Thursday, January 10, 2019

Podcast



Recently i made a podcast with Cloudbase Mayham, thanks to Gavin McClurg  !

I missed to understand the last question, and responded hastily. I think it’s an important one about what should i do if i want to rewind my flying career and also an advise to new comers to the sport. 
Here it is :
Since i was pretty alone and new to the sport at that time, it was difficult to act differently. The best thing i did is that i  kited my glider and played on the sea cliffs several hours every day, even when there was no wind to lift the glider. 
At that time i purchased a movie “Flamengo dunes” and tried to discover little by little how to soar in strong wind. These were the old days without any proper guidance. I know it shouldn’t be done like that but it was my only way to move forward. It actually gave me lot of excitement and pleasure in discovering. I also bought “Gerald Delorme” illustrated first books about how to fly. Those were super cool, funny and by far my favorite books to read and read again every day…

Paragliding is an easy sport to learn. Its quite easy for a student to fly in the first days ! But that’s not the point and it’s not recommended if the pilot doesn’t know how to control his glider on the ground. 
Any new comer must kite his glider for many hours in order to understand how it works. With a little bit of wind later, playing with the glider will never have to end. 
Even for me after 30 years, my best spot is a small cliff with the right wind, i would float weightlessly and fly just a few centimeters from the ground. 
“Mastering your glider in soaring and kiting is your strongest point in the air” (Patrick Berot) 

Anyone taking the stairs down without looking carefully where to step, can fall with serious consequences.  As paragliding is an easy sport to learn, there’s lots to understand before taking off into the sky. But once the teachings are understood by qualified instructors and also by serious passionate students, then flying will become safe, enjoyable, and the most beautiful dream you will ever have.  

Low B gliders or gliders that has around 5 aspect ratio for 2019 which are marketed by their manufacturer as an easy intermediate B glider, will be mostly enough to begin your first XC, after your school glider. 
Even in the hands of good pilots, those cool B’s will deliver impressive and long cross country flights. 

So when to change a glider for a newcomer ? 
When you have mastered your ‘first’ glider in every condition for two seasons or for more than 100 hours with the use of bar in turbulent air with your foot controlling the pitch, plus going XC, then considering getting a slightly hotter B will be a logical evolution. 
No need to step further unless you do the same with your hot B. Then if the pilots wants more, a C certified glider will take you anywhere, not because it performs much better than your hot B. But because you will have the skills to fly it efficiently. Otherwise forget any C or D. 
Any pilot stepping far from a beginner wing to a C will regress and loose interest in the sport. There are a few rare exceptions, but for the majority, it is better to move step by step.

For an educated pilot who flies regularly, C and D gliders will deliver more what the air in doing. The feel on the brakes is different and the movements of the glider in the air allows a very good pilot to enjoy surfing the air catching every thermal and also to guide the glider efficiently into long cross country flights. 


Happy and safe flights,
Ziad

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Swing Agera RS SM




The Agera is Swing’s new C glider with RAST. 
Taking off is quite easy, and i didn’t find any particular problem in inflation in nil wind. In strong windy take off, the Agera RS also inflates quite nice and stays easily above the pilots head.

I flew the Agera RS from 96 all up on the SM size (88-100) 
The brakes have medium to light pressure and the Agera turns with very little action on the brakes. The turning radius inside weak and strong thermals are fairly agile. It turns inside a core but stops in the middle and needs to re-power it by releasing the inside brake in order to give it more energy, then lower it again smoothly inside a small core in order to get a tight radius. The Agera RS tends to stop inside one complete tight turn. But i can say that it has a fair agility and needs to get used to.    

Inside a tight core, i tried to keep my inside brake low and tried to lower it slightly more to keep it on track like i tested the other C’s like the A5, Alpina 3, Volt 3. In that matter, the Agera RS doesn’t really accept lowering the brakes near the hips to crank it…It will go into a mild spin. Nothing alarming here…It’s easy to sense for a C pilot, and when releasing the brakes a bit, the glider flies smoothly. So Swing was very keen to announce that this glider is intended for high end C pilots in terms of piloting level. So i felt that the best way to turn it tight, when the glider stops inside a turn, is to give it more energy by releasing the brakes a bit and re-apply it smoothly with weight-shift. 

I made some glide comparisons with an Artik 5 which is a very good glider in that matter, and found out many times that the Agera RS has IMHO, the highest glide on a C ever seen. Indeed, the glide is simply amazing, with a trim speed that’s slightly faster than an Artik 5 fully loaded. I even tried some glides with an LM6 size SM and found out that the Agera RS plays in that class in terms of gliding in moving air. I also felt that when there’s turbulence and difficult windy conditions, that the Agera RS performs at it’s best. So when i let it fly ! the glide angle is superb for a C certified glider. I forgot to say that the Agera RS doesn’t seem to have a shark nose, and the leading edge looks similar to the Nyos RS, with more cells of course, and smaller openings.

