Monday, March 30, 2020

Triple Seven (Aljaz,Urban) Interview 30/3/2020

Hello, Aljaz, Urban !
I hope you are all doing well with your family. The world is facing a serious pandemic and I just wanted to give some hope and information to the pilots that are quarantined at home.
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions.

1- I’m totally convinced that 777 will never release a product if both brothers are not completely satisfied with it! And that leads to superb flying machines. Knight, Rook, Queen, Q-light, King…Every glider has IMHO, a secret ingredient called (efficiency)
What can you say about the Rook 3 in that matter? What would the pilot expect from the new high B glider? concerning performance, climb, speed perhaps?…

777: Hi Ziad, and thank you for having us. Indeed, Rook 3 got its final shape in the long run of testing over the past three years. We always want to offer our pilots a wing that will stand for at least three years in the future. Therefore we need to take more time to do things right. The Rook 2 was now on the market for four years being competitive through the whole period of its existence, but, now it is time for a new one. The performance growth curve was exponential with Rook 1 and Rook 2. Still, soon, the overall leaps in performance in the high B class stalled a little bit on the market, especially if you want to offer the wing that still feels right for the high-B class pilots and isn't pushed into the B from somewhere else.
With Rook 3, we phased our design more on the side of the overall package where performance is not revolutionized, but overall handling with great climbing was taken into the count even further this time. We took the experiences from other models with the line layout, the BC system, the materials, and optimized those into the Rook 3. The PPSL, Aramid mesh of the lines, proved with really extended trim longevity in Queen 2. Therefore it was obvious we will use this mixture also in Rook 3. We redesigned the BC system to a double gearing system, which makes the pull easier. The system is made additional to the existing riser, which is essential from the safety side as you are still flying on the proper risers, and you don't have the lines attached to the system itself. 
2- Ziad: Any performance comparison with the Rook 2? 
777: Of course, we did quite a few rides next to one another. As mentioned earlier, we're not doubling or revolutionizing the performance over it, but there is a slight edge in the float-ability of the Rook 3.

3- Ziad: Any light Rook 3 following? 
777: indeed, since we were able to come up with the wing with minimal count and length of plastics in the canopy (these are only in the leading edge and short), we believe we will be able to offer quite a light wing soon, which will be based on the Rook 3.

4- Ziad: We saw a few pics of the King2 on the web. Is it a 3 liner? Since the 7 aspect ratio King S had that feedback through the brakes with good precision and nice feel in thermals, what can you say about the feel on the King 2?  I know it’s still a prototype, but what can you tell more about the King 2? 

777: With King 2, we hope we are in the last stages of development. The overall package seems to be there, and it will have it in the three-line concept, of course. The wing itself is a completely new wing, the same is only AR 7 compare to the first version.   There are 14+more cells, a new profile is more optimized for high-speed stability, S-shaped plastic suspension support in the cell walls is present here as well. There is a new straight plastic material PA 11 for profile support and a new thinner Dyneema dsk99 lines like on the Gambit.  

5- Ziad: What can we expect from the King 2? Did the team at least compare it with the latest creations? 

777: We're fortunate to have a good group of great pilots here in the area who are flying all kinds of wings—also the latest D class two liners. Let's say that we feel that we have a good wing in hands.

6- Ziad: Any 2 liner with D certification in the near future? 
777: Of course. When? We don't know just yet, maybe 2021... :) 

7- Ziad: When pilots will expect the Bishop? And what did 777 focused on in the development stages?  
777: The King 2 project left the Bishop wing on the side a little bit. The focus with the Bishop is, of course, ease of use with longevity for the true commercial use of the wing. The tandem market is interesting; some are doing their top to bottom flights, searching for a bulletproof wing, then we have alpine tandem pilots who seek better handling with added performance. We're trying to add all of this into one good mixture for both worlds. 

8- Ziad: Is Triple Seven considering to release harnesses in the future?  
777: With the team, we have here, we're all the time fully occupied with the development of the wings. Adding this part to the business would obstruct the quality of the wings design. We don't want that

9- Ziad: Anything you would like to add concerning new releases? 
777: Indeed, the whole world is facing hard times at the moment. We were lucky enough to have the latest prototypes here in the house, so we can test and finish them so when we are back on the hill, we can all enjoy the new wings and freedom again. We wish all the pilots to stay healthy in these times.

Thank you very much for your answers!


Saturday, March 28, 2020

Interview Michael Nesler

In those difficult times, I'm trying to send glider designers some questions in order to give you a more comfortable way to spend the time at home. Here's is a very interesting interview with Michael Nesler.
I knew about Michael Nesler's designs since I began to learn paragliding. He is from the “golden era”
His exceptional profile!
( Click personal)

Dear Michael,
At first, I hope that you and your family are doing ok! The conditions in Italy are critical, and hats off to the Italian doctors, nurses and everyone involved…God be with you all!
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions.

