EN B / LTF 1-2
The development of the ION took quite some time. Its predecessor, the ROOKIE, is a very safe and forgiving glider characterised by good performance and pleasant handling. There are currently around 2500 pilots flying the ROOKIE because of these qualities.
The ROOKIE has raised the bar for the ION and it took a lot of development and testing work to finally get the safety, handling characteristics and performance which we wanted for a successor to the ROOKIE. During this development process, we built and tested many prototypes with different aerofoils, plan forms and line setups.
If you fly in turbulent conditions, you will immediately notice the directional stability through bumpy air. This is mainly a result of the changed line setup (just one unsuspended centre cell, instead of three). This also helps in thermals, because the pilot isn’t pushed out of a strong thermal core. In combination with the very responsive brake, thermalling the ION is very relaxed and easy.
Flying accelerated is very easy and we have considerably improved the accelerated behaviour: The ION is faster at maximum speed than its predecessor, with greater stability. The wing deforms less in bumpy air, which leads to higher performance. for XC flights, which cannot usually be taken for granted on a “Low Level 1-2” glider. This makes it quite efficient to use the speed bar.
The ION is well within the EN B/LTF 1-2 class, so maintaining this category has never been a concern during development. We were aiming to reach the safety level of the ROOKIE, or even improve upon it.
We were successful in this objective and are very happy with the ION’s safety performance. It performed well in tests and certification as the collapse behaviour is very forgiving. The wing doesn’t tend to collapse over a large-area and reopens quickly without impulsiveness. This soft collapse behaviour is beneficial as hard collapses and "explosive" reopening frightens many pilots and leads to instability.
To reach and test this soft collapse behaviour we forced many collapses and, more importantly, undertook numerous flights in very turbulent conditions to check the results in more realistic scenarios. We understand that it’s how the glider behaves in real situations rather than test conditions that matters to the pilot.
The ION inherited the safety of a long brake travel before stall from the ROOKIE, but the ION’s considerably improved handling characteristics make it even more unlikely for a pilot to brake too much and accidentally induce a stall.
The greatest strength of the ION lies in its impressive climbing performance. The wing can be turned very slow and tight, which allows the pilot to use small thermals efficiently. Thanks to the precise handling characteristics, it is easy to increase or decrease the bank. The combination of efficient and relaxed thermalling is without equal.
In terms of glide ratio the ROOKIE already raised the bar for “Low Level 1-2” gliders. Due to the increased dimensional stability of the canopy the ION has even improved upon this, especially in turbulent air.
In accelerated flight the performance is quite appealing if you use about half the travel of the accelerator. Furthermore, the ION is very stable in accelerated flight which makes it quite attractive for cross country flights.
The following attributes have been changed, compared to the ROOKIE, its predecessor:
- Changed airfoil on the outer wing: this leads to less brake pressure and to a more agile turning behaviour
- Number of cells: due to the changed suspension geometry, the ION has 37 cells. (c.f. ROOKIE 39)
- Modified shape of cell openings: to increase pressure inside the wing
- Shorter lines: the pilot is closer to the wing and thereby feels more connected to the glider – especially in turns. Ground handling and take-off behaviour is also improved.
- Integrated vector band: Like on the FACTOR and TRITON we use an integrated vector band on the bottom sail at the cell openings to maximise the dimensional stability in this critical area.
- Changed brake geometry: we have improved the turning behaviour considerably with the new brake setup. Despite the large available brake travel, the ION can be piloted very precisely with relatively small brake input.
- Greater accelerator travel: this leads to higher maximum speed
- Changed suspension in the centre wing: this leads to a more stable behaviour in turbulence.
- Split A-risers with magnet fixation: for more clarity at take-off.
- New brake pulleys with a higher mounting on a short band: this allows better ergonomics
- Dirtholes on the stabilo: for removing dirt easily
- Labelled risers for B-Stall and Ears: to avoid dangerous mistakes in stressful moments
What stayed the same:
- The very high safety level
- The super efficient big-ears due to the two stem lines.
- The large brake travel and the small minimum speed.
- The ION is a Low-level 1-2 paraglider which is suitable for beginners as well as experienced pilots in search of maximum safety and minimum stress.
- The NOVA ION is at the forefront of modern paraglider development: it gives performance and handling which was until recently the exclusive territory of much higher classed gliders.
- The ION stands out due to its agile handling, superb thermalling and benign collapse and recovery characteristics.
further information about the pilot's profile
LTF/EN test reports: