Testing new paragliding gear

Testing new paragliding gear

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

SKYWALK Spice XS



Skywalk Spice XS

After test flying the Cayenne 5 here’s the light version, the Spice.
I flew the Spice at 91 all up with a woody valley rated 6 .

The material used on the Spice is quite delicate resembling the LM6 cloth. Thin rises with a complete set of unsheathed lines.

The Spice with its light cloth is easier and faster to launch than the C5 especially in low wind take offs.

I have flown the Spice in multiple sites from difficult and turbulent conditions to average thermals with the company of the Cayenne 5 which let me to draw accurate conclusions on behaviour and performance.

The brake pressure on the Spice is moderate to light, less than the LM6 pressure and close enough to the C5 XS but with a slightly less direct feel.

The Spice is for sure an agile glider, that gave me some flying pleasure.
May be just only 5 % less than the C5 XS in direct feel and agility for the same loadings !
Flying it in turbulence gave me the impression that it has a slightly more neutral pitch or slightly pitch back sometimes than the C5 XS i had earlier for the test.

I would say that the Spice in XS size is slightly more comfortable than the C5 in XS size for the same loadings in moderate thermals.
That doesn’t mean that it’s an entry C glider. The Spice still needs more active piloting than the Alpina 2 in strong conditions.

The climb rate of the Spice XS loaded at 91 compared to the C5 S loaded at 99 is quite close.

In very weak climb (0.5 m/s ) the C5 S will have the edge in surfing upward those tiny lifts.

At trim speed the Spice XS (75-95) flown at 91 is slightly slower (-0.25 km/h) than a Cayenne 5 S (85-105) at 99 all up.

The glide at trim and accelerated is very close to the C5 which puts the Spice also as one of the best C performer for the light category.

The speed bar has a moderate to light pressure. The ability to control the pitch with the C risers is efficient in moderate turbulence.

Very small ears are stable but not efficient. Big ears are unstable. Pulling the B3, is stable. It gave me -2.5 m/s with full bar and the reopening is super fast.
Pulling the C3 with a slight bar is little more delicate and has also the same efficiency as pulling the B3’s.

Wing overs are super big and a joy to make.A playful glider for sure !

The Spice has a low stall speed and it’s efficient to top land accurately in narrow spaces. It stalls below the hip with a small warning sign which is easy to avoid for the keen C pilot.

The top speed with pulleys overlapping, over a 1 km run is 10 km/h over trim on the Spice XS size at 91 all up at 1000 ASL.

Conclusion: I had a fun time test flying the Spice. The agility and the energy are good for the C category coupled with top performance. The feel under it is slightly mellower than the C5 XS in moderate thermals. In strong thermals and turbulence it needs the same level of piloting as the C5 XS with a similar behaviour.
My only regret is the slight pitch back upon entering thermals on the Spice which wasn’t felt on the excellent Cayenne 5 XS or S i have flown…For sure it feels differently tuned !
I’m sure that many pilots will appreciate the overall feel and potential of this light, top performant C machine.

Cheers,
Ziad.








AD Pure 3 SM






Soon...

...

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Air Cross U-Cruise M

 Air cross ( U-Cruise M )

My last glider from Air cross was the U cross EN-C glider.
The U-Cruise is their new 5.4 aspect ratio intermediate B glider.
I flew the M size (80-100) from 94 to 98 all up.
I felt that 95-97 could be an efficient option in all conditions.

The U-cruise features a shark nose, thin unsheathed lines on top and regular covered ppsl lines on the bottom like the ones on the modern gliders like the M4, Rook 2…with a 3.5 line configuration.

The risers are thin and sporty, the speed lengths on the risers on the M size I’m testing is more than 15 cm long !
The overall construction is really nice, with plenty of details like the leading edge with the little half moon openings to the stabilo's of the U-cruise which  holds a complete rod to make it stiff in the air.

Launching the U-Cruise is smooth in weak or even in strong air for a B pilot.

First thermal and first tun showed an average pressure on the brakes which is slightly more than a Sprint 3 but with a more agile turn that could resemble the M4 one. Strong input on the brakes does get you in big wing overs and you will experience high energy coming from the glider.

The U-Cruise has the same excellent comfort in the air as the Nyos from Swing. It gives a more solid feel than the Iota or even the Mentor 4 ! I felt that the glider is extremely pressurized ! As it felt like an indestructible rock solid structure above my head ! Some pilot wouldn’t like but some will…I just saw today the certification report of the M with plenty of A’s, that confirmed my flying feel.
In entering thermals the U-Cruise has a slight tendency to bounce slightly back. But as I said the Roll and the pitch movements are dampened for an intermediate B glider.

Flying the U-Cruise in strong air does in fact give the (high-end B)  pilot a high degree of comfort ! This pressurized, tough structure does in fact dilute the feeling in weak conditions, and the pilot underneath must open his complete senses to feel those tiny bits of thermals as they are completely erased by the U-Cruise, that led me to feel that it’s not really a floater rather than a cruiser…

Flying next to a reference high-end B gliders, showed me that the gliding power are good on-board the U-Cruise which could place it exactly between the Base from BGD and the Sprint 3 from GIN.
The U-Cruise is “slightly” faster at trim speed over a Mentor 4 or a sprint 3 similarly loaded !
The top speed of the U-Cruise I have for testing is really fast…I think I could see for many times 16 km/h over its fast trim of 40 km/h taken at 1000 ASL. I think this is a fast one !
Big ears are a very good way to get down ! they are very efficient and reopen quickly by themselves.
Wing overs are super high, and they need a special attention for pilots who are not use to throw them around.

Conclusion: Again this is my personal opinion after test flying the recent B glider available and I am sure that each pilot will find his own preference after his test flight.
-The U-Cruise has an interesting fast structure for the pilots who likes a feel of a (Turbo Rhino) design :-) structure over a nimble agile small Gazelle like the Rush 4 for example. The comfort over the Rush is enhanced and also the glide and speed ! But the sensitivity and efficiency in small and very weak conditions goes toward the Rush.
In Alpine conditions I can imagine many pilots on the U-Cruise getting some serious XC distances with the extra comfort this glider delivers. The overall usability and especially the top speed are really good for the B category.



Tuesday, June 14, 2016

UPDATE with the U-Cruise.


UPDATE with the U-Cross .

