Wednesday, August 17, 2022

PHI Maestro 2 - 21


Maestro 2 21 

There Maestro 2 from PHI is their latest high EN-B glider which replaces the first Maestro. In this test, I will try to write the multiple differences in comfort, performance, and handling with the Maestro1, Rush 6, Chili 5, Avid, and some other B’s also, and I will include some Ds and a comparison with a 2 liner D! 

Many would ask why should he compare a high B to the latest 2-liner D’s. As the differences could be irrelevant!  

My answer is well stated below in this test and I hope you enjoy reading it.


The Maestro 2 has a real aspect ratio of 5.6  and 4.1 projected. That’s quite good for keeping a good passive safety. The glider is made from Porcher/ Skytex 32-27 which is one of the best materials today. The construction and details are very neat. 76 cells on this high B, reminded me of the Nova Phantom design. The Maestro 2 is equipped with very nice and efficient RO7 risers.

The lines however are minimalistic and really thin for a high B.

No loops on the B’s or C’s…PHI most probably has made a wonderful job with those few lines. Time will tell when any change of trim will occur. My test is for a brand new Maestro 2!  



Taking off in nil wind is very easy and straightforward without any delay of hard points. In fact, it is one of the easiest high B’s to inflate. In more than 25 km wind, it inflates quite fast without overshooting after an average control. 


Flying the Maestro 2:

First turn, and first smile! This is a PHI!  The Maestro 1, and the Allegro had a nice and direct feel. The Maestro 2 kept that beautiful feel on the brakes with a direct, agile, and linear response throughout the range!


The brake pressure has a moderate pressure until 30 cm after the 10 cm gap and it becomes slightly hard, which you probably won’t reach, as, in all my flying in strong air, you barely reach that point only in strong surges. The brakes are not tiring in turbulence when your hands are a bit low to control the glider! The pressure is less than the Chili 5 ones, slightly similar to the Rush 6 but much more linear, and similar to the Avid that I’ll review shortly. The turning behavior is really good! I could place the Maestro2 in any core even in turbulent air. The Maestro 2 brakes give the pilot the authority of command which I really appreciate! 

The Rush 6 is an agile glider also, but if you pull, it turns. The Maestro 2 has a more linear and progressive pull, as you can feel every centimeter on the brakes! My weak point toward handling has been hit :-) 

The agility of the Maestro 2 in coring is close to the Chili 5 but with more authority inside a core and less pressure.  Gentle but agile turns can be made without the glider diving in. I could control the turning radius by the outside brakes. A delight! 

In fact, I think the Maestro 2 brake feel and handling are the most beautiful found in today’s high B gliders!

It reminded me of the UP Trango Xrace with an excellent brake feel, as there’s a bit of feedback coming from the brakes also for the Maestro 2. 

 


Going on glide under the Maestro 2:

Many pilots have told me to keep it simple…without too many explanations, just because lots of pilots wouldn’t understand the little details. But I can’t…I must be specific when it comes to (usable performance).


The first Maestro impressed me by the way it cuts through the air and moves forward. I still remember every wind glide I made and the feeling of efficiency. The Maestro 2 is even better in that matter! 

The nose is always up! As it searches for the thermals in front.

I flew the Maestro 2 in some turbulent, nasty air, sometimes at + 3000 m ASL, and sometimes at 800 ASL with lots of inversions, wind, and turbulence that made me write this test with a clear conscience, that the Maestro 2 internal structure and cohesion is really tough! In those headwind conditions, the Maestro 2 nose always searches forward! That’s really an amazing feature for a high B !! category. 



Flying the Maestro 2 -21 at 94 all up gave me a feeling of a fast glider. It is like I’m flying a high-rated glider in the way it moves forward, but of course, with the comfort of the B category.   

I think PHI designed gliders to be flown at mid-weight which I did later at 90 all up and that didn’t alter its characteristics by getting through the airmass.

The Maestro 2 is a comfortable glider to fly!  In very strong and windy air, I have pushed around quite a lot, without a tip fluttering! It is very solid and still remains above the pilot's head. 

The Maestro 2 is also not dull to fly at all! The informative feedback without being too demanding is excellent. I think it is easier to fly than the Maestro 1, and also easier to fly than a brand new Rush 6.  The Chili 5 and the Gin Avid are tamer but both lack that beautiful feel cutting through the airmass!

The B comparison chart is updated for details if needed. 

I read on social media and perhaps some of you also did, that Hannes (the designer) told pilots to compare the Maestro 2 glide to a 2-liner! Well, that did awaken my bad habits ;-) of getting the wing tip performance comparison.

