Testing new paragliding gear

Testing new paragliding gear

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.