Supair’s best-selling pod harness now comes in two versions – standard and Sport. Marcus King tries both
When we reviewed the Supair Delight 3 in XC196 (Dec 2018) we found a lightweight all-round pod we didn’t hesitate to recommend, especially to pilots new to a pod. Lots of pilots clearly agreed – Supair’s Clément Latour told us the Delight 3 is their “best-selling harness ever.”
The obvious thing missing from the Delight 3 though was a fairing, but of course not everyone wants one. So, when it came time for an upgrade Supair decided to make two versions of the Delight 4: one with a fairing (Delight 4 Sport), and one without (Delight 4). I got to fly both variations.
Weight and materials
The harness is billed as a light everyday cross-country harness. Materials used throughout are robust. Both versions weigh the same. We queried that as you might think that the Sport version with its fairing would be heavier, but Supair said the standard version (non fairing) uses heavier materials in the back section. The L size I flew weighs just over 4kg.
The pod is made from Aquatech Stretch, which is fairly thin but keeps the air out well. It has a magnetic closure. Inside, Mylar is used on the bottom of the harness to protect the main structure in case of a heavy landing. At the base on the inside is a layer of more slippery cloth to resist rubbing from your feet when you use the three-step speed bar (supplied). The rest of the harness is Tafetta 50D with Skytex used on the fairing of the Sport version.
The back protection system under the seatboard is innovative. It comes in the form of two layers of foam which zip together before take-off to give a double layer; the zip allows them to be unfolded to give a thinner packing size. Coloured red there is also a big reminder printed on the foam, to remind you to zip them together.
It’s nice to see a layer of this foam also goes all the way up the back to the shoulders, giving protection and stiffening to the back support. The protection was certified with a rating of 39G.
The Delight 4 has one reserve bay. Like many new harnesses the Delight 4 incorporates a low-profile looped-plastic handle. These raise eyebrows among some pilots. Can they possibly be as easy to grab and deploy as the traditional style handle, especially when wearing thick gloves, for example?
We asked Clément about this at the Coupe Icare and he said the positive of such a handle is that it is one seamless loop of plastic that will last forever, whereas fabric handles can degrade over time and have been known (very rarely) to come apart at the stitching when a pilot has gone to deploy. He conceded that the downside is they can end up sitting flat against the harness. Like all reserve handles, it’s good practice to make it sit up proud of the fabric before you fly.
The bridles run up to the shoulder straps through a zipped channel. Supair have designed the reserve pocket closure so it can be closed without needing cord: the nylon rods run through a series of interlocking rubberised loop sections. A nice touch is the QR code in the bridle channel giving quick access to the packing video.
There are adjustment straps for the shoulders, back inclination, and lumbar support as well as the chest strap. All these plus the length adjustment use straps and buckles and can be adjusted in the air, making it easier than some harnesses to fine tune. I very quickly managed to get a comfortable set-up. I had one four-hour flight, much of it on bar, and landed without any discomfort. As I am tall and relatively thin (193cm and 83kg) I was sent the L size and could still get the pod length set correctly. Once you have the correct settings, they can be locked off to stop slipping
With a much larger back pocket the standard version has nearly three times the storage than the Sport version. Both have a dedicated drinks bladder pocket inside, with pass-through holes.
Out front, both models share a large pocket under the instrument panel, a ballast bag and side pockets that have tie-offs with pass-through holes that can be used for radio mics etc. There are also now holes in the pod for your XCPee and ballast tube.
The instrument panel is large enough for a regular instrument and tablet, and there is a cable pass-through from the zipped mesh pocket below for power. A clip to the chest strap keeps it at a good angle for reading and there are clips to put on your instruments to make them easy to attach and remove. The harness also comes with a safety lanyard and karabiner to be used in case of a tree landing.
Supair say they designed the harness to give “stable and reassuring behaviour” in turbulence. As soon as I took off I noticed the harness felt more stable than my normal Woody Valley GTO. It helps absorb the bumps well so you can concentrate on the info you need.
I flew the Sport version with a range of wings, from the mid-B BGD Epic 2 to the two-line EN C AirDesign Volt 4 and it felt comfortable with all of them with good weightshift control when needed. I also used it to fly the Volt in a competition where I used lots of bar. The three-step bar was easy to use, being positioned off the bottom of the harness, and the extra pressure was well spread with none of the uncomfortable pressure points you can get with some harnesses on bar.
The seatboard helps give you more authority and stops your hips being compressed. With the settings dialled in the harness gives good support all the way up the back. It is nice and stiff and there are no obvious uncomfortable folds of the fabric.
The harness isn’t designed to be flown in a fully lying position but a more upright one that pilots new to pods will be more comfortable with. It certainly felt good on the longer flights I did with it.
Sport or standard?
The point of the fairing is to provide yaw stability on bar. This is good for performance and comfort. Flying accelerated with the Sport version gives that good level of yaw stability, so if you fly on bar and don’t need the extra luggage space, then pick the Sport.
If you want more storage room, don’t fly so much on bar, and want the more compact harness, then go for the standard. You’ll also save €160.
Supair say the only downsides of the Sport are the smaller storage and in back-fly where the fairing can make things more difficult. They say the standard version may be the best option for new pod pilots – I would say both are accessible.
With the Delight 4 Supair have improved what was already a great harness and added some of the small features that were previously missing. The biggest change is the option of the fairing for those who want it. The Sport is great if you are flying accelerated a lot and still has enough storage for everyday use. Both versions bring more stability and comfort in flight. Like its predecessor the Delight 4 is a great first pod and I would be happy to recommend either version, with the Sport an obvious choice if you are flying a high-B or EN C-wing.
Supair say: “Always higher and always further, the Sport version reinvents the cross-country harness”
Pilot level: Intermediate and above
Sizes: S, M, L, XL
Height (cm): 155-170, 165-180, 180-190, >190
Weight (kg): 3.62, 3.77, 4.09, 4.17
Retail price: €1,590 / €1,750
Certification: EN/LTF and CE PPE
Published in issue 235 (November 2022)