Friday, March 12, 2010
GRADIENT GOLDEN 3 80-100
After some flights in thermal conditions, loaded at 95 kg all up ,with an impress harness, here is what I found.
Construction and quality are very good ,to the last detail in simplicity and GRADIENT style .It inspire confidence just by looking. Regular risers and lines , excluding the thin lines on top.
Launching the glider is easy, in all conditions. Nothing special on that.
In the air, at my wing loading I found the brakes long as the Aspen 3,but the wing is agile in smooth conditions. When it is turbulent and bumpy, I need to insist keeping the brakes in a low position in order to turn the glider faster.
Hitting a thermal the glider pitch back a little, after it settles inside, it cores perfectly till cloud base.
The GOLDEN 3 is a little talkative glider for an EN-B glider without excess. It moves but stays overhead showing the thermal direction.
The brake pressure is a little heavier than the Aspen 3,but it remains in the light cat.
The accelerator is efficient and the wing remains very stiff fully accelerated. Induced collapses are soft in recovery.
Wing overs are nice and could be high, and coordinated.
The feeling in the air is like a typical GRADIENT glider.
Today was perfect for testing the performance vs the ORYX. My friend Moni took the GOLDEN 3 with a total weight of 100 kg and flying a pod samurai harness.
Myself flying the ORYX with an impress 2 + harness and an all up weight 93 kg.
Gliding in a little shaky air but without any headwind ,shows that the glides are nearly the same with a slight advantage in speed to the ORYX loaded only at 93 !!.
In the weak thermals ,and even loaded at 100 kg ,the GOLDEN 3 is really great.I think it has the edge in climb in the weak stuff. We were practically together all the way up,and I could feel that the climbing of the GOLDEN 3 is catching up… Then Moni missed a small thermal by going further left to the ridge ,and I waited up a little (see video)
When he got up again we settle on a small glide headwind ,heading north. Here the ORYX shines…No comment how it is really good in headwind glides !!!
Knowing that , we did return to land on take off and Moni got the ORYX to try at 98.5 all up (Weight of ORYX is 4.5! ) and I took the Artic 2 Small (EN-C) loaded at 95 all up for a test glide also.
Launching and going up, surely the advantage of quick climb is for the Artic 2(EN-C) .This glider is a reference between (EN-C) gliders. Now the good part is the 2 km headwind glide with the ORYX .
We were both surprised as you will be, seeing the video! They were both equal in this glide...(NO more Comment,see the video)with an advantage for the ORYX in trim speed. But when I pressed the bar headwind with the Artic 2 ,the difference is of course in favor of the EN-C glider.
Finally our conclusion is:
Our thoughts were that we really were amazed to see such performance gain in the EN-B cat + the ease to fly them without the stress of a high performance glider. It was such a joy…We felt that the GOLDEN 3 has an outstanding climb rate and a very easy feeling in the air.
A glide in still air is not important because the gliders fly always in active air.Just for fun.
Video in weak thermals.