As most of you know, I've been a Gradient snob for quite some time now, a real die-hard, pushing and convincing everyone to get on board, because, well … they are awesome wings. I've owned and flown the Aspen 3, Aspen 4, Freestyle 2, BiGolden, and BiGolden 2. The much anticipated Aspen 5 is due to arrive sometime soon, but I felt like I was missing out on all the new technology that's out there, and I was dying to try something new. I wanted a new experience. So I pulled the trigger, and I'm representing a new brand with some new colors, flying a black and green Ozone Delta 2. I've heard so many great things about this wing, but I missed the chance to test fly it, so I had to take a leap of faith. After today's flight at Koko Head, I am not disappointed by any means.
The day started out with everyone making a mad dash to Makapuu, after finally catching a break from the strong winds we've had lately. But it was flowing more south and west, so Alex led the pack to the west side for some scratchy, thermic fun at Makua. And I heard a couple pilots scored some Nanakuli too. Doug and I cleared our tandem schedule and headed over to Sandy's for some kiting. I got an hour under the D2 and was quite impressed with the handling and launching, so after a little adjustment on the brakes to shorten them, we followed Frank who led the charge to Koko Head. It had been about 4 or 5 years since my last flight there and it was just as amazing as I had remembered. Butter smooth.
Kevin met up with us at Sandy's and was super stoked about getting his first flight at Koko Head, so Doug, Kevin and I started our journey to the top, where we found Frank making it look fantastic. (Thanks for being wind dummy today Frankie). Doug launched first to show Kevin the ropes and I waited to get Kevin in the air just in case he needed a hand. Way to go Kevin, you did a great job up there today! Finally I was launching the D2 for the first time. I was anxious and couldn't wait to see what the hype was all about. The cycles were brisk and straight in, and with a little tug on the A's, she came right up and I was soaring away with ease. I love that feeling when you are flying a new wing, unsure of just how it will handle and what to expect, but I'm here to tell you, that Delta 2 was amazing. I found myself immediately at ease with this wing. If there was lift, she was hoggin' it all up.
So yeah, I can pretty much guarantee that I will be raving about the new wing, and after some more airtime I'll get even more comfortable with it. But what I'm really waiting for is a chance to see what it can do on a big XC day. I'm gunning for you, Alex! :)
I had a great flight with Frank, MDoug, and Kevin, and I look forward to hearing how the west side gang did today. I'll post more feedback on the D2 if anyone is interested in its performance. I know Sidehill is getting antsy, and may be sporting his own here real soon, if Gradient keeps delaying the release of that Aspen 5.