Testing new paragliding gear

Testing new paragliding gear

Monday, May 18, 2015

Is there a quest for the best performing paraglider?

Despite the header being bold enough, the text below will explain what ‘true performance’ is in my own "dustoftheuniverse" philosophy.

First I believe that the word performance is slightly misunderstood. The best performer isn’t the one that will fulfill one paragliding pilot's dreams, whatever they may be, in best climb or on longest XC’s.
As individuals, we have huge differences in glider requirements. Some won’t bear flying a very talkative glider, others would appreciate more the handling and maneuverability…etc...
I have written before that there is no best wing rather then best pilot for a certain wing.

Efficiency:
Is the most important word in our paragliding world.
Efficiency should be split in two parts.
Efficiency of a glider, and efficiency of the pilot.

Let's begin with efficiency of the pilot:
With our different skills, talents and training hours, plus the different conditions we fly in, this quest for pilots efficiency starts with each pilot inner self to train and learn more, depending on his own time for that matter.
To be fully operational and to fly efficiently, each individual pilot must be true to himself in choosing a glider that meets his own skills.
“Being humble toward nature will be handsomely rewarded!”

Today’s manufacturers websites are on a high standard. They give you a full idea and description of each glider they have on offer.
Of course high aspect ratio on gliders has to be carefully understood.
And there are the schools, instructors, which can give you their insights hoping that they don’t get attached to one or two brands…

Efficiency of a glider:
Efficiency is NOT the glider that arrives higher in glides…
It is the one that has a high rate of everything.
The one that allows you to get out of low saves ex: 85 %, that can have a smooth and stable glide angle in turbulent conditions ex: 85 %, the one that can core every bubble with a swift and direct brake travel ex: 85 %.... speed …85 %.... etc.
A complete glider is what we all are longing for.
   
My videos are available for the fun part of your eyes. They only show a small portion of the flying tests. It is impossible to make a 5 to 10 hours YouTube video!
If the differences sometimes are difficult to discern, it doesn’t mean that they do not exist ;-)
  
Gliders are like fine wine. A wine taster could see the difference. But I’m sure that there is finer wine taster out-there appreciating what I have tasted ;-)

I’ll begin with a logical example.
If one manufacturer take his certified B glider, and re-trims it by changing only the line lengths. (Live Ex: Carrera), with a new but identical EN B certification, do you believe that the overall efficiency and accessibility of this glider is the same?
The logical answer is: Of course not, and I fully agree as the Carrera plus has indeed a different flavor.
Then if this ‘same’ glider is now different, don’t you believe that in one single class among manufacturers “some” differences can occur?  

Another visual example is paragliding competition.
After 3-4  PWC’s, one glider is always found consistently among the top 20 knowing that the first 50 pilots or so are the finest in the world…That’s what I call efficiency.

Combining both glider and pilot cocktail for efficient flying will give you the best moments of your life !

For me each flight with different wings has it’s own flavor and it’s absolutely free information for the interested pilots.
I’m not a reseller, nor a salesman, so I have nothing to gain or loose. I do those tests for absolute fun and for the pleasure to change wings and feel that difference in efficiency.

In the end, any glider in the B category of today’s technology could give you more than enough high rate of pleasure and efficiency, and when test flying, the best glider is really the one that makes you smile immediately after landing.

Happy flight, 
Ziad

Saturday, May 16, 2015

GIN Carrera plus S



GIN Carrera + (PLUS) S

Last year GIN released the original Carrera with a B certification .
He stated at the time that this glider needs active piloting and is destined to experienced pilots with a background in a performance/intermediate glider.
Unfortunately, lots of pilots were slightly mislead by the B label, and did in fact bought the Carrera .
For me it was an excellent glider that had a superb
climb rate, a respective glide angle and great maneuverability. The original Carrera was competing easily with the C class with top scores.
For sure it was a bit handful for the B class, but not for the pilots who were used to fly moderate aspect ratio C gliders.

In 2015, GIN released another version of his excellent Carrera. The Carrera plus has now lower sheathed lines, and the R&D team claimed to have modified the angle of attack and line lengths to reach more comfort and better overall feel.
Having flown the Original Carrera S ,i have now the Plus version in S size also to see if these modifications are indeed a plus over the original Carrera without the loss of overall performance or are they just simply a marketing tool ? …Let see…

I have flown the Carrera plus S from 90 to 94 .
Pulling the A’s on the Carrera Plus S, showed a slight delay in rising power for the first 70 %, comparing it to the original version. After the 90 % rise, the Carrera plus accelerates to a quick take off. This new characteristic is very good in high winds.The pilot will have the time to catch the glider much sooner.

In the air the brake authority are slightly less than the original version, with a glider that stays more flat in turns. Carving was continuous on the original version, but the Carrera plus will flatten the turn to a more calmer one.

To evaluate the climb rate, i had to fly several times with my trusted friends and in company of reference gliders in that matter.
We confirmed that the climb rate of the Carrera plus is indeed a plus on this new version.
Explanation:
1-Trim speed is slightly reduced by less than 0.5 km/h. A similarly loaded Delta 2 SM has now slightly faster trim speed than the Carrera plus S.
2-The pitch movements on the original Carrera has been changed. The Carrera plus has a slight pitch back in entering cores, and the overall pitch behavior is now more dampened . However the roll is still present as the original version which is excellent.
3-The Carrera plus doesn’t dive in turns allowing a very efficient climb in difficult conditions that could match the best ones in the C category.(We don’t measure climb rate in easy ,constant thermals…No use ! All gliders climb similarly in those conditions)

In turbulent conditions the Carrera plus is indeed more comfortable than the original version as the pitch movements are 50 % more dampened and the glider is now always searching for a leveled flight.
The overall feeling of a more compact and solid tips is felt.

Once inside the core, the pleasure of the turning abilities are present. Of course the extra agility of the Original version has been slightly reduced, but I really enjoyed every thermal as the brakes are still precise and linear and the wing followed my command in a smooth and homogenous turn.

Gliding next to a Delta 2 SM, showed surprisingly a very close and slightly similar glide angle at trim speed, showing that the plus version is still very competitive!
What surprised me more is the glide at bar.
Pushing half bar on the Carrera plus needs a moderate to light pressure and showed the hidden power of this new version. The glide angle at 45km/h is excellent and very competitive to say the least with moderate aspect ratio the C gliders…

Big ears are easy to pull, they open by themselves.

Conclusion:
The Carrera plus still retains its gliding performance. The climb rate in weak and difficult conditions is above any B glider I have tested until now. Low saves are easier to manage.
The main question remains: Is it worth upgrading to the ‘plus’ version?
GIN offered a 35 % more comfortable Carrera plus for a wider range of experienced pilots.
It is still NOT your first average B glider, but for pilots who has enough experience in the category, and wanted a very competitive 6.2 aspect ratio with B certification, or pilots that do not want to sell their original Carreras, and are looking for that extra comfort in general handling, then an upgrade is useful.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Gliders, tests and transparency.



Gliders, tests and transparency.
First of all, I would like to thank all the pilots interested in dustoftheuniverse blog and page.
Paragliding for me it is a ‘pure’ sport. Flying puts us in a place away from dull conversations, work problems, and daily routine life.
Being up there, focusing on the flight, visualizing the scenery, is an experience beyond fine description, where an individual would find him/herself floating in space and totally free.
The purpose of my tests is to be able to change wings, feel the difference, and share it.
To do so, I must purchase the gliders from manufacturers. That’s the best way to be free to make: Test, take the needed time, fly the glider anywhere I want, be free to compare it with any glider and discuss opinions with my friends.
Purchased gliders must be sold after, in order to get new ones.
Our custom status:
When each single glider arrives, the glider is detained by the customs. In the next 4-5 days they inform me and I must drive to the Airport that is 2-hour drive from my house, without mentioning the horrible traffic.
First visit consist to begin the terrible negotiations with the customs, then paperwork and a copy to be sent to the army in order to get a clearance paper.
After 3 days an army officer call to say that he is going to inspect the glider. After 5 days I began to call the army office to see if the clearance has been given. Once it has, I must again drive to the airport to began the clearance process.
I would wait outside the officer office 4-5 hours sometimes to wait for his signature! Got the paper signed and away now to the custom office to begin the release process and paying the customs fees (+Vat).
=  Around +500 including back and forth expenses paid, and 15-18 days delay with (a single) glider released! 
(I’m really grateful that ‘Imad’ a guy that works with me helps me with this issue)
Glider is tested and now I must sell it.
After the test, if a glider shows it’s potential on the videos and meets many pilots’ requirements, then the company, and the dealers and everyone working on this brand would positively benefit from it. I’m glad I contributed to that happiness…and the pilots who bought that glider are even happier!  :-)
As for me, I’m now struggling to sell that single used glider making sure that no dealer around the world is un-happy by his countryman pilot buying mine!
Knowing that he could have made some profits after the test selling to many other pilots…But that won’t sate his greed, sending emails to the main company as if the world had collapsed and the loss is enormous!
I will gladly send him any profit over it if occurred!
Glad that there are few alike, and many are gentlemen and professionals.
I’m not selling a new glider…Just (a single) 5-10 hours used glider. Wake up money worshipers…Think of the positive sides, rather than the negatives ones.  
Some complains that my prices are low.
With all the hard work getting one glider out, going for the tests, editing the videos, writing the tests, answering endless questions and emails, all free information to the pilots around the world, and they are available for any interested manufacturer.
Would it be fair to trade and profit after an honest opinion? 
After covering the above expenses. The prices are low, because they are also free from ridiculous profit!



Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Triple Seven Rook 2 SM




As seen on my videos, my tests are not only to show, talk, or to praise a glider. They are a ‘different’ way to insert the tested ones in the category they are meant for, and also to explain the differences and expectations in words.


Triple Seven Rook 2 SM

Aggressive back position intakes on the leading edge, Upper line cascades with unsheathed lines ,lower line cascades with thin ,very optimized covered Liros lines. Very sporty looking risers, excellent finish…That’s the Rook 2 in SM size ready for take off !

I flew the Rook 2 SM (80-100) from 94 to 98 all up in different conditions ,from weak to strong and turbulent in the company of other 2015 high-end B reference gliders and that gave me a complete idea about the Rook 2.

Launching this high EN-B overall is nice and even in +25 km/h wind is quite easy for the category .Just a dab on the brakes to keep it overhead, with a swift airborne mode.

I always alternate several new B gliders in the same day with the same conditions and of course switching gliders with my friends in respecting the loads.

Rewinding a bit…Considering that the Iota 26 moves comfortably as a block with a good, and firm authority on the brakes letting it be efficient enough in turning ability. Looking back also at the Mentor 4 S which has a slight dynamic feel over the Iota but also with relatively similar comfort and a swifter brake response over the Iota and a slightly less thermal climb capability in the weak .Both gliders moves as a block, with no parasite movements. (All in S sizes with same loadings)

Fast-forwarding now …The Rook 2 feels slightly more subtle in turbulent conditions with a very slight insignificant yaw movement before initiating a turn, like the one seen on the Queen, but surely with much more comfort . (More comfortable than a Blacklight,or Chili 3 for example to give you an idea ! )

The brakes authority on the Rook 2 SM are more linear than the Iota and the Mentor 4, enabling the pilot under, to feel the air and the movements of the glider placing it exactly where he wants and optimizing the turning radius with a flat turn ( Or a performance oriented turn ) .
The pressure on the brakes are less than the ones on a Mentor 4 S , and slightly close to the Rush 4 , which is moderate .

So the Rook 2 SM doesn’t have the agility and the dynamics in turns of the Mentor 4S.
It is similar to the Iota 26 agility, “but” with a super efficient climb rate in the weak ,putting it as efficient as the Chili 3 !
( The Rook 2 SM is a serious contender in climb rate! )

In turbulent conditions and head wind, I found that it’s preferable to load the Rook 2 SM a bit . May be (98 kg) is good for a better into wind efficiency “in racing mode”. Flying it also at 94 is also fine…Just slightly slower to dig in when facing a strong head wind.
The Rook 2 SM trim speed is slightly less (-0.5 km/h) than the Mentor 4S and Iota 26 similarly loaded. And slightly faster at trim than the Rush 4 by +0.5 km/h.

Did some long glides with some good B’s and C’s .

Rewinding a bit again…Doing glides into wind on little Xc’s with the Mentor 4S comparing it to the Delta 2 SM and Elan light 26 showed a better raw glide for the M4 S.
But in tricky conditions with weak choppy thermals, and low saves, both the Delta 2 SM and the Elan 26 always managed to out-climbed me and were well ahead.

Flying the Rook 2 SM with the same Delta 2 SM, and the new Elan light 26, showed a “close” glide performance to the C gliders (in windy conditions) for the Rook 2 SM especially when applying the bar a bit, (@ 45 km/h)
The good part is when each time we happen to get low trying to catch the small thermals bits …the Rook 2 SM was the first one out of the hole! and gliding away…

It was clear, when using the first part of the speed bar,
that a quick difference is felt and seen in turbulent glides. 



The action on the first bar did in fact smoothed the glider movements ! and i believe that the glide angle has improved over the trim speed glide ! That’s impressive !

Big ears are stable with a -3m/s with bar. They reopen quickly on release.
Wing overs and 360’s are also fun to use .
The speed over trim at 98 all up is + 14 km/h with the pulleys overlapping (Taken at 800 ASL)
The speed bar pressure is moderate on my Woody Valley X-rated.

Conclusion:
Triple Seven gliders seems to inherit the know-how and fine tuning capabilities of the Valic brothers competition background, by producing fine gliders with optimum line width and layout, and a big attention to the glide at speed !

What i have felt and seen, is a well designed, high-end B glider “with character”, up-to-date performance and a well tuned brake fan for maximizing the turning radius.
The Rook 2 isn’t a boring stiff B glider nor a lively one for sure !
The pitch movements are nearly absent. And the roll is moderate for the B class.
The tips are solid and powerful. They move sideways a bit, with the center pitch still very stable in movements.
They give a certain fragrance to the flight, which sensitive pilots might appreciate over a stiffer one.

The Rook 2 with it’s efficient climb rate, enabling low saves, and an impressive glide around ± 45 km/h will share the top places in the best efficient ones.






