With so many paragliding wings to choose from, finding the best and right paraglider can be a real challenge, even for experienced paraglider pilots. It's all too easy to make a mistake which might end up costing you dearly. The right paraglider for one pilot is not necessarily right for another. It might even be very wrong!
In this series of articles, and accompanying videos, we demystify the paraglider selection process by consider various aspects that affect your choice. First we look at paraglider classes and compare performance. Then we investigate weight ranges and wing loading. We then analyse handling and safety. Finally, we give tips on how to make the most out of test flights.
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?
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.
Miniwings for high wind soaring are one of my personal obsessions and I spare no effort in finding the worlds best. I live in Auckland, New Zealand with large picturesque sea cliff and conditions that are often strong, laminar and superb for high wind soaring/speedflying. This is unusual in the world, so we are lucky and constantly looking for better miniwings to give us more fun in our smooth 20-45km/hr coastal winds.
It’s only two years since I reviewed the Mentor 5 (and the Mentor 4, 2 years before that). NOVA have a regular release schedule and are bang on target with this update, ‘A sports intermediate for cross-country and fun flying’. Has the reliable stalwart of the ‘high B’ class changed much?
The Phi MAESTRO is designed for recreational pilots with some experience who want to excel at cross country flying or are looking for a wing with feeling and feedback. It’s what we call a ‘high B’ or B+ for short, which means it passes the standard EN-B certification tests, but requires more piloting skill to fly when compared to something like the Phi Tenor.
The EPSILON 9 is designed to help you progress in your flying after your first wing, or just have fun in the air without worrying. It is placed mid-way between the very-capable Alpha 6 and the higher performing Iota 2. We test the handling and safety of this modern EN B wing from Advance.
I was excited when PHI released a lightweight version of the TENOR. The original wing (also a low B) has impressive performance, nippy handling and great passive safety. How does the new TENOR LIGHT compare to the full fat version? I flew it in the UK winter and then for 30 hours in Colombia in a wide spectrum of flying conditions whilst leading a cross country paragliding tour, which gave me a great opportunity to test the responses and compare it with other current wings. Is it any good? Let’s find out.
The Skywalk ARAK is aimed at the centre of the large EN B pilot target market, mid-way between the ‘low B’ Tequila 5 and the ‘high B’ Chili 4. Nancy Elliott flew the ARAK M in the winter (UK) and in varied conditions in Tenerife, and shares her experience. Light but durable, agile but calm, simple but efficient. Did they get the balance right?