Thursday, June 9, 2022

FLOW Freedom 2, S (70-95)

FLOW Freedom 2, S (70-95) 

G’day, mate!  What’s cracking?  Get your eskys and let's see that beauty!  :-) 

I’m still in my deadset  ;-)  …but Aussie slang training…  :-) 


First, I must tell you that I already test flew the older version (Freedom1) and this new high B is nothing close to the old version as if sewn in another dimension! 

The Freedom 2 is built with Porcher Skytex 38g and 32g which gives it a semi-light construction. Liros and Edelrid lines are installed like a hybrid 3-2 liner technology and they are quite a few. 

A shark nose with a 4 ways attachment point on the A’s, reminded me of a 2 liner construction. 

Launching the Freedom 2 at 92 all up on my X-rated 6 harness, with a steady pull, in nil wind it is easy without any hard points. In the stronger breeze, the launching is also nice without any shooting forward. 

The brake travel was 4 cm shorter than my ‘personal preference’, as I fly with a half wrap…So I just length it to 8 cm of gap after the pulley before trailing edge activation.  The factory settings would suit a lot of pilots especially if they choose to fly it at the lower range… 

In this test, I will compare the Freedom 2 with the Chili5 and with the Rush 6 of the same size, that I still have, as I was alternating for three consecutive days and repeatedly flying the R6 and the F2 to feel and see the differences in the same air to describe more accurately.

Now I must write as I did before,  that ‘every’ glider in all categories and of course including the high B category will change in feel after the first 20, or 30 hours! There’s no exception from any manufacturer nowadays as they all use the same type and line width. Some will trim it slightly faster, and it will settle down afterward. Some will do some knots in order to release them later as they feel would be differently related to each glider's stress points.  Most importantly, if you want to retain the same feel as a brand new glider, re0trim it after the first 30 hours.  

My R6 has also changed after 20 hours, so the feel is more tamed. No more spices in surging forward in thermals, and it became slightly reluctant to go into the airmass and calmer than before. That is the case with all the gliders in the B, C, D, and CCC categories…

So I re-trimmed the Rush 6 in my basement, and the next morning after the first flight, the R6 regained all its nice characteristics with the correct spices I felt the first day flying it! …

and the test comparison began…

In the air, the Freedom 2 has a very slightly longer brake travel and is lighter than the Chili5 if similarly loaded.

Similar to the R6 by maybe 2 cm longer …Very close.  The brake travel on the Freedom 2, is very linear and responsive as the Chili 5. There’s a more pleasurable feel through the brakes for the F2 than for the R6! More linear-pull through the brake range. 

The Chili 5 has shorter brakes and is slightly harder. The agility of the brand new Freedom 2 S is excellent! It can be turned even narrower than the R6, and probably similar to the Chili5 (if all are loaded the same! ) 

Now for the boring stuff…  The Freedom 2 turns as narrow as the Chili 5 but gets slightly better into the rising air mass! ( Some pilots would say I’m getting deeeeeep  :-)   , but that’s the way it felt!

Talking about thermal efficiency is the strong point of Freedom 2. The leading edge has a slight pitch forward in thermals as a new glider!  but…I felt that it embraces the thermal… 

With that nice brake authority, I was able ‘easily” to stay in every core!  Why do I say easily…Because it moves forward, climbs well and it stays inside the thermals a bit longer than the others without slipping through with an incredible ability to steer it inside a turbulent thermal wherever I wanted!  

Among those three gliders, I personally enjoyed that efficient glider with its nice brake authority and linear response throughout the range. 

Now if I wanted to go a bit deeper… some will get more bored… :-)   I will say that in very calm conditions and moderate thermals, the Chili 5 will probably have the edge in climbing over the two. But when you have a more complex air hitting you, then the glider that will have an edge would be shared by the Rush 6 and the Freedom 2 as they both move forward and climb. They are good swimmers in the turbulent airmass! 

