Friday, April 6, 2018

U-Turn CrossRock EN-B size S




U-Turn Cross rock S (70-90) 

The last U-Turn paraglider i test flew was the Black light2. Here’s the light version of the BL2 but it seems it’s a completely different story …

The Cross rock has a shark nose, unsheathed lines on the upper cascades, and normal lines on the lower part. 

Launching the Crosssrock is a non event, very easy in nil wind, and doesn’t overshoot in strong breeze. 

I flew the Cross rock S with two harnesses. An X-rated 6 with light cloth and equipment at 87 and on the Ozium 2 at 84 all up.

In turbulent air, and flying those different harnesses didn’t affect the glider stability or even handling whatsoever. The Crossrock turns well, stays calm, and climbs remarkably well.  
I mean the cross rock resembles the cool character of ‘Fillmore’ in Cars Movie ! 

Saying:  Hey dude …hang loose…man…  :-) 

The Crossrock has a soft, cool, very relaxing character in turbulence. The brake response are direct, but the Crossrock doesn’t dive at all in turns. It has an efficient turning radius in thermals. The agility is good for the category. I can say it’s fairly agile and respond well on command. 
So overall it has a moderate to good handling, and quite an impressive comfort ! especially for an S size (70-90). 
Flying the Mentor 5 (70-90) and the Cross rock S in the same conditions and on the same harness and loads, showed me that i need almost half the workload to fly the Crossrock. 

The brake pressure are on the moderate side, not too light, not too firm. (The B comparison will be updated for all characteristics) 

The crossrock doesn’t have a pitch forward neither back, it feels more toward a neutral pitch. The climb rate in weak is very good even among the high B category. I can say it’s definitely a floater.  In strong thermals and head wind, i think, this is the one of the best U-Turn glider that has an efficient nose to dig in surf the airmass quite gently and move forward with an impressive glide angle that is very close to my reference in the high B category. 
In strong air it doesn’t loose it’s ‘very soft’ biting power.  

On one crossing into difficult conditions and head wind, i was a bit low, and since that day my GPS was taking a day off …my shadow on the ground was barely moving forward and i thought ill never reach the narrow landing field, and i began to look for a place to land..but kept my feet on the bar to try to move forward…Honestly i know that path by heart, and it was very difficult to cross that day with that low altitude, but i was really surprised by the Crossrock efficiency to dig slowly and softly through, little by little. I thought it will never go through, but it did…and got myself a thermal just 20 m above the landing, and high again !  
Afterward, i flew next to a Mentor 5 and  i can confirm that the Crossrock has a good float ability in glides. 
The first part and the second part of the speed bar are very usable and super efficient ! It doesn’t loose on full bar ! the speed over trim at 87 is 10 km/h taken at 500 ASL. 
At top speed, flying also next to a Mentor 5 XS at same loadings showed me also a very competitive glide angle that places the Crossrock among the best ones in that matter. 

I also tried a glide on the Crossrock S size (70-90) with a Chili 4 S (85-105) in difficult conditions. The glide result with the Crossrock did also impressed me. In fact, the Crossrock had a very efficient glide that was very competitive and very close with the top high B. 
The Trim speed of the cross rock at 84 was slightly less than the trim speed of the Chili 4 S at 102 all up. 


Conclusion: U-Turn has created a really nice machine. Light, comfortable, high performance in both glide and climb, with good overall handling…The Crossrock accessibility and ease of flight is remarkable and i could place it in terms of piloting level among the mid B’s. This glider is a very good option for pilots looking for a light, XC companion for flying in strong conditions, in the B category.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

NOVA Ion 5


Nova Ion 5 
I flew both sizes, the XS size (70-90) at 84 all up, and the S size (80-100) at 91 all up. 

Launching the Ion 5 is nil wind is very easy without any hard point or delay. In moderate breeze, it’s even easier without surge.
The Ion 5 turns on every centimeter i pulled on the brakes. It can be steered with only 10 cm of travel, yet the long brake when pulling 50 cm are very forgiving. 
The difference between the Ion 4 XS and the Ion 5 XS with same load is that the Ion 5 is much more agile and more precise, letting the pilot at first enjoy every thermal with the ability to core it very narrow.
The feedback coming from the glider is more pronounced on the Ion 5 over the Ion 4, but in a more subtle and positive way.  Some pilots commented that the Ion 4 is a bit too stiff and has a heavy feel sometimes. 
The Ion 5 is more informative about small thermal movements, and nicer to fly overall , but still being a comfortable low B glider. 
The pressure on the brakes on the XS and S are moderate to slightly hard if pulled more than 40 cm, but i don’t think that much brake will be uses ,as just a little pull will initiate a turn. 
When flying in lift, i had the feeling that the Ion 5 embraces the thermal and the information by the brakes felt like a 3D picture on that particular thermal. I think many of you will feel that. 
Kind of pulling you gently into the thermal and grabbing it. 


I flew the XS (70-90) at 85 and the S size (80-100) at 92, and i think, this Ion 5 could easily be flown at mid weight range, and i didn’t feel the need to load it, but if i did, it will preserve the same feel.

The trim speed is similar to the Ion 4, but it seems that the Ion 5 has more float-ability into wind. Its seems to cut through much better with that searching for a thermal feature, which i really appreciate on a low B !
That feature gave a better glide in moving conditions. 
In the older…older …days, it was a blessing to find even on a DHV 3 certified glider (competition class) that can surf efficiently through the airmass…
Nowadays, the new generation of pilots flying low B gliders like the Ion 5 will find an easy way to push forward and go easy on long XC’s… 
Big ears are stable, easy to induce, and reopen without pilot input.  The Ion 5 could be flown at low speeds, with hands on the hips and can accurately top land on narrow places. 

Conclusion:
After flying the Phantom, and Sector, it seems that NOVA is doing a little more work on the handling, which was needed i think at least from my part. The Ion 5 brake response, precise input, and overall handling on a low B is a cool step ahead, entering the golden circle of the nicest handling gliders.  
The climb rate in weak and strong is similar to the Ion 4 one. The Ion 5 feels is like an enhanced Ion4 in handling, glide, and overall feel. 
A pilot upgrading from the Ion 4 will enjoy the Ion 5 evolution upgrade especially in terms feel of thermals, swift handling and gliding performance in cross country flights.  
  




