Starting XC with the Advance EPSILON 9 paraglider

Such freedom of movement. it’s amazing.
we’re a long way from that but it’s still so good to be flying! so here we are, this is Combe Gibbet, it’s
early in the day and this is the first good day of the season. it’s kind of near
the end of March and I’ve waited a long time for a day like this. the UK
winter really drags on with no thermals in sight but then you suddenly get a day
like this where you’ve got crispy air and nice thermals forecast. so I’ve put
in a little route into my Syride for 100km to get to Devil’s Dyke it’s about a
hundred kays that way. I’ll see what I can do. I’m on the
advance epsilon 9 so you know what happens when we do an epsilon
review … we go cross country! I’m gonna try and fly the whole time a little bit
delayed so I’m not going to be right on it all the time
just to try and simulate a low airtime pilot on this wing because my inputs and
active flying are very fast and what that means is you don’t get much
destabilization of the wing but I’m gonna try and kind of fly a little bit
like a Numpty so you’ll see delayed responses I just want to see what the
wings gonna do and how safe it keeps me. I can already feel we’ve got really
agile handling I’m not having to use much brake at all and I can
hold onto these little bumps with just with a slight input on the brake. It
also feels quite responsive to weight shift so very nice. That makes it nicer for more
experienced pilots and a little bit more lively for somebody that’s
early on. we’ve got a little ridge here and some beautiful fields feeding
thermals up onto the hill. you want to try and get a climb here and climb up
high enough before leaving and we’re gonna go down track that way. that’s
where I’m heading for the Devil’s Dyke. it’s still a little bit early in the day to
be doing anything except just flying around so let’s just fly around and
have fun. what a beauty! This is the first good climb, I’m doing one meter a second. The Epsilon is handling beautifully it’s a really nice thermaling glider. it’s
got that sort of tight rotating turn so you don’t need a lot of brake, once you
hit that sweet spot it just winds up. It reminds me a lot of the Epsilon 8 … very
similar. I haven’t had that moment where it feels
like it’s dropping its wing tip into the thermal which I got on the 8, so I think
that’s a little bit of an improvement. it’s rolling fairly easily but it
doesn’t seem to go as far. it doesn’t need to. My inside
brake is just on the carabiner there, the top of it, and if I’m up on the outside
brake you get this very fast turn and I’m controlling it with my wheight shift,
it is responsive to that so I feel like I’m using a bit of feeling and
experience to get this really sweet fast turn but that’s very nice for thermaling. so
it’s already getting to that point where I’ve got to decide I’m going to stay
with this thermal and go cross-country with it or I’m gonna stay on the hill
and wait for something better. I think I’m sort of topping out now I’m not at
cloud base and let’s see … what’s the time? it’s only half past 10 which is very
early to be leaving the hill. at this stage I just hold on to every
little blip and I’m just delaying the decision a bit longer. I think I want
something that’s going to top up a bit higher than this. There’s the guys
going back for the hill, one pilot with me still. so now the guys are gliding back
to the hill, you can see it’s a pretty dismal glide into wind and I possibly
could go in this but it risks landing just over there. so let’s wait for the
next cycle or at least should still be working there’s no big hurry. very sinky
air here at the moment. into a little bit of lift I can see
there the glider is definitely moving on the roll axis, it’s giving me a fair amount of feedback that way, but it’s it feels like it rolls
and then it’s reaching a sort of an elastic limit, it’s not rolling and then
becoming unstable. I’m watching, at the moment I’m scanning ahead and I’m just
trying to see who’s getting any kind of solid core that I can shift over to. The core has tighened up now, requiring a
much tighter turn to stay in it That’s often a sign of when a thermal is going through an inversion layer and this might be the one that we can get away on.
The other pilots flew out of it. There’s one pilot with me. but this is something that
would interest me. I’d hold on to this it’s got punchier tighter but still 1.8
pretty good. The 777 King that I’m staying with,
we are reasonably matched. so I’m looking at
my altimeter now, it’s 620m above the hill now that’s another 200 meters above what I
got last time. starting to get close to … I could leave in this but I still think it’s a
bit early in the day. this climb has fizzled. I still think I need a little
bit more juice in the day to leave the hill. look here, this is the best part
of the countryside for thermal generation: you’ve got two really nice
big fields in front of the hill directly into the
wind direction. when you go down track you’ve got a lot of green fields and no
hills. so I’m being very conservative. if it was hot today I’d bomb off down
wind. on this kind of day I want to have my best start possible. I was just
at a height where I could have probably left the hill you know in a desperate kind of
way and gone off down that way but looking this way I could see a fairly
promising cloud and linked to the front of the launch. I think there’s something
linking that brown field and this cloud and then on my glide out I could start
seeing these guys climbing out front so that’s probably a good choice we’ll see
how it goes. I didn’t want to leave the hill
without getting up to base, getting really nicely established. I’ll
leave if I have to but I think rather top out here get established and then I
can make the choice. so there’s the climb I’m matching the other pilot’s turn
direction. that’s climbing all the way around. at this stage I’m just turning
tight and holding on to it you see this hand on the outside I don’t
really need to engage I’m just resting it there. occasionally I’ll touch the
outside to hold the glider back but it’s got a nice thermaling turn, like third
brake on the inside, a bit of weight shift into the turn, getting a nice quick
rotation. It’s starting to look like a really nice day, it’s starting to improve a little
bit on the clouds but they’re still pretty ‘pancakey’ there’s nothing really strong going up it’s fairly mild lift with a strong
inversion. I can see the smoke is going flat out in the flats so there is some sort of south westerly that has come through hmmm …. West. I’m going to slow right down, I’m in absolutely no hurry, I’m just going to try and top up Cool! So I’ve got up close to base, I’m not really at base I’d like to top up a little bit more but that’s often what happens in
these sort of conditions, the thermals aren’t enough to push you right up to
base so I’m gliding along to look for the thickest part of the cloud just to
try and get a last little bit of a boost before going on glide. and I’m now
looking ahead I’ve got to try and pick out my route. I’d really like to get to
another cumulus that’s building. there’s a little bit of lift there. so I’m trying to top-up but as you can see
it’s just a little broken gust, there’s nothing really lifting I want to try and
glide to you the next building cumulus. maybe that side. let’s try that. you can see how responsive this epsilon is, super responsive on turns. That guy’s got a little
bit of a climb there. this is … down wind is like that, to get through the airspace
I’ve got to go to about there. so somewhere in between the two, I look for
a climb. looks like he’s got to climb there and I would also think maybe that
little cloud. It looks to me like something forming just over here so I’ll
veer towards that way and maybe get that little bit of lift. That worked nicely. So I glided across to this cloud I’ve been working slow lift
to get up to cloud base again. I’m still not getting quite up to cloud base.
The chap on the 777 King has glided off. I’m not going to be
tempted to race and keep up, I’m just going to be very conservative and just
try and work to get up this last little bit before I go on my transition.
there’s somebody that’s catching me up from behind but that’s alright. I’ve got a
long way to go. it’s quite nice having company on a glide on a cross-country
like this over the flats it’s important to remember it’s not a race,
because the natural reaction is to want to like keep your place and go go go but
this is slow flying. I’ve got 1,100 meters clearance on the
ground so it’s a nice bit of height, I’ve got a steady base wind, sunshine and I’m
on track to my goal which is a hundred K’s lovely stuff! it’s so good to get out.
Ahh, that feeling of freedom … nothing like it! that’s where we are headed we’re up here with the sailplanes
and now I’ve got a little transition to make that way let’s find another cloud. We
can just keep dolphining along this line, this is wonderful! I’ve got an Enzo
there on the side of me here, I think it’s an Enzo not a Zeno, so I’m, ah, beating him, arrr! Not for long, he’s going to come gliding past but that’s cool, I can use him to show me where the next lift is. down there somewhere. So nice to be flying. AHA! It’s been a long time. hey you beauty! right I’m on a glide now that I’m
a little bit more concerned about I’m now 500 meters above the ground I’m
going that way, the sky has gone fairly blue. I’ve still got a kind of
following wind, I’m seeing some signs of a little bit of sea breeze air
pushing in that way but it still looks okay but I’m getting low and I’ve got a long
glide now but not very active sky ahead of me. where do I go in this lot?
not so easy. I’m gonna take a line slightly this way
so I can jump past the forest but I really need a climb it looks like that’s
me done. yeah coming into land. I think this is Liss. I think I’ve been here before. got a bit of wind coming in. I’ll set up over
here away from the trees. let’s check the wind strength out. It seems
to be okay coming in. Let’s go to the back of my field here, use up my height so
I’ve got a nice overshoot amount. let’s check out my walk out first,
there’s a railway line. pointing into wind. Legs down nice and early, that’s
the way to get your landing gear down and then just popping down
here … touchdown! there we go, down in Liss. What a pity, I was trying to get to Devils Dyke but that just went quiet on me. I don’t know
really where I could have found the lift. that’s the game. nice flight!
So nice to get out and get up. I can see somebody up over there under a cloud so
it’s possible to get a bit further. tricky. I can hear some little Kestrel
calling up there. That was sweet. so nice to get up to cloud base and get going. so
yeah, I’ve just got to get to the train station now, catch a train and I can get
a ride from there back home. ha look at these guys! they are climbing out from the field where I
landed. Let’s just check that we’re on the right road here. yeah that’s into Liss. right, that’s the way back home. I spotted it from the air so I chose to land quite close to the station. it’s
about a 15 minute walk. all right so what about the epsilon? very nice to fly. I
think it felt nicer on the larger size. I was kind of middle of the weight range
on that and I thinkmiddle of the weight range is a nice place. when I
was right at the top of the weight range or just over, it felt a little bit too
reactive so you had to kind of work to keep it level because it was so reactive
and responsive and the turns are so quick but in the bigger size, lovely. it’s
very nice it doesn’t feel too reactive I think, I was putting in tight turns
sometimes and it doesn’t go too far, it’s very easy to
get tight turns but equally it does have a balanced feeling about it. it doesn’t
wind into a turn too quickly. so that’s its strong point I
think, for thermaling, the way that you can really whip around in a
very tight circle. that gives you an advantage over the other gliders, I think.
anything with a high aspect ratio and a long flat turn, you can just come and whip up inside and wind up in the core so on punchy days you’ve got an advantage. obviously when I’m going on glide I’m
wanting you know … if I’m on bar and I want glide you can notice the difference
between a B glider and an Enzo let’s say
there’s definitely a difference but within the B Class I think it’s very
competitive. It’s very easy to fly, certainly not a demanding wing but
also I think it’s a bit much for a beginner that has just come fresh out of
school, unless you are really talented. Let’s pick up a snack before the train. Alright I grabbed the lunch stuff, just got to
get onto the train, get the 1529 which is in ten minutes. here we are waiting
for the train to go by. Let’s go get a ticket other side of the line tickets so the one that I could get to
is Guildford one way 10 pounds it’s pretty expensive that’s
just to save half an hour of driving for my family. there’s the ticket. That’s the other train, going the other way Idon’t want to go on that one it’s gonna take me down to the coast. so the epsilon 9, on launch: super
easy, as expected. I mean it’s a low B there, very easy handling, comes up
really nicely. actually in strong wind if you just let go and you lean back and
you can just pull it up with all the risers basically even then, you don’t get
the acceleration. It comes up overhead and it doesn’t want to dive ahead of you,
it’s very calming and gets rid of the energy. I tried to pull up fast to kind of
over accelerate it and it was just in strong wind it was coming up and
stopping beautifully so very easy there it’s gonna help you it also floats up
from the ground reasonably well it doesn’t drop back so you’ve got time to
pull it up it’s very easy and simple I found in strong winds that the tips
tended to want to come up and you’ve got to be fairly aggressive to hold the wing
down but apart from that absolutely perfect you know really really nice and
easy and simple on the ground so launches top marks I don’t think he
could do much more for getting a glider to launch nicely run off and flying arts
felt very easy in the flying while I was thermaling around I was conscious the
whole time that I was I was trying to fly with a delayed response so that I
didn’t do my active flying inputs and the glider is very forgiving in that way
it definitely doesn’t pitch too much forward it has limited energy but
there’s quite a bit of movement and I felt that might be a bit unsettling for
a first-timer so I would suggest that you want to get the Alpha first as your
first wing and then this is the second wing, which is the way it’s designed and
you kind of need to look at the range of a manufacturer to work out where the
wing you’re looking at is placed. The epsilon 9 is placed perfectly between
the Alpha and the Iota so you’ve got a fairly good performing wing
in the Alpha you know, you can actually fly across country on that and get going
and fly, it gives you some feeling and feedback so
this is a step up from that. it’s not a basic beginner wing it’s more for
pilots that have got natural finesse if if we’re talking about somebody that’s
just coming out of school they need to be the top 25% of students you know the
ones that have got talent, you think yeah you can bypass the first step and go onto
the second. equally for pilots that have got some experience and are used to
doing active flying inputs and used to controlling the glider in turns and
corners and the therming … absolutely stress-free flying, not a problem and
quite good handling for more experienced pilots because of the very responsive turns.
It has quite quick and reactions so if you’re doing the right input at the right time,
man, you get a really responsive glider that can give you that thermaling turn,
that really tight rotating turn in a thermal which is fantastic. but just
don’t step onto this wing too early it will give you a lot of quick reactions,
quick responses that you might not be ready for if you’re a beginner. when you
match yourself with the right sort of experience probably I’m gonna say about
50 hours to a 100 hours, that sort of band as a first-timer on the wing, and if
you’ve got some thermic experience, you’ve flown in thermals a bit and you’re used to the glider moving around and you can control that then you’ve got a
sweet glider, really lovely. it’s nice to fly, gives you that quick easy response
without a lot of brake pressure needed and fairly forgiving as well. I just flew
about 50 km I suppose, today, on the first day of the UK season I only landed because of my route choice. It
wasn’t the glider. I should have gone across to some lift source, I chose a bad
line … boom! I’m on the ground. The glider was helping me in thermals when I
was filming with other pilots I felt I had a slight advantage because I could turn so tightly inside everybody. so a very nice wing for
progressing in cross-country flying.

