Testing new paragliding gear

Testing new paragliding gear
For quicker old review findings, please go to : ww.dustoftheuniverse.com

Saturday, April 5, 2014

OZONE Rush 4 SM



Ozone Rush 4 SM
And finally, the long awaited glider came to my house this morning.
Being a Rush 4 SM ,i rushed to the take off to get a taste of its features.

Laying it on the ground and as an SM with 25 sqm, it looks a bit smaller than the Delta 2 SM which has also 25 sqm.

Today i flew at 92.4 kg all up on the SM size (75-95)

Launching : Reverse launching at 15 km/h wind on a relatively 30 degrees slope, the Rush 4 doesn't overpass it's pilots, and needs a steady but gentle pull all the way.

In the air : Once airborne and having flown the Delta 2 SM for the last days at 92.5 also, i can confirm a quick 'feel' of a more smaller but 'compact' glider.

The air today was turbulent and there was some 15 km/h North/west head wind with very poor visibility. I have flown many years into those conditions to understand better glider reactions.

The Rush 4 is not a tamed glider in the high-end B category like its predeccessor the Rush 3 nor it is a wild one.

It has a 'balanced' but dynamic feel and moves as a whole reminding me the Mentor 2 with ‘slightly less’ overall feedback but with a moderate spicy feel that some experienced B or C pilots downgrading will find this EN-B a cherry on the cake.

The authority on the brakes reminded me also of the Mentor 2 that i liked very much at the time. The Rush 4 has a relatively short and direct handling with a precise and linear travel. The turning radius at my loadings can be very narrow, so the pilot can core the thermals instantly without any delay.

Entering some rough thermals, the Rush 4 doesn't surge forward, but pitches 'very slightly' backward and immediately regain balance overhead.

360’s are easy to enter and they are a very efficient descent method when settled in, as the loss of altitude is very quick.
The exit is relatively energetic but still in the B certification.

Ears are made with the outer A's .They are stable with a -3m/s descent rate. If the pilot takes more lines for bigger ears, they will flap.
The opening of normal ears are very quick and sometimes with a bang ! They are very pressurized !

Pushing the speed system in rough air surprised me for its very solid behavior ! I really wanted to see if the leading edge would soften a bit being pulley to pulley. But it didn't ! The Rush 4 SM at my loadings was very solid and coherent .The foot pressure is similar to the Delta 2 one which is relatively medium to light.
Measuring the top speed at 1000 asl /temp 25 C/ humidity 80% gave me a 13 km increase over trim !OZONE RUSH 4 SM

Performance UPDATE :

Launching : Like any high-end B i found that the take off is very easy…and sometimes in nil wind a little steady push on the A’s is welcomed.

In the air : Flying the Rush 4 in different conditions from weak to strong with some glides made in head wind conditions, showed me a average comfort behavior for the high-end B category. There are some low aspect B’s that require more pilot input and some require less. So the Rush 4 is in the middle of the category in terms of comfort.
The handling is the strongest point of the Rush 4.It has a relatively short, direct and precise brake control that a pilot could place it exactly where he wants inside the core. On top of that the Rush 4 informs its pilot about those movements needed to locate a thermal letting him aware where the thermal is. Some high end B’s are too dampened in pitch that sometimes you loose a weak thermal by missing it. That’s not the case with the Rush 4.

Climb rate : Flying the SM at 93 all up showed me that it has similar climb rate to a similar loaded Mentor 3 S even in all thermal conditions …form weak to strong…to head wind thermal-ling…They are very similar in climb. (My M3 reference friend flies with me for the last 20 years)

Glide : We did in fact make some interesting into wind glide …
With similar loadings for both.

At trim speed the Mentor 3 S has ±1 km/h forward speed .To reach the same speed as the M3 i had to push the bar slightly. The glides are impressively the same at that configuration.

After many attempts of glide measurements :
The glides were made in moving air (Video soon) in 15 km/h head wind and on 5 km run.
I was on the Rush 4 SM at 93 all up, pulley to pulley to reach the M 3 S speed which has still 3 cm more pushing travel.
After some kms, we both agreed that the M3 is still one of the best contenders to beat in glide in the high-end B category by a little insignificant margin…As the Blacklight and Chili 3 are the best in climb !

The M3 pushed the full bar and had + 3km/h more top end speed.

What’s special about the Rush 4 ?

The thing is that the Rush 4 combine many features in one glider :
Superb handling, top end glide in the high end B cat, very good climb,
Overall very pleasurable to fly,
And that in « one » comfortable complete package.

Not to forget the solidity and the use of full bar is a fine achievement !
I was able to push the full lengths in some turbulent air and the glider was indeed « Rock solid » !

Conclusion :
For the last year and a half i never sold the Delta 2 SM.For me it was the best glider in the C category and i kept it as reference for comparing and above all for my flying pleasure !

With the Rush 4, Ozone has created close enough the same feeling under a glider that the Delta 2 had, but with a more compact and more solid glider to fly safely in strong conditions.I felt that +92 on the SM (75-95) is a good weight for overall (rough and soft ) conditions to combine good climb and glide.

My findings are personal and i recommend that you get a test flight on this nice machine to evaluated yourself !
Comparing ‘only’ very small performance gain is useless if the glider doesn’t give you the joy to fly…
I am sure that the Rush 4 will give a smile to many faces as it has many qualities to get any high-end B pilot the best XC’s he dreams about with the safety and pleasure he gets flying it.