But first, I must explain that glides' wing tip to tip in still air is always very different from the same glides in moving air. Just because glider X is able to cut better inside that airmass and move forward. The other bumps into the same airmass and lose its glide. 


At first, doing some glides ( similar loads and sizes) with a newly trimmed Rush 6,(reference) showed a faster top speed for the Maestro 2 by 1 km.  

The quality of air penetration of the Rush 6 is now well known to many which is excellent! and can in some cases with moderate conditions glide next to higher-rated D’s. 

The (Still new) Maestro 2 has even for my personal feelings, and tastes a ‘better’ gliding through the airmass as it cuts forward without slowing down! 


On another day, in some booming conditions, I just saw my friend on his Trango X-race SM,  with a 6.9 aspect ratio glider in front of me by 100m and at the same level, and I followed him quickly on the bar for a glide on the same line path! But…On my right, 10 meters apart was a Zeno 2 S size :-) that was also going with us on a glide. (Video soon) 

After 4 km, while pushing sometimes the full bar, I reached the Tango X-race but with a +50 m for the Maestro 2! 

Thanking my friend later for that glide he was very impressed by the Maestro 2 glide angle. 

Now, where is the Zeno 2 :-)? 

Of course, you are not waiting to see the results. are you? c’mon….

The Zeno 2 S was fully loaded and super…super fast even on the half bar!  He took a different line, 30 m to the right, and arrived +300 meters ahead with around 50 meters lower. I think the Zeolite GT could be more reachable than the Zeno as a 2 liner.

Later I followed the Zeno 2 S to see more differences as I’m always curious. Following the Zeno 2, S was very hard as I was at full bar all the time to keep up. Once the conditions turn from moderate to challenging with a windy glide, the Zeno 2 is from another level. Once the air is moderate to calm, with no wind component, the Maestro 2 can keep up for the flight.  

Doing some glides * In calm air * ( similar loads and sizes) with a newly trimmed Rush 6, showed a faster top speed for the Maestro 2 by 1 km. The glide is the same.

Doing glides in moving air with both gliders showed me that the Maestro 2 surges forward more to enter the same air mass. 


*Your head is spinning…Lots of explanation…* :-)  




Of course, the high aspect 2 liners have a much more efficient gliding through a turbulent or a moving air mass. They cut through easily and climb upward more powerfully. But “only in still air” the Maestro 2 could keep up on 60%  bar while a Zeno 2 S is at 25 %  with a very close glide angle. 

This is only to say that the bigger differences between both will be more present in a more moving airmass facing a valley breeze ..etc…

Now doing glides with a Mantra 7 which is an EN-D glider, the Maestro 2 could keep up quite competitively thought the whole flight if the conditions.  

In very weak lift and same load (-0.5 m|s) the float ability of the Mantra 7, Trango X-race, and Alpina 4, will prevail over the Maestro 2.  

If loaded at the top, the climb rate in very weak conditions is slightly similar to the Rush 6.  Flying it at mid-weight enhances it.

I think after 30 hours, the Maestro 2 lines will settle…And I think things could be even better in very weak. Wait and see…



Full bar delivers around +16 km/h over the trim speed, which is more than enough on this machine. 

In turbulent conditions, the RO7 risers, and C control are very efficient! I could easily keep the glider overhead while on bar in turbulence. The pressure is moderate and quite satisfying. 

Ears are stable. They stick even on the bar! Cool...Efficient getting down with the accelerator. They reopen quickly with pilot assistance.

The pressure on the first bar is moderate, the second is slightly hard on my X-rated6. 

On full bar with pulleys overlapping, the leading edge seems still solid! 


Conclusion:

Now comes Shakespeare ;-)…

One of my favorite movies is (Avatar). If you have seen it, you know what’s a * toruk makto*

With its high-performance capability, and very pleasurable (performance handling) IMHO, I consider the Maestro 2 my *toruk makto* for the B category. 

And….

I think there would be some reported cases of high sensible handling pilots running away with the demo glider after landing!  :-) 




Cheers,

Ziad

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

ADVANCE Iota DLS

 ADVANCE Iota DLS 25

The Iota DLS ( Durable lightweight structure ) is an ADVANCE new high B glider with a moderate aspect ratio of 5.6.

ADVANCE used multiple mixes of Skytex in 27-32–33- 38 and 40 g | m2. The IOTA DLS is equipped with the latest Pro Dry Lines from Edelrid.

As usual, the construction is very neat all the way. 

