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

Saturday, March 17, 2012

NIVIUK Artic 3 (RACE version)

Some feedback.
The Artik 3 Race has some more raw feeling under it than the normal Artik 3.But that's fairly fine.
The Race lines also added some strong character to the Artik 3 especially in those small disorganized thermals ,it became a bit energetic on its own by imposing its path and won't let the pilot quickly put it where he wants, like the normal version. It is still very agile in "homogenous" weak or strong thermal.

This week was very windy and rainy weather .We couldn't fly . Today I just came from a soaring site near my house that i know very much.
The wind "down" at the beach was around + 30 km/h !! In this site i have flown over the years many gliders in bad or windy weather and i know it by heart .

I can confirm that the Race version loaded at top is the fastest at trim i flew here ...I had the feeling i could soar with "nearly" a speed wing Wink .
This glider cuts and goes forward even in gusts !!!
I am pretty interested by the future comments of pilots flying the 25 Race version at + 94 all up. Smile



When GRADIENT first released the Aspen 4 ,with minimum line configuration ,my eyes opened wide, and I was concerned about the stability and how they could manage that. The first Aspen 1 was fast, quite alive but it had a very nice crispy handling.
Now I have in my hands the Aspen 4 to fly. Here’s what I found:

Launching this glider in nil wind require a gentle but steady pull for the first 80 % .The Launching is a non-event.

Immediately after take off the feeling of security and comfort is present .It is like you are riding exactly in a big smooth American car.

The Aspen 4 flown at 100 all up in turbulent conditions showed a very homogenous character. Strangely, I could see the risers moving, but I was not feeling strongly the roll movements without being dull at all.
It is indeed a new sensation for me!
It is like the carabineers are working like shock absorbents, but actually it is the internal structure of the wind that does all the hard work.

What streaked me also is that when conditions were shaky and turbulent inside an inversion and when I was finding it a bit hard to turn some agile gliders inside spaghetti thermals J, the Aspen 4 was still very maneuverable and could be placed whenever I wanted regardless of the conditions.
It is one of the strongest points of the Aspen 4!

After some glides with some new “C’s”, I can confirm that the Aspen 4 is among the top performers.
To talk about pure performance is always hard, but the Aspen 4 has a very usable one.
The accelerator is soft and very easy to pull. Second bar has an impressive glide among the best, with a high stability and friendly user.

I flew the glider in some weak and strong thermals, next to some “C’s” to conclude that the glider is not reluctant to any thermal. In fact it slide comfortably in, and climb without delay.

Big ears are “BIG” because of only two lines on the “A’s” Using the second bar with big ears is very efficient with decent rates over -5m/s, depending on how much lines you pull.

GRADIENT have now a new hidden weapon inside those Aspens, with this efficient internal structure.
Pilots moving from high-end “B’s” to the “C” category will immediately feel at home under the Aspen 4.
My opinion about that glider is very positive because it has everything without the lacks of anything. As I stated before, performance alone cannot make a good glider.
On board of the Aspen 4 a pilot can have a very good glide, a very competitive climb, a superb handling, a comfortable ride, with big ears as a very efficient descent method.
It has everything to make a pilot smile after a long XC flight.


Monday, March 12, 2012

UPDATE EN-D comparisons.

1- Omega 8 25@94 = Magus XC2 = Poison 3 S @ 94 =Mantra 4 ML /MS (Very easy even in no wind)
2- GTO M & GTO Small
3- AD-Pure -Venus 2 M& S
4- Peak 2

A- Climb with a head wind (>15 km/h)
1- Mantra 4 ML @ 103 – AD-PURE M/S @ 93
2- Mantra M/S @ 93 - GTO M @ 103, Magus XC 2  25  @ 96
3- PEAK 2 24 @ 60 % of the load range
4- Omega 8 25 =POISON 3 S @ 95 = VENUS 3 M @ 104
5-. Venus 2 M @ 103

B- Climb > 2m/s without head wind
1-Mantra 4 ML @ 100= Magus XC 2  25  @ 96
2- AD-PURE M/S @ 93 = Mantra 4 M/S @ 93
3- GTO M @103
4- PEAK 2 24 & POISON 3 S
5-Venus 2 M =Omega 8 25
6- Venus 3 M

C- Climb in weak thermals (< 0.3m/s)
1-Mantra 4 ML @ 98 (lightly loaded)= Magus XC 2  25  @  96 ( very efficient)
2- GTO M @ 103 = Peak 2 24 @ 90 lightly loaded = Venus 2 M @104 (loaded) =
3- POISON 3 S (close difference)
4- Mantra 4 ML @ 103 (loaded) ! = Mantra 4 M/S @ 93 (loaded) AD-Pure M/S @ 93
5- Venus 3 M @ 103
6- Omega 8 25 @ 94

Glide at trim:
1- Mantra 4 ML @ 100
2- AD-Pure M/S @ 93= Magus XC 2  25  @  96
3- Mantra 4 M/S @ 93
4- GTO M
5- Peak 2 (very close to GTO M)
6- Poison 3 S @ 94 =Omega 8 25 @ 94
7- Venus 3 M @ 103

Glide at first bar:
1-Mantra 4 ML @100 = AD-Pure M/S @ 93
2-Mantra 4 M/S @ 93 = Magus XC 2  25  @ 96
3- GTO M @103
4-Peak 2 24 @102
5-Poison 3 S @ 94=Omega 8 25 @ 94 (very close)
6-Venus 3 M @ 103

Handling in still air:
1-Omega 8 25 (A delight!)
2-Poison 3 S
= Magus XC 2 25 @ 96
3-Peak 2 24 (crispy and linear)=Venus 3 M
4-Mantra 4 MS @ 93
5-Mantra 4 ML @ 100 (Turns with a little delay)
6-AD-Pure M/S @ 93 (precise)
7- GTO M @ 103 (Turns with a little more delay)
They could be very close with a big difference between the O8 and the GTO M.

