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.

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)


(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 



Sunday, February 25, 2018


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.

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 M 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… 

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 ! 

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

B comparison updated for Iota 2 and Rise 3

B comparison updated for Rise 3 and Iota 2 -25 
Chart and normal.
Happy new year ! 

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Triple Seven Queen 2 SM

Triple Seven Queen 2 SM 

Finally the long awaited Queen replacement arrived. Triple Seven offers the Queen 2 with an aspect ratio of 6.3 combined with very reduced line diameter and a very pointed shark nose. The cell openings are rather small. The attachement points on the A’s seems further back, and the certification is into the C box.

Launching the Queen 2 in size SM in nil wind need a steady input as it inflates moderately overhead. The rise is moderate and fairly ok for a C certified glider. 

I flew the Queen 2 from 96 to 99 ,to find out that the best weight is around 98-99 on the SM in moderate conditions.  The brake travel is short, linear and precise. The pressure on the brakes are moderate to ‘slightly’ hard. The glider feels connected to the pilots commands, if the load at top weight is respected. The Queen 2 SM is slightly sensible to load.  I mean it’s better to fly it from 97 minimum to 99..100, and you will notice immediately the difference with 2 kilos added. 

Thermal radius: 
The Queen 2 SM loaded can be turned very narrow turns inside the thermals. It’s like you are flying a low aspect ratio glider. In well built thermals, it’s feels like a spinning ’top’ sometimes !  This narrow thermal ability is efficient to get the most out of any thermal !
There are no banking from the glider if the brakes are applied moderately and swiftly, but a flat quick, and efficient turning radius.

 Climbing ability: 
In turbulent and punchy cores, the Queen 2 climbs really fast! The brake authority are slightly reduced in turbulent cores, but still present and very good for a 6.3 AR, C glider.  It ressembles the best ones in the C class in climbing ability even loaded at top.  This is definitely a very fast climbing machine in well built thermals. For sure, any C glider will climb also, but not as fast. 
In weak conditions, the Queen 2 SM at 99 is efficient in catching small weak thermals. Actually the Queen 2 SM size feels big, and a weight of 99 all up is doesn’t seem to be really over loaded.  In weak conditions at max load, i found it quite efficient in climb.  

Speed ,trim, and top:  
The trim speed is faster than the Delta 3 SM by approximatively one km, and also faster by 1 km at top speed if both are fully loaded.  Also, the Queen 2 SM at 99 all up has 0.5km/h  less trim speed of a Cayenne 5 S (85-105) flown at max weight, and it’s faster at top by approximatively 2 km/h than the cayenne 5 S size.  (Both fully loaded) 

I found that the Queen 2 in SM size has its best glide angle at trim speed, and it’s among the best C’s of the moment !  
Doing lots of glides in calm and turbulent air with some headwind glides, i found out that the Sigma 10 and the Delta 3 has that very slight edge at bar, especially at 4km/h over trim speed ! 
The Delta 3 SM has slightly lesser top speed than the Queen 2 SM but if the Queen 2 SM matches the Delta 3 SM top speed, the glide at that top speed is almost identical !   

The fast trim speed and the immediate climb rate while going forward, could give an edge to the Queen 2 in ridge gliding.  

Easiness of flight:  
For a 6.3 aspect ratio glider with those top performance, i found out the the Queen 2 is easier to handle in rough air, than the Cayenne 5 XS i have kept for reference. The feeling under the Queen 2 can be described as : solid, comfortable, homogenous, tough structure, absorbs the turbulence. It resembles the Delta 3 feel but with a little spice. It fits exactly between the Cayenne 5 XS and the Delta 3 in pilot demand. 
Saying that i also feel that the Queen 2 has quite some hidden energy in it. It feels very dynamic in wing overs that could be quickly very high. And also, in some strong thermals, the glider quiet character wakes up slightly to a sharper glider that bites the thermals going forward slightly which is quite common for any high end C glider. There are no pitch back whatsoever ! which is nice :-)  

Big ears have moderate stability, they usually flap, shake a bit sometimes, but reopen quickly. 