I also tested the climb rate in weak stuff. With a Delta 3 SM loaded art 91, and with an LM6 SM loaded at 95. In weak thermals, the Agera RS didn’t feel like a floater. It climbs ok thought, but those tiny bits of lift (-0.5 m/s) , were better smelled by the Delta 3, Artik 5, LM6. So i was hovering a bit more to find a slight steadier core to climb. In stronger cores, the Agera RS climbs really well. It has that power to dig through and climb. 

The speed system has moderate pressure and the top speed seems 12 km/h over trim. Racing a bit with half to full bar, the pressure on the C’s was very ,very light…And considering controlling it in turbulent air like a 2 liner is quite different. Flying the Zeno, a two liner for example, has immediate swift contact via pulling the rear riser, even in turbulent air.  But of course, the Agera RS is not a two liner ! 
It needs a longer input and a  bit more refined C pulling as the Agera RS will be slightly talkative at bar in turbulent air. It surely needs some hours to get use to it, especially to keep the glider from shooting forward in strong air if the pilot is only using the C risers control when going from half to full speed in turbulent air. 


Conclusion: For me the Agera RS properly loaded from 96 to 100 could be very efficient in Alpine racing. The Agera RS glides very well, and convert the bumps in an efficient way. It’s also a comfortable glider to fly in active air. I mean the roll movements are dampened, and ressembles the Volt 3 ones. The glider pitch forward a bit in turbulent air especially at bar but nothing difficult for a regular C pilot. The pilot must be smooth on the handling and refine his feeling on the brake pressure when the cores are very small and when very tight turns are needed. Otherwise European conditions are far different from ours, with larger radius thermals ! 
Probably the RAST system could have gave me that comfort overall feel, like on the Nyos RS, but surely more pronounced on the Agera, but still smooth feedback from the surrounding air is well provided.


This is only my opinion. Make your own !


Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas

Wishes for a safe, long XC's  and happy flights !  :-) 

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Queen 2 light size S





I already have tested the Queen 2 MS in normal cloth. Here’s the Q-light 2 in size S. 
The Q-light is delivered with soft skinny risers and the whole weight of the glider is around 4 kg.  The brakes will go only through a rubber loop to ensure their locking position. (no stainless steel or magnet holder)

Launching the Q-light, in light breeze need a slight pull.The light cloth helps a lot in keeping the glider overhead. For a C pilot, even in strong breeze the Q-light is relatively easy to launch in tricky areas.

I flew the Q-light Small (65-85) at 85 all up, with a Woody Valley GTO Light. 

In this test, i will compare the Q-light Small to the Alpina 3 Small. They both have the same weight range.  I also flew the Artik 5 size 24 (75-95) at 95 all up next to the Q-light Small that was given to a friend who also gave me his feedback of that interesting glider. 
Each time a new glider is out, it’s weird to read tests that go toward “this is the best glider..” kind of talk…But sometimes they truly are quite exquisite !  And test flying them will be a great joy. 

The brake pressure of the Q-light S at 85 all up is toward the light side. It ressembles the Alpina 3 S ones at the same load.  The brakes are precise and the Q-light is very agile !  No matter what quality the thermal delivers, the Q-light can be steered inside the core quite efficiently. That’s a really cool feature in a glider that gives a swift, snappy feel through the brakes, and also a pleasurable and smooth one in turns !
The brakes are to be used moderately as sometimes the Q-light S will dive quickly into a turn. 
Saying that, flat turns are also doable and efficient even on a loaded Q-light S.

What impressed my friend and I on the Q-light S is it’s ability to cut through the air smoothly and very efficiently for a C ! 
Doing some glides next to an Artik 5 24 loaded at top, showed me many times that this small Q-light have an impressive surfing power into the airmass. For pure gliding in moving air, i could easily confirm it’s efficiency for it’s amazing gliding properties that i could place high up in my C comparison table. 

The trim speed of the Q-light S at 85, is faster by 1 km/h than an Artik 5 24 loaded at 95. And also faster than an Alpina 3 S.  
The Artik 5, 24 and the Alpina 3 S are both super fine gliders, but they have this very slight pitch when entering thermals and surfing the air as i already mentioned in my tests. This wasn’t felt at all on the Q-Light S, as it was sliding through the airmass and moving forward with that fine quality to climb like stepping up on stairs. 
   
