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. 



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   ;-)

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.


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.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

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 !

Monday, July 30, 2018

GIN Atlas 2 S

GIN Atlas 2 S size 

Five years ago, i flew the first Atlas in S size also. I still remember the crispy and agile handling, and the very good float ability into wind. Now i have the new Atlas replacement to see what are the changes. 

Launching the Atlas 2 at 92 all up, in multiple conditions showed me no hang back or overshooting whatsoever. It feels very balanced and super easy to launch. 

First thermal and turning inside the core is done with 25-30 cm of brake travel. The pressure on the brakes are not light nor heavy, just perfect. The Atlas 2 S response is relatively quick and the turning ability is good for the low B category. The precision on the brakes are also nice for the low B category. The Atlas 2 doesn’t have the tendency to dive in turns unless the pilot is aggressive on the brakes. It tends to flattens the turns but stays nicely in the core. The brake travel are slightly longer than the Ion 5 XS, and the agility or sharper brake authority is slightly less but still excellent for the low B category. 

In the same turbulent air the Ion 5 XS needs more active piloting than the Atlas 2 S. I found that all the movements coming from the Atlas 2 S are very comfortable and reassuring, and exceeding the ones on the old Atlas 1. Pushing the full extend of the bar in turbulent air is very usable and the Atlas 2 stayed very solid overhead without too much movements. The C controls can in fact control some pitch movements in turbulent air the Atlas 2 in full speed mode. Overall GIN made a glider more comfortable and easy to access than the Atlas 1. 

Gliding in turbulent air with a mix of gliders, including a Buzz Z5 S gave me an idea about the overall performance of the Atlas 2. At first the trim speed of the Atlas 2 S is slightly faster than the Buzz Z5 S similarly loaded. In still air the glide is comparable to some low B gliders. In windier or difficult conditions, the Atlas 2 S could be placed in the mid of the low B category in terms of efficiency and float-ability on glides. 
The Atlas one profile was more dynamic and probably could be a better ‘airmass surfer’ at the expense of much more movements. 

Climbing next to low B gliders showed me also good climbing properties of the Atlas 2 in multiple conditions with balanced and calm reactions in turbulent air. 

Top speed is around 7 km/h over trim. Big ears are stable and easy to use. They reopen without pilot intervention. 

Conclusion: It seems that GIN has created a more accessible low B glider than the Atlas 1. It behaves like a school glider. In fact it seems that this glider could be a first glider to talented students. 
All the lines, even the full brake lines are sheathed. 
A stress free glider to enjoy the flying sites with very nice smooth handling on a low B with an option for XC if the conditions are strong and consistent. 



This is only my opinion. Make your own !

Tuesday, July 24, 2018


I'm a bit late in testing those new gliders..but the weather this year has been the worst ever encountered in 25 years !!
Lots and lots of strong wind...everyday from sea level (45 km/h) to 3000 m (100 km/h) ! 
Cloud base is lower than the take off by 100 m sometimes !
I never seen such a bad weather for paragliding in this part of the world :-(   ...
But a very good weather for kite-surfing and windsurfing ;-)  
Until the weather settles....One day hopefully soon  :-) 


Sunday, July 1, 2018


When I purchase a certified glider from a dealer or a manufacturer, I ‘always’ make sure to say that this *public product* is for my tests and it will be published on my blog and in the social media. 
Afterward, I don’t contact the manufacturer or the dealer for any comments on this purchased glider, unless there’s something really dangerous or very bad going on or some big deficiency in a glider which in the last 25 years it happened once in the early days. 
I need to be totally free to test, write and publish my small, and humble opinion. 
Communicating with the manufacturer or a dealer in the same time doing the tests wouldn’t be fair at all for the interested readers and especially for me.  
Manufacturers or especially dealers will try always to correct and to explain and also to re-explain some misunderstandings with extra headache that I prefer not to engage… As an independent reviewer, I test exactly the purchased glider I receive. My humble opinion about that glider is very small and it only concerns me whether its a good or bad review. 
I’m really sorry about any mishap and i fully apologies to anyone that has been offended by my writings. 
But as I want to be independent…there won't be an opening conversation with any company or dealer   ‘during the test’ 
Communications will preferably be done before and after. 

Thank you, 

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

BGD Punk M

BGD Punk M
The Punk is BGD replacement for the Base in the high B category. 
Got to fly this one from a friend.
With an aspect ratio of 5.4 the Punk has a nice line configuration and width to match current high B gliders. The overall construction is well made with a shark nose.
Launching the Punk is easy for a high B. It inflates quite fast in nil wind with no hanging back. The launching is immediate.
I flew the Punk M (75-95) from 90 to 94. It’s quite flyable in 90 all up in moderate conditions. In small punchy thermals i found it best to be at the top weight in order to cut through, and turn immediately on command.
The brake authority are quite nice with moderate pressure. The handling and the way to steer the Punk M at 93 all up is really nice for the category. It gave me nicer and more fluid turns than a Rush 5, or a Mentor 5. 
I can describe the handling as more linear inside a turn, and the Punk is quite obedient to place it in turbulent small thermals swiftly if loaded. 
It can be similar to the Rush 4 (four) brake authority but with slightly more pressure. 

Flying the Punk M in different sites with some close to the sea (turbulent this time of year) to the Cedars range at 3000m which gave some strong conditions, showed me that the Punk movements in the air are slightly more than a Rush 5 or a Mentor 5 but quite manageable, and easy to understand. For a high B glider i found that the Punk is an overall comfortable glider to fly.
Comfort will also be better when the brake authority is good on a glider, especially for the keen pilot who will be able to have a good control trough the brake length which the Punk is providing.
Entering strong air, the Punk M at 90 will slow a bit pitch slightly back a little before entering while the Rush 5, Chili 4, slips through.   
If loaded at top, the Punk M pitch behavior will be reduced and will be ‘slightly’ more efficient upon thermal entry. 

