Testing new paragliding gear

Testing new paragliding gear

Sunday, March 6, 2016

NOVA Ion 4 S ( The tough )



NOVA Ion 4 S

I have flown all the Ion series from the first one to this new 4th version.
Take off on this low aspect ratio B is quite easy and spontaneous.
During the Ion 4 S test flights, i had the Buzz Z5 in SM size also for testing.
For three days, i was top landing, changing glider, again and again, with the company of friends to compare them also in the air.

I flew the Ion 4 S from 90 to 99 all up, to notice that the Ion 4 S can be flown easily at mid weight without loosing its energy. In rough conditions 95 all up could be well enough…For racing upwind, 99 is fast and very efficient !

The Ion 4 S from 92 to 99 has a medium brake travel, and the pressure on the brakes can be described as slightly medium to hard, but agile and precise, and it’s a small step in agility over the Ion 3 S.
The Buzz Z5 brake travel is similar in precision and response but slightly lighter.

The Ion 4 S can be turned very flat with little brake input coupled with weight shift. Stationary turns and coring small bubbles are a delight. Hard pull on the brakes and the Ion 4 will logically dive showing an agile behavior.

Climbing in weak thermals next to an Ion 3 at 95 all up showed a similar climb rate, but once the thermals gets a bit strong and punchy, then the Ion 4 S will show a clear advantage over the Ion 3. In company of a Buzz Z5 SM, in windy conditions showed that in weak thermals they are also similar in climb , but again as soon as the thermals gets punchier the Ion 4 S shoots upward, like a spring, even loaded at top !
I felt it has a tendency to cut through better the airmass and climb without bumping even more efficiently than any new low aspect ratio, B glider i have tested.

The comfort in the air reminded me of the tough Ion 1 which leads me to say that the feeling under the Ion 4 S can be best described as “indestructible" !

The Ion 4 S doesn’t have a pitch back in thermals nor a front one. It climbs peacefully, with a positive vario giving this impression of flying a performance paraglider.
  The roll movements are just present to show the thermals, rather than to shake its pilot.The overall comfort feel is present.

Doing some glides with the Ion 4 S showed an increase in glide angle over the Ion 3, and a significant one when using the bar.
The trim speed of the Ion 4 S (80-100) loaded at 95 is around 0.5 km faster than a Buzz Z 5 SM (75-95) loaded at 90.
The glide angle at 45 km/h is impressively on the Ion 4 side.
The Ion 4 has indeed a very good glide angle especially accelerated !
I was impressed by the amount of performance / accessibility ratio it delivers.

The top speed is around 52 km/h at 1000 ASL.
The leading edge stays solid and the speed is fully usable.
Ears are easy to induce with a fast opening.

The speed bar risers were installed on my Ion 4 S. They are a nice feature that pulls the C’s and B’s evenly without deforming the profile.
Using them in full speed mode is efficient enough but hard to pull.The Mentor 4 S ones are lighter in pressure.

Conclusion:
Tough, fast, comfortable, superb performance for a low aspect ratio glider, good agility and climb.That’s the Ion 4.

It seems that NOVA fine tuned the Ion 4 for a flatter polar and toward a performance use for XC purposes.

The race for performance will never end, but creating a low aspect ratio, easy to use, B glider that has the edge in overall performance especially accelerated, with an indestructible feel in turbulence is what makes paragliding even more magical.