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

Thursday, June 20, 2024

FLOW Mystic S

And here's the new 2 liner in the C class from Flow. The Mystic is their new 2-liner C glider.
Semi-light construction with Dyneema risers. The manufacturer's website was not yet online when I published this review.
Launching the Mystic in no wind is straightforward. In 20 km/h wind, it is also very easy without any hard points.
In the air, the brake authority is nice for the pilot with moderate to light pressure and also moderate to short travel. The pressure is slightly more than the Fusion, and the travel is also shorter. There’s a big difference In brake authority over the Fusion which gives the Mystic very nice and direct turning abilities. In thermals, I found that I could place that glider inside any core easily, and the Mystic gave me a pleasurable feel in handling.

Flying the Mystic:





I flew the Mystic at 93 all up.
The Mystic delivers more roll than the Fusion with the same pitch stability. In roll, it resembles the Trango X feedback. The structure moves slightly in itself. It doesn’t feel like a monobloc like the Camino 2, Codex, or Mint. More like the Trango-X in feedback. A Fusion pilot will find that a little more active control is needed on the Mystic.

I remember that Flow mentioned, the first Mystic prototypes were difficult to induce collapses for the certification bodies.
I think in order to pass the C certification for a specific 'collapse angle', Flow decided to re-tuned the Mystic in that matter. The other side of a certification class is to insert a glider inside a limited box.
The certified version has soft tips and in turbulent conditions, they tend to collapse without any consequences. They open without any course change.
Probably after some hours a pilot would get used to them by understanding their excitement by clapping Smile

Climbing and gliding:
Climbing next to my reference gliders, I think the Mystic will share the 5 top places in that matter. It has a very good climb in the weak, and in the strong. The handling helps a lot by putting the Mystic inside the most lift.
The Fusion had long brake and late reactions. The Mystic handling is highly enhanced.

Gliding next to my reference gliders showed me that the Mystic has good gliding properties.
Example: Camino 2 XS and Mystic S share the same glide at half the speed bar. My 2 liner C comparison is updated.

Ears are easily doable in the B3 lines, and they reopen fast. Wing-overs build up quickly.
Top speed is around +15 km/h over trim.


Conclusion: The Mystic is an enhancement over the Fusion regarding the gliding through a difficult airmass. This profile gets easily through and surfs forward much better. The handling also is a high enhancement and more pleasurable to fly.
The softer tips could be a bit annoying for some, others will get used to them, or there’s a possibility that they could go away after +20 hours hours… No one will know under those new 2 liners how they will change after some hours.
That’s why flying them +20 to 40 hours will fine-tune them Smile

Happy flights,
Ziad

Saturday, June 15, 2024

Words of nothingness

Very sad and frustrated…
One very big slap was taken… And we wake up with wide eyes for that special brief moment in time.

The slap and the awakening:

Paragliding …What’s about that sport? What is the essence of that sport? Why do we do it?  the endless quest for an answer…

We humans always need more and more... If there’s only ONE happiness feel, what will ‘more and more searching’ would give you further?
I never liked paragliding competitions even in my youth as it contradicts what ‘free flight’ stands for, IMHO.  

My free-flight definition: 
Standing on the top of the mountain, with a good breeze coming from the valley below. The sky is clear with beautiful clouds, birds are already circling up to cloud base, and you passionately long to join them for that weightless feel of floating freely far away from your daily survival combat… 
Up there, there’s only you, living that exact precious moment of your life. You look far, letting your eyes swim in the vastness of that space. You don’t rush it as the time stopped because you are there. Your mind works differently up there, configuring your XC route. It is the time to enjoy that freedom. 
When you land, you cannot speak, as words won’t be enough to describe that 'magical place' you were in.
-That is my personal understanding of paragliding. 