Saturday, April 4, 2015

EN-B Comparison

I have simplified a bit this B comparison, and added the ‘more fun and pleasure to fly B glider, as many pilots don’t always search for + 0.xy in LD on a B rather than “higher fun factor ” glider.
Also i threw some C’s and D’s to give an idea…

Most easy to fly in difficult conditions (most comfortable) :

1-AD Rise 2 M = Base M
2-Hook 3 25
3-Sprint EVO= Eden 5=Advance E7 26 = Kantega XC2= Ion 3 S = Atlas S= Infinity 4 S = Swift 4 SM = AD Rise 2 S Superlight .
4-Rush 3 = Mentor 3 S = Summit XC 3 S = Iota 26
5-Mentor 4 S = Tequila 4 = Rush 4 = Windtech Bali
6-SM-Blacklight = Nevada = Sky Atis = Comet 2 S= Swing Mistral 7 S
7-Mentor 2 = Lightning S
8-Chili 3
9-Carrera S, M


Climb rate in OVERALL conditions for XC flying (difficult ,weak, or strong) .
“Relatively moving conditions”

1-Chili 3 S @ 98 = Carrera S, M.
2-Nevada = U-Turn Blacklight = Rush 4 SM = Mentor 2 S (Still Efficient) = Mentor 3 S ( it is very dampened) = Tequila 4 SM = AD Rise 2 M = Atlas S = Base M = Rise 2 S Superlight
3-Iota 26 = Windtech Bali.
4-Summit XC 3 S @ 93 = Comet 2 S = Ion 3 S = Mentor 4 S.
5-Hook 3 = Eden 5 = Sky Atis 4= Advance E 7 26 = UP Kantega XC2 S = Infinity 4 S = Swing M7 S = Lightning S @90 (These gliders have a superb climb in calm conditions away from the valley breeze.Differences are very small .Its up to the pilot !)

Glide in “OVERALL” conditions (upwind, downwind, racing in difficult conditions) Or “efficiency” ! Done in active air.

1-Carrera S, M = Mentor 4 S = Iota 26
2-Mentor 3 S = Chili 3 S
3-Rush  4 = AD Rise 2 = Swift 4
4-Nevada 26 (must be loaded at 100 ) = Windtech Bali = Hook 3 = Tequila 4 SM = Mentor 2 S
5-Blacklight SM (loaded) = Ion 3 S = Sky Atis 4 M = Swing Mistral 7 S = Atlas X-Alps =AD Rise 2 S Superlight = UP Summit XC3 S size (M&L could be different)
6-BGD Base M = UP kantega XC2 S = Rush 3 M = AD Rise 1 = Infinity 4 S = Eden 5 = Comet 2 S = Atlas S ( The differences are small with ± half a point in L/D max, in “relatively moderate conditions” . (Racing in stronger conditions will show bigger differences)

Fun feel :     “pleasure to fly, “agile” and higher overall fun feeling”  IMHO

1-Tequila 4 S @ + 91 kg
2-Base M @ + 91 kg / Infinity 4 S @ + 89 Kg  = Swift 4 @ + 91 Kg / Atlas S, & Atlas X-Alps S @ +91 Kg / Sky Atis 4 M @ + 95 Kg / Swing Mistral 7 @ +92 Kg / Mentor 2 S @ +95 Kg / Comet 2 S @ + 93 Kg /
3-Rush 4 @ + 91 Kg  / Carrera S @ + 92 kg / Blacklight S @ +91 Kg / Blacklight SM @ + 100 Kg / UP Kantega XC2 @ + 95 Kg / Mentor 3 & 4 S @ +95 Kg / Advance Iota @ + 96 Kg / Wintech Bali M @ + 97 Kg / Chili 3 @ + 100 Kg /  AD Rise 2 S superlight @ + 89 Kg .
4- Rise 2 M @ + 103 Kg / Nevada 26 @ + 100 Kg / Ion 3 S @ + 97 Kg / Hook 3 M @ + 97 Kg /UP Summit XC3 @ + 93 kg / AD Rise 1  @ + 95 Kg .




Most demanding glider in "strong conditions" (1-10) '10' being most demanding for a high end B ‘: ( Please bear in mind the 'size' and the 'wing loading' ! )
* Some C’s and D’s were included to inform pilots about their demanding behavior (Forum request) .




Advance E7 26 (@93 all up) * 3.9
AD Rise 2 M (@98all up) *4
BGD Base M (@90all up) *4
Eden 5 (@ 95 all up) *4
Hook 3 (@97 all up) *4
Rush 3 M (@102 all up) *4.5
Sprint Evo ( @ 98 all up ) *4.5
Nova Ion 3 S (@ 95 all up) *5.0
U-Turn Infinity 4 S (@ 90all up) *5.0
Gin Atlas S (@ 92 all up ) * 5.0
UP Kantega Xc2 S (@ 90 all up)*5.0
AD Rise 1 (@ 102 all up) *5.5
Windtech Bali (@95 all up) *5.5
Swift 4 SM (@ 92 all up) *5.5
Iota 26 ( @ 95 all up) *5.5
Blacklight SM (@100 all up)*5.5
Sky Atis 4 M (@93 all up) *5.5
Nevada 26 (@ 100 all up ) *5.5
Mentor 3 S ( @97 all up) *5.5
Tequila 4 SM (@92 allup) *5.5
Axis Comet 2 S (@90 all up 5.8
Mentor 4 S ( @ 95 all up)  *5.8
UP Summit XC3 @ 93 all up. 6.0
Swing M7 S (@90all up) *6.0
Rush 4 SM (@93 all up) *6.0
Blacklight S ( @ 90 all up) *6.5
Lightning S @ (90 all up) 6.5
Mentor 2 S (@ 95 all up) *6.5
Chili 3 S (@ 98all up) *7.0
carrera S, M 8.0


C & D gliders:
This grade is to say how busy a glider is, in strong conditions, or the one that’s more difficult to manage, comparing to the B category.

Since this is a very delicate comparison , i must point out that the glider that has quicker authority on the brakes like the Triton 2 will enable a good pilot to keep it swiftly overhead. Some doesn’t have that quick response and in strong conditions they won’t keep the pilot as busy, but he will be the ‘passenger’ for a short lapse of time …
The grade doesn’t indicate the one that recovers easier or harder !!Only that keep you busier !  Most will have easier recovery than the higher graded !


