Sunday, June 3, 2018

Gin Genie Race 4 size M

GIN race 4 harness size M.
I flew the last Gin race harnesses in size M .Here’s my opinion about the the race 4.
Construction:  The Race 4 could be one of the most neat construction on a race harness. The finish of the small details exceeds GIN standard construction or even other well known leaders in harness construction.

The sitting position of the M size is ideal for my height of 1.81 m. The legs are naturally supported and the seat comfort is like sitting in a comfortable Recaro seat. I didn’t need to use the foot pad on this size.
The edges of this harness gives a solid, compact, well hold, air chair and gives sharp feedback from the harness.  I meant sharp for direct and precise, not for dynamic feedback. It feels also like sitting in a bucket seat.
The back support is excellent ! I didn’t find any pressure on my back during my flights. It resembles the excellent first Races back comfort ! But for sure everything else is perfected pretty well.

In fact the Race 4 feedback is not a dynamic harness. The chest strap has a flat position to be very reachable and an efficient way to tighten or loose it in a second. More tight at around 50 between carabiners and the Race 4 is already stable in turbulence. At that setting, it felt more stable than my X-rated 6. 

Opening the chest strap a bit more and trying to get sharp turns with a D glider, on both the Race 4 and on the X-rated 6. Here i felt that the X-rated 6 is more playful.
On long glides, activating the speed bar was easier to hold without too much roll on the Race 4, than on the X-rated 6 and with an ‘on rail feel’ for the Race 4. I’m sure this will be efficient on speed glides. 

The attachment points on the Race 4 are slightly lower than the X-rated 6.  I forgot to mention the plastic windshield ! When pulled it deflected the air from my face.  A matter of aerodynamics…and taste…
It’s super easy to push down, to even fly without. It also removable.
There’s two rescue options ,one in front and one at the right side. The harness in M size weights around 9 kg. 
The instrument holder is ‘huge’ ! It ’s a the biggest i have ever seen. It can easily hold four Oudie or Flymaster varios  next to each other. 

This is quite a very interesting and beautiful competition harness. Everything is very well perfected to the last detail.  It looks a large step forward in design and perfection over the race 3. 
It’s like sitting in a Lamborghini ! Yes i’ll call it the Lambo of the sky :-)


Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Air Design VOLT 3 SM

Air Design VOLT 3 SM

With 6.5 aspect ratio, Air design is introducing their 2018/2019 C glider.
The construction is really well made. All lines are unsheathed with 2 lines on the A’s on each side. 
The Volt 3 comes up really well, and inflates quite easy for this aspect ratio. The take off is immediate.

The brake travel were set slightly short, but i made then 3 cm longer.  I flew the Volt 3 SM from 90 to 95 all up.
It’s quite nice at 90 all up in all conditions, but i found it best at 93. 

The brake pressure are slightly less than the Artik 5 i had tested earlier and slightly more than an Alpina 3 MS.  
The information of the air  in moderate conditions is filtered and moderately sensed by the pilot. A little more informative than the Artik 5 which is sometimes too dampened, and not too informative like the Sector S, but rather toward a Delta 3 comfortable feel with more roll movements and a slight riser feedback which is very good ! 

10 cm are only needed to steer the Volt 3 in moderate conditions. In turbulent cores more pull is needed to get a turn and a bit of weight shifting. I could describe the agility as slightly less than an Alpina 3 MS at 92 and quite close to an Artik 5 24 at 93 but in small strong, turbulent thermals, i must insist more on my weight shift and brake pull to have a ‘closer’ agility to the Artik 5.  In those conditions a good dosage of brake pull will be required to turn it efficiently. 
In well built homogenous thermals, the Volt 3 agility is really nice. Once it entered, it cores quite tight and climbs fast. 

Climbing abilities:
Last glider i flew was the Artik 5 and i was impressed by the climb rate of that glider. The next week flying the Volt 3 next to the Artik 5 and to an LM6 (mantra light) gave me a bigger idea about the Volt 3 in terms of climb rate.
It’s a blessing sometimes when i test fly new gliders that can surprise me positively…And the Volt 3 did in fact opened my eyes by it’s incredible climbing abilities !  Later, with also other new C gliders in the air, i was happy test flying it, and totally convinced that the Volt 3 stand out as the best and finest climber in it’s category !  That glider does in fact climb really well in weak thermals and rapidly in strong cores!  
There’s no pitch back behavior, but a slight pull toward the thermals.  

Glide angle:
Doing some glides next to an Artik 5, Alpina 3, even LM6, i noticed that the Volt 3 is well placed right on top of that C category , and could easily match the LM6 glide angle or at least is super close…
I had to pull slightly on the bar (2-3 cm) to match the trim speed of the Artik 5, with exactly the same glide angle.  
Gliding on the bar (50%) in turbulent air is comfortable on the Volt 3, and the C riser control is very efficient by pulling it down to prevent surges if occurred during strong turbulence, but rarely since the leading edge is quite stable and solid. I was able to push with total confidence in a variety of conditions. The glide at full bar matches the best C gliders of the moment.