More videos soon !!

 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

NOVA ION 3 S (80-100)

NOVA Ion 3 S (80-100)

Having flown the Ion 1 and Ion 2 here is the Ion 3 test flight.

Nova has already proven with the Ion 2 its ability to make some long XC flying with a large passive safety. They claim that the Ion 3 is targeted to the same group of pilots wanting more performance without the stress of a high aspect ratio glider.

The glider just arrived and I am already on the take off.

Construction:
On the Ion 3 unsheathed lines are found at the top and normal on the bottom main lines. I could see a clean 3 line construction without any splits on the C .

Digging my ‘hard nose’ inside the NOVA ‘Air scoop’ cells of the Ion 3 to check the construction, Wink I can see that you could expect a quality beyond questioning on the ION 3. The workmanship on this glider and on recent NOVA gliders is really remarkable.

Launching the Ion3 is straightforward and at 95 all up I was immediately airborne even with a light breeze.

In the air:
First thermal and first contact in the air on board the ION 3 S size loaded at 95,showed a very quick brake response.
After the first 10 cm slack from the pulleys, the glider can be turned on the second 10 cm travel and it doesn't need more !
It is weird for me to experience that on a low B glider.

I have tried to dig the brake 40 cm lower just to make sure it doesn’t spin…. But it does seem to be a forgiving B glider.

The pressure on the 10 cm travel needed to steer the glider is average, just like on the Ion 2, but pulling +10 cm more showed a hard brake pressure.

In thermals the glider is easy to place inside the core with just those 10-12 cm .

Roll response is present on the Ion 3 slightly more than on the Ion 2. But the pilot feels its passive safety, as it doesn’t have some high angle surges. Just moving above the pilot’s head…

In entering the thermals, the Ion 1 would pitch back a little, the Ion 2 would have a slightly more neutral pitch, but the Ion 3 has a slight forward pitch, as it seems to reach for the thermals. A nice feature for discovering the higher rated gliders.

The Ion 3 seems to have its entire load on the A’s and B’s. At trim speed, the C lines are nearly loose. It is another concept from the Ion 2.

The speed travel is long for the category and I was able to get +12 km/h over trim speed.
The pressure is similar to the Ion 2, which has a relatively average pressure.

Big ears are stable and reopen on their own.

The performance seems nice for this low-end B.
I have to make more flights along new low-end B’s to be more sure.
But it seems that at second bar the glide doesn’t deteriorate like on the Ion 2 ! It feels more faster with a more interesting horizontal glide !


More feedback,

Today i was hoping to get a long glide with the Buzz Z4 with same loadings, but the conditions weren’t so ideal for comparing. But after some hours in the air, here is what i found more :

Climbing :
Flying the Ion 3 S today with ballast at 96 all up.
First it was a bit windy and in those conditions when on a thermal and facing the wind, the Ion 3 as a low B glider behaves like the class above in surfing upward the air with each turn.It means that the leading edge would convert the lift to a nice climb.This characteristic was not really found before on the low B gliders i have tested.

Going in some turbulent conditions the Ion 3 moves above the pilots head but won’t go far, and after a while the pilot will get a solid confidence !

At the end of the day, i dropped the 3 kg ballast to get to 93 all up.The brake pressure felt a little less tiring and the glider was surely a better floater, that could easily be compared to the class above ! in terms of climbing efficiency.

The Ion 3 doesn’t require a heavy approach. If the pilot will let it fly, without too much brake input, it will ‘surf’ the air in a very efficient glide for its low B category ! I think it is designed for XC flights in mind.

The glide test is coming soon, but it seems that the Ion 3 has some impressive glide angle for its category, especially into wind transitions and at bar !
Just to tease you a bit Wink
Soon…

Cheers,
Ziad.



Tuesday, February 11, 2014

EN-C comparison (Update) ----- Inserting the Queen, Alpina 2 and Carrera ----


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- OZONE Delta 1 M = UP Summit XC2 M= Alpina 2
2- ADVANCE Sigma 8 25
3- GRADIENT Aspen 4 26 = Triple seven Queen
4- NIVIUK Artic 3 = AD Volt SM =BGD Tala M = Ozone Delta 2 = Cayenne 4
5- OZONE Alpina M =U-Turn Passion SM = Nova Factor 2 S = Aircross U-Cross= Carrera
6- MacPara Marvel 25 = UP Trango XC 2


 

Handling in rough air: (The one that you can turn even in rough air)
1- Gradient Aspen 4 ! (Superb) = Alpina 2
2- Nova Factor 2 = Artic 3 = Cayenne 4 S = Ozone Delta 2 = Triple seven Queen = Carrera
3- U-Turn Passion SM= BGD Tala M
4- OZONE Alpina M = UP Trango XC 2 S/M
5- ADVANCE Sigma 8 25 & U-Cross
6- UP Summit XC2 M = Marvel 25 = Delta M =AD Volt SM
7- Artic 3 Race

 

Performance in calm air (no activity):
1- Triple seven Queen
2- NIVIUK Artic 3 Race = Cayenne 4 S= BGD Tala = Alpina 2 = Carrera
3- NIVIUK Artic 3 = U-Turn Passion S/M =UP Trango XC 2 S/M = AD Volt SM= Ozone Delta 2
Between (1) and (2) the difference is “negligible”
4- Nova factor 2 S =Marvel 25 = Aspen 4 26
5- Advance Sigma 8 25 & Ozone Alpina M & Ozone Delta M
6- U-Cross S
7- UP Summit XC2

 

Performance at "trim speed" in head wind glides and turbulent conditions:
1- Triple seven Queen
2- Alpina 2
3- Carrera
4- NIVIUK Artic 3 Race = U-Turn Passion SM = UP Trango XC 2= Ozone Delta 2
5- Ozone Alpina M = Skywalk Cayenne 4 = NIVIUK Artic 3 = Aspen 4 =AD Volt SM = BGD Tala
6- Advance Sigma 8 25 ( It has a very neutral pitch that allows it to stay on its path)
7- Nova factor 2 S (moves a bit)
8- Ozone Delta M (calm and always steady) & U-Cross S ( like on steroids )
9- UP Summit XC2 (Very close to the DELTA and U-Cross )

 

Performance at "first bar" in headwind glides and sudden lifts :
1- Triple seven Queen (very efficient)
2- Alpina 2
3- Carrera
4- UP Trango XC 2 S/M = Ozone Delta 2
5 NIVIUK Artic 3 Race = U-Turn Passion SM = BGD Tala
6- NIVIUK Artic 3 = Aspen 4 =Cayenne 4 S= AD Volt SM
7- Nova factor 2 S
8- Ozone Alpina M & Advance Sigma 8 25
9- Ozone Delta & UP Summit XC2 M

 

Climb rate in weak but “difficult” conditions < 0.5 m/s (not homogenous thermals ,low in the inversion) :
1- U-Turn Passion S/M = Ozone Delta 2 ML
2- UP Trango XC 2 S/M= Delta 2 SM = Alpina 2 = Carrera M
2- NIVIUK Artic 3=Marvel 25= Aspen 4 = Skywalk Cayenne 4 S = BGD Tala= Carrera S
3- Ozone Alpina M & Advance Sigma 8 25 & UP Summit XC2 M
4- Gin Tribe M =Artic 3 Race = AD Volt SM = Triple seven Queen
5- Ozone Delta M & U-Cross S
6- Nova Factor 2 S

 

Climb rate in punchy thermal conditions :
1-UP Trango XC 2 S/M = Ozone Delta 2 = Alpina 2 = Carrera M & S
2-U-Turn Passion S/M = Cayenne 4=Marvel 25= Artic 3 Race = BGD Tala M
3-Artic 3 normal = Aspen 4= AD Volt SM = Triple seven Queen

 

Brake description :
- 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 gives you the most efficient XC for overall use.

1- Alpina 2 (why ? simply because it is the most easy to use and efficient C glider.)
2- Ozone Delta 2 = Up Trango XC2 = U-turn Passion = Carrera M & S
3- BGD Tala M = Niviuk Artic 3, A3 Race, Skywalk Cayenne 4, Mac Para Marvel, Ozone Alpina M, AD Volt SM, Triple seven Queen
4- Advance Sigma 8, Aspen 4, U-Cross S, ,
ps: If the queen climb would be slightly better for low saves, then it would have been my favorite !

 

Faster at second bar:
1- Queen
2- Passion=Cayenne 4= Artic 3 Race = Aspen 4,
3- Delta 2=Sigma 8= Alpina 2
4- Trango XC2 = BGD Tala = Carrera

Big ears efficiency:
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)
Artic 3 = Artic 3 Race = U-Turn Passion SM (stable moderate ears ) =UP Trango XC 2 S/M= AD Volt SM
Marvel 25 ( moderate use of big ears-moves a bit)

 

Cheers,
Ziad.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Triple Seven Queen M

Triple Seven Queen M

Finally the Queen arrived. Directly for the box to the take off…I saw the size 85-104 . Being a bit far form the ideal weight, I ballasted up to 102 !

Conditions of the day were …amazing !!! Thermals lifted us to +1000m above take off , and long glides were made…

Takeoff : I didn’t find any particular thing to say ! The glider has a very quick and nice take off behavior !

In the air : Having flown the carrera M, and S size with the Delta M and SM size plus also 90% of C glider, ☺ I could describe the Queen very precisely !

Handling is …a dream. Oups…
Ok…Lets explain. The Queen doesn’t dive in turns .The handling versus the Delta M size is on the side of the Queen.
As it could be described as : Linear, crisp, precise and easy to induce the turns. That’s with homogenous thermals.
In some nasty sudden and swift cores, it needs some little more time to get it in the right turn.
Strangely, and i wasn’t expecting it…I found that the Queen is more comfortable to fly in most conditions than a Carrera M, S, or a Delta SM… Saying that, i felt that the Queen stays always above the pilots head with some impressive passive safety for this class of gliders.

I thought that it would have some sharper reactions, but it is a tamer glider to fly than many C’s i have tested.

Doing some long glides with a Carrera M loaded at 99 all up, and taking into account that the Carrera M have a very small or slight better into wind glide than a Delta 2, I found at first that the trim speed of Queen at 102 is less by some insignificant amount…May be - 0.15 km/h,only showed on long glides.
But surprisingly and after those long into wind glides…The queen has the upper hand with also that slight edge over the Carrera M !
Other pilots would find them all alike..But long glides will show that very small edge !

Climb rate :
Loaded at 102 on the M size Queen, i found that it has a very slight, or small delay to cut through the strong thermal in head wind, with the glider being very docile to handle!
But i would have preferred a more leading edge attack !