In my queen 2 MS test, i wrote that the Q2 climbs fast. The Q-Light S is also very similar. When catching a steady, well built thermal, the Q-Light S jumps upward like a spring , and it cores beautifully, responding to every pulled centimeter on the brakes.   
In very weak thermals, (0.2 m/s…0.5 m/s…) the Q-Light S is also efficient, like the Alpina 3 S. Probably the Artik 5 24 also loaded could have a slight edge may be because of being a larger size. I didn’t have an Artik 5 22   to compare, but for me the Q-Light S has already fulfilled beyond my expectations the excellent climb and glide for a C glider. 

The working load on the Q-Light S is slightly higher than the one on the Alpina 3 S as it moves slightly more in turbulent air. To place it accurately, the Q-Light is easier than the 6.4 aspect ratio, Skywalk Spice for example. Fo more details, please see the C comparison already updated.   (https://public.tableau.com/profile/ziad.bassil#!/vizhome/CGliderComparison/CGliderComparison)

The speed system is toward the light side, and the glide seems even more efficient after 5 km/h over trim. Controlling the Q-Light S with the C risers is quite efficient for a 3 liner. 

Ears are stable, sometimes they shake a bit. Smaller ones are more stable. They reopen quite fast.

Conclusion:  When the complete package of overall performance and especially pleasurable feel and handling and strongly present, it’s the heart that influence the writings.  
For me it was indeed rewarding, to test fly this Q-Light S !  A must to test fly if you are looking for a light companion for hike and fly adventures, or XC performance flying. And of course a very strong contender for the sports class competitions. 

Video will follow ,
Happy flights,
Ziad
This is only my opinion. Make your own !

Thursday, November 15, 2018

ADVANCE XI


ADVANCE XI  size 23 

The XI is ADVANCE light high B glider for 2018.  

Launching the XI is effortless and at 86 all up, the glider stays overhead in a slight breeze. The take off is immediate .
The pressure on the brakes are average to light. With a half wrap on the brakes the XI turns quite fast and it’s quite an agile glider to core very narrow thermals.
The brake feel is linear and fairly precise. To compare this feel to a Mentor 5 XS(70-90), the XI brake pressure has a more ‘pilot connection’ feel and more linear response. 
The M5 XS reaction is direct and prompt. On the XI it’s also direct with more feel thought every pulled centimeter.  Compared to a Rush 5 S, the brake pressure is slightly less, a little longer brake travel, but a more agile glider for the XI in thermals.

The roll feel is more pronounced on the XI than the M5, with a glider that connect the pilot with informations through the airmass not really as the M5 which moves more as a block.  Compared to a Rush 5 S (65-85 ) the XI transmits more what’s the air is doing with a more agile glider in thermals.  The B comparison ‘chart’ is updated for small details if needed. 

Climb rate seems very nice even in weak stuff, and i was able to stay quite close to a Mentor 5 XS similarly loaded in the same thermals we encountered. I felt that loading the XI would still be efficient and quite rewarding to surf the airmass.  The XI seems to cut through the airmass a bit less than the Iota 2, and that’s why i felt that when loaded it up,  i got a better forward push.
Going on some glides next to a Mentor 5 XS showed me that the XI are quite similar with a slight edge in surfing the air without loosing much in sinking air, at trim and at half bar for the XI. 

Comparing it to a Mentor 5 (light) XS, which is much different than the regular version in the way it bumps more into the airmass.(i don’t know why…) I would possibly lean slightly toward the XI for it’s overall performance and glide through turbulent air if both ‘light’ gliders are similarly loaded. 

Pushing the speed bar will give a +12 km/h over trim at 1000 ASL, and the pressure is moderate and very usable. 

Ears are stable and reopen quickly without pilot intervention. 

Conclusion: For a light high performance B, the XI is a nice companion for travel, hike and fly, and XC. 
The overall performance is among the top B’s. Nice handling, pleasure feel in thermals, and a small packing volume.  


This is only my opinion. Make your own !

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

GIN Bonanza 2 S (75-95)





GIN Bonanza 2 S (75-95) 

I received the Bonanza 2 S at noon and called Elie to meet me at the take off with an Alpina 3 SM (75-95) 
We flew the gliders at 93.2 all up exactly for both !  Elie on the Forza, took some ballast to match my all weight on my X-rated 6. 
This test concerns ‘only’ the Bonanza 2 size S with that loading. Other loadings as i will mention later, or other sizes that i didn’t try could have other feedback or feel. Example: ( many pilots reported different behavior and brake feel on a Sigma 10 size 27 than the Sigma 25 i have tested which i consider to have a very good agility when flown at 97 all up) 

On take off with a slight 10 km/h breeze, the Bonanza inflates moderately and stabilises gently above my head. Take off was immediate !   