Wednesday, March 28, 2018

OZONE R&D department. Luc Armant interview ( 28-March 2018)



OZONE R&D department. Luc Armant interview ( 28-March 2018) 

Luc Armant was so kind to answer a few questions for all of us flying vultures :-) 

1- Dustoftheuniverse : What your personal insights on future paragliding designs? Will we experience some revolution projects? like the first BBHPP ? 

Luc Armant : Great stuff still to come. Yes !  some revolution should come. Future will tell…

2-DOTU: What can you tell the pilots of the future M6 replacement project? 

Luc Armant : Still experimental stage. Long term project. We want to create a new reference 3 liner wing.

2- DOTU: Will you be able to get more overall performance than the 6.9 aspect ratio M6 on a lower aspect ? and is it possible considering that the competition has lower aspect ratio close to 6.5 in the C class.

Luc Armant : Yes, it’s possible. Current prototypes have 6.5 aspect ratio with much more performance. 

3- DTOU: I personally Consider the Alpina 3 until this moment to have the best ratio of overall performance /comfort ever built on a C performance glider, what would your design philosophy toward the M7 project to be ? 

Luc Armant : I’m glad to read that. Delta3/Alpina 3 was a long and difficult project to get finished. Design philosophy for the M7 is simplicity, pleasure and high performance.

4- DOTU: What kind of handling the M7 would have ? Are you focusing also on handling ?  especially having a lower aspect ratio than the M6 ?

Luc Armant : Handling is very important. We currently have very pleasant prototypes in that matter. Lower AR helps as well.

5- DOTU: Will you consider one version? a 3 liner ? or two versions with one as two liner ?  

Luc Armant : Only one version.  

6- DOTU: Do you consider that the top speed is important for you to insert in the D category ?

Luc Armant : Yes. But it needs to stay reasonable in term of safety after collapses at full speed. It can’t be as fast as current CCC.

7- DOTU: Any release in 2018 ? 

Luc Armant : Yes.

8- DOTU: Is there any new materials ,as lines, cloth, that can increase future safety and performance ?

Luc Armant : No. Light material and light construction helps a bit safety. It’s more new design feature and setting that can help a lot.

9-  DOTU: what category do you forecast that will get the most benefits in performance in the near future?

Luc Armant : D category remains the most interesting for evolution specially since the others have been banned of collapse lines, but this may be revised in a near future. Many are now realizing the downside of this ban.

  
DOTU: Thank you very much Luc for your answers. Looking forward.

Cheers,
Ziad. 



Monday, March 19, 2018

SWING Nyos RS




Swing Nyos RS 
The last Swing glider i flew with the RAST system was the Arcus RS, and here’s the new high-end B from the same manufacturer, the Nyos RS in size S (75-95) flown at 93.5 all up with an X-rated 6 harness.
The Nyos RS construction holds a normal nose. The lower lines are sheathed with the higher ones unsheathed. The lines are slightly thicker than the competitors in the B category.   
Launching is quite easy in nil wind, and even in strong breeze. The Nyos inflates quite smoothly and evenly.
First turn, i could feel the moderate to short response on the brakes, with quite a nice agility in thermals ! The Nyos RS turns quite flat with moderate pressure on the brakes and could be described as quite agile! It doesn’t handle like an acro wing for sure and it’s not suppose to, but for a handling seeker like me, it’s very satisfying ! Thermals can be cored very tight, even the turbulent ones. 
The handling alone doesn’t really matter sometimes if the glider above the pilot is jumping around all the time. Underneath the Nyos RS, the movements in turbulent air can be described as “computerized self controlled” , as the Nyos RS feels very compact and super smooth to fly !
I flew this glider in some turbulent air, and got myself into a sunny lee side of a cliff, when the wind was blowing around 20 km/h from the other side. Usually the experience is not really joyful…but it was quite soft on the Nyos RS ! I got a bullet thermal that got me into higher layer, and kept my flight going on further.
I have been flying this path for a very long time, and underneath plenty of gliders. The Nyos RS was the coolest, most reassuring, comfortable glider ever to be flown among B’s ! 
The experience flying the Nyos RS is exceptional when it comes to comfort ! Even compared to some low B’s !
 Having said that, the Nyos RS could not be considered as a dull glider at all. 
It will inform the pilot about all the movement of the air around, but with such rare serenity and homogeneity and an efficient leading edge that surfs the airmass moving constantly forward in a super smooth way ! Incredible ! All that, led me to say, that the Nyos RS is indeed “The Rolls Royce of the sky”  ! 
Even in turbulent air, there not pitch back ! The Nyos RS just simply move forward quietly with that amazing solidity and super cohesive structure ! Some B gliders will have sharp movements, or a bit of yaw, some pitch…But not the Nyos RS. It just inform the pilot and filters wisely only the excess of turbulence !
Gliding with top high B gliders in moving air, i could notice that the Nyos RS is very competitive, and i could put the gliding efficiency among today’s top four, high-end B gliders.  
The interesting part of the glide in turbulent shaky air, was the easiness of the C risers control.  Using the bar in total confidence with the C riser control will deliver a quite efficient glide and they are super easy to use with moderate and progressive pressure. If only a thinner line version would be feasible, it could perhaps squeeze up even more overall performance to dominate the category.  
Climbing in weak and strong could place also the Nyos RS among the top 5 gliders in the high B category.  
Ears are stable, efficient, and reopen without pilot input. 
The pluses:  The ratio of usability ! I mean exceptional comfort and homogeneity with smooth information coming through! 

Conclusion: The Nyos has a normal nose, normal width lines, yet it glides beautifully and efficiently into wind. As for the flight characteristics and compact structure, I can totally confirm that the Nyos RS has somehow a different feel from many B’s i have tested. It has a very taught, super homogenous structure, with precise and direct brake response.  The comfort flying the Nyos RS is very high. Pilots flying in strong air and alpine conditions wishing for a solid, well mannered companion, should strongly consider flying the Nyos RS as a good option.  
I’m not an engineer to talk about RAST and the benefits that comes along…but it seems what i have experienced flying the Nyos RS couldn’t be understood otherwise. 





Wednesday, March 14, 2018

NOVA Sector S



NOVA Sector S 
After 10 years, NOVA finally released their new C replacement. A flat aspect ratio of 6.0, unsheathed lines all over and  a 3 line configuration setting. 
The factor 2 is made with light fabric and the S size weights around 4 kg.