OK, That’s it! No more Tinny or Stubby today…And I’m not Pissed :-) 

My friend and I also did some long glides with the R6 and the F2. On the trim speed which is the same, if both are similarly loaded, the Chili5 and the Freedom 2 share the same glide which is very close to the R6. A full bar, the Freedom 2 has around 9 km's over trim, and at that speed, both the R6 and the F2 have a very close glide. My B comparison is updated for the small details if needed.

As for overall comfort, I flew the Freedom 2 in some nasty turbulent air and I have now a large idea about it. In strong turbulent air, the Rush6 moves as a block. It has dynamic movements in pitch or roll, for a high B pilot of course, but you feel that complete taught glider above your head even if your chest strap is open to 48..50 cm. 

The Freedom 2 in the same air, works a bit more in itself, with some slight yaw movements roll and pitch. I found that to remove the slight yaw movement a chest strap of 45 cm will erase a lot of them.  Now in a positive way, If you don’t look above your head the feedback coming from the glider is very useful and rewarding! For my personal feel, that’s the glider I choose to fly for high B just because the educational feedback is awesome! I am not saying that the Freedom 2 is a difficult glider to fly! NO, it is not, but it will deliver very nice feedback that is needed to communicate with the airmass. (for a high B of course! ) 

To give you an idea: the 777 Queen 2, or the Supair Savage as a C glider needs 30 % more workload for a pilot to control than the Freedom 2.  And 20 %  less than the Fusion … Feel ok now? :-)  

Now the part of controlling it with the rear risers. I felt that in most cases I was easily able to control the Freedom 2 with the rear risers, especially at bar. Among the 3 gliders, I would say that they are very close in that issue with the R6 being slightly more direct probably due to the C handles placement. The Freedom 2 and the Chili5 are similar in that matter. 

The difference in handling between the Fusion and the Freedom 2 is huge! No comparison…The Freedom 2 has a nimble feel and is more linear through the brakes with direct control. 

Now…IMHO,  these new well-sorted hybrid 3-2 construction, high B’s are a direct competitor for their C’s !!  The Chili5, R6, and now the Freedom 2! 

The Freedom 2  would (probably) out-perform the Fusion…hummmm…. or similar… Don’t shoot the messager! ;-) 

That’s why a completely new era of C’s will emerge…I think.

Ears are stable, easy to induce, and efficient,  they reopen without pilot intervention.

Wing-overs are easy to get and quite impressive. You can feel the energy on that EN’B when doing them!  The stall point is below the hips, near the seating position and it is feelable with a slight stable stall before entry. 

Conclusion: Flying the Freedom 2 as a high B is quite rewarding by the excellent feedback, nice authority on the brakes coupled with a linear pull, and good overall pleasurable handling. 

With the Freedom 2, Flow has delivered a nimble high performance B glider, set to achieve long-distance flights.  All that while having immense pleasure, plus overriding going to a 2021, C glider.

Good on ya!  :-) 

Tuesday, May 10, 2022



Air Design VOLT 4  S (80-92) 

After the Volt 3 with its 3-line design, and the new change in the EN-C protocols, AIR DESIGN released the first real 2-liner, C-rated glider.  The VOLT 4 used the excellent Porcher Skytex 27 classic II on top and bottom. The lines used on top: Edelrid 8000/U-070, 090, 9200-035 with middle Lines: Edelrid 8000/U-130, 190.  The Main Lines: Edelrid 8000/U-190, 230, 280, 360. 

This choice of a very different line layout with the skinnies on the brakes and on the rear B attachment points screams for performance! 

Flying different C gliders over the years made me a bit feel suspicious about a 2 line design…I thought in my pragmatic head that manufacturers will release a 2 line design for marketing purposes and in my hard-headed mind, imagined that in strong air it would be quite snaky and probably difficult to maintain a 6.5 AR with C certification… 

Hmmmmm, I was TOTALLY wrong…And still learning…

I reached the take-off on a sunny day with blue sky, but with layers of inversions. I know these typical conditions in my area, where it would be strong, and punchy until I get over all those thick layers. It was the best time for me to test fly the VOLT 4 and to see how it will behave in those nasty conditions. 

