Saturday, March 20, 2021
BGD Base 2 M
After the Cure 2 EN-C here is the new Base 2 from BGD. The new generation BGD gliders seems to be developed with very good software, a new designer ‘Tom Lolies’ and it seems that they are quite different from the past creations.
My friend lends me his new glider, and I flew it from 92 to 96 all up. Launching the Base 2 in nil wind requires a steady pull. It slows a bit at 45 degrees, and a little more pull to get overhead. The inflation in more than 5 km/h is easy and the take-off is immediate.
I flew the Base 2 on several occasions, and once with the company of two Rook 3 MS at the same load for all 3 gliders! 94,95 all up.
The brake pressure is on the moderate side. A bit longer than the Rook 3 or the Rush 5 but reactive and linear. The turning behavior is quite good, with good agility for a high B while having a very calm character. I could turn the Base 2 inside any thermal while lowering slightly further the brakes in order to get a tight radius. Overall, I can say it has a very balanced turning ability, with no diving in turns and relatively a flat turn. At 95 all up, I could apply only 15 cm of the brake, and guide the Base 2 in an efficient flat turn, in weak conditions.
In weak thermals, it seems that the Base 2 has a very good float ability, that enables it to climb really well in the weak stuff even loaded at max weight! Facing a mellow valley breeze the pitch movements are absent and the Base 2 rises effortlessly and moves forward in the airmass. In stronger conditions, the Base 2 pitch back a little but still climbs very well when I flew it at 92 all up. That’s is why I felt that the Base2 needs to be loaded at the top all the time for good efficiency in the air, and while loading it, it still delivers one of the best climb rates in the high B category. The glider feels big, and very calm, even near the top and that’s why loading it at max felt much better.
Talking a bit about the pleasure in flight, I can say that the Base 2 handling and brake authority allows a newcomer to the high B category to understand and cope better under that machine while having fun. As for expert pilots who desire a direct feel and more dynamics on a high B, they will still feel the reactive brakes but probably will miss a shorter and sharper feel. But I think 90 % of high B pilots would be very happy with the handling and turning behavior.
The Base 2 comfort in roll and pitch is very high! I sensed that I’m flying a low B glider in that matter. The Base 2 despite the 5.7 AR, absorbs very well the turbulence and the overall movements in active air are present, informative, very dampened, and very calm. The Base 2 delivers a smooth ride all along in XC condition. The Rook 3 has more pronounced feedback in overall conditions. It resembles the Rush 5 in calm behavior.
The trim speed with the same loading as the two Rook 3 beside me is slightly higher on the Base2. The gliding in moving air done more than 4 times and 5 km glide while the Rooks pushed slightly on the bar to match my trim speed, showed me exactly the same glide as my reference in the high B category. The full-speed glide of the Base 2 which seems to have a shorter distance between pulleys, has the same top speed as the Rooks. The glide at full speed showed me also very close gliding results after 5 km the rooks arrived 5m higher…So practically the same and insignificant.
While at bar, it seems that the C steering is quite smooth, efficient, and easy to use, and I was able to control the glider quite well with total tranquility in most conditions.
Big ears are easy to hold, stable, efficient, with around -3m/s with bar. The releasing of the ears will enable the Base 2 to reopen by itself in a gradual and smooth way.
Conclusion: With the new Base 2, the BGD team has succeeded to raise the level of their products as they did on the Cure 2. BGD managed to produce a very comfortable high B, with good handling and top-end overall performance in both climb and glide. I believe that those new high B’s can get their owners to new dimensions and long XC flights while being easy and relaxing to fly. That combination of performance and accessibility is the strong point of the Base 2, and I think it will be quite interesting and rewarding for pilots to test fly it. But please remember to load it at the top or even at 96 to feel the efficiency in overall conditions.
Friday, March 19, 2021
I already test flew the Alpina 4 in ML size, a bit further down in the posts.
Here are the S and MS sizes.
I flew both sizes, the S at 85 and the MS at 93 all up. The difference between the A4 and the Delta 4 MS for example is a better launching behavior, mainly due to the lighter materials. The A4 rises better than the Delta 4. The maneuverability and agility are the same, but probably the Alpina 4 has a slightly smoother feel, and the brake's authority seems lighter and felt a bit more linear.