First thermal, and first turn showed me a good agility to place the Bonanza 2 exactly between the Artik 5 and the Alpina 3 in terms of agile turning behavior. The brake pressure however are lighter than the Artik 5 and slightly smoother. It’s like having a hydraulic steering wheel in a 4X4 car ! The brakes and feel are exquisite. They are slightly long perhaps, but after the 10 cm from the pulleys the fan reacts. They are trimmed quite precise. I use a half wrap on my brakes so for this style, they are ‘perfect’ !  A real pleasure to fly that glider !  Every centimeter reacted to my command with a linear nice response. Coring some small thermals will be very swift if the pilot releases completely the other side and pulling the inner brake inside the core, could lead to a cork screw turn !  
In turbulent air and choppy thermals, i needed to control the other side, but overall the Bonanza 2 S have a nice agile handling for a 6.4 AR C glider.

I flew also at 96 all up on the S and could confirm that the climb in weak is still very efficient. The leading edge does cope better with a turbulent airmass, cutting through better. The handling at that load also is exquisite ! After so many C’s the handling and the way to steer and control the Bonanza 2 S with it’s aspect ratio of 6.44 could be described as ‘power steering’ at it’s best  :-)   Very smooth  ! 
Flying the Bonanza 2 S at mid weight could be ok..but in order to feel every bits of air and turn it sharply…then flying it at top weight is ‘best’   !! 

The feel of movements under the Bonanza 2 is really similar to the one of the Artik 5 !  The structure is even more homogenous in turbulent stuff. It feels more balanced as it works itself quite comfortably in turbulent air. The Bonanza 2 compensate with a high degree of comfort ! In my humble opinion , i think it’s easier to fly than the already easy ‘Artik  5 ! when conditions are hazardous and choppy. 
In rough thermals, it jumps quite fast toward the core, but still very manageable for a C.  
Even though having an aspect ratio of 6.44 that doesn’t really show…It’s like flying a 6 AR C glider ! 
So comparing a 6.4 AR Cayenne 5 XS(75-95 kg)  to a 6.44 AR Bonanza 2 S (75-95 kg ) is unreal…The bonanza 2 has a much higher ratio of comfort in turbulent air, and needs much less pilot capability to keep the glider overhead.  It ressembles the Delta 3 MS in those terms with the extra spices for a better feel, an educated pilot would love ! 

Climbing next to an Alpina 3 MS gave me quite a large idea about the Bonanza2 climbing properties. The Bonanza 2 S climbs as well as the Artik 5 24 at the same load. Flying close to the sea level, the weather sometimes feels heavy with a present sea breeze with sometimes bullet thermals that won’t last for a half turn. In those difficult conditions, i could say that the best load for the Bonanza 2 S is +95 all up, very similar to the Artik 5 size 24 that needs to be flown at 95…96…All that load was needed on the Bonanza 2 and the Artik 5 in order to minimize the pitch back delays when encountering those thermals.  When loaded, the feel of less pitch with a lading edge that slices better into the airmass. 
Overall i felt that the Bonanza 2 S even loaded at 95 would be quite efficient in weak thermals among the best C’s of the moment.

Gliding for 2 hours, next to an Alpina 3 MS with same load showed me a faster trim speed for the Bonanza 2 S of about +1 km/h  km/h !  The glide was very close if the Alpina 3 MS was to accelerate to match the B2 trim speed. At full bar ,the Bonanza 2 have also 2 km/h more speed than the Alpina 3 MS. Overall the Bonanza 2 S have a very nice glide angle among the top C’s. 
If you are keen to know the 0.1…0.2 plus or minus LD…you can check my C comparison already updated !  
But for any pilot in the ‘C’ Category, the Bonanza 2 will deliver very good gliding properties. 

Big ears are stable, quite efficient, usable with bar, and reopen slowly sometimes without pilot assist. Sometimes one ear need a small dab on the brakes. But super efficient and stable.
The pressure on the bar is moderate. It has much less pressure on the second bar than the Artik 5. the overall pressure is slightly more than the one on the Alpina 3, or the Sigma 10 but quite comfortable to use.
The leading edge in a full bar, with pulleys overlapping, still have some centimeters to spare. At that speed pulling the A’s 2 cm doesn’t collapse the wing immediately. There’s some reserve…Pulling some asymmetric collapses are really easy, and holding them is a child’s play. like on a B glider ! counter steering inside the harness is sufficient to keep it horizontal while holding the A riser ! 
 The opening is fast.