Ziad: I have flown your designs recently. Let's take for example the Nyos RS EN-B.  It doesn’t have a shark nose, or the back positioning A’s, the lines are not that thin as some high B competitors, but it seems to glide as good as the best!  In your opinion for the moment, is positioning the A’s far back, for a high B is a must for selling? or there’s some benefit in that category in cutting through the airmass? Will this work for a B? Knowing that the latest Ozone R5 doesn’t seem to have the shark nose of the older models.

Michael: What ultimately determines the performance of a paraglider is very complex. Let me give you an example: If I have the Nyos RS made in China, it will fly like the one you've been flying. If I have it built in our factory in Croatia with the same files and materials, it will fly much better.
According to the experience of the last years, the dependency of performance is roughly distributed like this:
* 35% project
* 25% material
* 40% manufacturing quality (cutting, sewing, control)[/i]
Of course, the media and customers get off on technical, tangible details such as shark nose, A-loops, etc., but precision is much more important.
The fact that the Shark-Nose cost performance has meanwhile been accepted by other manufacturers. That's why they still install the rods crossed at the opening, but when you look at the profile shape without opening, there is little left of real Shark-nose.
In summary: If you could make any model you wanted with better materials, individual cuts, and very good sewers, it would be vastly superior to mass production. But no manufacturer can afford that.
The position of the A-Loops is not important for performance, only for safety and durability. And this is contrary to each other: Either more safety and shorter service life - or vice versa!

Ziad: I’m impressed! I never knew that it would differ that much! There are companies in Srilanka doing a clean job on paragliders. Do you still think that if it's done in Croatia or should I say in a more delicate and precise way it would fly better? How better please? What are those differences?

Michael: No, factories in Srilanka, China and other places are doing a clean job for economical serial production. But they are far away from the maximum possible.

Ziad: You said earlier that they can't afford that?  why? Can you comment, please?

Michael: Simple to calculate: Cutting 16 layers (8 gliders) on rotating knife cutter or high power laser needs nearly 8 hours = 1 hour/glider. If you make a single cut with high precision, you need also 8 hours = I glider!
A good sewer needs 30-40% more time to finish a perfect wing. So in the end, the glider will cost, also using the best material, quality control, individual trimming, ca. 60-80% more. Nobody will pay for this!

Ziad: You also said: On a competition glider, no one will use a shark nose if its cost performance! The Enzo 3 and B11 use it. What are your thoughts, please?

Michael: They are far away from real Sharknose: if you don't watch the crossed ends of the rod in the vent, but the real shape of the profile, you will see that there is nearly no shark-nose anymore! Only simulating a step on the vents you don't get a real shark-nose: te vent area is filled with a compressed air cushion!

Ziad: There are lots of nice ideas for designing paragliders. I always wondered if we put all them together in one glider, would that be beneficial? Some could be for marketing purposes, but some works quite well… I mean for all the classes, probably a shark nose, RAST, a 3D clean leading edge, and all the internal technologies, optimized unsheathed lines, etc, etc…  or there’s something that today's designers cannot overcome.

Michael: I am currently working on an EN-D two-liner, which we have both with and without a shark nose. In the lower speed range of the certification, the Sharknose doesn't make sense, it just causes disadvantages.
If I were given the job of building the perfect glider, I would:
- Take this material here: (I've built a couple of base wings with this, brilliant!)
- Cut the glider individually by laser
- Glue all panels before sewing
- Accompany the sewing personally
- Use Vectran lines
The absurd thing is that such an existing model would fly better than a new, allegedly improved one of conventional design.

Ziad: Why Vectran lines?

Michael: Vectran has less elongation, is more stable during aging, am stronger. It would be perfect as main lines, also with cover. But till today nobody is producing Vectran baselines for Paragliders (with colors, coating/cover). But they are used for many years in high-performance skydiving canopies.

Ziad: What are your thoughts about a super designing tool? Will a futuristic superior software help in the design of our flying machines? Or are we still limited by the materials?

Michael: We have long been outside the reasonable tolerance with regard to production and material. It will hardly be possible to increase performance with conventional and inexpensive solutions.

Ziad: I was always fascinated by the internal structure of a glider. For example, the UP Escape had some cross reinforcements that were never been seen lately?  Is it right to believe that internal structure is the main key to performance and safety?  Are we still far in this field?

Michael: I know the Escape very well, I made it. But this construction has one main disadvantage: too much waste, too expensive!
The inner life serves only one purpose: Less lines! There is one clear limit: the strength required by the certification. Most high-performance gliders push this to the limit. So you couldn't have less lines. A highly complex inner life is interesting and light, but it is certainly not a parameter with which you can improve performance.
Unless you build gliders with over 100 cells, they would become too heavy without 4 or 5 cell spacing.

Ziad: What are the benefits of using very light construction of RAST on a 7 AR 2 liner glider? I think you surely thought of that!

Michael: I have been flying it for 3 months now and it feels like an EN-B paraglider to me. I fly it here in the Dolomites in conditions where others prefer to stay on the ground with the B-gliders, and I feel comfortable. What I miss is better take-off behavior in snow and tailwind and big ears.
But I have now found a solution for this, including certification without folding lines.