For a 6.5 aspect ratio C glider, the Volt 3 is very comfortable to fly. The overall movements in the air ressembles the Alpina 3 ones but the piloting level of the Volt 3 is slightly higher.  
It ressembles the Artik 5 comfort with also slightly more piloting level.  If i want to put int into numbers to give you an idea, i would say 15 % over the A5 in pilot level, and 20 % over the Alpina 3. 

Ears are stable and big, since there are only 2 lines on the A’s. They are very efficient, and reopen by a slight action from the pilot. Totally usable and a nice feature for easy descent rate. 

Conclusion: After the Rise 3 here’s another very good XC potential with the Volt 3 !  I’m pretty sure that a good C pilot will have a blast on this XC machine !  
Easy for a 6.5 AR, comfortable to fly in big air if properly loaded, climb like a dream, has a superb glide angle among the top C’s. 
Be sure to test fly one and post back your feedback !  :-) 

Skywalk Tequila 5 S

Skywalk Tequila 5 

It was obvious when test flying the Tequila (Four) two years ago, i wrote that that low B had some super fine qualities and incredible handling. Many pilots around the world had sent me email’s about their happy experience underneath that glider. Also many reported that for a low B it was a bit handful in strong air especially for fresh pilots coming from an A glider. For sure the Tequila 4 has some incredible flying qualities enabling it to surf quite well in tricky air without loosing on glides. 
Then came the Chili 4, which inherited a nice handling (not really as agile as the T4 ! but really nice ) And the overall performance of the Chili 4 is still on the top high B category.
So i think SKYWALK philosophy was to introduce a glider that was more accessible for the low mass pilots.

The Tequila 5 has an excellent construction with sheathed lines on the lower part and unsheathed on the top part next to the sail. The lines ressembles the Chili 4 ones. Only a few slightly more diameters width. 

Launching the T5 is easy without any difficulties or hard point. 

In the air, i immediately felt a much more comfortable glider over the T4.  The movements in roll and pitch are very well dampened.  After a few hours it seems that the T5 is easier to fly with less overall movements than a Buzz Z5, an Ion 5 or even the Synphonia.  It feels quite dampened in all axes and quite well placed in the mid low B segment for overall usability.

The handling and the way to steer the Tequila 5 has been also adjusted. It doesn’t have the agility of the Tequila 4 which was over the low B category at the time…I miss the T4 beautiful agility…But some low B pilot would welcome at open arms the T5 forgiving handling. It just turn with pilot input and quite obedient in a very polite way :-)

Flying with another low B gliders, and more mid to high B gliders, i could place well the Tequila 5 is terms of climb and glide. 
Climb rate would be fitted in the mid low B category. At 90 all up on the S size the climb rate is quite ok.  The nose doesn’t dig like the T4 but, quite nicer as some Low B gliders.

Doing some glides into wind, with some other B gliders, the Tequila 5 has a moderate glide angle that quite fits in the low B segment.  

Stepping on the bar at full speed is quite usable in all conditions. It’s a mild ,soft ,very well balanced low B glider. 

Ears are stable, reopens on release.

Conclusion: Skywalk has succeeded to fit the Tequila 5 much better in the low B category for a much bigger majority of newcomers.  Any fresh pilot would find a nice, well balanced, easy to fly, comfortable low B glider. 

Friday, May 18, 2018

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Niviuk Artik 5 - 24

Niviuk Artik 5 size 24
In the C category, Niviuk is introducing it’s Artik 5 for 2018 with an aspect ratio of 6.3.
A friend gave me his wing for testing.

The construction details are really nice, with Nitinol rods on the leading edge and a shark nose.
All lines are unsheathed with a balanced thickness that goes toward longevity and probably to avoid getting out of trim.

I flew the Artik 5 24 from 90 to 95 .
Launching the Artik 5 24 in nil wind require a steady pull. In a more stronger breeze, this characteristic enables the Artik 5 to be well controlled and launches in a gentle manner. Inner A’s are best in strong wind, All the A’s are best in Nil wind.

Flew this glider in multiple conditions, from weak to slightly strong, and sometimes turbulent with some sharp 7m/s thermals. To understand this glider better i was alternating on the same day, landing and flying the Alpina 3 MS and the Sector XS.

In turbulent air the Artik 5 gave me the impression over my head of a solid , compact, comfortable Glider. In the same turbulent conditions, the Artik 5 moves less and needs less pilot control than an Alpina 3 MS at 92 which is know for it’s very good comfort.
Explanation: The movements under the Artik 5 are at first a slight roll feel but limited and very controllable. This small roll feel is a plus for inducing the turns which i’ll comment later on… The comfort underneath the Artik 5 is really high for a 6.3 AR C glider. There’s no pitch movements whatsoever. When hitting a thermal, the Artik 5 loaded at 95 just climb vertically with a slight pull toward the core. It feels like a complete compact structure. At 90 all up and in strong air it does also behave quite ok, with a little drift and needed to be loaded for excellent results.
In moderate conditions, the Artik 5 loaded at 90 is still compact and very homogenous.
In the same air, the Sector XS at 85 gave me the most feedback and workload, then came the Alpina 3 MS at 92. The less workload was on the Artik 5 24 loaded from 92 to 95.
The Artik four had two lines per side, and some pilots commented after two seasons that it was a bit difficult to master in turbulent air sometimes. The Artik 5 with 3 lines per side and of course a new design has completely erased that problem. The A5 is the other side of the coin compared to the Artik 4 with a much tougher structure that stays coherent in turbulent air.

In strong air, i would have preferred a slight feel of what’s the air is doing, to that structure, in order to assist and be present without any surprises. I had some minor tip collapses that i didn’t feel them coming.

Handling maneuverability and climb rate :
The Artik four could be turned really tight in moderate conditions, but as soon as the air is a bit tricky it would be reluctant to turn sometimes. The Artik 5 turning ability is toward an efficient flat turn for XC use rather than a playful freestyle wing.
In moderate to soft conditions:
At first the brake response is short, precise, direct, and fairly agile toward an efficient flat circle. After flying next to my reference C gliders in that matter, This handling feature on the A5 showed me in weak thermals an astonishing climbing ability for the Artik 5. Each time i encountered a soft thermal, the Artik 5 would float upward much better. After many attempts, I’m convinced to put it right on top of the Category in terms of efficient climb rate in weak.
In strong cores:
In strong thermals, i found out that flying the Artik 5 24 at max weight would be more beneficial in entering without delay those cores. But again at max load the Artik 5 climbs peacefully like a beast !
And the result for overall climbing is also right on top of the C category. The handling and the way to turn the Artik 5 24 at 95 "in turbulent cores" needs some body and brake implication as the A5 tends to flattens at mid turn, inside a thermal. That slight roll ability on the A5 is good for leaning into the turn and applying more brake to stay in the core. On the same day, the Alpina 3 MS at 92 and the Sector XS at 85 would stay easily inside the core with minimum input.
In those conditions it’s slightly less agile than the Alpina 3 and the Sector. In strong but turbulent choppy air, it need more implication to stay inside the core. In homogenous thermals, its quite agile and cores easily.
The brake pressure is moderate to slightly hard after 20 cm of travel. The Peak 4 has nearly half the pressure on the brakes.
The Artik 5 can be steered with 5 to 10 cm of travel in soft air and 30-40 cm in strong air.
In that day, the less brake pressure was on the Sector XS, then on the Alpina 3 with a more playful character in thermals.

Gliding power:
I have made some glides with my new reference C glider, the latest Alpina 3 MS. If both gliders are similarly loaded, they have the same speed at trim and at top speed.
The glide angle at trim and at top speed of the Artik 5 24 that was made in real air, and repeated many times showed me that Niviuk has succeeded also to place the Artik 5 at the top of that category in terms of glide angle. The difference after many kilometers with the Alpina 3 MS is insignificant and practically the same, with a slight edge of float-ability for the Artik 5 in the rising air we encountered.
I found out also that it’s best to load the A5 at max weight in order to dig efficiently in strong air and thermals like an Alpina 3 MS loaded at 91.
My comment toward the top speed will be that i was pushing hard with my feet to engage the second bar. The first bar has moderate pressure on the feet with my X-rated 6 harness and the second bar is hard to push.
The less pressure that day was on the Sector XS which was really low, and then the Alpina 3 MS.

Controlling the Artik 5 using the C risers has an average efficiency. The pressure on the C’s are a bit light at trim and slightly more on bar. 

Ears are stable and a good way to loose altitude. Induced asymmetric and frontal are easy to control. The asymmetric collapse are very easy to maintain, to counter steer, and open vert fast.
Ears open with a slight pilot input.
Top landing is easy for pilots in that category with slow flying characteristics.

Conclusion: Apart from the nice construction and details, the Artik 5 size 24 at 92 impressed me with it’s outstanding performance package and especially it’s high comfort in turbulence for the C class.
The Artik 5 could be flown at mid weight easily, but to be very efficient on strong days, i think that loading it at top will be more beneficial to slide through the airmass without any loss in weak conditions. In fact low saves will be common on the Artik 5. A very interesting glider to test fly in the C category. 
C comparison updated:!/vizhome/C(shrinked URL)rComparison/CGliderComparison 

Sunday, April 29, 2018


OZONE Rush 5 MS 

Ozone 2018 high EN-B has arrived. There’s a mild shark nose, barely visual. The cloth on the Rush 5 seems heavy duty, and the lines are similar to the Rush 4 ones with a bit more diameter on the Middle A lines. 

I flew the Rush 5 in MS size (75-95) for 3 consecutive days in good conditions. Flew it in turbulent, sometimes weak, and sometimes strong and difficult. 

My take off weight was from 90 to 93 all up with an X-rated 6 harness. At that weight i never felt that i needed to be heavy on it. It worked fine. 

Take off in nil wind is slow on the Rush 5. It doesn’t have a hard point, but it’s slow to reach overhead. In stronger breeze, it launches beautifully without any surge forward which is a plus and comfortable launching behavior for a high B wing. 

The last tested Ozone high B was the Rush 4 MS size. I flew that glider sometimes in this past year and i still remember the light brake pressure, the good manoeuvrability and the slow trim speed. 
Some pilots commented that the Rush 4 needed to be loaded at top in order to bump less into thermals. 

On the Rush 5, the trim speed is as fast as the Mentor 5 or the Chili 4. There is slightly more pressure on the brakes over the Rush 4. I personally like that better feel on the brakes. 
The agility in turns is very slightly less than the Rush4, but still, i can say that the Rush 5 is a fairly agile glider that can core any weird thermal, but with a very efficient turning radius. 

I flew next to a Mentor 5, Alpina 3, and some good gliders in their respective categories, in still and also in moving air. 
Doing some glides in still air, there are no difference in glide between the Mentor 5, Chili 4, and the Rush 5. But when conditions get more tricky, and in XC conditions when i was flying in real air, it seems that the Rush 5 gave me the most complete package for performance efficiency even by a tiny margin. It's like those magic gliders that can always deliver. 

I mean that the Rush 5 has very good comfortable movements with great ability to cut through without minimum loss of altitude in moving air. 
I also think that the Rush 5 thermal ability is really impressive, putting this glider at the ‘very’ top of the high-B category, in weak and also in strong thermals. The Rush 5 doesn’t really dive in turns. The turn is a performance oriented one, very balanced between agility and efficient climb. 

In weak thermals, i can confirm that the Rush 5 MS is indeed a floater. In strong cores, the Rush 5 doesn’t pitch back at all neither pitch forward aggressively. It does cut through every thermal with ‘peace’, enters and climbs without delay in any core ! That’s ‘la creme de la creme ‘ when it comes to a balance thermal behavior for a high B. 

In turbulence, i felt that the Rush 5 need less active piloting than the Rush 4, just because the Rush 5 ability to auto stabilize itself, with a non event efficient flying, that i think many pilots would be surprised by it’s serene ability to deliver top performance for even week end pilots. 

Also, i think higher rated pilots will find a very cool, super efficient tool, much easier to fly than the Alpina 3, which is easy for a C, but with all the performance package. The difference in overall performance in active air between the Rush 5 and the Alpina 3 is very small, and will be felt only in head wind long glides, by a little margin. 
What was felt in difficult conditions, could only be understood by good pilots. The Rush 5 behaves in efficiency, like a higher rated glider in cutting the airmass efficiently and climbs up and dig forward, like going on stairs but with a huge comfort over the higher rated ones. 

The pressure on the bar is higher than the one on the Rush4 and the top speed is around 12 km/h over trim. 
The performance at full bar is also very impressive at the top of the B category. The use of the speed bar is easy in turbulence and very efficient. 
The Rush 5 filters the air, cut through, glide with a very solid leading edge. 

Ears are stable, and a good way to get down. Wing overs builds quickly. Inducing an asymmetric collapse without even touching the opposite brake, the Rush 5 behaves like an A glider. Frontals tends to make sometimes a front rosette, but it opens fast with no loss in altitude. 
The slow flying characteristics are available to land accurately in tiny places with a forgiving brake length. 

Conclusion: The new generation of pilots are super lucky to fly today’s B gliders. Those performance were never seen 10 years ago, even on a competition glider! Adding the excellent comfort and the ability to surf the air. 
The Rush 5 is an excellent choice for people upgrading after two seasons on a low or mid B glider. I cannot consider it as 'demanding to fly' for a high B...But for sure Ozone placed it into that box. 
In the High-B category, the Rush 5 is a "comfortable and accessible high B, with top overall performance" in that category in turbulent and active real air with usable and very good performance! 
For all that complete package with probably a tiny edge... IMHO, the Rush 5 ‘could be’ the best B glider ever created till this date. 

Ozone Rush 5 size S 
After the MS test, i flew the S size from 82 to 85 all up. 
The launching and the overall handling is similar to the MS size. 
Usually small sizes are different and could behave differently. Not the Rush 5 S. It feels calm and reassuring like the MS size. 
The ability to turn it is also very similar even at 85 all up. 
The way it sniffs the thermal at max load is impressive also.It's still efficient without any dive in the turn. 
Overall the Rush 5 S size is like its bigger sister a Gem for XC use. 
Using the bar in turbulence is very usable and easy. 
Ears are efficient and stable.They reopen without pilot input. 
If you have a very efficient 4X4 for everyday use, and also very comfortable in bumpy dirt roads...then it will be similar to the Rush 5. 

Friday, April 27, 2018

Skywalk X-Alps 2 size M

Skywalk X-Alps 2 size M I received finally the new 2018 Range X-alps harness in M size. This harness has an inflatable protection with a very clever device.A bag that helps inflate the protection by compressing the air in a very ingenious and easy way. The construction of the harness is among the highest concerning finishing details. There are some nice videos on youtube showing the harness in details. In this below paragraph i will place it among the ones i have tested. I’m 1.81 cm and 73 kg.  
After flying the Lightness 2 size M, the Forza size M, the X-rated6 L and XL, the GTO L and XL, the Ozium 1 and 2 size M pod M, the Impress 3 size M, i can say : The X-alps 2 harness receive the feedback from any glider without any loss of information or lack of precision. In that matter, i think it delivers the information accurately without any delays. Therefore i can say its relatively the most comfortable harness to fly in turbulence among the Lightness2, the Ozium 1 and 2, and much better than the Impress 3 for sure. Those informations are very well balanced. No strange and unnecessary roll movements. Just the exact needed informations are delivered. I can also say that the feedback is delivered in a compact way. Nothing more…nothing less.
Now comes the sitting comfort position. I flew in the same day the Forza, which i consider very comfortable. After landing and flying with the X-alps 2, i found that the seating position and the back support are even more comfortable ! I really wasn’t expecting a really light harness to be like that ! But i felt completely relaxed with my feet naturally supported and it seems that this is the lightest harness and IMHO, the most comfortable one in turbulence and in back comfort.
Conclusion: Skywalk has created a super harness both in light and comfort terms. The best until now ! It’s for sure a delicate harness, to be carefully handled in places where there’s dirt take offs and stony ones. The materials are very light. With an inflated back protection, it’s very recommended not to put your harness on little thorns, if hotter countries have ones near take offs or landings. An option for a 3 kg version would be welcomed i think for everyday use, that will probably bear a harder material. But i don’t know if Skywalk is considering one.
Finally i liked that harness. Simply Impressive !

Friday, April 6, 2018

U-Turn CrossRock EN-B size S

U-Turn Cross rock S (70-90)
The last U-Turn paraglider i test flew was the Black light2. Here’s the light version of the BL2 but it seems it’s a completely different story …
The Cross rock has a shark nose, unsheathed lines on the upper cascades, and normal lines on the lower part.
Launching the Crosssrock is a non event, very easy in nil wind, and doesn’t overshoot in strong breeze.
I flew the Cross rock S with two harnesses. An X-rated 6 with light cloth and equipment at 87 and on the Ozium 2 at 84 all up.
In turbulent air, and flying those different harnesses didn’t affect the glider stability or even handling whatsoever. The Crossrock turns well, stays calm, and climbs remarkably well.  
I mean the cross rock resembles the cool character of ‘Fillmore’ in Cars Movie !
Saying:  Hey dude …hang loose…man…  :-)
The Crossrock has a soft, cool, very relaxing character in turbulence. The brake response are direct, but the Crossrock doesn’t dive at all in turns. It has an efficient turning radius in thermals. The agility is good for the category. I can say it’s fairly agile and respond well on command. 
So overall it has a moderate to good handling, and quite an impressive comfort ! especially for an S size (70-90). 
Flying the Mentor 5 (70-90) and the Cross rock S in the same conditions and on the same harness and loads, showed me that i need almost half the workload to fly the Crossrock. 