Info’s: In this race for performance, the recent 2015/2016 gliders are having very thin line set up. Whether on a B, C, or D glider, I have found that those gliders from different manufacturer does in fact change slightly (Still with a large safety margin, within the permitted stretch tolerance with no required adjustment) …They just settle to a certain configuration...Some after 20 hours, and some after 100 hours…But they do change slightly…That’s why flying them again and again will in fact change their characteristic slightly, and this will show on marginal conditions, especially in weak conditions, or in strong head wind conditions.
(THIS COMPARISON HAS BEEN UPDATED ALSO FOR SOME OLDER GLIDERS AFTER MORE AND MORE FLIGHTS UNDER DIFFERENT CONDITIONS)
The best I can do....

Most easy to fly in difficult conditions (most comfortable) :

1-AD Rise 2 M = Atlas X-Alps S = Ion 4 S @ 96 = Buzz Z5 SM @95 = Hook 3 25 = UP Kibo SM @ 92 = U-Cruise @ 96
2-Sprint EVO= Eden 5 = Advance E7 26 = Kantega XC2= Ion 3 S = Atlas S= Infinity4 S = Swift 4 SM = AD Rise 2 S Superlight = Skyman Cross country S
3-Rush 3 = Mentor 3 S = Summit XC 3 S = Iota 26 = Triple Seven Rook 2 SM = Carrera Plus S = Base M = Swing Nyos M @ 98 = Eden 6 26 @ 96 = Mentor 4 S @ 96 = Ikuma 25 = GIN Sprint 3 M @ 101 .
4-Tequila 4 = Rush 4 = Windtech Bali = Skywalk Aruba 3 S = Sky Apollo M
5-SM-Blacklight = Nevada = Sky Atis 4 = Comet 2 S= Swing Mistral 7 S =Mentor 4 Light XS
6-Mentor 2 = Lightning S
7-Chili 3
8-Carrera S, M

Climb rate in very weak conditions (float-ability)

1-Carrera Plus S @ 91 = Chili 3 S @ 98 = Infinity 4 S@ 90 = UP Kantega XC2 S @ 90 = U-Turn Blacklight SM @ 98 = Atlas X-Alps S @ 92 & M @ 102 = Swift SM @ 90 = Skyman Cross country S @ 88 = Mentor 4 XS Light

2-Nevada = Rush 4 SM @ 90 = Mentor 2 S (Still Efficient) = Tequila 4 SM = Ion 4 S @ 95 = Eden 6 26 @ 96 = Buzz Z5 SM @88 = Eden 5 = Carrera S, M =Triple Seven Rook 2 SM = Lightning S @90 = Arriba 3 S @ 92 = Mentor 4 S @ 94
3-Mentor 3 S @ 95 = AD Rise 2 M = Gin Sprint 3 M @ 101
= Atlas S @ 90 = Hook 3 = Base M @ 90 = Rise 2 S Superlight @ 90 = Iota 26 @ 95 = Windtech Bali @ 95 = Sky Apollo M @ 92

4-Summit XC 3 S @ 93 = Comet 2 S @ 88 = Ion 3 S @ 95 = Ikuma 25 = UP Kibo SM @ 92 =U-Cruise @ 96

5- Sky Atis 4 = Advance E 7 26 = Swing M7 S @ 92 = Swing Nyos M @ 98

Climb rate in OVERALL conditions for XC flying (difficult ,weak, or strong) .
“Relatively moving conditions”


1-Carrera Plus S @ 94 = Chili 3 S @ 98 = Carrera S, M = Swift SM @ 92 = Mentor 4 S @ 97
 

2-Nevada = Triple Seven Rook 2 SM @ 93 = U-Turn Blacklight SM= Rush 4 SM = Mentor 2 S (Still Efficient) = Mentor 3 S ( it is very dampened) = Tequila 4 SM = AD Rise 2 M = Atlas S = Base M = Rise 2 S Superlight = Atlas X-Alps S & M = Ion 4 S @ 95 = Eden 6 26 @ 96 = Buzz Z5 SM @ 92 = Skyman Cross Country S = Gin Sprint 3 M @ 101 = Sky Apollo M = Arriba 3 S @ 92 = Mentor 4 XS Light

3-Iota 26 = Windtech Bali = NK Ikuma 25 = Swing Nyos M @ 98 = Up Kibo SM = U-Cruise @ 96

4-Summit XC 3 S @ 93 = Comet 2 S = Ion 3 S
5-Hook 3 = Eden 5 = Sky Atis 4= Advance E 7 26 = UP Kantega XC2 S = Infinity 4 S = Swing M7 S = Lightning S @90 (These gliders have a superb climb in calm conditions away from the valley breeze. Differences are very small .Its up to the pilot !)

Glide in “OVERALL” conditions (upwind, downwind, racing in difficult conditions) Or “efficiency” ! Done in active air.

1-Carrera S, M = Mentor 4 S = Iota 26 = Carrera Plus = Rook 2 SM = Mentor 4 XS Light 

2- Eden 6 26 @ 96 = Nyos M @ 98 = Sprint 3 M @ 101

3-Mentor 3 S = Chili 3 S = Ion 4 S @ 95
= U-Cruise @ 96
 

4-Rush 4 = AD Rise 2 = Swift 4 SM = Ikuma 25 = Skyman Cross country S = UP Kibo SM @ 92
= Sky Apollo M @ 93
 

5-Nevada 26 (must be loaded at 100 ) = Windtech Bali = Hook 3 = Tequila 4 SM = Mentor 2 S = Arriba 3 S = Buzz Z5 SM @ 92

6-Blacklight SM (loaded) = Ion 3 S = Sky Atis 4 M = Swing Mistral 7 S = Atlas X-Alps =AD Rise 2 S Superlight = UP Summit XC3 S size (M&L could be different) = Atlas X-Alps S =UP Summit XC3 S.

7-BGD Base M = UP kantega XC2 S = Rush 3 M = AD Rise 1 = Infinity 4 S = Eden 5 = Comet 2 S = Atlas S = Advance E7 26 ( The differences are small with ± half a point in L/D max, in “relatively moderate conditions” . (Racing in stronger conditions will show bigger differences)

Fun feel : “pleasure to fly, “agile” and higher overall fun feeling” IMHO

1-Tequila 4 S @ + 91 kg = Arriba 3 @ 90 all up

2- Buzz Z5 SM @ 90 = Base M @ + 91 kg / Infinity 4 S @ + 89 Kg = Swift 4 @ + 91 Kg / Atlas S / Sky Atis 4 M @ + 95 Kg / Swing Mistral 7 @ +92 Kg / Mentor 2 S @ +95 Kg / Comet 2 S @ + 93 Kg / =UP Kibo SM @ 93 = Sky Apollo M @ 92 = Mentor 4 XS Light


3- Rush 4 @ + 91 Kg / Carrera S @ + 92 kg / Blacklight S @ +91 Kg / Blacklight SM @ + 100 Kg / UP Kantega XC2 @ + 95 Kg / Mentor 3 & 4 S @ +95 Kg / Advance Iota @ + 96 Kg / Wintech Bali M @ + 97 Kg / Chili 3 @ + 100 Kg / AD Rise 2 S superlight @ + 89 Kg =Triple Seven Rook 2 SM @ 97 = Nyos 26 @ 99 = Ikuma 25 = Eden 6 26 @ 96 = Skyman Cross country S @ 88 = Gin Sprint 3 M @ 101 = Nova Ion 4 S at 96 all up.

4- Rise 2 M @ + 103 Kg / Nevada 26 @ + 100 Kg / Ion 3 S @ + 97 Kg / Hook 3 M @ + 97 Kg /UP Summit XC3 @ + 93 kg / AD Rise 1 @ + 95 Kg = Atlas X-Alps S & M = U-Cruise .

Most demanding glider in "strong conditions" (1-10) '10' being most demanding for a high end B ‘: ( Please bear in mind the 'size' and the 'wing loading' ! )
* Some C’s and D’s were included to inform pilots about their demanding behavior (Forum request) .

Advance E7 26 (@93 all up) * 3.9
GIN Atlas X-Alps ( S @ 94 all up) *3.9
AD Rise 2 M (@98all up) *4

UP Kibo SM @ 92 *4
Skyman cross country S @  88  *4
Eden 5 (@ 95 all up) *4
Hook 3 (@97 all up) *4
Buzz Z5 SM @ 92 *4
Nova Ion 4 S @ 95  *4
BGD Base M (@90all up) *4.5
Rush 3 M (@102 all up) *4.5
Sprint Evo ( @ 98 all up ) *4.5
Nova Ion 3 S (@ 95 all up) *5.0
U-Turn Infinity 4 S (@ 90all up) *5.0
Gin Atlas S (@ 92 all up ) * 5.0
UP Kantega Xc2 S (@ 90 all up)*5.0

Air Cross U-Cruise 26 @ 96  *5.3 
AD Rise 1 (@ 102 all up) *5.5
Windtech Bali (@95 all up) *5.5
Swift 4 SM (@ 92 all up) *5.5
Triple Seven Rook 2 SM ( at 97) *5.5
Eden 6 26 @ 96 *5.5
Nyos M @ 98 *5.5
Iota 26 ( @ 95 all up) *5.5

Gin Sprint 3 M @ 101 *5.5
Blacklight SM (@100 all up)*5.5
Sky Atis 4 M (@93 all up) *5.5
Nevada 26 (@ 100 all up ) *5.5
Mentor 3 S ( @97 all up) *5.5
Tequila 4 SM (@92 all up) *5.5
Ikuma 25 @ 94  * 5.6
Mentor 4 S ( @ 95 all up) *5.6
Arriba 3 S at 92 all up *5.6

 Sky Apollo M @ 92 *5.7
Nova Mentor 4 XS light *5.7
Axis Comet 2 S (@90 all up 5.8
UP Summit XC3 @ 93 all up. 6.0
GIN Carrera plus S @ 94 all up *6.0
Swing M7 S (@90all up) *6.0
Rush 4 SM (@93 all up) *6.0
Blacklight S ( @ 90 all up) *6.5
Lightning S @ (90 all up) 6.5
Mentor 2 S (@ 95 all up) *6.5
Chili 3 S (@ 98all up) *7.0
Carrera S, M 8.0

C & D gliders:
This grade is to say how busy a glider is, in strong conditions, or the one that’s more difficult to manage, comparing to the B category.

Since this is a very delicate comparison , i must point out that the glider that has quicker authority on the brakes like the Triton 2 will enable a good pilot to keep it swiftly overhead. Some doesn’t have that quick response and in strong conditions they won’t keep the pilot as busy, but he will be the ‘passenger’ for a short lapse of time …
The grade doesn’t indicate the one that recovers easier or harder !!Only that keep you busier ! Most will have easier recovery than the higher graded !

Mac Elan M (@98all up) *7
Swing Nexus (@94 all up) *7.0
Up Summit XC 3 S (@94 all up) *7.5
Mac Elan light 24 (@90 al up) *7.5
Advance Sigma 9 25 (@91 all up) *7.5
Niviuk Artik 4 25 (@91 all up) *8.5
Ozone Alpina 2 SM (@92 all up) * 8.5
Delta 2 SM size (@ 92 all up) *9
777 Queen M (@ 101 all up) *9
BGD Cure (@ 93 all up) *9.3
Aspen 5 26 (@98all up) *10
Skyman CrossAlps S (@90 all up) *10.5
Sol Lotus one (@ 98 all up) *11
Ozone Mantra 6 SM (@94 all up) *12
Gin Gto 2 S size (@94 all up) *12,5
Triton 2 in S size (@ 96 all up) *12.5 (M size could be different) !
Niviuk IP6 26 (@98 all up) *13.5
Ozone R-10 S (@ 98 all up) *15.0

The Eden 5 has less top speed of 3-4 km than the others.
The Hook 3 is very comfortable to fly with a very interesting glide angle. The climb in smooth conditions is fair.
The Mentor 3 is much easier than the Mentor 2, and its efficiency is in those turbulent glides where it will have less pitch movements and little better glide.
The Mentor 4 has better glide than the Mentor 3 but with lesser climb “only” in weak conditions.
The Mentor 4 XS light felt differently trimmed than the S size. The fun feel is high and the performance is excellent !