Conclusion: 
The ‘C’ category holds many gliders, but if you are looking for a complete and balanced one, there are only a few to look at …The Bonanza 2 S is surely one of them ! 
A homogenous, well balanced, easy to fly, confidence inspiring glider, with smooth, good handling and top overall performance. Any pilot looking for the C category will find a successful overall package to fly XC with enough efficiency and pleasure.  



This is only my opinion. Make your own !



Tuesday, September 25, 2018

ADVANCE Interview



I asked Mr Valery Chapuis of ADVANCE a few questions. He was so kind to reply.
Ziad: Any new releases for 2019 ?
Valery: A new EPSILON 9 coming early next year, in 5 sizes, all B certified ; a new X-Alps 3 coming in the middle of the year ; a new ALPHA 7 coming in the end of the year, in 5 sizes, all A certified.
Ziad: What month could we order the Lightness 3 ?
Valery:
From October, the first deliveries are expected before the end of the year (Rolf will be in our factory soon to check the latest details).
Ziad: Any new D class project?
Valery: No new D project, only our research prototypes. But in case we think we have the best wing in this category, we’ll think about a serial model.
Ziad: Why the Lightness 3 is without rear fairing?
Valery: Because the weight and volume are priorities with the Lightness 3, even if we can make a light fairing, it will be heavier than without. It will come with the Impress 4.
Ziad: Any Impress 4 with rear fairing soon?
Valery: Yes, coming next year, maybe before summer. We are testing a lot now.
Ziad: Are Advance considering a harness with both possibilities of seat and seatless option in one design?
Valery: No, it doesn’t make sense, to complicated, and it’s much better without seat-board…! But we understand and agree that some pilots may prefer with a seat-board.
Ziad : Anything you would like to add?
Valery: Yes, we thank a lot all the pilots who trust us and made the success of ADVANCE and we tell them Happy Birthday, Happy 30 years…!
Ziad: Thank you very much for your answers ! 


UPDATE and more comments.
About OXA 3 and Impress 4. 
We made different prototypes to develop the OXA3 and nothing is definitive. We have 2, 2.5 and 3 liner protos. Aspect ratio around 7. We still have time to test and the final version will be decided next year.

About the Impress 4, it should come with a seat board, the final decision is not made yet, but our protos are with a seat board.

I cannot be more precise now, it’s too early as these products are still under development.

Friday, September 21, 2018

UP Meru SM




UP Meru SM

After the beautiful Trango X-care, here’s the new 2 liner from UP. The Meru smallest size to date is the SM with a weight range of 85-105.  For me it’s a big glider, and i have to add lots of ballast with my X-rated 6.

At 100 all up the Meru inflates quite nice in 15 km/h wind.  The inner A’s are enough to pull the Meru in a steady and moderate launch without any shooting forward in moderate wind. 

First turn, and i could feel the nice brake authority on the brakes with a very nice handling for a 2 liner. Much shorter than a Zeno in response, and slightly more agile.  The Meru cuts nicely into wind, and it showed me a very efficient glider in that matter. In fact the trim speed of the Meru is slightly higher than the Zeno one, if both are similarly loaded. 

The Meru brake authority is quite nice, but surely doesn’t match the Trango X-race one. Overall it has a linear and precise brake input in order to place the Meru inside cores. The Meru feels well tough and doesn’t really move in the air like the Zeno. It feels calmer in moderate conditions. In strong air, the Meru jumps swiftly and dynamically slightly more than the Zeno and of course a good 2 liner pilot will have no problem flying it easily. It just to mention that it’s a 2 liner after all. But a very well accessible one.

In terms of float ability, i could sense that the Zeno seems slightly floatier in weak thermals. In strong air, the Meru climbs really fast ,and i think with the same pilot level, it could have the edge over the Zeno, just because it doesn’t pitch back on entry, and the handling is sharper.

Cruising from 50 % to 75 % of the speed system is really nice as the B controls are efficient and will keep the Meru effortlessly above the pilots head, in moderate air…

Big ears and ears are difficult to induce. I have tried to go up high and pull the outer A’s but it has lots of pressure and if they tuck after many attempts, the sink rate is still around -1.8 m/s. Pulling the outer B’s with my foot on the pedal, deforms quite high the extremities and  after some attempt, it seems to stall the whole glider rather than tuck…It’s not an easy task…and better to skip it i think…
360’s seems the only way to get down.

Gliding with a Zeno SM and same loadings, showed very close performance in XC conditions, with some float ability to the Zeno and some efficient digging through the airmass for the Meru. 


