Niviuk Hook 3. Thoughts & Reflections.

Photo taken by Joanna Pominkiewicz. Pilot: Rhys Fisher

I’ve just returned from a summer-long stay in Soča Valley, Slovenia, where I’ve had the opportunity to test the Hook 3 in a wide range of conditions.

Booming thermals. Zero wind. Lee sides. Gust fronts. This glider has seen it all. With it, I’ve flown my personal best, dealt with large collapses in turbulent conditions, had more than one lucky low save, and thoroughly enjoyed getting back into the sport after taking a very long 4-year break from paragliding.

Now I’d like to share my experience so that those of you considering to buy this wing, can somewhat know what to expect.

In this article, you’ll learn the ins and outs of this Mid EN–B paraglider, and walk away knowing what the Hook 3 can do for you!


Flight Characteristics:

Takeoff:

The Hook 3 is an absolute pleasure to ground handle, and this really shows during takeoff. In most conditions, it rises above the pilot slowly and without surprises. This wings forgiving characteristics should NOT be an excuse to avoid regular ground handling, however, at least you can be confident that if you want/need to fly in tricky take-off conditions, this wing wants to help you get into the air.

Hook 3 take off compilation

Brake Input & Controls:

Photo taken by Joanna Pominkiewicz. Pilot: Rhys Fisher

The breaks are light, short, and precise, making them comfortable for longer flights while still giving the pilot more authority over the wing at shorter brake ranges–perfect for stronger conditions! I’ve never spun the glider. Nor have I had troubles remaining in tight cores, except for when it was my fault of course.

Feel and Comfort:

The wing feels very stable throughout its speed ranges, although sometimes it lacked penetration in strong thermal conditions if low on the weight range. Since taking a full 3 litre camelback of water with me, and occasionally flying with Vol Biv equipment the wing handles extremely well (I'm at the top of the weight range). I found my sweet spot to be around 3.8 kg to 4.4kg/M2 (projected).

Rhys Fisher on glide to Krn, from Koballa. Photo taken by Joanna Pominkiewicz

Cross Country Flying:

Thermal Flying:

Photo taken by Joanna Pominkiewicz. Pilot: Rhys Fisher

This is where Niviuk have done a fantastic job, and where the Hook 3 really shines. During thermal flying, I frequently found myself out climbing better performance wings, getting to cloud base faster, and being able to make transitions sooner. The Hook 3's brake characteristics really help this wing to turn on a dime, and in doing so, it gives pilots the possibility to stay in stronger tighter cores. The lifty quality of this wing makes low saves a regular occurrence, especially if you’re stubborn enough to turn in Zeros when kicking tree tops. Here are two of my favorites from this summer:

Low saves:

Low saves with the Hook 3

On Transitions:

I felt very confident making transitions with the Hook 3, often finding lifty lines by carefully observing my sink rate and changing course if it increased too much. The glider communicates well when on the speedbar, and it can be piloted with the C lines without problems. Despite only being a Mid EN–B, I’m very impressed with the glide, and can’t wait to continue exploring what’s possible with this class of glider.

Glide Performance:


Safety & Incident:

Spiral Dives:

The glider enters the dive gradually, picking up energy as the leading edge falls to the horizon. Exiting a spiral dive is very easy, however, care must be taken not to exit too fast, especially if you are new to this maneuver. I prefer to bleed the wings energy through several turns.

When I hear Camp Gabrje has a happy hour! (-18m/s)

Asymmetric Collapses:

50% left side collapse while approaching cloud base

I won’t focus too much on this because this glider is an EN–B after all, and by the nature of the class, Asymmetric collapses don’t require too much pilot intervention.

The Hook 3 opens quickly after a deflation, and with a little weight shift and a bit of break input, it’s easy to keep a straight flight path.

I’ve yet to test this glider response to an asymmetric during speed bar usage, but I'm sure that you can find some videos of this online.


Conclusion

After 3 long months with the Hook 3, I can say that this wing is perfect for casual pilots that want a paraglider that will keep them high without too much effort, but also a wing that has a comforting balance between performance and safety–something to help aspiring XC pilots accelerate their cross-country progress.

If care is taken, talented new pilots coming out of school should be able to handle this wing, which will give them something to really grow into over the span of a few seasons. And pilots on older low EN–B wings would really enjoy the performance gains from this upgrade, but without the risk of flying something they would not feel comfortable on.

Here’s what Ziad Bassi from Dust of the Universe thought of the Hook 3

Twice easier than the most performant B glider !
Further test will be carried for sure,in order to update my ‘B’ comparison. But I was surprised by the amount of comfort coupled with a glide of excellence !
Low EN-B pilots will surely have no problem upgrading into this ‘zen’ glider !
Many high end-B’s will deliver nice amount of performances but with the Hook 3 those performances are reached with a Zen attitude :-)”

Specs:

Sizes, projected area, and weight range:

  • Size 21, (17.85 m2), 59kg-70kg
  • Size 23, (19.55 m2), 65kg-85kg
  • Size 25, (21.25 m2), 80kg-100kg
  • Size 27, (22.95 m2), 95kg-100kg
  • Size 29, (25.65 m2), 110kg-130kg

Speed Range (Data sourced from Para 2000)

Trim: 38km/h

Min: 24km/h

100% Speed Bar: 52km/h

Follow me on Twitter at @AgileExistence

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For more info on the Hook series, please visit Niviuk’s website