Mac Elan M (@98all up) *7
Up Summit XC 3 S (@94 all up) *7.5
Mac Elan light 24 (@90 al up) *7.5
Advance Sigma 9 25 (@91 all up) *7.5
Niviuk Artik 4 25 (@91 all up) *8.5
Ozone Alpina 2 SM (@92 all up) * 8.5
Delta 2 SM size (@ 92 all up) *9
777 Queen M (@ 101 all up) *9
Aspen 5 26 (@98all up) *10
Skyman CrossAlps S (@90 all up) *10.5
Sol Lotus one (@ 98 all up) *11
Ozone Mantra 6 SM (@94 all up) *12
Gin Gto 2 S  size (@94 all up) *12,5
Triton 2 in S size (@ 96 all up) *12.5   (M size could be different) !
Niviuk IP6 23 (@98 all up) *13.5
Ozone R-10 S (@ 98 all up) *15.0



The Eden 5 has less top speed of 3-4 km than the others.
The Hook 3 is very comfortable to fly with a very interesting glide angle. The climb in smooth conditions is fair.
The Mentor 3 is much easier than the Mentor 2, and its efficiency is in those turbulent glides where it will have less pitch movements and little better glide.
The Mentor 4 has better glide than the Mentor 3 but with lesser climb “only” in weak conditions.
The Iota has a very good glide similar to the Mentor 4, It has a nice climb similar to the Mentor “3”.
The Chili 3 S “still” has the best climb rate and a very nice handling in homogenous conditions. But with a very long brake travel.
The Advance E7 26 is the most confidence inspiring rock solid glider of the cat. It reminded me of the low B cat in comfort.
The BGD Base is a confidence inspiring, solid glider.The climb and handling are very good.
The Atis 4 has a bit roll movement and need some active piloting in the high end B’s.
It has a fast trim speed, much like the M3 and Chili 3. Long brake travel are needed to let the glider respond in turbulent conditions.
The UP Kantega XC2 S is a very nice wing to fly .It has nice handling and also superb climb overall being also very accessible.
The Swing M7 S is a delight to fly. It dives a bit into turns. It is fast enough for a B, and has enough performance. Not really a floater but a nice glider overall.
The Rush 4 has a very good glide . It is an overall good, very solid B glider, but its trim speed is around 38 km/h and especially the top speed which is low for the cat around 51 km/h .
The fastest are Mentor 3, XC3, Mistral 7…But it is around 55 km/h max.
The AD rise 2 M has the BEST ratio Performance/Comfort in flight !
The Tequila 4 SM is like a precious gem ! combining agility/performance/accessibility!
The Infinity 4 has a very light and nice turning behavior! It has a low trim speed , and the climb rate even loaded is outstanding!
The Comet 2 S give a nice feeling under it. It has a very nice handling .
The Windtech Bali has a respected glide angle. It needs slightly active piloting in big air.
The Atlas S has everything to make its pilot very happy,with a good feeling of passive safety. The X-Alps version of the Atlas has more performance overall, especially in climb.


Conclusion: The Carrera has now two very serious competitors, the M4 and the Iota in pure gliding power.The Carrera still climbs better “in real conditions” than any B in this table.
The AD Rise 2 is very comfortable to fly with a superb glide for the high B category .
The Rush 4 like the Swift 4 has nearly the glide of the Mentor 3 but with lesser speed. It's an overall efficient glider in difficult conditions where it could cut through turbulence and have a very solid and compact feel coupled with a direct handling.

I’m certain that a good pilot can break an XC record with ANY of those superb B gliders from above !
Please pick the one that will make you feel happy under it ….The rest is up to you !


Cheers,
Ziad

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

SKYMAN Cross Alps S



SKYMAN CrossAlps S

Super-light gliders…Here i come…
The CrossAlps for SKYMAN is a very light glider with a very neat construction and full of small but very important details…
I think this glider was made with ‘LOVE’ because it bears everything a hike and fly expert pilot is longing for, weather he is committed to crossing big distances supported by the thermal breeze and cool fresh air or just a peaceful minded ‘bivouac’ aficionados !  :-)

The Attachment points goes directly to the canopy, the unsheathed lines and thin dyneema risers are very well built.
The leading edge bears some small stainless steel crampons to tuck them into the snow keeping the leading edge from slipping or getting down your feet if some back wind occurs in some remote and difficult takeoffs.

I’m not the right expert to talk about that hike and fly XC machine, but anyone can appreciate a red Ferrari :-)

The take off is super easy with no wind or even with light back wind.
 Flew the S size at 89 all up. The Cross alps with it’s 6.4 ar is not a dampened glider nor an alive one. It sits in the middle of the Delta 2 SM and the Triton 2 S in terms of roll and overall movements.
The brake authority in mild conditions are very good .I could place that machine precisely where i wanted, like a surgeon doing a delicate operation.
Every centimeter result in glider adjustment ! The brakes has a relatively moderate to slightly hard pressure on the loaded S size.
12-14 cm are just needed to steer that glider.
In turbulent and strong thermals, the Cross Alps energy is more present and the authority on the brakes could block swiftly all the glider sharp movements to keep it over head.

The authority of the brakes in those conditions is slightly reduced, just waiting for the wing to settle a bit, and then coring the thermal evenly.

The strongest point of the Cross Alps is the climb in the weakest conditions !
This glider even overloaded can in fact soar and soar the sky without loosing a thermal. It is a super tool for low saves !

Doing some glide comparison with the Cross alps, puts it in the middle C in terms of glide performance.
I know that the purpose was to made a super light and compact XC glider, but the glide was just for information and the Cross Alps has lots of other benefits to look at.

In strong conditions the Cross Alps need active piloting, but it seems a solid and coherent glider if the right amount is pulled on the brakes.

The other good point is the efficient ears. Doing some big ears with the bar, i saw -5.5 m/s !!
The opening needs some time and with a dab on the brakes it opens smoothly .

For sure, the Cross alps is a very interesting, super-light XC glider to test fly ! 









Wednesday, March 18, 2015

BGD BASE


BGD Base M
The Base is the new 2015 B glider from the two time world champion and owner of BGD ,Bruce Goldsmith. The Base has lots of innovations ! From the Cord Cut Billow to the mini-ribs on the leading edge, and an aggressive big white nose ! “A new name for that famous leading edge” ;-)
Bruce often comments about the perfect angle reached with his leading edge design.
Taking off is very easy and smooth on the Base.
In the air , the Base gave me an immediate feel of a compact, comfortable , easy to manage glider for the B category. It feels more coherent and more stable than some low B’s i have tested earlier. It is definitely NOT a fully dampened boring glider . All the movements are still present but reduced to a minimum, allowing the pilot to feel every bit of lift in a slow motion way.
The brake travel is medium to short and is relatively “slightly” heavier than the recent B’s i had in my tests.
The authority on the brakes are very good .It enable the pilot to put the Base exactly where he wants, and also in a moderate slow motion way. It is not the most agile B glider, but i was fully satisfied of it’s agility ! Pulling on the brakes will immediately enable the glider to turn right where it is ordered to go.
Trim speed at 90 all up on the M size is close to 39 km/h and it’s a average to good speed for the category !
The full lengths on the speed bar enhances the speed by approximately 13 km/h over trim, and it’s relatively easy to pull with a moderate pressure like the M4 or the Iota i was testing earlier.
Applying the bar, the Base became even more solid and coherent.

Inside the B category, i found out that the Base has a very efficient sink rate in weak thermals enabling low saves !
I think the ability to slow it down and to squeeze that turn radius coupled with a very good sink rate is putting the Base among the top efficient ones.
With stronger thermals, coring with the Base by lowering the inside brake is fun to do, but the brakes get a bit heavy on the lower end.
Bruce’s philosophy was to put regular lines on the Base,instead of competition lines, for many B pilots wishing for a recreational B glider .
I did some glides with the Base versus the new B’s.
The glide in calm air or racing in strong air at trim and full bar is within the B category. The glide performance puts the Base in the middle of the B category, and it offers a lot more in climb, comfort and agility.