The overall performance is the same as the Delta 4 in the same size, and also the speed. The S size feels naturally more dynamic, and quite agile. In turbulent air, the A4 seems to inform the pilot smoothly and accurately better the airmass than the Delta 4. Perhaps it is the light materials, but for me, I was really satisfied by the steering ability and feel of the A4. The differences are really small but noticeable...
Friday, January 1, 2021
Triple Seven King 2 MS (80-97)
The King 2 is Triple Seven 2021 EN-D glider with an aspect ratio of 7.0
Rods are everywhere from the leading edge to the trailing edge, even on the tips! A selection of thin unsheathed lines all across the gallery.
Very little openings on the shark nose leading edge all across the span.
The A risers on that King 2 are shorter than the B and C ones.
Inflation in nil wind is a challenge! So difficult to get it overhead. I tried to move my hands 20 cm higher, holding the lines. When doing so, pulling upward toward the sky as if you are helping the leading edge to rise is the best option to do. Now it is a little bit better. You need a long take off if there’s no wind!
Inflating the glider at more than 15km/h and holding the lines higher is good. A slow rise that fills the cells and Hop you go.
Flying the King 2 MS at different loads showed me afterward that 97-98 is the optimum weight to fly it. So i flew the King 2 MS at 97-98 in different conditions with my X rated 6 harness.
When it is strong disorganized and turbulent, the energy inside the glider will prevent a coordinated and swift authority on the brakes. It needs more time and application to replace it into the core. But overall it is ok. I can confirm that in most moderate air, the King 2 is an agile glider for its 7 aspect ratio.
The trim speed is very fast! In fact the trim speed at 97 matches the speed of the M7 MS (80-95) at 94 with the pilot pushing almost half the speed bar !!! It is fast.
Flying it in very weak thermals next to the M7 was a bit difficult to maintain the same height as it is really fast at trim to catch those very light thermals. Slowing it on the brakes won’t really matter. It is better to let it fly. But overall it stays quite ok in super light conditions waiting for the next well-built thermal to go higher. In stronger thermals, the King 2 climbs really fast. The fast trim speed helps a lot in entering that updraft quickly and move upwards slightly better than the M7.
Gliding in the very calm air next to a similarly loaded M7 showed a little difference in gliding power for the King 2, knowing that the M7 was accelerating to match the King 2 trim speed. That difference in calm air is very little. At full bar in calm air, the same differences occurred. It is only in moving air and in headwind good XC conditions, that the King 2 showed its potential.
Moving forward and digging faster the airmass and upward rising through the air is toward the King 2.
The top speed is around 58 km/h taken at 900 ASL. The pressure of the speed bar is slightly hard on the second bar, but still fair.
The B/C system can be used with ease while applying the speed bar. Smooth and efficient.
The King 2 can be considered a relatively comfortable EN-D glider. It needs more active pilot control than a Mantra 7 for example, but less than the Peak 5 for sure. And also, probably slightly less than the Zeno.The King 2 work in itself in turbulent air. It pitches forward slightly but doesn’t go far ahead. The roll movements are also present but comfortable close enough to a Zeno.
Ears are doable with the outside A’s and are stable. with good sink rate. The re-inflation needs a pilot application to pump them out. Ears are also doable with the C3, and also efficient, and reopen quickly. The sink rate in both A’s and C’s are around 2.5 m/s with a little bar.
Wing overs are super high, as it can loop only after the second turn!!! Lots of energy !
Conclusion: The King 2 is made for big air and XC conditions. I don’t think any pilot will fly that glider only in very weak and stable air…It will do fine, but that’s not its strongest point. The King 2 potential is for those big windy days, high bases, and fast transitions. The 3 line configuration of the King 2 helps a lot in getting that compact feel in strong and rough air which isn’t present yet on 2 liners.
The overall performance of the 3 liners EN-D King 2 is reducing a little bit more the big gap of performance between the 3 liners and the 2 liners.
Tuesday, December 29, 2020
NIVIUK Artik 6 23
I was lucky to get that Artik 6 quickly that time! As it was impossible to purchase it from Niviuk. I’m surrounded by good positive people worldwide
The Artik 6 has a nice construction. Every detail is very well finished. The risers, the sewing, the cloth…everything seems neat and well built. The Artik 6 is slightly lighter than the Delta 4. The glider’s weight sits between the Delta 4 and the Alpina 4.