The Queen also doesn’t like to be loaded at 102 in weak conditions. I found after a the 3rd hour that i should dump the ballast a bit.
Getting rid of ±3.5 kg, the Queen showed some excellent climb in 0.3 m/s …and helped me some crazy low saves in order to get back home !

Flying the Queen at 99 all up, the handling becomes even smoother, and the ability to core the weak thermals did in fact put a smile on my face as it reminded me of my old Airwave Xmx comp glider. The feeling is like a glider that doesn’t loose anything in one narrow thermal with always a positive vario with no loss in climbing efficiency.

Gliding at first and second bar showed some excellent performances that puts the Queen on top of the C category for now or should i say ‘easily’ on par with the best C gliders out there !

The top speed on the M size Queen loaded at 102 i have here has ±3 km/h faster than a Delta 2 SM and ±4 km/h more than a Carrera M size loaded at 99.

Wing overs are nice and are also a fast descent method !
Big ears are easy and relatively stable ,they open with a slight brake touch.

Conclusion : Easy to manage, comfortable, coupled with amazing performances. Triple seven has indeed a winner in the C category.It is a shame that i didn’t get one before !
On this glider, no one will have an excuse on long XC’s for messing up if ‘carefully loaded’ ! 



This video below is from yesterday's flight.
It is a long one but the pilot can see the gliders in the air.

Today i have flown the Queen at 99 all up and flew also with my friend on a longer flight with his Carrera at 99 also. If the climb rate is not the strongest point of the Queen, we are more sure today that the Queen has the 'BEST' glide into wind at first bar (48-50 km/h) of the speed travel in the C category !
And this my fellow pilots is a real fact Smile
Cheers,   

  

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Ozone Ozium

Ozone Ozium
First, i am not an expert in super light pod harnesses !
I can only compare it with the Advance lightness.
Because this one is super ‘duper’ light and i could find just the necessary things to hold me into this pod harness.

Seat adjustment with folding lines, and no seat board.
Sitting in the L size harness and M pod, with my 1.81 and 75 kg is just ok.

Proper time is needed to adjust it.
I could only say that it was a bit less comfortable than the Lightness i had, but not everyone could agree as we all have different body shapes…

This is surely a very light pod harness with back protection for fly and hike around the world with just the needed items to be airborne.
Feels like you’re in the X-Alps

----------------------------------------------------

Lightness pluses : comfort, feels solid.

Lightness minuses : Back protection, chest strap adjustments, getting on board.

-----------------------------------------------------

Ozium pluses : Light, Back protection, Chest strap adjustment, Getting on board, rescue system.

Ozium minuses : Feels very minimalistic (May be it’s me), hard seat adjustments, a bit less comfortable than the lightness.












Saturday, December 28, 2013

Gin Carrera M & S



Gin Carrera 

I flew a bit the M size but will wait for the S size to get a larger idea for a more accurate  test report. 


Gin Carrera S
92 all up on the S size with a Woody Valley GTO harness, here i am flying the Carrera in a relatively weak to turbulent conditions sometimes especially on the higher layers, with 10 km/h north wind, making it interesting for discovering the ability of the flown gliders.

Having flown the M size at 98 all up, i found the S size at 92 to have a more direct handling of course ! And a bit more alive.

But the glider was completely pressurized and it wasn’t susceptible to deflation whatsoever like the lesser loaded M size i flew earlier.

Describing the handling is light on the first part with a 50 % more tension after 40 cm of travel. It is lighter than the Delta 2 SM with same loadings. And i could also confirm the same agility in thermals.

Both gliders are efficient in climb with no diving in turns.
I only could sense a slight float ability for the D2 in very weak thermals -0.2m/s …But the Carrera felt more floater in headwind glides or on its ability in searching forward for thermals !
Strangely the Atlas had that superb ability as if this technology is indeed present on those new generation Gin gliders.

If you ask me which is the most comfortable in overall conditions ?
The Delta 2 feels more compact above your head, but when the conditions get rough, sharp surges must be controlled to prevent the collapses.
On the same conditions the Carrera moves even in small conditions letting its pilot immediately presume that it is more alive. Actually i found that even in strong and bumpy conditions the Carrera doesn’t have that sharp quick reaction in turbulence like the D2. It just roll a bit more, but in a smoother way, letting its pilot feel that it is still above his head giving him that increased passive safety feeling.
Both are pitch stable, and the roll is more pronounced on the Carrera.

The movements are different from a sharp reaction like the Trango XC2, and closer to a Cayenne 4 with more ease and prompt brake control.

The glide is similar or slightly better in lift lines than a Trango XC2 or a D2 with the ability to cut through the valley breeze even better than some 2012 ‘C’ gliders …Letting the Carrera free to surf the air without too much braking is the way to go.

However the top speed is only 11 km over trim speed, even with the pulleys over-passing.
In this configuration, the Carrera seems solid and usable with the first part of the travel which is light but the second part of the travel is a bit hard.
Pulling a bit on the A’s in full accelerator mode showed that an average pull is needed to get the leading edge lowered a bit but without any sign of collapse.
Gin may have reduced the top speed for certification purposes.

Big ears with the outer A’s are easy to pull .The opening is required by the pilot.
Big ears with B3 are easy doable and practically has the same sink rate as the outer A’s but the opening is quite faster.

360’s get you down quickly .No real surges in getting out. Wing overs on the S are nice to make and could be very high.