Ziad: What are your future projects? Any new harnesses? certification for the 2 liner?

Michael: I am working on a harness for pilots who like to fly very precisely with weight and want to be a perfect unit with their equipment.  This will be a niche product: Ultralight, high strength (with Kevlar fabric and Dyneema), with seat board and no cross bracing. So completely against the mainstream. This is not a Swing order, but a Profly project.
EN-D is in work and should be approved according to Corona.

Ziad: What do you think about seat and seat-less harnesses? Rear fairing or not?  Which do you think is more appropriate to your liking?

Michael: We have several harnesses here for testing our gliders. And have found that flight behavior, performance, and safety are more influenced by the different harnesses than by the trimming.
I am surprised that the manufacturers of harnesses do not even adhere to the requirements of the certification regarding the height of the main suspension. Most of the current harnesses have a much higher main suspension than the certification requires. In addition, the newer harnesses are being cross-braced more and more. This allows weaker pilots to fly with higher classified gliders, but it reduces performance significantly compared to flying a simpler glider with a good harness.
In all comparisons, I still find the old Woody Valley GTO-Xalps Race (2.2kg, with a board) the best for me.

Ziad: what if we were all flying the same model and there were no other models?

Michael: Then no one would be able to blame the material for bad flights, no one would be able to boast of being an unpaid brand ambassador, and no one would be the hero anymore for flying such a great, dangerous glider.
Ziad: Would this be less fun then?

Michael: Let's face it: the whole discussion about performance is only needed by the manufacturers, the salespeople, and the media. After all, what else would they be able to captivate us, pilots, with?
I still like to build high-performance machines on commission, but nobody really needs them.
Most pilots would be better advised to work on their technique, perception, and psyche instead of constantly stunning themselves with new material.

Ziad: You mean like one design glider for "Olympic games"? But that will also be branded somehow...
Michael: Here we have been shortsighted! If we got a one-design class for competition (ok, different brand, but very strict parameters like in sailing or formula one) we would be since many years in the Olympics! The same model means, that the results come from the pilots and not form the glider (and the money to buy always the best wing)

Ziad: A message for the pilots staying at home?

Michael: This is a good time to start thinking about flying:
* Why am I flying?
* What's in it for me?
* What would give me more performance?
* What are my goals and wishes when I fly?
It is best to write (on real paper!) because this keeps all-important channels of perception involved (sight, hearing, touch).

Thank you very much for your time!

Best regards,

PS: Every designer has his own perception and futuristic ideas. The above interview was made to show a different and interesting point of view.
IMHO, the best glider you seek is the one that makes you feel good, and that special 'you' is a very personal matter Smile
Stay safe!


Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Interview Ozone. Luc Armant . 24/3/2020

For all the pilots quarantined at home, I made a small interview just to cheer you up in the meantime.

Ziad:  Sometimes it is really difficult to produce a new glider in specific 2 years intervals, as the technology don’t work on a fixed date rather than a quality time for good research and development. 
How is OZONE managing this, knowing that each glider until now has a certain advantage? 

Luc: We have no pre-defined date strategy here. What is sure is that after about 2 years of a product like Delta or Rush, we start to sell nothing, even if the glider is still very competitive in his category. When we see that the selling of a model is dropping down, we start working on a replacement, and we only release the replacement once all of us (the team is made of 5 pilots: Dav, Fred, Russ, Hono and I) are 100% convinced that the new one is a step forward. Sometimes, it’s just a small step sometimes it’s a giant step, but always a step. And sometimes, we don’t manage to do it soon enough and we spend one season without selling anything of the previous model.
I know that pilots are sometimes complaining that the models are renewed too often. But let me tell you a bit more about our experience of model replacement. In the EN B to EN C segment, no matter if your model is still competitive, you don’t sell it anymore after two years. The reason seems to be that these pilots do not have the means to judge by themselves, even with the help of social media, if an old model is still competitive. That’s where you can help with very accurate and objective reviews, but I know it’s a tough job.

The reason is that in these segments, the pilots have the means to judge a product no matter his novelty. After 3 full seasons, we are still selling Enzo3 for the 4th season as competition pilots want the best glider no matter if it’s old, and you just need to participate in a top-level competition to make yourself a good idea of the true performances. We were still selling Magnum2 tandem after 6 seasons, as it was a proven good tandem product amongst professionals.  Conclusion: pilots should not try to not rely only on the release date to decide which product to buy. When they do too much of that, they encourage manufacturers to renew their models more often.

Ziad:  what are the main differences that Ozone worked on, for the Delta 4 over the Delta 3?   