Launching the light cloth Sector is easy in all conditions. Those light gliders can launch even without touching the A's ! 

I flew the Sector S at 95, 96 all up. This load enabled the Sector to be quite taught and efficient in all conditions.
IMHO, Its better to put the exact pressure in a car wheel in order to take corners at high speed. Any less pressure in those wheel won’t give you optimum efficiency. It’s the same with gliders they will perform much better (when they reached their optimum shape design) by loading them precisely. I think 95 is a good balance under the Sector S size. 
Of course the Sector S can be flown at mid-weight, but will loose it’s inside pressure flying it in turbulent air, as all other gliders do in it’s category.  

The brakes have medium pressure  until 15 cm of pull then they are slightly heavier. The Sector S at my loads need 2 (two) centimeter of pull, to turn it !  The Sector is an agile glider that doesn’t dive in turns even when lowering the brakes while circling. It tries sometimes to get out of the turn if the brakes are released, and some weight shift would be also quite beneficial in tight small cores.  

I flew next to a Delta 3 MS and Alpina 3 S in order to know the overall performance of the Sector S. In weak thermals, ( less than 0.5 m/s) the Delta 3 MS and the Sector S are very close in climbing ability. 
You can look at the C comparison as it has been updated with the latest C wings for small details if you wish…


In well built thermals, I mean over 2 m/s, the Sector jumps upward like a powerful but well mannered horse ! It really climbs very fast ! I think it has one of the best climbing ability in those thermals like a high end C ! It doesn’t pitch back, it does very slightly pull you into the thermal with power ! I personally like that behavior ! Some pilots would like the calm surge behavior of the Alpina 3, some would like the ones on the sigma 10 or the slightly sharper one on the Sector S. 


In turbulent thermals, i found that the Sector behave like a small energetic kid. The risers are more nervous than the S10 in translating the airmass. Don’t understand me wrong, the Sector quality of telling you what’s going around is quite nice for sensible pilots. The informations of the air are transmitted mainly by the risers. I was finding the Delta 3 to be quite tame to my personal taste in feel under the glider. Some pilots over-heree loved the Delta 3 soft feel ! It’s about taste…The Sector is more informative. 

NOVA did mention that the Sector S is between the Mentor 5 and the Triton 2. I think it’s quite accurate, but i have to add, with a slight shift toward the Triton 2 S in feel underneath the Sector 2 which i think shares its DNA.  If you think that the Mentor 5 is quite lazy to your taste, you will find an interesting feel with some tasteful but quite manageable spices under the Sector 2. 
This has been said, i have to add also that the Sector 2 remains in the middle of the C class in terms of piloting level. It’s an easy C for a pilot who already has two full seasons on a hot B. 

Gliding properties:
For an aspect ratio of 6, the Sector S glide angle angle is similar to the Delta 3 MS at trim and especially at full bar, with 1 km/h faster on the Sector S if both gliders are similarly loaded. Trim speed is similar. 
Gliding in turbulent air, is as efficient on the Delta 3 as it is on the Sector S !  
The Sector S ridge racing and gliding in thermo-dynamics is quite efficient ! 

Big ears have moderate stability and reopen without pilot input on the S at 96 all up. 

Conclusion: The trailing edge look quite weird and wavy…but it could be a design for efficiency… The Sector S is an informative wing that shows you what the air is doing, but middle C glider in terms of piloting level. 
The strong point is the climb in good thermals, that showed me an impressive search toward the lift. A very good glide angle for the C category, at trim and especially at full bar, fast enough, handles well. 
A strong contender in the C category for sport class competitions, and interesting XC potential for sure !
Waiting for the XS to arrive for more feedback.
Cheers, 
Ziad




EN-C comparison UPDATE ( Alpina 3 MS,Alpina 3 S, Queen 2 MS, Sector S

EN-C comparison (Update) 


Easiest to manage in the category. 1 being most friendly user. (Most comfortable to fly for the average "C" pilot): After many flights, some changes occurred…Constant feedback… 

1- Alpina 2 = Advance Sigma 9 = Mac Elan =Nexus = Volt 2 SM = Carrera plus M = Sigma 10 25 = Mac Para Elan 2, size 26 = Alpina 3 MS 

2- ADVANCE Sigma 8 25 = Artik 4 25 = Ozone Delta 3 ML  = Ozone Delta 2 MS

3- BGD Lynx M = Nova Sector S = Alpina 3 S 

4- GRADIENT Aspen 4 26 = Triple seven Queen = Cure M = Supair Taska = Mac Para Elan 2 size 24 = Colt 2 S 

5- NIVIUK Artic 3 = AD Volt 1 SM = BGD Tala M = Cayenne 4 = SOL Lotus one M = Queen 2 MS

6- GRADIENT Aspen 5 26 =U-Turn Passion SM = Carrera = Sky Argos = Skywalk Spice XS 

7- MacPara Marvel 25 = UP Trango XC 2 = Cayenne 5 XS = UP Trango X-race 

8- NOVA Triton 2 S 

9- Trango XC 3 SM 

Handling in rough air: (The one that you can turn even in rough air) loaded at +80 % of their weight range and plus! 

1- Gradient Aspen 4 = Volt 2 SM = Alpina 2 = Sigma 9 = Artik 4 25 = Cayenne 5 XS = Ozone Delta 3 ML = Sigma 10 25 = BGD Lynx M = Alpina 3 MS = Alpina 3 S = Sector S = Queen 2 MS 

2- Nova Factor 2 = Cure M = Artic 3 = Cayenne 4 S = Ozone Delta 2 = Triple seven Queen = Carrera= Nexus = Elan= Triton 2 S = Carrera plus M at 105! =UP Trango X-race SM =Skywalk Spice XS = Mac Para Elan 2 ,26 and 24 

3- U-Turn Passion SM= BGD Tala M = Argos = Aspen 5 26 = SOL Lotus one M = Supair Taska = Aspen 6 24 = Cayenne 4 S

4- OZONE Alpina 1 M = UP Trango XC 2 S/M = Trango XC 3 SM 

5- UP Summit XC2 M = Marvel 25 = Delta 1 M = AD Volt 1 SM 

6- Artic 3 Race = Colt 2 S

Performance in calm air at trim speed (no activity): 

