Preamble. Actually, ParAvis was not going to make any breakthroughs. They just wanted to bring a decent, competitive EN B to the market. But they went a little overboard with safety, and we ended up with EN A. A modest one - with an elongation of 5,7 and the number of sections as in the old kompetes. Getting into the wrong certification class always requires close attention during testing. Sometimes such devices correspond to their certification class only formally, and sometimes - noticeably less often! - correspondence turns out to be real and honest. You can imagine with what interest I took this test drive!
The Joy Two test drive began with a not-so-positive description of its concertina. Alas, the situation has not changed noticeably since then. Yes, the branded concertina became a little more comfortable, but as a whole it still does not correspond to what is inside. And inside we have a lot of interesting things today!
Ends. ParAvis is trying! Narrow 15mm tape with a huge margin of safety. Quality bearing blocks in the gas pedal wiring. Naturally, softlinks instead of metal connectors (this has been the norm for ParAvis for years). Neat lycra "stockings" that protect the softlinks from sun and abrasion. The knobs of the knobs are probably the only thing that is a bit "loaded". Huge, soft (neoprene), on magnets, with swivels... Well, everything is great, except the absurd weight. For such thin and light ends a lighter handle would be appropriate. Besides, it would be nice to replace the swivel castors with light rings and take away the abundance of red color that makes you mix up the front rows with some other ones. Otherwise it's great!
[!atGallery? &folder=`tests/paragliders/paraavis/joy3/risers` !]
Wing. I want to write something like "all modern solutions," but you can't. Because some solutions are not just modern, but new. And they are not conspicuous. The shape of the wing in comparison with Joy2 has changed slightly, but inside everything became more interesting. The elongation grew and there are more sections, but the bunch of wings coming to the pilot is amazingly thin, almost as thin as the wings of top class. It is the effect of the complex internal structure with a large number of oblique nerves and the careful selection of sling material. It is interesting, that the bottom straps, though thin, are in a braid, which is good and correct for a "school-preschool" style. The upper tiers are of course braidless. And in some places the slings of the minimal allowed diameter 0,5 mm were used, which impresses greatly in this rather modest class of technics.
Let's return, however, to the wing. More precisely to its front edge. Mindful of the "glass" problems of Joey the Second, this time ParAvis returned to the now classic lines, which do not break or pierce through the fabric. The lines form a fairly pronounced shark-nose and provide the leading edge with decent mechanical stiffness, which makes starting in doldrums and low winds much easier. The edges of unexpectedly narrow intakes have internal seams - it seems to be a trifle, but it affects aerodynamics of the whole wing. The cutting and sewing is on a very high level, as usual for ParAvis.
[!atGallery? &folder=`tests/paragliders/paraavis/joy3/takeoff`` !]
The second Joy, I recall, already had no problems with the start. And the third, surprisingly, got even better! Despite the elongation under 6 units, the machine comes out in one piece, smoothly, easily forgives typical mistakes, and locks clearly in the flight position. Tried it in a calm and pretty strong wind, no problems at all! I was very pleased with the combination of quite energetic liftoff and its natural, smooth deceleration near the flight position. Did not notice any tendency to understeer, I think that the device would be perfect for initial training when starting with the winch. The behavior of our skater on the start and "ground" is that of a real, honest EN A, who is ready to endure and endure a lot, but in the end takes off anyway. Well done!
I'm going to warn you right away, that I will compare this Joy mainly with Symphony by Hannes Papesh's new company Phi. Formally both devices have the same positioning, the same certification class and seem to compete with each other in the same market niche. The more interesting will be the result of the comparison!
[!atGallery? &folder=`tests/paragliders/paraavis/joy3/flight` !]
From the very first minutes of the first flight, the Joy Third impresses greatly! The aerodynamic quality compared to the Joy 2 is noticeably improved all over the polar, which is not surprising with the increased elongation and such an ambitious wing design. And now it's time to remember that the Joy 3 was created to compete with the "en-bashes" and not with the "en-ashes" at all. And it succeeds in it! The device is really quite competitive in the EN B class and it is very difficult to find a competitor to the new Joy. The aforementioned Phi in terms of volatility is no competitor to the Joy - the quality is noticeably lower across the entire polar, the rate of descent is slightly higher. The volatility of the Joy is such that the feeling of "training" completely disappears. The plane does not limit the pilot in any way, it is a fully flown wing, which can be flown and flown no worse than some EN C of the late 2000s. However, there is a microscopic spoonful of tinge. On the first step of gas pedal our rider adds modest 5 km/h, on a full throttle - well, 8, maybe, sometimes 10 (if the air is turbulent). Of course, in the EN A class this is quite normal result - but it's not enough for a wing that successfully challenges the 'en-backs'. Phi Symphony adds a bit more on the gas pedal - about 10-12 km/h.
The traditional Achilles' heel for EN A labeled machines. But not for the Joy III! There is not a milligram of "bluntness" in this Joy, typical of typical training apparatuses. Amazingly, though, the Joy is quite usable as a training wing! This is true for the handling, too. The response of the joystick is very interesting: adequate to the EN A label, without any sharpness or complicated transients, but surprisingly fast and accurate. Of course, to get joystick into a turn you have to work with your body and squeeze one brake really hard (about 30 cm or more). But reaction to such control, powerful and amplitude by the standards of more sport technique, will be very fast! Brake input - roll on brakes. That's it! It looks like flying in a simulator written by a lazy programmer. The turn is surprisingly easy, I've only encountered something similar in Skywalk Tequila2. But if you compare it with the Symphony by Phi, the turn is more "real", more complicated, with all the proper transitions, which already requires from the pilot a certain skill of piloting and feeling of the wing. But you can put any "dummy" on Joy, and he will cope with the turn without driving Joy into complex and even more dangerous flight modes. On the whole, I liked Joy's turn very much, especially in the thermals. Their effectiveness is more than enough for big brake strokes, and their fast and accurate response lets you work in a stream without even thinking about it, sometimes forgetting that you are flying an EN A and not something much more serious. Great!
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Comfort and informativeness
And this is where it gets not just good, but great. The Joy 3 does not feel like a product forcibly "shoved" into the EN A, it fits harmoniously into the philosophy of this class of equipment, where comfort and safety have the highest priority. During the test drive I didn't have a chance to fly in really strong conditions, but in light bumpy conditions Joy behaved in an exemplary manner. No "wiggling of the ears", not the slightest creeping of reliefs and crunching of fabric over the head. "Monolithic" and impressive even for EN A damping on all axes - that's the new Joy. With its Olympic calm, this Joy in some ways even provokes the pilot to try the machine in really difficult and harsh conditions. As an old friend of mine said, "I want to ride him at 8." The already mentioned above Symphony is more dynamic and less dampened, despite the smaller extension.
What about the informativeness? Oddly enough, it's not as bad as you'd expect from such a damped machine. Like many other quiet but informative wings, the Joy Third likes to "play" with airspeed and loads on the brackets and loose ends. The most informative is probably the change in speed. With little movement in roll, the machine accelerates smoothly near the stream and just as smoothly, delicately loses speed as it enters the core. Loads on the brakes bring relatively little information (which is probably why ParAvis has put huge knobs on the brakes, which certainly won't let you miss even small changes in handloads). The loose ends, on the other hand, are quite informative, but convey information with the same smoothness and delicacy as speed changes. It's unlikely that the Joy Third will scare its pilot even in a powerful rip-roaring thermal, but it will allow it to center itself quite well!
Dynamics and power capacity
Very good for an EN A. For a wing with an extension of 5.7 and an advanced inner structure, though, that's not surprising. Despite the ability to store and give energy in a very powerful way, it is not a problem. The mutual transitions of speed and altitude occur slowly and in the best traditions of the EN A class. Wingovers on the new Joe are excellent - powerful, amplitude, but smooth and therefore well controlled by the pilot. It is atypical for EN A. Its relatively high elongation and excellent flyability make it very easy to land the plane in pre-swoop.
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Dangerous flight modes
So much for the "apparatus shoved into EN A"! I don't think there's any "shoving" going on here. On the contrary, the "asymmetry" behavior of some machines that were originally designed as EN A is a little bit more complicated and built than Joy III. It's hard enough to fold the unit - it requires some serious physical effort and deep retraction of the A-row. If you don't persist and don't try to pull the A-row with all your might, the Joy folds by 10-15% along the chord at most, after which the A-row practically rips out of your hand and the folded part of the wing unfolds instantly. There is almost no loss of altitude - meters. Heading deviation noticeably depends on how passive the pilot is, and at honest, full passivity does not exceed 50-60 degrees. The slightest skew on the uncomplicated side noticeably reduces these already modest values. Slanted kevok... Can it really be called an oblique? About 20 degrees, and even if you try. In short, the exemplary behavior of the spherical training airplane in a vacuum. True, in our case we are not talking about a boucle at all, but the more impressive is the result!
Same story. It is very difficult to fold, but the stunner unfolds instantly, with a ridiculous loss of altitude and almost no roll. Oh, that's great!
Thermal coil breakaway
A scenario very familiar from other manufacturers' training blimps. Even by the standards of the EN A class, the brake travel is long, making the machine more sensitive to brake input at higher speeds and increasing the load on your hands at the same time. As a result it is extremely difficult or even impossible to make a full undercut. The machine either falls into a steep downward spiral (because it is very difficult to dose the brake doses accurately enough) or the hands "rest" on an uncomfortably high force. I think that even a very "talented" student with untrained motor skills and strong hands would not be able to accidentally subvert the Joy Third. Great result, especially for such a flying wing!
[!atGallery? &folder=`tests/paragliders/paraavis/joy3/verbitskaya`` !]
Without a doubt, ParAavis (and the entire paragliding industry) can be congratulated on another breakthrough, with a redefinition of what is possible in the EN A class. Goodbye, "dumbwaiters" with deliberately "blunted" controls and no flyability! For a long time, EN A was the last class of wings where the safety requirements made the manufacturers deliberately worsen the handling and performance so much that the "aries" were suitable only for the initial training and "fine tuning". And full route flights on the EN A were available only in very powerful route weather. With the release of Joy the Third, the situation changes. Now full-fledged paraglider, not limiting its owner in anything, can have honest passive safety EN A, i.e. allow initial training from scratch. But careful reader might ask what about Phi Symphony? Also EN A label, also decent flying and maneuverability. But, in my opinion, these machines are not competitors to each other. And it is not about passive safety (which in both candles corresponds to EN A), and not even about efficiency (which in both candles is enough to fly good routes). It's about different "foolproofness", different ability of the wing to forgive pilot's mistakes. And this is where the Joy Three takes a confident lead over the Symphony. Paradox - it would seem that Joy only inadvertently hit EN A! But still, the demand for a pilot and the ability to forgive typical "dummies'" mistakes is much higher in Joy. That's why I can confidently recommend Joy III for learning from scratch. I would not dare to recommend the Symphony for primary training - it is more sensitive to control and the behavior of the air next to the wing, more strict and exacting to the pilot, although it behaves in dangerous modes in an exemplary manner.
Target audience? A great and not so easy question for both figureheads. Any good machine is always versatile, and the two wings being compared are no exception. However, the Joy Third, by virtue of its fantastic (by early 2018 standards) combination of flyability, passive safety, and "foolproofness," has a wider range of applicability that is slightly shifted toward initial training. The minimum flight time required is from scratch! I would say that the Joy 3 is the perfect 'club machine' for situations where you want to cover a very wide range of rider's needs from very beginner to serious sportsman with a minimum amount of wings. It's also a great "growing machine" for pilots who want to invest in a few years in advance, without sacrificing safety for the sake of flying ability. At last, you may consider Joy as an excellent "retired paraglider" for pilots who already achieved everything and have to choose high passive safety not because of lack of experience, but just because of age.
What about the Symphony? This wing was undoubtedly designed with a different ideology in mind. There is no problem with passive safety, but the responsiveness of the Symphony is somewhat out of step with the philosophy of the EN A class. That's why its envelope is a bit narrower, so it's better not to let the beginner to fly it. It won't kill or cripple, but only a more or less experienced pilot could understand such wing and make use of its excellent maneuverability and information capability. That's why I estimate the minimum flight time required for the Symphony at 20 hours. However, the best way to enjoy this wing is to fly it for those who like it for over 100 hours.
- Outstanding combination of flyability and passive safety by early 2018 standards
- Outstanding flight performance in the EN A class (minus top speed)
- Compliance with the spirit and letter of the EN A class, suitable for initial training
- Not found
- Not found
Thanks to Vyacheslav Sapronenko and the ParAvis company for providing the paraglider for the tests.
Photo: Tarasova I., Tarasov A., Verbitskaya A. / ParAAvis