Luc: For this project, we found out quite early how to improve performances significantly (in speed and in glide), with even better safety behavior, and with a good solidity at speed despite no collapse lines were used. The rest of the project development was spent trying to get a nicer feel. The brake pressure was not right, the yaw response was not perfect, the second part of the brake input was lacking, etc. I was sometimes swearing myself in the air. This was the most difficult task of the project!  After more than 12 years of developing gliders, I’m still puzzled to see how much I don’t know about paragliders! I’m puzzled to see how sensitive it can be to find the right balance. 2 cm in a tension strap, 1cm in a profile thickness, 1cm in a tab position, few mm in trimming, etc. More than ever, I’m grateful to Russ and Hono for their fantastic work in this project, in fine feeling and tuning.

Ziad: Lots of pilots missed the Delta 2 MS linear handling and brake response.  What would you say about the Delta 4 in that field? 

Luc: I think it’s even better in the way that it’s not relying as much on chord deformation to obtain the last nice feel of the second part of the turn. Personally, I’m very focused on keeping a very nice yaw response toward the end of the brake range. I think it gives an important part of safety as well when you are thermaling along a slope. To me the Delta4 is a beauty, it behaves like a very solid 'wood feel 'in the turbulences but at the same time, it handles like a light small bicycle. My first and last flight with the production sample was just when the French lockdown started. It was a bizarre feeling, mixt of ecstasy (due to the wing) and frustration (due to the coming blackout).

Ziad:  Are we going to expect a Zeno 2 shortly? Any dates?  If yes, can you describe what are the benefits over the famous first version?

Luc: We were just starting to be full-on Zeno2 project. We flew 3 prototypes and 2 others are coming, but at the moment we are grounded, forbidden to fly, each of us confined. I hope you understand that it’s quite early to comment on anything about this new model!

Ziad: As a designer, and a pilot what is your message toward the intermediate pilots in terms of safety and evolution? 

Luc: Fly an easy wing for your level, and fly a lot to build up skill if you want to step up. Nowadays, easy wings are offering plenty of performances.

Ziad: In those difficult times, any message you would like to give to the quarantined pilots around the world?

Luc: I’m one of them. We have grounded birds and that’s painful, especially while spring is popping out outside. Let’s hope to meet each other soon in the air!

Thanks, Luc! 
Everyone please stay safe, and hopefully, we will be free to fly again! 

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Swing Helios S

Swing Helios
After trying Swing’s high-performance C glider, the Agera RS here is another Light C with less aspect ratio, the “Helios”

Launching the Helios is super easy, even in nil wind. The take-off is immediate. 
The Helios S (75-95) flown at 92 has a moderate to light brake travel. The authority on the brakes is very sweet in thermals. Immediate control is delivered by the brakes, and the turning radius inside a thermal is accurate. 
In turbulent air, the glider obeys each action on the brakes. Overall its a nice and playful glider to fly. The moderate aspect ratio of 6 gave the glider smoothness and easiness in turbulent air. I found out that there were some high B’s more difficult to handle.
The climb rate is nice for that glider. In weak conditions, I couldn’t say it's very floaty but ok… The glide angle is in the first half of the C category. The speed bar is easy to induce, and way accessible in turbulent air. 
The ears are stable, have a good descent rate, and reopen by themselves. 
Conclusion: The Helios is a light C, very easy to fly, nice handling and authority on the brakes, with no tiring in turbulent air.
As I said, I found out that some higher rated B gliders are more difficult to fly in active air. 
Being a C glider, the Helios seems to give that C feel, but with the accessibility of a mid B glider. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

AD Rise 4 S (72-92)

AD Rise 4

The Rise 4 is the new 2020 high B glider from Air design with an aspect ratio of 6. 
Launching the Rise 4 S (72-92) at 90 is immediate and straightforward, as the glider has some light materials with a weight of around 4.25 kg.
The turning radius inside the thermal can be very narrow, due to the short, precise and agile behavior of the wing. The brake pressure is on the average side, with a linear brake response. 
The movements in turbulent air are dampened for a glider with that aspect. In the comfort zone, it resembles the Eden 7 which is also very comfortable to fly. 
The climbing performance in (no wind, no sea breeze) is excellent !  as the Rise 4 floats inside that thermal without losing it. It’s just when there’s a wind factor or a valley breeze, that things changed a bit. I tried to fly the Rise 4 at 86 and at 92 and in both cases it’s a bit reluctant to dig in and climb as some higher rated B’s.  
I had the feeling of being slightly pulled by the back…I think the older Rise 3 was giving me a good headwind penetration…
Facing the Valley breeze, pushing the bar still feels a bit glued even loaded at the top.  But surprisingly, as soon as I found myself in the higher layers, away from the wind effect, the Rise 4 really climbs very well matching the best ones! 
Doing some glides in smooth air, next to the best high B’s of the moment, I could only say that the Rise 4 is truly impressive, with a glide that matches the best ones in that category.

Pushing the bar with pulleys overlapping, I found some 11 km/h over the trim speed at 1000 ASL. I also felt that the leading edge flutters a bit and looses slightly some pressure in a slight turbulent air, but the reactions if I kept pushing and pushing hard on the speed bar is a soft collapse from one side that opens very quickly, like an A glider. 
Inducing some frontals, the rise 4 makes a slight horseshoe but recovers also very fast. Overall it feels less demanding than some 5.4 AR high B gliders in their reactions after a collapse. 