Conclusion :
Over the years, gliders has evolved in design and technology. Marketing also has caught up.
Seeing and flying many high-end B’s, it seems logical that this leap in marketing strategy will eventually be present.
The Carrera is for me a superb glider that has everything a good intermediate pilot could wish for, except for the top speed…

The ‘psychological B rating effect’ could have a positive impact on the ‘C’ category pilots flying the Carrera.
There’s no ‘B’ available yet that has the same into wind performance or the same roll understanding…
One season on a high-end B, is needed before jumping on a Carrera.

Happy landings,
Ziad


Small clarification: 
The Carrera got a B certification. What does that mean ? ...Only that it has very good reactions and behavior in a simulated collapse in calm air .
This is an excellent glider that must be respected as it is.
A pilot with enough experience and + 75 hours / year , can (extract) safely its performances.
The others with less experience will be busy keeping it controlled overhead in strong conditions and won't eventually use it's performance !

That's why there's a lesser AR glider and manufacturer guidance that can allow many pilots to go for the Atlas which in my humble opinion is one of the best well balanced B glider of the moment ! as it has enough performance to satisfy nearly all Low B and some high B pilots.

Difference in comfort the air between Carrera M, Mentor 3 S, Chili 3 S, goes in favor of the M3, then the Carrera and Chili 3 are comfortably equal in punchy air with better authority control for the Carrera to place it exactly by the brakes. (must be loaded at 98 - 100 on the M )
To compare a Carrera M to a Mentor 3 or a Chili 3 would be unfair ,because the Carrera will show it's potential in head wind glides and move forward like high aspect ratio gliders do...

The Carrera is intended for experienced pilots who needs the psychological safety of a B with the superb performance of a C glider.

Ozone Geo 4



The Geo 4 is the light version of the Buzz Z4. I found it very similar in flight which is superb !! despite the lighter cloth.
Handling , brake pressure , comfort, pleasure in thermals, light speed bar ....really superb combination of light and efficient low end B. 
A must to try !
See Buzz Z4 for a full review if needed.



Monday, December 16, 2013

Ozone Alpina 2 SM

OZONE Alpina 2 SM

Launching :
I don’t think it could get easier than that !! The lighter cloth helps positively with the glider lift. The Delta 2 was easy, the Alpina 2 is even easier !

In the air :
I flew the D2 SM often to confirm that the feeling under the Alpina 2 SM is ‘different’
How different ?
On the SM size i could feel that the Delta 2 liked to cut through thermals and it felt like a more compact solid glider going slightly positive searching the thermals, where on the Alpina 2 is more like a softer glider with neutral reactions when entering a thermal with a pitch zero response…

In fact the Alpina 2 moves a bit on its extremities a little more than a Delta 2 which moves more as a whole. Despite having slightly more roll movements in the air than the Delta 2, it has a softer reaction to turbulence.

The handling with similar loadings is a bit or should i say slightly less sharp than a delta 2 .It is very reactive to brake input but with a small dive in turns. So another approach a bit different than a D2 in turning is required by braking a bit the other side.
However the climbs are still brilliant…

Gliding on the Alpina 2 gives it’s passenger a pillow feel…Where the Delta would feel more rigid, the Alpina 2 looks like a soft cotton ball. ( I am being picky because they practically are the same gliders with different cloth) And there’s a difference !

Two years ago when i tested the Delta 1 and the Alpina 1, the sharper one was the Alpina 1.
Now the sharper feel comes more from the Delta 2, rather than the Alpina 2.

Gliding power is there ! It floats nicely in the air.

Big ears are stable, but slightly less than a D2 and open also slightly faster.

Slow speed characteristics are also found exactly on the Alpina 2.

Conclusion :
Similar performance and lighter. As i am a handling freak, may be i am toward the sharper feel and efficient handling of the Delta 2, but the Alpina 2 delivers the same amount of superb performance with a lighter package. 


Update: After some flights,i realized that the Alpina 2 has a slight better climb rate than the Delta 2 SM with same loadings.


 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

OZONE Mantra 6 SM


Ozone Mantra M6 SM 80-95

After a long stormy weather and low temperatures, the sun finally appeared on Sunday ! It was a bliss for all the paragliding pilots as they all rushed to the take off.

Conditions were very generous with 7 m/s thermals and some moderate turbulence enabling us to get easily some 900 m gain over take off. The north wind was present to limit our XC escape on the Harissa spot.

Taking off with the OZONE Mantra 6 SM at 93.5 kg all up.

My friends were on :

Rony flying his IP6 23 today at 101 all up, and Mony on his new Carrera M size at 103 all up.

Taking off on our very small area is quite nice with the M6 .Nothing particular for a 6.9 AR glider ! Just waiting for a straight wind direction, a gentle steady pull and hop, i am in the air.

Differences in the air between an LM5 SM and a Mantra 6 :

The differences in comfort goes rapidly for the M6 with a solid structure that feels like a more compact and homogenous wing. Much coherent than the LM5.
It confirmed today my first impressions, that it goes toward the M4 in terms of comfort and accessibility.

The brake authority is also much enhanced on the M6 ! It turns quicker than an LM5 without any hard point inside the core and with a lighter brake pressure similar to the Delta 2 .

The handling and brake authority is a two step higher than the M4 !

On a Delta 2 SM at 92 all up which has a much better handling than a Delta 2 M at 102 all up ,i found that the Mantra 6 has a similar feel with just slightly less authority control than a Delta 2 SM.

