Testing new paragliding gear

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

Saturday, November 15, 2014

EN-C comparisons . Inserting the Lotus one M .

EN-C comparison (Update) ----- Inserting the Lotus One M

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

1- Alpina 2= Advance Sigma 9 = Mac Elan
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 =SOL Lotus one M
5- GRADIENT Aspen 5 26 =U-Turn Passion SM = Carrera = Sky Argos
6- MacPara Marvel 25 = UP Trango XC 2
7-NOVA Triton 2 S

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1- Triton 2 S =Triple Seven Queen M
2- Alpina 2= Aspen 5 = SOL Lotus one M
4- Carrera= Elan = UP Trango XC 2 S/M = Ozone Delta 2
5- NIVIUK Artic 3 Race = U-Turn Passion SM = BGD Tala= Sigma 9 =Argos
6- NIVIUK Artic 3 = Aspen 4 =Cayenne 4 S= AD Volt SM
7- Nova factor 2 S

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

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

Climb rate in punchy thermal conditions :

1-UP Trango XC 2 S/M = Ozone Delta 2 = Alpina 2 = Carrera M & S= Elan = Sol Lotus One
2-U-Turn Passion S/M = Cayenne 4 = Marvel 25 = Artic 3 Race = BGD Tala M= Argos = Triton 2 S
3-Artic 3 normal = Aspen 4= AD Volt SM = Triple seven Queen M = Sigma 9

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

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

1- Alpina 2 SM ( IMHO , It has still the best overall ratio of performance and efficiency with ease of use )
2-Triton 2 S = Sol Lotus One
3-Aspen 5 26 ( very efficient at second bar ! )
4- Ozone Delta 2 = Up Trango XC2 = U-turn Passion = Carrera M & S = Elan
5- BGD Tala M = Niviuk Artic 3, A3 Race, Skywalk Cayenne 4, Mac Para Marvel, Ozone Alpina M, AD Volt SM, Triple seven Queen M , Argos, Sigma 9 (Easy and solid)

ps: If the Queen M and the Triton 2 S climb would be slightly better for low saves, then it would have been my favorites !

Faster at second bar:

1- Queen M
2- Passion=Cayenne 4= Artic 3 Race = Aspen 4= Argos ,
3- Delta 2 = Sigma 8= Alpina 2= Sigma 9= Aspen 5 = Triton 2 S = Sol Lotus One
4- Trango XC2 = BGD Tala = Carrera= Elan

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)= Sigma 9 =Elan =Argos = Sol Lotus One
Artic 3 = Artic 3 Race = U-Turn Passion SM =Triton 2 S (stable moderate ears ) =UP Trango XC 2 S/M= AD Volt SM = Aspen 5 26 .
- Marvel 25 ( moderate use of big ears-moves a bit)

Why did I choose the Alpina 2 SM as still efficient ?

It is of course my personal taste. Different pilots will have other tastes and requirements…
For me it is simply because the overall flying feeling and the handling in different conditions is still very rewarding. The Triton 2 S has the BEST performance but moves a lot more and requires much more energy from the pilot to control it in heavy conditions.

The Lotus one has also some impressive performance, but to place it wherever you want in turbulent conditions requires also some finer inputs.
The Aspen 5 is really some great glider at second bar ! It resembles the Triton 2 S in full speed glide! …To extract the full performance it needs an active piloting for sure and the way to turn it quickly in turbulent cores needs a little time.

The first 3 places are almost equal. Indeed superb machines ! Different taste for everyone …
The most important: Only the pilot will make a difference.


Friday, November 14, 2014

SOL Lotus one

SOL Lotus one M

The last DHV 2-3 glider I had from SOL was the Torck. Its climb rate and nice handling impressed me. It was a bit slow.

Here’s the Lotus one M for a test flight.

The beauty of this glider shape in the air is a sight for the eyes!

The Lotus one has all unsheathed lines .It is a bit heavy comparing it to other C gliders.

The take off need a progressive pull on the A’s but ok for the high C category.

In the air the glider gives a comfort feel. This test was made after flying the Triton 2, and surely the Lotus one is more comfortable in the air. The Lotus needs more ‘finesse’ and piloting level as a Delta 2 and slightly less than a Mantra 6.

The brakes pressure is considered a bit heavier and shorter than a D2. The handling is smooth and nicely coordinated.

The climb rate in weak and broken thermals even loaded at 100 all up is ‘exceptional’!

This glider knows how to hug a thermal like a passionate woman who doesn’t let go…

Gliding in zero wind doesn’t really show the Lotus potential unless the valley breeze settles in…then the Lotus cuts trough and climb efficiently. Some C gliders will move, bump and surges, but the Lotus one will climb and move forward. This is the most important feature in a glider and the Lotus has it !

Loaded at 100 the Lotus one M has a relatively faster trim speed than many C gliders with the same size and load. It has a slightly similar trim speed as the Triton 2 S.

Flying it in different conditions gave me an idea of its character.

It is slightly more demanding to fly than a Delta 2 M , and for sure it’s a high end C glider.

Ears are stable and they open smoothly.

The top speed is around 54 km/h taken at 1500 ASL.

Conclusion: The Lotus may not be the most agile C glider or the easiest one, but SOL introduced to the market an efficient and very competitive high-end C with a relatively comfortable ride and coherent structure.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Harness update ( Exocet/Race 3)

Harness comparisons:
Genie Race 3- Exocet - Impress 3 M – Genie Race 2- Genie Light – WV GTO- WV X-rated 6
/ With Impress 2 + , as reference.

