Friday, September 17, 2021

Swing Arcus RS, 75-95

Swing  Arcus 2 RS,  75-95 


The Arcus is Swing's low EN-B glider, with the RAST system.

I flew the Arcus 2 RS at 93 all up in our strong Cedars area last month. 

The construction and details are really neat on that Arcus 2. Nitinol wires were used to keep the profile stable with little weight. 

The take-off at 93 is very straightforward and very easy, even in nil wind. In strong windy take-off, the easiness of the Arcus 2 makes the launching a child's play.

In the air, the brake travel is short to react and firm, but pulling more is still very forgiving, but no need as it turns quite well in all kinds of conditions. I can say that 15-20 cm is only needed to steer the glider in most conditions. The agility is nice on that low B with good precision in turns for the class.  

The pitch behavior is very calm, and the roll is even calmer! The information about the air is felt with a lot of passive movements and a very compact feel ! Not any weird movements whatsoever! 

 I flew the Buzz Z6 and the Ion 6, and I can say that the Arcus 2 seems and feels easier and calmer than both. 

Whatever harsh conditions you threw at it, the Arcus 2 RS welcomes it with a meditating monk attitude! That’s really awesome for beginner pilots wanting to get a calm glider, no questions asked…


The overall glide and climb of the Arcus 2 is nice for the low B category and nowadays can get you far in good XC days. 

Ears are stable and reopen without pilots' intervention.  


Conclusion:  The Arcus 2 RS offers a relaxed flight, a high passive safety, with enough performance for the low B category. Flying it will give the pilot ample time to look around, feel the magic of flying without worrying about what’s the air is doing.  I think it's a good glider to fly in strong alpine conditions, where you want a higher degree of comfort to keep your body battery full for a longer flight. 

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

SKYWALK CHili 5 XS 75-95

Skywalk Chili 5 size XS 75-95

After the excellent Chili 4, Skywalk released the Chili 5 for 2021-2022 and perhaps a little more.

One of my favorite gliders at the time in the B category was the Chili 4. It had a wonderful brake authority, climbs beautifully, and has one of the best glide angles for the category, and is still very competitive. Some pilots reported that the extra movements in the air were too much for them, and some appreciated each moment. Always a matter of taste.

Let's begin with the construction which shows very clean work. Skywalk uses a mix of TX-Light and Dominico 30 DMF. The jet flaps are of course still present on the Chili 5, 3D shaping, shark nose, and all the new features of a modern B class paraglider. The risers have a C steering speed control that allows the pilot to stay on the bar while limiting the pitch movements. 

So, what’s the Chili 5 have to offer? Let's see…

Launching the Chili 5 XS at 93 all up with my good old X -rated 6 harness is very direct, easy and inflates without any hard point or even any shooting forward. It launches easier than the Rush 6 and is similar to the Base 2 which is excellent. The light materials offer a straight forward uncomplicated launch. The take-off is immediate and smooth.

I flew the Chili 5 in multiple conditions, from our strong higher Cedars sites to the lower humid sites with 35 degrees hot and turbulent summer weather! 

In the air, I immediately felt like I’m sitting on a comfortable couch despite what’s going around me. In the same weather, the Chili 4 would have been like a go-kart. The pitch movements are nearly absent but when encountering a strong bullet, the Chili 5 pitches slightly back, but…with a positive vario and it slides through the rising air mass.  There’s some bad pitch back that doesn’t really get inside the thermals, and a good pitch back. The Chili 5 has very good behavior in thermals.

That’s a rare feeling for me, and I find it really interesting in a very positive way. To explain that feeling, in most turbulent air some B gliders surges forward, some pitches back losing the climb, and require pilot management with the brakes that could delay a bit the climbing efficiency, but I rarely see a glider that climbs and still climb well, with a very reassuring little pitch back that is quickly gone when inside a thermal. That pitch back doesn’t need anything to do for the pilot underneath. The Chili 5 just climbs effortlessly without too much control from the pilot. Interesting point. 

To add to my comments on that climb, and while I was testing it with the best B’s of the moment, like the Base 2 and the new Rush 6 and with the same loadings, I can confirm that the Chili 5 is one of the best climbing machines!  To explain why it climbs so well, I must say again, that no touching of the brakes is needed while hitting a thermal or just a slight bit, and that enables the Chili 5 to float in a rising air mass. On those testing days, my friends on the new high B gliders were stunned by the efficiency of the Chili 5! 

