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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Niviuk Peak 3 23

Niviuk Peak 3
Being in Saint Hilaire festival in 2012 I passed by the NIVIUK stand. There was a Peak 3 picture on the wall and after asking when it will be released there was no answer …

Mysterious hidden design for the moment.

I moved on, thinking it must worth the wait, as NIVIUK seems developing a nice D glider.

And months pass…In June 2013, I received two Peak 3 23 and from that day I flew both of them (to be sure of my writings) in multiple conditions, from weak to rough and nasty conditions enabling me to be as precise and detailed as possible. I took my time, as I was a bit far from the spreading hype, and just to be sure of what I am going to publish.

Here is what I found flying the size 23 at different loadings from 90 to 95 all up:


In nil wind the Peak 3 needs a steady pull. It is a bit slow to reach overhead .In strong wind it launches perfectly without any tendency to shoot forward.

Handling and maneuverability:

Once in the air I was very pleased by the brake authority of the Peak 3. I think it is one of its strong points. I could quickly place the glider anywhere in the thermal. If the conditions get rough, turbulent, below an inversion, the Peak 3 at my loads won’t really react as promptly as it reacts in homogenous conditions.

It just needs to settle for a sec.

In strong cores and homogenous conditions and when the glider is already inside the core the Peak 3 has a very nice handling among the best in that category.

 In those well-built conditions, the turning ability inside the thermal for a D is superb!

Flying in turbulence:

The Peak 3 as a 2.5 liner with D certification is somehow comfortable in the air, but when heavy turbulence is encountered the glider shakes as a whole, but I felt it has a very solid structure.

I never lost control of the glider in any of the conditions I flew in, just some hovering moments.

This structure seems successful.

The Peak 3 moves generally in 'strong air' more than a Peak 2, and only a ‘little’ less than the IP6 and its authority on the brake will enable the pilot to keep it better overhead.

In entering some thermals the Peak 3 has a slight pitch back before entering, loosing a bit of it’s positive biting energy and making it a bit more demanding...

Roll movements are generally smooth for that kind of D glider.

Piloting with the B’s:

In long glides with some moderate turbulence the B handles helps a lot as they guide the pilot to keep efficiently the Peak 3 overhead.
In heavy turbulence, they need a higher level of piloting that needs acclimatization coupled with foot control on the bar. (If applied)

Climb rate:
Flying in very weak thermals (± 0.3 m/s) on my lowest loadings, I found the Peak 3 to hover a bit .It just waits for that little stronger thermal (+1.5m/s) to climb faster.

The Peak 3 is not a floater like the Peak 1.

It resembles the Peak 2 in weak climbs.

Flying the Peak 3 in stronger thermals showed that it has spring reactions to stronger cores where it does in fact climb quickly better than its predecessor if equally loaded.

Glide performance:

I did several long glides (15 km) tip to tip with the Peak 3 against some top 2013 ‘C’ gliders.

(Only available for now…)

Some in back wind and calm conditions and some in head wind and turbulent conditions. I only found that the Peak 3 has the edge in head wind conditions were it surfs the air slightly better.

The glide at first bar is acceptable for the category but at second bar unfortunately I didn’t feel it was…

The speed:
At trim speed the Peak 3 loaded at 93 has a trim speed of +39 km/h, which was similar to a Delta 2 ML at 102 all up.

 I flew the Peak 3 23 with an X-rated 6 harness.

At 93 all up, I pushed the bar pulley to pulley many times, I could only see an increase of 17 km/h max over trim speed…I have tried and tried again but that’s the only result that I have found.

The bar pressure is medium to soft and the glider leading edge show some wrinkles at full bar but the Peak 3 23 is still solid!

Using the bar in turbulence:

After some flights, I acclimatized myself to the Peak 3,and tried for several occasions to apply bar in some very turbulent and unstable air.

On the last day of testing I was on the lee side with some very turbulent air. And I shouldn’t be there… It was just some spicy idea to explore the Peak 3 possibilities.
First I sat well on the harness as it was shaking and snaking all the way, but applying first bar does in fact make the glider slightly more stable but the energy is even more present and feel able…

I mean the tips will warn you at first, informing you before any possibility of bigger collapses that may occur, with a fast dynamic flip-flop!

Overall it is a bit demanding in those conditions, but I was sure that if I was flying a lower rated glider I would also experience some heavy shakes…


Actually pulling the B external lines .It stalls the outside B lines. To do that, I accelerate a bit first, hold the external B lines high and pull them down.

The glider slows down ‘noticeably’ at first with the glider going slightly back a little, and then dives forward to show a sink rate of 4 m/s for 2 seconds, finally it stabilizes at -2m/s.

 Pushing the bar will only add -1m/s. They are a bit hard to hold for a time and the opening is very energetic and quick, shaking the whole structure so I found it is better to release them slowly with the bar out.