The Ikuma is a comfortable glider with nice handling. The overall performance is is in the mid of the High B category.
The U-Cruise is a comfortable glider in thermals, but wait until you try wing overs...Too high for  B :-) 

The Iota has a very good glide similar to the Mentor 4, It has a nice climb similar to the Mentor “3”.
The Chili 3 S “still” has the best climb rate and a very nice handling in homogeneous conditions. But with a very long brake travel.
The Advance E7 26 is the most confidence inspiring rock solid glider of the cat. It reminded me of the low B cat in comfort.
The BGD Base is a confidence inspiring, solid glider. The climb and handling are very good.
The Atis 4 has a bit roll movement and need some active piloting in the high end B’s.
It has a fast trim speed, much like the M3 and Chili 3. Long brake travel are needed to let the glider respond in turbulent conditions.
The UP Kantega XC2 S is a very nice wing to fly .It has nice handling and also superb climb overall being also very accessible.
The Swing M7 S is a delight to fly. It dives a bit into turns. It is fast enough for a B, and has enough performance. Not really a floater but a nice glider overall.
The Rush 4 has a very good glide . It is an overall good, very solid B glider, but its trim speed is around 38 km/h and especially the top speed which is low for the cat around 51 km/h .
The fastest are Mentor 3, XC3, Mistral 7…But it is around 55 km/h max.
The AD rise 2 M has the BEST ratio Performance/Comfort in flight !
The Tequila 4 SM is like a precious gem ! combining agility/performance/accessibility!
The Infinity 4 has a very light and nice turning behavior! It has a low trim speed , and the climb rate even loaded is outstanding!
The Comet 2 S give a nice feeling under it. It has a very nice handling .
The Windtech Bali has a respected glide angle. It needs slightly active piloting in big air.
The Atlas S has everything to make its pilot very happy,with a good feeling of passive safety. The X-Alps version of the Atlas has more performance overall, especially in climb.
The Arriba is slightly more dynamic than the Tequila 4 and a pleasurable glider to fly.
The Rook 2 is a well-balanced high performance B glider, with nice handling and efficiency.
The Nyos is very comfortable, made for strong conditions.The gliding performance is very good !
The Eden 6 26 is a very balanced all round B glider toward performance flying, and respecting a pleasant pleasurable feel !
The Buzz Z5 has an upgrade over the Z4 in performance while retaining the comfort. The brake pressure and feel in thermals is really nice!
The Cross country is a light glider with pleasurable handling, and comfortable behavior.

The UP Kibo is an accessible B glider with a comfortable ride.

The Sky Apollo is a pleasure to fly.

The Gin Sprint 3 M performance /comfort ratio is very good.

Conclusion: The Carrera has now two very serious competitors, the M4 and the Iota in pure gliding power. The Carrera still climbs better “in real conditions” than any B in this table.
The Carrera plus climb is even better than the original version only in weak and moderate conditions. The more the headwind, the original version cut forward more efficiently.
The AD Rise 2 is very comfortable to fly with a superb glide for the high B category.
The Rush 4 like the Swift 4 has nearly the glide of the Mentor 3 but with lesser speed. It's an overall efficient glider in difficult conditions where it could cut through turbulence and have a very solid and compact feel coupled with a direct handling.
The Mentor 4 has now the best glide in difficult conditions among the similar aspect ratio B’s very close to the Iota and the Rook 2. The climb in very weak conditions still favors the Mentor 3 S similarly loaded.
The Atlas X-Alps is an easy “all rounder” with very good performance especially in weak climbs and low saves.
I’m certain that a good pilot can break an XC record with ANY of those superb B gliders from above!
Please pick the one that will make you feel happy under it ….The rest is up to you!

Cheers,
Ziad


Monday, June 13, 2016

UP Kibo SM





UP KIbo SM.

After test flying the Summit XC3 and the Trango XC3, here’s the Kibo test flight in SM size .

The Kibo has a 5.7 aspect ratio and has a B rating. UP created the Kibo for B pilots in mind and should be easier to fly than the Summit XC3.

Launching the Kibo is super easy and smooth . No shooting forward or hanging back. Just a steady climb to rest above the pilots head.

I flew the Kibo SM (75-95) at 93 all up as i felt it is a good load on this size. The trim speed isn’t very high, just near 38 km/h as average for the B category.

I flew this glider in different conditions from weak ones to some turbulent air in our Cedars Mountain range. I could quickly confirm a very comfortable glider. The Kibo is a compact smooth easy to fly B machine.
No matter what you throw on the Kibo, the B pilot underneath is very well taken care after !! Or should i say the pilot under the Kibo feels like a VIP on tour !

The handling on the Kibo is exquisite ! The glider reacts to a moderate brake travel and pressure feel, coupled with a very nice coordinated turn and precise inputs !
I can describe it as a “politely” agile glider  :-)  ! 



Doing some performance comparisons with the recent B+ beasts puts the Kibo overall performance in the first half of the B category in glide and climb.

The speed is around 10 km over trim at my loads taken at 700 ASL with a relatively moderate pressure, and a stable glider with usable speed.

Big ears are very easy to induce, very stable, efficient, and fast on opening.

Induced frontal collapses and even some big asymmetric collapses are a non event and it felt strangely like on an A glider …The reopening are very fast and smooth.
I didn't feel like I’m on a 5.7 aspect ratio glider at all !
It seems that UP has done a marvelous job with the internal structure of the Kibo ! I wished this structure was implemented on the 7:0 aspect ratio Trango XC3 which gave me some “Kung Fu” hours in turbulence. So the gap in comfort between the Kibo and the Trango XC3 is like a 4 category cooler !  :-)

Conclusion: This glider gives its pilot an impressive comfort zone! Coupled with a very good handling ! Pilots upgrading on the Kibo from any lower category will find a very friendly B machine. The overall performance are within the B category, and will surely deliver a good pilot, some nice XC flying days.


Cheers,
Ziad

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Ozone LM 6


Ozone L M 6 SM


Among the gliders in the D class, the Mantra 6 remains till date a very competitive, efficient and reliable XC machine.


Launching the Light version is slightly easier due to the light fabrics. It shows a very steady pull in light winds.


The difference between the normal M6 and the LM6 SM, flying them at 95 all up are:


I found that the brake pressure is slightly heavier on the LM6 over the normal version with a slightly improved turning ability for the LM6.


The slight back pitch movement on the M6 seems to dissipate on the LM6 where I could sense neutral pitch behavior and I think that contributed slightly to a better into wind performance.


In turbulence the roll movements are slightly more pronounced on the LM6 by a very small amount.


