3 @ + 93 kg / AD Rise 1 @ + 95 Kg = Atlas X-Alps S & M.


Most demanding glider in "strong conditions" (1-10) '10' being most demanding for a high end B ‘: ( Please bear in mind the 'size' and the 'wing loading' ! )
* Some C’s and D’s were included to inform pilots about their demanding behavior (Forum request) .



Advance E7 26 (@93 all up) * 3.9
GIN Atlas X-Alps ( S @ 94 all up) *3.9
AD Rise 2 M (@98all up) *4
BGD Base M (@90all up) *4
Eden 5 (@ 95 all up) *4
Hook 3 (@97 all up) *4
Rush 3 M (@102 all up) *4.5
Sprint Evo ( @ 98 all up ) *4.5
Nova Ion 3 S (@ 95 all up) *5.0
U-Turn Infinity 4 S (@ 90all up) *5.0
Gin Atlas S (@ 92 all up ) * 5.0
UP Kantega Xc2 S (@ 90 all up)*5.0
AD Rise 1 (@ 102 all up) *5.5
Windtech Bali (@95 all up) *5.5
Swift 4 SM (@ 92 all up) *5.5
Triple Seven Rook 2 SM ( at 97) *5.5
Iota 26 ( @ 95 all up) *5.5
Blacklight SM (@100 all up)*5.5
Sky Atis 4 M (@93 all up) *5.5
Nevada 26 (@ 100 all up ) *5.5
Mentor 3 S ( @97 all up) *5.5
Tequila 4 SM (@92 allup) *5.5
Arriba 3 S at 92 all up *5.6
NK Ikuma 25 @94 *5.6
Skyman Cross Country S (@ 88 all up) *5.6
Axis Comet 2 S (@90 all up) 5.8
Mentor 4 S ( @ 95 all up) *5.8
Mentor 4 Light XS @ 90 all up *5.9
UP Summit XC3 @ 93 all up. 6.0
GIN Carrera plus S @ 94 all up *6.0
Swing M7 S (@90all up) *6.0
Rush 4 SM (@93 all up) *6.0
Blacklight S ( @ 90 all up) *6.5
Lightning S @ (90 all up) 6.5
Mentor 2 S (@ 95 all up) *6.5
Chili 3 S (@ 98all up) *7.0
Carrera S, M 8.0


C & D gliders:
This grade is to say how busy a glider is, in strong conditions, or the one that’s more difficult to manage, comparing to the B category.

Since this is a very delicate comparison , i must point out that the glider that has quicker authority on the brakes like the Triton 2 will enable a good pilot to keep it swiftly overhead. Some doesn’t have that quick response and in strong conditions they won’t keep the pilot as busy, but he will be the ‘passenger’ for a short lapse of time …
The grade doesn’t indicate the one that recovers easier or harder !!Only that keep you busier ! Most will have easier recovery than the higher graded !


Mac Elan M (@98all up) *7
Swing Nexus (@94 all up) *7.0
Up Summit XC 3 S (@94 all up) *7.5
Mac Elan light 24 (@90 al up) *7.5
Advance Sigma 9 25 (@91 all up) *7.5
Niviuk Artik 4 25 (@91 all up) *8.5
Ozone Alpina 2 SM (@92 all up) * 8.5
Delta 2 SM size (@ 92 all up) *9
777 Queen M (@ 101 all up) *9
Aspen 5 26 (@98all up) *10
Skyman CrossAlps S (@90 all up) *10.5 

Skywalk Cayenne 5 XS (@90 all up) *11
Sol Lotus one (@ 98 all up) *11
Ozone Mantra 6 SM (@94 all up) *12
Gin Gto 2 S size (@94 all up) *12,5
Triton 2 in S size (@ 96 all up) *12.5 (M size could be different) !
Niviuk IP6 26 (@98 all up) *13.5
Ozone R-10 S (@ 98 all up) *15.0


The Eden 5 has less top speed of 3-4 km than the others.
The Hook 3 is very comfortable to fly with a very interesting glide angle. The climb in smooth conditions is fair.
The Mentor 3 is much easier than the Mentor 2, and its efficiency is in those turbulent glides where it will have less pitch movements and little better glide.
The Mentor 4 has better glide than the Mentor 3 especially in head wind racing. Flying the M4 at 60 % of the weight range will give you a very good climb in weak.Flying it at top, will loose the ability to float in weak climbs.
The Ikuma is a comfortable glider with nice handling. The overall performance is is in the mid of the High B category.
The Iota has a very good glide similar to the Mentor 4, It has a nice climb similar to the Mentor “3”.
The Chili 3 S “still” has the best climb rate and a very nice handling in homogeneous conditions. But with a very long brake travel.
The Advance E7 26 is the most confidence inspiring rock solid glider of the cat. It reminded me of the low B cat in comfort.
The BGD Base is a confidence inspiring, solid glider.The climb and handling are very good.
The Atis 4 has a bit roll movement and need some active piloting in the high end B’s.
It has a fast trim speed, much like the M3 and Chili 3. Long brake travel are needed to let the glider respond in turbulent conditions.
The UP Kantega XC2 S is a very nice wing to fly .It has nice handling and also superb climb overall being also very accessible.
The Swing M7 S is a delight to fly. It dives a bit into turns. It is fast enough for a B, and has enough performance. Not really a floater but a nice glider overall.
The Rush 4 has a very good glide . It is an overall good, very solid B glider, but its trim speed is around 38 km/h and especially the top speed which is low for the cat around 51 km/h .
The fastest are Mentor 3, XC3, Mistral 7…But it is around 55 km/h max.
The AD rise 2 M has the BEST ratio Performance/Comfort in flight !
The Tequila 4 SM is like a precious gem ! combining agility/performance/accessibility!
The Infinity 4 has a very light and nice turning behavior! It has a low trim speed , and the climb rate even loaded is outstanding!
The Comet 2 S give a nice feeling under it. It has a very nice handling .
The Windtech Bali has a respected glide angle. It needs slightly active piloting in big air.
The Atlas S has everything to make its pilot very happy,with a good feeling of passive safety. The X-Alps version of the Atlas has more performance overall, especially in climb.
The Arriba is slightly more dynamic than the Tequila 4 and a pleasurable glider to fly.
The Rook 2 is a well balanced high performance B glider, with nice handling and efficiency.
The Mentor 4 light XS is a sublime glider ! light, agile, performance oriented, a complete XC B glider.
The Cross Country S is agile, easy to fly, has nice performance, efficient ears, light to carry, a sweet glider to keep for adventure bivouac and XC flying.

Conclusion: The Carrera has now two very serious competitors, the M4 and the Iota in pure gliding power.The Carrera still climbs better “in real conditions” than any B in this table.
The Carrera plus climb is even better than the original version only in weak and moderate conditions.The more the headwind, the original version cut forward more efficiently but if you are loaded on the plus version ,and using the first bar, it would be difficult to be beaten even on some higher rated gliders Wink ...
The AD Rise 2 is very comfortable to fly with a superb glide for the high B category .
The Rush 4 like the Swift 4 has nearly the glide of the Mentor 3 but with lesser speed. It's an overall efficient glider in difficult conditions where it could cut through turbulence and have a very solid and compact feel coupled with a direct handling.
The Mentor 4 has now the best glide in difficult conditions among the similar aspect ratio B’s very close to the Iota and the Rook 2. The climb in very weak conditions still favors the Mentor 3 S similarly loaded.
The Atlas X-Alps is an easy “all rounder” with very good performance especially in weak climbs and low saves.

I’m certain that a good pilot can break an XC record with ANY of those superb B gliders from above !
Please pick the one that will make you feel happy under it ….The rest is up to you !


Cheers,
Ziad

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Gradient XC 5 26




Gradient Avax XC 5 26
The last tested Gradient glider was an Aspen 5 26 in the EN-C category.
Here’s the Avax XC 5 26 EN-D with an aspect ratio of 7.0 flown at 93 all up with an X-Rated 6 harness.
Launching the XC5 is simple and quick.The light cloth helps with a rapid inflation and the glider comes up perfectly.
My flights were made sometimes in turbulent air, with quite punchy lifts. Despite all that i felt that the XC 5 is comfortable enough for a D and could be similar to the M6, which is more comfortable than a Trango XC 3.
The brake travel is short, light and the authority on the brakes is really good! The Avax XC 5 doesn’t have the yaw movements seen on the Aspen 5.
I also felt that the overall handling on this 7 aspect ratio glider is much better than the Aspen 5 !
It can core thermals with ease and pleasure !
Entering strong lift the XC 5 pitch back a bit and brakes are needed to stop the surge afterward.
The roll movements are dampened enough on this glider.
The strongest point of the XC5 26 is the authority on the brakes and the overall turning capability inside the thermals. If i considered the Peak 4 to have a very nice brake response, i think the XC5 has a little step over, just because every centimeter results in a change of the trajectory. And there’s no yaw movements as felt on the Aspen 5.
Saying that i believe that the XC5 is also one of the best handling D gliders “in homogenous conditions”.
I flew the XC5 in some turbulent conditions with my X-rated 6 harness, and the glider was still very dampened in roll movements . However when entering strong thermals the back pitch ability of the XC5 increased and it was sometimes bumping the airmass.
The XC5 climbs quickly in well built thermals, however i found it a bit difficult to climb in very weak conditions, where the Aspen 5 could catch those tiny bits of lift…
The Avax XC5 is best flown slightly above mid weight in weak thermals.
As for the glide angle efficiency, I did lots of different glides comparisons with different gliders, and i could place the Avax XC5 26 in the first part of the D category.
The top speed at 800 ASL and 92 all up on the size 26 was around 55km/h which is quite close to the Aspen 5.
Big ears are very easy, stable and efficient.