I flew the VOLT 4 S (80/ 92) at 92 all up on my X rated 6 harnesses.

Launching the VOLT 4 with  10, 15, or even 25 km/h wind is relatively very easy. No complications whatsoever. 

As the openings are small, it needs just a little time to fill in. So the rise on the glider is slightly slow in nil wind, keeping pressure on the risers but steady, as it fills with air and the take-off is very easy. Some examples: 

The VOLT 4 launches much better than the Rook3 and is similar to the Alpina 4 MS. The light Mantra 7 MS fills quicker with air but goes up faster. Overall, it is very easy to take off even in nil wind.  

In + 10 km/h, it is a non event. 

In the air, the brakes are short, and direct, with good agility. The glider calmly obeys each input given by the pilot even in turbulence resembling a very polite butler. The turning radius is efficient and could be very narrow. They are slightly linear but mostly direct. 

They are short probably like the Rush 6 brakes, but slightly harder. Shorter than the LM7 and a bit harder. Shorter than the VOLT 3, a bit harder but more direct.  Slightly shorter than the Delta 4, and a bit harder also. The Alpina 4 has lighter and longer brakes.

For my personal taste, the action on the brakes of the VOLT 4 is quite good. Probably a bit hard when pulled over 30 cm. But very satisfying to keep the authority of control on the pilot side!

The conditions were as I expected. Broken thermals at first on the lower layers, lots of turbulence, and sometimes punchy conditions.  

I was surprised by the excellent behavior of the VOLT 4 !  The pitch back isn’t noticeable!  and the small pitch forward is incredibly efficient to enter with the VOLT 4 stopping inside the thermal!  Translation: It goes forward inside the cores and slows with the feel of a stop! as it goes up! Really nice!  All that with a super solid very homogenous structure! 

My stubborn brain wasn’t still understanding how it could be possible to have such a homogenous structure with only those attachment points! And as the flight and fight continued to pierce those inversions, until finally I reached 900 m above take-off and pushed on the bar going north. 

The pressure on the foot pedal has a moderate pressure on the two steps, and I could gain some  + 17 Km/h  over the trim speed. While cruising at the half bar, the B steering is very efficient. It is the first time on a C glider I can feel the 2 liner efficiency! In turbulence, I could keep the VOLT 4 quickly above my head while on the B’s. I think this is the first real 2 liner efficiency on a C!  And it worked! 

Later that day, I flew with some friends to get an idea about the climb and gliding. After a while, I could see that in weak conditions, the VOLT 4 could float quite well, turns very flat, and is a good climber. In other stronger conditions, the climbing of the VOLT 4 is stunning! It is really a good climber if properly loaded ( Important notice further down) 

I think it has to do with its character to get inside quickly but without any excessive movements.  

Gliding was also very rewarding for me. After some gliding alongside good C’s, I can confirm that the VOLT 4 has now the edge of the best glide in the C category, especially when pushing 1\4  on the bar!  the glide is probably at that speed and is the most efficient on a C! 

If you ask me if it reaches the Mantra 7 glide angle, I would say it is close but not yet reached. But in strong air, there’s a tight competition…However, the top speed is +2 Km’h over the M7. 

Now there is a very important notice I have to mention:

Later, I flew the VOLT 4 with another lighter harness (Genie light 3) at 88 all up and I noticed something new to me.

Usually, when you fly light on a 3-liner you get better float ability. But it seems that with the VOLT 4, 6.5 AR 2 liner C, things are quite different!

Let me explain:

When I am light on the VOILT 4 it feels like my weight shifts to the rear of the glider. On the B lines… when entering the thermals, it slows more and is not as efficient to go through. But when I loaded the same VOLT 4 at the top weight (92), and even in weak thermals, the feel of my all-up weight is shifted to the front A risers! and entering the weak thermals was more pronounced! All that to say is with this new 2-liner the difference in weight is quite feelable. So I found it best to stay at max weight in all conditions in order to “ benefit” from this construction. 

When flying it at low weight, it still climbs moderately in weak air with the urge of wanting it to go through that airmass quicker.  Loading it, will spice your senses and feel better with an efficient leading edge!  

The difference if feeling when lightly loaded between the 3 liners and the 2 liners is very big to my personal feel. 

Ears are stable if pulled normally, and they are efficient. They reopen alone at 92, and even at 88 but slower and they recover by themselves. 

Doing some wingovers, showed me the hidden energy of the glider, especially at 92, and 93!  Landing is super easy with a late stall point and efficient energy. There’s a marked parachutal stall before a full stall which is easy to feel. 


Air Design has created the first 2 liners C and it is definitely NOT a detuned 3 liner! It is a fairly accessible, comfortable, and docile C glider with 2 risers!  I am really surprised by that achievement! 

The 2-liner VOLT 4 has a different feel from any 3-liner B, C, or even 3-liner D !   It is definitely not a marketing tool, it is the real deal for a 2-liner C! 

If any pilot wants to fully benefit from it, he must forget the 3 liner recommendations, and absolutely fly the VOLT 4 fully loaded at top weight!

When loaded at the top, the A’s are more loaded and the pilot will benefit more in strong air by the ability to move forward with a very efficient glide at the bar. 

The B steering is very efficient when using the bar to stop surges and stay on rails.  

A new discovery for me after all those years. I am very keen to see what the future will bring to this 2-liner C category! Some will probably push the limits of that category, and others won’t. 

The VOLT 4 is a balanced 2-liner with a C rating.

Perhaps a test flight would be very interesting to experience the differences between your old 3-liner and this one. Enjoy the future! :-)  

Tuesday, April 12, 2022



OZONE Zeno 2  MS

And here it is after five years.  The Zeno 1 was an eye-opener as every pilot who flew it knows. In that era, there was no competition in the 2 liner series for that special package of outstanding performance and comfortable ride. In this test, I will try to compare the Zeno 2 with the new Magus XC, Peak5, Zeolite GT, Omega X-Alps 3, Leopard, XC racer. 
 History:  I must add that in the 90’s I was still very much interested in competition gliders, and have flown a lot of them, from the early UP’s, EDEL, Airwave, MAC PARA, some hours on the fast XXX at the time, the Sector era, and many more that I can’t recall all of them. 
Those machines were difficult to manage in strong air. The main problem at the time besides the weak internal structure was the reduced authority on the brakes! I would find myself sometimes in strong air a passenger underneath and waiting for that machine to settle or to pass that heavy turbulence. They were very slow to enter the airmass comparing them to the new generation B’s of today! 
Finally, I felt that the easiest competition glider to fly for the competent pilot is the authority on the brakes and how precisely a pilot could steer it in turbulence, and how much that competition glider can stay connected to the pilot's input in the heavy stuff. IN other words, how to keep it open, and that has lots of importance IMHO to rate the easiness of a comp glider that is intended for the required level of pilots.
Nowadays, the inserted rods from the leading to the trailing edge stiffened the glider, making them very solid, but another challenge arises, to control the energy that the glider produced in strong air, or especially after collapses. 

Testing the Zeno 2:
I flew the Zeno 2 with my good old Woody X-rated 6 that I use on 90 % of the gliders I test fly. Ideal chest strap for the Zeno 2 MS to stay homogenous in turns and feel better the air is 48 cm between carabiners on the X rated 6.  
In nil wind, a steady pull on the A’s will launch the Zeno 2 easily. It resembles the Zeno 1 inflation, but it feels more compact and balanced as it fills with air. After the first 50 % rise, the Zeno 2 accelerates a bit and it is better to ease up the pull for a smooth take-off.  Overall it is a very easy glider to inflate for a 2-liner.  It is not very far from the Mantra 7 in inflation.  The only problem with 2 liner and long rods are when the wind gets underneath the trailing edge and lifts it. 

In the air:
I flew the Zeno 2 MS from 92 to 99, and later I felt that around 94, 96 is the best option to go for overall performance management.  The older Zeno1 was best flown at 97, but I think the Zeno 2 supports better with less weight still feeling homogenous and solid.  The Zeno 2 MS at 95 has a slight pitch forward when entering thermals. The Zeno 1 after 20 hours would feel like a slight pitch back but with enough efficiency to climb like hell. The Zeno 2 now around 15 hours, seems to have a slight forward pitch and straight into the climb. It seems as talkative as the Zeno 1 if properly loaded.  The inner structure of the Zeno 2 feels very solid and homogenous than the Zeno 1 had. 

In stronger air and punchier conditions, the Zeno 2 needs slightly more active pilot control than the Zeno 1.  At 40 % of bar travel, and flying in moderate turbulence it felt quite easy to keep on track and control with the B steering.  But when pressing more than 60 % till the full bar, I felt that it becomes more delicate and sensitive in turbulence. That’s why I felt a seated harness would be great to lock yourself inside.
Will talk about it later on in this test.  

The Peak 5 I tested earlier, has longer brake travel and less authority than the Zeno 2, and of course, the B steering was very light, and as I wrote it was a bit difficult to feel the glider when on bar.
The Peak 5 needs more active pilot control than the Zeno 2 in all conditions. The Zeno 2 B steering is firmer more contact and better control, and the brakes are shorter and more direct.

The Magus XC and the Leopard seem to share the same comfort as the Zeno 2. The Magus XC  pleasant handling is quite similar to the Zeno 2 with the ability to core slightly narrower than the Zeno 2 and a more linear response through the brakes for the Magus with the ability to readjust the turning radius in turbulent air.  
The Flow XC Racer authority on the brakes seems to be also more linear and direct. It felt also easier to fly. 
On some days I felt that I was able to core every bubble efficiently on the Zeno 2, and on some other days, with turbulent disorganized cores, the Zeno 2 tends to get leveled and implying brakes and weight shift to keep it at course inside the thermal was better especially at 96 on the MS. In any other 5,6 m’s homogenous thermal, the turning radius is easily kept and the climb is faster than any 3 liners, and even some 2 liners.  I was able to feel, and control the Zeno 2 movements and place it 80 % of the times where I wanted it in the air.  That’s the reason I find it a bit easier to turn than the Leopard and quite similar to the Magus XC. In stronger air, the Omega X Alps 3 is more manageable as it doesn’t jump away much overhead.

There’s very slight feedback from the brakes on the Zeno 2 which wasn’t available on the Zeno1, but not, much… The internal structure of the Zeno 2 felt more compact and more solid than the Zeno 1 span-wise. The tips however on the Zeno 2 are very slightly softer than the Zeno 1 but still very solid…In all the flying hours I had a couple of tip collapses…so nothing to mention here… 
I personally believe that’s a positive behavior for a glider that is very solid in the middle and collapse a bit on the extremities. 
When flying a very solid glider all the way, I get worried about its collapsing or when it will collapse. Better to be informed by the tips! 
 Finally, the Zeno 2 at trim speed and at 55 Km’h (half bar) needs maybe 30 % more active pilot control than the Mantra 7 MS. 
Doing some glides with a Mantra LM7, in moderate to calm air, same size and load as the Zeno 2, showed me on several occasions a very small edge of glide at trim speed. The full bar of the LM7 matches half bar on the Zeno 2, with a slightly superior glide in calm air also, But when conditions began to get windy and tricky, the Zeno 2 gets quickly in front and higher as it excels in lift lines with a profile that gets higher and moving forward much better.