The LM6 seems very solid and manageable in strong conditions like the M6. The speed bar pressure is very similar and usable efficiently in moving air with a taught and solid glider.


Conclusion: Flying the LM6, feels having a very slight edge over the normal M6 in moving air performance. The LM6 overall performance is quite close to the best recent D’s, and any pilot flying it won’t have any disadvantage in performance, with a light glider to carry along.




Thursday, June 2, 2016

GIN Sprint 3 M



GIN Sprint 3  M

Test flying wings is the most difficult thing to do…Not only by flying them…But by typing the letters…

Test:
GIN, for all of us flying pilots, is one of the top leaders in paragliding industry. With the state of the art Boomerang 10, what should we expect when he releases a 2016 B+ glider? knowing that there are lots of very good new B+ gliders…
Please answer…
 a normal B+ with average performance and handling ? 
or a contender for the top places in speed, efficiency and glide? 


Lets see…
After the amazing Carrera + , GIN has introduced the Sprint 3 to the market with a moderate aspect ratio but targeted as a B+ which logically has to compete with what the current B+ gliders of today has to offer.

Here’s what i found flying the Sprint 3 M from 98, 101, till 103 all up .

Launching the Sprint 3 is an easy task, especially with the light cloth. It climbs steadily and solid.

Flying he Sprint 3 M at 101 feels fine in moderate conditions. I sensed that 103 and above could be its best aspect for XC flying in strong conditions.

At 101 the Sprint 3 M has a moderate to slightly more pressure after 40 cm of brake travel. 
The glider can be steered with 25 cm after the 10 cm slack. I cannot say that the Sprint 3 M is a super agile glider, that you can swiftly adjust in turbulent conditions, but “fair enough” with an efficient turning radius in weak stuff ! 
It is “slightly” less agile than, the normal Atlas S, Mentor4 S, Iota 26, Apollo M, Kibo S…i was testing at the same time.
Not to say it’s not agile…It has a moderate agility to be precise.
 The Carrera plus S and M has a slightly more dynamic turn with a narrow radius and a slightly lighter brake feel toward the end.

In average thermals, the Sprint 3 M has an average to good climb rate that could place it “close enough” to the good ones…

The Sprint 3 M can be steered with precision and little input with average agility in moderate thermals. In strong cores, applying little more brake input, do get the Sprint 3 in a good turn with a good climbing ability if loaded beyond 100 to get that compact feel ! 

The comfort is high under the Sprint 3 M, which is very good for the category ! Slightly more comfortable than the M4 and Iota . It is for sure much easier to fly than Carrera plus, and not really more difficult to handle over the Atlas…which could be a very good step for a pilot looking to upgrade.

Gliding with my reference glider the Mentor 4 S showed a very good glide angle at trim for the Sprint 3 which place it better than Rush 4, Summit XC3, Apollo… placing it close enough… to the Eden 6, but not as good as the Mentor 4, Iota one which still is a reference in glide and efficiency. 

What surprised me is the limited speed travel (very short) . The Sprint 3 M at 101 has only a 7-8 km/h speed over trim ! Taken at 700m ASL.

Big ears are easy and stable .They reopen fast. Induced asymmetric collapses are a non event, and quite easy to counter steer. Induced frontal collapses reopen quickly after less than 2 sec. 

Conclusion:
The Carrera plus has already marked the paragliding world of today .Of course it was targeted for the C pilot but it’s incredible climbing efficiency and gliding power at trim and especially at 45 km/h did out-perform or at least match top current C’s but also with a B rating… That’s an “achievement of usable performance”

What about the Sprint 3 M ? Many will like the comfortable feel, and the glide. It is logical and certain that a good pilot can achieve great XC flights on the Sprint 3 M…No doubt about that ! 

Sometimes being the benchmark really hurts …If the Mentor 5 of tomorrow or the Chili 4 that will come won’t offer more efficiency or at least more fun or ease to fly…than their predecessors then they will be totally unacceptable.
In this case the Sprint 3 is much better than the Sprint evo by a very large margin…not to compare…
But i would have dreamed for a super B+ especially coming from GIN that i’m certain, that just a little more time on it, would have been largely beneficial… 

What i was hoping for the Sprint 3 M was:
-At least a top gliding machine, but i’ll say ok. It’s good enough !  
-A more fun handling, with nimble brake response…remember the Sprint evo ! A delight  !!! 
-Little bit more top speed ! Above 50 km/h please…
-A more efficient ‘feel’ for the B+ 

This test is my personal opinion. Please try, test and fly the Sprint 3 , because it remains close to the 5 leaders in the B + gliders in comfort, efficiency, and climb.  
GIN is working on a new machine in a different category as far as i know…Lets hope it would out-dream us by the accessibility/performance/efficiency ratio …And i hope that the R&D will take their full time as, IMHO, the Carrera + still holds the “title” for comfort/efficiency/performance/rating !

Cheers,
Ziad.












SKY Apollo


Sky Appolo.
It's becoming obvious to the eye, that SKY Paragliders quality of construction   is beyond any doubt, one of the best in the paragliding industry !
Their new B+ is the Appolo with a 3 line configuration and a shark nose profile. 
Launching the relatively light Apollo  ( around 4.5 kg) is quite easy and simple. Any B+ pilot surely knows how to keep and control a glider overhead.
At 92 all up on the M size 75-95, I found the best balance for XC use.
The trim speed is quite fast as the M4 if similarly loaded.
The brakes pressure is medium to light with very linear and swift response. If you flew the Atis 4, you will experience the same fun handling as SKY delivers to their pilots.
The Apollo is an agile glider that draws a smile on a keen pilots face !
Delivering pure flying pleasure for sensible souls :-)
Flying the Apollo in rough thermals need some active piloting as the roll movements are present exactly like the Atis 4 ones or slightly more pronounced. 
I could close my eyes and will know a SKY glider just by the handling and glider feedback. 
The climb rate however is a bigger step over the Atis 4 and also comparing it to the best B+ ones in 2016...The Apollo climbs indeed very well ! At a good weight load the nose cuts though and climb efficiently !
The pitch movements are relatively dampened on the Apollo.
Gliding at trim showed me also a very nice glider angle!  Honestly I was surprised to see the Apollo glide performance, as it glided near the best B+ reference gliders ! 
I won't say it's the best but just close enough to make its pilot super content and happy.
The speed over trim is around 13 km/h taken at 1000ASL .
Ears are easy to induce they are stable, usable, and easy to reopen.
Induced collapses, holding the A riser won't make the Apollo turn more than 30 degrees and an opposite turn to the kept collapse is very easy to make.
Wing overs are a delight and joy to produce.
Overall it's a very well balanced glider with very late stall behaviour letting the pilot use the low speed characteristics, landing on a dime.
I liked the glider turning behavior and my only wish for this B+ was a slightly less roll movement in turbulent conditions to let the pilot in question, slightly more comfort time. In the positive side the Apollo EN  test flights are incredibly successful with A's  all over, and by its thermal feedback, it will surely train you to the next level. 
With it's impeccable construction, beautiful handling pleasure, great performance potential, it would be wise to consider a test flight in order to feel this experience...Afterward its a matter of taste :-) 