Most comfortable seated harness. As 1 being most comfortable.
1-Impress 3
2-Genie Race 2 / Exocet
3-WV X-rated 6
4-Genie Light / Impress 2 + / Genie Race 3 /
5-WV GTO (being fairly comfortable also)

Most comfortable in roll (In moving conditions). As 1 being most comfortable.
1-Exocet - Genie Race 3
2-WV X-rated 6
3-Genie Light - WV GTO
4-Impress 2 +
5-Genie Race 2
6-Impress 3

Most easiest accelerator system (1 being more efficient travel)
1-Genie light / Genie Race 2 / Impress 3 / Genie Race 3
2-Impress 2+ - WV GTO- Exocet

Best combination:
Exocet and Race 3 are harnesses that could erase a bit the yaw effect on high aspect ratio gliders. They are also roll stable .

Which size ?
(test were made by a pilot measuring 1.82 and 75 kg)

Genie Race 3 M (Fits perfectly and could support a 1.83 / 80+ kg pilot )
WV X-rated 6 L ( Fits at the extreme margins )
Genie Light M ( Fits perfectly and could support a 1.83 / 80 kg pilot )
WV GTO L ( Fits at the extreme margins )
Genie Race 2 ( Fits perfectly and could support a 1.83 / 80 kg pilot)
Impress 3 M ( Fits perfectly and could support 'max' a 1.83 / 80 kg pilot )
Exocet M ( Fits nice...Felt that I’m pampered. Surrounds me completely .Could easily support an 1.85 / 80+ pilot )

The WV GTO and the Genie Light are intended for the recreational pilot that wants a light pod.They are easy and a pleasure to fly .
The Impress 3 is the most comfortable seated harness, but has a bit more roll than the others and would need some time to adapt under it …
The Genie Race 1 is a harness oriented for competitions or for pilots looking for refined sensations. It has more roll than the Impress 2 + but its roll is limited to a certain angle and then it stops allowing its pilot to re-adjust under the glider. The pilot will not feel disoriented, but some flights are required to adapt to this excellent harness. The only bad side is its high weight. Beside that it is an excellent harness with every detail a pilot would think of…A full professionally made, complete harness. I liked it very much.
The Race 3 has everything a competition pilot will look for… The back comfort is slightly less than the Race 2 and it is more roll stable. The seating is a bit stiff but ok.
The Exocet is a comfortable harness that envelops and surrounds completely the pilot .


Friday, November 7, 2014

GIN Genie Race 3

I'll post a comparison shortly with WV X-rated 6 / WV GTO / Genie Race 3 / Exocet .

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Ozone Swift 4 SM

Ozone Swift 4  SM

After test flying the Rush 4 here’s is the light version the Swift ready to take off…

Launching is even smoother and very easy.

First turn and i was immediately smiling :-)   The brake travel is medium to short with excellent precision and linear feel through the pull.  After testing the D2,A2,Buzz Z4, Rush 4, M6, Ozone really never missed a good handling. The Swift have nothing less is turning ability .

This superb handling is coupled by a very pitch neutral behavior ! After many flights i can confirm that the Swift is smoother than the Rush 4 in thermals. It doesn’t move around as much as the Rush 4 !  It feels like the same difference between Delta 2 and Alpina 2. The Swift 4 is more comfortable to fly and even more efficient in climb rate in weak conditions than the Rush 4 !

The accelerator pull is smooth and has a medium to low pressure .In full accelerated mode which is fully usable, the Swift 4 is very stable and has an impressive glide !

Totally usable and confidence inspiring, the Swift is a glider for adventure flights in some remote areas where the pilot should expect a comforting feel under his glider.

Ears are stable, and landing is very easy with good low speed capability.

Conclusion: The only thing i wished for is a faster trim and top speed. The Swift has the same trim speed as the Rush 4 which is less a bit from the concurrence . But the glide angle fully accelerated is on top of the category for the same speed at least.

Friday, October 24, 2014

No IP7, IP 8, Artik 4 .... etc....   :-)

The truth, the plain truth, and nothing but the truth … ?

After my personal and honest Niviuk Peak 3 test in May 2013, i was received in Saint Hilaire festival on the Niviuk stand by an angry and hysterical Niviuk owner…
All i could say angrily, is that i am still convinced by what i wrote and everything went smoothly afterward.

In June 2013 i ordered an IP 7 and followed it up ,but never received to this day…!
In early September i ordered an Artik 4 25 but didn’t get a answer. In Saint Hilaire 2014, i confirmed again with the export manager at the time that didn’t show me the Artik 4 25 …Two minutes later, It was claimed by a pilot who got it while i was still on the stand !!!  ;-)   

Later after many exchanged emails. I understood that Niviuk won’t send me any glider to test fly …May be after one year of sales …  ;-) 
Olivier Nef is the coolest, kindest and among the most “gentleman designers” you will ever meet !  I respect him, and he has nothing to do with this whole mess.
Companies has structures…
I fully understand Niviuk policy as an act of respect and recognition, which reminded me of this funny ,true story.  :-)

My aunt Rose is a natural born cookie baker. She can bake different kinds of delicious cookies.
On special occasions, the whole family gather around to taste her cookies.

Some cookies are really good, some are a bit less. She’s rushes sometimes a bit to be ready for the event… ! and forget an ingredient, but they are still nice to most.

