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

Friday, July 20, 2012


The very long waited IP6 23 came finally and I was able to fly it in variable conditions from weak to turbulent at 98 all up recommended by NIVIUK.

If I want to compare it with the old ‘D’s, the IP6 is a bit difficult to launch it overall.

In flight:
Comparing this glider also to the old ‘D’s, Peak 2,M4, O8… ,the IP6 feels more dynamic and alive.
It feels like the glider has lots of energy.
The handling and ability to steer the glider in “moderate conditions” is outstanding. Very responsive, soft and linear brake travel enables its pilot to experience not less than perfection.

Flying all the new ‘C’s and old generation ‘D’s I could immediately feel that I am under something very different and special. A glider from outer space .The climb is twice better. I could float endlessly and the flying feels ‘light’, as it opens new doors to very long xc flights.
Gliding with the IP 6 is a memorable experience. It will illuminate the pilot to the fact that numbers on paper are pure illusion.
Encountering a light lift on long glides, the IP6 will inhale that lift and float endlessly to the horizon ;-)

In small turbulent cores and moving conditions, the IP 6 will remind its pilot that it’s a pure breaded horse very different from the old ‘D’ category. It has lots of energy that it will need some time to settle and controlled for the pilot to steer it into the core. The brakes became less powerful to adjust to the energy of the glider.

But in those nasty conditions the IP 6 never felt soft and I didn’t have any collapses or even felt that it will collapse. The structure felt very strong.

The accelerator is smooth and at first bar the wing speed increases significantly with practically no loss of gliding power! At second bar a speed over 63 could be reached easily.

Big ears are possible with the B3, but after applying half bar and reaching the lines at the highest possible. The pressure is high, and I wasn’t able to get less than -2m/s at ¾ of the bar. They reopen very quickly on release.

360’s are a delight, as the handling will enable the pilot to let the IP6 dive. Lots of power !

Competition pilots will never mind all what’s written here. Their goal is to win and the IP 6 is already here to confirm that.
My conclusion is for C or D pilots who are thinking about getting themselves an upgrade.
I will be clear and fair. IMHO The IP 6 is the competition glider of the moment that will clearly win PWC events in the hands of those professional pilots who are searching for winning. That’s the main purpose behind its creation ….
Old ‘D’s are a big step behind in performance and overall ease of use.

I have sent the glider now and I am still thinking of that unimaginable piece of art! Those memorable moments under it…I felt that I was really “flying”

But since I am not into competitions with lots of responsibilities towards myself and others, and rather prefer a more relaxing and common wing for everyday use, I will wait to test fly that new NIVIUK peak 2 (replacement) and I am sure that the designer will have some more tricks under his sleeves ;-) .



Sunday, July 8, 2012


“ESCAPE” a new brand, motivated people, new ideas, and new possibilities.
Laying the glider on the floor showed impeccable details and construction. Plastic inserts on the leading edge, no Mylar reinforcements on the cells like all the new generation designs. All the lines are unsheathed, a true 3 liner, looks very slick and sporty.
A new innovation for that class is the WTS (Wing Torsion System) Two lines each side connected to the stabilo edge of the wing that let the pilot steer the wing in accelerated mode or at trim if they wish without touching the brakes, when they pull the small handles located each side.

In the air:
The weight range for the 25 is quite large (85-110)  But the designer Pierre-Yves Allois ,recommends to fly the 25 at 97 all up practically in all conditions. Above that weight you will gain in speed and penetration but will loose in weak thermals.

Launching the glider is a non-event for the category. It even launches with 1 km/h wind easily as the glider feels very light and steady above your head.
First thermal and the turning abilities are average to good, similar to an M4.The brakes have medium pressure .A bit more than the M4.
I flew the glider in few occasions, first time the conditions were turbulent below an inversion. Strangely the glider seems stable and comfortable for the ‘D’ category.
I steady moderate thermals the glider climbs very well and you can steer it precisely inside the core. In disorder weak thermals it needs a bit more skill to re-adjust the turn radius and place the wing wherever you want.
In very weak thermals below 0.2 m/s I found the Smax to be less efficient .It feels that the nose is entering but the vario doesn’t beep.
Now the strong point of the Smax SR is its glide at trim. My own feeling tells me that this glider has better glide than the old ‘D’s !
Its performance is a step below the IP6 that I have also to test fly in parallel.
ESCAPE stated that this glider is for the regular ‘D’ pilot. Indeed, the Smax SR is easier to handle in turbulent conditions. It will give its pilot more time to react under it. I think it is similar to the M4 in comfortable behavior.
Applying the bar is easy and the pressure is a bit more than the M4 but still light enough. Big ears have medium stability, and with the speed bar the sink rate is around 2.5 m/s .

The (WTS)
I have tried the WTS at trim and accelerated. Inducing the small red handle at trim I could easily turn the wing 360 degrees on a large radius. Nice…
In accelerated mode it is better to let the brakes on your wrists and try to pull the red handles with no brake pressure. (Elbows must be a bit higher)
In that configuration the WTS woks more efficiently but needs some time to adapt…and have the feeling to trust the wing …
Playing with the wing speed limits, the Smax SR showed an incredible distance between low and high trim speed ,that enabled me to play around in high wind top landing.
In nil wind landings, it is better to keep the Smax SR with a bit of speed before braking it to land.

Excellent glide and a comfortable ride. That’s the Smax SR.If you are an experienced pilot whose aim is the ‘D’ category, and don’t want to go for extreme machines, a test fly of the Smax SR is a must.


Friday, July 6, 2012

U-Turn Blacklight SM

U-Turn Blacklight
In 2010 a successful manufacturer made an impressive EN-B wing that can out glide some higher rated gliders.
Since then, many manufacturers worked hardly on something to beat it…
Last month, I had a U-Turn Passion EN-C to test fly it. I was very impressed by the total package this glider offers, especially its capacity to absorb turbulence for its 6.85 ar to keep its passenger quite comfortable. I was eager to find out what U-Turn will bring to the market in the B segment especially that they claim for the new Blacklight a glide of 10 !

The test:
Like the Passion the Blacklight SM is quite light with its ± 4.5 kg! Plastic inserts at the leading edge and inside the glider are (a la mode) these days ;-) as with all the gliders. Each thin riser hold 7 lines + the brake line.

Launching is easy for the category wherever in light or in strong breeze.

In the air:
The first impression after the first turn is that the Blacklight has one of the best handling a B glider could have!
Describing the handling of the Blacklight is like eating my favorite ice cream with caramel, vanilla and chunks of delicious brownies. The excellent taste will let you sometimes tighten your eyebrows ;-) and that’s exactly how you will feel inside a thermal with the Blacklight .
Flying against the best B’s of the moment, the Blacklight showed an excellent climb especially in weak thermals even loaded at max!
Being targeted for the high end B pilot, the Blacklight is fairly comfortable in the air. It surely moves in turbulence but it is easily manageable inside the hot B category.

On long glides (more than 10 km) in relatively smooth conditions against a Mentor 2 S, the Blacklight showed similar glide may be 0.1 L/D better than M2 and same at full speed with may be less than 1 km top end speed for the BL .
The advantage of the Blacklight is when racing in lift lines by its ability to float better and climb easier as some higher rated gliders do.

The accelerator is smooth and light. Big ears are stable and reopen with a touch on the brakes.

With the Blacklight U-Turn has made a new serious challenger in the B category. It has marvelous handling, brilliant climb rate that will manage low saves easily, very good performances coupled with a fairly comfortable glider in the ‘hot B’ segment making the Blacklight a sure success.

Blacklight S size on video !  Even more beautiful ....!