Having flown all the Iotas, the DLS felt like the most complete and well-mannered Iota to date. But that’s not all…

Launching the Iota in nil wind is very straightforward. No hard points. A slight pull and it goes evenly above your head. In strong air, the launching is also well mannered, but for sure a dab on the brakes to keep it overhead is a must for any high B glider pilot. 


While test flying the Iota DLS, I had the Freedom 2 from Flow and the Rush 6 from Ozone.  I spent ten full flying days, in different spots from the Cedars' strong air to the other summer spots where it was sometimes very strong, to very hot and weird… In those days I swapped between those three gliders 3 times sometimes in one day !!  It was indeed a nice 10 days flying…


I will describe the differences between those 3 gliders and some more and will update my B comparison in that matter. I’m flying the 3 gliders which have the same weight range 75-95, at 93 all up with my X-rated 6 harness. 


So the launching is similar to the Freedom 2 but the glider seems more taught when it rises. The R6 is much slower to inflate.

I think it resembles the Chili5 in that matter.


Once airborne,  The brake travel is moderate to short that enabling a very nice turning ability.  The pressure on the brakes is moderate to slightly heavy when controlling it in strong air. 

They have slightly more pressure than the Freedom2, or the Rush 6 but not tiring at all. I just have to mention an exact comparison. 

The brake authority on the Iota DLS is amazing! I could turn really tight with that glider. I think the Freedom 2 and the Iota DLS shares the same agility in turns with a difference in turbulent and strong air, which gives the Iota DLS better control in those tricky cores, while the Freedom 2 needs just slightly more input and resilience sometimes to stay inside that small turbulent one.  It seems that the Iota DLS inner structure is very solid but also very homogenous as I could steer it quite well inside any core and which is a delight to fly! 

The feel on the brakes on normal conditions favors the DLS over the R6 as they are slightly more linear. The Freedom 2 brake feel is more linear than both. 

To speak about comfort, I must be precise to mention that with 30 hours on the Rush 6 it became slower and more comfortable. Some would like that! But I did re-trimmed the R6 to feel exactly like a new one.

Now the most comfortable to fly among those three is the Freedom2 followed closely by the Iota DLS which is also very comfortable to fly and last the R6 which needs slightly more input. 

Now you will ask me what about the Chili5 comfort? It is still more comfortable than the three above…But will it match the performance efficiency in real XC of the DLS?  let's see…

Performance:

Performance is not done in calm air at all because it doesn’t mean a thing. I do lots of glides side by side in real bumpy air just to see how much the leading edge of each glider is (behaving) in those conditions. 

Does it bump? does it move forward and up? does it cut through with efficient climbing like that famous ladder effect on some hot gliders? All that talk will make some pilots say> what .. is he saying? But I am sure that most of you understand very well what I’m talking about. 


Doing some glides with the Iota DLS, I was really surprised! That ADVANCE glider matches my reference B glider at trim and especially at the full bar! It rocks !!  

The thing is that the leading edge behavior is amazing through the air. The pitch is nearly absent but the jump upward is surely present. The Iota DLS has the most stable pitch behavior than the R6 and F2. It resembles in that matter the Chili5 but with a much better digging through the airmass as the R6 does.


Climb rate:

I have flown it in weak air also next to the F2, and I can say it has the same climb rate capabilities. Both gliders are inseparable in weak to moderate climbs in homogenous conditions. 


Steering with the rear risers is also very similar to the F2 which shares the same hand position. Using the speed bar, I could easily steer with the rear risers without any issues. 

Ears are stable, they reopen without pilot intervention, but could be sped up with a dab on the brakes. 

The top speed is around +1 km/h over the F2 with overlapping pulleys for both and the same flying weight.  


Conclusion:

After those hours flying the Iota DLS and comparing it with my friends, then sometimes alone in those high remotes areas in our Cedars range, where any A glider feels sometimes as a leaf in those harsh conditions, I liked that version very much.  It kept me in control when I needed to be, and well pressurized.

 It is a well-sorted machine with top-end, B performance and efficiency in real air, that matches the top-end ones in that category to date! 

The Iota DLS is IMHO, the most successful high B glider  ADVANCE has yet produced. 

But for sure, a demo will give you a larger idea if only you can fly it at +70 % of the weight range for a mutual understanding of my humble test.

Happy and safe flights!




Thursday, June 9, 2022

FLOW Freedom 2, S (70-95)



FLOW Freedom 2, S (70-95) 

G’day, mate!  What’s cracking?  Get your eskys and let's see that beauty!  :-) 

I’m still in my deadset  ;-)  …but Aussie slang training…  :-) 

 

First, I must tell you that I already test flew the older version (Freedom1) and this new high B is nothing close to the old version as if sewn in another dimension! 


