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 21 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! 

Conclusion:
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.   

Conclusion: 
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!  

Saturday, June 8, 2019

U-Turn Vision EN-B S




U-Turn Vision S (80-97) 

The Vision is U-Turn high B with an aspect ratio of 6 and relatively light construction. The S size weights around 4.6 kg. 
Taking off is super easy without any hard point. The Vision rises smoothly and stays above the pilots head.

I flew the Vision S at 94 all up. The brake travel has moderate travel, and pressure with very good agility. The Vision can be steered very tightly in small cores. Despite the 6 aspect ratio, the Vision is super far from the earlier Carrera from Gin for the extra comfort and smooth behavior in the air for the Vision. 
The moments in turbulence are very comfortable and I really asked myself many times if really the Vision has a 6 aspect ratio!  The overall movements in turbulent air are quite tame and showed me a super balanced glider. Some gliders with 5.5 aspect ratio that I have earlier tested, needed more pilot input in strong air. The Vision has surprised me by its mellow reactions.  
The pitch stability on the Vision is very high as it cuts smoothly into the airmass.
Inducing some asymmetries and frontals seems surprising to behave like a lower grade glider. 
The Vision cuts through the air like an efficient high B glider and the speed bar is very usable in turbulence. The C steering is efficient on the Vision for a 3 liner. Staying at bar, the C steering can control almost any pitch movements in 75 % turbulent air.  One of the most efficient 3 line B glider, for control ability on the C’s. 
The glide at trim and at max speed are like the very best you can find on a high B.  Gliding in a headwind or against the valley breeze is efficient on the Vision, especially at bar. 

The climb rate in weak thermal at 94 all up, is nice and relatively ok. The climb in strong thermals is smooth and rewarding by its comfort. 
The top speed is around 12 km/h over trim, taken at 2500 ASL. Big ears are stable and efficient. They reopen very quickly. 

Conclusion: A very well balanced high B glider. The impressive ratio of comfort, efficiency, and glide at speed. The Vision can be considered as an agile glider, and I think it could be the first high B glider with an aspect ratio of 6 that behaves and feels like a mid-B, even after collapses. The Vision overall performance package can easily challenge some mid-C gliders in XC conditions at trim and at bar. 
A must try in order to feel the high overall ratio of “comfort and performance”.    


I'll update my B comparison soon, and a video hopefully next week.
Cheers,
Ziad

Friday, April 26, 2019

NOVA Mentor 6 XS



NOVA Mentor 6  XS

And here is the new Mentor 6 in XS size flown at 88 all up.

The launching is simple, easy and very forgiving due mainly to the light materials used on this glider. It’s not completely a light glider, but NOVA used some light cloth on some parts on it.

Immediately after taking off and touching the brakes, I looked high up to see if it’s really a NOVA Mentor?  Yes, it was…I was completely shocked to see that big switch from the older series! Finally, something new concerning the handling and agility to talk about!  :-)

The brake pressure is toward the light side and moderates after 15 cm. The authority on the brakes and precision made me smile from ear to ear! ( It’s the first NOVA wing after the Mentor 2 that has a relatively short, precise, linear, and direct brake response worthy of delivering pure pleasure for the handling seeker! Finally, a Mentor that has a very nice, super quick and short turning radius.
I could really core the tiniest thermal available with infinite precision. I liked very much the authority on the brakes of that glider.

In weak thermals, the Mentor 6 even loaded is a revelation! After some hours comparing and comparing it to different top B gliders in the climb, I could definitely say that this latest Mentor 6 XS could be very difficult to over climb! I think that this one will stay on top of the stack period.
The Mentor 6 nose pulls you smoothly inside the core, and searches for the best lift! It is difficult to miss a thermal with that glider. 

The Mentor 6 XS communicates well the airmass and needs a high B pilot to master it in turbulent and strong air. Nothing more than a high B.
I’ll update my B comparison to place it accurately among others, but I need more time and also the S size (80-100) will eventually arrive in a couple weeks.  
The tips, however, flap in turbulent air without any consequences.  They do flap, because probably they are happy flying,  like the ears of a  puppy when you come home:-).

The midsection is very solid and I sensed that even at 90 all up the M6 XS will be even better inside the turbulent airmass. 