Taking off at 87 all up on the size 23 (70/90) with a GIN light 3 harness is really easy. No hardpoint, no surge, just good-mannered inflation.
After some hours, it seems that the Artik 6 is as comfortable as the Delta4 MS. The pitch movements are totally absent, and the Artik 6 enters gently the rising air in moderate conditions. In stronger cores, the Artik 6 pulls you slightly toward the thermal, which is a really nice feature to my taste! The roll movements are also quite dampened and resemble the Delta 4 ones. The Artik 6 with a 6.3 aspect ratio is not busy to fly a glider. On the contrary, it is a very accessible C glider. What I really liked is the ability to cut through the airmass and move forward quite efficiently! The Artik 6 slides through the airmass with very good efficiency in gliding power.
For overall comfort, the Artik 6 is much more comfortable to fly than the Cure 2 and similar to the Delta 4.
There is a 10 cm gap before the action on the trailing edge which is quite normal, and then a refined pilot can steer it with only 5 -10 centimeters! This is quite a nice brake authority on the Artik 6. The pressure in that 10 cm is moderate. A little more brake length is needed in stronger air or sharper thermals. The Artik 6 can be turned in a very narrow core! The agility is exquisite! especially with that Genie light 3 harness. I really liked the way it turns into thermals. The second part after the 10 cm has a moderate to slightly harder brake pressure, but still very acceptable with a reassuring feel. Overall I can say that the Artik 6 handling and thermal ability are very subtle and pleasurable. As I said earlier, a sensible pilot could steer it smoothly into the air. No need to pull the brakes too long, but if done they are also forgiving.
For example, the braking length to react is much shorter than a Cure 2, or even the Delta 4. Just to give you an idea. There is a more smooth and linear feel on the Cure 2 within the brake range. The Artik 6 is slightly closer to the D4 in those terms of brake feel.
The pressure on the brakes should be measured by a scale...But I’m still trying to do it. Anyway, the pressure on the brakes of the Artik 6 is slightly higher than the Cure 2 and probably similar to the Delta 4 at the first 10 cm part.
Flying the Artik 6 23 at 87 all up, showed me that even in the weakest thermals the Artik 6 has a very good float ability. The climb in weak stuff is very efficient. The Artik 6 doesn’t dive in turns when pulling the first 10 cm part, rather than flat on the same spot! After some flying in weak stuff next to my reference C, it is clear that the Artik 6 has a very good float ability that puts it at the top of that category.
It seems that the Artik 6 performs better in moving air, when it can dig through the airmass move forward, and climb. A very good gliding machine for XC.
I have to mention also that pushing the first 2-3 cm on the speed bar surely increases the speed by 2 to 3 km/h, but it seems that the sink rate doesn’t decrease! So I found that gliding slightly above the trim is very beneficial for the glide.
The speed system has a C2B pulley system, that you can use while on bar. The C2B pressure is moderate, smooth to use, and efficient. The speed bar got me +16 km/h over the trim with a very good solid structure.
The Artik 6 matches the top speed of the Delta 4 with probably even a tiny edge! (Both gliders are exactly similarly loaded)
Finally inducing ears on the Artik 6 is easy and stable. I like that feature as it is also efficient to use.
What can I say…that I’m still trying to find any lesser than good points but in vain… Just because pilots would say…We only read positive comments! how boring it is !!!!
Sorry to disappoint …That Artik 6 is just ‘perfect’ !! *Try it for yourselves at the right loads!!! *Conclusion: Test flying new machines will always result in good or lesser good comments and I really hope that one day “some” manufacturers will understand that outcome and move forward without shooting the messenger. This time I got a special and complete product, rare to find.
The Artik 6 is definitely the best Artik ever produced. Why ??? Just because it scores 9 over 10 in everything. Climb, glide, speed, stable ears, easy take-off, easy landing, high comfort, great usability, a pleasure to fly, superb agility, relatively light to carry… Against all odds, the truth has to be said clearly. The Niviuk R&D department has outdone itself.
Niviuk R&D team managed to deliver the most complete C glider in pilot demands. I test flew the size 23 and I can ‘only’ confirm that size test, flown from 85 to 89 all up. (Harness Gin Light 3 M size)
I strongly suggest test flying the Artic 6 but at a convenient load! Probably near 85% of the weight range should be in order for every pilot not to miss that beautiful and efficient machine.
Happy new year!