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Harness comparison (Update)

 Harness comparison ( Update)

Harness comparisons:
Impress 3 M – Genie Race 2- Genie Light – WV GTO-WV X-Rated 6 L— Lightness 2 — Ozone Forza — Ozone Exocet — Genie Lite 2 —Genie Race 3 — Ozone Ozium — Gin X-Alps


Most comfortable seated harness. As 1 being most comfortable “ONLY for the seating position”.

1-Impress 3 / Forza / Lightness 2
2-Genie Race 2 / Ozium / Exoceat
3-X-Rated 6 / Genie Race 3 / Genie lite 2 / Gin X-Alps
4-Genie Light – Impress 2 +
5-WV GTO (being fairly comfortable also)

Most comfortable in roll (In roll stability ). As 1 being most comfortable.

1-Ozone Exocet
2-Genie Light 1 /  WV GTO / Forza /  GIn X-Alps
3-Impress 2 +  / X-Rated 6 L / Genie Race 3 / Genie lite 2
4-Genie Race 2 / Ozium / Lightness 2
5-Impress 3

Harnesses with legs supported naturally (Very comfy) from the current ones.

——  Exocet / Forza / Impress 3 /  Lightness 2  
 
Weight of the harnesses
Impress 3 M   ± 5 kg
Genie Race 2  ±10 kg
Genie Light 1   ± 5 kg
WV X-Rated 6 L   ±7kg
WV GTO  ± 5 kg
Lightness 2    ± 3 kg
Ozone Forza   ± 5 kg
Ozone Exocet  ± 9 kg
Genie Lite 2    ± 4.5 kg
Genie Race 3  ± 7.5 kg
Ozone Ozium  ± 3 kg
Gin X-Alps   ± 2 kg

Conclusion:
The WV GTO and the Genie Light are intended for the recreational pilot that wants a light pod. They are easy and a pleasure to fly .
The Impress 3 is the most comfortable seated harness, but has a bit more roll than the others and would need some time to adapt under it …
The Genie Race is a harness oriented for competitions or for pilots looking for refined sensations. It has more roll than the Impress 2 + but its roll is limited to a certain angle and then it stops allowing its pilot to re-adjust under the glider. The pilot will not feel disoriented, but some flights are required to adapt to this excellent harness. The only bad side is its high weight. Beside that it is an excellent harness with every detail a pilot would think of…A full professionally made, complete harness. I liked it very much.

With the arrival of the X-Rated 6,Woody Valley has created a comfortable harness, easy to access, smooth accelerator pulleys, Two rescues pockets, anti-G pocket. I felt that this harness is the most complete with all the small details in the best finish a harness can have !

It is really not as heavy as the Genie Race. The X-Rated 6, weights around 7.3  kg with a big back protection included.
A very beautiful product with a very clean finish .
The Forza has a comfortable seating position with a moderate roll movement in turbulence.
The Genie lite 2 has a very good construction finish.
The Gin X-Alps is very comfortable for a very light harness with less roll than the lightness 2 and with a compact and coherent feel with the used glider !

Harnesses are very difficult to test fly as each pilot have different structure …But IMHO, for my height of 1.81 m and 75 kg.

Happy flights,
Ziad

Friday, March 18, 2016

GIN Genie 2 light



.



Mac Para Eden 6


Mac Para Eden 6 .26  (The magical flying carpet)


There are many gliders popping out each week/month in every category. It’s very rare to find a flaw in today’s gliders. As a reviewer I always search for those tiny flaws if occurred… But it’s becoming more and more difficult!   

Companies are doing their best to give us the best possible and magical flying carpets J

Here’s one…


After test flying Mac Para EN-D, The Icon, here is the Eden 6 in size 26 for a test flight.

I flew the Eden 26 from 93 to 98 all up.

Take off is quite straightforward for a B, despite the high aspect ratio of 5.9, the Eden 6 inflates as a block and very easy without any delays or even shooting forward.


I had some nice flying conditions for three days and I was lucky to fly next to High end B’s all that time in order to feel and see the differences.


What does it feel in the air?

The Eden 6 is a very different glider from the 5th version.

The Eden 6 is tuned for performance flying with an efficient flat turning radius and a nose that searches for thermals rather than bumping into them.  


The brake pressure is moderate with a linear response and the Eden 6 could be steered around 35 cm of travel.

The Eden 6 is a fairly agile wing trimmed toward an efficient turn rather than a diving turn.

To be more precise, I think the Eden 6 agility is well balanced between a gentle fun side, and an efficient XC use.


The Eden 6 26 could be flown easily at 90 but I found out that flying it at +75 % of its weight range is optimal (95-96)


Climbing ability:

The Eden 6 has similar climbing capability in weak lifts as the Eden 5, which was very good. In stronger lifts the Eden 6 dig through those thermals more efficiently for a better climb.


Gliding power:

Flying the Eden 6 26 in the company of the Swing Nyos M, the Mentor 4 S and the Rook 2 M showed me after many attempts a superb glide angle for the Eden 6 putting it right on top next to the best one in this category!

The gliding at top speed is fully usable and also very competitive like you would expect from the best B’s out there!

The Eden 6 26 at 96 all up has a fast trim speed .The speed bar pressure is moderate and the gain in speed is ±15 km/h.


What are the benefits and differences (Eden 6 over the Eden 5?)?

-Eden 6 needs slightly more active piloting

-Glide at trim and at top speed is well improved!