1- UP Trango X-race SM 

2- Cayenne 5 XS = Trango XC 3 = Ozone Delta 3 ML, MS  = Skywalk Spice XS = Advance Sigma 10 25 = Alpina 3 MS = Queen 2 MS

3- BGD Lynx M = Triton 2 S = Aspen 6 24 = Alpina 3 S = Sector S
4-Triple seven Queen M = Cure M = Nexus = Supair Taska S = Mac Para Elan 2, 26 and 24 

5- NIVIUK Artic 3 Race = Volt 2 SM = BGD Tala = Alpina 2 = Carrera = Aspen 5 26 = SOL Lotus one M= Artik 4 25 = Carrera plus M 

6- NIVIUK Artic 3 = U-Turn Passion S/M =UP Trango XC 2 S/M = Ozone Delta 2 = Elan = Argos = Colt 2 S = Cayenne 4 S

7- Nova factor 2 S = Marvel 25 = Aspen 4 26= Sigma 9 

8- Advance Sigma 8 25 & Ozone Alpina M & Ozone Delta M = AD Volt SM 

9- U-Cross S 

10- UP Summit XC2 

Performance at "trim speed" in head wind glides and ‘Average’ turbulent conditions: 

1- UP Trango X-race SM = Advance Sigma 10 25 = Queen 2 MS = Alpina 3 MS 

2-Triton 2 S = SOL Lotus one = Cayenne 5 XS = Trango XC 3 = Ozone Delta 3 = Skywalk Spice XS  = Aspen 6 24 = Alpina 3 S = Sector S

3- BGD Lynx M 

4-Triple seven Queen M = Cure M = Nexus = Supair Taska S = Mac Para Elan2, 26 and 24 

5- Alpina 2 = Aspen 5 = Artik 4 25 = Carrera Plus M 

7- Carrera = Volt 2 SM 

8- NIVIUK Artic 3 Race = U-Turn Passion SM = UP Trango XC 2 = Ozone Delta 2 = Elan 1 = Argos = Colt 2 S

9- Skywalk Cayenne 4 = NIVIUK Artic 3 =AD Volt SM = BGD Tala = Sigma 9 

Performance at " bar " in headwind glides and sudden lifts : 

1- Ozone Delta 3 ML = UP trango X-race SM = Advance Sigma 10 25 = Delta 3 MS = Queen 2 MS = Alpina 3 MS  = Sector S

2- Aspen 6 24 = Alpina 3 S 

3- Triple Seven Queen M =Trango XC 3 SM= Cayenne 5 XS = Skywalk Spice XS

4- BGD Lynx M = Triton 2 S
5- Alpina 2 = Aspen 5 = SOL Lotus one M = Cure M = Carrera plus M =Mac Para Elan 2 26 and 24 

6- Carrera = Elan = UP Trango XC 2 S/M = Ozone Delta 2 = Volt 2 SM = Nexus Supair Taska S 

7- NIVIUK Artic 3 Race = U-Turn Passion SM = BGD Tala= Sigma 9 =Argos = Artik 4 25 = Colt 2 S

8- NIVIUK Artic 3 = Aspen 4 =Cayenne 4 S= AD Volt SM 

9- Nova factor 2 S 

Climb rate in weak but “difficult” conditions < 0.5 m/s (not homogeneous thermals ,low in the inversion) : All loaded at +80 % of their weight range. 

1- SOL Lotus one M = Cayenne 5 XS = Volt 2 SM = Carrera plus M 

2- U-Turn Passion S/M = Ozone Delta 2 ML = Elan 1 26 = Cure M = Advance Sigma 10 25  = Aspen 6 24 = BGD Lynx M = Alpina 3 MS
3- UP Trango XC 2 S/M= Delta 2 SM = Alpina 2 = Carrera M = Alpina 3 S = Queen 2 MS 

4- NIVIUK Artic 3 = Marvel 25 = Aspen 4 = Skywalk Cayenne 4 S = BGD Tala= Carrera S= Argos = Triton 2 S = Sigma 9 = Artik 4 25 = Trango XC 3 SM =Mac Para Elan 2 26 and 24 = Sector S 

5- Artic 3 Race = AD Volt SM = Ozone Delta 3 ML 

6- Triple seven Queen = Nexus = Colt 2 S 

Climb rate in punchy thermal conditions : 

1-UP Trango XC 3 SM = Cayenne 5 XS = Cure M = Ozone Delta 3 ML = UP Trango X-race SM = Skywalk Spice XS =Advance Sigma 10 25 = Aspen 6 24 = BGD Lynx M = Sector S = Alpina 3 MS = Queen 2 MS

2-UP Trango XC 2 S/M = Ozone Delta 2 = Alpina 2 = Carrera M & S= Elan = Sol Lotus One =Volt 2 SM= Carrera plus M = Supair Taska S = Mac Para Elan 2 26 and 24 = Alpina 3 S 

3-U-Turn Passion S/M = Cayenne 4 = Marvel 25 = Artic 3 Race = BGD Tala M= Argos = Triton 2 S = Colt 2 S 

4-Artic 3 normal = Aspen 4= AD Volt SM = Triple seven Queen M = Sigma 9 = Artik 4 25 = Nexus 

Brake description : 

-Ozone Alpina 3 S: light to medium pressure, precise, very agile, turn on command, a delight to fly.

-Ozone Alpina 3 MS: Quite light to moderate brake pressure, nice agility, precise, really easy to thermal, short response.

-777 Queen 2 MS: Medium pressure overall, precise, direct, agile, very good agility inside the core. It keeps inside the thermal easily.
-Nova Sector S: Medium pressure until 15 cm, then slightly harder. It's precise, agile, need weight shift in turbulent small cores for shorter radius to keep it on track.

-UP Trango X-race SM: Moderate , super linear, super precise, exquisite, agile in moderate conditions. Needs slightly more implication in rough air for turning ability. 

-BGD Lynx M. Moderate length and pressure , precise,agile linear, direct. A pleasure to fly!

-Gradient Aspen 6 24. Short travel, moderate pressure, fairly agile, linear, needs active pilot.

-Supair Taska S : Moderate, agile, linear, precise agile in moderate conditions. In turbulent air, it need application to turn. 

-Skywalk Spice XS: Moderate to light, linear, precise, good agility in moderate conditions. 