Today’s paragliding designs and progress seems really demanding. Manufacturers are working super hard for getting the bar slightly higher ! 
I felt that in XC mode, the new top 3, C’s can be very close.  
The Queen 2 loaded at top, is relatively a moderate C glider, that could be flown quite efficiently in XC competitions and will satisfy almost any performance and speed seeker in the C class especially for its high (overall package) of climb, glide and top speed. 

Friday, December 15, 2017

ADVANCE Iota 2 - 25

ADVANCE Iota 2 25

Here it is..The new Iota from Advance that replaces the first version.
What are the visual differences?
A very reduced line diameter with carefully mixture of unsheathed thin lines, and thin normal ones. The C’s are equipped with handles for control at high speed.

Launching the Iota 2 is straightforward with an immediate take off even loaded at top. Easy for a high B pilot.

Feeling in the air compared to the Iota 1:
The Iota 2 feels very different from the Iota 1, where the first version had a feeling of flying a playful B glider, the second version is again agile, but felt more like an oriented XC machine.
Explanation: The feedback is a balanced, calm, roll movement that used to be found on higher rated glider, but…a smooth one exactly to fit the B category. Again, i meant a roll response very comfortable for a B pilot, with the feeling that delivers nice coordinated communications for the keen pilot who was used to fly higher rated gliders. I really appreciate that feature because if i closed my eyes, even in rough air, i could sense that i am flying a high rated glider in smooth air ! So the roll feel is smooth but educational! I hope i made myself understood…which is sometimes a difficult task to describe feelings under a glider.

The brakes has a moderate length, but stil very precise in turns. The pressure is also moderate, and long flights are not tiring at all. Overall i can confirm that the Iota 2 has a very good, XC, handling feel.

Climb rate:
I flew the Iota 2 25 with the best B’s of the moment, and i saw that glider ability to climb in super weak cores like very few B glider ! It is indeed a super floater and a very good climber! It’s a complete change over the Iota 1 which was a bit difficult to climb in weak like i mentioned before. In strong air the pitch ability is nearly absent and the Iota 2 …just climb… without any weak point whatsoever.

Coping with turbulence:
Flying the Mentor 5 and the Iota 2 25, i can’t comment if one is more comfortable than the other..they are both very comfortable to fly and similar in that aspect. The Iota 2 25 seems also easier in turbulence than a Chili 4 XS for example.

Glide and speed:
Lots of pilots will read that section as if it is the most important one…But for me it’s the overall package that matters… Now really the bar is high, with amazing gliders in the B category.You probably have rated my B comparison concerning glide. The Iota 2 is no different to be with the leaders in that matter. I think above that by just a little, you will reach Sigma 10 glide performance !
The Iota 2 25, has a high trim speed, higher than a Mentor 5, Chili 4, Cumeo, if all are similarly loaded. The glide at trim speed for the Iota 2 25 seems right on top like i mentioned with the Mentor 5, Cumeo, Chili 4.

The strong point of the Iota 2 25 is the way it enters the thermals in gliding mode, and i’m just talking at trim for the moment. The Iota 2 surfs the air upward and floats forward for an efficient gliding into a moving airmass. It feels solid and just floats upward. I really liked that characteristic for a high B !
At full speed the Iota 2 25 has some 10 km/h over trim to block the pulleys. The M5, and the Cumeo could have 2 km/h faster. The glide at top speed is close to the high end mentioned gliders, but what i discovered flying the Iota 2 25 that differs is the super stability at top speed ! I mean it’s really stable, and i couldn’t know the difference in behavior between flying at trim and at top speed because it felt the same, but with a wind that increases…The C handles are a nice way to control the glider in high speed, but since the iota 2 25 is so stable at speed, i don’t see that it will be used much  ;-)  Of course in strong conditions, they will.. :-)

Ears are stable and reopen quite normally.
Induced asymmetries are soft and going keeping course is easy and also counter steering. Frontals are a bit deep, horse shoeing a bit, slightly dynamic than the M5 ones, but they open very fast, and it seems they fulfill the B certification requirements.

