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Gear for XC


XC flying is complex. Good days are rare and you must be with right gear on the right take off with right route in your head if you like to be really successful. See below how I prepare my flights - hope it helps you.

Paragliders [top]

Take my advice - do not hear to your ego and do not fly hot wings, unless you have to. You will fly far XC, having fun with low classified gliders. Go for open or 2-3DHV gliders only for competing. Fly save.

Here is list of gliders I owned or tested with my private(!!) comments - hope it will help with your choices. I put here only newer gliders - from 2003 or newer.

Glider Comments

Swing Astral 4
(DHV 2)

I had a chance to fly Astral 4 in Tenerife for 1 week in strong conditions.
It is a nice dynamic wing, with plenty of feedback, agile handling & superb climb.

START- easy, nothing special, easy to control over D-lines, class typical overshooting.

HANDLING - dynamic wing with light & precise breaks. Extremely responsive to weight shift. Good feedback from the wing. Canopy feels compact & very hard. A little rough, could be more hormones - feels slightly nervous.

SECURITY - quite & hard, difficult to "break" but once it goes then massive. No twisting or "cravating" tendency. Stable at full speed. Manageable but not the simplest DHV2.

PERFORMANCE - good glide (around 8.5), superb climb (!), quite fast (max ~52).

Nova Tattoo
(DHV 2)

I flew one season with Tattoo. It is really fun glider with great handling, good safety, fine gliding and only average climbing.

Very good! You can kite Tattoo super easy and control through D-lines. Slight overshooting tendency.

- Good reaction on weight shift.
- Middle length, quite light breaks with good feedback
- Wing is on the hard side. Feedback from the canopy is very good.
- Generally glider with very, nice, responsive, dynamic handling. Pure fun.

Good security and easy to fly. Even at full speed is manageable. However once I had to deploy a rescue after a massive cravat.

Good gliding, however only average climb.

UP Summit 2
(DHV 2)

I could do quite a few flights with Summit 2 as well as clinic. It is a very nice glider to fly, with average performance, hard to use accelerator and not so easy to handle on the full bar.

Nice, maybe not as easy as Tattoo but still definitely a good starter. It raises rather slowly, one can control it well D-lines. Hardly overshooting tendency.

- Good reaction on weight shift.
- Middle length, quite hard breaks (it UP! )with good feedback
- Wing is on the hard side. Feedback from the canopy is good.
- Not so fun & dynamic like Tattoo but still a very nice handling, good for acro (nice SAT)
- Unfortunately speed system is very hard and very difficult to use :-(

It is not the easiest DHV 2 to fly but manageable. Small deflations are easy to handy but if things goes really bad, the wing gets unexpected dynamic. Especially accelerated deflations are very dynamic and require experienced pilot. So be careful, once this baby goes then goes.

General average performance, OK for its class.

UP Summit 3
(DHV 2)
I could fly 30min in very windy conditions and did not liked this wing for its weak handling & unclear handling.
Swing Cirrus 4
(DHV 2-3)

Direct, dynamic, fun with good security and only ok performance.

Easy, no V-tendency, requires relative long leading through A lines. Not very good control through D-lines, have tendency to turn with one side up. Requires "weight shift" control.

- Very sensitive on weights hit.
- Breaks are ideal not too light not too hard, short, precise & very responsive with excellent feedback. Stall & spin point are very clearly marked. A dream.
- Wing is hard & stable. Feedback is perfect.
- The curve: everything is possible from super tight curve on the wingtip to easy flat & effective turn. You the master and the wing will follow.

Very easy to fly, however it is still 2-3 so experienced pilot is required.

Good climb but speed performance only average, still I love this wing.

Skywalk Poison 1
(DHV 2-3)

Quite soft & not very direct wing. Excellent climb. Wing to XC not fun.

Easy, good to control over D-lines. V tendency (wing sides go up first), one must put it in cycle on the ground to avoid it.

- Little reaction for weights hit - better use breaks for turn only.
- Breaks are quite hard, however you hardly can feel stall/spin point.
- The wing is very soft and "works" all the time. Feedback from lines is "filtered".
- The curve: wind is not really dynamic and is set for flat & efficient turns, rather then fun.

Surprisingly good glide, superb climb (!!!), class average top speed.

Ozone Mantra 1
(DHV 2-3)

Mantra is a soft stress free 2-3, with easy handling and average performance.

Easy starter for the class, no V tendency, manageable.

Mantra is a soft, working in itself glider. It has medium hard, progressive breaks. It not very precise but effective. Generally nice, sweet, stress free handling.

Mantra is the easiest 2-3 I have ever flown. It feels more like easy DHV2. It is extremely resistant to collapse. Once in collapse - easy to recover.

Mantra is a average performing glider, rather for priv XC then comps.

Advance Omega 7
(DHV 2-3)

Great climb and OK glide (close to Tycoon), very good turn, however I did not like this wing stability and poor feedback. Known for being very demanding for pilot. Not my style.

Nova Tycoon M

Excellent glider with superb glide and average climb. Very nice handling. Easy to fly in normal conditions, dangerous in strong air.

Easy starter for its aspect ratio. No V tendency. Easy to kite, best using C/D. No problem to start in difficult condition (zero or strong wind). I managed to do cobra start with Tycoon.

Quite hard & stable wing. Breaks are short, light and very precise. Turn is flat and efficient. It is difficult to turn this glider very tight - it does not like it.

It is an advanced glider at the end of 2-3 scale. In normal conditions it is quite manageable. If you stay focused you will avoid collapses, you will be given enough time for reaction. Medium collapses are easy to reopen. The problem starts in very strong conditions. This glider have a clear cravats tendency, which are difficult to open. I had a serious accident after a huge cravat on Tycoon. Be very careful.

Tycoon is a gliding machine. The performance is excellent and is close to open class. On the other hand, climb is not that good and I had problems to keep up in thermals with other in comps. Issue is not minimal sink, rather difficulties to turn very tight.

Swing Stratus 7

I love this wing and order one, unfortunately crashed before my glider came. Excellent handling, great climbing performance, good glide and very solid security. Just my combination.

OK starter. Complex C/D lines setup makes it not obvious for kiting and require some ground handling training. After a while you can find the way to control it. It raises with average speed and have small tendency to go up uneven - unlike typical performance Swing. No V tendency. No cravating tendency.

Quite hard & stable wing. Breaks are relatively short and very light and quite precise. Turn is beautiful - from flat and efficient to sharp & aggressive - as you wish. Great feedback from the wing through lines and breaks. Very, very nice - usually compact & agile for high performance wing.

Good!!! It requires very, very active flying but if the pilot is good, nothing bad can happen. After even massive deflation, the wing will nicely reopen and have no cravating tendency. I could fly this wing in very critical conditions and felt very save. Great!

Stratus 7 is climbing machine. Good minimal sink and perfect handling makes you on top of the stack. Gliding is also very good - just a little better than Tycoon.

Gradient Aspen 2

After a 1.5 year break after my accident, I decided to start flying again. I was looking for a save glider but with agile, fun handling and solid performance. I decided to go for Aspen 2 from Gradient. Good choice, this glider is excellent! One of the best I have ever flown.

A very easy starter. It raises with average speed, not too fast with minimal overshooting tendency. Easy to controll through D-lines. No V tendency. No cravating tendency. Just good, well rounded, solid starter.

I have just fallen in love with this wing!. Everything is perfect, breaks quite light, not too long and very precise. Turn is rather on flat, efficient side but if you push the wing more it will turn sharp, everything very progressive. You will receive a lot of feedback from the wing, especially in hard conditions. The canopy feels compact but not too hard, just a right compromise. General thermals handling is amazing.

The first impression after flying in Dolos for two days with north wind - it is managable. Due to good feedback you know exactly what is going on and can take necessary corrections. However it requires a lot of work. I have not tested a particular figures so far, however it feels right middle/top of DHV 2. Very stabile in speed.

Aspen 2 a key streangth is climibing performance. Although I fly size 26 (80-100) rather full loaded, there is hardly any other glide I could not outclimb. The gliding performace feels solid in trimm as well as in speed.



Harness [top]

Good, well protected and comfy harness is essential. I personally prefer lying, open ones. Here are a few comments on harness I flew:

& Co

I owned a Sprinter for more then a year and 150h. It is very similar with FreeX Carrera, Firebird Vibe, Airwave RamRace, Airtime Speed, Indepedence Spider (also charly titan or indepedence Geko have same sit) etc, as all are build by Ava using the same sit.
In the beginning Sprinter is very comfy the problem is that after 50-100h it looses its sit form and build a clear break line in the middle of the back. It is then very uncomfortable.

- very good protector!
- strong & robust - build of Cordura and well sawn
- drinking system ready (could be better designed but works)
- simple adjustment system, possible to adjust in the flight
- well constructed reserve system -> tried it - works ;-)
- comfy in the beginning
- very nice to weight shift and generally very agile
- good aerodynamic
- plenty of space for stuff and well thought out pockets

- after some time it gets very un comfy and you can hardly fly it
- leg straps are badly designed - it gets difficult to walk/run
- buckles get misadjust very easy - finally I decided to sawn them!
- poor accelerator & leg stirrup without reinforcement - finally rebuild it completely
- no ballast system.

Sol CX

I own sol XC with leg cover. It is an excellent harness with flexibility to fly it with or without leg cover. The comfort is best on the market. If no-DHV protector is OK with you - go for it!

-Comfort!!! Excellent!!!
- well build with Cordura and high quality buckles
- very good drinking system
- effective adjustment system, possible to adjust in the flight
- very nice to weight shift and very agile
- excellent aerodynamic
- plenty of space for stuff but missing good pockets for in-flight use
- ballast system
- flexible - leg cover can be taken out in 2 min
- very good strap system

- only 15cm poor protector
- leg cover is not very strong around carabineers
- in-flight pockets could be better
- pretty bad cockpit for instruments

Advance Impress
Damn good harness however with very bad protection. New version - impress 2+ with DHV protection should be close to perfect.


- Amazing comfort - almost as good as Sol XC
- great build (however leg cover easy to damage)
- very good drinking system
- top cockpit for instrumentation
- superb agile, sensitive and feel as it would be part of you, top weight shift
- enough of space for stuff but could be more
- top pockets for in-flight use
- perfect ballast system
- flexible - leg cover can be taken out
- easy to walk/start with leg cover
- soon with DHV certified protection
- excellent aerodynamic

- currently very poor 12cm protector - even small crash will break your back
- rescue system located very in the back, in case of troubles difficult to reach
- easy to damage neoprene leg cover
- complex straps & adjustment system - very difficult to adjust during the flight

Woody Valley

Peak 2

My last accident crashed my knees badly, so I was now after light but still comfortable harness. My choice is clearly Peak 2.

- 3.2 kg ans small packing mass
- Very good comfort
- Great build quality, quite robust...
- airbag protector is very effective (tested ;-)
- well thought in details (drinking system, adjustments, etc.)
- sensitive, agile, good weight shift, however this is rather sitting harness
- enough of space for stuff
- good side pockets for in-flight use
- easy to walk & start with
- rescue system easy to reach on the side

- not the lightest among airback harnesses (but super comfy!)
- no basast system (but it is not racing harness)
- poor aerodymatic, however typical for airbag harness
- Expensive


Flight Electronic (Vario, GPS, Radio) [top]

I use Compeo as main Vario & GPS + Garmin 60CS for moving map and control zones & GPS back-up + Bräuniger Sonic as vario back up + Icom IC-E90 radio. I advice you to back-up GPS and Vario. I lost nice 80km XC because Garmin lost satellites. In other flight Compeo died and without beeping vario you can forget to thermal to cloud base.
Here are a few comments why I have chosen my gear.


This the most advanced Vario+GPS system on the market. Also the most expensive. It has all you need but moving map. Sorry XC-trainer, no match with Compeo.

- Very reliable, after years of software corrections - also very mature bugs free software
- Very well build - case is strong survived my last crash unlike my knees
- IGC certified recorder (so if you plan to beat world record - you need one)
- perfect for competition: supported starting procedures, auto 1sec recording time around turn points, final glide (also through multiple way points) computer
- huge space for 20000 track points
- superb, adjustable display with 9 custom fields - all needed info at one glance
- wind direction and strength calculation
- and many, many more functions :-)
- good battery - real 20h flight

- bulky & heavy
- no (moving) terrain map - so without extra way points you do not know where you are
- poor CTR support
- no good centering help (showing only direction to last thermal)
- damn expensive (but worth it)

Garmin 60CS(x)

As compeo does not have moving map, I use 60cs for navigation & moving map. It work good as GPS back-up. It has great color screen and good battery live.

- capable to load great maps from Garmin so you know where you are
- possible to load CTR (control zones) as map over main map - perfect
- good battery live (20h)
- generally easy to use, well build, handy unit
- 60csx version with expendable memory - no recording limit

- screen is quite smaller then PDA
- still quite expensive

Bräuniger Sonic
I use it as vario back up. You have basically choice between sonic or solario from Renchler. As I have been always flying with Bräuniger - I decided to take sonic, which beeps the way I am used to. Take solario if you use Renchler vario (very different beep).
Icom IC-E90
People tend to save money on radio and after a while ending up anyway with semi professional model. I started with DNT WT 77 for 60EUR just to discover that even tuned up it not strong enough. Then I bought KPO MT-4000L for 85EUR- strong but only receiving PMR & LPD. Finally I decided to buy a semi-professional Icom IC-E90 for 260EUR with multiband receiver/transmitter and 5W power. You just need it. IC-E90 is a very nice model, I can recommend it, especially export open version.
Do not forget to use helm build-in hand free set.

- multiband transmitter: 70cm, 2m, 6m
- open receiver - you can receive virtually everything
- 5W - finally everybody will hear you cleanly
- good antenna - finally you can hear others, even if the transmit with poor radio
- good battery - should be enough even for longest flights
- small, light, strong body
- easy to use (at least as for semi-professional device)
- 6.25 und 8.33 kHz Raster - needed to receive all PMR frequencies and second for new airport used raster

- very slow & poor charger, I finally purchased additional high speed charger
- only 1 receiving unit - listening on 2 frequencies not that easy