Sunday, December 4, 2022

SOL LT 2 , S size / 75-95 / EN-C


A really interesting EN-C 2-liner!! 
I need some good flying days more...
SOON ........

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

NOVA Mentor 7 Light - XS / 75-95


NOVA Mentor 7 Light  XS (75-95) 

As many of you know me very well, I always follow the new upcoming gliders and new releases, and in  April 2021, I heard about the Mentor 7 and rushed quickly to order one.  In this lapse of one and a half years, I received many emails asking me about that glider, but I wasn’t able to receive it…while all the magazines, Cross Country, FlyBubble, (Tests and videos on their well-respected websites), and lots of other pilots around the world got one or at least flew a demo one, of the Mentor 7 Light!  So despite my many emails, and discussions with NOVA, The Mentor 7 light didn’t arrive until today. 
I was indeed unlucky ;-) …

The tests:
Mentor 7 Light size XS flown at 92 all up. 
Again, many of you might have seen the Mentor 7 light, the construction and details are really nice with a hybrid configuration, meaning that there are a few attachment points on the C risers reducing drag, and probably NOVA was aiming for more performance, and also getting more interest for pilots who are looking to get the latest design closing the gap to a 2 liner feel…

The take-off is really easy with a moderate pull without any hard points in weak windy take-offs. In stronger wind, the Mentor 7 seems also very smooth to launch. 

That day, I shared the flight with my friends on their Swift 6 gliders. One  Swift 6 size S (65-85) flew at 84 all up, and another Swift 6  sizes MS (75-95) flew at 93 all up. I was at the same load as the pilot on the Swift 6 MS size, and it was a superb way to experience all the movements, and see the real-time efficiency of the glider in the test. 

I flew that glider in relatively strong and turbulent conditions to later weaker and smoother conditions.

I must say….The Mentor 7 Light felt like flying a tandem in the positive side of the meaning. I never felt that dampened behavior on a high B wing, and probably very close to some low B gliders in terms of ‘air information’ and roll and pitch movements. The Swift 6 feels as I test flew it is an easy and smooth glider for the high B category. The M7 light has probably twice the comfort of the S6 !! especially in moving air.  It's even more comfortable than the Swing Nyos 2 RS !!  Is it too much?  Each pilot will decide! 
There are pilots who will adore that feel, and some could reach for a more spicy feel like the Maestro 2, Rush 6, for example. Lots of different tastes for all the pilots to choose from. 
But I have to say! With this 2.5-line configuration, I think NOVA has really worked hard on the internal structure of the Mentor 7 light in order to achieve that solid and compact feel. 
After the comfortable and smooth Air Design Volt 4 as a 2-liner C glider, here’s the Mentor 7  with its 2.5 line configuration, with high comfort for a high B glider.  

The Mentor 7 light XS at 93 has a faster trim speed than a brand new Swift 6 size MS at 93 also by +1 km/h. 
The brake travel is short with moderate, to slightly hard pressure. The Swift 6, Maestro 2, and Mentor 6 are slightly lighter. And again, some pilots would appreciate that solid feel in their hands.  The agility is quite ok on the M7. Probably a bit less agile than the Mentor 6 XS tops at 90, but still quite good, close enough to the Swift 6 agility in thermals. In some small thermals, I was able to core very tightly without missing the core. 
If you want it more agile, try to pull the B3 at half pull inside a thermal, and you will experience a super agile B glider! :-) It's funny to try! 

My tests are not only about performance, so I will try to describe the feeling under it as much as I can and that could help you decide if you also cannot get one.

In strong cores the Mentor 7 has a nearly absent pitch behavior, the roll also is very dampened. It slides efficiently through the airmass calmly and the climbing ability is surely present but slow. 
I mean it climbs ok but needs time to reach the cloud base as the other gliders in the air.  In weak thermals, this insane stability erases the small information about that tiny lift, so it is very difficult to feel that tiny lift, and also the climb is there but needs time to get to higher altitudes. 
Some gliders could be described as having a good float ability in the rising airmass. The Mentor 7 size XS, that I flew has a moderate float ability if flown at 90 all up. 

The turning behavior inside any thermal allows the Mentor 7 to stay on rails. It never gets thrown outside the thermal, and with its brake authority, I could place it immediately whenever I wanted inside a core.