The Iota 2 25 was mainly created for XC use with a good and educated roll feedback for any good B pilot. The overall comfort is high. The trim speed will enable efficient ridge crossings in turbulent air as well as the use of the speed bar which is light to moderate, with a more sold structure, and totally usable.
Overall gliding performance and especially climb rate are strongly implemented into this XC machine.
Video soon...

PS: I’ll update my B comparison in the next days, for more details.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Skywalk Cumeo XS 
After the beautiful Chili 4 XS, here’s the light version called Cumeo. 
After test flying many wings I’m now more and more convinced that even with the same glider technical details, gliders with lighter materials, will have different feel with sometimes enhanced performance or sometimes much less ! 
I’m no engineer to debate on that, but i’m positively sure and the reality of things is well shown. 
In the following review, the Cumeo will show its true identity. 
Launching the Cumeo is as easy as a school wing… 
In the air: 
I flew the Cumeo from 90 to 95. In strong conditions, 93, 95 would be superb. At 90 all up if flies beautifully in moderate conditions. 
Compared to a Chili 4 XS, with similar load the brake pressure is lighter on the Cumeo with slightly longer travel. Nevertheless, the agility is very present. I could place the Cumeo inside the thermal very precisely. The Cumeo feels more tamed and very subtle to fly than the Chili 4 XS with same load ! The Cumeo XS also gave me a high degree of flying pleasure that i could describe as (a walk in the park eating my best ice-cream ;-) ) 
Climb rate:   
Flying the Cumeo at 95, I could strongly confirm that it’s still a floater! In very weak conditions, the Cumeo even loaded does real catch those tiny lifts. At 90, it’s a thermal beast!  Even in wider conditions, the Cumeo still pushes forward entering those cores with ease and a smoothness feel. 
Glide angle: 
I flew the Cumeo XS next to the Mentor 5 S, Chili 4 XS, Iota 2 25, to conclude after many glide comparisons “and it took me a while”… That the Cumeo is definitely among the best ones in that matter especially if I want to consider top end speed glide ! 
In fact IMHO, it sits right on ‘top’ next to the glide contenders if going in a speed chase. Doing some glides in turbulent air, the Cumeo seems also very efficient, and probably slightly more than a Chili 4 XS  (slight margin) May be because it doesn’t have the pitch behavior of it’s ‘regular cloth’ sister. 
The Cumeo has a slightly increased top speed above the Chili 4 XS if both are fully loaded. 
Big ears are very stable. Much better than the Chili 4 XS. They reopen quickly. 
Landing in narrow zones is one of the Cumeo strong points. It can be slowed quite well. 
Yep…It’s a positive test…The Cumeo XS deserved it very well…It is very obvious that if a glider is relatively easy for a high B, loaded with top end performance characteristics, light to carry, handles like a dream, soft in reactions, a highly balanced B glider, and can get you efficiently on any XC would not be highly recommended. It is ! 
In today’s market, there are very nice high B gliders from different manufacturers. The top 3-4 holds a very close and sometimes insignificant difference in overall performance. But what differs is the feeling, satisfaction, and the sensations you get when you are flying a special one. I’m sure, the Cumeo will be among those ! 
Now it seems that I wrote too much…i know…Sometimes i get carried away  :-) So please forget what I just wrote ! But I will be very intrigued if you, the interested pilots, looking for a high B ‘light’ glider, would test fly the Cumeo XS from 90 to 95, and comment back… 
That would be quite interesting :-) 

Ps: I always mention that other sizes could be similar and sometimes could be different. Please respect the loads under any glider. A glider flown at mid weight or less will (surely) have other feeling and results. 
IMHO, I think that loading a glider beyond 75 % of its weight range will make you a pilot rather than a passenger. 
Happy flights :-)