Monday, December 21, 2009

GRADIENT ASPEN 3 (80-100)

ASPEN 3 M 80-100
I flew the Aspen 3 in rather medium conditions at 96 kg all up, with the impress2 + pod harness.
The construction and the finish of the glider looks very good and neat .RATE: 8/10.
From the moment I launched, the glider felt very fast on trim. Measurements after that showed a 40 km/h at trim speed.
First thermal and I tried to turn and feel the brakes .They look rather long and not that precise after flying the Artic 2 S. But the glider turns very nicely and very agile, so you can core every thermal really tight, with the feeling that you are turning faster than any thermal core!!! I liked that feeling, but I wished for a more precise turn through the brakes like on the Artic 2 Small. Rate for handling precision: 7/10---RATE for agility: 9.8/10

It climbs fairly moderate. I felt that when catching a thermal the glider needs a fraction on a second for converting that to lift. Rate for climb ability: 7/10
The Glide at trim is excellent…May be the best there is to this moment in the LTF-2 cat. RATE for glide in calm air: 9.5/10
Glides through head wind and turbulence showed that the glider keeps its glide at med to high level of performance. RATE for racing upwind: 7.5/10
Flying with speed bar gives a very good glide and speed for this Cat. RATE for racing upwind +accelerator: 8/10
As for security: I could not test the glider properly with asymmetric etc…I didn't have time.
But when flying I never felt any odd behavior. On the contrary, the glider inspired confidence. RATE for feeling comfortable inside the LTF-2 cat: 7.5/10.

What I did not like is the low speed characteristics: If I want to land the glider in a very small place, and I would try for that to dig the brakes in a low position, little lower than the hips, the glider in subjected to spin, because it has the tendency to always fly forward .So it became unstable and rather technical to land in a very small place due to the spin tendency ONLY if your brakes are very low, (Lower than your hips)
Conclusion: The Aspen 3 (80-100) at 96 all up is a serious weapon for braking records and moving forward fast for an LTF-2 cat.OVERALL RATE : 8.5/10

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