GRADIENT Aspen 4
When GRADIENT first released the Aspen 4 ,with minimum line configuration ,my eyes opened wide, and I was concerned about the stability and how they could manage that. The first Aspen 1 was fast, quite alive but it had a very nice crispy handling.
Now I have in my hands the Aspen 4 to fly. Here’s what I found:
Launching this glider in nil wind require a gentle but steady pull for the first 80 % .The Launching is a non-event.
Immediately after take off the feeling of security and comfort is present .It is like you are riding exactly in a big smooth American car.
The Aspen 4 flown at 100 all up in turbulent conditions showed a very homogenous character. Strangely, I could see the risers moving, but I was not feeling strongly the roll movements without being dull at all.
It is indeed a new sensation for me!
It is like the carabineers are working like shock absorbents, but actually it is the internal structure of the wind that does all the hard work.
What streaked me also is that when conditions were shaky and turbulent inside an inversion and when I was finding it a bit hard to turn some agile gliders inside spaghetti thermals J, the Aspen 4 was still very maneuverable and could be placed whenever I wanted regardless of the conditions.
It is one of the strongest points of the Aspen 4!
After some glides with some new “C’s”, I can confirm that the Aspen 4 is among the top performers.
To talk about pure performance is always hard, but the Aspen 4 has a very usable one.
The accelerator is soft and very easy to pull. Second bar has an impressive glide among the best, with a high stability and friendly user.
I flew the glider in some weak and strong thermals, next to some “C’s” to conclude that the glider is not reluctant to any thermal. In fact it slide comfortably in, and climb without delay.
Big ears are “BIG” because of only two lines on the “A’s” Using the second bar with big ears is very efficient with decent rates over -5m/s, depending on how much lines you pull.
GRADIENT have now a new hidden weapon inside those Aspens, with this efficient internal structure.
Pilots moving from high-end “B’s” to the “C” category will immediately feel at home under the Aspen 4.
My opinion about that glider is very positive because it has everything without the lacks of anything. As I stated before, performance alone cannot make a good glider.
On board of the Aspen 4 a pilot can have a very good glide, a very competitive climb, a superb handling, a comfortable ride, with big ears as a very efficient descent method.
It has everything to make a pilot smile after a long XC flight.