The key to life is not accumulation. It's contribution. Hands that serve help more than the lips that pray.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Evaluating a glider

It is really a hard time for me when evaluating a new glider and having a live conscious make the job even harder.

I fully understand that in a glider development there is lots of pressure, money to be spent on R&D, worker, expenses, prototypes, tests before certification, the certification and its cost, the construction, the sales & marketing…. All that is with the passion involved to create a new glider better than the old one, with the ingredients to make a safe, but competitive design in today’s hard fight for existence.

The company investments are huge, and any flaws will lead sometimes to disaster consequences.

Today's trend is to bring a certified glider more friendly user,even thought the aspect ratio is sometimes increased, with the ability to use frequently the first bar.
Raw efficiency is for open class paragliders.The certified ones (EN-D's)of the same year, will always be two steps behind in performance because of safety issues.

When a new glider appears on the market, many pilots start to dream, for what it will bring them to glide endlessly or float effortlessly, and safely into the atmosphere.

Before I begin any test I always think for whom the glider has been designed for. Just a reminder that the majority of pilots are very demanding, we like to be the higher ones, or the fastest and therefore if any glider is a lesser climber, or have a less glide lead us to make wrong conclusions. I think that every glider could have flaws and virtues .The best doesn't exist in life, but in our heads.
We strive for performance but forget who we are. Some would prefer handling to performance, or security over speed, or even speed over certification.

That’s why our taste and our abilities to fly a certain glider will differ a lot.

In those past years of flying and testing, I sense glider “efficiency” in the air. This glide efficiency cannot be measured in moving air, but the
difference is clearly seen to the eye, and that’s why I make the videos.

Happy landings,


Thursday, March 3, 2011

AXIS VENUS 3 M (85-110)


Laying the glider on the ground looks like having a high AR. The leading edge is without Mylar reinforcements. It has small nylon rods to keep the nose in shape. Lines are very few, and the risers are now better looking and thinner than the Venus 2 ones.
The glider is far away from the pilot (longer lines than Venus 2).

Launching the glider is a non-event. The trim speed is high for that glider. A little higher than the Peak 2.
Brake pressure is medium and the glider beautifully turns toward the core easily. When you are inside the thermal the glider “spins” positively inside the core! Its handling is better than the Venus 2 M at 104 or even at 100 all up.
I flew the glider at 100 all up also and it retains the same characteristics being fast at trim ,but with small ears flapping sometimes and a good climb rate in the weak.
Big ears are stable but won’t reopen easily by themselves. May be more load on the glider is needed.
May be i am mistaken,but after some long glides in calm air,and later in real air, I didn’t find a leap in the "glide angle" than the Peak 2 or the GTO M at trim or even accelerated, but will surely be the fastest one at both.
In strong conditions and in a race to goal mode,it will surely arrive among the first gliders .
In Weak conditions ,below 0.5 m/s and at 104 all up it needs a little time to climb. Meeting strong cores the glider jumps quickly into them and could match the other EN-D gliders.
It communicates in the air a bit more than the Venus 2 ,Peak 2 or the GTO M.
The Venus 3 doesn't have the tendency to go quickly on a stall if you lower the brakes and doesn't have also a spin tendency if a turn is induced quickly.The stabilo flutters a bit in active air.

Landing the glider is easy .
The pluses:Speed at trim and accelerated,handling ,Climb in the strong.
The minuses:Glide and climb in the weak if loaded ,vs the best in the EN-D cat .

Conclusion: Before i begin any test i always think what's the glider has been designed for.Just a reminder that we pilots are very demanding,we like to be the higher ones or the fastest and therefore if any glider is a lesser climber or have a less glide lead us to make wrong conclusions.I think that every glider could have flaws and virtues .The best doesn't exist in life but in our heads.
We strive for performance but forget who we are .Some would prefer handling over performance or security over speed or even speed over certification.
Over the years my preferred glider and still is "the Venus 2". "Efficient and cool".

The Venus 3 is very different. Faster ,has better handling ,climbs better in the strong ,climbs less in the weak, glide is close ,easy to use for an aspect of nearly 7,needs a little more actions from the pilot than its predecessor.
It is better to get a demo flight and decide if it meets your requirements .

Videos :