The Freedom 2 is built with Porcher Skytex 38g and 32g which gives it a semi-light construction. Liros and Edelrid lines are installed like a hybrid 3-2 liner technology and they are quite a few. 

A shark nose with a 4 ways attachment point on the A’s, reminded me of a 2 liner construction. 


Launching the Freedom 2 at 92 all up on my X-rated 6 harness, with a steady pull, in nil wind it is easy without any hard points. In the stronger breeze, the launching is also nice without any shooting forward. 


The brake travel was 4 cm shorter than my ‘personal preference’, as I fly with a half wrap…So I just length it to 8 cm of gap after the pulley before trailing edge activation.  The factory settings would suit a lot of pilots especially if they choose to fly it at the lower range… 


In this test, I will compare the Freedom 2 with the Chili5 and with the Rush 6 of the same size, that I still have, as I was alternating for three consecutive days and repeatedly flying the R6 and the F2 to feel and see the differences in the same air to describe more accurately.


Now I must write as I did before,  that ‘every’ glider in all categories and of course including the high B category will change in feel after the first 20, or 30 hours! There’s no exception from any manufacturer nowadays as they all use the same type and line width. Some will trim it slightly faster, and it will settle down afterward. Some will do some knots in order to release them later as they feel would be differently related to each glider's stress points.  Most importantly, if you want to retain the same feel as a brand new glider, re0trim it after the first 30 hours.  


My R6 has also changed after 20 hours, so the feel is more tamed. No more spices in surging forward in thermals, and it became slightly reluctant to go into the airmass and calmer than before. That is the case with all the gliders in the B, C, D, and CCC categories…

So I re-trimmed the Rush 6 in my basement, and the next morning after the first flight, the R6 regained all its nice characteristics with the correct spices I felt the first day flying it! …

and the test comparison began…


In the air, the Freedom 2 has a very slightly longer brake travel and is lighter than the Chili5 if similarly loaded.

Similar to the R6 by maybe 2 cm longer …Very close.  The brake travel on the Freedom 2, is very linear and responsive as the Chili 5. There’s a more pleasurable feel through the brakes for the F2 than for the R6! More linear-pull through the brake range. 

The Chili 5 has shorter brakes and is slightly harder. The agility of the brand new Freedom 2 S is excellent! It can be turned even narrower than the R6, and probably similar to the Chili5 (if all are loaded the same! ) 

Now for the boring stuff…  The Freedom 2 turns as narrow as the Chili 5 but gets slightly better into the rising air mass! ( Some pilots would say I’m getting deeeeeep  :-)   , but that’s the way it felt!


Talking about thermal efficiency is the strong point of Freedom 2. The leading edge has a slight pitch forward in thermals as a new glider!  but…I felt that it embraces the thermal… 

With that nice brake authority, I was able ‘easily” to stay in every core!  Why do I say easily…Because it moves forward, climbs well and it stays inside the thermals a bit longer than the others without slipping through with an incredible ability to steer it inside a turbulent thermal wherever I wanted!  

Among those three gliders, I personally enjoyed that efficient glider with its nice brake authority and linear response throughout the range. 


Now if I wanted to go a bit deeper… some will get more bored… :-)   I will say that in very calm conditions and moderate thermals, the Chili 5 will probably have the edge in climbing over the two. But when you have a more complex air hitting you, then the glider that will have an edge would be shared by the Rush 6 and the Freedom 2 as they both move forward and climb. They are good swimmers in the turbulent airmass! 

OK, That’s it! No more Tinny or Stubby today…And I’m not Pissed :-) 


My friend and I also did some long glides with the R6 and the F2. On the trim speed which is the same, if both are similarly loaded, the Chili5 and the Freedom 2 share the same glide which is very close to the R6. A full bar, the Freedom 2 has around 9 km's over trim, and at that speed, both the R6 and the F2 have a very close glide. My B comparison is updated for the small details if needed.


As for overall comfort, I flew the Freedom 2 in some nasty turbulent air and I have now a large idea about it. In strong turbulent air, the Rush6 moves as a block. It has dynamic movements in pitch or roll, for a high B pilot of course, but you feel that complete taught glider above your head even if your chest strap is open to 48..50 cm. 


