The Fizz is the speed-riding wing for beginners to experienced pilots from LEVEL WINGS, a new brand created by François Bon, renowned designer and speed-riding pioneer. We owe him the wings that have become references in the field: the Neo S-Ride and X-Ride, and the Gin Nano and Fluid.
François Bon does not launch his own brand blindly. Since 2000, he designs wings; at Flying Planet, then at Aerodyne, before being a designer at Gin and finally at Neo. François is also and above all a pilot, he has been evolving in the flying world for years, whether in speed-flying, paragliding or high level speed-riding.
For the speed-riding part, the “Fizz” is aimed at beginners to intermediate and even advanced riders, it comes in 8.5, 10, 11.5, 13, 14.3, 15.6 m2.
The “Fury” is intended for experienced to expert pilots and competitors, it comes in sizes 8,9,10 and 12 m2
The “Flame”, which comes in many sizes (9, 11, 13, 16 and 19m2), is intended for foot launch, whether for speed-flying, soaring, hiking or even thermal flight depending on the size.
Finally, a reversible and versatile harness, the “Fusion”, that can be used all year round, in speed-riding or longer flights.
We had the chance to test the Fizz 10 and 11.5 for a whole day in Val d’Isère during the www.skiandfly.com Speed Riding World Meet, and to meet their designer, François Bon.
The weight is a nice surprise and can be felt when taking the speed-bag in hand (very well designed by the way, with carabiner and draw string, fast and simple.), this wing is very light!
The quality is also immediately noticeable. François Bon decided to have LEVEL WINGS manufactured in the Aerodynamics workshop, located in Sri Lanka, which also produces high quality wings for Hannes Papesch and BGD among others.
The 2 strand risers are simple and clean, with narrow black straps as found on many speed-riding wings. The front and back risers are colour-coded (red and blue respectively).
The brake controls are ergonomic and equipped with a small ball, as on the Fluid. An elastic strap connects them to the base of the risers for ease of use and to avoid twisting of the controls, this is also easily removable if you prefer.
A good quality magnet connects the brakes to the risers, finds its limits during rough handling.
The original brake settings are quite long, and you shouldn’t hesitate to shorten them a bit if it bothers you.
The trims are small (5 cm) but effective, they appear rather low but the goal is to be able to handle them while keeping contact with the brake. It is very rare to manipulate them during the run anyway, because the speed range at the controls is often largely sufficient.
The lines are dyneema from Liros and entirely unsheathed. They have more strands and a tighter braid than most conventional dyneema lines, limiting shrinkage and fraying.
The line cone/length is short, giving the wing good reactivity on the roll axis.
The wing itself is made of Dominico 30D fabric for the lower and upper surface, renowned for its light weight and very low porosity. The diagonals and internal reinforcements are made of Porcher Skytex 40HF, known for its excellent resistance to deformation.
An intelligent design that allows a good weight/robustness compromise. The result is a light wing that is easily forgotten during the ski phases, while remaining resistant to the constraints of speed-riding.
The 3.5 aspect ratio is quite large for a beginner wing, which makes the Fizz very manoeuvrable both in flight and on skis.
The number of cells (19) is not too high as to effect turbulence absorption and piloting tolerance.
Soft but effective rushes/stiffeners maintain the leading edge profile, and don’t seem to fear wild storage in the speed-bag.
The internal design, which can be guessed in transparency, looks neat and well thought out to maintain a stable profile without overloading the wing. But these are the manufacturing secrets left to the designer.
The “Fusion” reversible harness is comfortable and very versatile. It is designed to be able to be used all year round, as much in speed-riding, hike&fly or paragliding, thanks to a multitude of functions and very well thought accessories.
Check it out here : http://www.speedfly.org/levelwings/fusion/
On inflation, the Fizz rises gently. In closed trim position, only a small amount of brake is needed to catch the wing, while open trim it will require a more aggressive brake action. Hands will gradually be raised as speed increases.
The take off will be done quickly if it needs to by pulling the brakes after a little speed increase. If you keep your hands up, you will be taken care of much later because the dive is very present.
The glide looks good even though we haven’t had the opportunity to make precise measurements. It is in any case largely sufficient by pulling a bit of brake, even in small amounts.
The piloting is precise and reactive for a beginner wing, a confident pilot will take pleasure to fly with this Fizz by sending easily barrel rolls. As for the beginner pilots, they will not be destabilized for all that because the wing is very stable and forgives small errors of piloting.
The pitch surge is very good even with a relatively low speed, it is one of the strong points of the LEVEL WINGS. François Bon has always wanted to design wings with a good pitch surge, which is a guarantee of safety in speed-riding as in speedflying.
The dive is also very good for a beginner to intermediate wing. Even with closed trim, by raising your hands, you really feel the dive angle increase and it is easy to land back with precision.
Get back on the snow is therefore very easy thanks to the Fizz’s dive and pitch surge, which allow a good management of the glide angle. It is rarely necessary to make big turns to get closer to the slope, and you can count on the pitch surge if you find that the ground comes a little too fast.
By pulling the brakes deeply, you will be able to land gently then gradually raise your hands to make room for skiing.
Skiing is very pleasant under the Fizz, we can hardly believe that we are under a beginner wing as the handling is good, even in large size. The dive allows skiing on rather steep slopes with a good speed, without taking off in an untimely way.
The roll is very present and the wing is easily placed on the edge, allowing large angles, to make beautiful carves and to close them again to slow down well.
De-loading is well tolerated, even if you feel the wing a little fragile on the head at low speed in chaotic terrains, it will stay very stable and you can keep focus on your skiing.
Low speeds are easy and pleasant because the wing is light and holds nicely overhead. It will still be necessary to manage the pitch well to prevent it from overtaking on steep slopes, or by open trim. But you can really hold firmly on the brakes without fear of stall on your back, and you’ll just have to get a little speed on the slope to take off when you need.
Closed trim, the wing is really easy and follows well, not requiring too much management. A beginner pilot will easily find his marks even if the Fizz requires a little more piloting than an ultra beginner wing which will do everything alone but whose capacities of progression are more limited.
By gradually opening the trim as it evolves, the pilot of the Fizz can really progress by further increasing the dive of the wing.
The ski will be more present and it will be necessary to refine his piloting. Pitch and roll management will become very interesting, and it will take a long time to reach the limits of the Fizz and become bored under it.
The Fizz is not a speedflying wing, there are specific wings for this practice whose capacities are adapted to the flight on foot. LEVEL WINGS offers the Flame for that.
Like all wings, it is however possible to foot launch the Fizz. Thanks to its pitch surge, it should allow to land and take off correctly. But make sure you know your wing well on ski before you want to speedfly with it, do not choose a size too small and do not forget that foot launch with this type of glider is an extreme discipline practiced by experienced pilots or even experts.
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In large size and keeping a closed trim position, the Fizz will be a really good fit for beginners pilots. Even if it is a little reactive for the very first steps on the school-slope and the less skillful ultra-beginners, it will correspond perfectly to a pilot at the end of school looking for a wing to perfect his progression, until becoming a good enough rider that is able to adapt to any kind of ground.
The Fizz is also very suitable for occasional or intermediate level pilots who prefer, even without going down too much in size, to remain under an easy and tolerant wing but without losing in performance and manoeuvrability.
Try this Fizz and you’ll understand.