a success story
The story of the NOVA firm is a tale of unexpected success. When the company was founded it was initially thought possible to deliver perhaps 100-200 gliders annually in the area. NOVA now has 120 employees and sells 20 times this original estimate through an international sales network covering 35 countries. NOVA is now THE leading brand of paraglider, which through innovative products and totally worked out design concepts has made a significant contribution to the development of our sport.
The first year
NOVA stepped boldly into the paragliding scene with the CXC. The first prototype design from Hannes Papesh was sewn together by hand in his small apartment, and tested on the local practice hill. The CXC is a high performance glider with homologation 2-3.
Nova didn't have it's own sewing factory or workshops at this time. The provisional office was at Wolfgang Lechner's home, and the depot in his cellar. Uncompleted patterns were worked out by Hannes on the computers at Innsbruck University and sent out directly from the plotter, which still left a lot to be completed by hand. This year the best pilots in the world met in Kössen for the first World Championship.
The first success
After the CXC came the TREND, which passed DHV testing with the best certification after an exhaustive development process. Surprisingly, the performance of this glider was so remarkable that Hannes designed the first prototype of the PHANTOM using the same profile. Toni Bender, Michi Hange and Wolfgang Lechner are the NOVA test-pilots.
The year of the PHANTOM
The high performance NOVA PHANTOM triggered a wave of enthusiasm in the spring of 1991: never had there been a paraglider with this type of smooth topsail and sophisticated shape. The PHANTOM didn't only look good, it was good: NOVA achieved important status in competitions, and sales reached an unexpected high. Urs Haari is the first to fly over 200km: World record!
NOVA becomes an established name in Japan.
The first hurdles
The PHÖNIX was set to follow the same pattern of success as the PHANTOM: same shape, same profile, but with less cells and a homologation rating of 2. After a very good beginning, there are a few difficulties with this plan and we can only satisfy our customers with a redesigned model:
the PHÖNIX U.
The PHÖNIX eventually earns an honourable name for itself and the PHÖNIX 100 rises out of the ashes: new profile, new trim, new and funny design. This glider becomes a leader in the intermediate class. All the hard work undertaken in the development of high performance wings brings its rewards: with the SPHINX, NOVA can now build on its image as a leading designer in the field of competition and high performance paragliders.
Mike Küng joins the NOVA test team. Walter Holzmüller wins the worldcup in Gstaad with NOVA's first diagonal ribbed prototype, and takes part at the PWC in Verbier.
With the production of the PHOCUS, the NOVA team realised a much admired minimal design concept in the field of intermediate class paragliders: no glider had wider cells, easier construction, less lines or better performance. The NOVA development team starts work on the PHILOU and the XENON. Jimmi Pacher becomes the European champion and also the wins the World Cup. NOVA is awarded the PWC "Constructors Prize" and 4 NOVA pilots were in the first 9 at the European championship in Slovenia.
Up and away
The first year had little time to test the new wings at the world championships in Japan in February, for the rest of the season everybody in the NOVA competition team flies up and away. The Xenon pilots gathered double the amount of points in the PWC team compared to the rest. Due to its high top speed and sensational performance, the AFNOR homolgated serial competition XENON proved to be by far the best glider of the season. This type of dominance will not be repeated.
In summer NOVA presented the DHV 1 rated wing PHILOU, which immediately became a permanent success, setting new standards in safety and stability.
Still not enough: The XYON (DHV 2-3) is added to the production series in the autumn. Jürgen Kraus joins the test team.
The year of the XYON
The XYON is the star of the season. This glider showed its potential in the first flights made during the winter. The XYON has the same diagonal rib construction as big brother XENON, and therefore the same power to frighten its competitors. These days there are no gliders to match the soaring sales achieved, or in such a short time establish itself as a world-wide reference in the high performance sector of the market. Today, pilots are still praising the XYON's perfect feedback and direct handling. Finally after spending a long time on development, the AXON (DHV 2) arrives in the autumn. The NOVA competition team again wins many prizes, and also the Construction World Cup. The year of the XYON: 1996
Concentration on the intermediate class
With the AXON, NOVA manages to produce an intermediate glider with high performance and equally high safety standards. NOVA now has a strong line-up of gliders, the XYON as high performer, the AXON as intermediate and the
PHILOU for beginners. As a result, sales figures are even better than the year before. At the same time the NOVA development team is already working on the successor to the XYON, and on a new DHV 1-2 glider. At the World Championships in Spain, Walter Holzmüller initially held an incredible lead with the first X-PERT, unfortunately slipping back in the last race to land in fifth place overall. For many, he was the true winner at these championships.