The Rush 6 is different in entering the airmass and jumps forward into it. The comfort under the Chili 5 is IMHO, 30% less than the workout on the R6 in strong turbulent air and it is even just slightly more comfortable than the Base2!  It is really compact and homogenous! 

The brake travel and pressure of the Chili 5 is slightly more firm than the Chili 4 on the first 15 cm after the 10 cm of a gap. The agility and authority on the brakes are really nice also. Not as dynamic in turns as the Chili 4, but really good and efficient. I could turn the Chili 5 in a very narrow thermal. The Chili 5 doesn’t dive in turns, and if you want to make a wing over you need to build it. 

In these testing hours, I was completely satisfied with the handling. And that’s an important issue for my personal preference.

After pulling 15-17 cm which I don’t think any pilot will use then much unless there are heavy conditions, the Chili 5 brake pressure became a bit hard. It could be a relief for some pilots to feel secure when things go wild, just because they could hang on to something…

Gliding….

That part is interesting…Flying many new gliders, I’m still amazed at the new ones! I lately test flew the Rush 6, and it was also available to compare it with the Chili 5. I also brought the excellent Base 2 M which has a very good glide angle. Test flying against the Base 2 at the same weight showed me that the Chili 5 has what it takes to be awesome! The top speed is 3 km/h faster than the already fast Base 2 M. I did some glides also with the Rush 6, and I can say that the glide is very close and competitive. For that matter, I’ll update my B comparison for the little details if needed. 

C steering while on the bar is efficient, moderates pressure, and keeps the glider overhead. 

Ears are stable and reopen slowly without pilot intervention if loaded at the top. 

Conclusion: Skywalk has built a very comfortable high-performance B glider. The Chili 5 doesn’t require a lot of active control while delivering excellent overall performance for the B category. I can confirm that I can put it with some mid-Bs in terms of comfort and accessibility.

The Package of the climb, glide performance, and huge comfort are very wide in the high B category. The top speed is really good and a bit hard to push at the second bar. Other than that… Fly the Chili 5 near the top weight for efficiency, and you will experience an excellent XC machine that saves you a lot of energy, keeping you gliding toward the sunset.  

 

Friday, August 13, 2021

Rush 6 MS 75-95

Rush 6 MS 75-95

And here it is…The new Ozone Rush 6 EN-B for 2022-23.  

In my mind, I was thinking that to beat the Rush 5 would be a super difficult job for Ozone. My test conclusion of the Rush 5 was the best EN-B ever made, and it was clear to all the pilots in the world after the two years cycles.

Will Rush 6 beat the Rush 5 in all qualities? … let's see…

The take-off at 93 all up with my X-rated 6 harness seems much better than the Rush 5 which was a bit slow to inflate. The Rush 6 with those small leading-edge openings, inflates much better in little air. Lighter materials enable the gliders to launch better, like the Explorer 2 for example And I think the future Swift 6 will have an even more enhanced launching as the Explorer2. But for a normal B glider, no more complaints about the launching characteristics. Checked!

In the air, the Rush 6 is a bit faster at trim than the Rush 5 and for sure at the second bar which we will talk about later on.

The brake travel at my weight has similar pressure to the Rook 3 but longer a bit for the same turning abilities and same agility in turns. 

Before I continue describing the turn abilities, I have to mention that the overall feel under the Rush 6 is very different from 90 % of the B category gliders. Let me explain:

The Rush 5, Rook3, Mentor 6, Chili4, are still excellent B gliders, but the feel under them is exactly like a moderate aspect ratio B glider with limited abilities for the leading edge to cut through a difficult airmass. And that ability was only reserved for the class above. 

The Rush 6 is different. A different behavior and movements under it. The pilot level is a little step more than the Rush 5, but still in the high B category. 

The leading edge is so tensed that I needed to pull hard in order to collapse it. The reopening is immediate and slightly more dynamic. 

In strong and turbulent air, no small collapses whatsoever. Very taught leading edge. The Rush 6 is a different glider from the older series. 

 But please don’t understand me wrong. The Rush 6 is a relatively comfortable glider in the B category.  I just needed to place it accurately versus the Rush 5.  For example: Easier to fly and much tamer movements than the Carrera Plus. Probably similar to the Maestro 21. So all is good there. To finalize, the Rush 6 is slightly easier to fly than the Delta 4 when conditions are rough. The information is slightly more tamed. 


All that hybrid construction with the C steering like the Delta and Alpina series, and the taught leading-edge, leads to having a leading edge that is cutting through the airmass exactly like a C glider!  The efficiency in moving forward is like the class above. Or should I say to be very accurate, in the “middle-top” of the C class category? 

