Thursday, February 27, 2020

Swing Helios S

Swing Helios
After trying Swing’s high-performance C glider, the Agera RS here is another Light C with less aspect ratio, the “Helios”

Launching the Helios is super easy, even in nil wind. The take-off is immediate. 
The Helios S (75-95) flown at 92 has a moderate to light brake travel. The authority on the brakes is very sweet in thermals. Immediate control is delivered by the brakes, and the turning radius inside a thermal is accurate. 
In turbulent air, the glider obeys each action on the brakes. Overall its a nice and playful glider to fly. The moderate aspect ratio of 6 gave the glider smoothness and easiness in turbulent air. I found out that there were some high B’s more difficult to handle.
The climb rate is nice for that glider. In weak conditions, I couldn’t say it's very floaty but ok… The glide angle is in the first half of the C category. The speed bar is easy to induce, and way accessible in turbulent air. 
The ears are stable, have a good descent rate, and reopen by themselves. 
Conclusion: The Helios is a light C, very easy to fly, nice handling and authority on the brakes, with no tiring in turbulent air.
As I said, I found out that some higher rated B gliders are more difficult to fly in active air. 
Being a C glider, the Helios seems to give that C feel, but with the accessibility of a mid B glider. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Interview with Mt Philipp Medicus NOVA (R&D)

Ziad: 1- Why are you aiming to release the Phantom 2? And what level of pilots it’s targeted for?
Philipp: There are many happy Phantom pilots, who like the performance and the handling behavior of the glider.
That's why we never really considered making the Phantom a "one-time thing".
The development isn't finished, but the target group is identical to the Phantom 
We think, that that's what made it so successful: It's easy to fly.
2- Can you describe the intended performance in active air toward the upper classes?
It has to be competitive against current EN-C gliders. (Except top speed, probably)

3- Are you intending to release a D glider in the next 6 months? or earlier?

4- I have flown the Mentor 6 normal cloth and the light version in the same size. I felt more connected via the light cloth. It seems different and more enjoyable…
How can that difference in feel?
I think the lighter cloth can affect the feeling in three ways:
1.) The reduced mass itself: The mass reduction is not more than around 10%, because you have to add the air mass inside the glider. But that should be enough to be noticeable in terms of less (mass-)damping.
2.) The light cloth will not only differ in weight but also in stiffness. That will unavoidably result in a certain change in the flying characteristics.
3.) A third effect is subjective: You can hear certain deformations better on many lightweight materials, than on many heavier cloths. So even if two wings do exactly the same, you will get a very different (acoustic) feedback from the two gliders.

5- And new tandem coming soon? and will it aim more for performance as the new releases?
Yes - we are working on a new tandem wing. It's going to be rather light, with good XC-potential. It won't be a direct successor of the Bion2 therefore.
We haven't started working on the Bion3 yet.
6-Will NOVA invest more in harnesses in the future?
Yes - certainly!

6- I always wondered about NOVA forethought in the release of a 2 liner or entering competitions? Any comments? 
We are working with 2-liner prototypes for a while now. From today's perspective, we won't release a CCC 2-liner.


Thank you!

Sunday, January 12, 2020

BGD Cure 2


It seems that I’m also BGD villain…  ;-)
I couldn’t get a hold of one as our dealer received again, (a note) No Cure 2 for Ziad!    
Cooldown guys !!  :-)  It’s the 21st century! And my last 2 BGD’s were purchased from abroad! …   
Gliders sent only to a “controlled” environment is an underestimation of the good pilots out there in the world, especially with the presence of a large social media network. 
I really regret BGD approach!
I wouldn’t want the dealer to have any problems, so I waited until the demo was finally sold to a friend (Northern Eagles Club) flying in the north part of Lebanon. I visited him, and he was so kind as to lend me his new toy.      
I really hope that BGD will have more faith in the future!

BGD Cure 2 M (75-95)    (The edge) 

BGD is a new company, created by the world champion, Bruce Goldsmith, that works with beautiful designs, cheerful colors, and with passionate young people working as a team.
The Cure 2 M launches easily in nil wind without any hardpoint. If the pull is heavy, the Cure 2 surges forward rapidly but can be swiftly stopped by the brakes. In a strong breeze, the pilot must anticipate and stop the surge. A good C pilot won’t have any problem. 

The Cure 2 in size M (75-95) feels slightly big to fly it at mid-weight but quite manageable in weak conditions. In strong air, I found it best at 94, 95 all up. The trim speed is fast for the C category. A bit faster by one km than the Q-light S, the Fusion S, and 2 km/h over the Delta 3, Alpina 3. 
 Flying with an X-rated 6 harness, the Cure 2  has a nice feel in the air!  Like the Cure 1, the Cure 2 is an agile glider, with slightly longer brake inputs than the Cure 1.  

