Testing new paragliding gear

Testing new paragliding gear

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Gradient XC 5 26




Gradient Avax XC 5 26
The last tested Gradient glider was an Aspen 5 26 in the EN-C category.
Here’s the Avax XC 5 26 EN-D with an aspect ratio of 7.0 flown at 93 all up with an X-Rated 6 harness.
Launching the XC5 is simple and quick.The light cloth helps with a rapid inflation and the glider comes up perfectly.
My flights were made sometimes in turbulent air, with quite punchy lifts. Despite all that i felt that the XC 5 is comfortable enough for a D and could be similar to the M6, which is more comfortable than a Trango XC 3.
The brake travel is short, light and the authority on the brakes is really good! The Avax XC 5 doesn’t have the yaw movements seen on the Aspen 5.
I also felt that the overall handling on this 7 aspect ratio glider is much better than the Aspen 5 !
It can core thermals with ease and pleasure !
Entering strong lift the XC 5 pitch back a bit and brakes are needed to stop the surge afterward.
The roll movements are dampened enough on this glider.
The strongest point of the XC5 26 is the authority on the brakes and the overall turning capability inside the thermals. If i considered the Peak 4 to have a very nice brake response, i think the XC5 has a little step over, just because every centimeter results in a change of the trajectory. And there’s no yaw movements as felt on the Aspen 5.
Saying that i believe that the XC5 is also one of the best handling D gliders “in homogenous conditions”.
I flew the XC5 in some turbulent conditions with my X-rated 6 harness, and the glider was still very dampened in roll movements . However when entering strong thermals the back pitch ability of the XC5 increased and it was sometimes bumping the airmass.
The XC5 climbs quickly in well built thermals, however i found it a bit difficult to climb in very weak conditions, where the Aspen 5 could catch those tiny bits of lift…
The Avax XC5 is best flown slightly above mid weight in weak thermals.
As for the glide angle efficiency, I did lots of different glides comparisons with different gliders, and i could place the Avax XC5 26 in the first part of the D category.
The top speed at 800 ASL and 92 all up on the size 26 was around 55km/h which is quite close to the Aspen 5.
Big ears are very easy, stable and efficient.