Now that’s a bold statement…I know. But I as you already know, I won’t write useless marketing talk, anything unless I’m sure about it. And yes, I’m sure. 

The C steering is very easy and comfortable to use in turbulence while on bar. 

Now the question that you might ask is: What about the Delta 4? Does the Rush 6 have the same overall performance as the Delta 4? My answer is simple.

As long as you push the bar on the Rush 6, the difference in glide against the wind and in a moving airmass in XC conditions are very…very…little to say the least. Even at full bar on the Rush 6, the efficiency is outstanding!

The very strange thing is that the glide at trim of the Rush6 seems slightly less than the top C gliders, but as soon as you push the bar, the glide improves a lot on the Rush 6…which is weird…While having the C glider pushing also on bar of course and both match the same speed. 

But I have tried and tried many glides with the same results even at top speed comparing with a very good C glider of the same size and at the same loadings.


Climbing in weak conditions at 93 all up, showed me also a very efficient machine that could float in those tiny thermals despite the stiff and solid structure of a B glider. On a higher-rated glider, flying in weak conditions will give you more feedback as the C, or D gliders inform the pilot in a more subtle and direct way of the air movements. But the mellow Rush 6 was quite efficient in weak. Despite being very good in weak, I think that the Rush 5 would float a tiny better in 0.2 m/s conditions. Encountering a bit of valley breeze, the R6 will have the upper-hand


Some would ask: Is it as nimble with short brake travel as the Chili4 of the same size, R-Light S ?  No, it doesn’t have that short, very linear response, as the mentioned gliders deliver a little more feedback from their brakes, but still, the R6 has more than enough for the B category, with very good agility, and a very good brake authority to place it among the good ones in the handling category.  

Does it turn better than the Rush 5? 

Yes, “with more positive power into the turn” is the best description for it. It goes forward without stopping while turning. (Of course for a B glider) 


The feedback comes from the risers, not the brakes. The turning abilities to core any turbulent thermal with a narrow radius are very possible if the inside brake is pulled to a certain degree. Overall, a very good handling and brake authority. 


 A pilot upgrading from the Buzz Z5 or Z6 needs at least two full seasons in strong air to fully understand the Rush 6 excellent potential. Coming from a Mojo is not recommended…I think.


Big ears are stable and reopen with pilot control as the tips tend to stick a bit. A little break pump would be great.


Conclusion:  If you are that good high B pilot that searches to get an XC record on a B while pushing often on the bar, then you have reached your destination.  

If pilots want to use the R6 only at trim, then they will miss its real potential. 

The Rush 6 is a higher step-in feel and in performance for the B category. It feels like the R6 is pushing into the airmass like very rare high B gliders, but with a high-performance package.

A Rush 5 pilot needs a few hours to dial in and to understand the new concept. Afterward unleash the beast! :-)

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Mac Para Elan 3 24

MacPara Elan 3  24. (75-95)

The new C for 2021 from MacPara has arrived. Having flown both earlier versions, I was excited to test fly their latest release. 

Shark nose, The Elan 3 is manufactured using the excellent lightweight materials from Porcher Sport. Skytex 38, Skytex 32 and Skytex 27.  

The lines are made from Edelrid, Aramid Kevlar for the upper lines, PPSL lines for the lower lines.

The construction and details are superb. The risers have a connection between the B and the C for efficient C steering. 


Launching the Elan 3 at 93 all up is smooth and easy. The Elan 3 rises effortlessly without any hard point even in nil wind. If the Delta 4 is sometimes slow to launch, the Elan 3 like the Allegro is easier to inflate. 


Flying with my X-rated 6 at 93,94 all up, the Elan 3 seems fast at trim. Similar to a Bonanza 2 in trim speed and 1-2 km/h faster at top speed. 


I flew the Elan 3 in different conditions, from a strong day in the Cedars spot at 3000 ASL to the lower spots with warm air and inversions at 800 ASL. In all conditions, the Elan 3 felt homogenous without any parasital movements whatsoever. The Elan 3 is very different from the Elan 1 and the Elan 2 in terms of overall feel. While being comfortable to fly for a C, and a very successful DHV rating, with one C, the Elan 3 DNA flies and feels different. The feel under it is like a super easy and comfortable baby Magus. 


The pitch when entering thermals is incredibly efficient without any pitch back at all. A slight pitch forward that pulls you efficiently into the core. The Elan 3 needs a slightly more active pilot control than the Elan 2, Delta 4, but still easy to manage for a C, while giving the pilot an educated but comfortable feedback of the class above without the demanding piloting control a D glider gives.

To explain more, I could say that for pilots who find that flying a Delta 4 or Elan 2 is too dampened in overall feel, the Elan 3 will offer the little extra spice that an educated pilot will cherish for the same comfort, or possibly a 10% more pilot control. 

In turbulent and strong air, the structure felt very solid and very homogenous.

The brake pressure is on the moderate side. I could control the Elan 3 in a moderate 15 - 25 cm of brakes after the first 10 cm of a gap.  It resembles the Alpina 4 brake length with slightly more pressure. 

The agility of the Elan 3 is very slightly less than the Elan 2, but I was very satisfied with its efficiency. 

The Elan 3 has precise brake travel, and I could say that it has more direct control than a Supair Savage, with slightly more agile. Not as agile as an Alpina 4 for example that could core the thermals really tight, but the Elan 3 is not that far, with a much more performance-oriented turning ability.  

Flying the Elan 3, I was able to core every thermal without missing any. The turns are flat without a dive. 


Flying the Elan 3 in moving air showed me the bigger difference, as the Elan 3 has the ability to surf efficiently the moving air mass, and to convert every moving air into the lift. That’s why I wrote above that the feel under it is very different. The Elan 3 was surfing the lift lines and moving forward and upward like the class above! 


Doing some glides in calm air showed me the Elan 3 shares the best glide for today's C, at trim, and at full bar. It is in moving air that the Elan 3 will be more efficient through the airmass. 


Climbing in weak and strong conditions seems also efficient. The Elan 3 has an amazing ability to convert any movement to lift, and that’s exactly its strong point. Even in sudden and strong cores, I could turn precisely the Elan 3 into the stronger core.

  

Ears are stable, reopen faster with little help. Induced asymmetries kept the Elan 3 on the path and very easy to recover.








Conclusion:

That kind of feel and handling suits my personal flying style a lot. It reminded me of the Trango X-race handling, but slightly mellower in turns and of course tamer in turbulence.

Mac Para has lifted the Elan series to a new dimension and feel. If you have never flown a Mac Para, now is the time to taste that special feel under the Elan 3 !  It is so different from the too dampened older series, but still quite comfortable with that specially added spice.  The difference between the old and the new one is that the Elan 3 will cut through the airmass more efficiently and resembles the upper ratings in that matter! 

The C steering is a bit hard to pull but efficient to keep the Elan 3 overhead in turbulence.

The Elan 3 movements and overall comfort in turbulence target exactly the C category pilots. I think a pilot downgrading from a higher-rated glider won’t lose that special feel under the D gliders while getting the passive safety of the C category. 

A good B pilot with two full seasons in strong conditions will find the Elan 3 as one of the best logical evolution for the solid C category. 



Saturday, August 7, 2021

XC Pen

XC Pen

Flying XC or even local, for a long period of time i always had some issues when I needed to get in touch with my smartphone. On my Samsung Note, I needed to get the pen out and stick it with a cord in order to be able to touch the Samsung screen for usage. That was really a hassle as the phone always sends a note if the pen is attached, and beside the long pen would not sit properly in the front cockpit and require a hole to stabilize it. And it was slippery with the gloves. I never thought about an optional idea until I received Mathias's email!
Mathias Weil
mathias@weilthing.com
www.xc-pen.com

Like many pilots in the world, Mathias needed a tool to reach his smart tablets in the air, and the idea came to create the XC pen!  A small device that is made especially for flying. The XC pen is small, has its own sleeve, that it’s attached to the cockpit by velcro, and …it worked like a charm on every tablet, and smartphone.
Besides using the XC pen for managing XC courses, and as I’m practically airborne every flyable day, I sometimes needed to reach my phone for family and urgent matters.  I could also put on some music if I wanted, answer my phone, or send a message to my family if needed.
The XC pen works also in all smart tablets in an easy way in order to control your settings and maximize your XC potential which is why the XC pen was created in the first place.
Conclusion: Small, easy to reach, efficient to use. I like it! :-)  A little tool to make things much easier. 




Saturday, July 10, 2021

Gliders and...

After some time, and talking to friends and exchanging wings, in the C category, 

I would humbly like to share my personal feel and opinion from all my tested C gliders, here is my choice for the most complete ones in 2020,2021, until 1st July is:


1- Delta 4, Alpina 4

2- Sigma 11, size 24 

3-Fusion Light, S, and M. 

Why?  Just because they offer the most relaxed flying with top-end performance without going out of trim in the first 30 hours. 

4-Cure 2, which offers excellent performance but needs a little workload than the others. 

5- Q-Light S ( needs active control) 

All those gliders didn't get out of trim before 40 hours. (Data from 12 other pilots)


IN the B category, 


1- BGD Base 2, GIN Explorer 2 (superb performance with a very conservative line width)

2-Rook 3, R-Light 3  ( But I don’t like the take-off in nil wind ) 

, Rush 5, Swift 5, Mentor 6 Light XS! Love that one! , Maestro 21.



There are more good gliders that don't go quickly out of trim OF COURSE, but the above is my personal choice for overall behavior. 


Important notice that I would like to share>

I have already written that testing a new B, C, or especially D, won’t give accurate results since many gliders go out of trim before reaching 30 hours! even some B’s! more often C’s and D’s. ( Dyneema line shrinkage problem, mainly..) 



So it is very important to trim back those gliders to regain their correct flying properties.

 Some manufacturers are more serious than others…

Happy flights,

Ziad. 



The NEW Rush 6, Elan 3 are not yet evaluated. And will need time to see ...

Thursday, July 1, 2021

GIN Explorer 2 size S 75-95

Explorer 2 size 75-95

The Explorer is GIn’s light high B glider. In 2017, I have flown the first version of the Explorer  http://ziadbassil.blogspot.com/search?q=explorer That version was easy to use, and the overall performance was fairly good for the category, while the Carrera and Carrera plus were unreachable in overall performance for the Explorer. Now with the second version, everything has changed!

The take-off at 93 all up is super easy, with just a light pull. The Explorer doesn’t overshoot, and the take-off is immediate.

In the air flying with my X-rated 6, and some ballast to reach 93, the brakes have a moderate length for turning in thermals. They are not as short as the Artik 6, Delta 4, Rook 3, R-Light. It is slightly 1-2 cm longer than a Rush 5, for example, and approx 2 cm slightly less than the Swift 5. Now I hope I gave you a good idea…

The turn inside the core is excellent. The Explorer is agile without being (at all) too dynamic. It is a soft glider in overall air despite the 6 aspect ratio. I found it easier to fly than the Rook 3 for example. It feels similar to the Swift 5 in terms of overall feedback.  I could turn very tight inside the core.  

The pressure on the brakes is lighter than the Rook 3 ones and probably similar to the Swift 5. Overall it is not tiring at all for longer flights.

Now to talk a bit about the climb rate. The Explorer flies well also at 90 all up, which a tried in one flight. It seems slow to enter the breeze, but it doesn’t bump into the thermals, and will still get inside slowly but efficiently. I found out later that at 93, or even at 95 it would be a great weapon to compete with every higher rated glider in terms of getting the best lift! The Explorer 2 even loaded can be considered as a very good floater! It climbs really well, and I don’t think it misses any thermal. 

Gliding next to some higher-rated gliders, showed me also that the Explorer 2 with its superb float ability can easily match the glide of higher-rated gliders, at trim and also on bar. The Explorer 2 full speed isn’t very high 12 km’h over trim, but still very good for the category. Loading it at max will give the pilot that extra kick to enter some difficult airmass without losing anything on its climb even in the weak thermals.  That glider looks big but also behaves really nice -4 kg from the top.

Flying at bar, which has moderate pressure and not heavy to push, I could easily control the glider with the C’s. That new C to B tool is becoming very easy to use and giving the pilots control in turbulence. But the Explorer 2 doesn’t seem to care about turbulence much …

Ears are stable, efficient very easy to induce. They will stay folded and needs a little encouragement to reopen by the brakes. 

Conclusion:  GIN has created a really interesting high B glider! Glide performance, climb, ease of use, are right on top of the high B category.  If you are looking for the best performance with an easy-to-use 6 aspect ratio glider, then I recommend trying that beautiful machine. And please try the right size to put you near the top :-)  Happy flights.



Tuesday, June 15, 2021

PHI Allegro X-Alps 20



PHI Allegro X-Alps 20 

PHI has released the light version of the Allegro with a simpler line layout and 2 lines per side. It is called Allegro X-Alps. 

The glider comes up easily even in nil wind.  In inflating the glider I already sensed a different feel of the structure.


I flew that glider at 90 all up, and I realized later that it is better at 95 in order to get a more compact feeling in strong air. 

In the air, the X-alps version moves in itself a bit more than the normal one. The normal version felt much more compact. That’s why when flying it later at 95, it enhanced that feel for a more compact structure.


The brake and the authority of control have also changed under the X-alps. The brakes are slightly longer, but I can still say that the agility is still there but a bit less than the original version. The brake feel has moderate pressure, quite agile in homogenous thermals, with nice coordinated handling. When encountering turbulence and strong thermals, the X-Alps version must settle before delivering the authority for turn control. The original version brake control was prompt for action even in turbulence.  I think pilots will need a little time to adapt to it, then they will feel at home. 


Climbing next to reference C gliders, showed me that the X-alps version resembles the original one with a little more breathing when surfing the airmass.  At 90 all upon the 20, it climbs like the original version.  The glides at trim however felt slightly also similar. Probably the X-Alps version floats a bit more in lift lines.

The C steering is quite efficient and the feel of a pressurized C handle like on a 2 liner!  I could stop the glider surges efficiently with that C steering. A very powerful tool! 

The speed bar is long, efficient and I think that the X-Alps version glide angle at speed is slightly more efficient.  

Ears are big, stable, and reopens with a little help if lightly loaded. 

Conclusion: The Allegro X-Alps with its Harmonica bag can be packed small due to fewer rods inside that glider.  A cool companion for hike and XC fly.  I think loading the X-Alps version will be best for a more compact feel, as the original could be flown at mid-range easily.  Try both versions to see your preference. 

Friday, June 11, 2021

NOVA Ion 6 XS 70-90

NOVA Ion 6 XS  70-90 

I could finally get my hands on the Ion 6 in XS size.  I flew that glider at 86 all up.

The construction and finishing details are excellent! Lots of stuff coming with the glider as seen in the picture.

                    It is easy to launch the Ion 6 in 10 km wind, without touching the A risers!  Smooth rise with no surge or delay. 

In the air, the brake travel is relatively short with moderate pressure, to react but long and forgiving if pulled. But I only used 15 cm of the brake travel in most conditions. I flew in some strong and turbulent air and the very high comfort under the Ion 6 delivers an immense feel of passive safety. The feedback under the ION 6 is accurate but very polite! delivering a comfortable ride with the necessary feedback to enjoy every moment. 

Usually, I find some low B gliders to be boring by the very restricted and dull feel under them. But not under the Ion 6, which gave me the pleasure I needed to fly it with a relaxed smile. 

The gliding power of that low B is surprisingly good for achieving long XC’s. I had some low saves also, and the accurate brakes helped a lot in getting the weak ones. The ION 6 climbs also well. 

The speed over trim is around 11 km/h. Ears are stable, efficient, and reopen alone. 

Conclusion: I think NOVA managed to create an impressive package of “performance, comfort, pleasure” in a single glider. I’m mostly certain that in some good XC days, the pilot under the Ion 6 will achieve his goal while having fun, and still with plenty of energy left in him. Test flying the ION 6 XS could be highly addictive!

Monday, May 24, 2021

GIN Calypso S, 75-100

GIN Calypso S,  75-100 

The Calypso is GIN light and low EN-B glider. I flew it at 93 all up, and here are a few words about it.

The light cloth, risers, and overall construction is well made. Nice work on the inner construction, to minimize the use of rods for compact packing. 

The inflation of the Calypso couldn’t be easier! …If you run hands in the pocket, the Calypso will rise swiftly above your head.  

In the air, the brakes travel are moderate to long, with a very nice coordinated and soft to quite a good responsive turning behavior. The climb rate seems really good in soft conditions. The comfort rate is high as all low B’s and offers more quality time in thermals, as it is intended for pilots to enjoy flying as a priority.  I’m not going to speak about gliding performance for any low B…as all those gliders in 2021 have a decent glide ratio, and the more tricky and headwind conditions, the more they will lack to dig through and be efficient like the higher B’s. The Low B’s are designed mainly to enjoy every second while having a very good 2021 technology and glide efficiency.

 Now a very good pilot on those low B’s can do nowadays very long XC’s in good days while having fun.

The speed over trim is around 8 km/h, and very usable and easy.  Ears are stable, reopen without pilot intervention. 

Conclusion:

The Calypso is an easy-to-fly B glider with large passive safety. The handling and the way to turn the glider are intuitive, light pressure, and quite pleasurable to fly for the low B segment. The overall performance in climb and glide matches the 2021 low B segment. Fun to fly and easy machine. 

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Little cloud PUFFIN 16



This is my first Little cloud glider. I flew one time an MK2 from a friend, and I appreciated the handling and the swift response.  

