Advance IOTA 2 paraglider review

Paragliding review of the Advance IOTA 2 high B paraglider by Flybubble’s Nancy Elliott, with additional ‘bonus’ input from Flybubble’s Carlo Borsattino. Nancy and Carlo both know the original IOTA, and many other high B wings, very well, and between them flew the IOTA 2 for over 40 hours in varied conditions in the UK and Colombia before writing this review.

Nancy begins: I was very much in love with the original Advance IOTA. I flew it for a whole season and had some great flights on it. So I was very pleased when I first flew the IOTA 2 that I could feel the similarity with the original, but I could also feel that the glider had progressed.

I had around 20 hours of flying in summer thermic conditions in Colombia, flying the 25 size (80-100 kg) at 87 kg all up.

Advance IOTA 2: Build

The build quality is, in a word, Advance. Every detail of the glider is very well put together. It’s minimalist but exactly what you want. The wing holds a clean shape, even on the ground, due to the tight stitching around the battens. The ‘semi-light’ construction keeps the weight of the 25 under 5 kg.

Advance IOTA 2: Launching

Advance IOTA 2 review: launching

On launch it was no surprise that it came up easily. It didn’t feel like it was overshooting and needing to be held back much. As the conditions were light on launch I didn’t have the opportunity to experiment with its behaviour in strong conditions, but it feels very measured and simple to control.

Advance IOTA 2: Handling

Advance IOTA 2 review: thermal turn

You definitely need to be an active pilot in strong conditions, but it’s not difficult, it’s not too demanding. The climb rate is exceptional. It was really good in both light and strong lift. In the stronger places like Roldanillo I found the best way was to just crank it, tighten the turn, the glider handles that really well.

Advance IOTA 2: Feedback

Advance IOTA 2 review: risers

I like a glider that talks to me, and the IOTA 2 gives me great feedback, it communicates. I was able to feel the air well, it felt as if the glider was telling me where the thermals were, without becoming too ‘busy’.

The advantage of this kind of wing is that you can feel more when flying in strong conditions, so if you are about to have a collapse you’re more aware of it. A wing with low feedback can be a problem in active air, because you’re not necessarily ready for the turbulence.

Carlo adds: It’s also really useful to have feedback in weaker climbs, it helps you sense where the lift is for the subtle climbs, and the IOTA 2 delivers in that regard.

Advance IOTA 2: Speed

Advance IOTA 2 review: handling

The trim speed seemed high and it was very competitive.

Carlo: I noticed the current C wings had a bit more top speed, but the IOTA 2 certainly has good glide and speed, and I felt it was very usable speed, I felt very comfortable on full speedbar.

Advance IOTA 2: Stability

Advance IOTA 2 review: feedback

Big ears come in nicely, but if you hold just the top of the riser it becomes a bit flappy. Reaching up a bit more stabilised that well. The handling is direct, you can put it exactly to where you want it to be. If you hit a strong core you can jab the brake and cut right into it.

Carlo adds: I like the dynamic feeling of the wing. It pitches nicely to a certain point, but then it holds back. It’s a very precise wing, so wingovers were great fun and easy to control.

Advance IOTA 2: Suitability

Advance IOTA 2 review: big sky

The IOTA 2 is well pitched for a high B wing, well suited to pilots moving up from a low or mid B glider, or for those just wanting a great wing currently at the top of the XC class in terms of performance. For pilots coming down from a C rated sports class wing the IOTA 2 will give you more comfort without losing much, if anything in terms of performance. From my real-life comparisons on cross country flights, the IOTA 2 performed just as well as the older C wings. I was noticing I was able to easily keep up with the XC gaggle.

Carlo adds: Advance have done a fantastic job with the IOTA 2. The sail has a taught and highly-refined feeling throughout. The wing gives a well-balanced level of feedback for a high B wing; neither too much nor too little for the class. The IOTA 2 is certainly not a dampened wing, but it’s not demanding for the XC class either. The strong points of the IOTA 2 are its handling, very sorted behaviour, and excellent performance – in particular its climbing ability, which is exceptional in all conditions.

Find out more about the Advance IOTA 2

Advance IOTA 2 Flybubble video review

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