Gliding with my friend on his Swift 6,  ( I think your eyes are more open now? … :-)    Hmmm…Ok, So in gliding in the same airmass my friend pushed a bit on the bar to stay close to my trim speed on the Mentor 7 Light. The glide is close enough and I will update my B comparison as soon as possible for the little details if needed…
Trying again and again in many types of conditions, showed me that the Mentor 7 light has a very good glide efficiency that is close to the best ones in that category.

Pulling half the speed system showed me a glide improvement on the Mentor 7 light which is really interesting and will place it at the top of that category. At the full bar, the Mentor 7 Light is a fast high B with probably 2 km/h more speed than the Swift 6 with the same load. I think maybe I got a 16 km/h over the already fast trim speed.

Ears while pulling the B3 are really cool! They are very efficient! I could get down nicely on this configuration. Moderate 360s don’t deliver high G’s, and less than many B’s. 

NOVA delivered a different Mentor.  It has a completely different feel, a different design, and a different approach! NOVA aficionados will give their own judgment after a test flight…
I only Wished it had more lift ability and a more nimble feel, but that’s me and my picky bad habits ;-), but for strong alpine conditions, the Mentor 7 Light will let you concentrate on the task, on the scenery, on your favorite snack, chocolate bar, while gliding through that abundant lift.
The combination of accessibility/performance ratio is really high on the Mentor 7 Light. 

Today was a good day to try and fly the Mentor 7 Light, XS at 86 all up.
I changed my harness under the Mentor 7 XS to the Genie light 3 size M which gives slightly more roll and nicer weight shifting. My overall weight was 86.
I have flown on a generous day with some turbulence that my friends informed me later on landing… I thought it was really calm under the M7.

Flying the Mentor 7 light XS at 86 all up, gives even more comfort and still with a very coherent and taught feel. In turbulence, the glider stays well connected. I have flown many gliders, and I think this is not an evolution in feel, but a revolution since this high B glider is calmer than some EN-A gliders. Pilots coming from the low B category will immediately feel at home under the Mentor 7 Light which is targetted as an intermediate glider for pilots who already have flown lower-rated gliders, and like to move a high-performance glider.

In weak conditions, less than 0.5 m’s, the overall movements in pitch and roll are super dampened that I needed to concentrate more on the vario sound to core efficiently as the overall movements are nearly absent in those small conditions.
And of course, being at the middleweight does favor slightly the climbing ability and in a moderate 1m/s thermal, the Mentor 7 light flown at mid-weight will climb close enough to many high B’s. My comparison is updated for the little details.


Friday, November 25, 2022

SUPAIR Delight 4 Sport Size M.

I already reviewed the Delight 2 and 3. Here’s the fourth version with …finally a nicer aerodynamic look with a fairing.

When I flew the old Delight3 and as I always fiddle with my equipment after the test has been made, I made lots of adjustments, like inserting a foam from the upper part to reach the lower back and that made more support to my lower back with a comfortable sitting position and also rewired the line settings of the pod to reach a nearly no pressure on the tight and natural leg support while maintaining a correct pod alignment into the airflow. But the Delight 3 was targeted as a first pod harness with a good stability of its ABS system and also of its reclined position. 

The Delight 4 has a seat board. 

Now here’s the Delight 4 in the same M size I can confirm that they didn’t change the recommended size for the pilots. So the old D3 M size and the Delight 4 M size are targeted to the same pilot size.

The weight of Delight 4 is around 4 kg and similar to the D3 weight. The ABS system is exactly the same, but ….! to my surprise, SUPAIR has made the exact modifications I did on the Delight 3 to have much less pressure on the thighs and more comfort on the lower back, and nearly natural leg support in the pod, but also made lots of other things much more interesting that we will talk about.

At first, there’s a left attachment point to prevent slipping through the harness if by mistake the pilot didn’t buckle properly.  This buckle SUPAIR said that it holds around 120 kg. 

There’s a relief hole on each side of the pod. The instrument holder is now attached with a buckle that keeps it above the chest strap, if it contains heavy materials, and will prevent it to flip blocking your view. Now it will stay fit in place.

The zip that opens the instrument holder is in front which helps much more reaching into it. The zipper of the instrument holder of the Genie light 3 is on the back and I found it best to have it on the front side for accessibility.

The openings of the air inlets that inflates the fairing are smaller and softer than the ones on my X-rated 6. Those inlets have some plastic inserts that keep them in shape. On my X-rated 6, they broke a lot of times, and I couldn’t change them easily without a sewing machine… But on the Delight 4, they can be changed easily and the insert is made from a softer plastic material.