Ears are fairly stable, reopens after 3 seconds with no intervention. 

Conclusion: The difference between the Rise 3 and 4 is that the Rise 4 feels much more comfortable and easier to handle. 
I could describe the Rise 4 as an agile high B glider, with top-end glide efficiency, and great comfort. If only it could have more pitch into the airmass… but probably other sizes may differ. 
With an aspect ratio of 6, the comfort level is high on the Rise4. I have to add that the authority on the brakes is very good on that glider delivering a nice pleasurable feel while circling in thermals.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Interview with Mt Philipp Medicus NOVA (R&D)

Ziad: 1- Why are you aiming to release the Phantom 2? And what level of pilots it’s targeted for?
Philipp: There are many happy Phantom pilots, who like the performance and the handling behavior of the glider.
That's why we never really considered making the Phantom a "one-time thing".
The development isn't finished, but the target group is identical to the Phantom 
We think, that that's what made it so successful: It's easy to fly.
2- Can you describe the intended performance in active air toward the upper classes?
It has to be competitive against current EN-C gliders. (Except top speed, probably)

3- Are you intending to release a D glider in the next 6 months? or earlier?

4- I have flown the Mentor 6 normal cloth and the light version in the same size. I felt more connected via the light cloth. It seems different and more enjoyable…
How can that difference in feel?
I think the lighter cloth can affect the feeling in three ways:
1.) The reduced mass itself: The mass reduction is not more than around 10%, because you have to add the air mass inside the glider. But that should be enough to be noticeable in terms of less (mass-)damping.
2.) The light cloth will not only differ in weight but also in stiffness. That will unavoidably result in a certain change in the flying characteristics.
3.) A third effect is subjective: You can hear certain deformations better on many lightweight materials, than on many heavier cloths. So even if two wings do exactly the same, you will get a very different (acoustic) feedback from the two gliders.

5- And new tandem coming soon? and will it aim more for performance as the new releases?
Yes - we are working on a new tandem wing. It's going to be rather light, with good XC-potential. It won't be a direct successor of the Bion2 therefore.
We haven't started working on the Bion3 yet.
6-Will NOVA invest more in harnesses in the future?
Yes - certainly!

7- I always wondered about NOVA forethought in the release of a 2 liner or entering competitions? Any comments? 
We are working with 2-liner prototypes for a while now. From today's perspective, we won't release a CCC 2-liner.


Thank you!

Sunday, January 12, 2020

BGD Cure 2


It seems that I’m also BGD villain…  ;-)
I couldn’t get a hold of one as our dealer received again, (a note) No Cure 2 for Ziad!    
Cooldown guys !!  :-)  It’s the 21st century! And my last 2 BGD’s were purchased from abroad! …   
Gliders sent only to a “controlled” environment is an underestimation of the good pilots out there in the world, especially with the presence of a large social media network. 
I really regret BGD approach!
I wouldn’t want the dealer to have any problems, so I waited until the demo was finally sold to a friend (Northern Eagles Club) flying in the north part of Lebanon. I visited him, and he was so kind as to lend me his new toy.      
I really hope that BGD will have more faith in the future!

BGD Cure 2 M (75-95)    (The edge) 

BGD is a new company, created by the world champion, Bruce Goldsmith, that works with beautiful designs, cheerful colors, and with passionate young people working as a team.
The Cure 2 M launches easily in nil wind without any hardpoint. If the pull is heavy, the Cure 2 surges forward rapidly but can be swiftly stopped by the brakes. In a strong breeze, the pilot must anticipate and stop the surge. A good C pilot won’t have any problem. 

The Cure 2 in size M (75-95) feels slightly big to fly it at mid-weight but quite manageable in weak conditions. In strong air, I found it best at 94, 95 all up. The trim speed is fast for the C category. A bit faster by one km than the Q-light S, the Fusion S, and 2 km/h over the Delta 3, Alpina 3. 
 Flying with an X-rated 6 harness, the Cure 2  has a nice feel in the air!  Like the Cure 1, the Cure 2 is an agile glider, with slightly longer brake inputs than the Cure 1.  

 The brake travel is quite moderate and smooth, not short and not too long. After 10 cm of slack, 30-35 cm is needed to steer the glider in any thermal. The Cure 2 reacts smoothly, and accurately, to the pilot's controls. It has a linear response throughout the brake range. It feels similar to the Mantra 7 in terms of brake feel, and time response, with a slightly more agile turn.

In thermals, the Cure 2 can be steered tightly into the core. The turning radius is clean and the Cure 2 stays on its path during the climb. It feels like sniffing the thermal and it gave me a nice feel while coring. It doesn’t get out of the turn inside a thermal, and while pulling more or less brake, the Cure 2 reacts well, to position it inside the lift. 