Saying that i found excellence in the M6 handling with its 6.9 aspect ratio ! And i don’t remember finding from the D’s i have tested that amazing package of compact feel and handling !

Climb rate in weak conditions :

At my loadings i found that the M6 could be similar to a Mantra 4 in efficiency with a slightly wider turning radius, as the M6 has always the tendency to move forward without the ability to make a stationary turn like a Mantra 4 could have done.But i think it is quite ok.

In a much more stronger thermal the M 6 behave like a loaded spring, going up quickly with excellence.

Now if i want to compare it’s performance with the competition, i must look for a 2014 new D glider that is meant for the regular D flying pilots.

We all know that there isn’t any new regular D glider for the moment, so i have to compare it with an IP6 23 which is probably not fair….but that was the only glider available here that my friend flies and that glider as many pilots know, is an excellent two liner that has won many comps and XC competitions and it was targeted for the high-end D pilots doing XC or competitions.

Here we are now flying side by side again today.

The trim speed with our earlier mentioned loadings is in favor of the IP6, but after many km the glide is almost identical.

On half bar around 52 km/h which was set with identical speed for both was also very very close or should i say the same for 3 km…

The differences were seen at the second bar, that was also set to match the speed of both, and which the M6 now looses a bit against the IP 6.

I was on full bar pulley to pulley with a speed close to 60 km/h and noticed a better float-ability for the IP 6.

My friend on the IP 6 was still short of 2 cm pull on his IP6 to reach more max speed.

The presure at the second bar is noticeably higher than the Delta 2.

In some racing with the pulley’s stuck i encountered some sharp thermals and i was surprised that they don’t trouble much the glider structure that remained strong and solid with even the cells looking a bit deformed.

Flying the Mantra 6, i tried some glides with the Carrera M, just for information.

The climb and glide of the Mantra 6 are clear to the eye much better. Of course the Carrera is an excellent glider in its category, but it was just for our own information.

Tomorrow we will try hopefully the Alpina 2 SM with the Carerra.

Big ears on the M6 are stable and pushing the bar, a pilot can reach
- 3 m/s.

Wing overs are a delight and show the immense pressure in the profile.
360’s strangely don’t have a strong centrifugal force, for a D of course, and can drop easily down.

Conclusion :
The gain in performance coupled with ease of use for a 2014 D glider is outstanding !
OZONE again has managed to create a balanced D glider with exceptional performances.
Of course, in very strong conditions those new D gliders needs lots of attention and control.
The Mantra 6 with its relatively comfortable and homogenous feel, for a D category glider, is indeed a superb Mantra 4 replacement !
Many D pilots will feel immediately at home ! And some flying a high-end C will be welcomed aboard this magnificent machine !

Surely it is not a marketing hype. This is a fine achievement !


Another video soon.....








Friday, October 18, 2013

Thoughts of nothingness ! ;-)

Considering that free flying or paragliding as one of the purest form of freedom, i could not but write the following:

Money makes the world go round.
In the world paragliding community, and over the years, we all encounter some incredible conscienceless pilots that will eventually lead the in-experienced new comers to very bad experiences, to say the least …Intended or not.

Selling their top performer old para gliders or dysfunctional free flight articles to new pilots without even caring to properly explain the limits of their usability, as if those poor souls don’t have any meanings in their in-satiate minds!

Knowing that our areal sport is to be taken with care, and understanding, I always wondered how is it possible to ignite their conscience space?

Not to mention the ferocity brand ‘flag holders’ that engages the wildest fights for their heart and mind obsession, letting us wonder sometimes if they could be 'brand' blood related …

Couldn’t still imagine how irresponsible some pilots would act, sharing the sky without any guilt.

Up there in the sky, pilots are gravity free equals…
Each one individually can have his best or worst moments.

I thought of sharing humbly those little insights:

(A)
-All brands are equally and safely comparable if EN certified.
-Don’t get lost…It’s a big business and lots of marketing…To me it looks like a woman’s make up.
-Some can turn quicker or just feel slightly more comfortable. Some having a slight edge in climb or +3 to 4 km speed (In a same Category) But that’s just it. It all depends on the pilots taste.
-For a pilot flying (less than 80 hours/year) .It is definitely NOT the higher rated glider that will make him go further…It is ‘only’ his skills when used correctly.
A low airtime-flying pilot could find a slight advantage in weak conditions under a high-end glider but will be totally handicapped in strong conditions.
The same low airtime-flying pilot will work slightly harder on his trusty B glider in weak conditions (Improving his skills) But will find himself totally confident in strong conditions enabling him to go further!
-For non-competition pilots flying (less than 100 hours/year)
Nowadays high-end B gliders have enough performances to reach some impressive XC records. Humility toward nature is deliverance…!

(B)
-Don’t buy any used wing unless you know the exact history or it’s control sheet!
-All reserve must be checked every 6 months, if you want them to open as quickly as you did invest.
-Repack your reserve with a professional! Latest testing of the rescue opening in a French magazine showed a 6/10 of the reserves don’t actually open!
-Have to practice safe descent techniques in order to use them when needed.
-Always kite your glider in a safe 15-25km/h wind ‘with a helmet’ (Even if you have +3000 h)
What you will experience when kiting on the ground and correcting it, will be a relatively similar experience of control in the air.