The harness has lots of adjustments comparing it to the D3, and they added a more efficient one for the hip position and comfort. The pod straps have 3 adjustments on each side to make a more refined tuning.

Of course, there’s also a place for the camelback with a pocket to insert it in the back. The main back storage seems really large. Larger a bit than the Genie 3 light, and larger than the Woody Valley GTO. 

The back protection as you will see on their website is made from two parts in order to open the two parts for more compact packing. 

With my 1.81m and 72 kg, I felt completely ok on the Delight 4, which is my size. 

As I always mention, it is a super difficult job to describe or define comfort (for the back, hip…etc) for a certain harness, just because many pilots with the same height and weight have different leg or shoulder measurements. 

Let's talk about the harness sizes first : 

So for me personally I felt that the Delight 4 in M size has the same measurements as the ADVANCE Impress 4 M, Supair Delight 3 M, Ozone Forza M, GIN Genie race 4 M, 

The Genie light 3 M felt very slightly smaller but I’m also just ok with it. 

About back comfort and body pressure,

The Delight 4 has much better comfort for the body than the Delight 3. On the Genie 3 light, the legs are slightly more supported, and I think the ABS system on the Delight 4 cannot give you less pressure on the thighs and be efficient in roll movements. On the Impress 4 which is the most relaxing to sit in, the roll control for the little movements and feedback is not as precise as on the Delight 4 or Genie light 3 for example.  For the 4 to 5 kg category harnesses, the Delight 4 is more comfortable to sit in than the WV GTO, M size for example.

Roll feedback and comfort in the air:  From 1 as max roll and less comfort to 4 as max comfort and less roll.

1- Lightness 2, Impress 3 

2-WV GTO, Forza, Genie 3 light, X-rated 6, Lightness 3  

3- Impress 4, Genie race 4, 

4- Delight 3, Delight 4  

The Delight 4 has an ABS system that blocks higher roll movements. Some pilots would prefer it, others would prefer a much more roll-inducing harness like the Genie 3 light, or even more like the Lightness 2, etc… Each pilot has his own preferences. 

I felt that pilots could add a small ball with an elastic band attached to the inside of the front pod foot holder, and that ball could be inserted on the shoe laces, in order to make it simple to enter the pod after take off.

Conclusion: Light, robust, practical, easy to pack good harness for traveling, good comfortable harness in strong air, looks nice in the air…and is nicely comfortable for the sitting position. That’s the Delight 4.

And surely, a test flight could be the best way for each individual to see if it fits his requirements.

OZONE Swift 6 size MS flown at 93 and size S flown at 85 all up.

I already reviewed the amazing Rush 6 in MS and S size. Here’s the review of the Swift 6 in both S and MS sizes.
The takeoff of the Swift 6 in both sizes is easier to inflate than the Rush 6 as all lighter materials behave in that area.
The take-off was immediate on the MS at 93 all up, while the S size heavily loaded needed just two more steps.
Overall launching and easiness of steering on the ground go to the Swift 6.

I have flown the size MS at 93 all up on my X-rated 6 I think I should replace it soon…Waiting for both new releases, the NK Arrow and Ozone Forza 2…Let's see…
So back to the Swift 6, I can immediately confirm a much mellower feel under it than the Rush 6 which was a bit spicier when completely new. The brand new Swift 6 MS size is for sure more comfortable than the R6 with the same load. I felt that the overall movements are smoother in roll and the pitch is nearly absent. After 2 hours of flying it in moderate air, I felt a high degree of comfort as that glider was really relaxing to fly.
One day, my friend who was flying a Boomerang 12 size M less than 5 kg from the top, ( yes, a Boom 12…CCC ! and I’m not comparing it to the B class Smile …But it was just next to me…what to do? Smile )