The brake pressure are on the moderate side, not too light, not too firm. (The B comparison will be updated for all characteristics)
The crossrock doesn’t have a pitch forward neither back, it feels more toward a neutral pitch. The climb rate in weak is very good even among the high B category. I can say it’s definitely a floater.  In strong thermals and head wind, i think, this is the one of the best U-Turn glider that has an efficient nose to dig in surf the airmass quite gently and move forward with an impressive glide angle that is very close to my reference in the high B category. 
In strong air it doesn’t loose it’s ‘very soft’ biting power.  
On one crossing into difficult conditions and head wind, i was a bit low, and since that day my GPS was taking a day off …my shadow on the ground was barely moving forward and i thought ill never reach the narrow landing field, and i began to look for a place to land..but kept my feet on the bar to try to move forward…Honestly i know that path by heart, and it was very difficult to cross that day with that low altitude, but i was really surprised by the Crossrock efficiency to dig slowly and softly through, little by little. I thought it will never go through, but it did…and got myself a thermal just 20 m above the landing, and high again !  
Afterward, i flew next to a Mentor 5 and  i can confirm that the Crossrock has a good float ability in glides. 
The first part and the second part of the speed bar are very usable and super efficient ! It doesn’t loose on full bar ! the speed over trim at 87 is 10 km/h taken at 500 ASL. 
At top speed, flying also next to a Mentor 5 XS at same loadings showed me also a very competitive glide angle that places the Crossrock among the best ones in that matter. 
I also tried a glide on the Crossrock S size (70-90) with a Chili 4 S (85-105) in difficult conditions. The glide result with the Crossrock did also impressed me. In fact, the Crossrock had a very efficient glide that was very competitive and very close with the top high B. 
The Trim speed of the cross rock at 84 was slightly less than the trim speed of the Chili 4 S at 102 all up. 

Conclusion: U-Turn has created a really nice machine. Light, comfortable, high performance in both glide and climb, with good overall handling…The Crossrock accessibility and ease of flight is remarkable and i could place it in terms of piloting level among the mid B’s. This glider is a very good option for pilots looking for a light, XC companion for flying in strong conditions, in the B category.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

NOVA Ion 5

Nova Ion 5 
I flew both sizes, the XS size (70-90) at 84 all up, and the S size (80-100) at 91 all up. 

Launching the Ion 5 is nil wind is very easy without any hard point or delay. In moderate breeze, it’s even easier without surge.
The Ion 5 turns on every centimeter i pulled on the brakes. It can be steered with only 10 cm of travel, yet the long brake when pulling 50 cm are very forgiving. 
The difference between the Ion 4 XS and the Ion 5 XS with same load is that the Ion 5 is much more agile and more precise, letting the pilot at first enjoy every thermal with the ability to core it very narrow.
The feedback coming from the glider is more pronounced on the Ion 5 over the Ion 4, but in a more subtle and positive way.  Some pilots commented that the Ion 4 is a bit too stiff and has a heavy feel sometimes. 
The Ion 5 is more informative about small thermal movements, and nicer to fly overall , but still being a comfortable low B glider. 
The pressure on the brakes on the XS and S are moderate to slightly hard if pulled more than 40 cm, but i don’t think that much brake will be uses ,as just a little pull will initiate a turn. 
When flying in lift, i had the feeling that the Ion 5 embraces the thermal and the information by the brakes felt like a 3D picture on that particular thermal. I think many of you will feel that. 
Kind of pulling you gently into the thermal and grabbing it. 

I flew the XS (70-90) at 85 and the S size (80-100) at 92, and i think, this Ion 5 could easily be flown at mid weight range, and i didn’t feel the need to load it, but if i did, it will preserve the same feel.

The trim speed is similar to the Ion 4, but it seems that the Ion 5 has more float-ability into wind. Its seems to cut through much better with that searching for a thermal feature, which i really appreciate on a low B !
That feature gave a better glide in moving conditions. 
In the older…older …days, it was a blessing to find even on a DHV 3 certified glider (competition class) that can surf efficiently through the airmass…
Nowadays, the new generation of pilots flying low B gliders like the Ion 5 will find an easy way to push forward and go easy on long XC’s… 
Big ears are stable, easy to induce, and reopen without pilot input.  The Ion 5 could be flown at low speeds, with hands on the hips and can accurately top land on narrow places. 

After flying the Phantom, and Sector, it seems that NOVA is doing a little more work on the handling, which was needed i think at least from my part. The Ion 5 brake response, precise input, and overall handling on a low B is a cool step ahead, entering the golden circle of the nicest handling gliders.  
The climb rate in weak and strong is similar to the Ion 4 one. The Ion 5 feels is like an enhanced Ion4 in handling, glide, and overall feel. 
A pilot upgrading from the Ion 4 will enjoy the Ion 5 evolution upgrade especially in terms feel of thermals, swift handling and gliding performance in cross country flights.  

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

OZONE R&D department. Luc Armant interview ( 28-March 2018)

OZONE R&D department. Luc Armant interview ( 28-March 2018) 

Luc Armant was so kind to answer a few questions for all of us flying vultures :-) 

1- Dustoftheuniverse : What your personal insights on future paragliding designs? Will we experience some revolution projects? like the first BBHPP ? 

Luc Armant : Great stuff still to come. Yes !  some revolution should come. Future will tell…

2-DOTU: What can you tell the pilots of the future M6 replacement project? 