When gathered around she always ask about the taste…We don’t want to make aunt Rose angry if she rarely forgot the sugar or else …so we always say  “Delicious as always !  thanks” !  ;-)
But my other ‘always smiling’ aunt Mary who’s seven years younger than aunt Rose is very picky and direct and she always like to tease her.
All the family awaits silently aunt Mary’s comments…Some people gets angry of her criticism and always question her intentions by saying :
“Why do she always wants to say anything? lets eat, celebrate, try to digest ;-) and go on…after all this is just an event ! ”  ;-)
But she always keep telling her personal, true taste …We all laugh afterward…  :-)

Despite some direct criticism, Ant Rose respect and love her sister immensely as she said :
‘She keeps me on my toes when i’m cooking’,
But I noticed that she always gave her the first cookies only when she’s sure that they are flawless…  ;-)   Of course family cookies are free …  And that’s a different story…

Sunday, October 19, 2014

EN-B Comparison (Update) Inserting Tequila 4, Infinity 4, AD Rise 2,Ion 3 S ,and Atlas S .

Inserting the new B’s, Tequila 4 and Infinity 4, Comet 2 S, Ion 3 S.

Choosing a B glider today is not an easy task at all !!…
Looking at the spaghetti mixtures of design, technologies, nose profiles, aspect ratios, thin risers and unsheathed lines…

The B pilot situation cannot be envied …

Of course manufacturers has to sell… Some believe that new releases won’t sell if their design doesn’t hold the latest gimmicks…and daily chat of the take offs and landing…Shark, Thin, Unsheathed, aspect ratio…etc..

It is obvious and clear that Nova has released the Mentor 2 with exceptional performance at the time, and refined it later with the Mentor 3 which is even better in headwind glides and the most comfortable high-end B glider till date (June /2014) .

It is also UN-deniable that the Carrera has more performance than a mentor 3, but it is not for the same type of pilot.It is surely a bigger step forward in roll movements and piloting level.

Our tests are done in a microscopical way, First part of it is made in some very difficult areas where the sea breeze are strong and some thermals are sometimes weak..And in that particular case only a good glider can surf the air and climb upward.

In some other parts like the Cedars spot, it is very difficult to distinguish the same gliders that were previously tested and showed a difference in performance.
The lifting thermals in the high mountains are very strong and a pilot can make practically the same flights on different gliders because of the abundance of lift …practically everywhere, as the 800 m long ridge above landing at 2000m ASL extend to + 30 km.
In those mountains a glider can show it’s resistance to turbulence as sometimes it is really heavy !

Most easy to fly in difficult conditions:
1-AD Rise 2 M
2-Hook 3 25
3-Sprint EVO= Eden 5= Advance E7 26 = Kantega XC2= Ion 3 S = Atlas S
4 -Rush 3 = Mentor 3 S =Summit XC 3 S= Infinity 4 S .
5- Blacklight = Nevada = Sky Atis = Tequila 4 SM = Comet 2 S
4 M= Swing Mistral 7 S = Rush 4
5-Mentor 2 =Lightning S
6-Chili 3
7-Carrera S, M

Climb rate in weak conditions .NO head wind (<0.2m/s)

1-Chili 3
2-Blacklight=Eden 5= Kantega Xc2 S =Lightning S = Carrera S = Infinity 4 S
3-Nevada=Sprint EVO=Rush 4 =Summit XC 3 S= Tequila 4 SM= Comet 2 S= Ion 3 S =Atlas S
4-Mentor 2 =Rush 3 if equally loaded =Mentor 3 S= Advance E7 26 = Swing M7 S= AD Rise 2 M
5- AD Rise 1 = Sky Atis 4

Most ‘efficient handling’ in overall thermal flying!
(the way a pilot could have a better authority of control in turning the glider)

1-Mentor 2 S @ 95 = Tequila 4 SM @ 92 all up.
2-Blacklight S @ 90 = Atlas S
3-Mentor 3 S@ 97 =Carrera S @ 93 , M @ 103 = Infinity 4 S @ 90 all up = AD rise 2 M @100 all up.
5-Rush 4 @ 93= Comet 2 S
6-Blacklight SM @ 100 = Sky Atis 4 @ 93= UP Kantega XC2 S@ 90= Swing M7 S@ 90 =Lightning S @90= Summit XC3 @ 93 = Ion 3 S @ 95
7-Hook 3 25 @ 97 = Eden 5 @ 95 = Chili 3 S @t 98= Advance E7 26 @93
8- Nevada 26 @ 98

Climb rate in weak conditions with 15 km/h head wind and thermals (<0.2m/s)

1-Chili 3 S @ 98 +Carrera S, M
2-Nevada = U-Turn Blacklight
3-Mentor 2 S (Still Efficient) = Mentor 3 S ( it is very dampened) = Tequila 4 SM =AD Rise 2 M= Atlas S
4-Rush 4 SM =Summit XC 3 S @ 93= Comet 2 S= Ion 3 S
5-Hook 3 = Eden 5 = Sky Atis 4= Advance E 7 26= UP Kantega XC2 S
6- Swing M7 S = Lightning S @90 = Infinity 4 S

‘Climb rate’ in strong conditions:( With strong valley breeze)
The Eden 5 / E7 needs to be loaded as all the gliders in those conditions.
1- Carrera S, M
2-Chili 3 S @ 98 =Mentor 3 S= AD rise 2 M =Atlas S
3- Mentor 2= Nevada = UP kantega Xc2 S = Rush 4 =Summit XC 3 = Tequila 4 SM = Comet 2 S = Ion 3 S
4- Hook 3 = Sky Atis 4 M =Advance E7 26 =Lightning S
5- Eden 5 = Swing M7 S= Infinity 4 S.