Now for soaring and playing on our beach cliffs, I had an Axesse Zunzun, 21  which I had a really nice quality time on that glider when the wind was 35 km's max!  

As the Puffin came out and lIttle cloud specifically made it for high wind soaring and playing on the dunes, I was excited to get one. 

And there it is. With a very light harness and my all-up weight of 80, I purchased the Puffin 16. 

The Puffin has a shark-nosed three risers with trims. My first encounter with the Puffin 16 happened on a day with a wind over 40 km/h. 

I was a bit very focused on what to expect, and wanted to try it with a little less wind…but the glider was here, and the wind was strong. 

Over the years, it happens that when exchanging wings so quickly for testing, I developed an ability to quickly assimilate the newcomer. But the Puffin 16 was a small glider and I thought I must kite it a bit to feel it.

Before taking off, I spent two hours playing with it on the ground and trying to cope with the feel under it. 

Pulling on the A’s in that wind showed me that the little one is dynamic but … very well balanced! Very fast to take off, but very balanced to keep it overhead. At first, kiting the Puffin 16 showed me that I need to switch on, my other sleeping senses!   Which were greats as I really needed that extra awakening!  

Kiting and flying the Puffin 16 re-charged my old batteries! 

Playing around seems endless… an immense pleasure to kite that diamond!  For me, It was like riding a professional go Kart! Love it !!!


Then I flew on a ridge is very gusty wind. It is a bit different from flying on rounded dunes. The ridge's hard edges and wind makes it a bit more turbulent. Taking off in a 40-45  Km/h wind wasn’t that frequent….and I never thought I could fly forward…But my brain was convinced, and I took off.

The Puffin moves quickly and needs of course more active pilot control than a normal paraglider, but …it really moves forward as if there’s no wind! The sea was howling…and there were white caps everywhere, and I should get my windsurfing equipment right now!  But I was flying the Puffin 16!  

Now I can do both on a windy day :-)  


The authority on the brakes is quick, direct, and sharp. Simply, delightful as I could steer it immediately where I wanted. Of course, if a dynamic brake is induced, the Puffin will dive quickly.  The brakes are firm but not hard. I flew that glider with trims closed and I also tried to fly at half trim, when it was very windy, and I must say it erases the wind!  


Conclusion:  The Puffin 16 is a playful glider for soaring in high wind. Our very small soaring site is only 20-30 meters high, so it needs lots of wind for a small glider.  It is certain that flying the Puffin with an open mind and clear conscience, will increase and enhance your reflexes. I spent happy hours the next day kiting it,  flying, and playing around in a 30 km/h wind. 

You never get tired of it. 

For my experience in flying mostly conventional gliders, the Puffin 16 looks like the fast Brazilian free-tailed bat!  :-) 

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Triple seven R-Light Size S


Ok…Let’s begin with:   I’m very happy and content to have flown that glider. Bye 

For the readers who want a swift and direct-to-point conclusion!  😆


Details:

The R-Light S is the light version of the Rook 3. The same everything besides the light fabric used. Now it can be folded smaller and for sure, lighter to carry. 


Launching: 

The small openings on the leading edge require a slight wind to fill the R-Light properly. With the light fabric, it feels lighter when pulling the A’s but still needs a steady and patient pull to fill it. It is slightly better to fill than the Rook 3, but little patience is needed in nil wind.  In 10 km/h wind, it is easier to fill it. Some B’s like the Base 2 for example fill faster, but this is definitely not an issue for any high B pilot. Just to be precise about it. In nil wind, I was able to launch in a 10-meter take-off, before the cliff. Others B’s in 5-7 m. 


I flew the R-Light S at 84, 85 all up, and that was just the optimum weight in all conditions in order to feel it and to dig through any conditions from super weak to strong air.  At my side of testing was a Base 2 M at 93 and a Swift 5 S at 84 also.  I tried the R-Light 3 S with two harnesses ( Delight 3 M and Genie light 3 M ( which both are different).

When flying next to the Swift 5 S I used my Delight 3 harness as the Swift pilot did also. When flying next to the Base 2 M I used the Genie light 3.

Now I can write about both harnesses and the difference under the R-Light S at 84 all up.


Let's talk about the Genie light 3 / R-Light S.  The Genie light 3 harness gives a nice weight shift authority with any used glider. With the R-Light S, it was indeed a pleasure to fly! In strong air, the R-Light S with both harnesses showed me a relatively comfortable ride for a High B. Some will prefer more dampening like the Swift 5 or the Base 2, but for me the R-Light S was perfect. Not too boring nor alive. Perfect feedback for a keen pilot. If you used to fly a low aspect ratio very comfortable C, you will be comfy on the R-Light S with the added large passive safety. The feedback on both harnesses is what a keen pilot would require from a high B without erasing the pleasure of feeling the airmass and getting the bits and pieces from it!

