29 October 2012

Canopy Control, Conventional Gliders and 2-liners

I had 3 wonderful days' canopy control training with the maestro, Fabien Blanco at Flyeo in Annecy. This was my first SIV on a 2-liner (the Icepeak 6), so it was great to learn about the adjustment to techniques needed for this type of glider.
The IP6 is brilliant, but it is very noticeably more aggressive than the traditional EN D gliders such as the Omega 8 and the Mantra 4. The dive forward during any recovery is fast and hard which makes timing of ones intervention more critical. I found that I needed to let the glider shoot forward more than I would normally. In recovery from assymetrics it now recognised good practice on high end gliders to let the glider turn in order to regain the energy for a smooth recovery and to keep it away from stall. Critically it reduces the likelihood of a shock re-inflation and secondary collapse/cascade. One of my goals for the course was to really nail stalls in such a way that I could use it reliably in a range of situations and with minimum height loss. After 20+ stalls on the IP6 I feel that I made a huge leap in this area. I am really glad for the workout and feel much better prepared for flying and racing the glider in strong conditions.
In our group were pilots on EN A, B and C wings and notably two members of the French Team, with everybody working on their own personal programme. Charles Cazaux showed great mastery of his Enzo with his helicopters, stalls and the like. Charles is the reigning FAI World Champion and in 2009 flew the remarkable, ground-breaking, carbon reinforced BBHPP to win the PWC. The BBHPP spawned the R10 in 2010, which was the real game changer in recent paraglider development. Despite his achievements at the highest level, Charles still does SIV at least twice a year and takes a totally professional attitude to continuing to improve. Also in the French team is Lucas Bernardit, who was practising beautiful acro moves on his N-Gravity 2. He normally flies the IP6 but does acro for pleasure and to continue to develop his handling. Lucas is a member of the Niviuk ABAC factory team. As well as being super talented, both Lucas and Charles were very willing to share their knowledge and experience.
An awesome 3 days with learning of the highest quality!

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