Handling and maneuverability in average conditions "with thermals":
1- Omega 8 25 @ 94 =Mantra 4 ML@ 100=Mantra 4 M/S @ 93= Magus XC 2  25  @ 96
2-AD-Pure M/S @ 93
3-Mantra R-10.3 S @ 98
4-EVO-X 24/ Peak 2 24/Poison 3/ Venus 3 M

Now the most important is the “handling in rough air”, and I mean is that some gliders when encountering multiple cores and punchy turbulent thermals, will react to their own, because their inside pressure is more stronger than the controls and the brake inputs the pilot are inducing. The pilot below will be a passenger for a while till the glider settles in. The more time it will take, the worse sensations you will passively feel. And that’s not good.
Some in those same conditions will be more reactive to the brake inputs, the pilot underneath is inducing and could place them wherever he wants despite the rough conditions. And that’s good efficient handling.
It is always much better being the pilot underneath a wing rather being a passenger even though for a short period.

Handling in rough air:
1-Omega 8 25 @ 94  =  Magus XC 2 25  @ 96
2-Poison 3 S @ 94= AD-Pure M/S @ 95
3-Peak 2 24 @ 98 =Mantra 4 ML @100 =Venus 3 M= Mantra M/S @ 95
4-GTO M @ 103
5-GTO S @ 94

Comfort: (movements under the glider in turbulent conditions)
1- Poison 3 @ 96 (Unbelievable for an EN-D !! )  = Magus XC 2  25  @ 96
2- AD-Pure M/S @ 93 (very close to Poison 3)
3-Mantra M/S @ 93= mantra 4 ML @ 103
4- Peak 2-24 9/10 (very dampened, very close)
5- GTO M & Omega 8 25 @ 94 8.8/10
6- Venus 2 M 8.5 /10
7- Venus 2 Small 8/10
8-Venus 3 M
9- GTO Small 4/10

Easiness in flight: (In average conditions, where the pilot would be able to understand better the glider movements)
1-Poison 3= Mantra 4 ML= Mantra 4 M/S @ 95  = Magus XC 2  25  @ 96
2- Peak 2 24=AD-Pure M/S @ 95
4-Omega 8 25
5-EVO-X 24
6-Venus 3 M
7-Mantra R-10.3

Stable ears in turbulent conditions !
1-Omega 8 25 = Skywalk Poison 3 =Mantra 4 ML =Mantra 4 M/S @ 95 (Stable) = Magus  XC 2  25
2- EVO-X 24 (Stable)=Venus 3 M Stable
3-GTO M (a little unstable)
4-Peak 2 24 (Not stable)
5-AD-Pure @ 95 (Not stable)
6- Mantra R-10.3 (Not stable)

Landing and maneuver approaches to top land.
1-Poison 3=Mantra 4 ML= AD-Pure M/S @ 93 = Magus XC 2  25 @ 96
2-Omega 8 25 = Venus 2 M & S=Mantra 4 M/S 2 93
3-Peak 2= Venus 3 M
4- GTO M
5- GTO S

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


Mac Para Marvel
And finally it arrived.
As with all Mac Para gliders this Marvel also made by Gin factory has an excellent finish.
The Marvel has an aspect ratio of 6.5 for the EN-C certification, and laying it on the ground shows clearly its sporty look.

Launching the Marvel with 10 km/h wind require a light but steady pull on the risers to get the glider above your head. So I think it could be a plus in strong wind.

In the air:
Getting next to similar EN-C gliders gave me immediately the feeling of an excellent climb rate, especially in weak conditions. That’s the strong point of the Marvel.
The turns are flat with a nice handling .It isn’t the most agile EN-C, but I think that was pretty enough to enjoy my flight.

In turbulent and nasty conditions the Marvel require active piloting to keep it over my head. The 6.5 Aspect ratio is present. Nothing out of the ordinary for an EN-C, but I will rate it as a high end EN-C in terms of control.

Gliding next to some recent C’s and some 2011 top D’s, I can confirm that the Marvel is up there with the leaders in the recent C category, for efficient gliding, whether it is in headwind glides or in calm air.
The designer Mr Peter Recek has a small tip to get those Marvel pilots a better squeeze for their glide. Here it is:
We have managed nice glide increase by bending the C straps of 2-3 cm (on Marvel and Magus XC2) when flying accelerated 25-50%. With this shortening the speed is a bit decreased but the glide increases significantly.

I have tried that.
In calm or moderate air the glide feels like it has improved.
In “turbulent, shaky headwind glides”, it needs more practice to keep it leveled with the C risers, and as Peter said it was a bit slower.

Big ears are small, not really too efficient, and the glider felt a bit loosing “slightly” its homogeneity with a decrease in speed. They do not open by themselves and need a gentle long pull from each side at the time.

The Marvel with its 6.5 aspect ratio feels and looks sporty like you are on an EN-D glider but with a passive safety of the EN-C certification.
Climbs are superb, and could be easily the best in the C category!
Its glide and surfing character will take you whenever you want, with no excuse or any blame for the glider.
It is the high end “C” glider you can train on to hit safely the D class.