The Freedom 2 in the same air, works a bit more in itself, with some slight yaw movements roll and pitch. I found that to remove the slight yaw movement a chest strap of 45 cm will erase a lot of them.  Now in a positive way, If you don’t look above your head the feedback coming from the glider is very useful and rewarding! For my personal feel, that’s the glider I choose to fly for high B just because the educational feedback is awesome! I am not saying that the Freedom 2 is a difficult glider to fly! NO, it is not, but it will deliver very nice feedback that is needed to communicate with the airmass. (for a high B of course! ) 

To give you an idea: the 777 Queen 2, or the Supair Savage as a C glider needs 30 % more workload for a pilot to control than the Freedom 2.  And 20 %  less than the Fusion … Feel ok now? :-)  


Now the part of controlling it with the rear risers. I felt that in most cases I was easily able to control the Freedom 2 with the rear risers, especially at bar. Among the 3 gliders, I would say that they are very close in that issue with the R6 being slightly more direct probably due to the C handles placement. The Freedom 2 and the Chili5 are similar in that matter. 


The difference in handling between the Fusion and the Freedom 2 is huge! No comparison…The Freedom 2 has a nimble feel and is more linear through the brakes with direct control. 

Now…IMHO,  these new well-sorted hybrid 3-2 construction, high B’s are a direct competitor for their C’s !!  The Chili5, R6, and now the Freedom 2! 

The Freedom 2  would (probably) out-perform the Fusion…hummmm…. or similar… Don’t shoot the messager! ;-) 

That’s why a completely new era of C’s will emerge…I think.


Ears are stable, easy to induce, and efficient,  they reopen without pilot intervention.

Wing-overs are easy to get and quite impressive. You can feel the energy on that EN’B when doing them!  The stall point is below the hips, near the seating position and it is feelable with a slight stable stall before entry. 


Conclusion: Flying the Freedom 2 as a high B is quite rewarding by the excellent feedback, nice authority on the brakes coupled with a linear pull, and good overall pleasurable handling. 

With the Freedom 2, Flow has delivered a nimble high performance B glider, set to achieve long-distance flights.  All that while having immense pleasure, plus overriding going to a 2021, C glider.

Good on ya!  :-) 




Tuesday, May 10, 2022

AIR DESIGN VOLT 4 S (80-92)

 


Air Design VOLT 4  S (80-92) 


After the Volt 3 with its 3-line design, and the new change in the EN-C protocols, AIR DESIGN released the first real 2-liner, C-rated glider.  The VOLT 4 used the excellent Porcher Skytex 27 classic II on top and bottom. The lines used on top: Edelrid 8000/U-070, 090, 9200-035 with middle Lines: Edelrid 8000/U-130, 190.  The Main Lines: Edelrid 8000/U-190, 230, 280, 360. 

This choice of a very different line layout with the skinnies on the brakes and on the rear B attachment points screams for performance! 


Flying different C gliders over the years made me a bit feel suspicious about a 2 line design…I thought in my pragmatic head that manufacturers will release a 2 line design for marketing purposes and in my hard-headed mind, imagined that in strong air it would be quite snaky and probably difficult to maintain a 6.5 AR with C certification… 

Hmmmmm, I was TOTALLY wrong…And still learning…





I reached the take-off on a sunny day with blue sky, but with layers of inversions. I know these typical conditions in my area, where it would be strong, and punchy until I get over all those thick layers. It was the best time for me to test fly the VOLT 4 and to see how it will behave in those nasty conditions. 

I flew the VOLT 4 S (80/ 92) at 92 all up on my X rated 6 harnesses.

Launching the VOLT 4 with  10, 15, or even 25 km/h wind is relatively very easy. No complications whatsoever. 

As the openings are small, it needs just a little time to fill in. So the rise on the glider is slightly slow in nil wind, keeping pressure on the risers but steady, as it fills with air and the take-off is very easy. Some examples: 

The VOLT 4 launches much better than the Rook3 and is similar to the Alpina 4 MS. The light Mantra 7 MS fills quicker with air but goes up faster. Overall, it is very easy to take off even in nil wind.  

In + 10 km/h, it is a non event. 


In the air, the brakes are short, and direct, with good agility. The glider calmly obeys each input given by the pilot even in turbulence resembling a very polite butler. The turning radius is efficient and could be very narrow. They are slightly linear but mostly direct. 

They are short probably like the Rush 6 brakes, but slightly harder. Shorter than the LM7 and a bit harder. Shorter than the VOLT 3, a bit harder but more direct.  Slightly shorter than the Delta 4, and a bit harder also. The Alpina 4 has lighter and longer brakes.

For my personal taste, the action on the brakes of the VOLT 4 is quite good. Probably a bit hard when pulled over 30 cm. But very satisfying to keep the authority of control on the pilot side!