The brief awakening: 
Are we not creative enough to produce a different format of competition?  
What’s the purpose of being fast on such a slow (engine-less) device? Are we not missing the essence of flying?
Why not complete the largest possible triangle on that specific day smoothly? No rush…Just brain strategy.
Why not compete on a more predictable glider?  Example: Olympics formats!
Why in the certification bodies, (DHV,para-test…etc…) do the tests only in calm air? and only load tests for some? I thought humans were highly valuable beings! 
Why there’s not ONE expert-certified pilot that flies the B,C,D, CCC gliders in real thermic air and rate it on a (safety/recovery) scale 1 to 10.  And a scale of 5 could be enough for the new formats comps.
Didn’t the responsible wake up yet? Even the Formula 1 car race now in a 6-cylinder engine! with lots of safety measures..and only 12 drivers are allowed to drive them. Hello ???

Sports competition is created to push the human limit and materials for 'different purposes’…. At least not for the human peace of mind and internal happiness for sure!  
We arrived at the peak of our paragliding performance achievement. Now it is the time to invest more in our safety. More work on gliders' internal structures is crucially needed.  
I hope that a creative mind will finally take a leap of faith into another competition format. 

A simple recipe for happy flying: If you are stressed after you land. You have a clear answer. Listen to it carefully. It could be the conditions you flew in or the glider you chose to fly. 
If you are smiling, then you achieved your OWN goal without any format! 
Happy and safe landings my fellow friends,
Ziad.

Thursday, June 13, 2024

ADVANCE Theta ULS 25 (The Lotus)



ADVANCE Theta ULS 25  (The Lotus) 

The Theta is an ADVANCE Mid B glider with a light construction. The size 25 goes from 78-99 and the recommended weight by ADVANCE is from 82 -95.

I flew the Theta 25 ULS at 90 and 95 all up, in multiple conditions, from smooth to very turbulent and strong air, sometimes flying on a lee side with washing machine turbulence.

Here are my impressions :

Construction: 

Skytex 27 and 32 are used on the Theta. A very neat construction and is well-built.  Unsheathed color-coded Pro Dry lines are used on the Theta. ( 60% more water-repellent than previous-generation lines)

Here are the details:  https://www.advance.swiss/en/products/paragliders/theta-uls

At first sight, and from the look, I had a strange feeling that there could be something different…

Launching:

The Theta is very easy to launch even in no wind or a slight backwind. No hard point, or anything to report. Just a super easy glider to inflate. In 30 km/h wind, the Theta inflates fast and evenly without any other complicated behavior. Overall, an easy-to-launch glider.

Brake pressure and feel:

At 95 and even at 90 all up, the brake pressure is on the moderate to light side for the first 25 cm. Lower than 25 cm it is on the moderate side. To stall the Theta requires a long pull under the seat with more than 2 seconds, then a stable stall is initiated before the full stall. So, it felt super safe without any sudden or quick stalls. The Theta informs well the pilot every centimeter of the brakes about the things that could happen. A forgiving glider in that matter. 

The feedback comes from the glider but also a slight feel is transmitted through the brakes. 

Handling and brake feel are my favorite points when testing gliders. 

After 10 cm of gap, the first 15-20 cm are necessary to steer the glider. Those 15-20 cm reacts very linearly in every centimeter while having smooth and moderate pressure. The Theta reacts impeccably, promptly, and especially ’smoothly' to the pilot's command, enabling him to put the Theta wherever, whenever he wishes in thermals regarding the current turbulence!  

In conventional weak or strong thermals, the Theta can be turned very narrow even in the tiniest core. The authority on the brakes is very high giving the pilot full control to adjust the radius of the turn as he pleases. The Theta obeys the order promptly without any delay. A super sweet glider to fly! 


Comfort ( roll and pitch):

I flew the Theta ULS one strong turbulent day in our Cedars range at mid-day. The north face of the range is known to be turbulent but that day the wind was also coming from the North, so flying there in the lee side is like being in a hellish washing machine. After soaring that ridge for 5 km, usually, the arm muscles get tired regardless of any B glider crazy dance moves. 