Friday, November 27, 2015

NIviuk Ikuma 25

 Notes before the test : This test reflects ‘ONLY’ my personal opinion and feel about the glider in question.
If you are a pilot looking forward to find some frequent positive tests and the usual nice comments, please be aware that my blog or page, doesn’t have this option…
My tests reveals the real side of the gliders in my own eyes and flying background, in describing how i see and feel them without the useless chit-chat and make up…
In order to be polite, clear, fair, and true to myself and to others, i cannot smile after every test, and write you stories of joy, peace and sing songs…Wings are so different and test flying them is very difficult but also a very beautiful task !
Sometimes, things do happen, and i confront them with my original nature.



Niviuk IKUMA 25

History: I have flown nearly all Niviuk gliders in the past and ‘in my personal opinion’ there were some that marked the paragliding world at the time like the impressive climb of the Peak 1, and the overall efficiency of the Artik 2.
Some gliders were a bit disappointing, like the Peak 3.
Then came along many other gliders, and some which were also successful, like the Hook 2 and 3, and Artik 3 and 4.
The Peak 4 was the latest one tested last week from my part, and i was really impressed by the amount of performance and comfort ratio. The climb in the very weak was a bit less than expected, but overall, the Peak 4 is a very nice and beautiful glider to fly for my personal taste.

In late 2015, the Ikuma from Niviuk was created in this new B plus category to compete with the current B plus gliders like the Iota from Advance ,the Mentor 4 from Nova and the Rook 2 from 777 etc…
So it’s only fair to compare the Ikuma to those gliders in the high B category.
The Ikuma has a slightly moderate aspect ratio of 5.7 flat.
I received this brand new Ikuma 25 from a special friend who sent it over, only for my tests and which i’m very grateful ! It was still new and factory packed. I unboxed it. It doesn’t have any flaws with very nice construction details, and flies perfectly straight and balanced.



TEST:
The IKUMA has unsheathed lines from top to bottom, with only 2 lines on the A’s, 2 on the B’s and 3 on the C’s …


Launching the IKUMA 25 at 94.7 kg on my scale is straight forward and easy.
Once in the air, the brake pressure is moderate with some 15 cm to 35 cm of travel to get the glider into a nice turning radius. The first centimetres are also precise, linear and the IKUMA could be described as fairly agile.

Flying it in turbulent thermals felt very easy. The pitch is very dampened and upon entering thermals, the IKUMA doesn’t pitch forward at all, neither stays neutral, but slightly stop with a slight pitch back upon entering.
In strong thermals it needs time to enter at that load and the climb is a bit delayed.
Thermals biting is more efficient on the M4 S, Rook 2, or even the Iota 26 side at the same load where the Ikuma bounce a bit before entering.

This slightly pitch back behaviour of the Ikuma 25 at my load feels insensible in very weak conditions, without biting through, whether i let the brakes or with little brake or even with the rear risers, i was finding a bit difficult to have a competitive climb with the B wings around. The Rush 4, Iota, Mentor 4, were floating slightly better.
The airmass information didn’t also pass clearly from the risers either, but i had a nice turning ability inside a homogeneous core with the Ikuma confirming that it’s a fairly agile glider!

In turbulence the Ikuma ,Iota, Mentor 4, Rook 2 needs the same level of control to keep them overhead with a touch of comfort toward the Iota and Ikuma.

Doing some long glides wing tip to wing tip with a Mentor 4 S with similar load of 94.7 kg showed a slightly faster trim speed for the Mentor 4 S and slightly better glide angle and float-ability for the Mentor 4 S.
At full bar the Mentor 4 S has + 2km/h more speed and showed after consecutive times a more competitive glide angle also for the M4. Of course this couldn’t be the most important feature for a glider, but good to know.

The speed bar has relatively a moderate pressure and at full bar the leading edge is still solid and the top speed of 53 km/h at 800 ASL is usable. (load 94.7 on the 25 )

Big ears are stable, usable, with fairly good descent rate, and they reopen smoothly without a fuss.

Conclusion:
The B plus segment holds some very impressive wings as seen on my previous tests and videos.
The Ikuma will take many of you into far places no doubt, but i need to place it for you accurately inside this category.
 After exchanging gliders with my friends with same results, and sharing their thoughts, I concluded that the Ikuma is a relatively comfortable B glider, with moderate performance in this segment and a nice authority on the brakes.