The conditions were as I expected. Broken thermals at first on the lower layers, lots of turbulence, and sometimes punchy conditions.  

I was surprised by the excellent behavior of the VOLT 4 !  The pitch back isn’t noticeable!  and the small pitch forward is incredibly efficient to enter with the VOLT 4 stopping inside the thermal!  Translation: It goes forward inside the cores and slows with the feel of a stop! as it goes up! Really nice!  All that with a super solid very homogenous structure! 

My stubborn brain wasn’t still understanding how it could be possible to have such a homogenous structure with only those attachment points! And as the flight and fight continued to pierce those inversions, until finally I reached 900 m above take-off and pushed on the bar going north. 

The pressure on the foot pedal has a moderate pressure on the two steps, and I could gain some  + 17 Km/h  over the trim speed. While cruising at the half bar, the B steering is very efficient. It is the first time on a C glider I can feel the 2 liner efficiency! In turbulence, I could keep the VOLT 4 quickly above my head while on the B’s. I think this is the first real 2 liner efficiency on a C!  And it worked! 


Later that day, I flew with some friends to get an idea about the climb and gliding. After a while, I could see that in weak conditions, the VOLT 4 could float quite well, turns very flat, and is a good climber. In other stronger conditions, the climbing of the VOLT 4 is stunning! It is really a good climber if properly loaded ( Important notice further down) 

I think it has to do with its character to get inside quickly but without any excessive movements.  


Gliding was also very rewarding for me. After some gliding alongside good C’s, I can confirm that the VOLT 4 has now the edge of the best glide in the C category, especially when pushing 1\4  on the bar!  the glide is probably at that speed and is the most efficient on a C! 

If you ask me if it reaches the Mantra 7 glide angle, I would say it is close but not yet reached. But in strong air, there’s a tight competition…However, the top speed is +2 Km’h over the M7. 


Now there is a very important notice I have to mention:

Later, I flew the VOLT 4 with another lighter harness (Genie light 3) at 88 all up and I noticed something new to me.

Usually, when you fly light on a 3-liner you get better float ability. But it seems that with the VOLT 4, 6.5 AR 2 liner C, things are quite different!


Let me explain:

When I am light on the VOILT 4 it feels like my weight shifts to the rear of the glider. On the B lines… when entering the thermals, it slows more and is not as efficient to go through. But when I loaded the same VOLT 4 at the top weight (92), and even in weak thermals, the feel of my all-up weight is shifted to the front A risers! and entering the weak thermals was more pronounced! All that to say is with this new 2-liner the difference in weight is quite feelable. So I found it best to stay at max weight in all conditions in order to “ benefit” from this construction. 


When flying it at low weight, it still climbs moderately in weak air with the urge of wanting it to go through that airmass quicker.  Loading it, will spice your senses and feel better with an efficient leading edge!  

The difference if feeling when lightly loaded between the 3 liners and the 2 liners is very big to my personal feel. 


Ears are stable if pulled normally, and they are efficient. They reopen alone at 92, and even at 88 but slower and they recover by themselves. 

Doing some wingovers, showed me the hidden energy of the glider, especially at 92, and 93!  Landing is super easy with a late stall point and efficient energy. There’s a marked parachutal stall before a full stall which is easy to feel. 


Conclusion: 

Air Design has created the first 2 liners C and it is definitely NOT a detuned 3 liner! It is a fairly accessible, comfortable, and docile C glider with 2 risers!  I am really surprised by that achievement! 

The 2-liner VOLT 4 has a different feel from any 3-liner B, C, or even 3-liner D !   It is definitely not a marketing tool, it is the real deal for a 2-liner C! 

If any pilot wants to fully benefit from it, he must forget the 3 liner recommendations, and absolutely fly the VOLT 4 fully loaded at top weight!

When loaded at the top, the A’s are more loaded and the pilot will benefit more in strong air by the ability to move forward with a very efficient glide at the bar. 

The B steering is very efficient when using the bar to stop surges and stay on rails.  

A new discovery for me after all those years. I am very keen to see what the future will bring to this 2-liner C category! Some will probably push the limits of that category, and others won’t. 

The VOLT 4 is a balanced 2-liner with a C rating.

Perhaps a test flight would be very interesting to experience the differences between your old 3-liner and this one. Enjoy the future! :-)  







Tuesday, April 12, 2022

OZONE Zeno 2 MS

 

OZONE Zeno 2  MS

Introduction:
And here it is after five years.  The Zeno 1 was an eye-opener as every pilot who flew it knows. In that era, there was no competition in the 2 liner series for that special package of outstanding performance and comfortable ride. In this test, I will try to compare the Zeno 2 with the new Magus XC, Peak5, Zeolite GT, Omega X-Alps 3, Leopard, XC racer. 
 History:  I must add that in the 90’s I was still very much interested in competition gliders, and have flown a lot of them, from the early UP’s, EDEL, Airwave, MAC PARA, some hours on the fast XXX at the time, the Sector era, and many more that I can’t recall all of them. 
Those machines were difficult to manage in strong air. The main problem at the time besides the weak internal structure was the reduced authority on the brakes! I would find myself sometimes in strong air a passenger underneath and waiting for that machine to settle or to pass that heavy turbulence. They were very slow to enter the airmass comparing them to the new generation B’s of today! 
Finally, I felt that the easiest competition glider to fly for the competent pilot is the authority on the brakes and how precisely a pilot could steer it in turbulence, and how much that competition glider can stay connected to the pilot's input in the heavy stuff. IN other words, how to keep it open, and that has lots of importance IMHO to rate the easiness of a comp glider that is intended for the required level of pilots.
Nowadays, the inserted rods from the leading to the trailing edge stiffened the glider, making them very solid, but another challenge arises, to control the energy that the glider produced in strong air, or especially after collapses. 

Testing the Zeno 2:
I flew the Zeno 2 with my good old Woody X-rated 6 that I use on 90 % of the gliders I test fly. Ideal chest strap for the Zeno 2 MS to stay homogenous in turns and feel better the air is 48 cm between carabiners on the X rated 6.  
Launching:
In nil wind, a steady pull on the A’s will launch the Zeno 2 easily. It resembles the Zeno 1 inflation, but it feels more compact and balanced as it fills with air. After the first 50 % rise, the Zeno 2 accelerates a bit and it is better to ease up the pull for a smooth take-off.  Overall it is a very easy glider to inflate for a 2-liner.  It is not very far from the Mantra 7 in inflation.  The only problem with 2 liner and long rods are when the wind gets underneath the trailing edge and lifts it. 

In the air:
I flew the Zeno 2 MS from 92 to 99, and later I felt that around 94, 96 is the best option to go for overall performance management.  The older Zeno1 was best flown at 97, but I think the Zeno 2 supports better with less weight still feeling homogenous and solid.  The Zeno 2 MS at 95 has a slight pitch forward when entering thermals. The Zeno 1 after 20 hours would feel like a slight pitch back but with enough efficiency to climb like hell. The Zeno 2 now around 15 hours, seems to have a slight forward pitch and straight into the climb. It seems as talkative as the Zeno 1 if properly loaded.  The inner structure of the Zeno 2 feels very solid and homogenous than the Zeno 1 had. 

In stronger air and punchier conditions, the Zeno 2 needs slightly more active pilot control than the Zeno 1.  At 40 % of bar travel, and flying in moderate turbulence it felt quite easy to keep on track and control with the B steering.  But when pressing more than 60 % till the full bar, I felt that it becomes more delicate and sensitive in turbulence. That’s why I felt a seated harness would be great to lock yourself inside.
Will talk about it later on in this test.  

The Peak 5 I tested earlier, has longer brake travel and less authority than the Zeno 2, and of course, the B steering was very light, and as I wrote it was a bit difficult to feel the glider when on bar.
The Peak 5 needs more active pilot control than the Zeno 2 in all conditions. The Zeno 2 B steering is firmer more contact and better control, and the brakes are shorter and more direct.

The Magus XC and the Leopard seem to share the same comfort as the Zeno 2. The Magus XC  pleasant handling is quite similar to the Zeno 2 with the ability to core slightly narrower than the Zeno 2 and a more linear response through the brakes for the Magus with the ability to readjust the turning radius in turbulent air.  
The Flow XC Racer authority on the brakes seems to be also more linear and direct. It felt also easier to fly. 
On some days I felt that I was able to core every bubble efficiently on the Zeno 2, and on some other days, with turbulent disorganized cores, the Zeno 2 tends to get leveled and implying brakes and weight shift to keep it at course inside the thermal was better especially at 96 on the MS. In any other 5,6 m’s homogenous thermal, the turning radius is easily kept and the climb is faster than any 3 liners, and even some 2 liners.  I was able to feel, and control the Zeno 2 movements and place it 80 % of the times where I wanted it in the air.  That’s the reason I find it a bit easier to turn than the Leopard and quite similar to the Magus XC. In stronger air, the Omega X Alps 3 is more manageable as it doesn’t jump away much overhead.