I was extremely happy to be on the Theta ULS that day.  All the crazy moves were logically there, but there was always a ‘moment’ before each crazy move. That precious ‘moment' offers the pilot the needed extra comfort and more time to keep controlling the glider without being tired.  

The Theta ULS delivers smooth educated feedback. The movements are not too tamed like on the Mentor 7. It felt as comfortable in turbulence, with very slight useful feedback. The pitch is absent but it feels that it goes smoothly into the airmass. Lovely to feel under the Theta ULS. Overall comfort is very high and gives the pilot a high passive safety feel.  My new B comparison (spider chart) will be updated for the details.   


Climbing:

I flew next to my friends on the upper-class gliders ( Photon EN-C and Klimber 3p EN-D ) for 2 hours in climb and gliding mode. 

I never felt that the Theta ULS was one second behind in the climb. On the contrary, I felt that the Theta ULS floats very well, and climbs efficiently next to the higher-rated gliders. When hitting thermals, the Theta ULS doesn’t pitch back at all, neither stops. It surprised me by its wonderful ability as a mid-B to get through very smoothly into that thermal like the upper-class gliders. Of course, it is slightly slower to enter but still efficient to climb. 

Gliding: 

I did again some gliding with my friends. Afterward, we were all certain that this Theta ULS 25 at 95 all up, glides like any top high B glider out there at trim and at half the speed bar. We were really surprised by its capacity to float in a moving air mass. I am sure that the Theta ULS has the best characteristics to glide efficiently. 

The speed over trim is around 12-13 km/h still with a competitive glide angle.

Ears on the Theta with outer A’s are stable and efficient with a 3 m/s sink rate at 2500 ASL and with the speed bar, they increase a bit more. They reopen slowly without pilot intervention.

Wingovers are playful and could be very high, as when the Theta is banked it restores lots of energy. 


Landing:

The Theta ULS 25 at 95 could be slowed quite low for a precision top landing. On a tricky slope landing, when you encounter a strong breeze, releasing the brakes enables the Theta ULS to move efficiently forward and up, without bumping into the airmass, but surprisingly when you apply +40 cm of the brakes, it stops in the air, and it seems or it felt, that the polar changes!  It is strange…Usually, flat polar gliders get through the airmass and it is difficult to slow them. 

The Theta gets through efficiently, but you can reduce the forward speed for a vertical precise landing in windy places. 

The Theta ULS could be packed very small for traveling and discovering new flying areas. 

Conclusion: 

I had a wonderful time test-flying the Theta ULS. The feeling I was getting after landing is of pure joy.  

I think ADVANCE has made a unique product creating the Theta ULS. That profile feels like a winner. ADVANCE felt it, and I think the use of the thin lines was intended to boost performance, I can humbly say that if an Omega ULS the same size stays within the Theta ULS speed at half bar they ‘could’ possibly play in the same playground.  

For that impressive complete package of light, agile, smooth feel, super easy and enjoyable to fly, with impressive performance for the B class, the Theta ULS could be IMHO, among the best low/mid-EN-B gliders I have ever test flown. 










Wednesday, June 12, 2024

My tested gliders for sale... New ones are coming. :-)

N E W PRICES ..  updated 12/6/2024 

πŸ›‘ AirDEsign Hero 2 S 80-92  / 10 hours/ mint condition 2900 EU  ----------------------------------------

πŸ›‘  OZONE   FORZA 2 L size  pod M -3 hours,... like NEW .  Two seats are included. The old version and the new version still NEW.  1590 EU  🚨-  For 1.80 m pilots and above. --------------------------------------------

πŸ›‘  UP Kangri-X. S 85-100. -2 hours lime/Orange    2850 EU   NEW !!---------------------------------------------

πŸ›‘   UP Kibo-X.  XS. 70-90.  2 hours AS NEW ! 2750 EU! 

