The Coupe Icare is the biggest festival of the international paragliding community. The exhibition is held in St. Hilaire du Touvet, an alpine hamlet near Grenoble, France. All the major brands vie for attention with dazzling displays, exciting new releases and news of promising developments. The Flybubble crew spent a productive weekend with our trade partners finding out what’s new in the world of freeflight manufacturing.
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The new ALPHA 6 (EN A) is coming this November! It has a very easy line set up (20% less line than the ALPHA 5), weighs only 4.75 kg (size 26) and comes with Air Scoop technology (15% longer brake travel) and 3D shaping for better performance. Available in 5 sizes (22: 50-70kg / 24: 60-80kg / 26: 70-95 / 28: 85-110 / 31: 100-130), with an optional extended (certified) takeoff weight of +15 kg for pilots who want to play with more speed and energy.
The new EPSILON 8 (EN B) is coming at the beginning of 2016. The new leisure intermediate includes modern technology such as Air Scoop, Double 3D-Shaping and greatly reduced line set up. The weight of the 25 size will be less than 5 kg due to a weight-optimized inner structure.
The PI 2 (ultralight mountain wing) is coming in the beginning of 2016 (certified with speed system this time!) followed by the EASINESS 2 (ultralight reversible harness) offering higher comfort and easier to get in and out of. Later in the year, the BIBETA 6 (tandem).
The OMEGA X-ALPS (ultralight advanced wing) was first seen during the Red Bull X-Alps, and has been subsequently tweaked and recertified. The first ones have been delivered and are getting rave reviews from pilots and Thermik Magazin! Publisher Norbert Aprissnig showed off a pre-publication copy of the magazine complete with the first review of the Omega X-Alps which concludes: "The shapely wing is perfectly trimmed, harmoniously coordinated on all the axes. In relation to handling in thermals and stability in accelerated flight it leaves no wish unfulfilled."
Looking ahead, Gaetan Doligez was recently seen testing an ADVANCE acro proto. It looks quite promising!
Advance are also developing a new square/round hybrid reserve in partnership with Companion, offering the best compromise of safety (fast opening, slow descent rate, very stable, doesn't pull like squares), simplicity (easy repack), weight, pack volume, and price.
It's been a great year for Naviter, as the Oudie 3+ and upgrade were very well received by pilots.
Carlo and Nancy were given repair training by Luca, who disassembled an Oudie 3+ completely and put it back together very quickly; it was like watching a one-man pit stop team at Formula 1!
Naviter upgraded many Oudie 3 units to Oudie 3+ right there at the Coupe Icare. Pilots brought their Oudie 3s in the morning and were handed an upgraded Oudie 3+ in the evening. Now that's service!
For more on the upgrade service, read http://www.flybubble.co.uk/news/page/1353
Looking ahead, Naviter are working on scoring for PG competitions with their Soaring Spot service, which is already used for almost all sailplane events. The Oudie 3+ software will continue to receive new exciting features free of charge.
We were honoured to have a personal tour with Clement Latour. This year Sup'Air worked at full steam on lightweight gear designs. "All good things come in threes" Clement told us. New on the stand: Everest 3, Radical 3, AltiRando3.
The Everest 3 (right) packs down into a tiny bag. It's designed to be the ultimate alpine harness, for the occasions when every gram counts. It is even slimmer than its predecessor, with fixed length dyneema straps instead of webbing.
The slightly heavier Radical 3 (left) offers leg and chest strap buckles, easy inflight adjustment and a lightweight split leg design. The add-on airbag/rucksack is excellent! You get a tidy backpack, ideal for hike 'n fly ascents. Flip it around and you get full airbag protection for flight. If you're just messing around soaring the dunes, you can remove it thanks to the slick attachment system - the long zipper and short hook and loop fastener closure ensures a tight continuous join. It comes in 2 sizes, S/M or L.
Both the Everest 3 and Radical 3 are supplied with new lightweight karabiners.
We sat in the prototype of the AltiRando 3, a more 'plush' reversible airbag harness with integrated reserve parachute container. It's a big improvement on version 2.
The STRIKE (name to be confirmed) is set to replace the XA13. Based on the harness flown in the Red Bull X-Alps 2015, with improvements from on pilot feedback.
Sup'Air have a new wing! A lightweight, easy EN B, the EIKO, for the recently qualified hike 'n fly enthusiasts. It has a flat aspect ratio of 4.8, is available in two sizes (20 and 23) and weighs only 2.45 kg (20 size).
More info on http://glider.supair.com/en/eiko/
On display were all sizes of the new TREK rucksack. Light, ergonomic and multi-purpose, they cover the entire gear range from basic (110L) all the way down to extralight (55L).
Supair have also developed a new square shaped rescue parachute called the FLUID.
The XL size of the popular Beamer 3 is in development for the 2016 season. It's expected to have a maximum tolerance of 160 kg.
Icaro's main freeflight helmet, the Nerv, is still proving to be very popular since its release at last year's Coupe Icare. More about the helmet on src="https://flybubble.com/shop/icaro-nerv
Flybubble's stock of the eyecatching new paramotoring helmet, theSolar X, is coming soon.
The Transalp is still the lightest freeflight certified helmet, as chosen this year by Red Bull X-Alps athletes like Chrigel Maurer and Paul Guschlbauer. More on
The gap between designers and users. The Track keeps it simple. Photo © Flytec
Flytec demonstrated navigational functionality on the Connect 1 which can now handle airspaces defined as circles and arcs.
They also demonstrated new functionality on the Track, including new airspace warnings. See how to fly a competition with the Flytec Track:
Coming soon is Flytec Flights, an online logbook for sharing your joy with others. This will replace Flychart software.
Photo © Syride
Syride is growing thanks to the popularity of their instruments. The SYS'Nav V3, with lots of new features, has been well received. The thermal core feature shows where the strongest lift is relative to the pilot. The transition assistant gives you a visual indication of your probably glide angle relative to the upcoming terrain. The map screen shows significant terrain (higher than you) to help navigating in limited visibility. With the recent addition of C-records (useful for XCleague declarations) the SYS'Nav rivals some of the high-end competition instruments, at a fraction of the price and weight.
Looking ahead, Syride are working on a new big screen instrument which should be ready early next year.
Gin unveiled the new Yeti 4 lightweight hike 'n fly glider, Falcon reflex PPG wing, Gingo 3 intermediate harness, Yeti Cross rescue parachute—and one or two more surprises.
Designers Gin Seok Song, Torsten Siegel and several GIN team pilots were on hand to share their knowledge and experience, or to just have a friendly chat. We met Idris Birch who shared Gin's latest pilot performance enhancer: the GINSENG power drink! It will be available soon.
Yeti 4: Go-everywhere minimalism
The Yeti 4 is a versatile paraglider, suitable as a hike ’n fly wing or even as a main wing for soaring, thermalling and leisurely XCs. The wing accommodates a wide range of pilots, from low-airtime pilots to experienced adventure pilots.
Falcon: Speed and efficiency without compromise
The Falcon is a state-of-the-art reflex paramotor wing for intermediate to advanced pilots. The wing is fast, stable, agile and fuel-efficient—ideal for fun flying, cross-country, bivouac and competition.
Gingo 3: All-round harness for leisure, sport and XC pilots
Yeti Cross: Lightweight square-type rescue parachute
Fluid 2 — Expert speed riding wing
And exclusively for festival visitors...Genie Lite 2
Carlo tested it out. Wow! The classic Genie Lite has been improved. We're confident this will be a best seller. More info coming soon.
Gin also revealed their new X-Lite Rucksack for hike 'n fly (60L, 530g), first seen during the Red Bull X-Alps with Aaron Durogati and other Gin team pilots. It's narrow, lightweight and designed for hike 'n fly gear (a Gin GTO2 and Genie X-Alps will squeeze in there). To complement this product, there's a dry bag for protecting your wing (60L, 90g) which features a roll-top closure, so you'd be able to squash the air out before sealing it for a tighter pack.
