Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Mac Para ICON

Mac Para Icon 24


The last Mac Para EN-D glider I test flew in February 2011 was the Magus XC2. I still remember a comfortable glider, with very good climb rate at the time, inside the D category.

After five years, Mac Para launched the ICON, with 7 aspect ratio, and with a clean 3 line configuration.
The Icon has a strong shark nose, and full unsheathed lines.

I flew the Icon 24 from 93 till 98 all up.
Launching the Icon 24 is very easy and smooth. The glider inflates as a block without any structure movement. In 5 km/h  wind, a gentle and steady pull will place it quickly overhead. In strong wind, the pilot must control the surge, which is really easy for the D cat.

Flew the Icon in different conditions, from smooth thermals to turbulent ones, and surprisingly, the Icon strongly remind me of the feeling I got when I flew the Elan !
Of course the Icon needs more active piloting, but this ‘shock absorbent’ feel is present !

The Icon 24 has a similar comfort of the Mantra 6 but with a slightly softer feel in turbulent bumps!
Actually I found it best to fly the Icon 24 near the top weight for a more compact feel and enhanced homogeneity.

The trim speed is around 39 km/h and the top speed is at 57 km/h taken at 1000 ASL fully usable!

Applying bar, from the first half, to top speed, the Icon has a very good glide angle and an efficient usable speed range.

The handles on the C have lots of pressure and slightly harder to pull than the M6, even at full speed, but usable to dump some surges if the pilot is used to that method.

The glide angle at trim and especially accelerated is competitive in the middle of this very competitive D category.

The strong point of the Icon, is the float ability and the climb rate especially in weak conditions.
A good pilot can stay endlessly in weak cores waiting for a stronger lift !
The Icon doesn't dive in turns. The brake pressure is moderate, with 25 cm to steer the glider and nice agility in smooth cores. It gives the D pilot an efficient flat turn, with smoothness and efficiency.

The Icon 24 has moderate to good agility in disorganized thermals, slowing the turning ability a bit, and giving the impression of a solid homogenous glider.

Entering the moderate thermals the Icon 24 slows a bit and enters smoothly with a positive vario without any excess in pitching.
Strong thermals and bumps needs a loaded Icon, with some bumping and back pitch presence, but fairly small and quite manageable.

Big ears are stable and stays tucked, in smooth air. In turbulence they have tendency to reopen. The structure stays solid, with no wobbling or shaking. They are efficient and applying bar during ears give a better sink rate.

Conclusion: Any pilot who flew the Elan for Mac para, will find that same pillow feel under the Icon, with of course more pilot control.
The performance over the Elan is obvious, logical and well targeted. The Icon will inspire confidence to any D pilot, and has enough overall performance to keep him well satisfied.
It seems again that the “fly in peace” motto, of Mac Para is not just some marketing words, rather than a true commitment towards the pilots in our small, but magical flying community.    :-)



Update: After later attempts on glide with an M6 SM, I think the Icon 24 has the edge in head wind efficiency with a slightly faster trim speed.






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