The key to life is not accumulation. It's contribution. Hands that serve help more than the lips that pray.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Ozone Swift 5, S size

Notes: In 2018-19, lots of manufacturers are delivering very nice gliders. In the B category, it’s difficult sometimes to say which glider has a better glide or better climb as they are very close. At least among the top 5 of the category .
The tests are becoming sometimes awkward to write, when new gliders still open my eyes for their better overall behavior…But we are lucky to have them, and i’m also super pleased to fly them :-) 

Ozone Swift 5  size S 

I already test flew the Rush 5 in size S. The Swift 5 is the light version. 
The cloth used on the Swift 5 is really light ! The glider weights 3680 grams on my scale !
The Swift 5 launches without any effort even in nil wind. The Rush 5 heavy cloth needed a steady pull, but the swift 5 launches effortlessly.

There are also many differences with the Rush 5 concerning agility, brake pressure and feel. 
The Swift 5 has a softer feel through the brakes, more precise, and linear. It is also more agile than the Rush 5 size S similarly loaded. Coring thermals is direct and a real pleasure. The turning radius could be done very tight. Flew the Swift 5 with the GTO light and then with the Delight 3.
The GTO light delivers a super agile feel and great handling. The Delight 3 is more stable in roll, but the Swift 5 still feel quite agile in turns on it also ! 
As i already mentioned in my earlier writings, that the Rush 5 doesn’t have that super agility, but still very efficient in thermals. The Swift 5 is now an agile glider while it retains the excellent climb rate of the Rush 5. 

The efficiency in thermals are second to none ! In very weak stuff on the loaded S size at 84 all up, i could benefit from every little scrappy thermal. In strong thermals, the Swift 5 compensate the turbulent air, by a stable, well balanced glider behavior. All that leads to a quick climb, without any bad reactions of pitch, or dive and loosing height. Probably, the light fabric smoothen the reactions.  That’s why, IMHO, the Swift 5 has a high efficiency in the air. 
I flew and glided next to my reference 6.3 high-end ‘C’ gliders, and I was impressed by the excellent glide ratio of the Swift 5 even comparing them at half the speed range ! A marvel indeed ! 
Like the Rush 5, the Swift 5 efficient glide in moving air seems extraordinary ! The Swift 5 floats and advances through the airmass with flawless efficiency. 
To put it into simple words, the Swift 5 self-automated movements through moving air, seems to glide very close to the class above ! 
For sure the top C class gliders will have that slight edge to dig through and move forward faster, like the Q-Light or the Delta 3.  Comparing the Swift 5 to a top C is not fair, but i just want to make a point that those high B’s are super close and quite efficient in the hand of good pilots. and the decision for week end pilots to change for a C glider just to have ‘more performance’ is not always a good choice unless the pilots can extract those performances and wants more feel that a C can deliver.    

The trim speed though is not as fast, and could be slightly around 38 km/h. The top speed is 12 km/h over trim on the S size taken at 1000 ASL.

The Swift 5 gives informations about what’s the air is doing more than the Rush 5. The Rush 5 feels more as a block and sometimes well dampened. The Swift feels more as a butterfly and needs slightly more active piloting in rough air. For a high B pilot, it’s easy to fly. 

Ears are stable, and reopen without input. 

Conclusion: This review was written after talking with three of my friends who also  flew the Swift 5 ! Not because i wasn’t sure what to write, but in order to see their faces after landing and to listen to their interesting  comments :-). They were all fascinated by what that glider was doing in the air. 

Some gliders deliver a complete package of handling, comfort, glide and climbing efficiency. The Swift 5 holds that package but in ‘premium’ !
As i always say, the above written letters remains just letters on a screen. My humble small suggestion, is to get a demo Swift 5, load it near the top, then please write your opinion !  :-) 

I’m really curious ;-) 

This is only my opinion. Make your own !

Thursday, January 10, 2019


Recently i made a podcast with Cloudbase Mayham, thanks to Gavin McClurg  !

I missed to understand the last question, and responded hastily. I think it’s an important one about what should i do if i want to rewind my flying career and also an advise to new comers to the sport. 
Here it is :
Since i was pretty alone and new to the sport at that time, it was difficult to act differently. The best thing i did is that i  kited my glider and played on the sea cliffs several hours every day, even when there was no wind to lift the glider. 
At that time i purchased a movie “Flamengo dunes” and tried to discover little by little how to soar in strong wind. These were the old days without any proper guidance. I know it shouldn’t be done like that but it was my only way to move forward. It actually gave me lot of excitement and pleasure in discovering. I also bought “Gerald Delorme” illustrated first books about how to fly. Those were super cool, funny and by far my favorite books to read and read again every day…

Paragliding is an easy sport to learn. Its quite easy for a student to fly in the first days ! But that’s not the point and it’s not recommended if the pilot doesn’t know how to control his glider on the ground. 
Any new comer must kite his glider for many hours in order to understand how it works. With a little bit of wind later, playing with the glider will never have to end. 
Even for me after 30 years, my best spot is a small cliff with the right wind, i would float weightlessly and fly just a few centimeters from the ground. 
“Mastering your glider in soaring and kiting is your strongest point in the air” (Patrick Berot) 

Anyone taking the stairs down without looking carefully where to step, can fall with serious consequences.  As paragliding is an easy sport to learn, there’s lots to understand before taking off into the sky. But once the teachings are understood by qualified instructors and also by serious passionate students, then flying will become safe, enjoyable, and the most beautiful dream you will ever have.  

Low B gliders or gliders that has around 5 aspect ratio for 2019 which are marketed by their manufacturer as an easy intermediate B glider, will be mostly enough to begin your first XC, after your school glider. 
Even in the hands of good pilots, those cool B’s will deliver impressive and long cross country flights. 