(C)
-Always fly with a helmet!
-Always connect your accelerator bar!
-Watch your rescue pin if sealed before each take off !
-Control your leg straps before take off (Today pilots use their mobiles on take offs several times before airborne … ! )
-A certified back protection is a must! (Believe me!)
-Always fly in your limits (Not that of your pro friends)
And try to make the ‘wisest' decision rather than the boldest one.
Remembering the old saying: Better to be on the ground hoping to fly, rather than being on the air hoping to land.

After all ...No flying ? ...Bad weather... You can watch some videos on :
http://www.youtube.com/user/ziadbassil 
Or read some reviews: www.dustoftheuniverse.com  :-) 
or www.ziad.bassil.blogspot.com  :-) 
Fly safe !
Warriors of the light !  ;-)

Sunday, September 29, 2013

NEO The String !

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=itIUM9lc73o


Cheers,
Ziad.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Saint Hilaire (Coupe Icare ) FRANCE 2014

Hello,
Some news ...

I have made lots of video interviews with the manufacturers, so you can hear your answers directly from them.
Here is some small infos before the videos are finished....Much more details...

-Triton 2,it needs more time to work on it. Not yet any date...
-Mentor 3 Light will be available to the market in Sept /October...
-Nova don't have at the moment a Factor 2 replacement. Some other options could be better as may be a 'C' triton 2...
-Nova will may be try to make a tandem based on the M3.
-Advance is focusing on the new Sigma 9 at the moment and should be released soon with a similar feeling in the air of the S8,with much better performances.
-Omega 9 still needs some work, and won't be released soon until they are satisfied with the protos.
-BGD are thinking of a high speed high end B glider...New category ( See video soon with Bruce explanation)
-BGD also have released their tandem the dual.
-Ozone M6 will be a 3 liner. OZONE say 'the perfect 3 liner' intended for M4 pilots with D certification. Handling and performances never seen yet on a certified D glider.
-Rush 4 is also on its way with a shark nose . It replaces the Rush 3 as a high end B ,but still with a comfortable use.(much more infos on the videos...)
-Ozone Geo 4 as a light wing and the Alpina 2 will be available in early 2014.
-Ozone harnesses .The Ozium as a light harness and the Exocet as a full on competition harness with two rescues. They say it is very comfortable !
-Triple Seven Queen is now released in M size .The S size is still in process. The Queen like to be flown at 75 % of the weight range for everyday use, and in competitions where the pilot needs the speed ,it is better to be on top weight.
-Triple Seven Pawn EN-A glider will be soon on the market, with some impressive performance for a starting glider with shark nose technology.
-UP Makalu Light EN-B , is also introduced and the Ascent 3 as a school glide.
UP is working on a C glider but still too to tell for any release dates.. Depending on the findings as they could aim for a comfortable C with maybe more perfs than the TXC2...But it is too early...
-Sky (Alexander Paux)30 years of designing wings !! Alexander is sure that if he found for example that a 4 liner glider is having more performance than a 3 liner ,he will immediately put it on the market regardless of the 'trend' going on around him. He simply explained that few supported lines implies sometimes thicker profiles....Meaning less forward moving. In the Atis 4 he could make a thinner ,well supported profile that cut through better. 




Niviuk:
-Artik 4 is still under work,with a shark nose and will emerge in spring 2014.
-Icepeak 7 will have two versions .One a replacement for IP6 with better overall usability, and one with higher aspect ratio as a full on race comp wing !
-A Takoo 3 is also emerging soon
-Two paramotor gliders ,the Cougar 2 and the Doberman.

Gradient:
-Aspen 5 is under serious construction,and will be ready hopefully in spring 2014.
-Avax XC4 is not yet on the menu...More time is needed at the moment.

Kortel harnesses:
-Kuik 2 with Pod is ready (Picture available very soon) No seat board but Denis Cortella said that there's a new connecting device that removes the shaking of a seat less harness with lesser roll movements...

BDG :
High end EN-D Diva (Pic soon) is under work...Very good looking glider. Today it was flown on a small funny glide comp by 'TYR' Bruce's smaller son ! and placed 2nd overall ! It showed indeed a super glide in calm air ( Fun Comp)

U-Turn:
-One class A glider replacing the bodyguard.
-One low B glider as the Infinity 4.
-a new C glider with shark nose is under study and development, but very early for now.
-Two new acro wings.

GIN:
-The light EN-D ,Boom X-Alps(The same Aaron used for the X-Alps) is ready for delivery with D certification.
-The Carrera in size M is ready for delivery. The S is still under work from GIN himself.
-The Rage ,is a freestyle and acro glider. 





More videos being uploaded now....

Sunday, September 8, 2013

NEW WEB !

Dear all,
The new Website  :  www.dustoftheuniverse.com   has been launched.
It contains all the details and its easy to find your wing.
The information are still in process of getting uploaded.
Check it out.
The Blog  www.ziadbassil.blogspot.com will still be working in parallel.
Hope you like it   :-) 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

SKY Atis 4







Sky Atis 4
Two months ago, i received seven B gliders to test fly, among those was the Atis 4.Unpacking the glider i was surprised to see four normal risers and sheathed lines from top to bottom.No plastic rods whatsoever…It was a really classic design..So i left  the Atis 4 until i finished all of those complicated high tech B design thinking that a simple design like the Atis 4 couldn’t really keep up to those new breeds….I was totally wrong !