The trim speed is good, and I could say fast for the category.  Slightly faster than Swift 5 and Cumeo SM similarly loaded. The top speed is around 15 km/h over trim and very usable. 
The C risers control is hard to pull after test flying the light pull on the Mantra7 but could stop some moderate surges while keeping your foot on bar. 

The glide at trim and even at the full bar is also similar to the best high B’s with very good top-end speed for the high B category.  (See B comparison chart) 
For an efficient glide into the wind, the Mentor 6 needs to be loaded at the top for better results. It’s quite efficient for the B class.  It does in fact surf forward without any useless pitch. 
To sum it up, IMHO, this is by far the ‘best’ Mentor ever produced.  

Ears and big ears are very stable and very efficient. With the bar, I could get -4…5..m/s! 

Inducing some asymmetries and holing the A’s will result in a 90 degrees turn max, counter steering and staying straight is easy. 

Conclusion: Superb agility, impressive climb rate, top gliding power, good top speed for a B!  
Highly recommended for the high B pilots who thought that the older Mentor series were a bit boring to fly. 
Lovely, piece of a flying machine. The Mentor 6 is pleasurable to fly XC machine by excellence!  

UPDATE 
I flew the M6 size M at 96 all up, and it seems that this size is very mellow and comfortable to fly. The handling and the way to turn it is slightly less than the XS which is logical. The clomb rate and glide are straight on top of that category, or even matching some C gliders...

A really powerful mix of high comfort and top-end performance!  A mellow to fly high B.

This is only my opinion. Make your own !

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Ozone Mantra M7 MS

Ozone Mantra 7 SM  75-95

After more than 5 years over the efficient M6, Ozone has finally released the Mantra 7 with an aspect ratio of 6.5 flat.

I flew this glider from 92 to 95 all up. I found that its best to fly it at top weight 94,95 in overall conditions. it is super efficient at that load even in weak thermals.
And it needs to be loaded when conditions are strong in order to have better authority under it.

Launching the M7 is very easy without any delays and with a strong breeze, a dab on the brakes is needed to stop the surge. The take off is immediate.

I flew in different air from turbulent and punchy thermals to soft and tricky ones. 

The brake travel on the M7 is slightly longer than the M6 for the same load, but the authority on the brakes and the turning ability are much better on the M7 with better thermal coring. 
 The feel under the M7 is more tamed than the M6 in all aspects. There are no yaw movements at all. The roll is present but really tame for a D. The pitch movements are stable, pretty moderate for a D and the overall feel under it looks like  Delta 3 or an Alpina 3 with steroids.  It’s for sure more demanding to fly than the D3 or A3, as sometimes it surges forward in strong air which requires a slightly higher level for control, but nothing alarming for a regular D pilot. 
It is less demanding than the M6 as the Mantra 7 is a much more compact and homogenous wing. The overall feel and comfortable behavior are present and reminded me of all the Ozone latest generation gliders. (Rush5,Swift5,Delta 3…etc…) The Mantra 7 has the same genes with a higher step of workload over their C class with a D rating. 

Saying that I could sense that sometimes in turbulent and strong air the energy inside the mantra 7 needs a good D pilot to tame it, as the authority on the brakes will be slightly diminished and needs a bit longer application to settle it and keep the loaded M7 overhead. 

The pressure on the brakes is moderate and quite similar to the Delta 3 ones.  The Mantra 7 is an agile D glider, with an efficient brake authority. If I want to place it exactly, I could say that a little bit tighter turns could be made on the Delta 3. But I was completely satisfied with its turning ability. 

The climb rate in weak conditions is very good on the Mantra 7 even loaded. 
The overall feel of a dampened wing in weak stuff always worries me, as I need to sense the little updrafts. On the M7 those movements in weak thermals are similar to the Delta 3 feel, but the M7 floats really well!  Next, to a Cayenne 5 M which has an excellent climb, I could be very competitive on the M7 and the efficient climb was clear and rewarding. 

