Testing new paragliding gear

Testing new paragliding gear

Thursday, February 26, 2015


The Iota is a new B class from ADVANCE that sits between the Sigma 9 and the Epsilon 7 .
It has all unsheathed lines and all the latest innovations. The construction and the purely of the lines, is IMHO ,one of the best you'll ever see...
Launching in moderate conditions the Iota is easy and smooth. I flew the size 26 (75-100) from 92 to 96 and once airborne, the IOTA gave me a solid and confidence inspiring feeling. The comfort is exactly between the Epsilon 7 and the Sigma 9 and slightly toward the Sigma 9 . The brakes authority are slightly less than the Sigma 9 which but still direct and prompt at my loadings . The agility is slightly less than the Sigma 9 but still very satisfying.
The trim speed is fast around 40 km/h.
The IOTA moves as a whole .The structure is very coherent and the turns are initiated from the brakes rather than weight shift.
What impressed me is the gliding power of that superb machine ! I don't want to say anything more than to let you see the videos (more to come)
I think this weapon has the ability to take you wherever your mind is set to go...
The climbing and the ability to surge upward is very good and still the glider behaves very gently for the performance it delivers.
Induced collapses are soft in recovery.At least on my loadings. Big ears are stable and reopen smoothly. The speed bar takes you + 13 km/h over trim taken at 400 ASL.
The IOTA will be the B glider to look at closely this season for it's 'complete ' package of climb - glide - comfort .

More to come on the IOTA 

This video below shows the potential of the 2015 high-end B gliders. It is NOT a comparison with high end D classes ,as the D class will always have the upper hand...But on a B you can fly very far...Grab a beer and enjoy this 27 mn Full HD video ! Smile

A few more words concerning the Iota.

I have been flying the Iota with lots of B gliders recently, and now i have a more clear idea about that glider.
The IOTA from ADVANCE is best flown at 95 all up on the 26. I could fly it less about 92 easily. And i did try to fly it at 98 which also didn’t affect at all the climb !

The turning behavior is as i said before not as agile as the Sigma 9 but the IOTA doesn’t dive in turns and has that stationary turn with this biting ability into thermals giving the pilot a very efficient climb rate !

Big ears are very stable and it’s efficient ! Very useful …Reopen smoothly…

Today my flying was in difficult conditions with a north wind
that reduced our trim speed to 12 km/h facing the wind.

I was really surprised that after some hours flying with the best B’s of the moment at exactly same loadings for both (96.5)  that the IOTA is a very interesting and efficient glider in difficult conditions whenever in climb or glide !
All that with a very relaxed behavior for the high end B category. I’m convinced to the point that i’m not selling the IOTA for now, and keeping it as a reference B glider for future testing.

After all …what do B pilots really need more than a comfortable, high performance B glider that can deliver when nicely asked?  :-)

Mac Para Elan Light 24

Mac Para Elan Light 24  70-90

Earlier i test flew the Elan 26 normal version, and was very impressed by the comfort and the performance of that C glider.
Now here's the Elan light in size 24 flown at 88 all up with a lightness 2 harness.

The risers are very thin and connected directly to the lines as the Mac Yucon light glider .

Take off is smooth and easy¦
First turn and i was already having an ear to ear smile !
The brake pressure is light and the brake fan is super precise, super direct, and a real pleasure to fly that glider as ±15 cm are needed to turn that glider in thermals.

The comfort is there ! The Elan light is also inherited the comfort of the Eden 5 . It moves smoothly as a whole, without excessive movements as if the pilot is on a mid B glider.

Of course in strong conditions it needs a C pilot, but it surely is a mild C and pilots coming from the B category will find a real pleasure in thermal flying.

The climb ability of the Elan light is among the best in the C category. It climb quickly with the first thermal breathe.

The glide angle is similar to the normal Elan which is very good for the 2015 middle C category.

Test flying many gliders, makes it sometimes very difficult to be impressed, but the Elan light 24  has one of the best handling (turning ability) , with exquisite flying pleasure and feel a pilot can experience !

NOVA Mentor 4 S

NOVA Mentor 4 S

Upon NOVA statement that the Mentor 4 is a step forward in performance compared to the Mentor 3, here’s the M4 in S size flown from 94 to 98 all up.

Launching is straight forward for the B category.

Once in the air the Mentor 4 feels more alive than the ‘3” and less than the ‘2’ version.
The brake response is direct and precise and puts the Mentor 4 in the middle of the M2, and M3 version in terms of responsive character .

It is not like the M2 which was short and super direct, but also not like the M3 which lacked a bit of linear response.
NOVA nailed it with a direct and nicer handling and more performance oriented than the M 3.

Climbing in weak thermals ( 0.5m/s) at 94 all up on the M4 is average… I cannot say that it has the best climb in the B category, but it could be very close to the M3.

In punchier thermals and facing the valley breeze, the Mentor 4 shows it’s potential to wipe out the M2, and M3 off the bench ! The M4 cuts through and climb going forward like a high end performance glider !

This cutting and going through the airmass is the strongest point of the M4 when loaded near the top weight ! Climbing in strong thermals facing the valley breeze is enhanced on board the M4 and could be very competitive with the class above.

The trim speed of the M4 is higher than the one on the M3 similarly loaded.

In turbulent conditions the M4 needs more active piloting than an M3 , and could be slightly less than the M2 or same in terms of pilot control .

Now comes the interesting performance part….

To give you an exact answer about the Mentor 4 glide performance, I did several long glides with some recent B ,C and last an ‘out of the box’ 7.0 ar , 2014 ,very well known ,3 line, D glider !, in calm and in moving conditions.

Of course the climb rate and the floating ability of a 7.0 AR D glider is un-matchable…but it was a very interesting information for me to know how the Mentor 4 glides among today’s B,C and D gliders. And the surprise came…

I can easily confirm now, that the glide angle of the Mentor 4 S loaded at 98 is very ….very…competitive especially facing the valley breeze and surprisingly superb at second bar !, and that would be a big surprise for many after the test movies will be released …

NOVA has built a super ‘performance’ B glider. The climb in weak is average to good for the category but the Mentor 4 will take you on dream glides at trim…”or should i say” especially at full speed !!
Like it’s predecessors, the hard part is trying to beat this glider in glide !

UPDATE :  6/9/2015 
First i do have to apologize for my test of the Mentor 4 S test concerning the climb rate.I think it's slightly better than i said and expected...
Even for an everyday flyer surprises can happen...But they are hopefully updated if felt otherwise...

Flying the Mentor 4 S at 95 all up does in fact need some 'different' approach and reaction from the pilot to get it in a good climb inside weak thermals unlike all the B gliders i have tested in the past years...
Explanation: When entering a weak thermal it's better to let the Mentor 4 without any brakes at all, then when the pilot must turn inside the little lift, weight shift (Distance between hang points ±47 cm for the S ) and apply ONLY a very slight pressure on the inside brake ( may be 5 cm of travel and less than 1 kg of brake pressure) with no pulling in the outside brakes. (Let the glider float and surf the air ... )
When it's turbulent, block it and release...
Other B gliders can be slowed inside a small very "narrow" and weak thermal, but the M4 doesn't like at all to be slowed for an efficient climb ,(even in the narrow and weak ! ) as it won't be able to embrace this 0.5 m/s weak thermal.
In this method i could get the Mentor 4 S to experience better climb even in weak thermals !
I learned that the Mentor 4 S liked to be left alone to surf the air-mass even in weak lifts... So no braking is required to surf up-ward Smile
After all those years I'm still learning, feeling the gliders and discovering new possibilities everyday !
Sorry for any mishaps...