πŸ›‘.  Flow Mullet  18.  10 hours/ still NEW!  2300 EU

Saturday, June 1, 2024

GIN Camino 2 size S- 85-100 ( A ‘different' Bonanza 3 !! )












GIN Camino 2  size S- 85-100  ( A ‘different' Bonanza 3 !! ) 

After reviewing the Bonanza 3 here’s the test flight of the Camino 2 in the same size. I flew the Camino 2 with the Impress 4 harness at 97 all up. 
Launching the Camino 2 is easy for a light 2-liner C glider. 
Details: In nil wind, the Camino 2 needs a slight but steady pull to lift it up, as there’s pressure on the A’s, slightly more than similar light gliders. But still quite simple to launch. 
In +10 km/h wind, it goes evenly with that exact same pressure. In + 30 km/h wind nothing changes, the same pressure and a steady pull with no overshooting or fast surges.  The Camino 2 S kept the same launching characteristics which I think is a plus. 

 New feel: In the air, I was immediately stunned by the very high calmness of that glider. While the air is turbulent with gliders around trying to keep their gliders overhead, it seems that the Camino 2 is flying in another (Gin planet)! 
The structure feels very taught and homogenous, with a high comfort feel, without being spongy or dull at all! For a 2-liner light C, this is actually unreachable yet in terms of feel and comfort. It resembles the Bonanza 3 ‘only’ in that matter.
I flew the Camino 2 S quite often at 95 to 98 all up, and delayed a lot the test, just to be sure what I was about to write because I thought it would sound weird…

Unlike the Bonanza 3 feel and efficiency, I am now 100 % convinced that the Camino 2 despite having the same numbers on paper, feels very different from the Bonanza 3 in its flying capabilities.  I really don’t know the answer to that! 
The Camino 2 S at 97 cuts through the air exactly like a fast train on rails. No structure movements, but still efficient going forward. Flying next to other C’s like the Artik-R, and Photons, I felt that I was in the same league, with that slight extra float-ability in some disorganized thermals. 
In turbulence and strong thermals, there is enough time to control the Camino 2 S. The reactions of the glider felt slightly less dynamic than the Volt5/Photon/Artik-R/Trango-X… The Camino 2 S is as comfortable as the Bonanza 3 with extras!
Saying that, the brake travel is on the moderate to slightly hard side in turbulent air where you need that extra pull to keep it overhead. 
With a moderate turn but quite acceptable agility to my personal taste, the Camino 2 seems to be the most efficient one to grab and hold the thermals.  The brakes deliver a high authority to place the Camino 2 inside thermals. 

The climb rate is incredibly good! One day, I flew next to my usual friends on Photons, Artik-R, Mystic, and Milo on a Boom 12 M, and the Camino 2 was climbing very well keeping up easily with the 2-liner C class. 

Next to a Boomerang 12 M, and in strong thermals, the Camino 2 has a neutral pitch with a positive attitude in embracing the thermals. It gets quickly inside the core and delivers a high authority on the brakes to steer it precisely inside the strong part of the lift.  Of course, once the thermals are sharper the Boom 12 has a clear advantage, but inside the 2-liner C category, and for the same size, the Camino 2 S is a very good climber.  

I did long glides in moving air and later in calm air next to the gliders I mentioned. I felt that at 97 the Camino 2 has a 1 km/h faster trim speed than a Photon MS at 95, or an Artik-R 26( 90-105) at 105.  The glide is among the top five C’s. 
The float ability however is among the best ones. 

The max speed is similar to the Photon MS. I did update my C comparison. Ears need a slight application to get them, but a stable way to get down. 

Conclusion: I am waiting for the Camino 2 XS size 70-90 to share my findings later. 
As for the Camino 2 S, I felt the optimum weight is around 96…97 kg. Perhaps in strong air and competitions, 100 could be your ticket to a podium!  It may not be the most dynamic, and perhaps slightly hard on the brakes, but that overall compact structure is delivering higher grades in most parts. 
High comfort, good glide angle, very good climb rate, good speed, handles smoothly, doesn’t lose much when hitting sinking air.  
Any good high B pilot wishing to step into that category or any C or D pilot searching for an interesting 2-liner C must test fly the Camino 2.