Testing new paragliding gear

Testing new paragliding gear

Saturday, October 1, 2016

U-Turn Blacklight 2 S




U-Turn Blacklight 2 S

4 years ago, i test flew the Blacklight 1. The strong point was the excellent climb rate even in super weak conditions. Glide was very good, into wind glide was moderate, and the Blacklight 1 kept its pilot quite busy in very strong conditions having an aspect ratio of 5.8 flat at the time !

U-turn offers the Blacklight 2 in late 2016, with a moderate aspect ratio of 5.6 flat.
The 11 lines per side are a bit thick and sheathed . The upper ones directly to the canopy are unsheathed .
3 lines per side with 3 thin up to date risers and 3.5 line configuration.

A nice shark nose construction with semi circular openings. A very nicely and tough looking construction on that glider !

I flew the S from 87 to 90 all up. The launch behavior is easy without any surges or hang back. The take off is immediate.

The brake travel and pressure are moderate to slightly firm resembling the Eden 6 one.
The maneuverability in coring thermals is really nice.The Blacklight 2 can be turned very narrow into the core. It doesn’t really dive into the turn if applied smoothly. The Blacklight 2 has a very well balanced and pleasurable handling. The same size on the Blacklight one has a lighter feel on the brakes, and slightly more dynamic in terms of turning ability and surely in turbulent conditions, where the Blacklight 2 is much more comfortable than its predecessor.
I felt that the shark nose on the Blacklight 2 is much more efficient than the BL 1 in biting forward the thermals. The Blacklight 2 in size S however, (Other sizes could have different feel) have a slight pitch back upon entry but at my loadings it quickly goes forward again and through the airmass.

I flew the Blacklight 2 in turbulent conditions, and i could sense a middle B in terms of dynamic reactions. It doesn’t feel like a high B nor as a soft low B.  I think it sits in the middle of this huge category in terms of piloting.

Doing some glide comparison with high and low B’s puts the Blacklight 2 size S at 90 all up in the first middle* of this large category. The second part holds the high B’s with Mentor 4, Iota..etc..

The climb rate however even loaded at top, is excellent on the Blacklight 2 ! This glider could be inserted in the second part of the B category for it’s superb climbing ability. I was always climbing very quickly among other nice climbing gliders.

The top speed on the S at 90 all up is 9 ~ 10 km/h over trim speed which i forgot to mention that it’s quite nice around +39 km/h ! taken at 1000 ASL .
Big ears are super easy efficient and reopen immediately on release.

Conclusion:
It is clear to the eye that U-Turn decided to deliver a new Blacklight with a different philosophy. The Blacklight 2 is more comfortable to fly than the first version .The gene of the bL1 in climb rate is present on the second version. The thick lines seems to be installed for durability rather than thinner more delicate or unsheathed thin ones…The efficiency for the Blacklight 2 into wind is slightly enhanced over the Blacklight 1.
Lets hope U-Turn will consider a race version with thinner unsheathed lines for some B enthusiasts…