Testing new paragliding gear

Testing new paragliding gear

Monday, January 28, 2013

NOVA Mentor 3 S


NOVA Mentor 3 S 


NOVA Mentor 3
In my flying career there were some special gliders, and I always think about those flying moments under them. In 94 the Airwave Xmx 28,The Airwave Magic 1, Axis Venus 2 S, and the Nova Mentor 2.
I was impatiently waiting for the new model and was curious if any improvement could be made.
Having flown the Mentor 2 S for the last 2 years and keeping it as a reference for new tested gliders, and as many pilots noticed that it is still very competitive… the different feelings when flying the Mentor 3 S were immediately noticed.

I was very curious with that question to Hannes Papesh the designer in Saint Hilaire about the possibility of a Mentor 2 improvement.

Then The Mentor 3 came. Construction of the leading edge is different, with probably a lighter cloth and special 3D construction with some thin vertical Mylar reinforcement.

Launching the Mentor 3 S is very easy but have to be stopped in strong wind to keep it from surging.
Easy for a B.

Trim speed is the same as the M2,if the loadings are the same ! At max weight an M3 is faster by one 1 km/h than another M3 at 94 all up. The same goes for the M2.

In the air:
The Mentor 3 felt more stable above my head and little smoother in movements. The pitch control is more pronounced on the Mentor 3 keeping the pilot less busy than the Mentor 2,but still it’s a busy glider in the high end B category, requiring good skills, like all the new ones Blacklight SM ,Nevada 26 .

The handling got milder with a little longer brake travel and still precise. For my tasting the M2 S was superb, but for long flights the M3 S has now less steering power.

The climb rate of the M3 resembles the M2 one , very efficient, and I have to say that the M3 needs less control input to climb efficiently as the M2 needs more pilot control.

Gliding next to the M2 in calm conditions could have a very slight advantage to the M3 S.

Gliding in head wind and rougher conditions favor just a little more the M3, because of its calm pitch behavior.

Conclusion: In this very competitive category, the Mentor 3 S is a little friendlier Mentor 2 S, with some little improvements in rough air.

The key for efficient glide into wind is to load the M3 S at max. It will be faster by 1 km/h than the current B’s also loaded at max and with the ability to cut through in head wind glides and stays leveled above the pilot’s head without pitch movements for efficient glides.
The climb rate at that loading is still very good! And Still very competitive climb rate with the new B’s and a bit more efficient in climb in headwind conditions as it has the tendency to go forward and up in thermals.

But the gap, which existed in the Mentor 2 era, is now very small between all new generations B’s in terms of pure glide. The differences are about 0.2/0.3 L/D if numbers are still required…
It is now up to the pilot to get the best of each day.

Conclusion:

Please leave the glide numbers at home on a piece of paper as they don’t mean anything in moving air !
When flying, you will leave behind all your magazines, pc, and those precious glide numbers….
In the air there’s a single word, which rules. ‘Efficiency’= Cut ,climb ,dig in and move forward !
That’s why comp gliders fly better. In the current B category the character of the gliders are now toward that philosophy of efficiency, and that what makes them very interesting.

As the Mentor 2 was a very efficient glider in the B category, here is the mentor 3, another efficient glider with just a bit easier to handle.
If flown at max weight the Mentor 3 will surely mark some interesting “numbers” on the OLC competition board.

Cheers,
Ziad 



More pictures on dustoftheuniverse group on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/groups/209637459105263/




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