 The brake travel is quite moderate and smooth, not short and not too long. After 10 cm of slack, 30-35 cm is needed to steer the glider in any thermal. The Cure 2 reacts smoothly, and accurately, to the pilot's controls. It has a linear response throughout the brake range. It feels similar to the Mantra 7 in terms of brake feel, and time response, with a slightly more agile turn.

In thermals, the Cure 2 can be steered tightly into the core. The turning radius is clean and the Cure 2 stays on its path during the climb. It feels like sniffing the thermal and it gave me a nice feel while coring. It doesn’t get out of the turn inside a thermal, and while pulling more or less brake, the Cure 2 reacts well, to position it inside the lift. 

In weak conditions, the Cure 2 seems to cope well with the best C’s of the moment despite its high trim speed. (You can see my C companion updated for the Cure 2 if you need to see the smaller details).  A little adaptation is needed to keep the Cure 2 from diving into a turn in weak conditions. A little brake pull is needed and the Cure 2 will climb effortlessly.  I can confirm that the Cure 2 floats well. 

The information is sent smoothly by the risers, not the brakes. The Cure 2 has a tamer feel is weak conditions, much like the M7 is that matter. The pilot must pay attention to the glider movements in order to feel those small 0.2 m/s lifts. But the Cure 2 can grab those tiny lifts with a good pilot underneath. In strong thermals, the Cure 2 moves a bit in yaw visually, but that doesn’t affect the pilot at all. I couldn’t feel the movements that were shown upward. It filters nicely the useless movements. When entering the strong lift, there’s a slight pitch back, when hitting the thermal, and slightly before entering, and then all you can hear is a screaming vario! The Cure 2 climbs really well and fast without too much control. 
In turbulent and strong air, it needs an active good C pilot, just because the moderate brake pressure is less sharp than the Cure 1, the Delta 3, or Alpina 3 for example.
Flying the Cure 2 in moderate air doesn’t feel like a block over the pilot's head, I felt it is a smooth and comfortable glider as it works by itself.  As the conditions liven up, the Cure 2 needs slightly more control power to keep it leveled or slightly more adaptation for the light and slightly moderate brake travel.  I felt the shooting forward is more pronounced than a Delta 3, Alpina 3, Fusion, Lynx, for example…But nothing difficult for a good C pilot. It’s easier to fly than the Trango X-race. 

The glide part is here…
Gliding next to the top C’s of the moment, I was really surprised by the abilities of the Cure 2! I have tried many times, next to the newest and best C’s of the moment, even next to the Mantra 7 ! just to be sure, but to my surprise, the Cure 2 arrived higher than most C’s I have as a reference! 
We all were very impressed by that glide, at trim, at first bar, and even at top speed. It seems that BGD has a new developer, as I have read on their website, with a new software tool for the R&D. I think the glide part is so obvious that any of you out there will notice it next to any C glider, or maybe this Cure 2 that I flew is magical!  :-) 
The glide next to the Mantra 7 was so close for the 7 km run and was repeated again and again, and sometimes facing a sea breeze…The difference is only around 10-15 meters less for the Cure 2 ! The M7 is more stable when hitting turbulence and stays on the path without loosing in movements. But that’s a very good D! 

The speed bar has a moderate pressure and while using it, the Cure 2 can be controlled quite efficiently by the C risers in moderate air. The C controls have more pressure than the Fusion or the M7 which has a light feel. The pressure on the Cure 2, C controls is on the moderate side.
Using the bar, the Cure 2 cruises efficiently in headwind conditions, and I could feel the speed and glide efficiency!  

Big ears also surprised me by their efficiency! With a half pull on the speed bar, I could reach easily -4,5 m/s!  The ears don’t open by themselves, and sometimes it’s nice to get your hands off the outer A’s and still getting a -3m/s sink. A slight bar on the brakes and they reopen. 

The top speed is around 16-17km/h over the actually fast trim speed.

Despite BGD's poor judgment toward my tests, facts will remain solid facts IMHO.  It’s pretty simple to switch off that ‘free to read page’ as fast as possible. No one will get hurt! :-)  
I’ll say again: When the 6.75 AR Cure 1 and Lynx were released, they were really pleasurable to fly, and I personally liked them, but there was some lower aspect ratio, C gliders that could have an edge over them in gliding power. BGD latest Punk, is also an adorable glider to fly, fast, climbs really well, but not on the edge of gliding performance in the high B category.    Who cares? I don’t.   But these are facts! that manufacturer must apprehend with a deep breath to cool down. 
How could it be possible for every manufacturer to have “all” his creations better than the competition in “everything”?  
That’s why underestimating the pilot's abilities and comprehension should be a thing of the past in 2020. 
I believe that choosing a glider only for its glide angle is wrong. I personally choose gliders that have a swift, sharp and better authority on the brakes.  The more pleasure I get is the way I personally choose. That’s me. Every person has his own demands and that’s the beauty of it. My friend adores the M7, and speak about it every moment. The other chose the Lynx and hammer his comments in my ear every second!  :-) 

Now with the 6.4 AR Cure 2, the leap over the first version is truly remarkable, as the BGD R&D team, has reached a new level in the C category having the edge in gliding power! Congratulations! 
 The gliding performance of the Cure 2 is second to none! The handling and the way to steer the Cure 2 is good for the C category and gives enough pleasure. I would have wished for shorter and more direct brake control. But that’s me..I’m too picky…Many will love it. The climb is weak is also quite good.
I’m sure that the Cure 2 will deliver some epic XC flying with the right skills for that category. I already updated my C comparison for the little details. 
In creating the Cure 2, BGD has outdone themselves. I really don’t know how they pulled it off, but that’s a solid fact and it’s already available for every pilot to experience it. 