In weak conditions, the Cure 2 seems to cope well with the best C’s of the moment despite its high trim speed. (You can see my C companion updated for the Cure 2 if you need to see the smaller details).  A little adaptation is needed to keep the Cure 2 from diving into a turn in weak conditions. A little brake pull is needed and the Cure 2 will climb effortlessly.  I can confirm that the Cure 2 floats well. 

The information is sent smoothly by the risers, not the brakes. The Cure 2 has a tamer feel is weak conditions, much like the M7 is that matter. The pilot must pay attention to the glider movements in order to feel those small 0.2 m/s lifts. But the Cure 2 can grab those tiny lifts with a good pilot underneath. In strong thermals, the Cure 2 moves a bit in yaw visually, but that doesn’t affect the pilot at all. I couldn’t feel the movements that were shown upward. It filters nicely the useless movements. When entering the strong lift, there’s a slight pitch back, when hitting the thermal, and slightly before entering, and then all you can hear is a screaming vario! The Cure 2 climbs really well and fast without too much control. 
In turbulent and strong air, it needs an active good C pilot, just because the moderate brake pressure is less sharp than the Cure 1, the Delta 3, or Alpina 3 for example.
Flying the Cure 2 in moderate air doesn’t feel like a block over the pilot's head, I felt it is a smooth and comfortable glider as it works by itself.  As the conditions liven up, the Cure 2 needs slightly more control power to keep it leveled or slightly more adaptation for the light and slightly moderate brake travel.  I felt the shooting forward is more pronounced than a Delta 3, Alpina 3, Fusion, Lynx, for example…But nothing difficult for a good C pilot. It’s easier to fly than the Trango X-race. 

The glide part is here…
Gliding next to the top C’s of the moment, I was really surprised by the abilities of the Cure 2! I have tried many times, next to the newest and best C’s of the moment, even next to the Mantra 7 ! just to be sure, but to my surprise, the Cure 2 arrived higher than most C’s I have as a reference! 
We all were very impressed by that glide, at trim, at first bar, and even at top speed. It seems that BGD has a new developer, as I have read on their website, with a new software tool for the R&D. I think the glide part is so obvious that any of you out there will notice it next to any C glider, or maybe this Cure 2 that I flew is magical!  :-) 
The glide next to the Mantra 7 was so close for the 7 km run and was repeated again and again, and sometimes facing a sea breeze…The difference is only around 10-15 meters less for the Cure 2 ! The M7 is more stable when hitting turbulence and stays on the path without loosing in movements. But that’s a very good D! 

The speed bar has a moderate pressure and while using it, the Cure 2 can be controlled quite efficiently by the C risers in moderate air. The C controls have more pressure than the Fusion or the M7 which has a light feel. The pressure on the Cure 2, C controls is on the moderate side.
Using the bar, the Cure 2 cruises efficiently in headwind conditions, and I could feel the speed and glide efficiency!  

Big ears also surprised me by their efficiency! With a half pull on the speed bar, I could reach easily -4,5 m/s!  The ears don’t open by themselves, and sometimes it’s nice to get your hands off the outer A’s and still getting a -3m/s sink. A slight bar on the brakes and they reopen. 

The top speed is around 16-17km/h over the actually fast trim speed.

Despite BGD's poor judgment toward my tests, facts will remain solid facts IMHO.  It’s pretty simple to switch off that ‘free to read page’ as fast as possible. No one will get hurt! :-)  
I’ll say again: When the 6.75 AR Cure 1 and Lynx were released, they were really pleasurable to fly, and I personally liked them, but there was some lower aspect ratio, C gliders that could have an edge over them in gliding power. BGD latest Punk, is also an adorable glider to fly, fast, climbs really well, but not on the edge of gliding performance in the high B category.    Who cares? I don’t.   But these are facts! that manufacturer must apprehend with a deep breath to cool down. 
How could it be possible for every manufacturer to have “all” his creations better than the competition in “everything”?  
That’s why underestimating the pilot's abilities and comprehension should be a thing of the past in 2020. 
I believe that choosing a glider only for its glide angle is wrong. I personally choose gliders that have a swift, sharp and better authority on the brakes.  The more pleasure I get is the way I personally choose. That’s me. Every person has his own demands and that’s the beauty of it. My friend adores the M7, and speak about it every moment. The other chose the Lynx and hammer his comments in my ear every second!  :-) 

Now with the 6.4 AR Cure 2, the leap over the first version is truly remarkable, as the BGD R&D team, has reached a new level in the C category having the edge in gliding power! Congratulations! 
 The gliding performance of the Cure 2 is second to none! The handling and the way to steer the Cure 2 is good for the C category and gives enough pleasure. I would have wished for shorter and more direct brake control. But that’s me..I’m too picky…Many will love it. The climb is weak is also quite good.
I’m sure that the Cure 2 will deliver some epic XC flying with the right skills for that category. I already updated my C comparison for the little details. 
In creating the Cure 2, BGD has outdone themselves. I really don’t know how they pulled it off, but that’s a solid fact and it’s already available for every pilot to experience it. 

UPDATE - 2/2/2020:
I can only add after more flying, that there is a little weakness in the profile, especially on the 2 meters from each extremity. Collapses happen more often in turbulent air...

Friday, December 13, 2019

Interview with OZONE R&D Mr Luc Armant ( 12/12/2019 )

I asked OZONE R&D, Mr. Luc Armant, a few questions concerning some interesting future designs.
Please find below his kind answers.

Ziad: 1- Will the new Delta 4 be certified this spring?

LUC ARMANT: Delta4. We aim to certify it this spring. However, we only release a glider once we are fully happy with it, so we can never be sure of the date. Remember that it's evolving research work, weather conditions, humans, politics. So there is a lot of uncertainty in the equation. The only thing sure is that an Ozone paraglider model is only released once it's superior to the previous model.

Z: 2- Will it have a moderate aspect ratio? Like its predecessor?

LUC A: Delta4, moderate aspect ratio. Yes. I believe it's still possible to have the best performing glider in the C category while maintaining relatively low aspect ratio, which helps for safety and manageability.

Z: 3- Will the use of the collapse line be used in the new C class? And on the D4?

LUC A: Collapse lines. There is an amendment to the current norm that needs to go through a formal vote. If I understood correctly and if it's accepted, it will only be in an application for certification around June 2020. 

Z: 4- Can you please comment on the strong points of Zeno 2 you are focusing on? Will it have sharper Handling?

LUC A: Zeno2. of course nice and sharp handling is important. Zeno1 does not have bad handling, but it is very sensitive to trimming, so the pilot needs to trim his Zeno1 regularly to make sure it's at his best. I personally love the Zeno handling when the trimming is set to slightly positive (per group, from 1 to 3 around 4-10-5mm)

Z: 5- Will the Zeno 2 get the same sizes as the Delta Rush series? Example 75-95…etc. Or will it follow the Zeno 1 pattern? 70-90…85-100…etc.

LUC A: For the moment, I'm making research prototypes in the same ML size than the Zeno1, for comparison sake, but we can adjust the size once we're happy with the final result. We'll see. 

Z: IMHO, and personal feel, I think seat board harnesses got lost over time, and there’s a big gap in pilot feel that was lost with them.
Seatless harnesses have great back support but lack precision versus the seat harness ones.
6- Will Ozone invest in a 3 kg, or 5 kg state board harness series with a back fairing?

LUC A: light seat board harness with back fairing. That's the Forza2 project. work on progress. 

Z: 7- What’s your personal philosophy toward the future of 2 liner gliders? Will the internal structure evolve in such a way, that even lower aspect ratio gliders could have fewer attachment points and still be very solid and homogenous in rough air? Is my thinking far a bit? From your perspective?

LUC A: 2 liner gliders future. I think that there are many things possible in the future. It's been only 10 years of developments by only a few companies until now. But I think interest and developments will grow up for this sort of design. 

Z: 8- As the products, being lighter, (harness and glider), Even a 70 kilos pilot will find himself on an XS or S glider…. With 80 or 85 all up weight. Will art be possible for a manufacturer to produce special sizes with special line diameters for this class in order to maintain the gap of performance with the bigger sizes? Or will it be too costly?

LUC A: Yes, it's possible for a manufacturer to produce a special size with a smaller line diameter on smaller sizes. To do so, it's basically costing the manufacturer a complete load test certification (one or two prototypes wasted + certification cost), so it's a question of how much the manufacturer expects to sell off one particular size and how much it may increase the performance. 
However, please note that even after adapting line diameter to match at best the lighter weight, most of the gap performance will still be there. Several scale effect phenomena are responsible for that. I see so many small pilots unhappy about that, but unaware of the real reasons that it's always good to remind the physics behind. 
a- line strength is related to line section, while line drag is related to line diameter. So when you multiply a line diameter by 2, the strength is multiplied by 4, while the drag is only multiplied by 2. That's an advantage for bigger sizes. 
b- stitching size, and stitching surface imperfection size are constant. The smaller the size, the bigger the relative drag. 
c- Reynolds number. also, a scale effect that affects flight performance down for smaller sizes, especially for the thick profiles used in paragliders. 
d- pilot+harness drag (a very big part of the total drag). Pilot+harness drag does not increase as much as the weight when you increase the pilot's weight. Another scale effect that can be simplified as Pilot+harness being a sphere. When you increase the diameter of a sphere by 2, its volume, mass or weight increase by 8, while it's frontal area and drag only increase by 4. 

Thank you very much for your kind answers!
Best regards,

Thursday, October 10, 2019

FLOW Fusion M

FLOW Fusion M

Flow is the new Australian brand. The XC racer is their EN-D 2 liner glider, and they released a beautiful new CCC, the Spectra.
The Fusion is their new EN-C glider.
My friend, lend me his M size ( 80-103 ) to test fly it. At first glance, I opened the package and saw a minimalistic line distribution, with a sliding B riser, and C control steering. That amount of very few lines means ‘performance’….Let's see…
I ballasted up to 99 all up on the M, with my X-rated 6 harness.
Launching the Fusion with its 6.3 aspect ratio is a piece of cake. Steady pull, and no surge forward, after a small brake input.
Launching is immediate. I had already shortened the brake lines by 5 cm. That way only 7 cm of the gap remained when the brakes are released.
Full bar is achieved without any tension on the brakes.

The Fusion was flown next to an Advance X-Alps 2 M, Mantra7 MS, Delta3 ML, Q-light S, in order to understand how it performs in the same conditions.
The brakes have light pressure on the first 10 cm, then slightly harder when pulled beyond 35 cm. The agility is on the average side but ok. In mild conditions, the Fusion can be turned quite tight inside the thermals. The precision of the brakes are good in mellow conditions and slightly less in turbulent cores.
In stronger and turbulent air, I would have wished for more precise control, and slightly better pilot authority on the brakes, in order to put it exactly where I wanted. But as you know, I’m a bit sensitive toward brake authority when test-flying a new glider.
My friend ‘Amer’ who is a Rush 5 pilot, flew the Fusion and commented that it was one of the best handling gliders regarding sensitivity.
And my other friend ‘Sayed’ who is a Cayenne 5 M pilot, commented that it was mellow to his taste and was missing some little spices.
So different opinions for different tastes...regarding the brake authority.
I found it slightly less agile than the Delta 3 MS, and the Q-Light S, but turns flatter! and has this new ‘search, grab and hold’ feature to never let go of a thermal!

I was also very surprised about the mellow feel under this 6.3 aspect ratio glider! It’s really a very dampened C glider. Probably one of the most pitch stable and overall stable glider in the C category! In average conditions, and high B pilot would find it very easy to fly, as my friends ‘Amer’ and ‘Sayed’ both commented, that its a faster and more performant ‘Rush 5’ with practically the same comfort under it in moderate conditions…
Of course, in stronger air, it needs an active pilot control as the authority on the brakes diminish a little.
But IMHO, any good high B pilot will be welcomed under this C machine.

Now the interesting part is the performance in climb and glide. Flying next to those gliders mentioned above, I can confirm a good climb rate for the Fusion M. To be even more precise, i think in smooth weak conditions it floats nicely. Not the best one in its category but a very good one. The strong point in the Fusion climb rate is when there’s an influence of little wind or valley breeze. Even in weak thermals, the Fusion surfs the air and grab that thermal. The more valley breeze, the more efficient the Fusion is for a C glider. When the climb is well built, the Fusion climbs very nicely. There’s not any pitch movement in moderate conditions, to the point of wondering how the hell it is searching for that lift and climbing!

After trying some good glides with reference gliders in the C and D category, I was very impressed by the glide angle of the Fusion!
Not only the Fusion is trimmed fast but it surfs the air without any pitch behavior to deteriorate that glide. On the contrary, it searches smoothly and calmly with a positive vario the lift in the airmass. To describe it best, it looks like sitting comfortably in a (TGV)!
Flow has created its best glider so far concerning glide efficiency. The Fusion scores the best glide angle in the C category at trim speed and could match some recent D gliders, except the M7, and close to the best C’s at full bar!
I’m waiting for the S size, which could be hopefully more agile. Let's wait and see…

The top speed is around 12-13 km/h over trim, with pulleys overlapping.
The C controls have a slightly moderate to hard pressure, but efficient to keep the glider in control in overall conditions.
ears are stable, slightly efficient and reopen with a little pilot input.

I don’t know how they did it…But I think Flow has forged the Fusion with aboriginal magic! 

An excellent glide angle for that C glider, and a high level of comfort.

Flow Fusion S (70-92)

After flying the M size, I flew the S size from 88 till 92 to find that the optimum weight for the S size was around the top weight. At 90 the Fusion still climbs well, even in weak conditions.

At 92 it surfs well the air and the glide headwind in amazing for the C class! The authority on the rakes for the S size at top weight is better than the M size at 100, as I found it slightly more agile. To place it accurately in terms of feel, the brake travel and the precision of the turn are slightly less than a Sector, Cayenne 5, or Queen 2 for example, but still very satisfying.
The Fusion transmits the glider movements by the risers, not by the brakes.

In turbulent and jumpy conditions, you need a long pull to control it overhead, but the overall movements are soft.
The leading edge has a strong tendency to avoid frontals. When trying to shot forward the leading edge intentionally, the Fusion leading-edge resist to collapse, and frontals are well delayed.
The brake travel is long before the stall, with brakes under the seat, the Fusion also resist well before stalling.

Big ears are stable on the S size and reopen with pilot input.

Conclusion: Flying it at 90-92, I found it well balanced without being flown heavy. It seems that you can float nicely even flying it on top.
Like its bigger sister, the S size is not trimmed differently. It is a true balanced S size C glider, with lots of performance, and especially good passive safety for the category, and gives a relaxed feel under it. It is more agile than the M. As I described the high level of comfort under it, I have to point out that the Fusion S is an agile glider, with a medium brake-travel.