‘Glide in turbulence’ and head wind (Equally loaded)
This was done after many flights (now I am more convinced)

1- Carrera S, M
2- Mentor 3 S = Chili 3 S
3- Rush 4 SM = AD Rise 2 M
4- Mentor 2= Tequila 4 SM= Blacklight (must be loaded at top) = Hook 3 = Nevada (must be loaded at top)= Eden 5 = UP Kantega XC2 S (must be loaded)= Ion 3 S
5-Atlas S
6-Rush 3 = Advance E 7 26 = Sky Atis 4 M= Swing M7 S =Lightning S = Infinity 4 S .

Overall efficiency in racing upwind:

1- Carrera S, M
2- Mentor 3 S = Chili 3 S
3-Rush 4= AD Rise 2
4-Nevada 26 (must be loaded at 100 ) = Hook 3 = Tequila 4 SM.
5-Mentor 2 S= Blacklight SM (loaded)= Ion 3 S
6-Rush 3 M = AD Rise 1 = Eden 5 = UP kantega XC2 S= Swing M7 S = Sky Atis 4 M = Comet 2 S= Atlas S
7-Sprint Evo = Advance E 7 26 (Must be loaded) = Infinity 4 S (A bit slow) …

Most demanding glider in "strong conditions" (1-10) '10' being most demanding for a high end B ‘: ( Please bear in mind the 'size' and the 'wing loading' ! )
Blacklight S ( @ 90 all up) *6.5
Advance E7 26 (@93 all up) * 3.9
AD Rise 2 M (@98all up) *4
Eden 5 (@ 95 all up) *4
Hook 3 (@97 all up) *4
Rush 3 M (@102 all up) *4.5
Sprint Evo ( @ 98 all up ) *4.5
Nova Ion 3 S (@ 95 all up) *5.0
U-Turn Infinity 4 S (@90all up) *5.0
Gin Atlas S (@ 92 all up ) * 5.0
UP Kantega Xc2 S (@ 90 all up)*5.0
AD Rise 1 (@ 102 all up) *5.0
Blacklight SM (@100 all up)*5.5
Sky Atis 4 M (@93 all up) *5.5
Nevada 26 (@ 100 all up ) *5.5
Mentor 3 S ( @97 all up) *5.5
Tequila 4 SM (@92 allup) *5.5
Axis Comet 2 S (@90 all up 5.8
UP Summit XC3 @ 93 all up. 6.0
Swing M7 S (@90all up) *6.0
Rush 4 SM (@93 all up) *6.0
Blacklight S ( @ 90 all up) *6.5
Lightning S @ (90 all up) 6.5
Mentor 2 S (@ 95 all up) *6.5
Chili 3 S (@ 98all up) *7.0
carrera S, M 8.0

The Rush 3 , Mentor 2 , Blacklight and Rise are equal if there 's a little head wind ,with a stable profile for the Rush 3 at bar and the Rise and especially the Blacklight . The Mentor 2, Nevada, the BL and the Eden 5 (loaded at top ) seems more efficient when the head wind is blowing. It can cut through with ease, with a small advantage for the Nevada in floating ability. ( But they must be flown at top weight ! ) Choose good your size ...
The Eden 5 has less top speed of 3-4 km than the others.
The Hook 3 is very comfortable to fly with a very interesting glide angle. The climb in smooth conditions is fair.
The Mentor 3 is much easier than the Mentor 2, and its efficiency is in those turbulent glides where it will have less pitch movements and little better glide.
The Chili 3 S has the best climb rate and a very nice handling in homogenous conditions. It has a long brake travel.
The Advance E7 26 is the most confidence inspiring rock solid glider of the cat. It reminded me of the low B cat in comfort.
The Atis 4 has a bit roll movement and need some active piloting in the high end B’s.
It has a fast trim speed, much like the M3 and Chili 3. Long brake travel are needed to let the glider respond in turbulent conditions.
The UP Kantega XC2 S is a very nice wing to fly .It has nice handling and also superb climb overall being also very accessible.
The Swing M7 S is a delight to fly. It dives a bit into turns. It is fast enough for a B, and has enough performance. Not really a floater but a nice glider overall.
The Rush 4 has a very good glide . It is an overall good, very solid B glider, but its trim speed is around 38 km/h and especially the top speed which is low for the cat around 51 km/h .
The fastest are Mentor 3, XC3, Mistral 7…But it is around 55 km/h max.
The AD rise 2 M has the BEST ratio Performance/Comfort in flight !
The Tequila 4 SM is like a precious gem ! combining agility/performance/accessibility!
The Infinity 4 has a very light and nice turning behavior! It has a low trim speed , and the climb rate even loaded is outstanding!
The Comet 2 S give a nice feeling under it. It has a very nice handling .
The Atlas S has everything to make its pilot very happy,with a good feeling of passive safety. The X-Alps version of the Atlas has more performance overall, especially in climb.

Conclusion: The Carrera is the only B until date that has a superior glide but also needs superior skills for this category.
The Mentor 3 has this slight advantage over the rest in long glides and more comfortable than its predecessor, The AD Rise 2 is very comfortable to fly with a superb glide for the high B category .
The Rush 4 has nearly the glide of the Mentor 3 but with lesser speed.It's an overall efficient glider in difficult conditions where it could cut through turbulence and have a very solid and compact feel coupled with a direct handling.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

NOVA Triton 2 S

Triton 2 S  

Finally and after a loooog wait the TRITON 2 S has arrived … 

As usual the quality of construction of NOVA wings is beyond a doubt a class of its own. Excellent workmanship and robust feel … 

This test concern ONLY the S size ! It will not reflect any other sizes as the M and L size could be slightly different in some ways… 

My first flight with the Triton 2 S at 98 all up was made in turbulent, punchy conditions… enabling me to open my senses, understand, and feel the glider . 