For normal XC pilots, there's a new Lite backpack (80L). It's worth considering because it weighs only 750g, which cuts more than half a kilogram off standard bags.
A neoprene case for Naviter Oudie 3, a laptop case and a new clothing range rounded out their presentation, leaving us with the impression that Gin is a dynamic brand with a strong commitment to developing new gear that meets the needs of pilots.
Looking ahead, they are working on the new Sprint 3 (XC Class, EN B+). When will it be ready? We'll let you know!
Skywalk was represented by designer Alex Höllwarth, Red Bull X-Alps athlete Paul Guschlbauer, and flatland-guru Armin Harich among others. New products including the limited-edition ultralight pod harness RANGE X-ALPS and our XC-Sportster CAYENNE5 were on show.
RANGE X-ALPS: Paul Guschlbauer and Tom De Dorlodot talked us thru the harness. The comfort is very good (better than Range Air) but the setup is best suited to specialist racers. For instance, to adjust the chest strap, you need to loop it on the carabiners, and like other harnesses with this design, the adjustable splices can slip, so it's best to set them and stitch them in place. Apparently, the harness is very responsive.
Skywalk are keeping the Range Air going as well, due to the added durability and the benefit of having 3 sizes. It also packs more compactly with its certified protection.
Recently released to wide acclaim, the CAYENNE 5 is positioned at the upper end of its class, with a higher aspect ratio, more cells and a profile optimized to reduce drag. The handling is pure flying fun! So we were very excited to hear the news that there will be a CAYENNE5 LIGHT, the same as the standard version but with light materials and risers.
Tonka2 in action during the RedBull Dolomitenmann image © redbullcontentpool
Victory for skywalk paragliders at the Red Bull Dolomitenmann 2015! Nearly all top ten pilots flew a skywalk miniwing, Markus Prantl won with the brand new TONKA2 which will be available soon.
The X-ALPS 2 (glider from Red Bull X-Alps 2015, as flown by 3rd placed Paul Guschlbauer) will be a limited edition for ordering only (3.7kg, certified CCC, small size only). However, it will evolve into the POISON X-ALPS, an EN D wing that will be more durable and user friendly (and of course, a little bit heavier).
Looking ahead, the CHILI 4 is planned for release sometime in 2016. There's no big rush on this, as it's still hard to beat the CHILI 3 for performance in the XC Class.
Photo © Nova
Released in time for the fair was the Mentor 4 light, something of a surprise as they stated at last year's fair that the Mentor 4 would not be released in a lighter version as it was already 'weight-optimised' design. Nonetheless this is good news for travelling pilots, because a high performance EN B wing that starts at only 3.25kg (XS size) has a broad appeal.
It's available from the end of September and is ready to be ordered here >
This follows the recent release of the Triton 2 light (from 3,4kg) as seen in the Red Bull X-Alps and the Ibex 3 (from 2.5kg).
Designer Philip Medicus said that Nova are working on a new tandem, a paramotor wing and 2 other secret projects.
(Left) Nancy looking sleek in the Ozone Forza. (Right) A demonstration of trust: if that 100 gram F*lite doesn't hold, it's on the test pilot's head!
We were entertained by the ever-playful Ozone crew of Russ Ogden, Luc Armant, Fred Pieri and Mike Cavanagh.
That Forza harness up there will be available soon, somewhere around 1300 Euros / £995. It's a high performance seatboardless design intended for serious XC flying. Ozone have avoided an excess of buckles, straps, and obscure adjustments and focused on essential and useful features and careful selection of materials to minimize weight (approx. 5.6 kg for size MM) and maximise aerodynamic efficiency.
The incredible 103 gram F*Lite mountain harness is now available!
The new BUZZ Z5 (Progression class, mid EN B) has shark nose and all other new technology. Russell is very happy with it and says it's lighter on brakes than the BUZZ Z4.
It fits between the sportier RUSH 4 (XC Class, EN B+) and the recently released MOJO 5 (first wing, EN A, pictured below).
Looking ahead, they are working on the DELTA 3 and ENZO 3.