The story :
Jumping from B wing to B wing, with some having very few lines and only seven per side was my main preoccupation those last months. Then came the day where i took the Atis 4 for a test flight.
Unfolding the glider on the take off, my eyebrows were lifted and i was confused by SKY decision to make a high end B glider with four risers and sheathed lines everywhere.
There were no plastic rods either on the glider.Pure simple, old fashion look….I told my friend (Blacklight M rider) on the take off, that he must stay near me all the time to assess the performance of this machine, as i was curious and puzzled.

After some adjustment on the brake lengths as they were a bit long to my taste, i took off in a breeze.The Atis 4 is relatively a light glider and this is shown positively on its light take off.

In the air :
Today we flew in our Cedars spot, west take off the at 2400 m .
It was quite solid thermal conditions, a bit turbulent as the east wind was coming from the top at 2600 m making it uncomfortable sometimes.

The Atis 4 is not a dampened glider in the B category. It is a bit alive in the air.Nothing much for the high end B pilot. A new comer for the high-end B category will need some time to adapt.

Handling and maneuverability :
Thermalling the Atis 4 took me back in time, where some artist designers used to let us believe that they could integrate their souls in a glider .
The Atis 4 turns could be described as ,precise,linear ,middle soft pressure,and on its tip…



Flying the Atis 4 26 at 94.5, just on top, next to a Blacklight M loaded also at top, for two hours, i can confirm that the trim speed for both gliders are the same.

Doing some 5 km glides wing tip to wing tip, showed the same glide at trim and same glide at full bar !…

Knowing that the Blacklight has one of the best climb rate, i could see that the climb rate of both gliders was nothing but brilliant !We could never be apart inside any thermal for the whole time of testing.May be the BL has the edge only in very weak thermals.

Conclusion :
The Atis 4 did really surprised me for the performances it delivers. The SKY designer did an excellent work creating a superb B glider with nothing but simple and elegant design, proving that with normal risers and line configuration excellence can be reached.Hats off !!




  

Thursday, August 8, 2013

New website

Hi,
I was working on a new website that will enable any pilot to get all the data very quickly.
Every glider is linked with videos and pictures and a new interesting very informative option   ;-)
Release period is very imminent. August 2013....



Tuesday, August 6, 2013

OZONE LM 5 SM



Ozone Light Mantra 5 SM.



To review a glider that has won the X-Alps with three places at the top, is an embarrassing task, but this review will enable pilots all over the world to understand better what they would have to expect.

Today flying the Light Mantra 5 SM, with a X-Rated 6 harness to be at 92 all up.



The LM5 has 3.5 kg with normal risers, as it is built with very light cloth all over except the 25 cm on the leading edge that extend to the extremities, where presumably the pressure is at its max, it has a much more heavier cloths.

Launching this Piece of art needs just a single breeze.It inflates smoothly and rapidly above your head.In gusts, the glider must be controlled by the brakes to avoid rapid take over.



In the air :

Usually in summer the site in Harissa offers sometimes heavy turbulence as it is very humid and always under the inversion.

Flying the gliders there will immediately reveal their character.



Today was no exception.I flew the LM5 in those ‘spaguetti’ conditions with my two other friends on their Delta 2’s as they reported later some disgusting movements of their gliders.



What did i feel under the LM5 ?

Having flown the Peak 3 and the Delta 2 often in those conditions,i can easily comment on the behavior of the LM5 .



 I will try to be more accurate in my description.

The steering controls are short precise (shorter than D2) and the movements of the glider is directly felt mainly by the brakes.

Flying the LM5 SM at 92 in homogeneous but strong conditions,i could place the glider with the brakes very efficiently as the LM5 tendency is to make flat circles .

The LM5 have a relatively dampened pitch movement, back or forth.

Where the P3 would pitch back the LM5 reacts more or less as the D2 and stayed more above the pilots head.



Flying in turbulent shaky air, the LM5 moves much more than a D2 but stays above the pilots head, as if it is locked and it feels like every time it surges into a strong core the LM5 stiffened and feel like a solid whole block, that sometimes it is difficult to steer it immediately into the core, like you can on a D2 because of that strong taught ‘lock feeling’.

Inside those small turbulent cores, i found that it is best to have that funny ± 5 cm pull and release brake pressure from each side that works like a charm to keep the LM5 circulating on its track ! Have to get used to it !



It surely requires much more pilot control than a D2 but less than some new D’s…



The LM5 handling is purely focused on flat turns, but that doesn’t mean it is not fun enough to fly.It just don’t dive in turns, which is a highly appreciated character on a D !



Performance :

Flying next to my friends on their Delta 2 for all the flying hours, gave me a complete idea of its performances.

The LM5 SM @ 92 was gliding next to a Delta 2 M at 102 for several hours, and i felt that the LM5 has the edge in head wind conditions were it surfs the air slightly better at trim speed. At first bar the LM5 began to show its potential, and at the second the Delta 2 is completely out of the game.



Climbing ability :

I can also confirm that the climbing power and the ability to stay inside a thermal is on the LM5 side where i sensed it floats slightly better at my loadings.



The max speed of the LM5 and Delta 2 are identical.

The ears flap a bit, can get you a ± 2.5m/s but they do not destabilize the glider stability and no oscillations as the open part stays totally calm.





Conclusion :

In the D category, the LM5 is a relatively comfortable and solid glider. It surely requires a much higher piloting level than the Delta 2. That glider in the hands of those well trained D pilots will be a wonderfully ‘light’ but solid XC machine.

I am waiting for that M6 as probably many of you are…

Just wishing it to be more maneuverable, much faster and of course ….more gliding poweeeeer… ;-)