Thursday, February 26, 2009

Slovenia part 2 and first flights with new Triton in Canada

Today I received my last missing bag. First thing was to unpack the Milka chocolate and Hariboo Gummibears. Second was to weigh the new wing. Guess how heavy the light version of the Triton 24 (large) is? 7, 6, 5 or 4 kg... It is just a bit over 5kg, exactly 5.1 kg. Well done Peter (manager for Nova productions), this is very light for a large glider.

Back to Slovenia, we had ideal conditions every day with about 10 km wind at launch and great soarable conditions mixed with some light thermals. We could climb up to 1400 m asl and flew up to 35 km x-country. I am not sure what kind of connections Brigitta and Dusan are having, but they seam to be working very well and we had great flights every day. By the way, the Nova Pilot team has a Photo Gallery and we have a lot of pictures about the meet at

One mistake I did going to Slovenia, was not taking my harness. As you all know, only change one part of the equipment and not all. So, at my first flight, I used the new "Globe" harness from Charly on my new Triton and it was kind of hard to have a real first impression about the wing.
Here is what I experienced. The Triton handles very nice with a short break travel and average break pressure. Launching is very easy, it thermals very well in light conditions and where the Triton really stands out, is the speed. It seams to glide best with little speed bar on and the faster you fly it does not seam to sacrifice to much on glide. Also an important fact is that the large Triton is only a EN "C" (for those who are not pilots, it means it is rated for intermediate and not for expert pilots). It only has a couple C's in not important flight characteristics (at least for me). Overall, the rest is either A's or B's (even accelerated). Now my Triton is build with extra light material making the wing even more tame and this makes the Triton in my eyes the perfect wing for the x-alps.
While testing in Slovenia, the only part I did not like to much is that the wing likes to get out of the bank after about 2 turns. We figured that this is due the stable harness and the Triton needs input with the seat board to stay within the turns. I also had the opportunity to fly the "Factor". What a great wing that is. It handles like a toy. Light break pressure and the wing can entirely be flown with the break lines, in other words you can use a stable harness and still have excellent handling characteristics. It seams that the Factor and Triton are performing the same in trim speed and in thermals. The main difference between the Factor and Triton is when you start using the speed bar. All I can say, both wings are a absolute wow. Well done Hannes.

While writing the blog, the weather seam to improve and checking the wind at Panorama ski resort, it did not look as bad as forecasted at NavCanada. So I packed my skies, the new Triton, my Apco AirChair and a medium "Sky" reversable harness from Jeff. First I flew with the Apco AirChair and wow, the handling is great and just as expected. Second flight I did with the "Sky" harness and the handling is excellent as well. The only difference is that you sit a bit more upright then with the apco AirChair, but it also could be that the medium harness is a bit on the small side for me.
I was very happy after these flights confirming that the harness is a big part of the equipment and should never be underestimated. Can't wait to get out for some big air now.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Slovenia report Part 1

What a trip. I am still not home. I am at Penny's parents place in Calgary and have some time to write this blog. Once the City wakes up, I will have a couple meetings, some shopping to do and then back home to Invermere.
Most people would think I am crazy to travel to Slovenia for a weekend. It was not crazy at all. it was the best I could do. The only thing missing was Penny and the kids. Next time we will try to get them to come as well.