Doing some glides with a Flow XC racer 80-95, the same load as the Z2, showed me a better glide for the Z2 at trim and at bar. The climb however is weak was on the XC racer side. In strong climbs, they both look similar. 
At half and full speed, I felt that the Zeno 2 requires a seaboard harness that locks you in place and steady, as it will require much more pilot control. The XC racer felt easier to handle.  
The leading edge shows some crisps but is still tough. I think it requires keen attention when gliding in moving air at full bar. Or should I say, it is better not to use the full speed often unless you need to go that fast! 

The B steering is efficient at half bar and can control almost 80 % of the glider movements. A bit less efficient than the Zeolite GT. It has a moderate pressure, comfortable for long glides, but the pressure tends to spread till the tips and is probably slightly delayed over the Zeolite GT, which can be promptly maintained through the B risers. 

In moderate thermals, I was enjoying steering with the B controls in a thermal and I could get the Zeno 2 to get some cores using the B risers.  
I had a tip from Luc for weak thermal climbing, and it worked!  Steering with the inside brakes on one side, but holding the B control from the outside (no brakes touching). I noticed a better float ability in weak thermals! Try it!  

What i liked most is the way that the Zeno 2 penetrates the airmass with a positive efficiency to move forward. It felt like a hungry grasshopper that inhales what’s in front of him…that’s the best way to describe it :-)  It is a fast glider at trim in that matter, and even more if you load it at 100!  But I think you will only need it when the day is very generous and strong and you are aiming to win the competition by a margin! 

So, in very weak thermals, (0.2 m/s) I felt that the Zeno 1 (reference in that matter), Leopard, and the Magus XC could be slightly floatier if all are similarly loaded! That’s why getting the Zeno 2 MS at 95 won’t alter the behavior in strong air, but will probably favor a bit the climb in very weak conditions. 
When flying my LM7 next to the Zeno 2 in a very weak lift I felt the LM7 was floatier. 
Later when a dominant north wind was facing us, and even in a light lift, the Zeno 2 could get inside and get the lift much better. 

The handling and the brake are shorter to react than the Zeno 1, similar to the Omega X alps3 and the Leopard but without being as linear.  From the two liners i tested, the Magus XC and the Flow XC racer can make an even narrower radius with a linear response. 
The Zeno 2 handling enables it to narrow the turning radius more than the Zeno 1 can (In homogenous cores) 

Ears can be made with the outer A’s, they flap a bit but ok. They are more efficient and calmer with outer B’s as they reopen quickly. The descent rate with the outer B’s is better than the Zeno 1 with more than -2.2 m/s and bar if you have long arms.  
Wing overs are spectacular with the Zeno 2. You can feel the energy after the second turn, and on the third, you will find yourself above the glider facing the earth! 

Conclusion: The Zeno2 is different from the Zeno 1. Handling has been improved, as it is shorter and more responsive, and forgiving. The stall point is hard to get. It is just underneath the hips. It gives slight information before it stalls. It can be slowed on a narrow top landing with keen attention. 
More trim and top speed, more homogenous feel, better glide at bar, better into airmass efficiency. I wish that the climb in weak thermals stayed the same but flying it 5 kg less than the top weight will solve it slightly.   
The Zeno 2 is an efficient XC and comp machine with a high degree of accessibility for the top performance 2 liner pilots and could be a logical evolution for experienced 3liner D pilots who want to upgrade.  

Friday, March 11, 2022

DRIFT Hawk S 70-92

DRIFT Hawk S 70-92

Drift is a new paragliding company.  

If you want to know about the designers and team, please follow that link:  

Hawk is their high EN-B. 

The construction details are very well made. Skytex 32 and 28 were used on the Hawk with Liros and Edelrid lines with very few lines and width. With a shark nose (beak) the glider looks like it was designed for performance. The weight of the Hawk is a bit less than 4 kg and could be narrowly packed. 

In this test, I will compare it with some B’s, and mainly with a Base 2 Slight.