Luc Armant : Still experimental stage. Long term project. We want to create a new reference 3 liner wing.

2- DOTU: Will you be able to get more overall performance than the 6.9 aspect ratio M6 on a lower aspect ? and is it possible considering that the competition has lower aspect ratio close to 6.5 in the C class.

Luc Armant : Yes, it’s possible. Current prototypes have 6.5 aspect ratio with much more performance. 

3- DTOU: I personally Consider the Alpina 3 until this moment to have the best ratio of overall performance /comfort ever built on a C performance glider, what would your design philosophy toward the M7 project to be ? 

Luc Armant : I’m glad to read that. Delta3/Alpina 3 was a long and difficult project to get finished. Design philosophy for the M7 is simplicity, pleasure and high performance.

4- DOTU: What kind of handling the M7 would have ? Are you focusing also on handling ?  especially having a lower aspect ratio than the M6 ?

Luc Armant : Handling is very important. We currently have very pleasant prototypes in that matter. Lower AR helps as well.

5- DOTU: Will you consider one version? a 3 liner ? or two versions with one as two liner ?  

Luc Armant : Only one version.  

6- DOTU: Do you consider that the top speed is important for you to insert in the D category ?

Luc Armant : Yes. But it needs to stay reasonable in term of safety after collapses at full speed. It can’t be as fast as current CCC.

7- DOTU: Any release in 2018 ? 

Luc Armant : Yes.

8- DOTU: Is there any new materials ,as lines, cloth, that can increase future safety and performance ?

Luc Armant : No. Light material and light construction helps a bit safety. It’s more new design feature and setting that can help a lot.

9-  DOTU: what category do you forecast that will get the most benefits in performance in the near future?

Luc Armant : D category remains the most interesting for evolution specially since the others have been banned of collapse lines, but this may be revised in a near future. Many are now realizing the downside of this ban.

DOTU: Thank you very much Luc for your answers. Looking forward.


Monday, March 19, 2018


Swing Nyos RS 
The last Swing glider i flew with the RAST system was the Arcus RS, and here’s the new high-end B from the same manufacturer, the Nyos RS in size S (75-95) flown at 93.5 all up with an X-rated 6 harness.
The Nyos RS construction holds a normal nose. The lower lines are sheathed with the higher ones unsheathed. The lines are slightly thicker than the competitors in the B category.   
Launching is quite easy in nil wind, and even in strong breeze. The Nyos inflates quite smoothly and evenly.
First turn, i could feel the moderate to short response on the brakes, with quite a nice agility in thermals ! The Nyos RS turns quite flat with moderate pressure on the brakes and could be described as quite agile! It doesn’t handle like an acro wing for sure and it’s not suppose to, but for a handling seeker like me, it’s very satisfying ! Thermals can be cored very tight, even the turbulent ones. 
The handling alone doesn’t really matter sometimes if the glider above the pilot is jumping around all the time. Underneath the Nyos RS, the movements in turbulent air can be described as “computerized self controlled” , as the Nyos RS feels very compact and super smooth to fly !
I flew this glider in some turbulent air, and got myself into a sunny lee side of a cliff, when the wind was blowing around 20 km/h from the other side. Usually the experience is not really joyful…but it was quite soft on the Nyos RS ! I got a bullet thermal that got me into higher layer, and kept my flight going on further.
I have been flying this path for a very long time, and underneath plenty of gliders. The Nyos RS was the coolest, most reassuring, comfortable glider ever to be flown among B’s ! 
The experience flying the Nyos RS is exceptional when it comes to comfort ! Even compared to some low B’s !
 Having said that, the Nyos RS could not be considered as a dull glider at all. 
It will inform the pilot about all the movement of the air around, but with such rare serenity and homogeneity and an efficient leading edge that surfs the airmass moving constantly forward in a super smooth way ! Incredible ! All that, led me to say, that the Nyos RS is indeed “The Rolls Royce of the sky”  ! 
Even in turbulent air, there not pitch back ! The Nyos RS just simply move forward quietly with that amazing solidity and super cohesive structure ! Some B gliders will have sharp movements, or a bit of yaw, some pitch…But not the Nyos RS. It just inform the pilot and filters wisely only the excess of turbulence !
Gliding with top high B gliders in moving air, i could notice that the Nyos RS is very competitive, and i could put the gliding efficiency among today’s top four, high-end B gliders.  
The interesting part of the glide in turbulent shaky air, was the easiness of the C risers control.  Using the bar in total confidence with the C riser control will deliver a quite efficient glide and they are super easy to use with moderate and progressive pressure. If only a thinner line version would be feasible, it could perhaps squeeze up even more overall performance to dominate the category.  
Climbing in weak and strong could place also the Nyos RS among the top 5 gliders in the high B category.  
Ears are stable, efficient, and reopen without pilot input. 
The pluses:  The ratio of usability ! I mean exceptional comfort and homogeneity with smooth information coming through! 