Conclusion: I had hoped for a smaller size in order to fly it more and more…12 kg of ballast over my X-rated 6 (already 10 kg) is not really nice for every day flying in a hot country… 
Overall, i found out that the Meru is an interesting EN-D 2 liner form UP, that can be a first 2 liner after one full season on a regular high aspect ratio 3 line D glider ( ex: Mantra 6, etc…)  
I had hoped for an efficient big ears descent…but it’s not available.  Other than that, the overall performance and efficiency in climb and glide is simply amazing.



This is only my opinion. Make your own !

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Niviuk Artik 5 update

The Artik 5 in the test was one of the first released ones. After a few weeks ,Niviuk sent some lines to change this first batch ! 
There was 2 cm less in some C lines, and some brake adjustments.
I had the chance to re-test fly this last version. 
The trim speed is slightly slower on this re-trim configuration and the Artik 5 pitches slightly back upon entering thermals. It's still very efficient in climb and glide on top of the C category !
The handling is slightly better and smoother !
Everything else is still the same. Still hard on the second bar. 
I have liked the first version for it's biting and jumping into thermals, and it's fast trim speed ! 
When it's windy the first version was perfect ! in getting through the airmass.
The modified and final released version is still on top of the C category. The Artik is very well pressurized, very solid, very taught which leads to a comfortable glider in the air.
But the management is strong air needs a good high end C pilot. 

Cheers,

Ziad



This is only my opinion. Make your own !

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Supair STEP S (70-90) EN-B



Supair STEP EN-B  size S

The Step is Supair’s new high B glider.  The Step with an aspect ratio of 5.7, has a shark nose, and a refined unsheathed set on lines.  With this look and construction Supair looks serious about performance gain…Lets see…

The take off is calm, and doesn’t have a tendency to overshoot, unless the pilot don’t use a little brake. 

I flew the S size (70-90) from 85 to 90 all up. This test concern this size with the mentioned loadings. Other sizes ‘could’ be different and flying the S size in different loads at the beginning of the range ‘could’ differ. Just to be specific. This test is an idea . Test flying is best !

I also flew the S size with different harnesses, one GTO light M and one Delight 3 M. In strong air at higher altitude sites, the combination of GTO Light and the Step are very different from the Delight 3 /Step combination, in matter of roll movements and pilot correction when encountering strong turbulence. The GTO light allow to feel the sharp movements under the Step, and gave me slightly more workout than a Mentor 5 XS, or the Chili 4 if both flown with the GTO Light.
Flying the Delight 3 M size with the Step was completely different and the Step was very auto-controlled by that harness in sudden lifts and sharp thermals.  The Step felt a need to be controlled slightly more than the M5 XS. It feels slightly similar to the Chili4 S (75-95). 
The Rush 5, S (70-90) is calmer and tamer than the others.  
The Step handling and brake authority are more defined than the M5 XS which is a bit less informative and not as linear as the Step. The Rush 5 S is slightly harder, with less travel, and lesser agility.   The Chili 4 S is sharper, shorter in travel than the Step with close agility. 
Overall the Step is an agile glider with a linear and pleasurable feel on the brakes. 

Supair of course designed that harness with the Step, and i humbly recommend that you try the Step with the Delight 3 in order to feel that difference.  

The Step has a moderate to light feel on the brakes without any hard point. After the 10 cm gap away from the pulleys, the Step can be steered lightly with 20 cm of brake travel for swift but mellower turning radius.  Lowering the brakes at the carabiner level, will induce a corkscrew turn enabling very tight turns. This feature is not available on the M5, Rush 5, and even the agile Chili4 !  
The Step has the genes of the little Leaf in terms of turning radius !  The overall pilot level over the Leaf is a step and a half ! 

I flew next to a Mentor 5 XS (70-90) that has the same size as the Step, and we were similarly loaded. Best way to compare and comment. 

The Step climbs really well…Knowing that the M5 XS is a super climber, i cannot but confirm that the Step felt super competitive with an edge !  The ability for the Step to tighten the turning radius is an efficient way to climb in narrow cores. 
The Step has a very slight pitch back, sometimes un noticeable. I felt that i could be more efficient when i flew the Step at max weight ! the climb didn’t suffer at all, and i was still climbing like a spring without any pitch momentum. 

Doing some glides with the same mentor 5 XS , lifted my eyebrows over my sunglasses !  :-) 
The Step is a serious gliding machine, and we were both inseparable in glide at trim, at half bar, even at top speed. The Step has 13 km/h over trim taken at 1000 ASL. 

The handles on the C are efficient on this 3 liner in moderate conditions.  Applying half to full bar, in moving conditions, and controlling with the C handles, i was able to prevent most pitch situations. 