UPDATE> Just noticed on windy days (+20km/h) when gliding upwind even loaded at the top, the A6 23 has a slight tendency to pitch back a bit when encountering a thermal and slowing down. A feeling of getting pinned a bit...
Thursday, November 19, 2020
FLOW Fusion Light S
I already test flew the normal version of the Fusion in S and M size. Here’s the Fusion light version ion S size flown at 92 all up. There are loops on the C’s for that serial version, like the normal Fusion.
Pulling on the A’s the Fusion light S comes up nicely above the pilot's head, with no effort at all. No hardpoint. In a strong breeze, a dab on the brakes to control it overhead. A really easy to inflate C glider.
There’s a very neutral pitch feel under the Fusion light S in thermals. It enters the rising air very smoothly. The roll movements are very balanced. Quite comfortable without being too dampened. A slightly more feel than the Delta 4, but surely very comfortable to fly. I can say it felt smoother also. In the same air, where the Delta 4 could be sharper, the Fusion Light is slightly smoother with a good informative feel.
The brake pressure is on the medium side(I’m trying to get a small scale to see how much tension (kg) on the brakes after a certain 360 turn, and it will be a new column included in the comparison tables hopefully soon).
The Fusion Light S at 92 seems to have a relatively short, precise, and very good agility in the C category. It is a bit different than the normal version, with shorter brake inputs and more agility. Coring thermals with the Fusion Light gave me some really nice moments, as it seems fluid inside thermals, with very good authority on the brakes to place the Fusion Light exactly where I wanted inside the core. The climb rate seems on top of that category, in weak thermals or in strong ones. The Fusion Light float ability is present and delivers smoothly its free performance for the C category pilot.
The overall movements in the air are very balanced and smooth enough to enjoy any thermal anywhere…In strong air, the Fusion Light needs control, but nothing more than a regular C pilot is required to have. For example sometimes in moderate air, it feels as comfortable as the Delta 4 and probably smoother! The 6.3 AR Fusion Light is much easier to handle than the 6.4 AR Cure 2 for example and even easier to fly than the comfortable Artik 5.
The glide at trim and accelerated seems also like the normal version which is also very good for the C category. The speed system has a relatively light pressure, and the new B pulley system is more manageable to control on the C’s with lighter pressure.
At bar, applying pressure on the wooden C risers bar will control most of the turbulence encountered, while having a cup of tea! …It is an easy, smooth, and enjoyable glider to fly for the C category.
The top speed with pulleys overlapping is around +13 km/h over trim, with a very usable bar in turbulence. Ears are efficient and stable! They reopened with a little pilot input. 360s are well balanced. Landing on tight spots is easy as the Fusion Light can be slowed quite well before the stall. Of course, the stall point is to be discovered in a safe environment.
Induced asymmetric behaves like a school glider!
I think after some 50 hours on the Fusion and releasing the C loops will have a big impact on the total efficiency of that glider. Just because the enhancement comes into wind transitions, as the Fusion with C released will surf much better the air and skip better the sinking air. Not because of the very little increased trim speed, but probably because of the ability to surf through better. The climb rate in the weak will still be very good and on top of that category.
Flying the Fusion Light is a really cool, rewarding experience. The handling is superb, the climb rate is among the best gliders in the C category. The glide capability is among the top 3 contenders. especially when the C loops are released. Test flying it could lead to a long term relationship… :-)
Saturday, October 10, 2020
The Alpina 4 ML at 103 all up.
The difference between the Delta 4 ML already tested is:
-A smoother feel under the Alpina 4 ML.
-The turning behavior seems more subtle with very good agility. The brake has moderate pressure with a linear feel.
-The speed system seems to get harder to push at the second bar.
-The take-off is much...much better! Now there's no hard point on the ML.
-Ears are the same.
-Performance is the same.
-Speed is the same.
-A little better comfort in turbulence as the Alpina 4 feels more coherent and homogenous, or it is the light fabric that delivers that smooth feel.
The light fabric resembles the LM6 ones and feels lighter than the one used on the A3.
Overall...I'm impressed by that 6 aspect ratio top-end performance C glider!
Flew it today at 98 all up on the ML (85-105) in good conditions on a +100 k run on little endless triangles ...(restricted airspace).