The Boom 12 was next to me in the early thermals of that day, and we were tip-to-tip trying to find the better weak lift to climb.
Staying very close together, I was really surprised about the Swift 6 ability to float in weak air! I was able to keep a little height in the 15 mn we were stuck in a tiny thermal. So the Swift 6 seems very floaty.
Once we reached the cloud base, my friend took off on a glide going north, with a very slight headwind of 5 km/h, and he also pushed the first bar!
Oops….stuck on the Swift 6 with my stubborn head, I thought lets follow Wink … That’s me when I’m very optimistic Smile
But in order to keep the same distance I needed to push the speed bar to make the pulleys overlap, and with this configuration behind him by 20 m, I was at the same speed as my friend Boom… After a small 3 km glide, I arrived 10 m less !!!! at the same point in the mountains.
Later when the weather and windy conditions needed an efficient glider to get through the airmass faster, he disappeared in front! Not a match at all when going upwind and surfing the air. It was time to wake up!
Afterward flying with some high-end B’s, the Swift 6 showed me a similar glide to the Rush 6 and a really competitive one if comparing it to the C-class gliders.
The S size was flown with the new Delight 4 sport harness from Supair, which will be reviewed shortly this week. The Swift 6 S at 85 all up felt a bit different from the MS size as all the smaller sizes do.
It was a bit more alive for sure, but the climb and glide were equally efficient to the Rush 6 of the same size. The turning ability of the Swift 6 size S at 85 can be described as quite direct, agile, and could core thermals with a narrow core. The Swift 6 size MS was a bit more subtle and smoother in turns! I liked the MS size better at 93 for the smoothness and tight coring ability. The brake travel was slightly longer on the MS but really nice and quite agile also, and I was able to core every narrow thermal like a dream. The difference between the turning behavior of the R6/S6 is that the S6 felt a bit smoother and needed less input in the same air. The Maestro 2 size (75-95) felt more intuitive and more direct with a sharper feel through the brakes if flown at the same load or even at 90 all up. It is a matter of taste…

The difference between the Swift 5 and the Swift 6 S and MS if flown at the same load is that the pilot will feel more connected through the brakes under the S6 with a much sharper and shorter brake distance. The agility is similar but the brake authority is more present under the S6. I also felt that while you needed to fly the Swift 5 at max load or slightly 2 kg overloaded to get the best efficiency, the wife 6 can be flown 2 kg less than the top for maximum efficiency, and that goes also for the S6 S which I felt that it could be better at 83 all up.

Ears are stable with outer A’s, and they reopen without pilot intervention. Landing is a non-event and the Swift 6 could be slowed down in a tiny spot landing. Some of our X-large landing spots go from 5 meters X 10 Meters! Smile It could be tricky to land a Zeno 2 for example in moving air, but the Swift 6 can be slowed down accurately.

A light, agile smooth high B glider that has all the necessary tools to make your hike and fly, or XC experience at the max! The performance package is on top of the B category, and the ease of use is outstanding for the delivered performance. Now it's up to you to see if it fits your personal requirements! Happy flights,

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

BGD Epic 2 65-85


The B category is a very wide and the most purchased category. In this one category, you can find gliders with a real aspect ratio from 4.8 to 6.3  ! which gives a huge gap in usability and performance.

BGD Epic 2  65-85

The Epic 2 is BGD's new low B glider for 2022-23 with a real aspect ratio of 5.2  and 3.8 projected.

I flew the Epic 1 and will share in this review the differences between those two, and will insert some low B wings to compare.

Launching the Epic 2 size S (65-85) at 84 all up in no wind needs a slight pull, no hard point, no surge forward, just an easy glider to inflate. In windier take-offs, the inflation is calm as if the Epic 2 is waiting for you to be ready. 

In the air, the Epic 2 has a relatively long brake travel, with a moderate linear feel for a low B. The brake travel is aimed to be forgiving.  It also turns well in thermals with an agility a bit similar to the Epic 1. 

The roll movements are very smooth and stable, and the pitch behavior felt also quite tamed. It enters thermals quickly, and the climb is straightforward. In turbulent air, I felt that the tips are softer than the center. They lose some pressure without any consequences, and a long pull on the brake refills them.

One day, I had on my side a friend which is a very good pilot on his brand new Rush 6 size S with the same load. 

The Rush 6 is a high B that I honestly consider, among the top high Bs in terms of overall efficiency.  But, I thought …why not share this flight and see how the low aspect ratio Epic 2 will hold on…

Flying together in weak thermals, I was amazed by the capability of the Epic 2 to float quite well! I think I had a tiny advantage in very weak stuff…But that doesn’t really matter, only that I can now confirm that the Epic 2 is a great climber in weak thermals. 