-Efficiency in head wind glides

-Speed


The Eden 6 is as comfortable to fly as the Rush 4.


Big ears are stable and easy. They reopen smoothly by themselves.

Spiraling down is efficient but the pilot must get out hyper smoothly…to prevent a tuck on surges.


Conclusion:

The Eden 6 is a new breed of Mac Para gliders. There’s something different in the making.

The glide angle is the best you can get .The climb rate is very good! The handling is pleasurable. The Eden 6 is fast!

For sure, it’s a small step over the Eden 5 in piloting but ok for an experienced B pilot looking inside the high B category!

There’s indeed something new over here…









Thursday, March 10, 2016

SWING Nyos M

SWING Nyos

After test flying the Nexus from Swing, here’s the new EN-B Nyos in M size for a test flight.

The NYOS has a mix of sheathed and unsheathed lines with an average width comparing to other B’s . The construction is neat and its what you would expect from a 2016 glider, to the last detail.

The NYOS with it’s 5.8 aspect ratio is in my opinion the best looking B glider to date. It doesn’t really look like a B glider and my friends frequently asked me if it’s a new C glider.

I flew the Nyos M (80-102) from 92 to 98 all up.
Launching the Nyos is quite easy and smooth with no hard point or even any surge.

At both loadings the NYOS M has a relatively medium to short brake travel with a firm pressure rather than a light one. All that with a fairly nice agility resembling the Nexus way to turn into thermals. The NYOS is tuned for XC use rather than a freestyle use. But the agility is moderate to good !

In the same days flying it, i was top landing and switching to other B gliders (Eden 6, Mentor 4) in order to feel better what glider can offer the most in the conditions of each day, not to mention my flying friends who were also helping on those gliders.

After some flying days i can firmly confirm that the NYOS is a very comfortable glider, that offers sweet and relaxed flights like sitting on a VIP luxury seat and people all over are taking care that you are not being disturbed ! Smile

Well that’s exactly how i can describe the feeling under it !
The climb rate in very weak conditions (0.5 m/s) is not the strongest point of the NYOS, but i felt its just a slight step over the NEXUS in that matter. It hovers a bit and the very comfy leading edge is like a Buddhist monk in a meditation process…Nothing will bother him, without the slightest bite in those very weak lifts.

As soon as the thermals are well homogeneous (+1m/s), the NYOS will climb like any other B around and even if the lift gets punchy , it might get upward quicker !

Gliding power !
After test flying the NYOS, i really don’t know what to believe anymore …Its seems to me, like we are swimming in the marketing river of today's hype and tech stories…
Shark nose…No shark nose…Thin lines all over…Thin Dyneema lines…or no…pure 3 liner or no…I’m really puzzled !

After many glide attempt with the company of the well known Mentor 4, my friends eyebrows are mine were exceeding our foreheads!
Considering that the NYOS doesn’t have a Cleopatra nose, and it’s lines are thicker than the M4 ones, with 3.5 line attachment to the under-surface, and it looks quite robust in construction …Believe me, I have seen a lot of B’s… !

The NYOS is faster at trim speed than the M4 S by 1 km/h , similarly loaded, or even if lightly less loaded (+0.5 km/h ) !
The glide at trim is very similar, the glide at 52 is quite similar…the top speed of the NYOS is 2 km faster…
It looks like the NYOS strengths in glide is the pitch movement ‘self’ control on glides…Cannot say it’s a floater, but a real weapon in compensating the movements in turbulent air, and staying focus on the way ahead!

The speed bar has a moderate pressure, and stepping on it gave me the feeling like when i close the door behind me after coming from a loud party. I like that silence ! Smooth ride in a limousine !


Big ears are easy to induce, they are stable with or without bar and quite efficient.They don’t open by themselves but with a small dab on the brakes they reopen very fast.

Conclusion:
Reviews will always be reviews…There will always be positive and negative points on each new glider, no matter what…It depend mainly on the reviewer personal opinion and taste. It’s up to you the pilot to feel if those written words apply to your skills and flying sites.
If the NYOS would be slightly more efficient in weak conditions…Hmmm
For sure the NYOS is and will be SWING biggest success to date, The NYOS is ‘THE’ glider for flying in the strong Alps with a big XC potential for the good level of the B class pilots.

What made me smile:
Glide angle at trim and accelerated
Smooth ride in turbulence
Smooth ride at bar
Speed at trim and accelerated
Easy to fly for a 5.8 ar glider
Beautiful looking glider


What made me Grrrr  ;-)  :
- The climb in very weak thermals (-0.5 m/s)


Video soon...
Cheers,





Sunday, March 6, 2016

NOVA Ion 4 S ( The tough )



NOVA Ion 4 S

I have flown all the Ion series from the first one to this new 4th version.
Take off on this low aspect ratio B is quite easy and spontaneous.
During the Ion 4 S test flights, i had the Buzz Z5 in SM size also for testing.
For three days, i was top landing, changing glider, again and again, with the company of friends to compare them also in the air.

I flew the Ion 4 S from 90 to 99 all up, to notice that the Ion 4 S can be flown easily at mid weight without loosing its energy. In rough conditions 95 all up could be well enough…For racing upwind, 99 is fast and very efficient !

The Ion 4 S from 92 to 99 has a medium brake travel, and the pressure on the brakes can be described as slightly medium to hard, but agile and precise, and it’s a small step in agility over the Ion 3 S.
The Buzz Z5 brake travel is similar in precision and response but slightly lighter.

The Ion 4 S can be turned very flat with little brake input coupled with weight shift. Stationary turns and coring small bubbles are a delight. Hard pull on the brakes and the Ion 4 will logically dive showing an agile behavior.

Climbing in weak thermals next to an Ion 3 at 95 all up showed a similar climb rate, but once the thermals gets a bit strong and punchy, then the Ion 4 S will show a clear advantage over the Ion 3. In company of a Buzz Z5 SM, in windy conditions showed that in weak thermals they are also similar in climb , but again as soon as the thermals gets punchier the Ion 4 S shoots upward, like a spring, even loaded at top !
I felt it has a tendency to cut through better the airmass and climb without bumping even more efficiently than any new low aspect ratio, B glider i have tested.

The comfort in the air reminded me of the tough Ion 1 which leads me to say that the feeling under the Ion 4 S can be best described as “indestructible" !

