Kinga Masztalerz has flown Phi's "radical 2×2 liner" for a full season in the Southern Alps of New Zealand. She tackled full-on midsummer conditions, including rough lee sides and windy valleys, launching with tail winds and landing backwards numerous times. She also took the Scala Light on solo vol-biv trips and SIV training. Kinga Masztalerz reviews the Scala Light, and compares it to the Advance Omega XAlps 3 and the Ozone Zeolite.
The Phi Viola is a wing that appeals to potentially the widest range of pilots imaginable. The majority of sizes are EN A, and are thought of as lightweight hike and fly wings, and that's correct, as it's a lightweight version of the Sonata. However, it's also a very capable mainstream wing, and a mini wing for alpine flying or high wind soaring. It is able to cater for all these demands with a range of eight sizes, and certification from EN A to EN D, depending on the size chosen, and the use of extended weight ranges.
The CURE 2 from BGD (Bruce Goldsmith Designs) is a Sports Class wing (rated EN-C) that promises high performance with low stress. “It’s fast on glide with excellent stability in wind and turbulence,” says BGD. Flybubble tested it in the British winter and the South African summer to get a true picture of its character.
The Triple Seven Knight is made “to make the entry into the world of thermal- and XC flying as easy, intuitive and safe as possible”. A noble goal that matches the aspirations of the largest group of paraglider pilots: the ‘weekend warriors’. Low airtime pilots need a wing that will help them with their progression, and that’s where the Knight fits into the Triple Seven range, between the ‘high A’ Pawn and the ‘high B’ Rook 2. Does it offer the right balance of passive safety and agility for the average EN-B pilot?
Carlo had the opportunity to try out the X-ALPS4. Like its predecessor, X-ALPS4 is an ultralight 3-liner with 6.99 aspect ratio, nylon wires, complex internal design, and certified EN/LTF D. Skywalk explain that they deliberately chose a 3-line concept for the X-ALPS4 because they feel this is currently the best symbiosis of high performance, low weight and ease of use. "The X-ALPS4 is not only for the athletes of the 2019 Red Bull-X-Alps... but also for all XC pilots looking for a performant and extremely well-balanced racing wing."
I have enjoyed testing the Gin BONANZA 2, which is a modern reinforced Sports Class wing. For the last couple of years I have been flying my Niviuk Artik 4, which I know very well, so this is mainly a comparison between the two, to give a flavour of these two sports class gliders and an idea of how new wings have progressed in the past few years. Over the few weeks I had the Bonanza 2 I managed 25 flights ranging from 2-90 minutes and a total of 10 hours airtime over three different sites. These were in conditions varying from light to strong and thermic to soaring with a couple of short (17km) XCs.
I first flew the LEAF 2 on an inverted and gusty ‘low down’ day that required fast reactions and high agility. Paired with the very stable ALTIRANDO LITE harness, I found the LEAF 2 unresponsive. It felt entirely ‘average’ and I was worried I couldn’t find anything unique or outstanding to comment on. It just kind of flew around.
Featuring a minimal line set, simple risers with carbon fibre handles, and those tiny trademark winglets, this is a 2 liner with a flat aspect ratio of 6.95 that weighs only 3.5kg! That would have been enough, but Advance has worked on this wing to make it shine. You can tell on the ground that it is exceptional. What other two-liner can you float up from low angles in light wind, put on a tip and bring back on the brakes, start from a ball, and generally play around on the slope with? It is an absolute pleasure to handle on the ground, with the only slightly demanding characteristic being the tendency to shoot ahead when coming up.
As an experienced hike-and-fly enthusiast, a lightweight C is something I am interested in, so I was excited to receive the Q-LIGHT for testing. Triple Seven say “The Q-light is the ideal tool for long, difficult hike&fly adventures in remote mountain areas. It has a high passive safety level in combination with performance that is way out of its class.”