Ears are easy to pull, they are stable with a sink rate around -3m/s. They slowly open with a small dab on the brakes. Conclusion:
At first, just by looking at those colors will surely get you in a better mood ;-)  ! especially the River color !
The Base is a well sorted glider made for big air.
If you fly from +30 hours /year to +200 h, and your wish is a very good climbing glider that has all the latest technologies, a glider that can take you safely and comfortably in the air, a smooth and balanced amount of feedback with nice brake authority, then the Base is an interesting option to look at .









Thursday, February 26, 2015

ADVANCE Iota



Hi,
The Iota is a new B class from ADVANCE that sits between the Sigma 9 and the Epsilon 7 .
It has all unsheathed lines and all the latest innovations. The construction and the purely of the lines, is IMHO ,one of the best you'll ever see...
Launching in moderate conditions the Iota is easy and smooth. I flew the size 26 (75-100) from 92 to 96 and once airborne, the IOTA gave me a solid and confidence inspiring feeling. The comfort is exactly between the Epsilon 7 and the Sigma 9 and slightly toward the Sigma 9 . The brakes authority are slightly less than the Sigma 9 which but still direct and prompt at my loadings . The agility is slightly less than the Sigma 9 but still very satisfying.
The trim speed is fast around 40 km/h.
The IOTA moves as a whole .The structure is very coherent and the turns are initiated from the brakes rather than weight shift.
What impressed me is the gliding power of that superb machine ! I don't want to say anything more than to let you see the videos (more to come)
I think this weapon has the ability to take you wherever your mind is set to go...
The climbing and the ability to surge upward is very good and still the glider behaves very gently for the performance it delivers.
Induced collapses are soft in recovery.At least on my loadings. Big ears are stable and reopen smoothly. The speed bar takes you + 13 km/h over trim taken at 400 ASL.
Conclusion:
The IOTA will be the B glider to look at closely this season for it's 'complete ' package of climb - glide - comfort .

More to come on the IOTA 

This video below shows the potential of the 2015 high-end B gliders. It is NOT a comparison with high end D classes ,as the D class will always have the upper hand...But on a B you can fly very far...Grab a beer and enjoy this 27 mn Full HD video ! Smile
Cheers,
Ziad.

 UPDATE !
A few more words concerning the Iota.

I have been flying the Iota with lots of B gliders recently, and now i have a more clear idea about that glider.
The IOTA from ADVANCE is best flown at 95 all up on the 26. I could fly it less about 92 easily. And i did try to fly it at 98 which also didn’t affect at all the climb !

The turning behavior is as i said before not as agile as the Sigma 9 but the IOTA doesn’t dive in turns and has that stationary turn with this biting ability into thermals giving the pilot a very efficient climb rate !

Big ears are very stable and it’s efficient ! Very useful …Reopen smoothly…

Today my flying was in difficult conditions with a north wind
that reduced our trim speed to 12 km/h facing the wind.

I was really surprised that after some hours flying with the best B’s of the moment at exactly same loadings for both (96.5)  that the IOTA is a very interesting and efficient glider in difficult conditions whenever in climb or glide !
All that with a very relaxed behavior for the high end B category. I’m convinced to the point that i’m not selling the IOTA for now, and keeping it as a reference B glider for future testing.

After all …what do B pilots really need more than a comfortable, high performance B glider that can deliver when nicely asked?  :-)









Mac Para Elan Light 24





Mac Para Elan Light 24  70-90

Earlier i test flew the Elan 26 normal version, and was very impressed by the comfort and the performance of that C glider.
Now here's the Elan light in size 24 flown at 88 all up with a lightness 2 harness.

The risers are very thin and connected directly to the lines as the Mac Yucon light glider .

Take off is smooth and easy¦
First turn and i was already having an ear to ear smile !
The brake pressure is light and the brake fan is super precise, super direct, and a real pleasure to fly that glider as ±15 cm are needed to turn that glider in thermals.

The comfort is there ! The Elan light is also inherited the comfort of the Eden 5 . It moves smoothly as a whole, without excessive movements as if the pilot is on a mid B glider.

Of course in strong conditions it needs a C pilot, but it surely is a mild C and pilots coming from the B category will find a real pleasure in thermal flying.

The climb ability of the Elan light is among the best in the C category. It climb quickly with the first thermal breathe.

The glide angle is similar to the normal Elan which is very good for the 2015 middle C category.

Conclusion:
Test flying many gliders, makes it sometimes very difficult to be impressed, but the Elan light 24  has one of the best handling (turning ability) , with exquisite flying pleasure and feel a pilot can experience !







NOVA Mentor 4 S




NOVA Mentor 4 S

Upon NOVA statement that the Mentor 4 is a step forward in performance compared to the Mentor 3, here’s the M4 in S size flown from 94 to 98 all up.

Launching is straight forward for the B category.

Once in the air the Mentor 4 feels more alive than the ‘3” and less than the ‘2’ version.
The brake response is direct and precise and puts the Mentor 4 in the middle of the M2, and M3 version in terms of responsive character .

It is not like the M2 which was short and super direct, but also not like the M3 which lacked a bit of linear response.
NOVA nailed it with a direct and nicer handling and more performance oriented than the M 3.

Climbing in weak thermals ( 0.5m/s) at 94 all up on the M4 is average… I cannot say that it has the best climb in the B category, but it could be very close to the M3.

In punchier thermals and facing the valley breeze, the Mentor 4 shows it’s potential to wipe out the M2, and M3 off the bench ! The M4 cuts through and climb going forward like a high end performance glider !

This cutting and going through the airmass is the strongest point of the M4 when loaded near the top weight ! Climbing in strong thermals facing the valley breeze is enhanced on board the M4 and could be very competitive with the class above.

The trim speed of the M4 is higher than the one on the M3 similarly loaded.

In turbulent conditions the M4 needs more active piloting than an M3 , and could be slightly less than the M2 or same in terms of pilot control .

Now comes the interesting performance part….

To give you an exact answer about the Mentor 4 glide performance, I did several long glides with some recent B ,C and last an ‘out of the box’ 7.0 ar , 2014 ,very well known ,3 line, D glider !, in calm and in moving conditions.

Of course the climb rate and the floating ability of a 7.0 AR D glider is un-matchable…but it was a very interesting information for me to know how the Mentor 4 glides among today’s B,C and D gliders. And the surprise came…

I can easily confirm now, that the glide angle of the Mentor 4 S loaded at 98 is very ….very…competitive especially facing the valley breeze and surprisingly superb at second bar !, and that would be a big surprise for many after the test movies will be released …

Conclusion:
NOVA has built a super ‘performance’ B glider. The climb in weak is average to good for the category but the Mentor 4 will take you on dream glides at trim…”or should i say” especially at full speed !!
Like it’s predecessors, the hard part is trying to beat this glider in glide !



Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Windtech BALI, S EN-B



Windtech BALI

Bali is the new 2015 Windtech EN-B glider . The size S (80-100) is the glider I test flew from 93 to 97 all up with different harnesses.

The Bali has a few lines, with 2 thick lines on the A’s per side, with 7 lines /side and it’s a pure 3 line glider.

The construction that appears in transparency above me is well built with lots of work to support the fewer lines.

The brake lines passes through a very small ceramic ring, with very close diameter to the brake line !

Take off is fine, but I can feel the few supported lines by the reaction of the glider when kiting.

