Paraglider Review: What’s so special about the Supair STEP?


[Carlo] So I’ve flown the STEP a few times now. Today was a really good day, good thermals
and some quite choppy conditions, it was a good test. It definitely is a high B glider,
and does fit really nicely into the range between the LEAF and the TASKA. It’s like
a high B version of the TASKA. Definitely feels related to me, and in a really
good way. I really like the TASKA, I think it climbs really well, and they’ve kept
that with the STEP, seems to climb really really well from what I can see. It feels very reassuring, it’s not moving around, it doesn’t pitch about , it’s
quite steady above your head, and the feedback is definitely not active, it doesn’t sort
of talk at you lots, it doesn’t jump around it’s quite mellow in its feeling, but at
the same time it gives you good feedback. They’ve managed to make it, although it
feels very easy and you don’t have to keep holding it back, you can let it go and … I
think it flies better like that, if you just let your hands up let it fly, it doesn’t
have a tendency to want to go in front of you and need to be held back it’s kind of
let it fly and then it flies really nicely like that. And both Nancy and I are finding
that you can really turn it tightly, when we were flying with other gliders. Sometimes
with others you feel like ‘come on (glider), round you go’ .. with this I’m feeling
like that about the other people, it’s like ‘come on, come on, come on, round you go’
. I was able to turn safely inside other people because they seemed to be doing wider turns.
I think that was a little bit because the thermals were pushing you out a bit, with
the wind, so it’s particularly important, with those windy thermals, it’s really important
to push forward into them, get right to the good bit, and then turn quickly, and if you
don’t you just get pushed out of the side. With the STEP I felt like I could really turn
right on the bit I wanted to. What were you finding, Nancy?
[Nancy] Yeah, I found the same. I could turn really beautifully, and I could actually get
it to do a nice spirally type turn if I wanted to as well. I was chasing you around, chasing
Greg around, and I was thinking ‘oh, I can actually pull a little bit more and get a
nice bank on the turn’ and that was lovely. [Greg] So it is banking, it’s not a very
flat turn? It let’s you hook in the corner if you want to?
[Nancy] It seems, yeah, it seems to be able to do both.
[Carlo] Yeah it’s not rolly, but it’s not very flat either, so they’ve got a balance
between those things so you can … I felt as well when I was going into the thermals,
there were some quite good bits like 3 metres a second today, and also quite punchy, like
from not good to oof! There’s the good bit. And you needed to turn quickly on it, and
I could do that, you could pull the brake and it responded and went round, rather than
some gliders might hang back or you try and push them and they just go into a diving turn,
this, the STEP turns really nicely and kept efficient as well, so that was good.
[Nancy] I had a really time out with you guys, that was a special thermal! I found that it was climbing really well, I was keeping up with other glider really
well, and certainly when I went on glide, I flew with a Nova Phantom, and on bar .. I
was flying the Small STEP at the high end of it, I checked my all up weight and I was
right at the top of the weight range with the Delight 3 etcetera, so yeah, it was interesting
that I was as high as everyone but still performing and climbing with you well and certainly had
the speed, the speed was good, but yeah I didn’t feel like I was losing out on performance.
I wouldn’t have said that I was right at the top on it.
[Carlo] Interestingly I was flying the Medium STEP and I’m flying it a bit above the middle
of the weight range, and it doesn’t feel … that feels fine on it as well, and I flew
the Small also similarly loaded and it seemed to cope well with being in different parts
of the weight range. You know you get the expected differences but it seemed to be .. you
know sometimes you change your place in the weight range of a glider and … thanks for
the shade … and they don’t cope with it so well, so
it seemed to cope with that really nicely. There were points where I was tightening up
hard (in a turn) and I was thinking hmm, how is it going to behave here, and it just behaved
really nicely. [Nancy] Yeah, well I certainly felt like I
got good bank on the turns but it wasn’t like I was losing out, I could feel like I
wanted to tighten up and it was giving me that nice wingtip edge I was looking for,
thinking yeah I’m going round and I’m going up nicely but yeah getting that really
nice bank on the glider. [Greg] Where would you pitch it, Nancy, like
what sort of pilot? Who is your ideal pilot for it?
[Nancy] Somebody definitely wanting a ‘high’ B, it’s got the performance, but it’s
also got that reassurance about it, reassuring feel, so it’s not a chatty wing, if I compare
it to other wings that I know that are a bit more chatty, this is .. it’s got that reassuring
feel but not being dull and boring, I don’t mean dull and boring reassuring, I mean comfortable.
So somebody looking for reassurance but with very good performance.
[Carlo] I’d place the STEP in the high B bracket (XC Class) I’d put the STEP in the
middle of that high B bracket in terms of pilot demands and also feedback and how comfortable
the glider is, it’s a very comfortable glider .. but actually the performance feels like
it’s very good in the class. So I guess only when somebody is really looking for a
very dynamic glider that gives lots of feedback and they want something with lots of energy,
then they might need to look at the C class (Sports class) … however, in cross country
flying I’m sure the STEP is going to be a very capable glider, for doing great cross
country flights, I’m really looking forward to doing some nice cross country flights on
it. I’m really enjoying flying it, it’s got
a really nice feel about it. It’s great to have … some pilots say ‘oh,
they want gliders that move and jump around a lot’ … I like a glider that has feedback
but I don’t want something that just jumps and moves around a lot, you know, that just
adds to your workload, you know, when you’re flying in strong conditions, really active
stuff, you don’t really want that. And the STEP is really nice for that. I can see they’re
thinking about pilots who are flying in the Alps as well as in the flatlands, you know,
you’ve got the sink rate for flying in the flatlands, it’s got that climb rate, but
it’s got the comfort for when you’re flying in the Alps, it’s not a glider that is leaping
and jumping around. Groundhandling is very easy, actually it’s
got a nice progressive launch but it doesn’t do that whipping up where it catches you out,
we were definitely launching in some thermic conditions, the wind was coming through, and
I was sort of expecting that you might have that situation where the glider overflies
you and you get plucked … no plucking today! It came up really progressively and almost
slightly, it stops just behind, and then it nudges in. Just a little bit of control. It
definitely requires a little pilot input to keep it steady, but yeah very easy on the
launch and I was very comfortable with it as well.
[Carlo] Did you feel like in a really light wind you needed to make sure you just hold
onto the risers just a little bit, to make sure it comes up. But in the stronger conditions
nice that it sort of doesn’t whip, doesn’t have any whip in it, it comes up and it’s
easy to control. [Nancy] I love the wing for the handling,
and the performance was certainly keeping me happy, and I had a great first cross country
flight on it so that gives me a great feeling of the wing and it’s fun, and performing
well, and reassuring at the same time. [Carlo] For pilots looking to get into cross
country flying and are stepping up (pardon the pun) from a low B or wanting to step up
into the B class or are in the B class already and are just looking for a glider that climbs
really well and has a very comfortable feeling that’s got very agile handling … that’s
the STEP.

8 thoughts on “Paraglider Review: What’s so special about the Supair STEP?

  1. We really enjoyed flying the STEP. Coming soon: Delight 3 review. Boost our video output by joining us on https://www.patreon.com/flybubble

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