Paratoys has been selling paragliders for
probably 10 years, starting with the eponymous Paratoys wing, a
beginner model based on the MacPara Muse. Their latest offering, under
the brand name Velocity, is the Recon--a reflex model intended for
experienced pilots who want to compete or just enjoy going faster with
good handling. According to company owner, Mike Robinson, it was
designed by a Russian who came up with something truly unique, at least
in its approach to brake usage at high speed, always a problem for
My lone test flight was on the Paratoys Pro
Series paramotor at sea level with a hook-in weight of 205 pounds. That
included 135 pounds of me and 70 pounds of fueled paramotor. Conditions
were mid-day with 2-level bumps and light winds. Thanks to Michael Mixer
for letting me try out both his wing and motor and for getting some
Handling (- trim in, - trim out):
The handling on this glider was excellent and the combo brake handles
were a joy to use. The tip toggle goes through the main toggle (as
pictured left) so that moving the main toggle moves the whole trailing
edge like normal brakes. Flown this way response is light and crisp for
a reflex wing, comparable to the Plasma. Keep a finger in that small
toggle though and, when the trims are fast, you can just use
the tip steering. Here's the cool part. This engages just enough of the
brake span to also effect useful pitch control.
There is also a more traditional Stabilo toggle that goes to the very
tip. That is the only steering allowed when fully reflexed. DO NOT
use the brakes, including the tip toggle, while on full reflex, use
the Stabilo toggle instead.
Note: information changed 5/18/2012 to reflect new
knowledge. Previously this write up suggested that using the tip
steering was possibly ok when fully accelerated. We now know that is
most definitely NOT the case.
Inflation (-): Popped up nicely in the
light breeze. As gliders, including reflex models, have gone to lighter
weight fabric the inflation is becoming less an issue. No doubt
durability is sacrificed but that's a good trade-off for being able to
launch reliably. I'm a big fan of this trade as long as the sellers
acknowledge that there is some sacrifice in longevity.
Risers: (-): It has four risers with
magnets on the tip steering, relatively short trimmers,
a speedbar, and split A's.
Efficiency (- slow/ - fast): I did
not do a sink rate test (it was bumpy anyway) but it felt plenty
Speed (-): It isn't particularly fast
at my weight owing to the larger size but would certainly be competitive
for a more heavily loaded pilot. I would need it in an 18 m2 size to be
competitive in pylon-type comps but that is hard to find. Also, there is
not much trimmer range so you'll want to have a speedbar hooked up to
take advantage of its speed. If this glider were made in a 20 M2 size I
suspect it would be as fast as other similar sized reflex wings like the
GTR and Hadron. Appropriately loaded, it will give the European gliders
a run for their money.
Speed test raw: Wind run: 22, 30.5 mph for
a windspeed of 4 mph. Test run=23.5, 25, 31
Speed Trimmed Slow = 28.5 mph
Speed Trimmed Fast = 29 mph
Speed Trimmed Fast with Full Speedbar = 35 mph.
Small Wings and the Effect of Weight on Speed & Power Required.
Construction (-): My casual look
suggested a modern construction techniques employing lightweight
Certification & Safety (-): There
is no certification at this size and the innovative control method
warrants careful exploration by an experienced pilot up high. Its "tip"
steering engages more of the wing than most reflex gliders do. That
could make it more subject to tip collapses when fully accelerated but
I've noticed that a lot of competitors on reflex wings get tip collapses
and they don't do much. If I get another opportunity then I'll try it up
high, fully accelerated and intentionally flying through my wake to see
what happens (wearing a reserve, of course!).
Overall (-): Anyone wanting great
handling and decent speed will enjoy this offering especially at heavier
weights than me. My hats off to Paratoys' Russian designer for a unique steering solution.
It doesn't have as wide a speed range as some but would be very
competitive in the right hands.