Flying my usual harness the X-rated 6 with some ballast to reach 98 all up, i launched the Triton 2 S. The launching is easy for that glider and immediate.  

First turn in a small bullet thermal , the Triton 2 S has a moderate to pronounced roll movement .The pitch behavior is average to dynamic especially in those sharp edges where the Triton 2 S would like to cut and surge ahead in the strong thermal. Catching it quickly with the brakes is no problem for a good pilot.  

In turbulent and strong conditions the Triton 2 S is indeed a lively glider.  
It moves in the air with sharp surges and quick responses to the airmass and the pilot could feel it’s energy, but luckily the brake fan is optimized to dominate this overall energy with an active pilot underneath. 

A good pilot and after some hours to acclimatize, has the power and the advantage to control every movement of the glider which at the end gives surprisingly a certain feeling of passive safety for the high C class as the whole structure seems coherent and supple sometimes . 

Describing the handling and maneuverability of the TRITON 2 S is like driving a Ferrari in turns. 
Cornering is sharp and easy with precise and direct input . 
This very good handling is the key to control the TRITON 2 S movements in order to keep it in this particular box of the targeted group of pilots it is designed for ! 

Doing some long glides with one of the best C’s of the moment, the Triton 2 S showed first a slightly higher speed than most C’s equally loaded, and a slight better glide at trim putting it in the higher top performance by a very small edge. This performance is increased when the conditions are more difficult and especially in the presence of a head wind or strong valley or sea breeze. In those conditions the TRITON 2 S has a clear advantage over the current C’s . 

Reference glide : 
Doing some long glides with an Aspen 5 26 loaded at 99 all up showed that the Triton 2 S has a faster trim speed of +0.5 km/h and a better glide angle. 
Pushing the bar for both with pulleys touching showed exactly same top end speed over a run of 5 km 

The climb rate of the Triton 2 S loaded at 96 is average to good in very weak lift . 
In more steady thermals over 1.5 m/s and choppy conditions, the Triton 2 S has the advantage to dig and climb much quicker and more efficient than C gliders .Like it’s another class … 

The top speed for the Triton 2 S with the pulleys touching, loaded at 98 and at 1000 ASL showed a ± 13 km/h over trim. I have tried it many times and i couldn’t read more on my GPS. May be i have to change it   Wink 
I felt that the Triton 2 S into wind glides are it’s strongest point where i could feel it’s ability to surf the air and move higher and forward like no other C could do… 

I am convinced now that it has the performance that could easily tickle the D class.   

Big ears are stable without pushing the bar. The pilot must pump them to open. Ears with bar are unstable.  

Then, i flew the Triton 2 S alone in another spot and then landed and flew another new C glider…and so on…all day… Alternating gliders help me to see the differences in the air.  

Flying the Elan 26, Delta 2, SM  Alpina 2 SM , Sigma 9, Queen M ,Aspen 5, etc..  in the past year gave me an idea about their behavior in turbulent conditions. The Triton 2 S stands more demanding in terms of piloting . 

For sure the Triton 2 S is (Two step) higher than a Mentor 3 in terms of piloting ! It stands strangely between a high C and a D !  
The Triton 2 S IMHO is aimed for experienced pilots with multiple hours in different conditions in order to feel at home and surely needs some respect and understanding in order to extract every bit of the outstanding performance it delivers. 
NOVA has built a C with today’s D performance, but the TRITON 2 in S size IMHO could be welcomed and cherished for a D pilot profile. 


Friday, September 26, 2014

Air Design RISE 2

Air Design RISE 2 M ( The surprise ! )

My last AD gliders VOLT as a C and the Rise 1 as a B. The RISE 2 is the new replacement for the B pilots.

The AD RISE 2 has a very beautiful and clean construction . The sewings on the glider and the way it is built is very neat.

Launching the RISE 2 is no more demanding as a school glider. The glider inflates and wait for the pilot to act.

In the air and first thermal the RISE 2 brake pressure is medium to heavy if you pull more than 40 cm . But the glider is steered with only 15 cm as an efficient brake travel ! It is a relatively moderate to agile glider.
The brake fan is designed to give you complete accuracy in order to carve it into thermals. I have flown this glider from weak to strong conditions, and i can easily recommend that glider as first entry to the high B class for its easiness and coolness in flight. For sure the RISE 2 is designed for big air ! The comfort is amazing …

To talk about the climb rate, i had to fly next to a Mentor 3 at the same loadings . After many weak and strong thermals, i can confirm that the climb is excellent and very similar in all kind of thermals including the difficult ones when stuck in the sea breeze !

Doing several glides more than 7 km each ! next to a Mentor 3 S (videos soon) ,showed also a similar glide angle for both , which is impressive for the RISE 2 !

Big ears are difficult to hold, especially at bar. The speed system is fairly medium to light and can get the RISE 2 M at 100 all up and 1000 ASL at 10 km/h over trim speed.

Conclusion :
The AD RISE 2 M is truly a remarkable glider for the overall performances it delivers and the huge amount of comfort it carries ! This is an impressive successful package ! For sure the top speed is a bit low and the brakes are slightly heavy…But no pilot on the RISE 2 will ever blame the wing on its into wind performance efficiency for the B class and especially on it's comfort caracteristic . Hat’s off to Air Design for that particular creation.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

41th Coupe Icare Interviews

Excellent Coupe Icare this year, I met lots of nice people and i was impressed with the humility of big designers, with their very positive approach.