For me the overall efficiency in climb and glide, of the Ikuma 25 with 5.7 aspect ratio glider, that was intended to compete in this segment, didn’t impress me or fulfilled my needs into this fierce battle for the 2015, B category, performance toys.

Please consider that the amount of criticism for a certain product is balanced by the same amount of respect, admiration and expectations especially for a brand among the leaders in gliders industry.

Finally, and most importantly, it’s you, the pilot who will decide what’s best for your needs !
I’m just here typing my own letters…



Sunday, November 22, 2015

NIviuk Peak 4 23

Niviuk Peak 4 23

The replacement of the less fortunate peak 3 for the easy D segment is finally available.
My friend got himself a peak 4 23 and we flew together on good days and i have flown this wing at 98 all up for the 85-105 Peak 4 23.
Here’s my impressions versus the Mantra MS, The Avax XC 5 26, the Icepeak 6 23, the Peak 3, The Triton 2 S, UP tango XC3…Etc…

I’ll try to be as clear as possible concerning this wing in describing what a pilot will expect flying it among regular D gliders or high aspect ratio C’s.

Launching the P4 23 is easier than the IP6, a little more difficult than the M6, XC5, Trango XC3. But all in all its easy for the regular D pilots. It doesn’t have the pitch forward behavior of the IP 6 , but surely a D pilot would find it quite manageable, even in light or in strong breeze.

Turning ability:
I guess that’s one the most important glider character for my personal taste.
Immediately after take off, first turn and first smile…The P4 has light to moderate brake pressure, and reacts after the first 15cm of slack with a super wonderful agility ! This high aspect ratio glider can be turned very tight at a very small radius without the dive !! Only 15 cm after the slack are needed to steer the glider gracefully !The feeling and authority on the brakes ,even in turbulent cores are impressive! I never flew a glider with 7 aspect ratio that can be turned like a 5.5 aspect ratio one !
The P4 is more agile in turns than the M6, Triton 2, Trango XC3, and relatively similar to the XC5.

Climb rate:
We flew this glider in some very weak to strong windy conditions and sometimes we flew in moderate to slightly turbulent lee side conditions enabling us to get a more global idea about the P4.
In very weak conditions (less than 0.5 m/s) where lots of pilots would not give a chance to stay in the air, the IP 6 23 at 98 all up would float nicely and communicates those tiny lifts to the pilot showing him the way to turn. In those weak conditions the P4 23 at 98 all up doesn’t give those informations to the pilot and after many attempts where the IP 6 could exploit those light lifts and gain some altitude, the P4 hovers at the same altitude.
Once the lift gets above 0.7 m/s the P4 will gracefully climb and could easily match the IP 6 23 climb rate. In strong thermals i think the P4 will have a slight advantage over the IP 6, due to it’s superb brake authority to place it precisely into the core !

This is surely very picky from my part, I cannot say that the P4 is a floater, but in order to be precise I’ll give you an idea, of similar wings like the P4 with same efficiency in those conditions .Ex: The Gin Gto 2 S at 93 or the Avax XC 5 26 at 92 .
The M6 MS at 95 all up is slightly more efficient in the very weak, as the Artik 4 25 at 90 al up.
The P4 23 at 98 will out climb the M6 MS and the surely A4, in windier and more difficult conditions showing the P4 ability to surf the air efficiently without back pitching, and climbing away.

Glide and speed.
After several glides at trim ,half bar, and full speed, the P4 23 at 98 all up, showed me exactly a similar glide ratio as a freshly line checked IP6 23 at 98 all up. It is slightly possible that the IP 6 23 has some insignificant points in full speed glide…But this is may be that in turbulent air the IP6 23 felt more stiff and solid on bar .On the P4 23 at full bar the leading edge is solid , but not as the iP 6 one. The B risers are slightly harder and more pressure are needed to feel the glider in the air. But i really liked those black rubber grips !

Comparing the P4 23 at 98 all up and the M6 MS at 95 all up, the trim speed is the same but the full speed is slightly on the P4 side, and the overall gliding performance is also slightly on the P4 side.

I have tried to induce big ears by the split risers, however i pulled my arms very far to pull in the lines .At first it looks like i’m pulling the stabs…Because the ears has lots of pressure.They fold in finally after pulling approx ±1m of lines, and pushing on the bar, but i don’t think they are very effective. I’ll try later the B’s…and report back..Releasing the ears opens very fast and quick and no line was stuck in the tips like the M6 use to do.