Surprisingly, the A4 ML at that load was entering effortlessly the airmass and moving forward. The structure was really homogenous at that load. Effortless flying and very precise handling! Still fast at trim. In headwind glides or climbing in a headwind, it was doing very nicely. But for sure, when loading it at 103 the efficiency of entering the airmass would be faster and even more efficient with even more shooting upward!
But at 98 it was really good! which is surprising for that size. And....it is very...very....comfortable !!!
Awaiting the MS and S size!
More to come soon...
Friday, October 9, 2020
MACPARA Magus (2020)
And here it is…A beautiful looking 7.05 aspect ratio, glider with 2 liner technology and an EN-D certification.
I flew the size 22 (88-99) at 97 all up with my Xrated 6 harness.
The Magus construction seems super neat. A mix of Skytex light and heavier materials were used.
A mix of Edelrid Aramid/Kevlar lines was used on this construction.
Launching the Magus in nil wind is a bit difficult to get it overhead. The glider must be laid down in a proper way and better to be centered when pulling the lines. Even in 20 km/h, the raise is slow but manageable for the intended pilots in that category. The Magus doesn’t snake around at all. It comes at a whole, but a little practice and patience are needed to launch it in narrow areas as we have here.
At my takeoff weight, the Magus seems to have a fast trim speed that matches the Peak5 one with the same size and load. My first contact with the brakes gave me an early smile for that nice given authority. I can describe the brakes to have a short, precise, and linear feel through the range for the 2 liner category. It resembles the Zeolite brake authority which puts the Magus among the best ones in the 2 liner brake authority.
I could get a short turn radius on the Magus in small bubbles, and still, be very efficient. The pressure on the brakes are on the moderate side and won’t be tiring after some hours. The feel of a firm precise pull is present. In very weak thermals, I sensed that I must concentrate to be efficient, but the overall efficiency of that glider enabled me to stay afloat.
In a more homogenous thermal, the Magus climbs like a rocket. It matches the Peak 5 climb.
I flew the Magus in different conditions. In turbulent air, It is more comfortable than the Peak 5 and slightly less than the Zeno. It is somehow similar to the Leopard in dampening behavior.
I could confirm that I was really more than satisfied with the incredible performance the Magus had to offer! In one particular flight, I was gliding in a very well known place for my routine flying, and gliding through difficult air, the Magus ability to float and move forward is superb…It glides really well upwind, and I experienced a very efficient upward sliding through the air!
My god, how I miss the 2 liner efficiency! And that Magus revived my senses even more! Flying the Zeno, OXA3, Leopard, Peak 5, is also rewarding for performance, but I must add that flying the Magus is like having your best meal with the exact spices you wished for! At least that’s my personal feel…
Gliding next to the top 2 liner D’s at trim speed, showed me that the Magus is definitely among the best ones at the very top.
At full bar, the gliding performance place it among the top 3
The B handles have moderate and precise pressure. I like that! Finally, I can feel and control that Magus at bar.
In some turbulent air, I felt that the Magus have a strong and homogenous structure, but only the tips were slightly collapsing without any consequences. I think more hours on it could clear those small cell deflations.
Landing in tight spots can be achieved with that Magus, just because I could slow it quite well, before stalling. It is for sure a delicate matter.
Ears with A’s are small. I need to pull them long enough to be stable. And while pushing the bar, they have around 2.0 m/s descent rate.
The top speed is around 19 km/h over trim.
Conclusion: Just a small piece of information, that you probably know between 3 liners and 2 liners… Flying one of the best 3 liners of today example (M7) …etc…and flying the 2 liners Magus, is like driving your regular car then switching to your every day MAC Ferrari!
The difference between ‘efficient feel and performance’ is breathtaking! When test flying other categories in nice days….Imagine how I’ll miss that Ferrari feel! :-)
The new Magus has everything a 2 liner pilot could dream of. Nice handling, a very efficient gliding machine, that shows you proudly how well it glides through the airmass. A relatively comfortable and solid companion for XC.
Saying all that, it is still a 2 liner that needs all the respect and the pilot knowhow to fly it with peace.
Friday, September 11, 2020
Dear friends and fellow pilots,
After some years of test flying many gliders from practically all categories, I felt that I needed to share with you some important issues.