-Mac para Elan 2 26 (@101 all up) Moderate, linear , fairly agile.

-Mac Para Elan 2 ,24 (@90 all up) Light to moderate, linear, precise, agile, Nice handling)

-Advance Sigma 10 25 @ 96 all up. Linear, precise, agile, moderate pressure. 

-Ozone Delta 3 ML: Moderate to hard, good agility in all conditions. 

-Nexus :Moderate to hard, moderate agility 

-UP Trango XC 3: Moderate pressure, linear, precise, agile is homogeneous conditions. 

-Cure M : Agile, direct, precise, linear. 

-Volt 2 SM : agile, precise, crispy and linear. 

- Cayenne 5 XS: Sharp and very direct, precise, agile even in turbulent conditions, short and efficient! 

- Artik 4 25 : Moderate brake travel, linear , precise, agile . 

- Sol Lotus, Short, moderate to hard, precise, linear. 

-Colt 2 S moderate to light, long, not precise, average to poor agility in turbulent air  

- Triton 2 S, short, direct, linear, precise, average pressure. 

- Aspen 5 26 , moderate brake travel, moderate to agile in turns, light. 

- Sigma 9 Direct. 

- Elan linear and direct, smooth. 

- Argos Linear light to moderate and direct 

- Triple seven Queen M (relatively short and linear, precise, medium pressure,like D2 SM ) 

- Alpina 2 SM (soft,linear,longer than Delta 2 SM ,agile moderate to light pressure) 

- Carrera S (shorter than Alpina SM,linear, precise, agile, moderate pressure) 

- Ozone Delta 2 SM, ML (linear, short ,precise ,agile with moderate pressure) 

- BGD Tala M (Long and linear, fairly precise in turbulent conditions, moderate to light pressure, forgiving) 

- Nova factor 2 S (very direct and precise) 

- NIVIUK Artic 3 (Linear, precise, agile) 

- Skywalk Cayenne 4 S (Moderate pressure, Agile linear, forgiving, smooth!!) 

- Gradient Aspen 4 26 (Agile,moderate,linear,forgiving,smooth) 

- U-Cross S Direct and agile if the conditions are smooth, and a bit less in turbulent ,the glider must settle first) 

- U-turn Passion SM ,light to moderate, linear ,agile. 

- UP Trango Xc2 S/M (medium pressure, precise, fairly agile, short) 

- Marvel 25 (precise, moderate pressure, needs a bit of work in turbulent conditions) 

- Ozone Alpina M (A bit longer than Factor 2 and a bit softer , more precise and shorter than the Delta M and much better turning behavior) 10- 

- AD Volt SM ( Needs a bit time to enter the turn in moving conditions) - Niviuk Artic 3 Race 

- Sigma 8 25 (very close in handling ,a bit long but still agile) 

- UP Summit XC2 M (Long average agility to good) 

- Ozone delta M (Soft, long and average precision)

‘NEW’ 

(Most efficient C glider in overall XC flying ) IMHO 

(1 being best) . 

The one i personally feel that will gave me the most efficient XC for overall use. (ratio of comfort efficiency) 

1-a -Alpina 3 MS  *Best ratio of (comfort and high performance) *

1-b -UP Trango X-race SM 

2- Cayenne 5 XS = Spice = Delta 3 ML & MS = Advance Sigma 10 25 = Aspen 6-24 = Queen 2 MS 

3-BGD Lynx M = Alpina 3 S = Sector S

4-Alpina 2 SM = Cure M    

5-Triton 2 S = Sol Lotus One = Trango XC 3 = Carrera plus 

6-Aspen 5 26 ( very efficient at second bar ! ) 

7- Ozone Delta 2 = Up Trango XC2 = U-turn Passion = Carrera M & S = Elan = Artik 4 25 = Volt 2 SM = Nexus . 

8- BGD Tala M = Niviuk Artic 3, A3 Race, Skywalk Cayenne 4, Mac Para Marvel, Colt 2 S, Ozone Alpina M, AD Volt SM, Triple seven Queen M , Argos, Sigma 9 (Easy and solid) 

Faster at second bar ( if equally loaded ) : 

1- Queen M = Advance Sigma 10, 25 = Mac Para Elan 2, 26 and 24 =Queen 2 MS = Sector S

2- Ozone Delta 3 ML = Artic 3 Race

3- Passion = Cayenne 4 = Aspen 4 = Argos = BGD Lynx M - 

4- Cure M = Delta 2 = Sigma 8 = Alpina 2 = Sigma 9 = Aspen 5 = Cayenne 5 XS = Trango XC 3 SM= Triton 2 S = Sol Lotus One = Artik 4 25 = UP Trango X-race SM = Skywalk Spice XS = Alpina 3 S 

5- Volt 2 SM = Trango XC2 = BGD Tala = Carrera = Elan = Supair Taska S 

Big ears efficiency: 

- Ozone Alpina 3 MS and S : ( stable, efficient, reopen on input)

- 777 Queen 2 MS : moderate stability, they usually flap, shake a bit sometimes, but reopen quickly

- Nova Sector S (stable, efficient ,reopen without intervention )

- Up Trango XC 3 ( stable and ok for a 7:0 aspect ratio glider! ) 

- Cayenne 5 XS ( small -2m/s and stable, little big and un-stable on this size ) 

-Advance Sigma 10 ,25 (with outer A’s little stable, flap a bit, efficient with bar, reopen with a slight brake pull ) With outer B’s (stable efficient with bar, reopen quickly) 

- Cure M (stable ears, efficient)

- Lynx M ( Stable, efficient) 

- Mac Para Elan 2 26 and 24 ( efficient ,stable, needs pilot input to re-open) 

- Ozone Delta 3 ML (easy, moderate efficiency, stable, doesn’t reopen by themselves) 

- Volt 2 SM (stable ears, efficient) 

- UP Trango X-race SM ( doable with A’s and outer B’s. Stable, moderate efficiency, reopen by themselves) 

- Aspen 4 26 (very efficient in big ears) = Nova Factor 2 =Cayenne 4 S = 

- Ozone Delta 2 = BGD Tala = Queen = Alpina 2 = Carrera (stable and efficient)= Sigma 9 =Elan =Argos = Sol Lotus One= Artik 4 25 

Artic 3 = Artic 3 Race = U-Turn Passion SM =Triton 2 S (stable moderate ears ) =UP Trango XC 2 S/M= AD Volt SM = Aspen 5 26 . 