UPDATE - 2/2/2020:
I can only add after more flying, that there is a little weakness in the profile, especially on the 2 meters from each extremity. Collapses happen more often in turbulent air...

Friday, December 13, 2019

Interview with OZONE R&D Mr Luc Armant ( 12/12/2019 )

I asked OZONE R&D, Mr. Luc Armant, a few questions concerning some interesting future designs.
Please find below his kind answers.

Ziad: 1- Will the new Delta 4 be certified this spring?

LUC ARMANT: Delta4. We aim to certify it this spring. However, we only release a glider once we are fully happy with it, so we can never be sure of the date. Remember that it's evolving research work, weather conditions, humans, politics. So there is a lot of uncertainty in the equation. The only thing sure is that an Ozone paraglider model is only released once it's superior to the previous model.

Z: 2- Will it have a moderate aspect ratio? Like its predecessor?

LUC A: Delta4, moderate aspect ratio. Yes. I believe it's still possible to have the best performing glider in the C category while maintaining relatively low aspect ratio, which helps for safety and manageability.

Z: 3- Will the use of the collapse line be used in the new C class? And on the D4?

LUC A: Collapse lines. There is an amendment to the current norm that needs to go through a formal vote. If I understood correctly and if it's accepted, it will only be in an application for certification around June 2020. 

Z: 4- Can you please comment on the strong points of Zeno 2 you are focusing on? Will it have sharper Handling?

LUC A: Zeno2. of course nice and sharp handling is important. Zeno1 does not have bad handling, but it is very sensitive to trimming, so the pilot needs to trim his Zeno1 regularly to make sure it's at his best. I personally love the Zeno handling when the trimming is set to slightly positive (per group, from 1 to 3 around 4-10-5mm)

Z: 5- Will the Zeno 2 get the same sizes as the Delta Rush series? Example 75-95…etc. Or will it follow the Zeno 1 pattern? 70-90…85-100…etc.

LUC A: For the moment, I'm making research prototypes in the same ML size than the Zeno1, for comparison sake, but we can adjust the size once we're happy with the final result. We'll see. 

Z: IMHO, and personal feel, I think seat board harnesses got lost over time, and there’s a big gap in pilot feel that was lost with them.
Seatless harnesses have great back support but lack precision versus the seat harness ones.
6- Will Ozone invest in a 3 kg, or 5 kg state board harness series with a back fairing?

LUC A: light seat board harness with back fairing. That's the Forza2 project. work on progress. 

Z: 7- What’s your personal philosophy toward the future of 2 liner gliders? Will the internal structure evolve in such a way, that even lower aspect ratio gliders could have fewer attachment points and still be very solid and homogenous in rough air? Is my thinking far a bit? From your perspective?

LUC A: 2 liner gliders future. I think that there are many things possible in the future. It's been only 10 years of developments by only a few companies until now. But I think interest and developments will grow up for this sort of design. 

Z: 8- As the products, being lighter, (harness and glider), Even a 70 kilos pilot will find himself on an XS or S glider…. With 80 or 85 all up weight. Will art be possible for a manufacturer to produce special sizes with special line diameters for this class in order to maintain the gap of performance with the bigger sizes? Or will it be too costly?

LUC A: Yes, it's possible for a manufacturer to produce a special size with a smaller line diameter on smaller sizes. To do so, it's basically costing the manufacturer a complete load test certification (one or two prototypes wasted + certification cost), so it's a question of how much the manufacturer expects to sell off one particular size and how much it may increase the performance. 
However, please note that even after adapting line diameter to match at best the lighter weight, most of the gap performance will still be there. Several scale effect phenomena are responsible for that. I see so many small pilots unhappy about that, but unaware of the real reasons that it's always good to remind the physics behind. 
a- line strength is related to line section, while line drag is related to line diameter. So when you multiply a line diameter by 2, the strength is multiplied by 4, while the drag is only multiplied by 2. That's an advantage for bigger sizes. 
b- stitching size, and stitching surface imperfection size are constant. The smaller the size, the bigger the relative drag. 
c- Reynolds number. also, a scale effect that affects flight performance down for smaller sizes, especially for the thick profiles used in paragliders. 
d- pilot+harness drag (a very big part of the total drag). Pilot+harness drag does not increase as much as the weight when you increase the pilot's weight. Another scale effect that can be simplified as Pilot+harness being a sphere. When you increase the diameter of a sphere by 2, its volume, mass or weight increase by 8, while it's frontal area and drag only increase by 4. 

Thank you very much for your kind answers!
Best regards,

Thursday, October 10, 2019

FLOW Fusion M

FLOW Fusion M

Flow is the new Australian brand. The XC racer is their EN-D 2 liner glider, and they released a beautiful new CCC, the Spectra.
The Fusion is their new EN-C glider.
My friend, lend me his M size ( 80-103 ) to test fly it. At first glance, I opened the package and saw a minimalistic line distribution, with a sliding B riser, and C control steering. That amount of very few lines means ‘performance’….Let's see…
I ballasted up to 99 all up on the M, with my X-rated 6 harness.
Launching the Fusion with its 6.3 aspect ratio is a piece of cake. Steady pull, and no surge forward, after a small brake input.
Launching is immediate. I had already shortened the brake lines by 5 cm. That way only 7 cm of the gap remained when the brakes are released.
Full bar is achieved without any tension on the brakes.

The Fusion was flown next to an Advance X-Alps 2 M, Mantra7 MS, Delta3 ML, Q-light S, in order to understand how it performs in the same conditions.
The brakes have light pressure on the first 10 cm, then slightly harder when pulled beyond 35 cm. The agility is on the average side but ok. In mild conditions, the Fusion can be turned quite tight inside the thermals. The precision of the brakes are good in mellow conditions and slightly less in turbulent cores.
In stronger and turbulent air, I would have wished for more precise control, and slightly better pilot authority on the brakes, in order to put it exactly where I wanted. But as you know, I’m a bit sensitive toward brake authority when test-flying a new glider.
My friend ‘Amer’ who is a Rush 5 pilot, flew the Fusion and commented that it was one of the best handling gliders regarding sensitivity.
And my other friend ‘Sayed’ who is a Cayenne 5 M pilot, commented that it was mellow to his taste and was missing some little spices.
So different opinions for different tastes...regarding the brake authority.
I found it slightly less agile than the Delta 3 MS, and the Q-Light S, but turns flatter! and has this new ‘search, grab and hold’ feature to never let go of a thermal!

I was also very surprised about the mellow feel under this 6.3 aspect ratio glider! It’s really a very dampened C glider. Probably one of the most pitch stable and overall stable glider in the C category! In average conditions, and high B pilot would find it very easy to fly, as my friends ‘Amer’ and ‘Sayed’ both commented, that its a faster and more performant ‘Rush 5’ with practically the same comfort under it in moderate conditions…
Of course, in stronger air, it needs an active pilot control as the authority on the brakes diminish a little.
But IMHO, any good high B pilot will be welcomed under this C machine.

Now the interesting part is the performance in climb and glide. Flying next to those gliders mentioned above, I can confirm a good climb rate for the Fusion M. To be even more precise, i think in smooth weak conditions it floats nicely. Not the best one in its category but a very good one. The strong point in the Fusion climb rate is when there’s an influence of little wind or valley breeze. Even in weak thermals, the Fusion surfs the air and grab that thermal. The more valley breeze, the more efficient the Fusion is for a C glider. When the climb is well built, the Fusion climbs very nicely. There’s not any pitch movement in moderate conditions, to the point of wondering how the hell it is searching for that lift and climbing!

After trying some good glides with reference gliders in the C and D category, I was very impressed by the glide angle of the Fusion!
Not only the Fusion is trimmed fast but it surfs the air without any pitch behavior to deteriorate that glide. On the contrary, it searches smoothly and calmly with a positive vario the lift in the airmass. To describe it best, it looks like sitting comfortably in a (TGV)!
Flow has created its best glider so far concerning glide efficiency. The Fusion scores the best glide angle in the C category at trim speed and could match some recent D gliders, except the M7, and close to the best C’s at full bar!
I’m waiting for the S size, which could be hopefully more agile. Let's wait and see…

The top speed is around 12-13 km/h over trim, with pulleys overlapping.
The C controls have a slightly moderate to hard pressure, but efficient to keep the glider in control in overall conditions.
ears are stable, slightly efficient and reopen with a little pilot input.

I don’t know how they did it…But I think Flow has forged the Fusion with aboriginal magic! 

An excellent glide angle for that C glider, and a high level of comfort.

Flow Fusion S (70-92)

After flying the M size, I flew the S size from 88 till 92 to find that the optimum weight for the S size was around the top weight. At 90 the Fusion still climbs well, even in weak conditions.

At 92 it surfs well the air and the glide headwind in amazing for the C class! The authority on the rakes for the S size at top weight is better than the M size at 100, as I found it slightly more agile. To place it accurately in terms of feel, the brake travel and the precision of the turn are slightly less than a Sector, Cayenne 5, or Queen 2 for example, but still very satisfying.
The Fusion transmits the glider movements by the risers, not by the brakes.

In turbulent and jumpy conditions, you need a long pull to control it overhead, but the overall movements are soft.
The leading edge has a strong tendency to avoid frontals. When trying to shot forward the leading edge intentionally, the Fusion leading-edge resist to collapse, and frontals are well delayed.
The brake travel is long before the stall, with brakes under the seat, the Fusion also resist well before stalling.

Big ears are stable on the S size and reopen with pilot input.

Conclusion: Flying it at 90-92, I found it well balanced without being flown heavy. It seems that you can float nicely even flying it on top.
Like its bigger sister, the S size is not trimmed differently. It is a true balanced S size C glider, with lots of performance, and especially good passive safety for the category, and gives a relaxed feel under it. It is more agile than the M. As I described the high level of comfort under it, I have to point out that the Fusion S is an agile glider, with a medium brake-travel.

Monday, September 23, 2019

PHI Maestro X-Alps 19

PHI Maestro 19  X-Alps

I have already flown the normal version. 
The X-Alps light material is super easy to launch. The handling and the way to turn the X-Alps 19 is super agile.  

The glide angle seems on top of the B category for sure. The climb without a wind or breeze component resembles the normal version which is very good also. (I’ll update my B comparison for small details) 

The C steering has a moderate efficiency and it’s a bit hard to pull but doable.  The top speed is also high for the category and fully usable.

In windy days, or facing a strong valley breeze, the Maestro gave me a hard time surfing forward this difficult airmass, the X-Alps 19 pitch back, roll, move in all directions, and I needed to push the bar a bit in order to dig into those difficult thermals. 
The best way I found, is to push the bar a bit and use the brakes inside the thermals. It's weird, but it's better!  The Maestro at 40 % of the bar is more efficient than at trim in entering the cores and keeping in them! That’s funny…but that’s exactly how I felt. 

In other conditions where the thermals are steady, and no wind is present, the X-alps 19 enters and cores nicely.  
There’s a big difference in flying quality between size 19 and 21. For my personal taste, the normal 21 is an excellent and efficient tool. I wish I had the X-alps 21 to test…

Conclusion: The Maestro X-alps 19, is a performant light glider for experienced B+ pilots. 

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Advance Omega X-alps 3 size 22 (70-87)

Advance Omega X-alps 3  size 22  (70-87) 

Chrigel Maurer won the 2019 X-alps an OXA 3 size 23! So, already the OXA 3 23, showed an exceptional potential in the hands of one of the best paragliding pilot in the world. 
Nothing can be really added over here, 
In this test, I will only share the differences in feel and behavior in flight for the size 22, regarding the Zeno S and the Leopard.

Launching the OXA 3 22 at 85 all up is super easy and it resembles the 3 liners in that matter.  In windy take-offs controlling it by the brakes is a must to keep it from overshooting which is normal for that level of gliders.

I flew the OXA 3 22 with three harnesses. Skyman X-alps 2019, Delight3, and Ozium 2. The roll movements in turbulent air are slightly over the Leopard and the Zeno but the structure is very compact and resembles the Zeno and Leopard. The OXA 3 21 gives more information about the air but in a solid structure.  On my first flight, in some really turbulent and strong air, after 10 minutes from take-off, I had a complete loss of pressure while holding a slight pressure on the brakes. As soon as I looked up to see that frontal, it was already reopened. 
Perhaps the lines were still new and needed to get in place…I flew it for the next three days that were also turbulent and tricky, and all went very well without a simple flutter on the tips. 
Overall it seems well sorted with good overall compact feel. 

The OXA 3 21 moves as a block. The pressure on the brakes have a medium pressure and in turbulent punchy conditions, the small dynamic glider needs a constant control to keep it leveled. The movements in the same air for the Leopard are slightly tamer (Landing and swapping gliders, on the same harness). But I can confirm that the OXA 3 is easy to fly for a light 2 liner as it moves in one block. I think because of the authority on the brakes that enables the pilot to put it accurately and precisely in moving air. 
The handling and authority on the brakes are way better than the Zeno S and slightly sharper than the Leopard S.  
The climb rate next to the Leopard is ok, and perhaps I felt that the Leopard is slightly floatier.  The glide however of the OXA 3 22 is the best I could find on a D, especially at full bar! 

Conclusion: A light 2 liner. Compact, agile, dynamic, but still easy for a 2 liner with good authority on the brakes, and with a superb glide angle, is how I can describe best the OXA 3 22. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

NOVA Mentor 6 XS light

I already test flew the normal version of the Mentor 6 in XS size earlier. There are some differences in the light version.
The brake pressure on the M6 XS Light is ‘lighter’ in power compared to the normal version. The handling and the way to turn the M6 Light is smoother and very agile. 
With little action on the brakes, and crisp, linear brake authority, I could turn the M6 light in a dime!
I was super satisfied test flying the Light version, and I think I’ll keep that one especially for my personal pleasure! 
The overall movements in turbulent air are also smoother and more comfortable than the normal version. The overall performance in climb and glide seems identical and match the best ones in the high B category.  
The trim and top speed match the normal version which is excellent for the category. Surprisingly the flapping ears disappeared from the normal version! I flew the M6 light is some turbulent air, and never got any wing tip collapses! 

