Monday, May 24, 2021

GIN Calypso S, 75-100

GIN Calypso S,  75-100 

The Calypso is GIN light and low EN-B glider. I flew it at 93 all up, and here are a few words about it.

The light cloth, risers, and overall construction is well made. Nice work on the inner construction, to minimize the use of rods for compact packing. 

The inflation of the Calypso couldn’t be easier! …If you run hands in the pocket, the Calypso will rise swiftly above your head.  

In the air, the brakes travel are moderate to long, with a very nice coordinated and soft to quite a good responsive turning behavior. The climb rate seems really good in soft conditions. The comfort rate is high as all low B’s and offers more quality time in thermals, as it is intended for pilots to enjoy flying as a priority.  I’m not going to speak about gliding performance for any low B…as all those gliders in 2021 have a decent glide ratio, and the more tricky and headwind conditions, the more they will lack to dig through and be efficient like the higher B’s. The Low B’s are designed mainly to enjoy every second while having a very good 2021 technology and glide efficiency.

 Now a very good pilot on those low B’s can do nowadays very long XC’s in good days while having fun.

The speed over trim is around 8 km/h, and very usable and easy.  Ears are stable, reopen without pilot intervention. 

Conclusion:

The Calypso is an easy-to-fly B glider with large passive safety. The handling and the way to turn the glider are intuitive, light pressure, and quite pleasurable to fly for the low B segment. The overall performance in climb and glide matches the 2021 low B segment. Fun to fly and easy machine. 

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Little cloud PUFFIN 16



This is my first Little cloud glider. I flew one time an MK2 from a friend, and I appreciated the handling and the swift response.  

Now for soaring and playing on our beach cliffs, I had an Axesse Zunzun, 21  which I had a really nice quality time on that glider when the wind was 35 km's max!  

As the Puffin came out and lIttle cloud specifically made it for high wind soaring and playing on the dunes, I was excited to get one. 

And there it is. With a very light harness and my all-up weight of 80, I purchased the Puffin 16. 

The Puffin has a shark-nosed three risers with trims. My first encounter with the Puffin 16 happened on a day with a wind over 40 km/h. 

I was a bit very focused on what to expect, and wanted to try it with a little less wind…but the glider was here, and the wind was strong. 

Over the years, it happens that when exchanging wings so quickly for testing, I developed an ability to quickly assimilate the newcomer. But the Puffin 16 was a small glider and I thought I must kite it a bit to feel it.

Before taking off, I spent two hours playing with it on the ground and trying to cope with the feel under it. 

Pulling on the A’s in that wind showed me that the little one is dynamic but … very well balanced! Very fast to take off, but very balanced to keep it overhead. At first, kiting the Puffin 16 showed me that I need to switch on, my other sleeping senses!   Which were greats as I really needed that extra awakening!  

Kiting and flying the Puffin 16 re-charged my old batteries! 

Playing around seems endless… an immense pleasure to kite that diamond!  For me, It was like riding a professional go Kart! Love it !!!


Then I flew on a ridge is very gusty wind. It is a bit different from flying on rounded dunes. The ridge's hard edges and wind makes it a bit more turbulent. Taking off in a 40-45  Km/h wind wasn’t that frequent….and I never thought I could fly forward…But my brain was convinced, and I took off.

The Puffin moves quickly and needs of course more active pilot control than a normal paraglider, but …it really moves forward as if there’s no wind! The sea was howling…and there were white caps everywhere, and I should get my windsurfing equipment right now!  But I was flying the Puffin 16!  

Now I can do both on a windy day :-)  


The authority on the brakes is quick, direct, and sharp. Simply, delightful as I could steer it immediately where I wanted. Of course, if a dynamic brake is induced, the Puffin will dive quickly.  The brakes are firm but not hard. I flew that glider with trims closed and I also tried to fly at half trim, when it was very windy, and I must say it erases the wind!  


Conclusion:  The Puffin 16 is a playful glider for soaring in high wind. Our very small soaring site is only 20-30 meters high, so it needs lots of wind for a small glider.  It is certain that flying the Puffin with an open mind and clear conscience, will increase and enhance your reflexes. I spent happy hours the next day kiting it,  flying, and playing around in a 30 km/h wind. 

You never get tired of it. 

For my experience in flying mostly conventional gliders, the Puffin 16 looks like the fast Brazilian free-tailed bat!  :-) 

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Triple seven R-Light Size S


Ok…Let’s begin with:   I’m very happy and content to have flown that glider. Bye 

For the readers who want a swift and direct-to-point conclusion!  πŸ˜†


Details:

The R-Light S is the light version of the Rook 3. The same everything besides the light fabric used. Now it can be folded smaller and for sure, lighter to carry. 


Launching: 

The small openings on the leading edge require a slight wind to fill the R-Light properly. With the light fabric, it feels lighter when pulling the A’s but still needs a steady and patient pull to fill it. It is slightly better to fill than the Rook 3, but little patience is needed in nil wind.  In 10 km/h wind, it is easier to fill it. Some B’s like the Base 2 for example fill faster, but this is definitely not an issue for any high B pilot. Just to be precise about it. In nil wind, I was able to launch in a 10-meter take-off, before the cliff. Others B’s in 5-7 m. 


I flew the R-Light S at 84, 85 all up, and that was just the optimum weight in all conditions in order to feel it and to dig through any conditions from super weak to strong air.  At my side of testing was a Base 2 M at 93 and a Swift 5 S at 84 also.  I tried the R-Light 3 S with two harnesses ( Delight 3 M and Genie light 3 M ( which both are different).

When flying next to the Swift 5 S I used my Delight 3 harness as the Swift pilot did also. When flying next to the Base 2 M I used the Genie light 3.

Now I can write about both harnesses and the difference under the R-Light S at 84 all up.


Let's talk about the Genie light 3 / R-Light S.  The Genie light 3 harness gives a nice weight shift authority with any used glider. With the R-Light S, it was indeed a pleasure to fly! In strong air, the R-Light S with both harnesses showed me a relatively comfortable ride for a High B. Some will prefer more dampening like the Swift 5 or the Base 2, but for me the R-Light S was perfect. Not too boring nor alive. Perfect feedback for a keen pilot. If you used to fly a low aspect ratio very comfortable C, you will be comfy on the R-Light S with the added large passive safety. The feedback on both harnesses is what a keen pilot would require from a high B without erasing the pleasure of feeling the airmass and getting the bits and pieces from it!

The difference between the Delight 3 and the Genie Light 3 under the R-Light S is that only in very strong conditions, the roll movements are more dampened under the Delight3, but the important thing to know is that under both harnesses, the R-light S had a swift and direct authority on the brakes that enabled it to put it exactly where you want inside the turbulent air mass. So no need for a specific harness to be very precise of turns. 

I have to add that the R-Light S has a short, precise, linear feel (each cm pulled react the glider), medium pressure( Harder than the Swift 5, less than the Artik 6, or the same as the Rush 5, to give you an example…and crispy feel (The little more centimeters you pull, the more you feel the brakes in your hand)  To finish my description, I have to say that the movements coming for the glider are felt 70% from the risers and probably 30% from the brakes. Just because it happened that when entering a core the R-Light S leading edge pulls slightly forward, and surprisingly one hand is being slightly pulled where the most powerful lift is!  (left or right)  But a very gentle pull, that you need to listen to it informing where the core is. I really liked that!. That feel was present in a much more pronounced way on the UP Trango Race! which had an amazing brake feel! 


Climb rate:

Flying the R-Light S at 84, 85 all up was the best to surf through the airmass. Flying at that load never altered my efficiency to climb in weak air. Some pilots feel that flying at mid-weight will give them a better lift. Of course, but they will miss every steady core of the thermal, just because you need to enter the air mass and find the best and stronger lift in every thermal, and for that, you need to be in the best part of the total weight in your aircraft. 

For me, I was very efficient at that loading feeling the light lift, and moving forward to get the better and stronger lift. Next to one of the best B’s in terms of climb rate which is the (Swift 5) I found out that the R-Light S at that load is inseparable in climb! So with my reference, the Swift 5, I felt that the R-Light S is matching it in weak, strong, and all conditions. The difference between the two is that the Swift 5 has a longer brake travel and slightly less responsive in turns than the R-Light S if both flown at 85. The Swift 5 S needs to be flown at 87 to be equally efficient in surfing the airmass, while the R-Light S was cool at 84 all up.  