. . . Back to the roots
In the springtime NOVA organised a survey amongst pilots of all classes which confirmed the finding that many were most pleased with simple trouble-free flights. This result is reflected in the construction of the X-ACT. All-round excellent qualities of handling and safety, particularly in slow flight, ensure another success story for this year. The VERTEX confirms itself as a stable high-performance glider (DHV 2/3).
Peter Lüthi wins the Pre-European championships with the X-PERT serial glider and also wins the World Cup, while the NOVA competition team is once again very successful.
Mike Küng leaves NOVA and joins the German hangliding association as a test pilot. Mario Eder and Claudia Hassler join the team.
In all, Hannes designed more than 50 prototypes this year. For the first time specially written computer programs in combination with professional simulation techniques, are used to calculate multiple design parameters, optimise the profile shaping, and automatically produce the sail patterns. The cutting data is sent via the Internet to the factory computers in southern Hungary. In the workshop a special team transfers the patterns onto the fabric, and the glider is finished within a week.
The big anniversary
Nova is 10 years old! The world championchip takes place in Bramberg and NOVA is the main sponsor. During that event a big birthday party is organized with all members (and former members) of the NOVA team.
The development team was finishing the X-RAY: a low level DHV 2 wing with exceptional safety and surprisingly high performance.
In the DHV 1 class the PHELIX was demonstrating that a safe glider can be very fast.
The Competition wing KRYPTON helped Christian Heinrich to win the World Championship in Bramberg. The very bad weather (2 weeks rain) prevented an official title. Miyuki Tanaka flew the X78-20 a very interesting wing with a new generation of airfoils. This was the basis of later high performance wings.
Waiting for the final approach of the leading gaggle on the landing field a very small spectator gets the first impressions of a paragliding competition. - maybe the inizialisation of a new designer generation?
Mario proved himself as a very competent and engaged test pilot. Jürgen and Claudia left the team.
The new millenium began with a lucky strike: we were able to finish the development of the ARGON over winter, after the development went into the wrong direction during the season before. The ARGON followed the tradition of NOVA high perf. gliders: it has an excellent performance, is very fast and still safe. The ARGON C was the first DHV certified glider with unsheeted Kevlar lines in all levels. It was the performance reference in it's class for a long time.
End of the season we gave up our competition engagement: we had no time to develop a new comp. glider because we were full concentrated on our new DHV 1-2 project. Looking back, joining comps and being with the scene was a very nice time. But who knows, maybe we're coming back...
Our new DHV 1-2 glider CARBON hit the market. It was the right glider at the right time. The Carbon introduced high performance data and feeling into the DHV 1-2 class. The feedback was great and the demand overloaded our order books. It was a pitty, that our factory could not produce enough units also because of problems with cloth delivery.
We introduced the "NOVA protect" and "3 years material" guarantie. In the first year, we repair your glider on our own costs!
End of the season our production manager Hermann Habe left the NOVA management team. He had to admit, that this job needs a full time engagement. It was a fortunate coincidence, that Peter Mack, a young dipl. Ing. contacted us, being interested to share some of his ideas regarding production and construction. Finally he go our new production manager and design assistant.
Our Testteam was working on a new class one wing and spend a week on Lanzarote for a photo session.
We had to find out, that our cloth supplier sold us some bad material in 2000! Even we have very accurate test before we use any material, we could not sort that failure out. Following to our principle of being honest and on the basis of our guarantie offers, we had to make an official warning for more than 1440 sold Carbons. Finally we had to change around 65.
The PHERON and the PHORUS were introduced as DHV 1 gliders. They are brothers: the PHORUS is a school glider, the PHERON the first wing after school. Both impressed with their performance potential and safety level.
Peter Mack reconstructed the organisation of our factory to reach higher levels of productivity and quality.
The development team tried hard to transfer the knowledge of a DHV 1 wing to a high performance project. Finally we could certify 3 different gliders out of one family (ARTAX, AERON, RADON), we also made a new biplace (PHOR2) and a special motor version of the PHERON (ROTOR).
. . . outlook
The year began with a wide euphory about our new glider range. The feedback is excellent and we are all looking forward to a very sucessfull season.
|CXC||High Performance model||1989|
|Phantom||High Performance model||1991|
|Phoenix 100||Intermediate model||1993|
|Sphinx||High Performance model||1993|
|Sphinx 100||High Performance model||1994|
|Phocus 100||Intermediate model||1995|
|Philou 100||Beginner model||1996|
|Xyon||High Performance model||1996|
|Philou classic||Beginner model||1997|
|Xyon 100||High Performance model||1997|
|Vertex||High Performance model||1997|
|Axon 100||Intermediate model||1998|
|X-large||big Mono and Biplace||1998|
|Argon||High Performance model||2000|
|Carbon||High Performance Intermediate||2000|
|Artax||High Performance Intermediate||2003|
|Aeron||High Performance Model||2003|
|Radon||High Performance Model||2003|