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Apco / Presta

Flight impressions of the Small and Medium by Jérôme Daoust.
Revised 2002/2/14.

About myself. I have been flying paragliders since 1989, for a total of 679 hours (not much for all those years), mostly in thermal conditions.

Thanks to Ad Flyer  / Mike Masterson for supplying both test wings.


Small (80% into the weight range)



·        Wednesday 2002/2/13.

·        Model flown (S) had a 79 to 99 kg weight range.  My total flying weight was 95 kg (80% into the weight range)

·        Moderate wind, best thermal climb rates of about 3-4 m/s, about 1.5 hour airtime, in decreasing conditions.  Altitude gain of 1050 m (3450’) above launch, up to 2280 m (7500’) MSL .  I should have taken my gloves.



·        Magnetic brake snaps (I don't like them).  At least, I wish they would be like that of the Independence/Dragon with double flat magnets instead  My toggles detached twice while manipulating the risers during wing set-up.

·        Top lines are attached to the wing internally.

·        It is hard to believe that those ADVS (Active Double Valve System) actually help.  Still, when there is span-wise tension it seems to seal up well (picture) compared to its unloaded state (picture).  Note that the contrast in these pictures was exaggerated to better reveal the stitching.

·        Good definition of the top surface profile with closely spaced walls near the leading edge which terminate about halfway down the cord.

·        Complex riser system (picture), which decreases more the angle of attack towards the center of the wing, than its tip.  This could be good for accelerated performance.

·        This wing is AFNOR certified (picture).  But this wing received a replacement set of risers (picture), it is still a mystery to me if these replacement risers are the DHV version or yet something else.  So I am unsure of what rating system would be applicable to the tested configuration and how well it represents the wing a pilot would purchase.

·        When I tested the Medium size beyond trim speed, the knot at the end of the accelerator line slipped out of the upper strap (picture).  On this wing, the knot was placed the same way that I had done my in-flight repair (picture) on the Medium.

·        Because I was unable to achieve pulley contact (not even close) on the Medium, I changed the routing of the accelerator line to provide a 2:1 pull ratio (picture), instead of the previous 3:1.



·        Good launching behavior in 15-20 km/h wind.  Easy inflation and forward launch in 2-3 km/h wind.


In flight

·        At 80% into the weight range, turn initiation and ease to maintain a stable bank angle felt similar to my current Nova/Carbon M (50% into weigth range).  I would qualify this as acceptable handling characteristics, but nothing to write home about.  But let’s remember that this was for 80% loading into the weight range, and based on my observation on the Medium, I would probably not enjoy flying this wing if loaded under 50%.

·        The brake toggle bottom soft tube folded at mid-length, making my fingers converge towards that location and pressing them together.  I like to hold the brakes with my fingers (not pass the hand through the loop).  I wish they had a stiffer bottom rod/tube in there.

·        The wing collapse once (40 % asymmetric) and recovered normally as it felt the edge of a sharp thermal.  Nothing unusual here.  Collapse resistance/recovery seems correct for this class of wings.

·        Airspeed measurements were done at about 1800 m (5900’) MSL.  Trim was 38 km/h, max (pulley contact achieved, with modified 2:1 pulley system ratio) was 52 km/h, indications remaining constant for many seconds in smooth air.  Correcting these measurements for Altitude, Temperature and 50% into the weight range, we get a trim speed of 35 km/h (slow-ish) and a maximum speed of 48 km/h (OK).  Glide at maximum speed did not feel good, as I observed an increase of 1.5 m/s in sink rate from the value at Trim speed.  Half speed bar seemed to provide an good glide.

·        Easy to perform big-ear by pulling on the sliding A’ risers.



·        Launching is no problem.

·        Speed is on slow side at trim, typical at maximum.  Bad glide at full speed ?

·        Unsure of the certification of the tested wing+riser configuration.

·        Expect bad handling at the low end of the weight range, Nova/Carbon-like (aceptable) at the high end.

·        No obvious effect (good or bad) from the ADVS (cell opening valve).

·        See Best Wing.

Medium (bottom of the weight range)



·        Saturday, 2002/1/26.

·        Model flown (M) had a 95 to 115 kg weight range. My total flying weight was 95 kg (very bottom of the range).  I wanted to know if this wing would have sufficient speed/handling while providing the best sink rate.  Note that my weight is a valid one for the weight range, so this test remains relevant.  Later, I tried the Small.

·        Light to moderate wind, best thermal climb rates of about 3-4 m/s, about 2 hours airtime.



·        Magnetic brake snaps (I don't like them).

·        Typical line diameters and material.

·        It is hard to believe that those ADVS (Active Double Valve System) actually help.



·        Easy inflation in light wind (less than 5 km/h) on flat terrain.

·        Easy inflation on sloped launch with light wind.

·        No hard point during rise of the wing.

·        Wing has strong tendency to untwist risers following a reverse inflation.


In flight

·        It is one of the worse wings I have flown with respect to turn initiation.  It seemed as this wing did not want to turn.  I hope this is because I was at the bottom of the weight range.  I must try a Small (79-99 kg) to verify.

·        Flying through unstable air, the following is an average for measured air speed :  Trim of 35 km/h,  Max of 45 km/h (with 5 cm pulley distance remaining).  Trim speed of 34.5 was measured by a pilot with TFW of 106 kg (confirms my measure).

·        During a transition using the speed bar, one of the knots (picture) at the top of the speed bar line slipped out the strap holding the top pulley.  I recommend making the line pass through the pulley's strap slot (picture).

·        Collapse resistance was similar to that experienced by the other pilots flying at the same time.

·        On glide following a Simba, almost the same glide at around 40 km/h.  But let's wait for the numbers.



·        Easy launches. Not agile (because of size tested ?).

·        A disappointment, I must try the Small to see if it turns better.

·        Accelerated performance felt good.