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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

NOVA ION 3 S (80-100)

NOVA Ion 3 S (80-100)

Having flown the Ion 1 and Ion 2 here is the Ion 3 test flight.

Nova has already proven with the Ion 2 its ability to make some long XC flying with a large passive safety. They claim that the Ion 3 is targeted to the same group of pilots wanting more performance without the stress of a high aspect ratio glider.

The glider just arrived and I am already on the take off.

On the Ion 3 unsheathed lines are found at the top and normal on the bottom main lines. I could see a clean 3 line construction without any splits on the C .

Digging my ‘hard nose’ inside the NOVA ‘Air scoop’ cells of the Ion 3 to check the construction, Wink I can see that you could expect a quality beyond questioning on the ION 3. The workmanship on this glider and on recent NOVA gliders is really remarkable.

Launching the Ion3 is straightforward and at 95 all up I was immediately airborne even with a light breeze.

In the air:
First thermal and first contact in the air on board the ION 3 S size loaded at 95,showed a very quick brake response.
After the first 10 cm slack from the pulleys, the glider can be turned on the second 10 cm travel and it doesn't need more !
It is weird for me to experience that on a low B glider.

I have tried to dig the brake 40 cm lower just to make sure it doesn’t spin…. But it does seem to be a forgiving B glider.

The pressure on the 10 cm travel needed to steer the glider is average, just like on the Ion 2, but pulling +10 cm more showed a hard brake pressure.

In thermals the glider is easy to place inside the core with just those 10-12 cm .

Roll response is present on the Ion 3 slightly more than on the Ion 2. But the pilot feels its passive safety, as it doesn’t have some high angle surges. Just moving above the pilot’s head…

In entering the thermals, the Ion 1 would pitch back a little, the Ion 2 would have a slightly more neutral pitch, but the Ion 3 has a slight forward pitch, as it seems to reach for the thermals. A nice feature for discovering the higher rated gliders.

The Ion 3 seems to have its entire load on the A’s and B’s. At trim speed, the C lines are nearly loose. It is another concept from the Ion 2.

The speed travel is long for the category and I was able to get +12 km/h over trim speed.
The pressure is similar to the Ion 2, which has a relatively average pressure.

Big ears are stable and reopen on their own.

The performance seems nice for this low-end B.
I have to make more flights along new low-end B’s to be more sure.
But it seems that at second bar the glide doesn’t deteriorate like on the Ion 2 ! It feels more faster with a more interesting horizontal glide !

More feedback,

Today i was hoping to get a long glide with the Buzz Z4 with same loadings, but the conditions weren’t so ideal for comparing. But after some hours in the air, here is what i found more :

Climbing :
Flying the Ion 3 S today with ballast at 96 all up.
First it was a bit windy and in those conditions when on a thermal and facing the wind, the Ion 3 as a low B glider behaves like the class above in surfing upward the air with each turn.It means that the leading edge would convert the lift to a nice climb.This characteristic was not really found before on the low B gliders i have tested.

Going in some turbulent conditions the Ion 3 moves above the pilots head but won’t go far, and after a while the pilot will get a solid confidence !

At the end of the day, i dropped the 3 kg ballast to get to 93 all up.The brake pressure felt a little less tiring and the glider was surely a better floater, that could easily be compared to the class above ! in terms of climbing efficiency.

The Ion 3 doesn’t require a heavy approach. If the pilot will let it fly, without too much brake input, it will ‘surf’ the air in a very efficient glide for its low B category ! I think it is designed for XC flights in mind.

The glide test is coming soon, but it seems that the Ion 3 has some impressive glide angle for its category, especially into wind transitions and at bar !
Just to tease you a bit Wink

AND more interesting feedback !!!

I was very excited to do the Mentor 3 Ion 3 glide for the past month ! As i knew there was something special here …But couldn’t write anything before, being sure.
Now after many glides at trim and accelerated in headwind and difficult conditions, I can confirm that the glide at trim and at 45 km/h are identical !!

-In climbing ability the Mentor 3 still has a light edge.
-The overall handling and maneuverability is also on the M3 side..
-The total comfort and smoothness in flight is on the Ion 3 side.

IMHO, ‘Any’ low en-B pilot looking for some top performance in the (High and low B) category would miss NOT to try that Ion 3 just to feel what i talking about !
And i wonder how it could be done .... and why there are still some 'very' high aspect ratio gliders other than for top high speed gliding …