Per my view the 55 cells are definitely needed and it is good optimazitaion between weight and performance. If you consider that paragliders of AR 5.4-5.6 has generaly 59 cells, and paragliders with AR. 6.6-7-0 has 70-80 cells you can really see that 55 cell for 9.0 and 11M Sonic with AR 6.6 and 6.8 is really just the basic minimum. In paragliding design they try to maximize performance for the given aspect ratio. Just to get the understanding that how much perfomance gain can be gotten by raising the cell number just consider that Nova has a high perforamance intermediate paraglider with AR 5.19 and 99 cells called the Nova Phantom. Most successfull competition paraglider(Ozone Enzo 3) has 101 cells for AR 7.55. So this makes the 55 cells a very well balanced compromise.
55 cells is just one cell count number, it is a compromise between many things. It is a high value though and I'm not at all against having a lot of cells. But it leads to very expensive products because of complex and laborious structure of kite. However if your opinion is 55 cells is "basic minimum" for AR's 6.6 to 6.8 then you should think it is somewhat too little for AR 7.2.
This is the "issue" of having same cell count for different AR's. In Sonic3 case it goes in wrong direction, big sizes have a bit worse cell shape even though they would benefit more than small sizes for having it better. Not very significant things of course, but most other high end kites are really different size by size, not just "stretched" (I'm not saying there couldn't be some other differences in different size of Sonics).
It may look like a high aspect version of the Soul, but it flies very differently than the Soul. The first thing you notice is that the kite pivots instead of swoops. It turns like a Sonic or a Speed.
For sure, it has that much more AR and wingspan and short chord which allows effective back stall for "helicoptering" turns.
Armin Harich wrote:
Yes, they all used the last generaton of prototypes named X9 and the feedback flow into the serial Sonic 3
That is very good to hear, wingtip behavior in some videos didn't look so good. I don't remember Sonic2 had much of those issues so Sonic3 shouldn't have them either, preferably less. Wingtips between those two kites are different in shape though, as anyone can see.