At first, I like to point out that the tests that I do could be called "macro testing' As many of you know that these tests are made in very specific sites, that allow us to see the tiniest difference in performance between gliders. those sites offer sometimes humid conditions and heavy air with a sea breeze. And sometimes experiencing an easterly stable layer that makes an A glider difficult to handle. Those conditions could be found anywhere near the sea, like Greoliere or Gourdon in summer …etc….It’s like runners competing in the mud. The most complete athlete will prevail. When flying in different places where all those effects are not present it would be more difficult to see the difference.
But over the years, I experienced lots of other things that I need to share with you.
I always fly the gliders at their optimum weight load. (how do I know the optimum weight?) Easy: When that glider will surf effortlessly at a certain load the ‘difficult ‘ airmass while being still good in weak thermals. The balance is the optimum weight.
Usually, ninety percent of gliders like to be loaded to fly properly, but some like the Maestro and Allegro like to be flown slightly above mid-weight while staying good in moving forward.
As many pilots are looking for performance, 90% of manufacturers are going extreme in using the line width, that offers safe usability within the certification protocols, and offers the minimalistic drag for optimum performance.
Those lines have accurate and defined measurements, and sometimes much less than one cm of length could make a difference. Tuning them properly in order to insert that glider into a certain box (A, B, C, D, or CCC)
I saw on many occasions that the lines on the newly released B, C, and D gliders move after 'sometimes' 30 hours! Even on some B’s!
So, depending on the glider. That's very common on 2 liners as many of you already know.
In most cases, after 50, to 60 hours 90 % of the B, C, or D gliders have a different 'feel a different 'trim speed and in most cases, a better climb rate'. Probably the glider becomes slower and sometimes climbs better, but wind transitions also will be different and sometimes are penalized.
I also knew that a slight tolerance of a few millimeters is permitted within the certification.
Now, that means that tests about performance could change slightly!
Today's gliders are very sophisticated pieces of machinery.
And little adjustments could alter ‘slightly’ the feel and performance. (It doesn’t matter for many! ) I know, but I must write it as it is.
Another important issue is that when a brand new glider is released, after certification, and after some 360s and some flying hours, the lines are well placed, and that glider could offer the exact gliding properties that the company intend to deliver and a very specific dynamic behavior through the airmass.
Sometimes, I get another glider for the same brand and the same size and I find loops on the B's or on the C's! It happened to me with the Q-Light S. The first one had incredible flying properties, and the second felt slightly less. The second had a loop on the B's. After asking the manufacturer about them, they said that this configuration is more comfortable for the pilot. They were right. But the flying quality was lesser. I released the B loops, and I regained that beautiful feel. The same happened on the Mantra 7 MS. When releasing the B loops, (about +0.8cm ) the glider became more dynamic and better feel through the airmass. But it was slightly more handful to fly, and also the Q-Light S.
The Fusion M size didn’t have a loop on the C’s. It had superb flying qualities. The Fusion S, I purchased for my tests, had loops on the C's when it arrived. After my test, I concluded that it was comfortable but still needed that extra surfing into the wind.
After 60 hours, the dealer got an email from Flow to release the C loops on his Fusion S, Light ( specially made for him).
The feel of surf and climb in those 'macro testing' facilities were much better! The Fusion S seemed to breathe more the air and the overall performance in moving air matched the best C's of today!
The first Delta 4 MS I had was incredibly good! It was one of the first demos that was already flown a bit at Ozone, and it flies superbly well! The B risers were matching the A and C risers.
The second one, B risers were 0.2 cm lower than the A risers. The overall feel if lightly loaded (87 all up for the MS) was a slow glider in those difficult conditions, but still sharing the top of the C category. Loading in at 94 all up, it regained that surfing upward.
The same risers configuration is on the M7. In time, or after 30…40 hours, the loop on the B link on the Delta 4 can be released. (Ozone already posted something like that on the forum, but better to ask when to release them) That feel of a slightly liver glider will be available.
The Leopard S, that was tested earlier, had loops on the B's. Releasing those loops on a new serial model would have altered my test! Just because it was super efficient to dig through the air, a bit more alive, and gave me more feel even in weak thermals. But those loops must be kept at least until the glider needs tuning after some hours or so...probably. (info from Gin)
The Maestro 21 received a flawless review, but the size 19 was so different...and the xalps 19 was even more awkward in feel!
I needed to share that important information with you, just to tell you that even reading very transparent tests, the result is an 80 % max performance accuracy, and could change!!! And concerning the handling, “if properly loaded”, an accuracy of 95 % on handling and brake authority.