As I always mention, that today’s high B gliders are super close in overall performance, and either one will get you super far XC flights. 
To define a newcomer I must slightly point to the little differences I felt, either in comfort or handling.
My best high B gliders are already mentioned in the high B comparison table, which I will amend very soon, and will deduct the old ones… New version :-)   
For example, I choose to differ, the Swift 5, Rush 5, Maestro, the Eden 7 and some more…for their overall comfort and performance. 
So what’s the difference with the M6 Light?

The difference :
Slightly more speed in entering cores than the Swift S, with even very good climb rate! The feel is like biting and searching forward for the M6 Light. In turbulence, the shorter brake travel than the Swift will keep the pilot more in control.
Slightly more efficiency in cutting through ‘strong’ valley breeze than the Eden7 24, (A B glider will struggle in those conditions, but some will creep forward slowly, moving forward without being ‘stuck’!
Like the excellent Maestro! 
The Eden 7 24 with 6 AR feels slightly more dampened in turbulent air, like the Rush5 SM for example. 
More pleasant and balanced authority on the brakes than both, as the pleasurable and swift handling, is clearly above the Rush 5, and the Eden7. The Swift 5 is agile but with longer brake inputs than the M6 Light.

Except for the Maestro 19, flown at 84 all up, which is even more agile (acro feel) but also more demanding as it rolls more in turbulence. 
Slightly more float ability than the Maestro 19. (Probably an insignificant amount more, but still they all climb very well !) 

Nevertheless, all those mentioned gliders are superb with very close or sometimes similar overall performance! 
Still with the excellent Chili4, and Cumeo, the smooth Iota 2, the sharp handling and efficient Maestro…etc…I could pick up any of those high B’s and do the same flights. 
The ears are stable, efficient and reopen quickly. The top speed is +15 km/h over trim. The glide at top speed is usable and excellent! 

The Mentor 6 XS light offers a comfortable ride while being very agile, pleasurable to fly with nice coordinated handling, and a very efficient wing for long and difficult XC conditions.  

Friday, August 2, 2019

UP Kangri size M 75-100

The Kangri is UP’s high-end B with an aspect ratio of 6.3. A mix of light materials is used. 32g and 27g Porcher Skytex. UP says it’s light but also durable. The M size weighs around 4.0 kg. 

The lines used are a mix of Aramid- and Dynema-lines. They are exactly like the ones used on the Trango X-race. 

I flew the glider at 95 all up with an X-rated 6 harness. Launching the Kangri is straightforward without any delays.  The test is written after some series of flights in mixed conditions from light to some turbulent ones, and one flight with the company of a Swift 5 size SM 75-95, and another one with a Bonanza 2 EN-C size  (75-95). Those reference gliders in the B and C category were flown by very good pilots and gave me a complete idea about the performance ability of the UP Kangri M. 

At first, I can describe the handling as fairly agile for a 6.3 AR B glider. The brakes travel is medium to short with a linear and precise response. It’s not a Trango X-race handling, which remains ‘the’ one and favorite C glider regarding handling. But the Kangri reminded me a little bit of that handling with a more forgiving feel. Not as sharp as the Trango, and well placed in the B category in that matter.  I could describe the agility as a bit close to the Bonanza or the Artik 5.  The feel under it is slightly better understood than on a Delta 3 SM for example. But still, the Kangri is more tamed than any of those C’s described above.  Nevertheless, I could feel the aspect ratio, and I cannot put it in terms of feel next to a Mentor 6, or a Swift 5 for example. Those B’s are very tamed to compare. The Kangri feels like in between of those 2 categories, and that’s the best way I can describe it in terms of accessibility. The Sigma 10 and the Artik 5 are more demanding to fly. So I think I have placed it well for you to know  :-)

In terms of climbing ability, the pilot on the Swift 5 flew it at 90 all up ad he was climbing I think better than any CCC glider!  :-)  But in glide against the wind, he was penalized and a bit slow. The Swift 5 must be flown exactly at top weight or even 2 kilos more. (Just to be clear).  In terms of glide angle, the Kangri showed me a super nice gliding power that places it among the top 3 B’s in that matter.  But I needed to get a solid confirmation and flew it against a Bonanza 2 (EN-C) in some tricky and turbulent glides against the wind. After many attempts, the Kangri nearly matched the Bonanza 2 glide, but the C glider still had the edge. 

In weak climbs against the Bonanza 2, the Kangri did very well and climbed next to it. Probably the B2 has a slight edge in float ability and climbing in very weak thermals.  

The trim speed is similar to the B2 and the Kangri has around 13 km/h over trim taken at 800 ASL.  The glide at the top speed is also similar to the top B’s. 