Climb rate:
Next to a Rush 5 similarly loaded, i found out that the climbing ability of the Punk M is really good. Entering the thermals the Rush 5 could slip through faster as it surfs slightly better the airmass, but when inside , the Punk has a very good and competitive climb with the best high B’s. The authority on the brakes as i mentioned before will let the pilot place the Punk exactly where he wants to if properly loaded. 

I flew the Punk M with an X-rated 6, next to a Rush 5 MS with an Ozium harness loaded at top, and found out also that gliding tip to tip on seven long glides in tricky air and in calm air, showed at first the slightly faster trim for the Punk and same top speed (updated). For the high B category, i could place the Punk glide angle at the middle plus. I’ll update my B comparison soon.
The Mentor 5, Chili 4, Cumeo, Iota 2 being on the top of that category, with an edge for the Rush 5. 

The pressure on the speed bar is moderate and easy to use. 
The C control have moderate control as all the B gliders in that category.
Ears are stable ,efficient, and reopen quite fast. Induced lateral collapses are very easy to counter steer. The glider stays on path, even without counter braking. 
Wing overs are quite dynamic, build up quickly, high and fun.

Conclusion: The Punk is a pleasurable to fly glider in the high B category. Excellent climb rate, good gliding properties, very nice brake authority, and a good comfort for the category.

This is only my opinion. Make your own !

Flow cosmos S

FLOW Cosmos S size

Flow is an Australian company which offers a new range of gliders. In the PWC every pilot saw their new EN-D 2 liner (XC racer) which gave good competitive results.
Here’s their new mid B glider the Cosmos in size S.
The construction and details are ok. The lines are thick and i think Flow is being very conservative about their lines on the Cosmos. I don’t think those lines will move after heavy use. They are bigger than any Low B glider or even some A’s.

Launching the Cosmos S at 92 is smooth.The glider inflates quite steadily without any surge like an A glider.

In the air the brake pressure are moderate, and slightly long, but surely recommended for that category !
The brake authority on the S size are good enabling the pilot to place the Cosmos quite easily when desired. It doesn’t have a sharp brake response like the Ion 5 XS which was next to me all the flight, but it is surely easier to master than the Ion 5.

In turbulent air, the Cosmos S has a moderate to calm movements for the category. It doesn’t really overtake and it isn’t dull also. Just the necessary informations.
Climb rate of the Cosmos in weak and strong air could be very close to the Ion 5 XS which holds one of the best climb in the low B segment. Overall the climb rate is very good.
The brake authority lets the pilot adjust the turning radius of the Cosmos inside a thermal without excessive movements from the glider if the air is turbulent, which leads to an efficient climb.

Next to me was the Ion 5 in size XS and we made several glides tip to tip. The ion 5 was gliding a bit better at trim and at top speed. The Ion 5 line configuration and diameter are similar to the Mentor 5 ones, and they are half the diameters on the Cosmos. It was a bit obvious to see that glide difference.
At top speed when the pulleys were touching and after 4 seconds holding the top speed (pulleys at max) the leading edge on the Cosmos had a horizontal wrinkle after the A attachment points, the leading edge went down a bit with a reduction of speed, loss of pressure, and i release two cm before it collapses, all went to normal, with a speed recovery.
Tried the top speed 5 times with same results. 1cm before the pulleys are touching, everything is fine.

Ears needs a strong pull as the pressure on the glider seems high. They reopen without pilot intervention. Induced lateral collapses behaves like on an A glider.

Conclusion: The Cosmos is an easy B glider, with good handling, and climbing power. I see Flow are giving a good price on the Cosmos. If budget is your target, then the Cosmos has a good ratio of usability/comfort/longevity, for a B glider.

The Cosmos S was purchased and sent specifically for the tests in my blog. I flew it for a week, and wrote the test.
After reading my tests, i was told that the factory has installed M size risers on my Cosmos S by mistake and it was the cause at full speed for the loss of pressure.
The S risers arrived and installed in 15 minutes. The pulleys on the speed bar were shorter by 2 cm as stated in the certification sheet that i received later from Flow.

This week was really windy, but i was really keen to test fly the Cosmos S. The wind at the take off was around 30-35 km/h which is pretty strong for a B. Nevertheless my conscience was killing me, just to clear that mishap. Launching was easy and the Cosmos didn’t shoot at all. There was some turbulence in the air but the Cosmos behaved very gently. Applying full bar the Cosmos S with it’s original risers was delivering a stiff, taught leading edge, and the speed was 8-9 km/h over trim totally usable with No loss of pressure.
Now I’m glad, the mistake was cleared.

I really hope every pilot would understand that i’m just a pilot like everyone else. I receive a glider intended for the public, and i test fly it. It’s not my fault. I’m not and don’t want to be some pro, or representative of companies which they all have my deepest respect and appreciation !
And that doesn’t keep me from exchanging ideas sometimes but surely not during tests.

I apologies if any party was offended by my writings. Probably i should have contacted Flow…But how can i suppose to deliver a crystal clear image of exactly what i flew ?

Finally, the Cosmos S is like i earlier said, a very comfortable glider in the B category, with nice and forgiving handling.

This is only my opinion. Make your own !

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 :-)

This is only my opinion. Make your own !

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 !  :-) 

This is only my opinion. Make your own !

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. 

   This is only my opinion. Make your own !  

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 

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. 

This is only my opinion. Make your own !