Sunday, July 8, 2012

ESCAPE Smax SR 25



“ESCAPE” a new brand, motivated people, new ideas, and new possibilities.
Laying the glider on the floor showed impeccable details and construction. Plastic inserts on the leading edge, no Mylar reinforcements on the cells like all the new generation designs. All the lines are unsheathed, a true 3 liner, looks very slick and sporty.
A new innovation for that class is the WTS (Wing Torsion System) Two lines each side connected to the stabilo edge of the wing that let the pilot steer the wing in accelerated mode or at trim if they wish without touching the brakes, when they pull the small handles located each side.

In the air:
The weight range for the 25 is quite large (85-110)  But the designer Pierre-Yves Allois ,recommends to fly the 25 at 97 all up practically in all conditions. Above that weight you will gain in speed and penetration but will loose in weak thermals.

Launching the glider is a non-event for the category. It even launches with 1 km/h wind easily as the glider feels very light and steady above your head.
First thermal and the turning abilities are average to good, similar to an M4.The brakes have medium pressure .A bit more than the M4.
I flew the glider in few occasions, first time the conditions were turbulent below an inversion. Strangely the glider seems stable and comfortable for the ‘D’ category.
I steady moderate thermals the glider climbs very well and you can steer it precisely inside the core. In disorder weak thermals it needs a bit more skill to re-adjust the turn radius and place the wing wherever you want.
In very weak thermals below 0.2 m/s I found the Smax to be less efficient .It feels that the nose is entering but the vario doesn’t beep.
Now the strong point of the Smax SR is its glide at trim. My own feeling tells me that this glider has better glide than the old ‘D’s !
Its performance is a step below the IP6 that I have also to test fly in parallel.
ESCAPE stated that this glider is for the regular ‘D’ pilot. Indeed, the Smax SR is easier to handle in turbulent conditions. It will give its pilot more time to react under it. I think it is similar to the M4 in comfortable behavior.
Applying the bar is easy and the pressure is a bit more than the M4 but still light enough. Big ears have medium stability, and with the speed bar the sink rate is around 2.5 m/s .

The (WTS)
I have tried the WTS at trim and accelerated. Inducing the small red handle at trim I could easily turn the wing 360 degrees on a large radius. Nice…
In accelerated mode it is better to let the brakes on your wrists and try to pull the red handles with no brake pressure. (Elbows must be a bit higher)
In that configuration the WTS woks more efficiently but needs some time to adapt…and have the feeling to trust the wing …
Playing with the wing speed limits, the Smax SR showed an incredible distance between low and high trim speed ,that enabled me to play around in high wind top landing.
In nil wind landings, it is better to keep the Smax SR with a bit of speed before braking it to land.

Conclusion:
Excellent glide and a comfortable ride. That’s the Smax SR.If you are an experienced pilot whose aim is the ‘D’ category, and don’t want to go for extreme machines, a test fly of the Smax SR is a must.





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