First flight at 93 all up with a Woody Valley X-Rated 6 harness (slightly agile) worked fine for me. The turning radius was nice with a moderate to slightly long brake travel, but in this configuration the Bali was slightly more agile than an Iota I was testing at the same time.



The climb rate in weak conditions less than 0.3 m/s was average to good at 93 all up as I was matching the climb of the Iota. The trim speed is around 38 km/h and the top speed is only 8 km/h over trim.

In strong thermals the Bali pitches back a little for a second and climb quickly in the core. It is efficient in the climb as the pilot could slow it a bit and make a stationary turn inside the core.

Gliding next to the latest B’s showed a moderate to good glide to the Bali that needs constant push on the bar to match the trim speed of the latest B concurrence especially at that load.

Getting on a heavier Exoceat harness with 97 all up wasn’t really a good idea in weak conditions, as the Bali doesn’t really like to be heavily loaded. And the very stable Exoceat harness for higher aspect ratio glider, was limiting the roll movements and swift weight shifts . I wasn’t able to turn the Bali as it was on the agile WV harness. Some gliders needs good weight shift and more alive harnesses.

The top speed, I got flying it at 97 was +9 km/h over trim.

Big ears with the outer A lines are big, stable and are efficient with the bar .They reopen smoothly.

Only in punchy and strong conditions, the Bali moves a bit and needs a good B pilot to control it, much like some other high-end B gliders with fewer attachment points.

Conclusion: Today’s B class is the fiercest class of all! It's the main artery on which manufacturers feed ! Competition here is really strong !

In that particular period, i was test flying four new B’s. So every time i swapped gliders, the feeling under was immediately noticeable.


The Bali has a fairly good overall performance to fit inside the high B category. It’s better to fly it at 60% of the weight range and with a good weight shift harness to get the pleasure pack with it.

Bigger brake rings would be slightly better for lesser friction, and more top speed would be welcomed.

But gliding at full speed is still very good ,and many pilots may be won’t need to use more.



 



Air Design Rise 2 Superlight






Sunday, January 18, 2015

ADVANCE Lightness 2

ADVANCE Lightness 2

The 2015 Lightness 2 is ADVANCE new light harness and the replacement of the old Lightness 1.

As usual, ADVANCE products are a pleasure to un-box, for their superb quality and the excellent workmanship.
The materials, the sewing, and the design of the Lightness 2 couldn’t be compared to any recent light harness. It is a class of it’s own by the purity of a high-end, very well engineered piece of equipment.

Comfort in the air :
Having flown many pod harnesses, ADVANCE seat-less board Lightness 1 and, Impress 3 were the most comfortable ones for the flying position as they deliver un-matched body support in the air.
The Lightness 2 with it’s 3 kg, inherited this incredible comfort of a superb back support !

The roll movements of the Lightness 2 are slightly more than the ones on a WV GTO or a Genie light but less than the lightness 1 , as there’s an option of adjusting the chest strap.
It is also slightly more roll stable than an Impress 3 who had some un-necessary 2 cm ‘roll slack’ on each side.
The lightness 2 pilot will feel a more compact roll movement as if he is a part of the harness.

On the lightness 2, i could just let my feet rest on the front part of the pod without a single effort to keep my feet leveled ! With all the harnesses i flew, except the Impress 3, i had to sustain a slight effort to keep my feet horizontally inside the pod.
Inside the Lightness 2, the feet are supported in some ingenious way, that they just rest straight as if you were on a bed ! Very relaxing on long flights.

The weight shift on the seat-less Lightness 2 are more efficient than on the Impress 3 .
A seat-less harness doesn’t have a pressure point on your thighs ,like the edge of a seat board does provide for an efficient feeling in turns, but the lightness 2 new geometry is close to this efficient and precise turning feel !

The light materials used for a warm pod are excellent. I was flying for an hour in +3 C to +5 C inside this pod and i was perfectly warm and feeling great !

One small detail: The storage under the seat should bear a strap in order to support a +3 kg water ballast. Without this strap a small ball shape of the ballast is shown from the outside under the pilot. It’s very easy for anyone to sew or add one if needed…

I’m waiting curiously for the Impress 4 as a regular XC and comp harness with a more heavy duty use. Especially at this level of comfort !
But would also wish for even an adjustable roll movement control…

Conclusion:
From all the harnesses i flew especially among the light ones, the Lightness 2 stands as the most comfortable, for a superb back and hip support.
With a light glider, and the ADVANCE compact rucksack, All equipment will be under 10 kg.
The simplicity and magic of flying will keep you even more enchanted.

Cheers,
Ziad.



Friday, December 5, 2014

GIN GTO 2 S

GIN GTO 2 S

The GTO 2 is the replacement of the old EN-D GTO first version.
I flew both the S and M size of the GTO 1 and commented at the time about the difference of behavior in the air, as if it was completely another glider.
I wasn’t really happy of the S size at the time, and the M size was much better in homogeneity and feel. It was indeed a floater with an impressive climb rate .

Here’s the second version :
Launching the GTO 2 S in nil wind require a very light pull as the glider inflates quickly and getting airborne is immediate ! In more windy conditions some slower pulls are required .

The factory settings of the brake travel is a bit long for my 94 all up weight on the S (80-95) size.
Half a wrap on the brakes and I’m set to attack the first thermal.
10 cm of brake travel is needed to initiate a turn ! You don’t need more.

In homogenous thermals the GTO 2 S turns like a lady ! Not too agile but also not too dull. The right amount for the outstanding 7.0 AR glider.
The pilot under the GTO 2 S doesn’t feel any yaw movements, but the glider does look a bit busy .
The pitch behavior is dampened for that class of gliders. The roll also is very well coordinated.
On the second day i found myself in a thermal on the lee side .It was a bit turbulent to let me know that the GTO 2 S is indeed a high performance glider that should be treated with the understanding of the level it was designed for. Nothing much for the ken pilot it is designed for !
The ability to turn when the conditions are difficult and punchy will affect a bit the turning behavior of the GTO 2 S. The glider needs a little time to react at my commands. But eventually will follow . It just needs a bit more time to settle it’s energy…
For an aspect ratio of 7:0 i liked the handling.

The climb rate at max weight is good but i found the best is to fly this glider 3 kg from top weight. At 92 ,the S size climb like no other could…Especially in those bullet thermals, the ability to shoot high up is amazing !
I was flying next to an IP 6 as loaded as mine (92 for me ),( 99 for him on the 23 ) and the climb did in fact surprised us both !

Now the best part is yet to come Smile

Gliding the S size next to the IP 6 at trim with those loadings showed a slight positive trim speed for the GTO 2 and also a 0.1 better glide . That’s on the S size ! The M size will be tested shortly Wink

The speed at full bar for both (pulleys overlapped) are identical !
With a similar glide angle slightly favoring the GTO 2 S…

The structure feels very solid and coherent at all times, like it is not going to collapse…At least that’s the feeling under it !

In full accelerated mode, the second bar is a bit hard to push .
The GTO 2 S felt more pressurized to the point that i didn’t feel the wing anymore. Just the sound of the wind, and some wave roll movements. May be i must adapt a bit to hear and understand it better at that speed.
The C risers becomes a bit loose. A gentle pressure will enable the pilot to feel it more .

Big ears are doable and fairly stable with most important a (stable structure) .
They are very efficient with the bar ! They reopen gently by themselves.

Conclusion:
With the arrival of the GTO 2 ,IMHO, GIN has created a well sorted D glider that has everything to be on the top category leaders !
It is of course a high performance glider ,not a low D glider like the Mantra 4, Omega 8, Peak 2, …
Just “slightly” a step further.
Flying it in strong conditions will need the experience of an advanced pilot to extract those amazing performances safely…
Among the latest high end D’s i have tested (M6, IP6 ) the GTO 2 S is a very competitive glider in every way if carefully loaded !


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

NIVIUK Artik 4 25

 











 NK delayed all my ordered gliders . Artik 4 probably in + 8 months … !! or never...
It was an obvious and clear message. Thank you … :-)
Got many supporting emails… Two pilots even offered to send me their gliders (Really grateful) …
Or an immediate purchase from anywhere in the planet, thanks to all the superb friends in the social media network !
One option taken :
The ARTIK 4 25 is here  :-)
OLivier Nef designs with the Artik 1/2/3 was very good .
First impressions on the Artik 4 seems interesting ...  ;-) 
NIVIUK Artik 4 25

I had received many emails concerning this glider, and i got one against all odds…for a test flight.

I spent time comparing it with one of the best C glider of the moment in terms of climbing and gliding.

The Artik 4 25 launches very easy .It doesn’t shoot forward and stays gently above the pilots head.

Once in the air, the Artik 4 gave me this immediate confidence inspiring feel, ( pillow feel ) , which is becoming more and more difficult to find in today’s C category.

First thermal and the Artik 4 quickly follow the pilots commands in a smooth and obedient circle…The feeling underneath is surprisingly comfortable !

The brakes are relatively medium to short on the size 25 , flying it 90 all up with moderate to light pressure, linear ,precise ,and the Artik 4 can be described as quite agile !
I could place the Artik 4 in the tightest thermal !
Suits perfectly my taste in turning ability and brake feel .

Despite having only 2 lines on the A, and B, risers, the Artik 4 is very coherent and move as a whole structure, without any weaknesses to the airfoil. The energy retention when going for wing overs is very good ! The structure seems very solid !


Gliding performance:
Despite it’s easiness in flight and the superb handling, the Artik 4 gave me the surprise of the year in gliding power !

Going head to head with another high C glider (A 5) at trim speed for about 12 km, showed an equal trim speed and glide with a slight favor to the Artik 4 ! ! (Video soon )
…At second bar the Artik 4 has a speed around 54 km/h at 1000 ASL.

The glide and speed at full bar matches exactly the Alpina 2 SM i have here. (same loadings)

As for the climbing ability the Artik 4 showed me a potential only found on the high C’s . It climbs in the weak thermals (- 0.2 m/s ) as the A5 does… Low saves are indeed saved with the A4 Smile
I sensed that the key is let this glider fly at trim even in the weakest thermals especially when facing the valley breeze. It seems to be more efficient hands up.



Big ears are stable, and a great way to get down if coupled with bar. Wing overs are a delight.The pilot can get over the glider on the second wing ! 360’s gets you down real quick. The Artik 4 will put it’s pilot or the new comer from a B glider in his comfort zone but don’t forget the strong energy retention .


My earlier mishaps with NIVIUK about refusing to sell me the A4, did in fact put lots of suspicions in my mind …It was easy to purchase one…even from the Esquimo people Smile
Honestly…I never thought it will have this complete package !
I don’t know why NIVIUK was trying to hide that glider !
The administration must trust more their R&D creations … Wink

Conclusion: I’m writing this last paragraph , and i’m still thinking of this well sorted glider…
NIVIUK has built an easy C with a high “fun” factor !
It has a moderate aspect ratio, cool handling, crazy performance in this (medium) C segment.


UPDATE:

Pushing the bar at max speed looses a bit in glide, and the flying in strong conditions needs active piloting as the structure snakes around.







Saturday, November 15, 2014

EN-C comparisons . Inserting the Artik 4 25 .

EN-C comparison (Update) -----

Easiest to manage in the category . 1 being most friendly user. (Most comfortable to fly for the average "C" pilot) : After many flights, some changes occurred…Constant feedback…

1- Alpina 2= Advance Sigma 9 = Mac Elan
2- ADVANCE Sigma 8 25 = Artik 4 25
3- GRADIENT Aspen 4 26 = Triple seven Queen
4- NIVIUK Artic 3 = AD Volt SM =BGD Tala M = Ozone Delta 2 = Cayenne 4 =SOL Lotus one M
5- GRADIENT Aspen 5 26 =U-Turn Passion SM = Carrera = Sky Argos
6- MacPara Marvel 25 = UP Trango XC 2
7-NOVA Triton 2 S

Handling in rough air: (The one that you can turn even in rough air)

1- Gradient Aspen 4 ! (Superb) = Alpina 2 = Sigma 9 = Artik 4 25
2- Nova Factor 2 = Artic 3 = Cayenne 4 S = Ozone Delta 2 = Triple seven Queen = Carrera= Elan= Triton 2 S
3- U-Turn Passion SM= BGD Tala M= Argos=Aspen 5 26 =SOL Lotus one M
4- OZONE Alpina 1 M = UP Trango XC 2 S/M = ADVANCE
5- UP Summit XC2 M = Marvel 25 = Delta M =AD Volt SM
6- Artic 3 Race


Performance in calm air at trim speed (no activity):

1-Triton 2 S
2-Triple seven Queen M
3- NIVIUK Artic 3 Race = Cayenne 4 S= BGD Tala = Alpina 2 = Carrera= Aspen 5 26 = SOL Lotus one M= Artik 4 25
4- NIVIUK Artic 3 = U-Turn Passion S/M =UP Trango XC 2 S/M = AD Volt SM= Ozone Delta 2= Elan =Argos
5- Nova factor 2 S =Marvel 25 = Aspen 4 26= Sigma 9
6- Advance Sigma 8 25 & Ozone Alpina M & Ozone Delta M
7- U-Cross S
8- UP Summit XC2

Performance at "trim speed" in head wind glides and ‘Average’ turbulent conditions:

1-Triton 2 S = SOL Lotus one M
2-Triple seven Queen M
3- Alpina 2 = Aspen 5 = Artik 4 25
5- Carrera
6- NIVIUK Artic 3 Race = U-Turn Passion SM = UP Trango XC 2= Ozone Delta 2= Elan =Argos
7- Skywalk Cayenne 4 = NIVIUK Artic 3 =AD Volt SM = BGD Tala= Sigma 9

Performance at " bar " in headwind glides and sudden lifts :

1- Triton 2 S =Triple Seven Queen M
2- Alpina 2= Aspen 5 = SOL Lotus one M
4- Carrera= Elan = UP Trango XC 2 S/M = Ozone Delta 2
5- NIVIUK Artic 3 Race = U-Turn Passion SM = BGD Tala= Sigma 9 =Argos = Artik 4 25
6- NIVIUK Artic 3 = Aspen 4 =Cayenne 4 S= AD Volt SM
7- Nova factor 2 S


Climb rate in weak but “difficult” conditions < 0.5 m/s (not homogenous thermals ,low in the inversion) :