The difference between the Delight 3 and the Genie Light 3 under the R-Light S is that only in very strong conditions, the roll movements are more dampened under the Delight3, but the important thing to know is that under both harnesses, the R-light S had a swift and direct authority on the brakes that enabled it to put it exactly where you want inside the turbulent air mass. So no need for a specific harness to be very precise of turns. 

I have to add that the R-Light S has a short, precise, linear feel (each cm pulled react the glider), medium pressure( Harder than the Swift 5, less than the Artik 6, or the same as the Rush 5, to give you an example…and crispy feel (The little more centimeters you pull, the more you feel the brakes in your hand)  To finish my description, I have to say that the movements coming for the glider are felt 70% from the risers and probably 30% from the brakes. Just because it happened that when entering a core the R-Light S leading edge pulls slightly forward, and surprisingly one hand is being slightly pulled where the most powerful lift is!  (left or right)  But a very gentle pull, that you need to listen to it informing where the core is. I really liked that!. That feel was present in a much more pronounced way on the UP Trango Race! which had an amazing brake feel! 


Climb rate:

Flying the R-Light S at 84, 85 all up was the best to surf through the airmass. Flying at that load never altered my efficiency to climb in weak air. Some pilots feel that flying at mid-weight will give them a better lift. Of course, but they will miss every steady core of the thermal, just because you need to enter the air mass and find the best and stronger lift in every thermal, and for that, you need to be in the best part of the total weight in your aircraft. 

For me, I was very efficient at that loading feeling the light lift, and moving forward to get the better and stronger lift. Next to one of the best B’s in terms of climb rate which is the (Swift 5) I found out that the R-Light S at that load is inseparable in climb! So with my reference, the Swift 5, I felt that the R-Light S is matching it in weak, strong, and all conditions. The difference between the two is that the Swift 5 has a longer brake travel and slightly less responsive in turns than the R-Light S if both flown at 85. The Swift 5 S needs to be flown at 87 to be equally efficient in surfing the airmass, while the R-Light S was cool at 84 all up.  

Flying next to the Base 2 M at 93, I didn’t feel also any advantage for any glider. The Base 2 had a little better trim speed, but we were inseparable in the climb.  The Base 2 M was a bit more comfortable to fly. I think I will get a Base 2 S size to see the difference in comfort also. (Later) 


Gliding:

Again gliding many times, next to the Base 2 M and the Swift 5 S, there was not really a noticeable difference in glide. I can strongly confirm the R-Light S glides really well and doesn’t lose its gliding efficiency in diving when encountering moving and sinking air. The glide at half-bar is very usable and offers also the best glide in the B category.  The top speed is around 15 km/h over trim. The difference of the glide at top speed with a Delta 4 MS is very very little!   The difference that can be seen in moving air is that the Rook 3 and the R-Light 3 are slightly slower to enter the airmass than a C glider. That’s it. So there will be always a little advantage for the C’s.

I felt that going on the half bar in all the crossings will reduce slightly that effect if the c’s are not pushing on the bar often. 


Pleasure:

I added that just because it is so important.  Who does benefit the most from flying the R-Light S?  Pilots are very different in character. With the same B performance, some would like a free of movement and very dampened glider. They couldn’t care less about brake fans and would prefer pure performance over anything else, which I do respect and understand. 

The R-Light 3 S, moves less in turbulent air than the PHI Maestro 21 for example but needs a good B pilot that favors the exact spices of feedback it delivers, a sensible pilot for the responsive brake fan, who appreciates the authority given to him by the glider to place it accurately in the airmass, and finally, the pilot who needs that cocktail of a ‘light’, agile, high-performance B glider. If you are that pilot, then definitely there will be a guaranteed smile on your face.  



Conclusion:  

Like the normal version, the R-Light S packs small and offers the best performance in climb and glide for the B category. The top speed is very good for the category. Ears are stable on this light S size and reopen smoothly without pilot control.  It needs a sensible pilot to appreciate its thermal behavior.  I found that flying it at max load is the optimum load to get it efficiently into the airmass. My test describes accurately only the ’S’ size flown at 85 all up. I really had a very nice time test flying it!  Try it if you can, or other sizes, at max load, and your comments will be highly appreciated!  Happy flights :-)