In some strong cores, and when I completely ease up on the brakes to let it fly through the rising airmass, I think we both have the same climb also. But for sure the ability for the high B,  R6 to dig through the airmass faster is logical and it shows when thermals are above 3 m’s. 

The slow turning behavior of the Epic 2 in strong cores requires a bit more time to place it inside the core than an Ion 6 for example, but its quite ok, and I consider it fairly agile.   

The overall efficiency in thermals and getting through inside them is clearly much better than the old Epic 1 !!! 

The trim speed of the Epic 2 similarly loaded as the brand new R6 with the same size and load showed me a faster trim speed for the Epic 2 by 1 km/h! 

The Epic 2 is fast at trim speed for a low B glider!

At the full bar, I got 9 km over trim, with locked pulleys. 

The glide at trim on the Epic 2 seems also very good! Of course not like the Base 2 and the Rush 6, but still an interesting glide, and after some comparisons, I can surely put the Epic 2  near the best ones in that (low B category). It glides really well!

ears are stable, and efficient with -4m/s  when using the speed bar. Induce asymmetries are very soft and very easy to recover.

Conclusion: BGD released a very easy low B that can be a logical move after school but with a high-performance package for that category. Going far on an XC day while flying the Epic 2 will be an easy task for weekend warriors! Try it to see if it fits your piloting taste and requirements :-) 



Friday, September 30, 2022

GIN Avid 75-95

GIN Avid,  75-95 

I already flew the Explorer 2

Now GIN released the AVID which is a more robust version of the Explorer 2 and the use of new cloth. GIn quote: The Myungjin MJ40MF and MJ32MF fabrics are intended to withstand harsher, more abrasive environments.

Flying the Avid in different conditions and most variable ones ! from 90 to 95 all up with my grated 6 harnesses as usual… That way I can describe the feeling of that glider versus any other glider I flew for the past 6 years easily having still the same harness! 

I think flying it at 95 all up, is the way to go on the Avid.

Launching the Avid is super easy without any delay. very straightforward and easy to take off in all conditions. 

Once airborne I could feel the very high degree of comfort underneath the Avid that I also flew in some nasty places and in dry mountains. Despite the aspect ratio, Avid is tamer than many B’s with a lower aspect ratio. It delivers smooth feedback without being too demanding to fly. Probably a little more than the Chili5….and possibly less or similar to the Maestro 2 or Rush 6. Overall an easy B to fly.

It feels exactly like the Explorer in terms of pilot demand. 

The turning ability is quite good. With 15 -20 cm and moderate pressure on the brakes, I could turn the Avid inside any core! Very efficient and again (Smooth) turning behavior. 

What surprised me is the climb in weak to marginal conditions. This Avid really climbs well! It shares the same climbing properties as the Explorer 2 which is excellent! 

It is indeed a floater like no other Gin the B segment. It is difficult to land first while flying the Avid unless you make a mistake! 

In good conditions, you quickly find yourself at a cloud base! The Avid climb well! confirmed! 

Gliding will take a bit more explaining:

Doing some glides in calm air, without any wind, or sea breeze the Avid has a nice glide angle similar to the Explorer 2. which is also very very good! 

What surprised me is when doing some glides in windy, difficult conditions, while I’m at 95 all up, I didn’t feel I was efficient that much in going forward as I should be… I felt a bit pinned. Pushing the on the bar didn’t really improve my digging forward through that tricky airmass also. I just felt like sliding a bit.   I did many glides in different areas when low in some valley breeze and the result was as felt before. I think flying it a bit overloaded could be better… But I don’t know…

While pushing the speed bar, the C controls are really nice, they can stop and control the surges while being efficient and having a moderate feel. Quite nice! 

Ears are stable, they reopen sometimes without pilot intervention.

Full speed gave me 11 km/h over trim.


The Avid is a calm, smooth B, not really demanding to fly, and could be good for upgrading after two seasons on a low B glider. I was hoping for an efficient cutting through the airmass high B glider.

However, this high aspect ratio B is very different from the Carrera series. It is much more forgiving. I flew that glider in strong air and it gave me a comfortable feel. The handling is very nice, as it turns as the pilot wishes with very good brake authority. And of course, the climb in weak air will crown you “Skygod’ of the day ;-) 

In the end, a test flight is worth a thousand words. and words. 

Triple Seven Queen 3 SM (75-95)

Triple Seven Queen 3 SM (75-95) 

One of my preferred gliders in the C category was a Q-Light 2 S size. Handling, turning behavior, feel under it, climb rate in weak, glide, were all 90 % over 100! 