Ears are stable, efficient, and reopen quickly.

Conclusion: The Kangri is an interesting glider for XC with a very efficient package. Its definitely not a detuned C. The feel under it is never boring for those B pilots that need that extra C feel, but also less demanding in turbulent air than many C’s including 6 AR ones. 
Good handling and authority on the brakes, good speed, nice overall package.  Any pilot wishing to step to the C level in feel with plenty of performance, but needs a B rating, the Kangri is the way to go.  

This is only my opinion. Make your own !

Monday, July 8, 2019

GIN Leopard S

GIN Leopard size XS  75-88

The Gin Leopard is the 2019 new 2 liner from GIN with 7.12 aspect ratio.
I have the XS size (70-88) and I flew it at 88 all up.
Launching the Leopard in nil wind needs a steady pull to reach overhead. In a strong wind, it launches perfectly. 

In the air, I immediately felt at home under the Leopard. The pitch movements are very dampened and the leading edge tends to get slightly back upon entering the lift on this XS size. It has a very neutral pitch behavior apart form this very little or may I say “slight delay” to pull you inside the core.  Some pilots will find this feature amazing but some would prefer a slight pitch forward. It depends on pilots taste.
For instance, the Zeno S (70-90) size at max weight also tends to have a neutral pitch with a very slight pull forward sometimes, when the thermals are a bit sudden and strong. The Leopard felt more tamed in pitch feel.
In roll, I also felt that the Leopard is a comfortable glider to fly despite the Aspect ratio! The roll also feels more dampened and could be similar to the Zeno S.
In strong air it needs a good D pilot.

There are no yaw movements, and the Leopard feels like a whole very solid structure flying above your head.
The brake authority on this Leopard S size is truly nice! It has a short brake response with very good authority that enabled me to core practically a wide range of different thermals, especially very small ones. For an aspect ratio of 7, the Leopard can be considered as a very direct and agile glider. For sure the overall handling and brake authority is a step over the Zeno S and I really was very pleased to fly the Leopard in thermals. I can describe the handling as linear, direct, precise.


The climbing ability of the Leopard is nice for the category. But I felt that this exceeds of comfort in pitch sometimes get you a slightly delayed entering into those mellow 1 m/s thermals. I must insist that the overall climb is very good! and even in a strong and sudden lift, the Leopard S will pop up very quickly. It’s just in those small thermals that you feel that you need that extra forward pull from the leading edge…
Comparing it with a Zeno S, I felt that the Zeno could have a slight edge in float ability in those very weak thermals.

Doing some glides with an M7 S, just to get an idea, showed me that the Leopard has a very slight edge at trim, but especially better in headwind glides and of course at the bar. If we match the top speed of the M7, the Leopard has a very slight edge.
I found a 20 km/h over trim took at 900 ASL with overlapping pulleys.  There’s a medium pressure while pushing the bar. A slightly more than the Zeno, but quite ok. 


The B controls are slightly harder than the Zeno ones. I was able to keep the glider easily overhead while at bar in moderate air. In fact, it felt that at bar the Leopard gives a more taught and comfortable feel.
Ears with outer A’s are small but stable. Funnily, if you pull them quickly and release, they will be stuck in nicely, exactly like on the M7!  They can get you around -2 m/s with bar…The ears with outer B’s are is also doable and efficient with -2 m/s coupled with half bar.
The leading edge is very solid. There’s a lot of pressure!

Conclusion for the XS size 75-88 :
The S size might react differently as smaller glider are sometimes trimmed a bit different.
It’s amazing how technology is getting us more accessible high aspect ratio gliders.
The good authority on the brakes enables the pilots to control better the Leopard, and it could be considered a comfortable 2 liner for the intended category of pilots. 
Good overall performance, a bit close to Zeno, nice top speed, very homogenous and taught feel.  


Friday, July 5, 2019

Axis Venus SC size S 72-92

Axis Venus SC size S 72-92

My favorite Venus at the time was a Venus 2 RX, size Small. It was indeed a superb glider. Then I tried once the Venus 3 and didn’t blend in.
This is the new Venus  SC for 2019. 
The launching behavior is quite easy with an easy pull and the Venus comes up without any hard point. The takeoff is immediate.

I flew the Venus SC from 90 to 92 to discover that it's really nice at that weight. 
The climb in weak thermals is super nice and is similar to the Best C’s.  Going on glide with a Q-Light S showed me a little faster trim speed for the Venus SC with an impressive glide angle that also puts the Venus SC on top of the C category.
Despite the aspect ratio of 6.6, the turning behavior in thermals is exquisite. Good authority on the brakes and good agility.  Could be similar in agility as the Artik 5 for example, with lighter brakes and also precise travel. But the piloting level under it needs a slightly more pilot workload than an Artik 5. It moves a bit in turbulence and work by itself a bit in a small yaw and roll movement. 
The C steering control must be handled with care. The C is not attached to the B riser but offers a fair authority to stop small surges. 