- Marvel 25 (moderate use of big ears-moves a bit)

- BGD Lynx M ( Stable ears ) reopen by themselves.

The Triton 2 S requires much more energy from the pilot to control it in heavy conditions. 

The Lotus one has also some impressive performance, but to place it wherever you want in turbulent conditions requires also some finer inputs. 

The Aspen 5 is really some great glider at second bar! It resembles the Triton 2 S in full speed glide! …To extract the full performance it needs an active piloting for sure and the way to turn it quickly in turbulent cores needs a little time. 

The Cayenne 5 has the edge in surges into thermals, and the superb sharp and direct brake travel! 

In weak conditions, it requires a bit more to handle than the Alpina 2 but it’s a very efficient C glider. If only the ears were a bit more efficient and stable … 

The Trango XC 3 is demanding to fly regarding the surrounding C’s. Of course it’s very efficient in cutting and climbing. The glide is good also but it needs the most energy to handle in this specific category! 

The BGD Cure surprises by the ratio comfort/aspect ratio. The overall package of performance, accessibility and pleasurable feel is very nice. 

The AD Volt 2 SM is a very comfortable glider to fly with a very nice brake authority. The Climb rate is ‘great ! 

The Elan 2 26 is an easy C glider, fast trim, nice glide.

The Elan 2 24 is more demanding to fly than the size 26. 

UPDATE for usability: 

Please remember that sizes differ a lot and surely the loading's! Other sizes may have other characteristics … 

The first 4 places are very close. Indeed superb machines! Different taste for everyone … 

The most important: Only the pilot will make a difference. 

C & D gliders: UPDATED. 

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 keeps you busier! Most will have easier recovery than the higher graded! 

Mac Elan M (@98all up) *7 
AD Volt 2 SM @ 90 all up *7 
Swing Nexus (@94 all up) *7.0 
Up Summit XC 3 S (@94 all up) *7.5 
Mac Elan light 24 (@90 all up) *7.5
Mac Para Elan 2, 26 ( @ 101 all up) *7.5 
Advance Sigma 9 25 (@91 all up) *7.5
Ozone Alpina 3 MS (@92 allup) *7.5 
Advance Sigma 10, 25 (@96 all up) *8.3
BGD Lynx M (@ 92 all up)  *8.4
Niviuk Artik 4 25 (@91 all up) *8.5 
Ozone Delta 3 ML ( @ 102 all up) *8.5 
Ozone Alpina 2 SM (@92 all up) * 8.5 
Ozone Delta 3 MS (@92 all up) *8.7
Delta 2 SM size (@ 92 all up) *8.7
Nova Sector S (@96 all up) *8.8  
777 Queen M (@ 101 all up) *9 
Dude Colt 2 S @ 90 all up *9.0 
BGD Cure (@ 93 all up) *9.1 
Aspen 5 26 (@98all up) *10
Mac Para Elan 2, 24 (@ 90 all up) *10
Supair Taska S (@94 all up) *10 
777 Queen 2 MS (@98 allup) *10
Skyman CrossAlps S (@90 all up) *10.5 
Skywalk Spice XS (@90 all up) *10.8 
Skywalk Cayenne 5 XS (90 all up) *11 
Sol Lotus one (@ 98 all up) *11
Gradient Aspen 6-24 (a2 90 all up) *11 
UP Trango Race SM (07 all up) *11.5 
Ozone Mantra 6 SM (@94 all up) *12 
Ozone LM6 SM (@95 all up) *12.2 
Gin Gto 2 S size (@94 all up) *12.5 
Advance OXA 2 @ 96 all up  *12.5
Skywalk Poison X-Alps *12.5 
Up Trango XC3 SM *12.5
Triton 2 in S size (@ 96 all up) *12.5 (M size could be different) ! 
Niviuk Peak 4 23 (98all up) *12.5 
Niviuk Peak 4 21 (@86all up) *13 
Niviuk IP6 26 (@98 all up) *13.5 
Ozone Zeno MS (@98 all up) *13.5 
Ozone R-10 S (@ 98 all up) *15.0 


Cheers, 



Ziad

Sunday, February 25, 2018

ICARO Buteo



This paragraph will be published before every written glider review.
-Gliders sizes may differ a lot ! The smaller ones react very differently sometimes with less gliding power. One review for a size doesn’t include all…
-Personally i like to fly gliders at + 70..80 % of their weight range…Sometimes at top weight…As i believe in (Being a pilot underneath a glider, is much better than being a passenger)
when you load your glider at it’s perfect load, it would be much more efficient in all conditions, and you will have a better feel through the brakes with a more obedient glider in rough air.
-Pilots (especially loyal to a brand…) who were waiting a lot for a certain new model, will always have bitter reactions if they read any review that doesn’t meet their expectations and dreams. (Logical ! )
Sometimes they understand a normal rated review as a superb review !
-Any good pilot who has flown many gliders can write fruitful invaluable tests, but he must omit any ego related and attachement for any brand whatsoever. (Very hard for some…but doable )
-Flying a glider alone in any site, in weak conditions (-0.3 m/s) , won’t help notice good float-ability. Flying in company to a (pilot/wing) combination that you know well will help evaluate your findings.
-Higher efficiency in active air, for a future purchase is the right direction to look for better overall performance (if needed). Not gliding in calm air ! Otherwise, a balanced glider for your abilities, with beautiful swift and agile handling that keeps you smiling, is always much better !
-For a respective category, any glider in today’s technology can get you very far, with incredible XC achievements.
-In one solid category, ex:(high B), there’s of course little differences in glide. A good pilot can fill those performance gap !
-Pilots have different taste and requirements. I will always try comparing a glider to another. ex: Glider X has more brake pressure than Y…Or Glider X is more agile than Glider Y… Etc…
-Finally, it’s YOU the pilot who will make the difference! By choosing the agility you want, the category…The glider level… NO review should alter your judgment ! Test fly…Test fly… 
My small reviews are ‘only ’to help you test fly your favorite group of gliders.