Flying next to the Base 2 M at 93, I didn’t feel also any advantage for any glider. The Base 2 had a little better trim speed, but we were inseparable in the climb.  The Base 2 M was a bit more comfortable to fly. I think I will get a Base 2 S size to see the difference in comfort also. (Later) 


Gliding:

Again gliding many times, next to the Base 2 M and the Swift 5 S, there was not really a noticeable difference in glide. I can strongly confirm the R-Light S glides really well and doesn’t lose its gliding efficiency in diving when encountering moving and sinking air. The glide at half-bar is very usable and offers also the best glide in the B category.  The top speed is around 15 km/h over trim. The difference of the glide at top speed with a Delta 4 MS is very very little!   The difference that can be seen in moving air is that the Rook 3 and the R-Light 3 are slightly slower to enter the airmass than a C glider. That’s it. So there will be always a little advantage for the C’s.

I felt that going on the half bar in all the crossings will reduce slightly that effect if the c’s are not pushing on the bar often. 


Pleasure:

I added that just because it is so important.  Who does benefit the most from flying the R-Light S?  Pilots are very different in character. With the same B performance, some would like a free of movement and very dampened glider. They couldn’t care less about brake fans and would prefer pure performance over anything else, which I do respect and understand. 

The R-Light 3 S, moves less in turbulent air than the PHI Maestro 21 for example but needs a good B pilot that favors the exact spices of feedback it delivers, a sensible pilot for the responsive brake fan, who appreciates the authority given to him by the glider to place it accurately in the airmass, and finally, the pilot who needs that cocktail of a ‘light’, agile, high-performance B glider. If you are that pilot, then definitely there will be a guaranteed smile on your face.  



Conclusion:  

Like the normal version, the R-Light S packs small and offers the best performance in climb and glide for the B category. The top speed is very good for the category. Ears are stable on this light S size and reopen smoothly without pilot control.  It needs a sensible pilot to appreciate its thermal behavior.  I found that flying it at max load is the optimum load to get it efficiently into the airmass. My test describes accurately only the ’S’ size flown at 85 all up. I really had a very nice time test flying it!  Try it if you can, or other sizes, at max load, and your comments will be highly appreciated!  Happy flights :-) 



Sunday, May 2, 2021

NEARBIRDS VIBE - M



NEARBIRDS  VIBE - M 

Finally my first Nearbirds harness! 

The Vibe is Nearbirds relatively moderate light harness     https://harnesses-nearbirds.com/paragliding-harnesses/xc/vibe/

I flew the L size, with an M pod. My height is 1.81cm and 73 kg. It fits perfectly.  

At first look, the materials used are tough and look like a high-end product! The construction is very neat! I was surprised by the very well-constructed harness!  

Lots of adjustments on the Vibe! Immense adjustments I would say! 5 straps from each side to ensure that your body fits perfectly. Everything was thought of on this harness. It feels like the designer is really out of this world or should I say into the harness world!  This harness looks and feels like no other harness. The design and love of perfection were deeply incarnated into that harness. From the easy reach, side zipper for water release, water ballast, anti-G, perfected adjustment little detail…etc…  It strongly feels to me, that this harness was built after a long talk with top pilots…

 The legs are naturally supported. The sitting position is comfortable for the back. Not as comfortable as the Impress 4. Close enough, but different. The feel is slightly harder and more precise than the Impress 4 on the body. I personally prefer that kind of feel, rather than a super smooth floppy feel. It is a matter of taste. It resembles the Genie light3, X-rated 6, body feel, but the roll movements are less pronounced on the Vibe. The ABS red ball adjustments could make it more stable and limit the bodyweight shift. In the release position, it carves smoothly the thermal cores and enables the body to shift better.  So adjust to your liking!  In the closed position, it resembles the Delight 3 harness roll comfort. So pretty comfortable. 

The Vibe weight shift authority when ABS is released is efficient like the Genie Race 4 for example.  

It comes with a 3 step speed system. 

Conclusion: The Vibe is a very interesting, comfortable to fly, and well-built harness. As we all have different body shapes, like longer or shorter legs, etc…the Vibe adjustments widen the gap to fit any pilot body configuration and find the right amount of comfort. A must test fly!