Nancy and Carlo from Flybubble were invited to attend the Advance dealer meeting held on 27 and 28 January 2016 in the small, snow covered village of Murren, perched on the Swiss Alps at 1600 m (5250 ft) above sea level, surrounded by towering peaks: the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau.
60 dealers and importers from around the world attended. They learned a lot about Advance's new product range, and slightly overdosed on Swiss cheese. A lot was crammed into the two days, including several workshops and some flying time to try out the new Advance wings.
Chief test pilot Kari Eisenhut talked through different Advance wing and harness combinations, and highlighted the importance that Advance places on their kit being light, compact and user-friendly.
Designer Hannes Papesh and test pilots Greg Blondeau and Christian Proschek gave an inside look into the design, development and testing that went in to the new Pi 2 and Epsilon 8.
Advance harness designer, Patrick Bieri explained some of what goes in to making the perfect harness, and showed off the first final production units of the forthcoming Easiness 2.
Designer Silas Bosco and test pilot Michi Maurer went behind the scenes of the Omega XALPS development process, and revealed some of the exciting projects they're currently working on.
Peter Mack from Evotec gave an interesting presentation about the Companion SQR reserve, a new Square Round.
Roland Mischler and Pascal Ehret discussed production planning and delivery times. Simon Campiche, Christian Geierstanger and Valéry Chapuis promoted Advance as a premium brand. Looking at the team, it's easy to see why Advance stands out!
Inside the new ALPHA 6 and EPSILON 8
Greg Blondeau explained the idea behind the new Alpha 6: "The pilots will be happy. The Alpha 5 was one of the best in its category, the Alpha 6 is a good evolution: it's easy, it's light, it's fun."
"Compared to the Alpha 5, it is even more stable on the EN tests, it's very difficult to collapse and when it does collapse the reaction is very light and smooth. The handling is a bit more direct, the brake range to control the glider is short, for the turn, but for the stall it is even longer than on the Alpha 5, which is very nice for students. It flies very well, with very few lines, which helps student check their rigging - it's so easy, there are almost no lines! The risers are also updated, being thinner and easier to use, with the easy connect system and nice magnets for the brakes. The wing is also lighter than the Alpha 5, so it's a great overall package!
"The Epsilon 8 has undergone the same evolution, but in the B class, for pilots who have left the school or have been flying for some time already. It is one step higher than the Alpha 6 but it is the same concept: almost no lines, good direct handling, performance, very stable, with thinner risers and lighter weight. I had lots of fun to test it, I think it's a good evolution for the sport to have an easy glider like this."
Bringing it back to the UK
Flybubble is an Advance Test Centre, which means we have all their wings and harnesses in stock for you to try out, in various sizes. We also stock all their bags, accessories and most Advance clothing.
We have a full set of Alpha 6, Iota and Omega XALPS demos in stock. Epsilon 8 and Pi 2 demos are on their way soon!
Who's who at Advance:
Kari Eisenhut: R&D Team, responsible for the tests.
Lucien Caviezel: Test pilot.
Hannes Papesh: R&D Team, software assistant.
Christian Proschek: Test and acro pilot, acro wings assistant.
Greg Blondeau: Test pilot, ex-comp pilot (European champion).
Peter Mack: ex-Nova production, Companion inventor and Test pilot.
Roland Mischler: Sales
Pascal Ehret: Production and Logistics
Simon Campiche: Marketing
Christian Geierstanger: Sales.
Valéry Chapuis: Sales and Administration.
Silas Bosco: Design, acro pilot.
Michi Maurer: Test pilot, comp pilot (2nd in WC 2015).
Patrick Bierri: Harness development.
Daniel Erni: Sales.
Special thanks to Valery Chapuis for looking after us so well, and keeping us entertained with many great stories!
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