Russ talked about how it was getting harder and harder to improve wings, especially due to new changes in certification. At some point the progression has to taper off, but for now Ozone can be proud of a comprehensive range, and unrivalled performance in the competition scene.
Nuno Gomez from Flymaster demonstrated the new map features to us.
The Flymaster SD instruments now have maps! To enable this new feature simply update to the latest firmware, download the map files from the Flymaster website and then extract and copy them into the root directory of the SD card.
The LIVE SD, NAV SD and both GPS SD instruments now provide three map displays: a simplified topographic map (road, towns, rail, basic relief); an airspace map; and a task map. Unfortunately, the topographic map is a graphic image (raster) not a vector map, so zooming is very limited, but it's a useful addition to their range.
Niviuk have an almost complete new range!
The HOOK 4 is a direct replacement of the Progression class HOOK 3 (mid EN B) aimed at the same kind of pilots, so we expect the same characteristic sporty handling that puts it just out of reach of first time buyers but a good choice for pilots with some experience who want maximum security.
The IKUMA is the new star in Niviuk's catalogue, an XC Class wing (EN B+) that is fairly lightweight. It will be available from October, in five sizes and in four colours.
The ARTIK 4 (and its lightweight edition ARTIK 4 P) were recently released, offering experienced pilots a balanced Performance Class wing (mid EN C) with excellent into-wind performance, handling and stability.
We also recently reviewed their phenomenal single-surface SKIN (and its lightweight brother SKIN P).
Niviuk told us that the new PEAK 4 outperforms the Peak 3 and the Icepeak 7, which will make many Performance Class (classic EN D) pilots happy! "Intense, exciting, and built for racing adventures," says Niviuk. Available in four sizes and four colours, from October.
The KOYOT 3 (First wing) and the ICEPEAK 9 (Competition) are currently in development.
Every pilot has a unique experience of a new competition harness.
Carlo: "I see you have a big flight deck for large screen instruments. It seems that the stability of the harness can be changed easily. And you have place for the obligatory two reserve containers."
Nancy: "Have I forgotten something Denis?"
Denis: "Sorree, what was ze question?"
Denis Kortel founded the company on the strength of his designs for competition harnesses, so it was great to see a new Kortel race harness hanging in the stand, complete with the modern features competition pilots demand. Denis talked us through the latest improvements on the harness which is currently a work-in-progress.
We also saw the Kolibri Pro, which is currently not for sale. It's a specialist ultralight harness for professionals and does not offer the durability that Kortel demands for products they release to the general market. However, the Kortel Kontainer will be available soon, with a clever handle that allows both left and right deployment from a carabiner-mounted reserve parachute.
ROCK THE OUTDOOR
The team behind the outdoor sports portal rocktheoutdoor.com presented their handy invention for pilots: The Tube. It's a new way of packing your wing.
"Initially, it might raise a few eyebrows, but after seeing the demonstration you will be amazed by its undeniable efficiency," they claim. It weighs less than 200g. Will it become an indispensable accessory?
Carlo tried it out and thinks that, although the packing technique might be a bit too fiddly for some, it works well, requiring no zips, clips or hook and loop fastener, and is very light. We’ll be getting one in to test more thoroughly in the field and hopefully report back soon!
Last year Woody Valley showed us the Wani (reversible airbag harness of 4.2 kg). They've optimised the design and trimmed it down for hike 'n fly enthusiasts: it's now available as the Wani Light, weighing only 2.6kg!
Thanks to the use of Nitinol (highly resistant and non-deformable metallic wire) inserted in the lower edge of the airbag, they were able to obtain 60% of the protective capacity for the launch phase, before complete inflation which takes place in flight. The emergency parachute container (integrated under the seat) has been redesigned to contain the new lightweight generation of emergency chutes.
Jan Lais mentioned that the FlyNet apps will be discontinued, instead there is a list of recommended apps which offer interesting functionality. This allows FlyNet to focus on hardware development, like the recent new firmware for FlyNet XC1 and Flynet 3, new user manuals, and integration with Logfly.