Comfort and usability:
I’ll be more specific in comparing gliders with similar aspect ratio..It’s better than talking only about the certification label.
I found that the Peak 4 23 is relatively a comfortable glider for an aspect ratio of 7, and it’s similar to the M6 comfortable behavior.
I felt a neutral pitch behavior in the same conditions where the M6 would pitch back in entering thermals. It has also the same comfort found on the Avax XC 5 and may be less work under it than the Trango XC 3 SM where the Peak 4 felt more block solid and coherent in it’s structure.

360’s and wing overs are a delight. It’s really an agile glider !
I will try also the Peak 21 in a week and will post my comments. And of course any updates about both will also be written.

Conclusion:
Beautiful handling, and brake authority, Top gliding performance in the D category, with comfort and accessibility.
Missed that IP6 weak thermal ability, but i’m sure that the Peak 4 will surely win many hearts as it’s impossible to be indifferent having this agility ;-) 





















Monday, November 9, 2015

OZONE Forza

OZONE Forza
The Forza is OZONE new XC harness.
Some of this harness features is an anti-G front pocket, one pocket for talkie walkie, a nice double and large cockpit, one place for a rescue, openings in the pod for urinating tubes, a certified 17 cm back protection, an adjustable speed bar, a small red ball to tie on the shoe laces for a pod recovery after take off, no seat board, etc…
There are lots of adjustments for a comfortable sitting position.Flying the the Forza showed me a very comfortable sitting position that is similar or quite close to the Impress 3.
The legs rests naturally like sitting on a sofa and there’s no need to put any effort to keep them straight inside the pod.
However the strong point of the Forza is the precise transmission that is received from the glider above.
The Forza doesn’t have the unnecessary roll movements found earlier on the Impress 3 but does inform the pilot in a soft and precise manner.
After some hours flying under C and D gliders, i can confirm the overall comfort, stability and usability to be really interesting !
The M size with the M pod suits my height of 1.81 and 74 kg very well. In fact i think that even 1.83 pilots would fit nicely.

Despite not having a seat board, the weight shift is still fine with this harness. Of course seat board harnesses will always have this lock feel in a turn, but with the Forza it’s getting a bit closer.

The construction on the Forza looks very good ! It’s a step forward from the light Ozium, and resembles the Exoceat harness in it’s robust construction weighting around 5 kg for the M !

Conclusion: The Forza is a complete harness with great comfort, accessibility, and a certified protection with lots of features.
If the price suits you, then it’s a must to try that one !







Friday, October 23, 2015

NOVA Mentor 4 XS light



NOVA Mentor 4 LIGHT XS

The light version of the Mentor 4 was released in September 2015 and the XS size going up to 90 kg was my choice for this test.

I could never imagine that by a simple though, this M4 light could launch ! It is so easy to inflate in no wind and the glider could hover above my head waiting patiently for me to fly.

The light cloth of the M4 light gave the glider an immense easiness to launch in marginal conditions. Launching the M4 light in 20 km/h wind is very quick but very well stabilized over my head with an efficient brake control.

Having flown the original M4 normal version in size S, i thought i have to let the glider climb at trim speed as the original M4 was efficient in that mode. Surprisingly and after some time on it, it doesn’t have a similar approach, and the M4 light has the best climb like any other glider i already tested, with a little pull on the brakes ! Don’t ask me why….I really don’t have the answers…But the M4 light XS has a more pronounced neutral pitch than the Mentor 4 S, which normally the smaller sizes should normally be more aggressive in pitch.

The climb rate of this Mentor 4 XS light in my humble opinion and after some comparisons with other gliders , has a ‘much’ better climb rate than the M4 ! I think this is an impressive glider that will surely put it’s pilot effortlessly on top of gaggles !

Talking only about the very good climb rate without a good maneuverability will let any glider out of interest. The Mentor 4 XS light has a ‘short, precise, linear, moderate feel through the brakes, and good agility ! My kind of gliders !  I could put the Mentor 4 XS immediately wherever i wanted despite rough conditions inside any thermal ! Pretty good handling indeed !

Lets glide…
Doing some glides on this Mentor 4 XS light with one of the ‘best” C’s of the moment, yes C’s…showed that the M4 light is an annoying little glider for any high aspect ratio glider thinking he could easily slip far away. The Mentor 4 XS light will be there saying a little ‘coucou’ every now and then  ;-)
I can confirm a very competitive glide ratio at trim and especially at full bar, like it’s bigger sister the Mentor 4 S i still have over here. To say the least…


The Mentor 4 XS light, i will surely say that in active windy and bumpy glides, a slight edge is shown only for the higher aspect ratio gliders in the category above !
The Mentor 4 XS light needs a good B pilot under it in turbulent conditions, and it’s slightly more alive than the M4 S and could resembles the Ozone Swift 4 for the same level of pilot control.

Ears are stable and efficient with bar.They reopen smoothly on pilot action. The speed bar has a moderate to light pressure with 14 km/h gain over trim speed at 1000 ASL.

Ok, ok …You should be bored now…Good launch, very good climb and handling , very good glide … and you want to ask me if it’s also ‘one’ of the best ‘B’ gliders of the moment ?
Simply: yes.

Explanation: Test flying until now, 190 different glider, didn’t teach me only about their behavior, but something much more important IMHO.
To get the lightest, simplest, smallest, ‘relatively’ easiest, and with a moderate aspect ratio, cross country machine with enormous potential plus a ‘smiley’ stamp on the pilots face is indeed a blessing !

For me paragliding is a wonderful and magical sport and each glider regardless of it’s category that delivers the biggest amount of comfort/efficiency/safety is the future everyone will eventually grow old looking for.
Conclusion: The Mentor 4 XS reminded of my beloved, Mentor 2 S with it’s shorter brake response and it’s agility. The M4 XS light has more feel into it than the normal M4 S.
This glider likes to be flown at top weight to give you it’s best.
And for the majority of pilots looking into this segment of gliders, The M4 Light flown at it’s best is a very interesting XC companion, with top overall performance a ‘B’ pilot will ever need.








Wednesday, October 14, 2015

SKYMAN Cross Country S (70-90)




SKYMAN Cross Country S (70-90)

The new light B glider from Skywalk has arrived. The S size 70-90 flown at 85 all up .

The Cross Country is made from the same material used on the Cross Alps and show on this glider a very nice and neat construction! The Cross Country has unsheathed lines on the upper cascades and sheathed lines on the lower ones. There are only 2 A’s, 3 B’s and 2 C’s ! that’s it !

Launching this very light glider is super easy and even with 3 km wind, the glider could hover above the pilots head waiting to get airborne !

First turn and the feeling of the brakes are toward the light side and getting slightly firm on the lower part. The travel is short to medium and the agility is very good !

The Cross Country has the tendency to turn flat and small weak thermals are caught efficiently with little amount on the brakes.

It seems that the Cross country is a well dampened glider and the gap in liveliness is big behind it’s bigger sister the cross Alps. So the Cross Country is a very comfortable B glider with very simple requirements to have a smile while flying.

I have made some transitions with other gliders and noticed that the Cross Country is fairly competitive and could be placed in the mid of the high B category. It reminded me well of the UP Kantega XC2, which is a very efficient and cool glider.
The speed travel is long and could get the Cross Country at +13 km/h over trim.

Ears are super efficient  and -5 m/s are easily achievable.

Conclusion: The Cross Country is a light B glider with a very neat construction.The overall comfortable performance will indeed put a large smile on the week end pilot. Test flying this glider is an interesting option for the pilots who privilege comfort, ease of use and super light equipment with a very satisfying overall performance.





Saturday, September 26, 2015

SKYWALK Cayenne 5 XS


SKYWALK Cayenne 5 XS (80-95)

The Cayenne 5 with an aspect ratio of 6.4 is the new replacement of the Cayenne 4 that SKYWALK decided to inserted into the C category.

Having flown the past SKYWALK range of gliders including the Cayenne 4, i will describe in the following their differences.

Launching the Cayenne 5 XS at 91 all up is straightforward and a control on the brakes is needed in strong winds to keep the glider overhead.

Feel and maneuverability :
In the air the Cayenne 5 feels much more coherent and solid in structure than the C4 and the pilot authority on the brakes is very well improved over the C4 giving the pilot a short ,precise steering ability to give an agile feel even in choppy conditions.
Flying the Cayenne 5 in thermals is a delight as the wing carves the air with every pulled centimeter on the brake travel giving the impression that the Cayenne 5 feels like an extension of the pilot hand movements and weight shift.

Comfort:
In strong cores and turbulence the Cayenne 5 is a step over the C4 in terms of piloting, but the brake responsiveness of the C5 will let the same good pilot control it much better.

To place exactly the Cayenne 5 for it’s future pilots in the C box which is actually stretched a bit, with high aspect ratio wings, I will consider giving the highest score to the most demanding ones i felt in this C box :
I’ll give the Trango XC 3 = 95 %, the Triton 2 S = 85 %, The Delta 2, Alpina 2 = 60%, and the Sigma 9 = 45 %. Here I’ll give the Cayenne 5 XS at 91 all up = 70 % .

The Cayenne 5 moves as a whole and feels very solid.It’s only in strong dynamic cores that the pilot underneath will have to be active and keen. But it’s slightly more tamed than a Triton 2 S or much more than a Trango XC 3 SM with same loading .

Performance:
After some long glides and especially head wind glides at trim and at full bar, i can confirm that the overall performance and efficiency of the Cayenne 5 XS i am testing is clearly close to the top contenders.

The Cayenne 5 XS shows it’s efficiency when cutting through the air-mass and moving forward, and it’s very efficient in racing, lift lines on ridges.