The leading edge felt very well pressurized. It was hard to pull on the A lines to induce a collapse at trim speed. St full bar the leading edge flutters a bit , but it feels solid.  

Big ears are stable. They have a moderate efficiency and they reopen quickly without any input. 

Conclusion:  IMHO, Supair has made their best glider till date for overall package it has to offer.  Climb like a devil, glide like the top high B, handles super well…fast enough for a high B…what can i say more…If you want my opinion….A demo should be considered as your next step   ;-)




This is only my opinion. Make your own !


Monday, August 13, 2018

Woody Valley GTO Light size M


My main and long tested harnesses were the GTO in L and XL ,The connect race XL, which was the WVGTO slightly modified for more options, The X-rated 6 in L and XL. 
I personally liked the configuration of those harnesses and the way they transmit roll movements in the air. Probably the GTO and Connect race transmits a bit more the turbulent and sharp airmass sometimes, but in overall conditions they are really nice to fly. 

I have here the GTO Light in size M and L. Woody Valley changed their sizing and the new GTO Light in M size is ‘slightly’ bigger than the old GTO L size ! 

For my 1.81 and 73 kg, the GTO Light M size suits me perfectly. I also tried the L size but it seems a bit big for me. Could be ok…But i prefer the snug fit of the M size. 

The GTO Light doesn’t have a seat board, but the pilot sits on a firm and flat back protection which gives more or less a good solid sitting feel. But it’s not a solid seat board feel. 

The rescue compartment seems large enough for big rescues. A Rogallo type, can fit easily. 

The comfort sitting position of the GTO Light for the back, hips is excellent. It resemble the best comfortable harnesses. The GTO Light is much more comfortable to sit in than the old GTO, Connect race, X-rated 6. It comes very close to the Forza and the Lightness 2 in terms of back support and comfort. 

As for the roll movements, they seem to be less informative than a Lightness 2 for example and quite close to the old GTO. Weight shift capabilities are excellent ! 
I could really weight shift efficiently by balancing my weight to the turning side much better than the Supair Delight 1 or 2 and for sure better than the X-rated 6. 

I can say that there’s some balanced roll movement in the GTO Light to ensure a pleasurable flight as the movements are precise and accurate. In the Lightness 2 and the Impress 3, the induced roll movements by entering thermals were not really homogenous, as i already mentioned it in those tests, but in the GTO Light, they deliver exactly what’s the air is doing without parasitical or unnecessary yaw movements. 
The legs are naturally supported and doesn’t require any effort form the pilot to keep them straight. 
The speed system is the same as the old GTO with 3 steps, and still easy to use. 
The chest strap is easily adjustable as the adjustment lays flat on top on the front strap. The Cockpit is placed on the right angle, the adjustments can be altered in flight if they are not secured by a loop. But it’s preferable to adjust them before the flight. 

The pod seems warm enough. But must wait until winter to be sure... 
The GTO light doesn’t look as fragile as it weight. I mean it look solid enough for a light harness. There's also good back compartment for storage. 
I have added a small ball with an elastic on the front pod to ensure proper entry into the pod like the one on the Forza, because i had difficulties to enter. 

Conclusion: Overall i like that harness. I think Woody Valley has created a very nice light and comfortable to sit, harness with a rear inflatable for more aerodynamics and has practically everything a pilot needs.

Cheers, 
Ziad 



Supair Delight 3 size M



Supair Delight 3 size M

I already have flown the Delight 2, and still have one over here with a friend. So i can compare both harnesses. I will also compare in this test the Delight 3 M with the GTO, GTO Light, Lightness 2 M.

At first, it looks like all the materials used on the Delight 3 are an upgrade over the Delight 2. The overall construction seems also much better. The rear back storage compartment is slightly bigger. 
The rescue system operates in an innovative way and it looks very neat. 
What looks and feel the same is the chest strap system and sitting position. The chest strap lays flat on top of the buckle, and can be easily reached and adjusted, like the GTO Light ,Gin Race 4. 

Getting into the pod is easy without any ball attachment. 

I flew the Alpina 3 in S size at the same load both on the GTO Light and on the Delight 3 for 3 consecutive days…In our Cedars site which is know for it’s rough air at mid day in August.
 ”Finally the weather is improving … :-)”  
In turbulent air and sharp thermals, the GTO light and the Lightness 2 would shake my body at higher angles right or left, and needed a quick weight shift to counter steer in order to keep levels , the Delight 3 abs system would provide 60 % of that work, enabling the pilot to focus on the thermal quality and steering direction and precision.  
Under the same tested glider which is an easy C, i found out that the Delight 3 would largely compensate those dynamic drops from left to right in strong bumpy air.  
It’s a matter of personal feel if someone would like this feature or not.  
I personally like the feel under the GTO Light which let you feel like a swallow …But one thing for sure, is that in strong air i was able to turn faster and easier “on rails” those bullet thermals just because i wasn’t thrown around…and that’s a quite interesting feature to consider also when flying in strong air even when the chest strap is largely opened.  