There’s very slight feedback from the brakes on the Zeno 2 which wasn’t available on the Zeno1, but not, much… The internal structure of the Zeno 2 felt more compact and more solid than the Zeno 1 span-wise. The tips however on the Zeno 2 are very slightly softer than the Zeno 1 but still very solid…In all the flying hours I had a couple of tip collapses…so nothing to mention here… 
I personally believe that’s a positive behavior for a glider that is very solid in the middle and collapse a bit on the extremities. 
When flying a very solid glider all the way, I get worried about its collapsing or when it will collapse. Better to be informed by the tips! 
 
 Finally, the Zeno 2 at trim speed and at 55 Km’h (half bar) needs maybe 30 % more active pilot control than the Mantra 7 MS. 
Doing some glides with a Mantra LM7, in moderate to calm air, same size and load as the Zeno 2, showed me on several occasions a very small edge of glide at trim speed. The full bar of the LM7 matches half bar on the Zeno 2, with a slightly superior glide in calm air also, But when conditions began to get windy and tricky, the Zeno 2 gets quickly in front and higher as it excels in lift lines with a profile that gets higher and moving forward much better.


Doing some glides with a Flow XC racer 80-95, the same load as the Z2, showed me a better glide for the Z2 at trim and at bar. The climb however is weak was on the XC racer side. In strong climbs, they both look similar. 
At half and full speed, I felt that the Zeno 2 requires a seaboard harness that locks you in place and steady, as it will require much more pilot control. The XC racer felt easier to handle.  
The leading edge shows some crisps but is still tough. I think it requires keen attention when gliding in moving air at full bar. Or should I say, it is better not to use the full speed often unless you need to go that fast! 


The B steering is efficient at half bar and can control almost 80 % of the glider movements. A bit less efficient than the Zeolite GT. It has a moderate pressure, comfortable for long glides, but the pressure tends to spread till the tips and is probably slightly delayed over the Zeolite GT, which can be promptly maintained through the B risers. 

In moderate thermals, I was enjoying steering with the B controls in a thermal and I could get the Zeno 2 to get some cores using the B risers.  
I had a tip from Luc for weak thermal climbing, and it worked!  Steering with the inside brakes on one side, but holding the B control from the outside (no brakes touching). I noticed a better float ability in weak thermals! Try it!  

What i liked most is the way that the Zeno 2 penetrates the airmass with a positive efficiency to move forward. It felt like a hungry grasshopper that inhales what’s in front of him…that’s the best way to describe it :-)  It is a fast glider at trim in that matter, and even more if you load it at 100!  But I think you will only need it when the day is very generous and strong and you are aiming to win the competition by a margin! 

So, in very weak thermals, (0.2 m/s) I felt that the Zeno 1 (reference in that matter), Leopard, and the Magus XC could be slightly floatier if all are similarly loaded! That’s why getting the Zeno 2 MS at 95 won’t alter the behavior in strong air, but will probably favor a bit the climb in very weak conditions. 
When flying my LM7 next to the Zeno 2 in a very weak lift I felt the LM7 was floatier. 
Later when a dominant north wind was facing us, and even in a light lift, the Zeno 2 could get inside and get the lift much better. 

The handling and the brake are shorter to react than the Zeno 1, similar to the Omega X alps3 and the Leopard but without being as linear.  From the two liners i tested, the Magus XC and the Flow XC racer can make an even narrower radius with a linear response. 
The Zeno 2 handling enables it to narrow the turning radius more than the Zeno 1 can (In homogenous cores) 


Ears can be made with the outer A’s, they flap a bit but ok. They are more efficient and calmer with outer B’s as they reopen quickly. The descent rate with the outer B’s is better than the Zeno 1 with more than -2.2 m/s and bar if you have long arms.  
Wing overs are spectacular with the Zeno 2. You can feel the energy after the second turn, and on the third, you will find yourself above the glider facing the earth! 

Conclusion: The Zeno2 is different from the Zeno 1. Handling has been improved, as it is shorter and more responsive, and forgiving. The stall point is hard to get. It is just underneath the hips. It gives slight information before it stalls. It can be slowed on a narrow top landing with keen attention. 
More trim and top speed, more homogenous feel, better glide at bar, better into airmass efficiency. I wish that the climb in weak thermals stayed the same but flying it 5 kg less than the top weight will solve it slightly.   
The Zeno 2 is an efficient XC and comp machine with a high degree of accessibility for the top performance 2 liner pilots and could be a logical evolution for experienced 3liner D pilots who want to upgrade.