1- SOL Lotus one M
2- U-Turn Passion S/M = Ozone Delta 2 ML= Elan
3- UP Trango XC 2 S/M= Delta 2 SM = Alpina 2 = Carrera M
3- NIVIUK Artic 3 = Marvel 25= Aspen 4 = Skywalk Cayenne 4 S = BGD Tala= Carrera S= Argos = Triton 2 S = Sigma 9 = Artik 4 25
5- Artic 3 Race = AD Volt SM = Triple seven Queen

Climb rate in punchy thermal conditions :

1-UP Trango XC 2 S/M = Ozone Delta 2 = Alpina 2 = Carrera M & S= Elan = Sol Lotus One
2-U-Turn Passion S/M = Cayenne 4 = Marvel 25 = Artic 3 Race = BGD Tala M= Argos = Triton 2 S
3-Artic 3 normal = Aspen 4= AD Volt SM = Triple seven Queen M = Sigma 9 = Artik 4 25

Brake description :
- Artik 4 25 : Moderate brake travel, linear , precise, agile .
-Sol Lotus, Short, moderate to hard, precise, linear.
-Triton 2 S, short, direct, linear, precise, average pressure.
- Aspen 5 26 , moderate brake travel, moderate to agile in turns, light.
- Sigma 9 Direct .
- Elan linear and direct,smooth.
- Argos Linear light to moderate and direct
- Triple seven Queen M ( relatively short and linear,precise,medium pressure,like D2 SM )
- Alpina 2 SM (soft,linear,longer than Delta 2 SM ,agile moderate to light pressure)
- Carrera S (shorter than Alpina SM,linear, precise, agile, moderate pressure)
- Ozone Delta 2 SM ,ML ( linear, short ,precise ,agile with moderate pressure)
- BGD Tala M (Long and linear, fairly precise in turbulent conditions, moderate to light pressure, forgiving)
- Nova factor 2 S (very direct and precise)
- NIVIUK Artic 3 (Linear, precise, agile)
- Skywalk Cayenne 4 S (Moderate pressure, Agile linear, forgiving, smooth!!)
- Gradient Aspen 4 26 (Agile,moderate,linear,forgiving,smooth)
- U-Cross S Direct and agile if the conditions are smooth, and a bit less in turbulent ,the glider must settle first)
- U-turn Passion SM ,light to moderate, linear ,agile.
- UP Trango Xc2 S/M ( medium pressure, precise, fairly agile, short)
- Marvel 25 (precise, moderate pressure, needs a bit of work in turbulent conditions)
- Ozone Alpina M (A bit longer than Factor 2 and a bit softer , more precise and shorter than the Delta M and much better turning behavior) 10-
- AD Volt SM ( Needs a bit time to enter the turn in moving conditions) - Niviuk Artic 3 Race
- Sigma 8 25 (very close in handling ,a bit long but still agile)
- UP Summit XC2 M (Long average agility to good)
- Ozone delta M (Soft ,long and average precision)
‘NEW’


(Most efficient C glider in overall XC flying ) IMHO
(1 being best) .
The one i personally feel that will gave me the most efficient XC for overall use.

1- Alpina 2 SM ( IMHO , It has still the best overall ratio of performance and efficiency with ease of use )
2-Triton 2 S = Sol Lotus One
3-Aspen 5 26 ( very efficient at second bar ! )
4- Ozone Delta 2 = Up Trango XC2 = U-turn Passion = Carrera M & S = Elan = Artik 4 25
5- BGD Tala M = Niviuk Artic 3, A3 Race, Skywalk Cayenne 4, Mac Para Marvel, Ozone Alpina M, AD Volt SM, Triple seven Queen M , Argos, Sigma 9 (Easy and solid)

ps: If the Queen M and the Triton 2 S climb would be slightly better for low saves, then it would have been my favorites !


Faster at second bar ( if equally loaded ) :

1- Queen M
2- Passion=Cayenne 4= Artic 3 Race = Aspen 4= Argos ,
3- Delta 2 = Sigma 8= Alpina 2= Sigma 9= Aspen 5 = Triton 2 S = Sol Lotus One = Artik 4 25
4- Trango XC2 = BGD Tala = Carrera= Elan

Big ears efficiency:

- Aspen 4 26 (very efficient in big ears) = Nova Factor 2 =Cayenne 4 S =
- Ozone Delta 2 = BGD Tala = Queen = Alpina 2 = Carrera (stable and efficient)= Sigma 9 =Elan =Argos = Sol Lotus One= Artik 4 25
Artic 3 = Artic 3 Race = U-Turn Passion SM =Triton 2 S (stable moderate ears ) =UP Trango XC 2 S/M= AD Volt SM = Aspen 5 26 .
- Marvel 25 ( moderate use of big ears-moves a bit)


Why did I choose the Alpina 2 SM as still efficient ?

It is of course my personal taste. Different pilots will have other tastes and requirements…
For me it is simply because the overall flying feeling and the handling in different conditions is still very rewarding. The Triton 2 S has the BEST performance but moves a lot more and requires much more energy from the pilot to control it in heavy conditions.

The Lotus one has also some impressive performance, but to place it wherever you want in turbulent conditions requires also some finer inputs.
The Aspen 5 is really some great glider at second bar ! It resembles the Triton 2 S in full speed glide! …To extract the full performance it needs an active piloting for sure and the way to turn it quickly in turbulent cores needs a little time.

The first 3 places are almost equal. Indeed superb machines ! Different taste for everyone …
The most important: Only the pilot will make a difference.

Cheers,
Ziad.

Friday, November 14, 2014

SOL Lotus one


SOL Lotus one M



The last DHV 2-3 glider I had from SOL was the Torck. Its climb rate and nice handling impressed me. It was a bit slow.


Here’s the Lotus one M for a test flight.

The beauty of this glider shape in the air is a sight for the eyes!


The Lotus one has all unsheathed lines .It is a bit heavy comparing it to other C gliders.


The take off need a progressive pull on the A’s but ok for the high C category.


In the air the glider gives a comfort feel. This test was made after flying the Triton 2, and surely the Lotus one is more comfortable in the air. The Lotus needs more ‘finesse’ and piloting level as a Delta 2 and slightly less than a Mantra 6.


The brakes pressure is considered a bit heavier and shorter than a D2. The handling is smooth and nicely coordinated.


The climb rate in weak and broken thermals even loaded at 100 all up is ‘exceptional’!

This glider knows how to hug a thermal like a passionate woman who doesn’t let go…


Gliding in zero wind doesn’t really show the Lotus potential unless the valley breeze settles in…then the Lotus cuts trough and climb efficiently. Some C gliders will move, bump and surges, but the Lotus one will climb and move forward. This is the most important feature in a glider and the Lotus has it !


Loaded at 100 the Lotus one M has a relatively faster trim speed than many C gliders with the same size and load. It has a slightly similar trim speed as the Triton 2 S.


Flying it in different conditions gave me an idea of its character.

It is slightly more demanding to fly than a Delta 2 M , and for sure it’s a high end C glider.


Ears are stable and they open smoothly.


The top speed is around 54 km/h taken at 1500 ASL.


Conclusion: The Lotus may not be the most agile C glider or the easiest one, but SOL introduced to the market an efficient and very competitive high-end C with a relatively comfortable ride and coherent structure.