Small example of trim speed and glide :
Flying the cayenne 5 XS (80-95) at 91 all up next to an Alpina 2 SM (80-95) at 95 all up, showed a slightly faster trim speed (0.5 km/h) for the C5 still ! and a slightly better glide angle at trim !

Applying half bar reduces the turbulence and the C 5 cuts through without the feel of loosing height with a moderate pressure in the speed system. The top speed at full bar is 54 km/h at 91 all up and 900 ASL and the glide angle at top speed is still competitive for the C category.

The Cayenne 5 can be also described as an efficient climber, in weak and especially in difficult conditions where the pilot need to cut through those little difficult cores, the cayenne 5 will help by it’s ability to surge and search upward efficiently.

Small ears are stable even with bar. Bigger ears are slightly unstable even with bar. The tips are very well pressurized and tends to open energetically.

Conclusion:
For an experienced pilot wanting to choose a C glider, I found that the Cayenne 5 has a very interesting ratio of performance/ comfort /efficiency/ and pleasurable handling. The Cayenne 5 is a well balanced C glider with excellent performance and great usability, intended for the experienced pilot looking inside the C category. 



Cheers,
Ziad


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Coupe Icare 2015


Sunday, August 23, 2015

GIN Genie X-Alps



Sunday, June 21, 2015

GIN Atlas X-Alps S

GIN Atlas X-Alps S

After test flying the regular Atlas S , here’s the X-Alps version is S size also.
Regular lines all over are installed on the X-Alps and the overall construction looks very solid and neat.
It seems this X-Alps version can be flown and treated like an ordinary sail . I didn’t feel that it’s a delicate glider like the extreme light ones. But 4.4 kg for the S is i think a very good compromise.

Launching the X-Alps cannot be easier…Very simple, like a school glider.

In thermals the X-Alps version even loaded at 93 all up isn’t a super agile glider. Pulling the brakes the X-Alps reacts smoothly and turns very efficiently. It has a moderate agility and long brake travel with moderate pressure.

We had here for the last 6 months one X-Alps M size ,that was flown by my friend and each time we flew together i sensed this exceptional float-ability even though he was flying the M size near the top weight (@103) .
On one good XC day, my friend Mony flew one of the longest and very difficult XC flight on his X-Alps M from Harissa site ! For sure he is a good pilot, but the X-Alps was smoothly delivering with efficiency.

Test flying the S size gave me exactly what Mony described on his M size.
An efficient climbing glider, with smooth and super comfortable ride and a very good glide angle.
Stress free flying is guaranteed !

I flew the S size in some turbulent and strong air and i can confirm that it behaves quite gently delivering free performance with “hands in the pocket style” and after landing the pilot still have enough reserve in energy.

Big ears are really efficient in descent rate and super stable ! even with full bar. The full speed is around 50 km/h and the speed bar has a comfortable and moderate pressure.

Conclusion:
Among many low B’s, the X-Alps is a comfortable complete B glider that delivers 80 % of the pilot's requirements, with a soft and calm attitude.
Pilots who wants efficient overall performance but favors mainly the comfort, test flying an Atlas X-Alps is a must !




Friday, June 19, 2015

Skywalk Arriba 3 S

Skywalk Arriba 3 S
From my past beautiful experience flying the Tequila 4 S ,here is the light version with same specs ,the Arriba 3.
Unsheathed lines on the upper cascade that are linked directly to the glider and regular lines on the rest.
Launching is very easy with the light cloth.
The Arriba 3 has a new turning feature ! It turns even before the pilots pulls the brake ;-) !
I’m joking …of course, but it’s an agile wing and may be slightly more agile and dynamic than the Tequila 4.

In thermals the Arriba 3 is not a dampened glider. It feels like it’s always smiling and enjoying the flight !
The brake response is short ,direct, and dynamically agile for the low B category !

The climb rate in weak conditions at 90 all up on the S size is very good ! it floats nicely in the air with the feeling of a solid, compact, agile little devil :-)
For a low aspect ratio performance glider that’s unique !

With it’s high trim speed for that category, the glide is surprisingly very good in calm air ! At least at trim speed that could be similar to the Chili 3 !
If only the Chili 3 had that linear and sharp handling…. Arhhhhhh !

Testing flying the Arriba 3, gave me a great deal of pleasure !
Every centimeter of travel, resulted in a linear response as if the pilot was an extension of the glider !

Big ears are stable ,but when applying bar ,they become pretty unstable .

Conclusion: A light, super nice, pleasurable to fly glider with plenty of performance that will draw a guaranteed  smile on your face, for the slightly experienced B pilots. It’s like driving a Porsche Boxter !