In strong air and big thermals, is the Mantra 7 playground. In headwind conditions, and in strong valley breeze, the Mantra 7 excels as it showed me a much better efficiency than the M6. 
The Mantra 7 surfs the air forward like a true competition “D” glider.  Racing over ridges with the Mantra 7 will be very rewarding!   
The speed system is easy to push with moderate pressure but unfortunately, the top speed is only ’around’ +13 km/h over trim.  Gliding next to my friend on a Cayenne 5 M loaded at the top size at top speed, showed me the same top speed as my Mantra 7 SM at 95 all up.  
The glide of the Mantra 7 SM at top speed is much better than the M6 glide angle,  and it has ‘nearly’ the same glide as a Zeno S size if they stayed at the Mantra 7 top speed. 
The Zeno S size at 88 was at the half bar, while I was on the full bar on the Mantra 7 with a very, very close glide angle with a better float ability in lift lines for the Zeno.  The small differences will only appear in competitions over long transitions.  
 For sure the top speed on the Mantra 7 is fully usable in turbulence while using the rear risers pitch control.
The pitch control on the Mantra 7 is a nice device to keep the glide angle leveled when gliding at speed in turbulent air. The Steering on the Mantra 7 is not as efficient as on the 2 liners Zeno, but it’s the most efficient on any C, or D glider I have already tested…I had some long glides at full speed and the efficient C steering was keeping my foot on the pedals. A super beautiful and efficient device! 
On my X-rated 6, the riser control is quite easy to reach. I have heard that they were too high, but not in my case and I think it depends on the harness hanging points. I found them quite reachable as you will see later in the movie.
The Mantra 7 can be slowed down to top land on a tiny spot! Very nice in that matter! 
The wing overs can be done quickly very high. The energy inside the Mantra 7 is impressive! 
Small ears are little stable but sometimes they need to open. Pulling slightly more outside A riser will lead to unstable ears. The B3 are now a bit high to reach :-). I could get max 20 cm down with hard pressure, but no results to get some decent B ears. 

Conclusion: 
For a D glider, Mantra 7 is easy to fly, comfortable, and delivers top gliding and climbing performance. 
Probably the top speed should be slightly faster by 3-4 km/h, and I was hoping for stable and efficient big ears. 
Hopefully on the L M 7!  
The combination of accessibility/performance has not yet been reached on a D glider before.


Cheers,
Ziad







UPDATE:
Mantra 7 MS versus LM6 MS 
In this paragraph, please find my personal opinion about the differences between those two gliders. It is very difficult sometimes to describe the feeling under a certain glider. After receiving many emails, asking if the M7 is really so easy to fly, I had to respond by this:

I flew the LM6 in S and MS size for a good time. 
Flying the Mantra 7 MS at 94 all up showed me a mild character and nice handling and authority on the brakes. Not as sharp and linear as a Trango X-race, or even not as informative in weak thermals like the Delta 2 size MS at 92, but quite acceptable and rewarding as I already mentioned in my earlier test. 
The difference flying the LM6 MS and S was a complete control in turbulent air for the pilot flying the 7 aspect ratio LM6.  As if the brakes of the LM6 gets more stiff in turbulence and they will still respond quite sharply under those conditions.
I was always able to “catch” the LM6 from going further away from me in a very good authority and stiffness on the brakes.
 Flying the M7 in those turbulent conditions, showed me that the energy on the M7 which was mild in moderate air woke up and felt that the leading edge holds more power than the trailing edge, meaning that the authority on the brakes will slightly diminish more on the M7 than on the LM6.  

In the same turbulent and shaky air, the M7 kept me slightly busier with longer brake actions to keep it overhead. But, I have to mention also that I was able to core many turbulent thermal much better than the LM6 in a tighter radius.  The LM6 was experiencing difficulty to turn tight in those bad conditions. 
Of course, the M7 remains a comfortable glider to fly for a D, but shouldn’t be mistaken for a C glider IMHO.  
The climb rate in weak conditions and float-ability seems very slightly on the 7 AR, LM6 side. But as soon as the thermal straighten the M7 shoots upward very quickly! 
In headwind conditions and racing upwind, the M7 has a clear advantage over the LM6.  That's the strong point of the M7. It did, in fact, showed me a good advantage each time we did a glide in windy and tricky conditions versus the LM6.  The glide at speed is also even better for the M7 that after a few kilometers the difference is clearly visual.

IMHO, the M7 with its 6.5 aspect ratio out glide the LM6 in all aspects. The handling and the way to turn it inside a thermal is also well improved over the LM6. The glide into the wind is a step further. 
The overall “feel” in moderate air resembles the lower classes. The “feel” and handling ability in strong turbulent air is seems well targeted for the D category.   

UPDATE (2)
Hi,
Again, feedback for the M7 size MS after releasing the loop on the B's.

The Mantra 7 seems slightly faster at trim and also at the top speed. I could see now, a difference of 16, to 17 km/h at around 800 ASL!
In turbulent conditions, it seems more alive, wanting to jump forward, and needed slightly more pilot control to keep it overhead.
I sensed a very good behavior when surfing the airmass in a headwind or when low facing the valley breeze. It seems to cut through efficiently like a "super" D glider.

Cheers, 
Ziad 


 This is only my opinion. Make your own !

Friday, April 12, 2019

FLOW Freedom M



FLOW Freedom

The Freedom is Flow new B glider. The cloth used on this glider is relatively light. It has small semi-circular openings and all the lines are unsheathed. There are lots of lines on this Freedom and some are a bit thick. This configuration seems to last forever without going out of trim. 
The Freedom M size like to be loaded right on top. I flew the size M at 100 all up, and it felt quite big but ok for that weight. The launching is easy.
The brake pressure is on the light side. They are a bit long and I could describe the Freedom handling and agility to be on the moderate side. It turns well into the core and has a nice climbing behavior. 

The pitch is nearly absent on that machine. The roll is also dampened. Overall it's quite easy to fly. The trim speed is slightly less than a Mentor 6 for example. 
After some glide comparisons, the Freedom could be placed in the middle part of this (low-mid-high) B category.
Big ears are stable and efficient. 
It has a low stall speed for landing on small spots. 

In general, the Freedom could be considered as a mid-B, in the overall assessment. 


This is only my opinion. Make your own !

Saturday, March 9, 2019

PHI Maestro ( The wish maker )




PHI Maestro  ( The wish maker ) 

PHI is a new brand founded by Mr. Hannes Papesh. The team behind PHI is one of the most experienced pilots like Mike Kung for instance, who’s in charge of testing and fine-tuning the gliders. Hannes Papesh is a legend when it comes to designing gliders. His favorite class is the B class. I still remember the beautiful Mentor 2 S size at the time, as it was delivering a spice feel with a very competitive performance that was close to some C or even D gliders at the time! It was a special dynamic glider with a competitive spirit. Will Hannes be able to manage the new Maestro? Let's see…

The Maestro 21 75-95 arrived. It has 2 lines per side on the A’s, 3 on the B’s 2 on the C’s. Very minimalistic, thin line configuration. There are lots of cells, and looking at it reminds me of the Phantom.  All that package scream for performance. 
The finish details and construction are excellent! 

In my past testing, I learned that gliders that have fewer lines and especially 2 lines per side are likely to be flown slightly on the far end of their weight range in order to put a load on all the structure and keep it well homogenous in rough air.  I found out that the sweet spot in overall conditions of the Maestro 21 is around 92, 93 all up.   In moderate conditions, flying it at 90 or slightly below could be quite efficient also. 
At 93 all up with an X-rated 6 harness, the launching of the Maestro 21 is super easy and well behaved, without any forward surge or hanging back. 

After being airborne I immediately felt and understood the DNA inside this Maestro!  
Let’s begin with the brake pressure that feels ‘perfect’.  Not hard at all, nor too light! For my personal feel, it's just ‘perfect’  The response on the brakes are immediate! I could steer the Maestro inside the core with 10 cm of travel in a linear brake response, especially for a B !!  The Maestro with its short brake travel reacts immediately and carve inside the thermals in a tight radius, with a high degree of precision, that is rare to find on a high B glider!  Pure pleasure for the pros !!   Going lower on the brakes is forgiving, but it’s not needed while coring, as around 15 cm max will let you core the meanest of thermals!  

The day was special. It was windy and a bit turbulent at times. I was also surrounded by my expert flying friends, each one on their respective gliders. XC-Tracer small(2liner) , Klimber S, and a Swift 5 MS. All pilots are very well experienced. We did manage all-together, to make some small XC’s and to compare our little toys. ..Yes…I mentioned a 2 liner, and a D glider also…Just keep cool… No sudden conclusions ;-)  I’m just spicing the write up a bit ;-) …
I also flew with a friend on the excellent Swift 5 MS, *my reference* for the B cat, (same size) and exactly same load! (93) as the Maestro 21.   

After 4 hours of extensive flying, with the whole group, I can flawlessly confirm the excellent climbing abilities of the Maestro 21! This glider behaves and delivers exactly like a competition glider with D certificate in its climbing properties in strong air as it converts thermals into an efficient lift. 
In very weak conditions, the swift 5 has the edge in float ability. 
The Maestro surges forward in a good climb, without any pitch back at all. I mean it moves forward very quickly in climbing mode and coring the well built thermal. In windy and challenging conditions or facing the valley breeze, the Maestro will deliver good climbing when encountering strong thermals! Those characteristics are rare to be found on a B glider!
Letting it fly forward is super rewarding while climbing. I can confirm that it climbs very close “to say the least and keep you cool…  :-)    as the higher certified gliders in strong thermals. 
I will comment later on accessibility, but I have to mention that keeping it flying is very rewarding, but swift and fine controls on the brakes are needed to keep it leveled. Just like flying some high rated gliders. A delight! 

Now comes the gliding part.
I have to be clear that the top three B’s for 2019, have a very close gliding power as the C’s. For example, gliding with the Swift 5 against an Artik 5 showed me that the only difference is finding the next thermal !! 
Even in difficult conditions, flying either glider, a pilot can only make a difference, with the extra 2 km on the top end of a C and the feel of a higher aspect ratio glider which also helps in marginal conditions. 

Doing some long glides with the Maestro 21 at trim and at full bar showed me a super competitive glide angle similar to the best reference B, putting the Maestro on the top regarding gliding power. 
It’s gliding in moving air and difficult conditions that the Maestro could be quite rewarding. 

Now comes the accessibility part.
The Maestro is definitely ‘not’ your first B glider. Not even after one small season on your first low B glider… The Maestro has some super fine qualities and delivers impressive and valuable information for the keen pilot.  It takes an experienced pilot to appreciate it and to use it at its full potential. 

Talking for the B category, the Maestro is like a Samurai sword if you know what I mean.  It can cut swiftly and cleanly if you seek it or know how to use it.  
Pilots flying some C’s and even D’s wanting a great weapon for XC with B certification will cherish the Maestro feel and qualities. 
Pilots flying high B gliders for a season will find in the B certified Maestro, the educative feedback that will allow them to understand and fly later higher rated gliders.

I also flew the Maestro at 89 all up. In weak conditions, the Swift 5 still have an edge. In strong air, the Maestro climbs well even at that load as I said earlier, but I felt that at 93…94 could be quite rewarding in strong and heavy turbulence. Loading it up is a good option in alpine conditions. 

Big ears are stable, very efficient as only 1 line is left on the A’s, and they open without pilot intervention.  

Wing overs are quickly very high. The Maestro has good energy, and the structure if well loaded is compact and homogenous. 
Full speed is around 14 km/h over trim taken at 1000 ASL.  Trim speed is slightly faster than to the Rush 5, Swift 5.  Top speed is around 2 km/h more than the Swift 5 similarly loaded. 


Conclusion: The best impressions you get is immediately after landing.  Right? 
This is one of the fewest times, I enjoy test-flying a B glider. It’s not like driving an 8 cylinder family car.  It’s like driving an “every day” Sportscar! Comfortable enough but pleasurable to drive.    
Today’s top high B gliders deliver impressive performance, and it’s a blessing for many pilots to get those performances for free…But some commented getting bored when flying B gliders, probably because of their very comfortable and dampening behavior on all axes and sometimes lesser brake authority. It’s not the case with the Maestro that responds swiftly and precisely to every input.
Pilots who feel too much dampening under a certain glider or seek more sporty feel will eventually seek the higher classes. 
Every pilot has a different level of experience and totally different taste regarding gliders. 
The Maestro has a complete package of top overall performance, the agile feel of a dynamic but “balanced” high B glider.
Flying pleasure awaits you with spices for the refined gastronomist!  :-) 
For those flying qualities, test flying it is a must.  

UPDATE for the Maestro 19 
I flew the size 19 ( 70-85) at 84 all up. The size 19 feels very different for the bigger size in the test. It does have a pitch back before entry. It's very agile and nice to fly. The glide is also at the top NB category. It does require a good high B pilot level. 


This is only my opinion. Make your own !