Ears are stable and need a slight pump to reopen. 
Conclusion: Axis has made their masterpiece in creating the Venus SC! Glide and climb are among the best ones in the Category. In turbulent and active air it needs a good C pilot. 
But that pilot would make long and efficient XC flights. 

Friday, June 14, 2019

Mac Para Eden 7 24 (70-90)

Mac Para Eden 7  24  (70-90)   
I asked MacPara to purchase that glider like usual. Then I got an email that a demo glider was already sent, and I have to return it afterward! 
After lots of delays at our customs office…like usual, the Eden 7 was released. Mac Para wanted the glider back for the Kossen exhibition, but I only flew it once and felt something different and I emailed Macpara that I must purchase that glider as I need more time on it, there was something very interesting! but they replied that they are sorry… and they prefer to get the glider back!  I kept the glider for another 3 flying days and…(to be continued…**) 

The test: 
The Eden 7 is MacPara 2019 high B glider. With an aspect ratio of 6, good mix of thin sheathed unsheathed lines, nice risers with C steering ability, the Eden 7 is a beautiful looking glider with a racy look.

Launching the Eden 7 is super easy for a high B glider. The take off is immediate. 

I flew the Eden 7 24 from 85 to 91 all up to discover the best spot at 87 all up.  The Eden 7 was flown with a Delight 3 harness and compared with other B or C gliders flying the same harness. 

I flew that glider in mixed conditions from weak to turbulent. Despite the aspect ratio of 6, I never felt it was more demanding to fly than any 5.4 aspect ratio B gliders. In fact, I can say that it seems quite easier to fly than most High B gliders with a lower aspect ratio. The movements of the Eden 7 in turbulent air are not really dynamic for the 6 aspect ratio glider.
 I’m not saying that it resembles the low B category. It needs a high B pilot, but the Eden 7 felt like a very well balanced high B glider that works well in itself.
 There weren’t any unnecessary movements coming from the glider. Just good, well-balanced feedback, that was exactly needed for the high B category. The Eden 7 feels like an educational high B with the exact amount of “relaxed” feedback for the XC pilot. 

The authority on the brakes at 87 all up is simply ”amazing”. It is not the most agile high B glider but still very satisfying agility with a short brake travel, precise to place it inside any core, direct to swiftly engage a turn without delay, moderate pressure that kept my hands quite comfortable all the flight. 
Those characteristics of handling and brake authority on the Eden 7 quickly won my heart! 
I never regretted test flying that EN-B in those good and rare flyable days this year.  
I would describe the overall feedback as “polite”. Exactly what should be felt under an XC machine for long flights. 

Loading the Eden 7 at 87 all up is very efficient even in weak thermals.  This high B is definitely a floater within its category.
In strong cores it also climbs ‘super’ well as the Eden 7 surfs the air forward like a very good high B, and it’s even very competitive with the class above in climb and glide.
Surfing a difficult airmass for a high B is a blessing, as some will bump and pitch back. Not on the Eden 7, as it never kept from surprising me in that matter. It does surf forward and climb like “higher rated gliders”. 

The Eden 7 glide at bar similar to the best B’s in that big category with an edge!  The edge was found on top speed!  It is quite fast for the category, and very usable. 
On my Eden 7 size 24 similarly loaded as a Mentor 6 same size (70-90), I was around +1 km/h faster at top speed! 
Its also faster than an Alpina 3 S and the glide at trim and at bar was over my expectations, to say the least! 
 While pushing the bar, the C steering is hard to pull, with a fair efficiency in turbulence.  

The trim speed is similar to the Mentor 6, and the Eden 7 has around 15..16 km/h over trim taken at 1000 ASL. 
I also flew next to higher rated gliders, just to see the potential of the Eden 7, and I can totally confirm my earlier comments that put the Eden 7 on the highest level! 

The ears are stable to a certain pull and reopen fast. Induced asymmetries and holding the A risers down are easy to counter steer with no big loss of altitude. 
Frontals make a slight horseshoe but reopen quickly.  Wing overs are nice, without any excess of dynamic and energy! 
I already updated my B category.   

In this large EN-B category, many manufacturers are really making huge progress to deliver us quite interesting gliders, and it's becoming silly to always write positive reviews, but i surely recommend test flying that one! No dull feel under it, rather than an educational one.  It’s like flying a calm higher rated glider with an impressive performance package.  

The Eden 7 in size 24 is a high B glider but an easy one to fly for the experienced B pilots, with superb handling and brake authority. 
It has a relatively calm and balanced behavior. The overall package of performance is efficient and very usable! 
For a high B pilot looking for an excellent creation, the Eden 7 fulfills every need and check every box. It would be very interesting to test flying one at its optimum load.  

**- Now to continue my story with Mac Para…I insisted to keep that glider. And I paid for it just because I couldn’t return back such a beautiful piece of a flying machine! and I also needed to keep it as a testing reference for this summer!