Launching the Hawk S from 89 to 92 all up is very straightforward without any hardpoints to delays. It resembles the Base 2  light launching behavior which is really easy with its lightweight and very simple to inflate even in nil wind.

I flew the Hawk (S size) from 89 to 92 in weak and strong thermals and could do some XC in our current winter condition. 

The brake pressure on the S size at my all-up weight is on the moderate light side. Not as long light as the Swift 5, and not as short as the Rush 6 for example. It could be a bit similar to the Base 2 light in brake length and feel. The Hawk can be steered on a narrow core. So I think 35 cm is needed to crank it in a small core, after the 8 cm brake gap. Overall, I can say that the Hawk is a glider with good agility and could promptly be steered into the lift. The Base 2 S size simply loaded could have a slightly narrower radius in turns. But still, the Hawk has very good agility.

In weak thermal conditions, the Hawk seems to be quite efficient, perhaps like the Mentor 6 efficiency if both are loaded the same. In strong cores, it climbs also very well. 

In strong and turbulent air, the Hawk S is an informative B glider. It moves a bit more in roll and slight yaw than the Rush 6 in strong turbulent air.  The feedback comes from the risers, and some pilots would find it quite interesting rather than boring. 

I’ll update my B comparison table for the little details if needed. 

Gliding through the calm morning or evening air, I can say that the Hawk has an outstanding glide angle similar to good B’s. Doing some glides in moving air when low against a valley breeze, the Hawk in S size slows a bit and needs slightly a bit more time to enter the airmass. So I think loading it at 93 could be a good option to move forward a bit better.  It will still retain a good glide like the Base 2, Mentor 6, Rush 5.  The C steering is quite efficient in controlling pitch movements. I think it is one of the nicest C steerings on the B’s. Moderate pressure, linear pressure on the C handles to receive and give good control.  

Pushing the bar on the S size gave me around 10 km's over trim with a good and competitive glide angle at that speed. The pressure on the bar is moderate. 

So overall the gliding in most conditions is very good and could be also very similar to the Base 2 light S I have over here. 

Big ears are very stable and efficient. They reopen very quickly. 

Conclusion: Today’s high B category is loaded with lots of impressive gliders. With the Hawk, DRIFT has created a relatively high B glider with good overall performance that fits well in the top 10 of very well-made gliders.

 It needs active pilot control in strong air, as I’m test flying the S size. The More L would differ.  The handling is sweet, as you can turn it inside any core. 

I’m sure that a test flight would be more than anything is written. So getting a demo is always the best way to see if it fits your requirements. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Triple Seven Knight 2 size MS

Triple Seven Knight 2 size MS

I still remember quite well the Knight 1 when I test flew it. Triple Seven is delivering now its second version. In this test, I will describe the differences found in both versions in every aspect and will insert some B gliders for comparisons.

The Knight 2 is a mid-B glider as stated by Triple Seven as they consider that their Pawn EN-A glider could fit as a first glider after training. 

The construction on the Knight looks very neat. The same construction is seen on Rook 3. Triple Seven used the same line width, lengths, and configuration as on the Rook3. If both gliders are on the ground, there will be very few differences to see between the two. 

The leading edge openings are also practically the same. Very narrow small openings.  The risers have a C to the B steering system. Here’s the link for more pictures>

Have to mention this important notice in all my tests>

Today’s gliders with ‘no’ exception for any low, mid-high B or especially C or D will eventually change their trim after some 20-30 hours. When they do, they usually get a bit slower sometimes they bump a bit more into the airmass. Some pilots won’t notice at all, and the glider will still fly nicely. Some more delicate pilots will feel it more. So, if you want your glider to fly as it was before, or at least close enough, you must re-trim it!  Usually, it is very simple as some knots must be released, and asking your dealer/ importer will gladly tune it for you. That’s the case for any paraglider in the market today.  