Now Triple Seven introduced the Queen 3 in slightly different sizes than the older model. The SM size I’m test flying goes from 75 to 95 all up certified as a 3 liner EN-C.

Launching the Queen 3 is less than 5 km/h wind needs a few steps more in order to fill it with air, than regular C’s like Alpina 4, Elan3, Allegro…due to the small intakes on the glider.  

In 25 km wind, it is easier than the mentioned gliders and slower to inflate without the surge.  So what you lose when you take off in weak, you gain in windy take-offs.

I flew the Q3 with my X-rated 6 harness from 90 to 95 all up. The glider can be easily flown at 90, but to be faster when entering the airmass and to give it slightly more dynamism, flying it at 95 would be better.

The brake travel is relatively short, with probably around 10-12 cm after the 10 cm slack, you can steer the glider in moderate thermals. The Q3 needs just a slight pull to react. However the brakes are slightly harder than the Q light I had if you are flying in strong air, and you need to pull a bit more brakes around 25 cm and more.  Considering that an Alpina 4 has a relatively light to moderate pressure, the Elan 3 with its moderate pressure feel, has slightly less brake pressure. But as I said the more you pull, the more pressure there is.

Flying the Q3 in moderate air, I felt that with the 15 cm gap, the brake pressure is quite normal. Some pilots prefer that solid feel that could give them a secure impression.

The first 12 cm brake range reminded me of the Artik 6 ones, while the Artik 6 has slightly less brake pressure and a bit more dynamic agility. 

However, I consider the Q3 to be an agile glider similar to the Delta 4 and Alpina 4 but just very slightly slower to complete a 360 radius. The Q light 2 was quite remarkably agile and had more dynamic turning behavior than the new Q3.

I think Triple Seven wanted to create a much more accessible 3-liner C glider that can give its pilots a much higher (passive safety feel). 

The feedback comes from the risers. In small punchy cores, the Q3 rolls a bit more than the Delta 4, but the pitch stays very neutral and comforting. 

I flew the Q3 in various conditions, to notice that in weak thermals, the glider floats quite nicely and stays inside that weak thermal without losing it. The Q 3 is a good glider when conditions are weak and marginal. I can say it is a floater, with nice climbing properties.

Gliding in different air masses, I found that the Q3 gets inside any difficult headwind or airmass quite efficiently, but it takes time to enter. Not fast digging through, but slow and efficient. 

Some 3 lines C’s would struggle a bit and lose their glide, some surges forward quickly, while the Q3 stays on hold, slows a bit, but maintain the height and slowly dig through  ( Itsy bitsy ;-) …)   That’s why I felt that at 95 things could go slightly faster without losing the climb.

Flying while pushing the speed bar, give the Q3 a very nice glide angle, and the C steering is quite efficient. In turbulent air and while pushing at top speed, I had a few tips collapse, that opened without any reaction on my part. 

Ears are stable, they reopen with a slight brake pull. Induced asymmetries resemble a B glider, smooth and slow. Pushing the bar on the Q3 gave me around +13 km at 800 ASL.

Now to explore every point on the Q3, I saw that Triple Seven made a knot on the C’s called Cowboy loop …It reduces 1 cm of the C lines. For my own curiosity, I released it first by a simple knot and second without a knot.

In a single loop, things got much better, with a nicer feel through the air in thermals, in the airmass…etc but a 10 % increase in movements.

With no loops, the (new glider) felt more alive! It turned much better and is faster through the air, but requires some 35 % more pilot control, and when accelerated some small collapses occurred. So I think, it's better to keep the knot after some 50 hours, and to explore the possibilities…

Conclusion: Triple Seven stayed with a conventional 3 liner with a 6.2 aspect ratio, for now…to prove that it flies really well, has a higher passive safety, and is easier to understand than the Queen 2. The spices of feel and handling are slightly more tamed than the Queen 2 ones, but the overall performance is surely improved.  The Queen 3 is a mid-C glider in terms of feel in overall conditions.

So I think after being one full season on a Rook3, the Queen 3 is a logical evolution to stay on the safe side of the C certification. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Coupe Icare 2022 interviews

 If you want to follow on the latest gliders, including the newcomers 2 liner C class...please subscribe to my youtube channel to stay updated :-) 

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! 


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. 


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