Conclusion: The Nyos has a normal nose, normal width lines, yet it glides beautifully and efficiently into wind. As for the flight characteristics and compact structure, I can totally confirm that the Nyos RS has somehow a different feel from many B’s i have tested. It has a very taught, super homogenous structure, with precise and direct brake response.  The comfort flying the Nyos RS is very high. Pilots flying in strong air and alpine conditions wishing for a solid, well mannered companion, should strongly consider flying the Nyos RS as a good option.  
I’m not an engineer to talk about RAST and the benefits that comes along…but it seems what i have experienced flying the Nyos RS couldn’t be understood otherwise. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

NOVA Sector S

NOVA Sector S 
After 10 years, NOVA finally released their new C replacement. A flat aspect ratio of 6.0, unsheathed lines all over and  a 3 line configuration setting. 
The factor 2 is made with light fabric and the S size weights around 4 kg.

Launching the light cloth Sector is easy in all conditions. Those light gliders can launch even without touching the A's ! 

I flew the Sector S at 95, 96 all up. This load enabled the Sector to be quite taught and efficient in all conditions.
IMHO, Its better to put the exact pressure in a car wheel in order to take corners at high speed. Any less pressure in those wheel won’t give you optimum efficiency. It’s the same with gliders they will perform much better (when they reached their optimum shape design) by loading them precisely. I think 95 is a good balance under the Sector S size. 
Of course the Sector S can be flown at mid-weight, but will loose it’s inside pressure flying it in turbulent air, as all other gliders do in it’s category.  

The brakes have medium pressure  until 15 cm of pull then they are slightly heavier. The Sector S at my loads need 2 (two) centimeter of pull, to turn it !  The Sector is an agile glider that doesn’t dive in turns even when lowering the brakes while circling. It tries sometimes to get out of the turn if the brakes are released, and some weight shift would be also quite beneficial in tight small cores.  

I flew next to a Delta 3 MS and Alpina 3 S in order to know the overall performance of the Sector S. In weak thermals, ( less than 0.5 m/s) the Delta 3 MS and the Sector S are very close in climbing ability. 
You can look at the C comparison as it has been updated with the latest C wings for small details if you wish…

In well built thermals, I mean over 2 m/s, the Sector jumps upward like a powerful but well mannered horse ! It really climbs very fast ! I think it has one of the best climbing ability in those thermals like a high end C ! It doesn’t pitch back, it does very slightly pull you into the thermal with power ! I personally like that behavior ! Some pilots would like the calm surge behavior of the Alpina 3, some would like the ones on the sigma 10 or the slightly sharper one on the Sector S. 

In turbulent thermals, i found that the Sector behave like a small energetic kid. The risers are more nervous than the S10 in translating the airmass. Don’t understand me wrong, the Sector quality of telling you what’s going around is quite nice for sensible pilots. The informations of the air are transmitted mainly by the risers. I was finding the Delta 3 to be quite tame to my personal taste in feel under the glider. Some pilots over-heree loved the Delta 3 soft feel ! It’s about taste…The Sector is more informative. 

NOVA did mention that the Sector S is between the Mentor 5 and the Triton 2. I think it’s quite accurate, but i have to add, with a slight shift toward the Triton 2 S in feel underneath the Sector 2 which i think shares its DNA.  If you think that the Mentor 5 is quite lazy to your taste, you will find an interesting feel with some tasteful but quite manageable spices under the Sector 2. 
This has been said, i have to add also that the Sector 2 remains in the middle of the C class in terms of piloting level. It’s an easy C for a pilot who already has two full seasons on a hot B. 

Gliding properties:
For an aspect ratio of 6, the Sector S glide angle angle is similar to the Delta 3 MS at trim and especially at full bar, with 1 km/h faster on the Sector S if both gliders are similarly loaded. Trim speed is similar. 
Gliding in turbulent air, is as efficient on the Delta 3 as it is on the Sector S !  
The Sector S ridge racing and gliding in thermo-dynamics is quite efficient ! 

Big ears have moderate stability and reopen without pilot input on the S at 96 all up. 

Conclusion: The trailing edge look quite weird and wavy…but it could be a design for efficiency… The Sector S is an informative wing that shows you what the air is doing, but middle C glider in terms of piloting level. 
The strong point is the climb in good thermals, that showed me an impressive search toward the lift. A very good glide angle for the C category, at trim and especially at full bar, fast enough, handles well. 
A strong contender in the C category for sport class competitions, and interesting XC potential for sure !
Waiting for the XS to arrive for more feedback.