The Ion 4 S doesn’t have a pitch back in thermals nor a front one. It climbs peacefully, with a positive vario giving this impression of flying a performance paraglider.
  The roll movements are just present to show the thermals, rather than to shake its pilot.The overall comfort feel is present.

Doing some glides with the Ion 4 S showed an increase in glide angle over the Ion 3, and a significant one when using the bar.
The trim speed of the Ion 4 S (80-100) loaded at 95 is around 0.5 km faster than a Buzz Z 5 SM (75-95) loaded at 90.
The glide angle at 45 km/h is impressively on the Ion 4 side.
The Ion 4 has indeed a very good glide angle especially accelerated !
I was impressed by the amount of performance / accessibility ratio it delivers.

The top speed is around 52 km/h at 1000 ASL.
The leading edge stays solid and the speed is fully usable.
Ears are easy to induce with a fast opening.

The speed bar risers were installed on my Ion 4 S. They are a nice feature that pulls the C’s and B’s evenly without deforming the profile.
Using them in full speed mode is efficient enough but hard to pull.The Mentor 4 S ones are lighter in pressure.

Conclusion:
Tough, fast, comfortable, superb performance for a low aspect ratio glider, good agility and climb.That’s the Ion 4.

It seems that NOVA fine tuned the Ion 4 for a flatter polar and toward a performance use for XC purposes.

The race for performance will never end, but creating a low aspect ratio, easy to use, B glider that has the edge in overall performance especially accelerated, with an indestructible feel in turbulence is what makes paragliding even more magical.









Saturday, March 5, 2016

Questions for designers...

Hannes Papesh Interview 5 March 2016 .

Z- What’s your opinion about :  "Softer leading edge do collapse often but they also recover faster and smoother, harder leading edge with a smaller AoA are very resistant but the collapses are more aggressive".
Do you agree? or no...and why?

Hannes: We're dealing with that issue since mid of the 90’s. During the X-act development we were trying to find an airfoil which is collapse resistant and in the case, collapsing very soft and unspectacular.
As "to collapse" is a fundamental issue of the safety concept of a paraglider, this scenario should be very well predictable.
During the very intensive discussion about folding lines (see attachment) I've been arguing with the "dynamic history" of a collapse: the airfoil should deform, loose air and fold in the middle, to create a soft collapse. In this procedure the static weak points are important. They are given by the suspension points and the airfoil shape (and some internals maybe). When you mount folding lines on new suspensions (where there is no load during normal flight), you're faking new static weak points.
So we should spend some engineering and development effort to find an airfoil / solution that can do both: to be collapse resistant AND collapse soft and recover easy.
-Not just make "a quick cheat".
-Some in the scene are specialists for that, as we all know!


Z-Do you believe for instance that in order to see the real thing, the exact collapse in each individual glider regardless of their construction is to remove the test pilot ability to 'pull' the A's...

Hannes: Pulling the A's is good.
Sometimes it's not possible without mounting some separate lines (in case of an A/B fork).
Important is, that you pull on a suspension point, which is highly loaded during normal flight.
Experience shows, that the static weak points in real flight are between the suspension points: there the airfoil kinks in the case of a collapse deformation.
The simulated collapses should show the same deformation behavior as the real flight collapse.
Putting force on the airfoil further in front does enlarge the "deformation arm": resulting in softer collapses.

Z-Another idea could be to send a paramotor or some machine to create heavy turbulence that passes exactly 10 m in front of the test pilot over a lake...That way it will be clear on the videos how much the glider endure the collapse and how it will react.
-Do you think that this could be an evolution for future test houses ? Can you comment on that please ?

Hannes: It is not easy to create the standard rotor.
And will be quite hard to do: but that kind of testing could offer some more real life results.

The general problem is the exclusion of cheating actions.
We all have had airfoils which were flying fine and collapsed late. But they showed a very nasty and hard collapse behavior.
But you need really some "cheating creativity" to get the idea to mount folding lines far in front to get softer collapses.
With that technique you can get every airfoil look nice.
Because of that possibility and the very bad experiences of cheating by one manufacturer, the WG6 working group decided to limit those folding lines (invented by the same manufacturer) to the D class.


My philosophy (specially in the low classes) is to have a wide "green area". No special "best case scenarios / techniques" are needed. The wing should behave fine however the collapse is produced.


10
10
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-7hV1Po8ObvRUttcF85dlFLaVU/view?usp=sharing

Luc Armant answer to the question:

Z-What's your opinion about :  "Softer leading edge do collapse often but they also recover faster and smoother, harder leading edge with a smaller AoA are very resistant but the collapses are more aggressive".
Do you agree? or no...and why?

Luc:   I disagree. I don’t see that at equal speed airspeed or AoA. from equal speed, fragile profile can easily have much worse recovery than more solid one. There is no strong rule here. Add to that the fact that collapsing is always more dangerous than not collapsing. In Ozone, we are searching for the best “real safety” design. We want gliders that we assess will be the safest to fly for pilots making cross country. We don’t want to compromise that.


Z- What's the benefit that a Delta 2 pilot will get flying the Delta 3 in order to disregard the certification at accelerated mode?

Luc: Best benefit for a Delta2 pilot, should be slightly higher speed and more performance at speed. We will not make anything special to try to convince pilot about recovery and EN rating, apart from a notice trying to explain things. Like usual, we will release our product and the pilot will make their choice. But again, we know that if we release it EN D we would for sure lose sell because many pilots still think that EN rating is their best way of knowing which wing to buy regardless of what the manufacturer is even recommending.


Z- The Delta 2 and Alpina 2 are still in personal view 'legends' in the C category. Many new C's that came after were more difficult to handle in rough air, except the Carrera plus. Was this only related to the back positioning A's on the leading edge ?

Luc: Of course not even though it’s an important one. There are a lot of other parameters. Too much parameters !  We believe that Aspect Ratio is one of the strongest one .


Z : Now seeing that the Carrera plus has similar performance or very close to the Alpina 2, Delta 2,
that GIN aimed for a B certification as a marketing strategy that could lead to larger sales.With the D3 going in the D category, OZONE is going on the exact opposite way in marketing strategy. Which leads to the question:
With the D3 certified as an EN-D, how will Ozone convince the Rush 4 pilots to move on the D3 ?

 Luc: That would not be marketing strategy. We know we would lose significant sell because of that. But that’s the way it is. Good products are our priority.