ICARO Buteo S
The last flown Icaro glider, was the Gravis. It was a mid B glider with very good climbing ability and nice glide for the Mid B category.
Now the Buteo is a new ICARO design with 82 cells and two lines per side ! It’s indeed a complex structure intended for high EN-B performance flying.
Launching the Buteo S at 96 all up need a steady, but light push on the A’s. It needs a little more implication than a Mentor 5 S and slightly less than a Carrera plus S.
Flying the Buteo S at 96 seems nice for the S size. The trim speed is fast. Similar to an Iota 2 with same loadings. The brake travel has a medium length to react. The Buteo turns fairly well, but i can’t say it’s an agile glider like the Gravis or the Mentor 5 S , Chili 4 XS is the high B’s. The turning ability is moderate but a longer pull can place the glider well inside a thermal. The pressure on the brakes are also moderate, and lighter than a Mentor 5 S and harder than a Rush 4 MS .
Climbing in very weak thermals (less than 0.3m/s) , i was focusing hard to stay up. A Chili 4 S similarly loaded was slightly floating better. When the thermals are more steady and above 1 m/s ,the Buteo S climbs well. I was climbing with friends on their Cayenne 5 S and Delta 3 ML, and i felt that the Buteo in well built thermals (+1…2 m/s) does in fact stay very close in climbing power.
The Buteo have a slight pitch back or slightly slows down upon entering thermals. Nothing much, but feel-able. It ressembles the Nyos 1, M size in that matter.

Now the interesting part is the glide. I flew the Buteo for many days with a Chili 4 S size, a Cayenne 5 S, and a Delta 3 ML ! I can confirm that the glide ratio of the Buteo is on the very top of the B category, and it’s super close to the C class in gliding at trim and at full speed in calm air. The Delta 3 ML has a 3 km/h more speed. At the end of a 7-8 km glide, i was always slightly losing some 5m…sometimes 10m ! which is insignificant. In a more challenging, turbulent and bumpy environment, the Delta 3 and Cayenne 5 S (C class) will be slightly more efficient in surfing upward the air mass.
The Buteo comfort is quite ok for the high B category. It could be similar to the Chili 4, or slightly more demanding in strong turbulence. Of course, it’s less demanding than a Carrera plus M !
The movements in turbulent air are filtered under the Buteo S size at 96..97 all up. The reactions underneath in turbulence are slightly slower and mellower than the Chili 4 XS.
Big ears are stable, and reopen without pilot assistance.
Conclusion: It’s obvious that the Buteo S at 97 has a very good glide angle. I think loading it at top in alpine conditions will be quite beneficial for cruising efficiently in XC mode. 
An interesting glider for a specific generation of pilots














Monday, February 19, 2018

SOL X-Light 2 (Harness) Size L


SOL X-Light 2 size L (Harness)

After test flying some light harnesses with and without seat board, here’s the X-light 2 from SOL with a good solid seat board. The construction seems good, and much better than previous Sol harnesses. The pod looks like the 720 gr of the Forza (to give you an idea) 
The straps on the pod will keep it firmly closed. The cockpit is bit small (Like Ozium 2 one) but is very well placed at a good visual angle, and with a secure system in the back to keep your instruments locked at one angle without moving. 

Test flying harnesses is even more difficult than test flying wings. Our body shapes differs a lot ! From long legs…to wide, larger bodies..or slimmer ones…there’s a big gap in measurements, yet only 3-4 sizes for any harness for all manufacturers, which are especially focused on pilots height. That’s why, some little adjustments ‘if possible’ are always needed to fit our bodies exactly into a certain harness for longer and more comfortable flights. 

The SOL X-light 2 in size L was perfect for my 1-81 cm and 73 kg. But i had to do lots those small but easy changes to make it super comfortable for my body shape ! 
Bear with me those uncomplicated small changes, and read the conclusion further down  :-)

The seat-board was very large ! I did of course cut the seat-board to reach 34 cm in width. It did fit nicely without putting any pressure on the lower back protection. The sitting pad on top of the seat-board is really thin and was quite stiff for a thin pilot… Adding a small padding 25cm X 30 cm of an old sport mattress (1 cm thick) underneath was optimum !  Actually i paste it on the upper part of the seat board. 
If you have a seat board with a front leaning down edge, that would be optimum. 

The original attachment points of the pod were connected in two places. From the seat board till the front lower foot rest. From the carabiners till the upper front foot rest.

I added a line from the carabiners to the lower foot rest from each side.  (Very easy to do)

After those changes and fine tuning of the actual different back adjustment straps, the conclusion was that this is the first “seat-board” harness with my feet in straight position ‘completely supported’  with no pressure on the legs!  And the pod had a clean degree of inclination into the airflow, for the best gliding position. 
If i wanted to give a rating for back comfort and considering the Impress 3, Forza with a 8/10 rating, i would give the X-light 2  a 7/10.  

The harness delivers medium roll response, similar to the Genie lite 2 and slightly less than the Lightness 2. There are adjustment on the ABS system, for tightening if the pilot wishes. On the standard adjustment it feels quite nice and agile in delivering a precise ,neat turning radius with good weight shifting capabilities. I cannot say that this is the most stable harness in roll, like the Exoceat, or even the X-rated 6, GTO, but it’s slightly more stable than the Lightness2, Impress 3 ! 

One thing: I would have wished for a more stiffer material in the back support area from the lumber till the shoulders, which could keep the harness as a little more solid piece, like the Impress 3, lightness 2, Forza.
The X-light2 back would slightly move down by a cm. even if the shoulder straps are well adjusted.

Conclusion: After my small adjustments, I liked that harness. It has a nice roll feedback, comfortable enough on the seating position, very small packing ability, weights around 4 kg, ability to place a beamer easily, and all the features with a large place for 5 kg water ballast underneath the seat, good storage area, camel back, water release system, adjustable ABS.