So when to change a glider for a newcomer ? 
When you have mastered your ‘first’ glider in every condition for two seasons or for more than 100 hours with the use of bar in turbulent air with your foot controlling the pitch, plus going XC, then considering getting a slightly hotter B will be a logical evolution. 
No need to step further unless you do the same with your hot B. Then if the pilots wants more, a C certified glider will take you anywhere, not because it performs much better than your hot B. But because you will have the skills to fly it efficiently. Otherwise forget any C or D. 
Any pilot stepping far from a beginner wing to a C will regress and loose interest in the sport. There are a few rare exceptions, but for the majority, it is better to move step by step.

For an educated pilot who flies regularly, C and D gliders will deliver more what the air in doing. The feel on the brakes is different and the movements of the glider in the air allows a very good pilot to enjoy surfing the air catching every thermal and also to guide the glider efficiently into long cross country flights. 

Happy and safe flights,

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Swing Agera RS SM

The Agera is Swing’s new C glider with RAST. 
Taking off is quite easy, and i didn’t find any particular problem in inflation in nil wind. In strong windy take off, the Agera RS also inflates quite nice and stays easily above the pilots head.

I flew the Agera RS from 96 all up on the SM size (88-100) 
The brakes have medium to light pressure and the Agera turns with very little action on the brakes. The turning radius inside weak and strong thermals are fairly agile. It turns inside a core but stops in the middle and needs to re-power it by releasing the inside brake in order to give it more energy, then lower it again smoothly inside a small core in order to get a tight radius. The Agera RS tends to stop inside one complete tight turn. But i can say that it has a fair agility and needs to get used to.    

Inside a tight core, i tried to keep my inside brake low and tried to lower it slightly more to keep it on track like i tested the other C’s like the A5, Alpina 3, Volt 3. In that matter, the Agera RS doesn’t really accept lowering the brakes near the hips to crank it…It will go into a mild spin. Nothing alarming here…It’s easy to sense for a C pilot, and when releasing the brakes a bit, the glider flies smoothly. So Swing was very keen to announce that this glider is intended for high end C pilots in terms of piloting level. So i felt that the best way to turn it tight, when the glider stops inside a turn, is to give it more energy by releasing the brakes a bit and re-apply it smoothly with weight-shift. 

I made some glide comparisons with an Artik 5 which is a very good glider in that matter, and found out many times that the Agera RS has IMHO, the highest glide on a C ever seen. Indeed, the glide is simply amazing, with a trim speed that’s slightly faster than an Artik 5 fully loaded. I even tried some glides with an LM6 size SM and found out that the Agera RS plays in that class in terms of gliding in moving air. I also felt that when there’s turbulence and difficult windy conditions, that the Agera RS performs at it’s best. So when i let it fly ! the glide angle is superb for a C certified glider. I forgot to say that the Agera RS doesn’t seem to have a shark nose, and the leading edge looks similar to the Nyos RS, with more cells of course, and smaller openings.

I also tested the climb rate in weak stuff. With a Delta 3 SM loaded art 91, and with an LM6 SM loaded at 95. In weak thermals, the Agera RS didn’t feel like a floater. It climbs ok thought, but those tiny bits of lift (-0.5 m/s) , were better smelled by the Delta 3, Artik 5, LM6. So i was hovering a bit more to find a slight steadier core to climb. In stronger cores, the Agera RS climbs really well. It has that power to dig through and climb. 

The speed system has moderate pressure and the top speed seems 12 km/h over trim. Racing a bit with half to full bar, the pressure on the C’s was very ,very light…And considering controlling it in turbulent air like a 2 liner is quite different. Flying the Zeno, a two liner for example, has immediate swift contact via pulling the rear riser, even in turbulent air.  But of course, the Agera RS is not a two liner ! 
It needs a longer input and a  bit more refined C pulling as the Agera RS will be slightly talkative at bar in turbulent air. It surely needs some hours to get use to it, especially to keep the glider from shooting forward in strong air if the pilot is only using the C risers control when going from half to full speed in turbulent air. 

Conclusion: For me the Agera RS properly loaded from 96 to 100 could be very efficient in Alpine racing. The Agera RS glides very well, and convert the bumps in an efficient way. It’s also a comfortable glider to fly in active air. I mean the roll movements are dampened, and ressembles the Volt 3 ones. The glider pitch forward a bit in turbulent air especially at bar but nothing difficult for a regular C pilot. The pilot must be smooth on the handling and refine his feeling on the brake pressure when the cores are very small and when very tight turns are needed. Otherwise European conditions are far different from ours, with larger radius thermals ! 
Probably the RAST system could have gave me that comfort overall feel, like on the Nyos RS, but surely more pronounced on the Agera, but still smooth feedback from the surrounding air is well provided.

Swing Agera RS (revised version)  Size S.

After the issue of some lines on the Agera RS, Swing revised their C glider. This is the S size of the Agera RS flown at 88 all up.
The handling has indeed improved a bit. Now pushing the brakes into the core doesn’t spin easily the Agera RS, but funnily the tips tends to go back without any consequences. The agility is quite similar to the one i tested before, and inside the core i had to release the brake and pull it again to be able to tight turn some narrow cores. Otherwise it will flatten and gets out of the turn. 
The glide ratio is the same and its pretty nice.  Landing on a tight spot is a bit difficult and needs a good pilot probably because of the flat polar of the glider. 
The Agera RS doesn’t like to be slowed much, so care must be taken on super small landing fields.

This is only my opinion. Make your own !