A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege to fly the PUNK
The paraglider (sized M/L), courtesy of Waldemar Janiszewski from AQUILA Paralotnie (AQUILA PARAGLIDERS), got into my hands at a take-off site for flying over a cliff in Dębina. Dębina is a small village, located close to the Baltic Sea’s coast. It is approximately 20 km east of Ustka, a small summer town in northern Poland.
Quite frankly, I was truly impressed by the performance of this state of the art paraglider. Before my first encounter with the PUNK, I had been flying the EPIC for more than a year. Before that, right after I got my pilot's license, I flew the Bright 5 from Gradient.
Though both EPIC and PUNK fall into the same performance category, from the very start you can tell the difference between the low and high end B. Just when you perform your reverse or forward launch on PUNK, you immediately get a message from your wing: 'Sir/Ma'am, you're gonna LOVE IT!'
EPIC is an easy and balanced wing; an 'oasis' of peace and safety even though it CAN whip you out of your boots on take-off. Perfect in every inch of its class range, it reacts and 'reads' the air grandly and will not let the pilot get carried away. You ride it assuredly and safely like you would be driving a sedan – with a premium class package ;-)
PUNK, on the other hand ... is a whole other story! At first glance, it does not differ much from EPIC. However, nothing can be further from the truth! PUNK is a nicely boosted EPIC (a sporty convertible with a healthy dose of adrenaline features). I am willing to hazard a guess, that with nearly the same safety standards, it hides an enormous desire for flying everywhere, taking the pilotfurther and higher.
The air speaks to the pilot and PUNK smoothly reads and reacts to that information. The wing is feisty, bold and daring, and ever hungry for flight. It looks for thermals, breezes and any air movement that can allow it to reach its full potential. On entering a thermal, the pilot is given an immediate response, but one that is not extreme or explosive. It lifts up like a bullet and makes the pilot’s heart soar with awe! Along those lines, no bad sensations are experienced upon leaving thermals.
You can easily feel changes of pressure on the brake lines. The wing reacts well and swiftly to the pilot’s commands. Active piloting with PUNK over your head is pure pleasure and joy. To stall PUNK, I imagine a decent amount of effort would be needed. I am not saying it is quite difficult to do so or impossible, to the contrary, it is absolutely 'unnecessary' and unbecoming ….if you follow my drift :-)
I did not have a chance to perform and/or practise any emergency situations with PUNK; I will leave that to the more advanced and experienced pilots. I flew PUNK over a cliff and in thermals. While flying in the latter, the air was quite bumpy. I can say however, when I experienced an asymmetric collapse, PUNK did not get screwy; it behaved much like EPIC. It did not turn sharply, rather, it reduced the collapse on its own (well, almost on its own:-P). Similarly to EPIC, it scolds the pilot gently, but decisively blows a warning whistle on him and states sternly that it will not tolerate such unprofessional conduct.
Once you get 'the ears' on, they STAY! That is without a doubt!
To tame PUNK, one will have to make friends with it. On the other hand, to earn the privilege of experiencing PUNK’s full potential, many hours will have to be devoted – something I am not in the least bit complaining about. Such devotion is necessary for the 'relationship' to truly blossom. If the pilot makes the commitment, PUNK will show its infinite gratitude and repeatedly return the love.
It is my desire to become the proud owner of such a wing and to build the type of relationship I described above.
To put it shortly, I am immensely impressed by PUNK’s performance and capabilities.
Thank you Waldek Janiszewski and AQUILA PARALOTNIE.