If I had to buy a wing today - 2017/11/1
© 2000 by Jérôme Daoust ( E-mail )

You can help / Tu peux aider


Definitions:
      "Low B" wing: Rated EN B, but manufacturer says suitable for student or new pilot.
      "High B" wing: Rated EN B, but manufacturer indicates NOT suitable for student or new pilot.

EN
I would get a...
Criterion
Low B
  1. Nova / Ion 4
    Availability: February 2016.
    Unsheathed line: Top-level only.
    Special packing: No, use any method.
    Claim to fame: Relaxing, good performance, lighter than most.
  2. Ozone / Buzz Z5
    Availability: December 2015.
    Unsheathed line: Top-level only.
    Special packing: Concertina recommended.
    Claim to fame: Relaxing, good performance.
  3. Gradient / Golden 5
    Availability: November 2017.
    Unsheathed line: Top-level only.
    Special packing: TBD.
    Claim to fame: Relaxing, good performance.
Low minimum sink rate, max L/D, accelerated glide.
Good handling for thermalling, ignoring acro-ability.
Good collapse resistance and recovery.
Must have a regular (mostly sheathed) line set.
Durable fabric (not light weight designed for hiking).
Mid B
  1. Triple Seven / Knight
    Availability: Since June 2017.
    Unsheathed line: Top-level only.
    Special packing: Unknown.
    Claim to fame: Relaxing, high EN B performance.
High B
  1. Nova / Mentor 5
    Unsheathed line: Top and C.
    Special packing: No, use any method.
    Handling: Unknown.
  2. Skywalk / Chili 4
    Unsheathed line: TBD.
    Special packing: No, use any method (source).
    Handling: Better than Chili 3 (source).
  3. Ozone / Rush 4
    Unsheathed line: Top and Mid level.
    Special packing: Yes, concertina.
    Handling: OK.
EN-B comparisons, Ziad Bassil.
Low minimum sink rate, max L/D, accelerated glide.
Good handling for thermalling, ignoring acro-ability.
Good collapse resistance and recovery.
Must have a regular (mostly sheathed) line set.
Avoid need to fold with a specific method to protect leading edge.
Durable fabric (not light weight designed for hiking).

Why do I maintain this table?
Because I am often asked "What would you buy?" and I can simply refer to this page. This should only be considered as a starting point for your own selection process. It corresponds to what I would buy for myself, without considering the purchase price. I may choose to gamble on a wing I have not yet flown. My selection process is not influenced by the advertisers or people making donations. I reserve the right to change my mind at any time (men can do that too). Unsheathed line versions are not represented for a fair comparison of base models.

What should a new pilot get?
EN
Consideration...
EN
A <--No     Learned to reverse kite (10+ seconds) in 8 hours?     Yes-->
<--No     75% success rate at forward launches?     Yes-->
<--No     65% success rate at reverse launches?     Yes-->
<--No     Will fly 4+ times a month (stay current)?     Yes-->
<--No     Will avoid rough part of the day by 30+ minutes?     Yes-->
<--No     Flying site is often windy and LZ not close?     Yes-->
<--No     You do your "own thing", not eager to "show off"?     Yes-->
Low B
Notes:
1) An EN A wing will not compensate for poor judgement (assessment of risk) and make you safe.
2) You can do most things with an EN A wing, only occasionally get frustrated with reduced penetration (and glide) into a headwind, needed if it gets windy and your LZ is far.
3) If you do choose to get an EN A wing, then forget about getting "the best", just get the least expensive one, because nobody will care about its performance when you re-sell it.
4) There is a bigger financial profit on an EN-A wing for the person selling it to you, hopefully that is not motivating their recommendation.
5) If you are buying your first wing, make an effort to buy it from your instructor (unless you don't like him), instead of having an unrelated sales person profit.

See also: