Test flight

The feel-good intermediate (EN/LTF B)

ION 3 – Performance for all

The ION 3 is the realisation of our mission: to produce paragliders with excellent performance, that give a lot, but require little. Its handling is precise but at the same time forgiving. This makes the ION 3 a wing for all occasions: a fun wing, a cross country machine, tutor and gentle acrobat all in one. You can't get more out of a single paraglider.

Flying with the Ion 3 in Monaco. Free for editorial use. Photo by Manuel Fasser

Performance for all. The ION 3 is a big leap forward: it outperforms the Ion 2 by more than half a glide ratio point and even performs better than the MENTOR 2, which set the standard for cross country wings in the high-end EN-B class up to the end of 2012. How is this possible? Using increasingly sophisticated and comprehensive simulation software we are able to use the computer to make very detailed predictions as to how the wing will perform in the air. This allows us to manufacture simple wings with ever increasing performance. No other wing combines the characteristics of low aspect ratio, easy flight behaviour, performance and safety like the Ion 3. The Ion 3 offers unimaginable possibilities but at the same time it is remarkably gentle in its reaction to collapses. This is the reason we feel the Ion 3 is our most efficient paraglider so far: beginners, old hands, recreational pilots and cross country hounds can equally take advantage of this revolutionary concept. Simply, performance for all.

Flying with the Ion 3 in Monaco. Free for editorial use. Photo by Manuel Fasser

Enjoy flying. Paragliders with a low aspect ratio are not only safer – they are more fun too. Why? Because of the greater turning moment and the large span, high aspect ratio can mean more demanding handling. And with a higher aspect ratio the chord is smaller and therefore the brake travel to the stall point is reduced. It is a fine art to match wing geometry to brake adjustment in such a way that safety and fun are in perfect harmony. With the Ion 3 we have achieved exactly that: long brake travel, but simultaneously it is agile and willing to turn when applying a small amount of brake, without being too demanding for the pilot. In comparison to the Ion 2, which set a number of standards in its class, the Ion 3 is the logical next step in our aim to combine performance with fun. Brakes that stay efficient even in lively thermic air were particularly important to our test pilots. The Ion 3 carves a smooth turn. It greedily bites into the turn even in the roughest thermal; at the same time it is even more stable in roll than its predecessor.

Flying with the Ion 3 in Monaco. Free for editorial use. Photo by Manuel Fasser

Simplicity and innovation. From our foundation it has been our mission to produce paragliders which are as simple, but also as powerful, as possible. In many ways simple ideas are an advantage, especially in the air. The reactions of the wing are more predictable. The pilot knows what to expect. The Ion 3 follows this tradition of innovative simplicity. It gains its advantages not primarily from increasing complexity, but from increased knowledge – in other words, real innovation. This includes our know-how in analysis and simulation processes, which permits us to better develop paragliders as a whole. One visible result of this analytical work is SmartCells, a new innovation in paragliding. The cells are of variable width, depending on their load. This has a positive impact on performance and handling. As already featured on the Mentor 3, the Ion 3 has double 3D-Shaping. Air Scoop was included in the Rookie and has been further developed to increase the internal pressure during accelerated flight – this increases performance and resistance to collapses. Therefore the Ion 3 is a big leap in progress.

Test flight

Target group

Flying with the Ion 3 in Monaco. Free for editorial use. Photo by Manuel Fasser

The ION 3 is a paraglider suitable for a wide range of pilots. It offers a high degree of passive safety and is suitable for use in schools (so long as your country sanctions the use of EN B wings for training). On the other hand, its performance is impressive which makes the ION 3 a wing for all occasions: it is a fun wing which turns like a dream; a cross-country machine, tutor and gentle acrobat all in one. It is suitable for gifted beginners as well as experienced pilots with cross-country ambitions.

The ION 3 is a wing with high passive safety and at the same time it has a lot of performance. Simply, performance for all. Your Nova dealer will be delighted to advise on the correct wing!

The ION experience

Wings for flyweights

Flying with the Ion 3 in Monaco. Free for editorial use. Photo by Manuel Fasser

As with its predecessor, the ION 2, we wanted to produce an ION 3 in the XXS size, with a weight range beginning at 55kg. It was important to us not just to scale down a large wing, but to take into consideration the technical peculiarities of small wings. For example, our designers and test pilots modified the curvature of the wing and paid particular attention to ensuring that the XXS had a balanced and suitable brake configuration which matches the size of the canopy. Therefore the ION 3 XXS is more than just a scaled-down large wing. It is a wing with its own, fully-fledged specification. This allows women and lightweight men to enjoy a performance all-rounder. Even at the lower end of the weight range the ION 3 XXS shows its impressive agility. This is our contribution to equal opportunities in flying. Simply, performance for all.

Discover the ION 3

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Optimised cell widths. Smart Cells counteract the variable force distribution within the wing that are caused by the line attachments. In NOVA paragliders constructed using SmartCells, the cell widths have been adapted to the load - basically, intelligent cells. Wings with SmartCells fly more calmly, are more compact and glide better.
Flat profile nose. Anyone who tries to fold a piece of paper around a ball will notice that there are always creases. The nose profile of a paraglider is the same - the sail cloth has to adjust to both the profile and ballooning effect (cells are round, not straight). Double 3D Shaping uses additional seams to reduce creasing and therefore increases the performance of the wing.
Under pressure. NOVA Air Scoop is an optimised air intake, which increases the internal wing pressure. Nova's Air Scoop principle is similar to the ram-air inlet duct on a sports car: increased airflow produces higher pressure. Higher internal pressure in a paraglider means improved performance through increased structural stability and collapse resistance.
More compact. The aspect ratio of a glider is not the only factor in passive safety, but still a very important one. A high aspect ratio favours cravats after asymmetric collapses, generally shortens brake travel and normally makes wings more difficult to fly. Nova's analytical tools permit us to build performance wings even with a low or moderate aspect ratio.
Less is more. Our idea of a three-liner with a reduced amount of line length allows us to construct wings with very good performance and a high degree of passive safety. The way we have conceptualised the lines has made it possible to manufacture wings which are collapse resistant; but when they do collapse, the collapsed area is generally less extensive. This significantly improves the wing's extreme flight behaviour.
Comfort on the ground. All NOVA paragliders are made to be easy to use. For packing you can use a concertina bag, but it is not essential. Our extensive experience with rods has taught us that the packing method has little influence on the durability of the wing. Bent rods quickly spring back into their original shape.

Technical data

    XXS XS S M L
Number of cells - 49 49 49 49 49
Projected span m 8,17 8,62 8,99 9,39 9,8
Projected area 18,56 20,65 22,58 24,63 26,82
Projected aspect ratio - 3,44 3,44 3,44 3,44 3,44
Flat span m 10,61 11,19 11,73 12,25 12,78
Flat area 22,1 24,59 26,99 29,44 32,06
Flat aspect ratio - 5,09 5,09 5,09 5,09 5,09
Line diameter mm 0,6 / 0,7 / 0,8 / 1,3
Line length m 6,22 6,56 6,89 7,18 7,49
Total line length m 219 232 243 254 265
Max. chord m 2,56 2,7 2,83 2,95 3,08
Min. chord m 0,74 0,78 0,82 0,86 0,89
Weight kg 4,9 5,3 5,7 6,1 6,5
Recommended take off weight kg 55-80 70-90 80-100 90-110 100-130
Certification (EN/LTF) - B B B B B

Technical features

  • Flying with the Ion 3 in Monaco. Free for editorial use. Photo by Manuel Fasser


Leading edge: DOKDO 30 DMF WR, 41 g/m2
Top surface: DOKDO 30 DMF WR, 41 g/m2
Bottom surface: DOKDO 30 DMF WR, 41 g/m2
Profile ribs (with line suspension point): DOKDO 30 DMF RIB, 41 g/m2
Profile ribs (without line suspension point): DOKDO 30 DMF WR, 41 g/m2
Main lines: Liros PPSL 160 (Dyneema)
Gallery lines: Edelrid A8000-U90 (Aramid); Edelrid A8000-U130 (Aramid); 
Brake lines: Edelrid 7850-240 (Dyneema); Cousine 85 (Dyneema)
Risers: Güth & Wolf Gurtband 20 mm

Designer's comments

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Every NOVA paraglider comes with a big package of extra services and guarantees. When you buy the wing you get more than just the product1.

Optimise your wing. During the initial flights the lines are subjected to real loads for the first time. This leads to stretching and shrinking - regardless of which line material is used. During NOVA Trim Tuning2 our software analyses how out of trim the glider has become and then calculates the required correction values. Trim Tuning aids safety and increases your flying fun.
Fully comprehensive insurance. After purchasing the wing and successfully registering it at myNOVA, you are provided with one year fully comprehensive insurance (60 euro excess3). You do the damage, we carry the cost. NOVA Protect means that you can concentrate on the important thing: the flying! If you break it, we fix it!
More than a check. The NOVA Full Service is more than just a check. Just like the Trim Tuning, we analyse the line lengths and ensure that the wing is restored to the optimal profile alignment across the whole of the span. Additionally we give the wing a full health check. Our NOVA Full Service gives you confidence in your wing.
Three years without worry. If your wing has undergone NOVA Trim Tuning, the date to the next check is extended from two years to three years. The two-year check becomes a three-year check. This allows you to have an extra year of carefree flying. Please note the maximum permitted flying hours in the manual.
Full four year warranty. As standard, NOVA provides a three year, rather than a two year, guarantee on its paragliders. If your wing has undergone NOVA Trim Tuning and a NOVA Full Service, then we will extend the guarantee for a further year to four years. You get a good feeling flying a NOVA wing.
Everything available, anytime. If you register your wing at myNOVA, it is added to our Quality Assurance Database. In the database - accessed through myNOVA - you can download all the key data about your wing. The database will also assist the person servicing your glider by getting information about your glider at the click of a button. Your glider will be more comprehensively checked.

1 The guarantee and service provision is limited, subject to conditions and not offered to the same extent in all countries. Detailed information is available in our guarantee conditions.

2 This service is included in the purchase price in selected countries. Please contact your dealer for more information.

3 This service covers damage incurred because of an accident while flying. Damage in other circumstances, personal injury, theft or other loss are excluded from this policy.

Best flights



Customise your wing

This 3D model will assist you to see the approximate appearance of a custom colour. But please be aware: the actual colours may vary from the 3D model. For any queries, please contact your NOVA Partner or email us directly at vasb@abin.rh.


Where the glider is flown in the weight-range is first and foremost a question of personal preference: anyone seeking a high degree of agility and dynamic flying should fly our wings at the higher end of the weight-range. Pilots who are happier with gentle flights with a high degree of damping will be happier in the middle of the weight-range. Of course, the flying conditions have a big influence - in turbulent, windy conditions greater wing loading will bring greater stability; whereas flying the glider at the lower end of the weight-range makes it unbeatable in weak thermals. Correct wing loading is mainly a question of personal preference and the conditions in which you mainly fly. Your Nova dealer will be happy to advise you!

The brakes are components relevant to certification - modification can affect the flying characteristics and extreme flight behaviour. Because of this, we strongly advise against any modification of the brake system. It is important that the brake has sufficient travel before it engages. This is also important so that the wing does not brake automatically when the speed bar is used. Furthermore a brake that engages too early affects performance and influences the recovery during incidents, for example during a collapse or when the canopy goes parachutal.

Performance data depends heavily on the drag created by the pilot and this is linked to their seating position and harness type. An aerodynamic harness or seating position can make the difference of one glide ratio point. We at NOVA never determine absolute performance data, instead we make comparisons with reference gliders. For this reason we do not publish performance data.

How a pilot holds the brakes is a matter of personal preference - but it does have a marked influence on the handling and flying characteristics of the wing. We recommend a half-wrap. You hold the brake handle in your palm and twist it half way around your hand so that the brake line lies between your thumb and forefinger. This shortens the brake travel by approximately 20 centimetres and this has a positive effect on feedback - firstly you directly feel the travel of the brake line and secondly, with the arms positioned higher, it is easier to feel the wing. Due to poor ergonomics, we recommend against not taking this wrap. The exception is of course when gliding or during other phases of the flight when steering with the brake is not necessary. Please note: when changing from not having a wrap to taking the wrap, the shortened brake travel must be taken into consideration.

The ION is less dynamic than the MENTOR. The ION4 is suitable for pilots desiring more comfort and a more relaxed feel while in the air. In comparison, the MENTOR is sportier.

Simplicity is our motto. Our wings can be packed using a concertina bag, but it is not essential. In principle, all our wings can just be stuffed in a packsack. When the wing is folded it is recommended not to bend the rods unnecessarily. This is particularly true if the wing is to be stored for longer periods. Furthermore, we recommend careful handling of your wing.

Sail cloth, lines and all other components are subjected to rigorous testing before they are used in serial production. We not only test the sail cloth for durability (high porosity or reduced tear resistance through UV damage or wear) but also for mechanical robustness, for example stretching. For quality control purposes we regularly take samples during serial production.

During the initial flights the lines are first subjected to load. This load induces a small degree of stretching and shrinking. These are not associated with the line manufacturers or the quality of workmanship - in the factory all NOVA paragliders are trimmed and pre-stretched to within a very low tolerance. To adjust this stretching or shrinking, we recommend that the wing is taken for NTT (Nova Trim Tuning) after ten to twenty flights - after one year at the very latest. Generally, the line lengths remain constant after the first ten to twenty hours. To use make full use of the NTT, Nova encourages all pilots to have their wing checked after ten to twenty flying hours.

Dry, not packed too tightly and if possible in a space without wide temperature variations - these are the conditions that make our paragliders feel well. You should never store a wing when it is moist. You should also avoid excessive heat, like you would have, for example, in the car. Never remove dirt using chemical detergents and/or brushes.


According to the DGAC (France), the ION 3 has been certified for powered flight. It is suitable for both free flying and paramotoring. You can find the certification documents in the Downloads section.