I think now you must be lost! :-) But that is the real thing…
All those changes that could occur will sometimes get you around +/- 10 % increase or decrease in performance and glider feel and behavior.
And again, it is probably not important at all. But I thought it must be said.
When I choose a glider to fly for fun, all that matters for my personal taste is a performance glider that transmits “accurately the airmass and reacts swiftly to any brake input regardless of the conditions.”
To conclude, a glider that makes me smile after landing is the one I always choose to fly in my day off ;-).
PS: Please do not alter your glider before getting a professional opinion and a yearly check is advisable.
Saturday, September 5, 2020
ADVANCE Impress 4
As usual, I’m always impatient to test fly an ADVANCE harness. Simply because of that extraordinary quality of construction and exquisite finish that was made in their latest designs, and the Impress 4 is the ‘Chef-d'oeuvre’ example of what ADVANCE is offering.
For my 1.81 and 73 kg, the Impress 4 M suits perfectly my body shape, and felt well surrounded, and I can comment that I found it slightly bigger than the Genie light M, which I found myself at its max size potential. The Impress4 size M is similar to the Genie race4 M size, the Forza M, The Exoceat M, the Supair Delight 3 M.
It seems that the Impress 4 was fabricated on a very detailed and precise worksheet. I can speak for every detail as it seemed to be released upon a very serious study for its use. For example, the dashboard is large, very well in place, and could contain at least 3 instruments, with neat and proper holes for the wires that come from the power banks underneath which could be inserted in their respective pockets. Those details could be available in the new harnesses, but it seems that ADVANCE made them more efficient. The water release system (a large pocket at the left) is perfect as it is wide enough for inserting the urinating tube while flying if it got loose after running on take off. Lots and lots of small but efficient features. Two rescue containers, one anti G etc…you can find all those in the manual.
Now I like to talk about the back comfort. Sitting in the Impress 4 M with the seat-board feels around 90 % as sitting in the Impress 3 in terms of back comfort ! which is very high for a seat board harness, and probably the only most comfortable seat harness for the back and hip till date. The legs are naturally supported, and the feel is like sitting in your favorite couch in front of the TV! So relaxing to sit in. Getting in and out is as easy as it gets.
All the adjustments are very easy to access in the air, as I could easily adjust them to my liking.
Now about the roll movement on the Impress 4. Having flown the Impress 2 and impress 2 plus and also the Impress 3, I could describe what you will feel inside the Impress4.
In roll feel and weight shift control, with the ability of counter-steering rough corners, the Impress 4 sits between the Impress 2 plus and the impress 3, with a slight move toward the Impress 2+ on the seat feel, having also some slight spongy feel of the Impress3. That’s the best way I could describe it to you.
So, it’s easy, and I could feel the seat board, but not as ‘edgy’ or ‘ authority to (lock your thigh on a seat board) as the Impress 2+, Genie light 3, X-rated6, Genie race 4, for example, but good enough!
I have to add that even if you pull the front strap adjustment that lifts your knees, the feel remains slightly less. And also your legs would not be naturally supported anymore. So it's best to sit comfortably, with legs supported, and acclimatize yourself with the Impress 4 feel.
Saying that the Impress 4 could be the best harness to date to offer that extra mix of feelings. Lots of pilots would love to get a harness with less edge or ‘direct, straight’ lift from the seat board edge, and some would prefer that edge. It is always a matter of personal taste. Many pilots on the Impress3 would be very happy on the Impress4 as it seems to offer ‘best of both worlds’ seat and seatless harness feel even with at the seat board in!
Having flown the harness without a seaboard, I personally would stick to the seat board as it's my personal preference.
One thing I have to say is that when I fly my X rated 6 after some hours, and after landing, my body parts (feet, hips, etc) feel and stress a bit the movements that were present in that flight. On the Impress 4 with some rough air, my body was still comfortable enough after landing.
Conclusion: The Impress4 looks like an improved, very well made harness, and a much more detailed and neat version of my X-rated 6 with much better comfort for the back. The feedback that comes from the glider has slightly less authority to counter-steer than the X rated6, but probably well enough to be satisfied. I only wished that the magnet that prevents the pod from opening while weight-shifting, would be slightly bigger. The ballast under the seat is small. That’s it.
ADVANCE produced a very comfortable, very well made, impressive-looking harness with the smallest thinkable details.