In weak stuff, the GTO Light weight shift authority is remarkably easier to induce, and also the feel in light air. But i was happy to open the chest strap on the Delight 3 to feel those tiny movements when the thermals are weak at the end of the day. The roll feel are still there, but much less. 

The size of the Delight 3 M size for my 181 and 73 kg are perfect. I feel I’m in the middle of it’s weight/ height range.
The back support and sitting position on the Delight 3 are fairly comfortable.  In this matter i cannot compare seatless harnesses with seat board harnesses in terms of comfort as the seatless like the GTO Light or the Lightness 2 would offer that homogenous hammock feel, but i can clearly confirm a very good back comfort on the Delight 3. 
The front instrument holder is in the right angle, and it’s front pocket is large enough for storage. 
Under the seat a 5 kg ballast can be easily fitted. 
The accelerator has two steps and the pulleys deliver a smooth push.
The one thing i was expecting, is a rear inflatable cone, on that seat board harness !  and that light harness would be a very interesting one…But i’m being picky… 

Conclusion: The Delight 3 offers an excellent comfortable ride and will deliver a smooth and well balanced feel about the air. 
What i would say that i think the Delight 3 would be quite an interesting harness to fly under some dynamic handling gliders.  
For sure ,it’s a matter of adaptation and getting use to any harness, but IMHO, flying in strong places for hours, some pilots will save also the extra energy in compensating glider movements and will be more efficient at the task at hand.  

Nice materials used, light, can be stored with an average compact size, comfortable for a seat-board harness. If you know the feel under the Delight 2, then you have a large idea, otherwise demoing one could be an interesting ride.













Friday, August 3, 2018

SKY Aeon M (80-95)



SKY Aeon  M (80-95)

The Aeon is the new EN-D from Sky-paragliders with a D rating. It has a 7 aspect ratio and three lines configuration.

The launching is homogenous and easy. It resembles the LM6 launching behavior. 

In the air at 93 all up, the brake travel to induce a turn are relatively moderate to short and the reaction of the glider in homogenous but strong thermals is quite nice and the Aeon could be described as fairly agile. In turbulent air and choppy thermals, an implication is needed to make a clean turn as i could sense the aspect ratio. Much like the LM6 in that matter. 
The difference is that the LM6 brake are slightly firmer and it feels more as a block, the Aeon feels quite tamer, slightly less feel on the brakes, and less dynamic movements in overall conditions. 

The trim speed of the Aeon M at 93 is around +1.5 km/h than an LM6 S (70-85) at 85 all up or an LM6 MS at 95 all up.  The glide in still air is very close. The glide in turbulent air is also quite similar. The difference came slightly at first bar in turbulent air where the Aeon comfortable movements could have a slightly floatier results. But it’s really very small…And practically the differences will come from the pilot in that case. The C controls work well on this 3 liner. For sure not comparable with 2 liners but still nice to prevent moderate pitch behavior in turbulence. 

However, i was impressed by the climb rate of the Aeon that showed me on several occasions a slightly faster climb than the LM6, especially in sudden thermals or strong cores. It seems that the Aeon is converting every move to a climb which gives a quite efficient tool in XC.  This was also felt in moving air where the Aeon could be a nice efficient floater in those conditions, surfing the airmass rather than bumping and loosing the glide. Actually the 7 aspect ratio Aeon was giving me a D class performance which is different than a high C class performance glider in it’s ability to convert the turbulent air into good and smooth gliding properties.

The differences in behavior between the LM6 and the Aeon are very different, as one pilot will appreciate the stiffer feel of the LM6 and brake pressure connectivity, to the slightly softer canopy feel but (still very coherent) of the Aeon with a softer but still responsive brake feel. 
Saying this, i could also feel that in relatively strong air, the Aeon gave me the overall feel of a D glider, as it needed a precise pilot handling which confirm it’s placement in that class. 

Ears are stable and need pilot input to reopen.

Conclusion: Sky has created a comfortable but efficient EN-D glider for the required pilots. Very good climbing behavior, very nice glide at bar. Light weight, and comfortable to fly for pilots flying gliders in the D category. 



This is only my opinion. Make your own !