Launching the brand new Knight 2 MS at 93 all up is a bit slow to launch. This is due to the small openings that need a steady and slow pull to fill the cells with air.  It inflates slightly better than the Rook 3, but still not as fast as an Ion 6 or a Buzz Z 6 for example. But that’s fine, the difference is just a few steps more. 

Flying the Knight 2 at 93 all up with my X-rated 6, showed me a calm glider in overall movements compared to the first version. The pitch is nearly absent and the Knight 2 moves forward in a very calm way. The biggest difference over the Knight1 is the Knight 2 doesn’t slow down before thermal entry. It just slips through without bumping into the airmass when properly loaded. 

 I think this is one big step for the Knight2 as it seems to get through the airmass without difficulty. But of course, it is slower to enter than a Rook 3 for example, but at least it keeps moving forward with very good efficiency for the low, mid category.  

The brakes are very reactive with only 12-14 cm to turn the glider in moderate thermals while having a medium pressure.  That’s quite nice for that category. The Knight 2 MS at 93 is an agile glider with a very high rate of pleasure when steering it. Sometimes I could turn it very tightly on its tips in a narrow core. It is so easy and relaxing to fly versus the Knight 1 which was a bit more handful in comparison.  The overall movements are coming from the risers, not the brakes. 

The trim speed is similar to any low, or mid B glider. 

Those gliders in that category are mainly created to deliver maximum fun, plus good performance.  

On one promising day, in our winter period while I was reluctant to test fly it was just because I thought I’ll miss my usual XC route…The Knight 2 was in my van next to my other gliders and decided to take it in order to finish this test. 

Once airborne, I was next to some pilots flying 2022 high Bs and C’s. It was still weak but I sensed that the Knight2 was effortlessly climbing! That glider could float really well. As it is slightly slower in overall movements and speed than a Rook 3 for example, the Knight 2 just sits in a thermal and embraces it. The climbing in the weak is really good! I found myself effortlessly detached from the group, with 700m above take-off!  

Transition with the first bar seems sorely efficient. The Knight stayed on the rail with a very good glide angle. Later I realized that with 2-3 cm on the bar, the glide is not far enough from the Rook 3. But for sure, the Rook 3 in moving air will compensate much better its efficient glide through the air. It is just an idea that on Knight 2 I was still reaching my usual points quite easily! 

After 3 hours I was able to go where I usually want to reach, a bit slower, much mellower, a huge time for smiling, looking around, and taking pictures. 

When you are used to flying different classes, the feel is obvious! On Knight 2 the time is slower to pass as if smoking a certain weed ;-)  Hellllooowww I’m still here….

If you are used to a low or mid-B glider the Knight 2 is a superb glider to try. 

The first step on the speed bar has a moderate foot pressure, the second step to reach the max speed is a bit hard to pull. Flying the Knight 2 with the C steering system is efficient at the first bar as it can control the movements quite nicely. At the second bar, I think it is best not to pull too much on the C steering as it can deteriorate the glider shape. 

Ears have moderate stability. Sometimes they seem stable if small, if a bit bigger they intend to flap.  Full speed over trim is around 11 km/h. 

Conclusion: Looking at the Knight 2, lines, cell width, etc…I think Triple Seven is obsessed with performance :-)  On Knight 2 they managed to combine very good performance, accessibility, excellent agility, with a high degree of pleasurable flying. 

 The overall comfort in roll and pitch is slightly similar to an Ion 5 XS for example. The take-off characteristics in nil wind of the Knight 2 could be better! The ears flap a bit. The C steering is more efficient on the first bar.  I will update the B comparison next week hopefully. 

The Knight2 has a nice ability to cut through the airmass for a mid-B and move forward.  Today’s low or mid-B’s offers a high package of comfort and very good performance and they will surely get you very far in your XC. If you seek that exact package, then the Knight 2 is a good contender with those options. The optimum weight load is around 90% of the weight range. Finally, this is only just a small idea. Every pilot has his own taste and requirements. The best option for each is a test flight.