Thursday, February 15, 2018

PHI Synphonia EN-A




PHI Synphonia 22 
PHI is the new brand of the well known and leading designer Hannes Papesh. The Synphonia is the first PHI glider to be released with an A certification. 
I purchased the size 22 which goes from 75 to 95 all up and here what i found. 
The construction of the Synphonia is very neat. The materials used are the latest in terms of technology from the cloth, lines to the sporty risers. 
The Synphonia has a relatively light cloth, with modern thin lines and simple configuration. It is quite similar to the lines used on the Mentor 5 series. 
A little pull on the A’s and the Synphonia launches gently and quite easy. No hard points. It just sits above the pits head. 
First turn showed me an agile nature for an A glider. The brake pressure are on the moderate side, and the agility at 93 is quite remarkable ! A little pull will goes into a nice turn in the thermals with very good precision for an A glider, and even if we compare it to the high B’s in terms of brake response and agility. Coring thermal feels like spinning positively, much like a kids Top ! 
Flying the Synphonia felt a bit like flying some low B gliders in terms of pilot level, but the roll movements and comfort resembles gliders in the low to mid category in terms of thermal feedback. 
Gliding with the Synphonia in super calm air, with no head wind whatsoever, showed me a very nice and interesting glide ratio. Even at bar the glider has a interesting flat polar. At full bar there’s a 7-8 km/h increase in speed over trim at max load. 
Now facing the wind and gliding in difficult conditions, at trim or at full bar, the Synphonia will behave and perform similarly to some low B gliders in terms of efficiency and gliding performance. 
Flying it against a valley breeze and hoping to slip through and dig forward efficiently like B category gliders is a bit optimistic on an A glider. The upper B category is designed to surf forward more efficiently. Beside…it’s an A certified glider and i certainly don’t want to compare it to the Mentor series…But it’s just to explain my founding as better as i can… 
But for an A it’s surely one of the top performer. 
Flying it at max weight (+95) could be more beneficial and better to get the leading edge moving more into wind… 
The climb rate in weak and strong conditions even loaded near the top is very good for that kind of glider ! The Synphonia can really climb very well, and could be among the highest gliders in a gaggle even among some high B’s. 


Conclusion: PHI gliders philosophy is well shown on the Synphonia and the message is clear and direct. The designer delivered a very nice construction with a fairly good touch of performance, especially for an A certified machine ! All that with a nice pleasurable handling and an efficient climb rate ! 
Now I’m keen to look out for Hannes specialty…the B class ! The future seems hopefully bright… 
Cheers, 
Ziad 




Thursday, January 11, 2018

Ozone Alpina 3 MS



OZONE Alpina 3  MS size 

After test flying the Delta 3 in MS and ML size, here’s the Alpina 3 MS test flight, loaded from 92 to 94 all up. 

First impression, got when flying it, was as if i was flying the Delta 3 MS. I wrote that hastily, on the forum. 
But flying the Alpina 3 more and more, i saw some slight differences in handling that were felt on longer flights.

The launch ability is slightly enhanced over the D3, due to the light cloth. In the air the brake pressure are also lighter on the Alpina 3 and i could turn the glider quite precisely, with very little pressure with only 2 cm of brake distance ! 
The overall feel (feedback) under the Alpina 3 is very close to the Delta 3 with a bit more, positive comfortable feedback coming from the glider. 

After some flying hours, my hands were not tired on the Alpina 3 as they were on the Delta 3. With little less pressure, the Alpina 3 could be steered with very little effort.
The overall gliding performance in multiple conditions are exactly the same, like the Delta 3 MS. Even the climb rate in weak and strong. 

The difference between the Cayenne 5 XS and the Alpina 3 MS in entering thermals is that the C5 will have some pitch movements before entering while the Alpina 3 just enters without any movements in moderate conditions. It just slips though and climbs quickly. In very weak stuff, the pilot must focus twice more to feel the movements of the glider inside the weak lift. 

The handling and the way the glider talks to the pilot in thermal conditions, are more pronounced on the cayenne 5 while the Alpina 3 is 50 % tamer.
Applying the bar is smooth as the Delta 3 and very efficient, especially into-wind transitions ! 

Loading the MS from 92 to 94…95 seems optimum for this design.  
Ears are stable and with the bar it’s an efficient way to get down without flapping ears ! 
Wing overs could be very high…Lots of pressure inside the glider. 
Holding a 60 % asymmetric without brake counter-steering, the Alpina 3 MS turns gently toward the open side ! Which is quite nice ! 

Conclusion: The Alpina 3 MS design seem to give the pilot a comfortable feedback, with the optimum gliding performance especially at bar. All that with a very nice handling characteristics. 
Ears are stable and very efficient at bar.  The big difference between the Alpina 2 and Alpina 3 is gliding in difficult conditions and headwind where the A3 will be much more efficient especially at bar. 
True performance in active air !

In today’s C class, the Sigma 10, Queen 2, Delta 3 are really very efficient and competitive !  
The Alpina 3 offers also that exact top package with agile character.  Comfortable, easy to fly, top end gliding performance, very good climbing in thermals, good in weak conditions, agile, more precise in steering than the D3 and slightly lighter in pressure.  
The MS size suits my total flying weight of 93 with an 8 kg X-rated 6 harness and no added ballast, so I think I’ll keep it for now as the new reference in glide for the C category. 



ALPINA 3 S size.
Now i test flew the S size 65-85 at 85 all up.  The minimum weight i can get in winter…I flew the Alpina 3 S size with an Ozium 2 M.
Take off is immediate without any hard point or surge…Easy to get airborne. 
First contact on the brakes and quickly super satisfied ! …Swift, super direct, linear handling ! I could place the Alpina 3 S size perfectly inside any core. The pressure on the brakes are moderate to light, but very reactive.  The Alpina 3 S size has one of the most beautiful turning ability !! 
Flying the A3 MS size at 94, which is near the max, and flying the A3 S size at 85 which is at top also , is another experience !
The A3 S size feels more alive in active air, but still very coherent and taught.  
The handling is even more linear and very responsive in small narrow cores.  I really enjoyed the Alpina 3 S size in all thermal conditions. 
For a small glider, It does in fact has  the ability to get most of the lift especially into wind thermals, and would not bounce at any thermal whatsoever ! It just cut through very efficiently and climbs really well ! like the new generation of C gliders. 
 I think that’s a first with small gliders ! Usually they are trimmed a bit weird…to pass the certification. But that’s not the case of the Alpina 3 S size. It seems that the R& D team delivered a super nice and very competitive (into-wind) thermalling and gliding machine. 
The trim speed at max weight is less by 0.5 km/h than an Alpina 3 MS or a Delta 3 MS similarly loaded. 
The glide at trim and accelerated is really good like the MS size with slightly less  around 0.1 in L/D (Reynolds numbers). 
Ears are stable and reopen upon activating the brakes. 

Conclusion: A really powerful, very efficient, XC machine. The Alpina 3 S size will surely be appreciated for pilots who are looking for a sharp, agile, beautiful handling glider !