Low-End ENb Paragliders

Paraglider Certification – What are low-end ENb Paragliders ?:

It’s the next step up from ENa. The paraglider is still expected to recover on its own from any unexpected departures from flight. But not in such as explosive way as maybe an ENa would. The performance also tends to be slightly better than the class below it.  Low-end ENb paragliders are suitable for all pilots from the talented beginner up. Easy to fly and launch with low workload to pilot. Slightly more involved than flying an ENa paraglider but usually with a performance advantage. Manufacturers continue to make quite amazing progress within this category recognising that low-end ENb paragliders are going to be the most popular certification grade with its near-perfect blend of performance and safety.

How much experience do I need to fly low-end ENb paraglider?:

Most low-level ENB paragliders are suitable for a fairly talented beginner upwards. If you have found little difficulty with your training and you would like to access the highest performance paraglider possible as a beginner, this is probably the class for you.

What is the level of passive security?:

Even though this is a class above ENb, passive security is still very high. The paraglider should recover from any issues well within the allowed four seconds required by certification. Still, an ENb paraglider is best flown with a level of interaction from the pilot to keep this calm and under control. This level of interaction is considerably higher than an ENa paraglider and this is the main thing that differentiates the two different classes. Basically, they require more pilot interaction than ENa.

How easy are low-end ENb paragliders to launch?

Pretty simple. Slightly more involved than ENa mostly because the wing is faster requiring the pilot to anticipate what it is going to do, especially in stronger wind speeds.

How does a low-end ENb paraglider handle?:

Low ENb paragliders tend on the whole to be slightly ‘sharper’ than the ENa class. Brake travel is usually slightly shorter resulting in quicker response and a faster turn rate. As the response is faster, the low ENb paraglider is slightly less forgiving of the pilot being heavy handed with the controls compared to ENa.

How good is the performance?:

New low end ENb paragliders have more than enough performance now for most pilots. Cross country flights for these gliders are now in the hundreds of kilometers whilst the pilot is happy with the lower workload compared to the classes above. At the time of writing, the new Nova Phantom has pushed the benchmark for this class to an all-time high. It’s probably not going to be long before most in the class will have a glide angle of 10 or more. This is higher than hang gliders had for many years so its hard to see why most pilots would trade passive security for slightly more performance.

Is this category for me?:

If you are a beginner and the above sounds good to you, it could be a great choice. However, if you are finding the sport difficult enough to learn, sticking to the ENa class may be a better decision for you. If you are already an experienced pilot looking for the most passive security you can get together with the highest performance and very low workload during flight, this is probably exactly what you are looking for.

Any questions?:

As always, it is encouraged that you ask a question if you need clarification on anything that is written above using the form at the bottom of the page. If something is puzzling you, it is guaranteed that you will not be on your own. By putting your questions on this page, other pilots will also be able to learn.

Here to Help

I have been involved in paragliding full time since the very beginning of the sport in the UK. I have been instructing full time since 1993 until 2017 and available to help you with advice whenever needed. Helping paragliding pilots new or old, is my way of putting back into the sport which has given me such incredible experiences all over the world and I want you to be able to share in that. If you need any help, just write in the chat box found on this site and I’ll get back to you either immediately or when I’m back in the office.

Good Flying! Paul Williams

 

 

6 Comments

  1. Leon

    After 6 years of flying many hours on different class wings. I’m more than happy with my mentor 3. B rated glider.
    To have the performance to fly xc with less work load than the more advanced gliders (C,D’s) better passive safety.
    Less stress to me means more fun time in the air and on the ground.
    Big thanks to Paul for him pointing me in the right direction from the start.

    Reply
    • admin

      Thanks for the support! Glad you are happy with the glider

      Paul

      Reply
  2. Malcolm Spilsbury

    Hi Paul some advice please i am 62 and looking at used para gliders with a limited funds.In the good old days i was an hang gliding pilot when family life stepped in the way. Now its time to get back.
    I have looked a Advance Alpha 3 28 hardly used, and an Airwave Magic 5,there is also a Macpara Spice available.
    Your opinion please or what would yo suggest as i plan only on hanging out on coastal ridge conditions

    Reply
    • Paul Williams

      Hi Malcolm; for the kind of flying you are going to be doing I would say go with the alpha but note that is still a very old wing, probably around 9-10 years. Cheers

      Reply
  3. Paul

    A great help, thanks for providing all this info! I’m doing my EP training at the moment. Looking for my first wing as I want to continue my CP on my own gear rather than buy it when qualified. Was considering a low B, rather than go A and outgrow it quickly. My B shortlist was Ozone Buzz, Gin Atlas, Nova Ion, Alpha Epsilon, Skywalk Tequila. I think the Tequila is now off my list as I’ve read it’s not really calm enough for a new pilot. However I have seen an Alpha 5 going which looks like a good deal. My instructor has, however, said I will quickly outgrow the Alpha. Very confused. What are you thoughts on something like the Alpha and outgrowing it quickly vs what I’ve got on my B shortlist? I’ll initially be ridge soaring I guess working up to thermaling and short XC eventually. Thanks!!

    Reply
    • Paul Williams

      Hiya Paul; Anything in the low ENb category is usually OK for student pilots in the UK. There’s nothing wrong with the Alpha either, depending on how fast you want to progress but I see where your instructor is coming from. Some people can outgrow an ENa pretty quick but some people also seem to be in a rush to upgrade. The performance of ENa gliders today is amazing compared to what we used to fly years ago and we were always happy. All the gliders you have mentioned would probably be OK for the ambitious student pilot. If you were only flying in the Alps or big mountains, the advice would be to stick with an ENa for as long as possible to learn how to deal with thermic conditions. In the UK, it is dealing with the wind that is just as important. This is why advice can differ from country to country. The biggest mistake I see is pilots progressing too fast up the categories resulting in their flying skills decreasing. I’ll drop you an email to find out where you are from, then I can advise further. Cheers

      Reply

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