Lots of pilots and professionals looked very puzzled by my free tests, and asked me if I'm going to keep on doing them ...And why i am still doing this free service...

I never thought about it.

It is true that passion can outcome the hard reality and i can only reply: Because it happens that i am here, at this moment  :-)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Axis Comet 2 S

Axis Comet 2 S

Opening the Axis bag and the glider showed a very good quality construction .The Comet 2 has a shark nose, thin lines on the upper layers, very sporty risers look.

Performance is written just by looking on the Comet 2 .

Launching the glider is uneventful for the B class. I am flying the S size 70-90 at 88 all up.

First turn showed a moderate and light feel on the brakes with precise response enabling an agile turn.

The Comet 2 S can be very nicely placed inside the thermals by applying the exact amount on the brakes.

It has some moderate roll movements found in the B class. The pitching behavior is nearly absent ,enabling the pilot to concentrate on the flight.
Loading the S size at max didn’t really affect the glider capability to climb in weak cores. In fact with it’s linear and precise handling , the weakest thermals can be easily exploited.

The strongest point of the Comet 2 is it’s glide angle at trim speed . After many glides with top B gliders, the Comet 2 is outstanding ! It stands right by side and not far from the best in this category . At second bar there's more to work on as the glide deteriorate a bit.

The speed system is moderate to light and easy to use ,with a top speed around 54 km/h .

Big ears are very stable and a superb way to descend quickly.

Wing overs are fun, and the S size is playful.

Conclusion: Each glider gives a certain feeling after landing. Some are special, some are exquisite, others are less…
The Comet 2 gave me the feeling of getting it airborne again ,like after a successful first date… Smile
I think the Comet 2 is a balanced and fun glider to fly. It has everything to get it’s pilot on the longest XC’s with the pleasure of flying it.
If this glider meets your budget, i recommend a test flight as soon as possible with the satisfaction that will come along !

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Gradient Aspen 5

Gradient Aspen 5 26

The size 26 is ready for take off at 99 all up. It looks like a big glider on the ground. The construction details are superb !  The rods on the leading edge of the Aspen 5 are not very long.  The A attachment points on the glider are slightly back . 

Risers are skinny and sporty, and the Aspen 5 has all unsheathed lines.

Launching the Aspen 5 in nil wind is easy just a steady pull … In stronger wind above 25 km/h be ready to control it as other C gliders…

Flying the Aspen 5 26 at 99 all up, in some turbulent cores showed a moderate roll response ,slightly more than Aspen 4 with some movements on the yaw axis.   However at that load, entering some thermals the Aspen 5 pitch back a bit then stabilize above the pilots head. It is very different in behavior from the Aspen 4 .

The brake travel is similar to the 4 with light pressure , and the turning radius is flatter. It is surely more efficient in climb than the Aspen 4 ,but with less agility for the same loadings.

The Aspen 5 gives this feeling of performance efficiency where the Aspen 4 was more oriented for fun. Surely Gradient wanted to get maximum performance out of a C.

Talking about performance lets begin with the climbing ability. After many flights and comparison with my reference glider in the C category, and with the same loadings,i can see that the Aspen 5 is very competitive with the top ones. 

The efficiency in the weak coupled with a flat turn is very good !   In punchier thermals the Aspen 5 will surely climb very well also, but will need just a second to settle after the back pitch.

In gliding power, at trim speed the Aspen 5 also showed similar performance as the top ones, but at top speed which is ±15 km/h over trim at 800 ASL, the Aspen 5 has a very interesting glide angle that could place it on top.

Big ears flap a bit, and it is better to sit in the middle or use the speed system symmetrically with this maneuver to avoid turning left or right.

It is clear that the Aspen 5 was built for efficient flying rather than a freestyle wing to throw around. But still flying it heavy can improve that feeling. 

Conclusion: With the Aspen 5 ,Gradient has successfully built an efficient XC machine to compete with this category.  
Choosing a glider comes always to a personal choice of multiple feelings and sensations that comes after a test flight .     

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

U-Turn Infinity 4 S (70-90)

U-Turn Infinity 4

The lightning little sister for the B entry level.
Launching is super easy, with just a slight pull on the A’s. The Infinity 4 feels relatively very light.
Once airborne, the Infinity 4 react with the environment with moderate roll movement and a nice neutral pitch behavior. Much less than the one on the Lightning.
The trim speed is a bit slow . It could be around 37 km/h.
The handling inside thermals is excellent. The brake pressure is light and the wing reacts quickly and precisely on input ! I could say easily that it has one of the finest handling among the low rated B’s.
Climb rate inside the thermals showed a similar efficiency as the Blacklight which is excellent in this category. The Infinity 4 could be slowed down inside a small bubble and it can efficiently core it to base.
Doing some glides puts the Infinity 4 in the middle to high of the category . With the low trim speed, doing some long glides with bar is efficient. The Infinity 4 doesn’t loose much at full bar ! It stays well on a good glide angle.
Big ears are stable and reopen by themselves.
The Infinity 4 S at 90 all up move a bit in turbulence but stays surely in the low B category and can be described as a sweet glider…Light on the brakes ,light on the bar, efficient on glide and especially on the climb . I wish it had a faster trim speed… 

Monday, July 28, 2014

SKYWALK Tequila 4 S (YODA ! The Jedi master :-) )

At first i was afraid of getting a Tequila 4 for testing as i thought it could have the same long brake travel as the Chili 3, especially being a low B, then some pilots reported that it was completely different....i was curious...i ordered it...waited ... a ... lot ... Skywalk delay...then it came.
The test:
The last Skywalk glider i have flown was a Chili 3.  That glider amazed me by its overall performance especially the climb rate. The only negative point for my personal taste was its long brake travel.

Now its smaller sister the Tequila 4 in size S (70-95) is smiling at me at the take off....
Quality is now a competitive race between manufacturers, and a Skywalk wing has its place on the higher steps among the best ones available. Talking about quality can be sometimes like poor literature on paper .
The eye is the key that unveils the perfection of the work that has been done on a paraglider .The Skywalk Tequila 4 much like the Chili 3 has a neat finish coupled with refine construction details.

Launching the S size at 92 all up, i found the first pull on the A's to be relatively calm ,smooth and the lift from the first steps was quick.  

In the air: 
I still remember perfectly my last test flights on low B gliders .
 Ion 3, Atlas, Buzz Z4, etc...
Flying the Tequila 4 in thermals surprised me ! The maneuverability in this low B category is unique by a "short" quicker brake response and immediate turning behavior which puts a large smile and even more happy humor the whole flight...(In the past low B gliders were dull and some pilots will be bored)  Not on the Tequila 4 ! I was enjoying my test flight  :-) Farewell to the long brake travel on the Chili 3. The Tequila is ssssspicy :-)
Small bullet thermals can be out-cored !!!      Is that english ??   :-) 

The Tequila 4 doesn't dive in the thermal. It just turn quickly as we use to say "on a dime" !

After several occasions  flying next to my usual friends .I can confirm an excellent climb rate for that tiny Grey/green dot ! ;-) ...In fact i think Skywalk has managed to inherit the Tequila 4 'some' of the fine climbing qualities of its bigger sister the Chili 3 .

Doing long glides against some gliders in the same category did in fact surprised me even more ...The Tequila 4 stand on the higher shelf of the performance scale for a low B glider and could even match the best one up there touching the heart of the high-end B category supremacy... The trim speed at my total weight was very good for a low B. May be 39.5 km/h at 800 asl. 
Some difficult glides were made against the sea breeze and showed some impressive behavior for the Tequila 4 enabling it to always search forward and float rather than to bump against the airmass. And that is totally brilliant for a low B glider.

Who's the glider for?
The 'Spaghetti salad mixture' dilemma of the higher categories,D,C and finally touching the high-end B's with the appearance of the high aspect ratio ones has already made heads spinning faster than ever...to say the least... 
This race for better performance or should i say better numbers ?  ;-) as some pilots are still looking for those !! Yes and they are many still...unfortunately...
This big salad mixture seems to be tasty ...and i 'm afraid it will hit the lower categories soon.

 Back to my green Yoda friend, I found that it has the ability to please pilots in the category above who will appreciate its relatively dynamic but reassuring attitude. The Tequila 4 is not a tamed or dull low B glider. It is a glider for talented pilots searching for their second wing and will find real fun without loosing the 0.2 figure... in L/D on the higher B's.

In fact wing overs on the Tequila 4 are awesome ! In the second weight shift i found myself above the wing...Looking at the small aspect ratio glider ,i wouldn't have thought i will have fun like that! 
It could possibly be and i don't encourage it...but ....a good baby learning acro wing :-) for the basic maneuvers of course.

Big ears are stable and a good way to get down,if coupled with bar.
Speed over trim is 11 km/h with a medium to soft pressure push.
The glide is still good at ± 44 km/h ,then the Chili 3 will prevail.
Low speed characteristics are present with a forgiving 75 % brake pull ,but the glider will keep a certain float-ability before top landing...It's polar seems good .

Low aspect ratio B glider , true 3 liner design , top gliding and climbing performance , handles like a toy, a blissful machine , That's the Tequila 4 in size S .

I am been flying the Tequila 4 S those past weeks, and more feedback are available to share.
In my flying years ,there were some special gliders. Flying them gave me an impression that they stand near perfection in their respective categories.
After each flight on the Tequila 4 S , those impressions  began more and more to settle in.

When laying this glider for folding it after each flight , my head always ask the same question: 
How come that a low aspect ratio glider that looks relatively small over my head round and compact ,having all over regular covered lines ! can in fact fly beautifully each time i took it for an air challenge.

In 85 % of difficult conditions , the T4 always kept it’s magical powers saving me again and again to regain some heights, and float away, where some other gliders next to me seems to reject the conditions of the day by their excessive bumping, surging, diving , jumping around and loosing heights.
Indeed there are some special gliders, and the T4 S is one of them. 
It is in fact the whole package that is successful . Where the brake response of the Chili 3 and Cayenne 4 were long and in stronger ,punchier conditions, the brakes weren’t that efficient to control the strong surges, the Tequila 4 is the golden boy! The brake travel is short, and very precise. Yes it moves a bit more than an average low B ,but the precision of the brakes will tame immediately the sudden movements of the glider. 
In weak thermals it is a bliss to steer it.  No B or C pilot would be indifferent toward this precision and pleasure to fly it, and they won’t loose that joyful feeling under it that is not usually available on  some low aspect B’s...
For me the Tequila 4 S is a special glider and the main cause is (  low aspect ratio -  Normal lines-B glider  - High trim speed !  - Pleasure handling - Outstanding performance ‘efficiency' for a regular B !  )

Many did asked me if the glide matches the Chili 3 S.  May be the manufacturer won’t say it…But i will…Yes it has the same glide angle until 44 km/h and the glide in moving conditions is ….b.t….impressive   ;-) 

Designing gliders sometimes don’t bear the fruits that manufacturer are aiming for. A glider replacement is not always better…Too many things involved for success...

But the Tequila 4 S design for the easy B category is indeed a success.  Too many things involved for success...
  IMHO unless there’s a competition for speed , a good pilot can fly the T4 where his imagination leads him .

Sunday, June 22, 2014

UP Summit XC 3 S

UP Summit XC 3 S

Laying on the glider is UP new 6.3 aspect ratio B glider.
Seven lines per side all are unsheathed + brake line, Sporty looking risers, with a shark nose profile…or whatever they call it today …
It has everything of today’s innovations and requirements…

Launching is straightforward, easy and take off couldn’t be easier on a 6.3 ar glider !
First turn in a thermal showed that the XC 3 has a moderate to light pressure, linear, precise and direct .The thermalling ability is nice and a joy to fly.
Climbing felt as good in efficiency as a Mentor 3 S loaded at 96 all up.
Surprisingly, the 6.3 ar XC3 felt much more comfortable than a Carrera S at same loadings. The XC3 is much more coherent with a solid structure.The roll movements that i felt on the Carrera S were nearly absent on the XC3.Even the pitch movements are very dampened.
The internal structure feels very solid and i couldn’t sense i am on a higher rated glider…It feels like i am (nearly comfortable) on a Mentor 3 S.

Trim speed at 93 all up on the S 80-98 size is around ± 40 km/h .
Just ± 0.5 km/h more than a Mentor 3 S (80-100) at 96 km/h .
Doing some tip to tip glides at trim first next to the same M3 S at 96 , with a 15 km/h head wind showed a close or similar glide angle .
Pushing the accelerator at full bar on the XC3 (Pulleys overlapping) and racing the same M3 for a 3 km glide showed that both have the same top speed with also very close glide.The M3 was finally ± 5 m higher at the end of the glide which is very small.
The glides were repeated 2 times with same results.

Like the exceptional M3 the XC3 cuts forward through the sea breeze better than a Blacklight or a Lightning.

Conclusion : Flying the XC3 felt very easy …Ears are stable and -3m/s were reached with bar. They open quickly.Wing overs are nice but needs some input to throw them around.It shows that the XC3 is a calm glider for the given aspect ratio.


Saturday, June 14, 2014

Advance Sigma 9

ADVANCE Sigma 9 25
Test flying gliders and putting my personal findings into words is the most difficult thing to do.
Even flying the gliders in different conditions i can only give my personal opinion.
But if i don’t write exactly what i felt and seen, then why should i write tests anyways !
Here’s what i found flying the Sigma 9 25 (75-100) from 92 till 97 all up.

Opening an ADVANCE glider is always a moment of excitement. The quality of workmanship, cloth, sewing, are beyond a doubt the best you could find.
The Sigma 9 has a mild shark nose profile ,3.5 liner, all lines are unsheathed with small relatively diameters that resembles the best C gliders.
Launching the Sigma 9 felt very easy from 5 km/h wind to gusty 30 km/h .The glider rises smoothly and stay above the pilots head showing its docile behavior even on ground handling.
In the air, the Sigma9 gives immediate feeling of confidence.It gives the sensation when flying it at mid weight or near max weight of a very coherent and solid, compact glider !
First day in weak thermals at 92 all up and first turn .The brakes could be described medium to short, not that light after 30 cm, not really linear…but direct. The Sigma 9 respond calmly and turn on pilot order.
Very weak conditions are not the Sigma 9 strong point even with -8 kg from top weight. I found it difficult for the Sigma9 to breath in those small conditions (-0.5 m/s) thermals.
The next day i took the Sigma 9 to a spot in the north were the dry season gave strong conditions with sometimes +30 km/h on take off, making the day a good one for evaluating a glider.
I flew the Sigma 9 25 at 97 all up, and getting upward like a sling-shot, i still felt surprisingly a very comfortable ride under it ! The glider became even more compact on my wing load and wasn’t even wobbling or shaking…as if i am on a lower rated glider.
The structure felt very solid and coherent ! That’s the strong point of the Sigma 9.
Even in broken lift, the direct brake contributed to a clean turn.
Thermals were easily cored by the Sigma 9.

My observations were that the Sigma 9 was pitching back remarkably when entering strong cores. It doesn’t surge forward at all. In strong valley breeze, it struggle a bit to go forward.

The trim speed is visibly reduced and the only way to give it a boost is by applying the bar which is actually an efficient tool.
Some B gliders in these head wind conditions even on bar will still be stuck, but the Sigma 9 accelerator is changing the equation.
Doing some glides with another reference C glider shows an excellent glide (in calm air) for the Sigma 9 !
It is in difficult and head wind conditions that places the Sigma 9 in the middle of the C category in terms of glide angle.
Some new C gliders have the ability to cut through more and go ahead.
The Sigma 9 is not a floater rather than a fighter (for strong conditions).

Wing overs are quickly built, and 360’s are a fun way to go down.
Ears are very stable and a good and easy way to descend.

Conclusion : From all the Sigma’s that i remember, the Sigma 9 is the most solid and coherent, as the Sigma 4 was the most agile.

Pilots coming from the low B category (2 seasons) could in fact get a Sigma 9 as a first C glider. In fact i think that it is the only C i have tested that could pass for a B rather than a C…hope you know what i mean ;-)
But i leave this to the authenticity and philosophy of ADVANCE.