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Gradient Bright III Paraglider

The Gradient Bright III paraglider entered the European market in January 2006. This was after the Gradient factory spent a couple of years churning out the popular Bright Classic. Being a DHV-1 glider, the development of the Bright III was heavily focussed on safety. Even more than the Classic. So it's very suitable for the learner or occasional flyer.

It might be a very safe paraglider, but the Gradient Bright III is also no slouch with it's handling and performance. In comparison to other DHV-1 wings of course. Like other recently released paraglider canopies in the DHV-1 class, it is actually quite capable of cross-country flights, when it's owner feels confident.

Compared to the Bright Classic, the Bright III has a small increase in overall performance. According to Gradient, it has been known to out-fly some DHV-1/2 paragliders!

Had to laugh when I saw the official Gradient website list 'low medical bills' as one of the highlights of this paraglider. I guess you could put it that way. Hopefully no medical bills at all :-/

The Gradient Bright III comes in 4 sizes, 24, 26, 28, 30. To keep things simple, this website focuses on just one size near the middle of the range for each paraglider design. So let's look at the size 26 Bright III.

A Gradient Bright III paraglider in flight.



Construction

Just for general interest really, this section. All the modern wings are well-designed and constructed, with their own innovative features. The Gradient Bright III has some interesting ones. It's a 40 cell design. Any more, and they'd have to charge a bit more.

On the top surface is Porcher Marine SKYTEX 9092 E77A cloth, which is actually water repellant to extend the life of the wing. On the bottom is Porcher Marine SKYTEX 9017 E38A, of a slightly lighter weight. The ribs are made of material quite similar to the upper surface. These ribs employ 'partial V-rib technology'. Wow. I wonder what it means... My guess is that the engineers have achieved some improvements in weight vs stiffness or strength here.

Lines are Edelrid Dyneema, Edelrid Aramid and Cousin Dyneema in various thicknesses appropriate to where and how they are used. Won't bore you with the details.

The Bright III has a new zigzag cell opening design for the main entry ports. Plus a number of closed slotted cells in the wingtips. Apparently, these cool features were inherited from the higher-performing Gradient Aspen and Avax canopies.

Gradient claims that these new cell features help provide more accurate feedback to the pilot during flight, as to what the surrounding air is doing. That has to be a plus for thermal conditions. Handling is also said to benefit from these design features.

Gradient have gone for a three riser system and also paid some attention to line layout of the Bright III to make it very easy to set up and launch.

Split A-risers make it a little more convenient to pull big-ears. This feature is getting popular, other DHV-1 wings have it too.



Specs for Medium-sized Version

The 26-sized model of the Gradient Bright III actually, as previously mentioned.
take-off weight incl. glider 75-95 kg (166-210 lbs)
wing area (flat) 26.98 m² (290 ft²)
wing area (projected) 23.50 m² (253 ft²)
wing span (flat) 11.4 m (37 ft)
wing span (projected) 9.6 m (31 ft)
aspect ratio (flat) 4.8
aspect ratio (projected) 3.9
min sink 1.2 m/s (236 fpm, 4.3 kph, 2.3 knts)
best glide ratio 7.6:1
speed min (mid weight range) 22 kph (14 mph, 12 knts)
speed trim (mid weight range) 36 kph (22 mph, 19 knts)
speed max (mid weight range) 48 kph (30 mph, 26 knts)
Also:
  • Max Chord 2.94 m (9.6 ft)
  • Glider Weight 5.4 kg (11.9 lbs)



Handling

The Bright III has a significant improvement in handling, in spiral dive recovery. Like other DHV-1 paragliders, this was the weakest area in earlier Bright paragliders.

I'll just summarize a few relevant lines from the official DHV report for the Gradient Bright III. The report judges the paraglider at minimum and maximum flying weight. Just to keep things a bit simpler, I will combine or average those results to represent the middle of the range.

  • take off handling: easy
  • roll damping: average
  • control travel: high
  • agility: average
  • spiral dive entry: easy
  • spiral dive exit: spontaneous
  • landing behavior: easy



Colors

Three color schemes are offered for the Gradient Bright III - Red, Blue and Gold.



Pricing

Only price I've seen so far is £1,800 for the 24 and 26 sizes. I believe it's £1,850 for the larger sizes, the 26 and 28. Check the date of this page, the price is bound to change eventually!



Other Comments

The Bright III is designed by a guy called Ondrej Dupal, and is the third revision of what Gradient terms it's 'basic intermediate glider'.

The advanced features found in this paraglider weren't designed from scratch, they are actually inherited from the top-performing Gradient designs. That is, the Avax, Aspen and Golden.

As seems standard these days for even entry-level paragliders, the Gradient Bright III comes with an accelerator bar. If you're game, this canopy is rated for winch towing as well!


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