41 thoughts on “Starting XC with the Advance EPSILON 9 paraglider

  1. Paraglider review, instructional video, flying vlog, or just hanging out in the sky? We've combined the best to make this long form documentary for keen pilots.

  2. Greg, your paraglider reviews are awsome and i always enjoy watching them, especialy cross country flights. Good job.

  3. Haven't been able to fly so this helped take care of some of the anxiety ๐Ÿ™‚ I liked the flight/vlog mix and the review overall. What harness are you using?

  4. Thanks for sharing Greg, I've asked for longer videos and you delivered!! Really appreciated! Greetings from Brazil!

  5. So nice video. Thanks a lot for your amazing work. It fills the heart of wheater grounded paraglider looking for the next flight possibility

  6. That looked epic especially the shots when you were close to cloud base. Quiet too. WHen I fly I need to wear ear defenders.
    Paramotor pilot here:)

  7. Always great to have your clear, concise and considered observations rather than ambiguous opinions. You are a great communicator

  8. An all-round very successful video. The whole mix of XC flying, Vlog, instructions and the glider review was very entertaining. You can learn lots of your videos and I like as you share your thoughts during the flight. Just great. Thank you very much.

  9. I really appreciate your videos where it's more of a stream of consciousness while you're flying. As a low air time pilot whose creeping into XC, it is really valuable to be "inside your head" and be a part of your decision-making process. I can read all the books, but that isn't the same as being along for the ride when you're actually making these decisions. So thank you, and please keep them coming! Question: When you're gliding downwind, are you on bar? Does it depend on whether you're going for distance versus trying to stay high?

  10. Greg, thx again for another amazing educatieve film! How do you ge your voice so crisp clear without Windy noice? Are u using an external mic?

  11. Awesome flight! I used to fly in Cape Town in the early nineties and when I see this I'm super tempted to fly again

  12. Love the foot adventure after landing! Just getting back is an adventure in its self! From hitch hike, trains,, buses or just trying to get one of your friends to come pick you up. Might just be me but I like the extras! Greg you are awesome, keep them adventures coming!

  13. Again a PERFECT & SOLID video made by one of the best. Thank you very much for sharing ! (question: where is that place you always fly??)

  14. Brilliant Greg!! You show how important it is just to be patient, and just return to the hill to wait for that second/third/fourth thermal to take you high. I really liked the honest story of the out landing (something which has caught me out in the past) and the DIY retrieve! All part of the game!

  15. Hi Greg, I have a small random question for you or for anyone who wants to answer. Why the lower attachment point of the risers(the part of the risers where you hook in with the carabiners) on some wings are wide(like in the Epsilon 9 in this video) or thin(like in a iota2)? One reason is maybe to save some weight for the construction, but apart from that, I don't understand why they are one way(wide) or the other(thin)? Cheers and you do a fantastic!!!! job with your videos!!!!

  16. Hu mr fly bubbles. Question for ya. My first glider was the epsilon 6. I bought it used with the harness for only 800$, it was an amazing deal. I learned on this wing and it was truly a dream to fly. I sold it months ago and am in the market for a new glider. I am looking at th gin atlas 2. I have flown the gin bolero 6, the epsilon 6, an easy โ€œAโ€ apco (terrible glider) … you have a review of both the epsilon 9 and the atlas 2, i would love your input
    My joys are ridgesoaring all day every day… no desires for acro, purely ridgsoaring with a possibility of xc. Im a leisure pilot. Easy going!
    Thanks for doing what you do

  17. Thanks for a great video. Actually I bought the Advance Epsilon 9 after seen your reviews:) @3:42, are you flying with brake on left hand?

  18. enjoy watching, thank s , for this video , i am on the groud because i have a accident of paragliding, and cross xc missed me

  19. Is it possible to buy the paramotor risers and convert the standard paraglider with standard risers in to the paramotor variant?

  20. Great great video..
    Epsilon 9 seems to be really good for starting my Xc carrier, planning to buy it.
    But little bit confused between Buzz Z6/ Tequila 5 / Epsilon 9.
    I have 50 flight hrs till yet.

    Any advice?

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