Hats up to all the Nova Team members. All you guys made this an amazing weekend. Starting from getting picked up by Mik, staying at his great place with his young family (Emila, what a cute 3 week old baby and Kristine his accommodation wife) and a comfortable drive to Slovenia and back.
Once we got there, things just got better and better. Thanks to Brigitta and Dusan who organized this great meet, job well done. There was not a boring moment at all. We where flying every day and had lots of great opportunities to socialize at launch, landing site, dinners and meetings at the hotel. Every day we could fly little x-country flight (about 25 km and more). Igor who runs the shuttle service and a kiosk place at the landing site is a very nice and funny guy serving the best Slovenian Igor Burgers. The only thing missing (and he will work on it) will be some cheer leaders at the landing site.
If you can fly, every meet is a good meet, but the best was sharing the fun with all the Nova Team members (plus 30 team members where there). I have to say, this is such a great group of people what makes flying a much better experience. The whole group is so diverse, from competition pilots, test pilots, x-country pilots, and to just for fun pilots. I have never seen such a diverse group of pilots having so much fun together. Most teams are either a local club or only competition pilots flying for one manufacture.
Nova, thanks for putting this all on, I had a blast and it was great to meet and experience in how you guys work. Watching Alex's top landings while testing new gliders, Tony Bender trying to fly with a sleeping bag (based on his face, I guess he picked up the wrong back pack and thought there was a glider in it, but you never know). The great and detailed conversations with Hannes about wings, flying and family live. Getting to know Peter (Manger of production plant) was a great experience and it makes you even more comfortable to fly a wing build by Nova as Peter strikes me as an extremely detailed and thought through person (by the way, his dad makes excellent wine). Finally I also got to meet Wolfi with his great sense of humor and Till (Public Relations) who started and maintains the "Nova Team" spirit. Well done Till and Wolfi.
I also like to say thank again to Wolfi and Hannes as it seamed they picked up all the bills for accommodations, breakfast and dinners. Thanks Nova, to give us this royal treatment and the sharp looking Goretex jackets, I will come again and the whole experience with everyone in the team makes me a very proud Nova Team member.
I will have to stop for now and will talk in the next blog about the flying site, my new wing and everything else I learned about equipment and the discussions about the x-alps.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

update and getting ready to pick up the new wing

As mentioned in the January blog, we changed my training to more gym sessions. Penny wants me to build up strength. My program is primarily leg work and some upper body work. She got me mostly on the Bosu Balance Trainer. Thanks Penny, your program already shows quite an improvement when hiking up Mt.Swansea through the snow with my toboggan (Rodel). Other then that, I ice skate 15km loops, ski (with the kids) and fly every weekend at The picture below is from the Panorama Summit take off site looking North west.

Speaking of skiing, I received a package from with new SuperFeet insoles. These insoles are a must. I am using them now for years in all my shoes and they certainly do their work. Nick also sent me their newest "Cold Weather Insoles". I am using them in my ski boots right now and they are fantastic. Thanks for sponsoring me with your great product.

Last week I got slowed down with bronchitis and my doctor put me on rest and antibiotics. To be sick is not fun, but the break from the intense training was serving me quite well.

To keep it all interesting, Penny had the romantic idea to have a toboggan race for Valentines Day. What a blast it was, we had 24 competitors, ages from 8 to 66, plus over 20 little kids doing races on the bottom of Mt.Swansea. So we raced 700 meters in elevation up the snow covered gravel road and then down on our toboggans. Thanks Brad for turning the snowed in road into a toboggan race track. We are hiking and tobogganing Mt. Swansea quite often during the winter, but it is way more fun sharing it with others. Specially when you combined it with a big potluck party.

I also like to mention that everyone should check out Tom Payne's blog. He has a great blog and he is sharing a lot of interesting information about the x-alps statistics and the route. His blog is at Thanks Tom I do appreciate your comments a lot, keep up the good work. I am really looking forward meeting you in Salzburg. By the way, Tom's supporter is our Canadian fellow Alex Raymond.

Now it is getting time to get ready for Slovenia. I will be leaving Wed (Feb 18th) to Calgary and then to Munich. In Munich I will be picked up by Mik (Team Nova Pilot) and then we are on our way to the annual Nova team meeting in Nova Gorica, Slovenia. Besides the meeting, we will have a chance to try all the new wings from Nova. I also will have the opportunity to meet a lot of great x-country pilots in person who are already helping me with the route planning. And to top it all off, I will receive my light Triton I will use for the x-alps. Thanks a lot guys I am very excited and can't wait to meet you all.
By the way, it was Penny's idea that I should join the Nova Pilots meet. Thanks Penny, I am very lucky to have you as my supporter, trainer, future wife and mother of my kids. You rock.