Test flying gliders isn’t always a good experience. But flying the Arriba 3 is one to remember :-)


Sunday, June 7, 2015

Swing Nexus S



Swing Nexus S    74-98
My last Swing tested glider was a Mistral 7 S and it was a very agile and fast wing with good performance for the B category.
The Nexus is Swing’s new C glider with a moderate aspect ratio glider of 6.1
The construction and details are excellent on this glider , and it is quite a step higher in quality manufacturing than the Mistral 7 if i remember correctly.

Unsheathed lines on the top cascades with some lower covered lines were chosen on the Nexus.

Launching is smooth and easy for the C category.

Flying the Nexus S at 94 all up , gave me an immediate feel of a solid, compact and homogenous glider. In fact in turbulent conditions there are many B ’s that require more active pilot control.
The turning ability at my load is ok. I cannot say that the Nexus is an agile glider but still fine enabling good and flat turns.

The brake pressure is average and comfortable for long flights with good steering precision and average lengths .

The Nexus pitch and roll movements are very dampened enabling a very comfortable ride for the pilot underneath.

The trim speed however at my load of 94 is high for the category and is similar to the trim speed of the new UP Trango XC 3. However the gliding performance of the 7:0 aspect ratio TXC3 is only comparable with the class above as well as its piloting level of course.
The climb rate of the Nexus in weak and strong conditions are within the normal C category as well as it’s glide angle.

The Nexus reminded me well of the Sigma 9, I have tested earlier, as the Nexus is very similar in comfort and also on its overall performance but with lesser agility in turns.

The speed bar enabled me to gain around 12 km/h at 800 ASL over trim.

Big ears are stable and reopen smoothly .

Conclusion: The Swing Nexus is a very accessible C glider and it’s a good logical evolution after after two seasons on a regular B.
Mistral 7 pilots won’t have any problem upgrading with the benefit of surprisingly a more comfortable glider ! and better gliding performance.
The comfort and confidence inspiring feel are present from the moment of take off.









Wednesday, June 3, 2015

UP Trango XC 3



UP Trango XC 3 SM 

UP has released their Trango XC2 replacement . The Trango XC3 has an aspect ratio of 7,0 and UP decided to put it in the C certification box.
Looking at the glider showed semi circular, small and narrow opening with a shark nose profile. The XC3 is a three liner concept with a complete set of unsheathed lines.
The cloth used on the Trango XC 3 is lighter than the one used on the Trango XC2 and the construction is very well made .

Launching in 5 km/h wind, the XC 3 inflates rapidly and stays above the pilots head. In +25 km/h wind ,the pilot must control the glider to keep it from overshooting. 

Once in the air ,the Trango XC 3 has a beautiful elongated shape. Flying the Trango XC 3 in smooth and homogenous thermals with moderate turbulence showed a short, very linear and direct brake response .The agility in turns is good for a 7:0 aspect ratio glider as the wing carve the air efficiently.

However flying the Trango XC3 in some turbulent and strong conditions even properly loaded ,needs a good experienced pilot . The Trango XC 3 in those conditions needs constant active control as the glider has lots of energy and the turning radius inside the thermals needs more weight shift and more pulling on the brakes to carve !  It is a step further than the Trango XC2 in pilot control . 

The difference between the Trango XC2 and the Trango XC3 : More pitch forward to enter the thermals for the T XC3 enabling a bigger step in climb rate over the XC 2 but with less brake authority in strong turbulent cores. More body work is needed on the Trango XC 3 to carve those shaky, turbulent cores…
I think it plays well in the IP 6 playground for a very efficient and similar climb rate !  The difference between those two is a harder brake response for the Trango XC3 with slightly similar glider control, and a taught feel for the IP6 in the same turbulent conditions.

Flying next to a Mantra 6 SM (both loaded at top) showed a ~ 2 km/h more trim speed for the Trango XC 3 for nearly the same glide angle. It’s a bullet at trim ! 
In the same turbulent air, the M6 felt more calm, and relaxing to fly, but my friend on the M6 was impressed by the climb rate of the TXC 3 ! 
Stepping on the speed bar until pulleys overlapping gave me around 55 km/h at 1000 ASL on the Trango XC 3 at 97 all up with still a taught leading edge.

Ears are stable and reopen immediately on input .

Conclusion:  For sure the Trango XC 3 is a performance glider intended for the very experienced XC seekers. It will do greatly on long XC’s especially into wind glides and climbs! 
The Trango XC 3 cannot be understood or inserted in the C category as it will out-perform many…It is the class above !
If someone is interested ‘ONLY’ in looking at the label, here’s a funny one !  
The C certification for the Trango XC 3 is like an angelic smile of a very beautiful, 5 star hotel receptionist. All the benefits are there , but that won’t smoothen up the bill… ;-)