360’s are a fast descent method. The Peak 3 will keep a stable spiral at least for my settings.

Wing over’s are a delight and very dynamic, much like the feeling of an acro glider. I never had a D glider that can build massive wing over’s very quickly and very high with the pressure still very strong inside the canopy.

Feeling under a 2.5 liner:

Many will ask, why do 2 or 2.5 liners need another understanding approach?

IMHO, 2 or 2.5 liners react differently in the air than 3 liners at least for the current ones.

They have less attachment points and I presume that they must retain a high pressure inside to keep the structure solid. That’s why they must be flown like a Jockey does on a racehorse. Just giving him the exact pressure on the reins in order to be fast and still controllable without pulling too much and slowing down.

IP6 overview and differences:

The IP6 had also lots of energy, allowing it to dig in thermal very quickly.
Applying brakes in strong surges didn’t really affect its pitch behavior much, as it is already inside the core and climbing, or even with the weak ones…with endless float ability…

Gliding between thermals, IP6 pro pilots trusted the solid glider and use B handles to be most efficient in lift lines…


With the Peak 3 targeted for a larger number of D pilots, the pitch movements has been slightly ‘restrained’ and it does in fact pitch back a little…especially in sudden surges before entering the thermals.

But NIVIUK has released for the pilots a 2.5 liner in the ‘D’ category with nice handling characteristics coupled with lots of energy, solid structure, and good brake authority.
Its also a very beautiful looking taught glider in the air.

I would have preferred a more floating ability as its bigger brother the IP6 and a little neutral or slight positive pitch behavior that maybe could have led to some close performance in real air…

I found that the Peak 3 is very different in flying
feeling and less in efficiency, but many pilots will like to fly a lower aspect ratio with more fun handling with the Peak 3.

I loved the Hook 2,3 for their comfortable performances, the Artik 2, 3 for their handling /perf ratio, the Peak 1 for its excellent climb, the peak 2 for its comfortable speed…The IP 6 for that outstanding package!

 As for the Peak 3,and after taking my time with it, i cannot say that i was totally impressed...may be i was expecting a lot more but this is a with total honesty my humble ‘personal’ opinion, and I think the best way is to forget the hype if good or bad and get one for a test flight hopefully in multiple conditions.

You will love it or you don’t. You, the pilot, only can decide!

Please remember that my tests are 'personal' comments and they are just an idea.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

SWING Mistral 7 S (75-95)

SWING Mistral 7 S (75-95)

It has been a long time I have flown a SWING glider. The M7 S is now available and I flew it from 88 to 92 all up.

Today the test flight is being made at 88 all up.

The Mistral 7 has 7 lines /side, a nose shark profile, unsheathed lines at the top, with very minimalistic layout.

Launching: In calm air the M7 S rises smoothly and evenly without any hard points. In windy conditions it rises fast and needs a swift control to keep it overhead.

In the air: Once airborne, the pilot will immediately feel the high trim speed for a B glider even if flown at mid weight. It has a trim speed of 39.5 km/h at 88 all up.

I can describe the maneuverability and the brake authority as short, very responsive, but must adapt a certain technique to keep it agile and on course. Hitting a thermal if the brakes on the outside are pulled a bit, the M7 S strangely will be reluctant to turn nicely inside the core.

The pilot must let the M7 S with its energy, slip though, then control the pitch and let go of the outside break completely or just a ‘though’ of a pressure J and then weight shift and pull the inside brake for ±10 cm, finding himself in a perfect thermal swirl.

I flew this glider from very weak conditions to average thermals and in high wind soaring.

I always felt that the M7 S is on the attack. I cannot say that it’s a floating glider rather than an interesting racing glider.

In ‘windy conditions’ I felt that the M7 S profile cut through the wind with efficiency than any recent B I have tested.

In turbulent conditions the M7 S moves above the pilots head, and it’s a bit alive. It does have some pitch movements and fast reactions in turbulence, putting it in the high-end B category, but the authority on the brakes will keep the M7 always in control without the feeling of an empty paraglider, much better than some high-end B’s.

Climb rate:

In weak conditions at 88 all up, little and light brake controls are required to keep the M7 S from diving into the turn. A pilot could not make the M7 S at a slow stationary turn. It’s a racing B glider that likes to fly fast, so it could suffer a bit in very weak thermals (-0.2 m/s) .

In strong cores the energy inside the M7 S will enable its pilots to have some excellent climbing characteristics! As if it’s a loaded spring. The climbs in steady strong cores could match the class above, because of its constant biting ability.

Performance: Everyone is waiting for that chapter? Ok.

The M7 S is on top of the B category in terms of gliding performance. In a 4 km glide with a recent top C bigger size glider (85-105) loaded at 101, the results are: Same trim speed all the way and just a very few meters of difference for the ‘C’ at the end .(Videos on the way)

Don’t need to make measurements …The M7 S has definitely a superb glide angle but without the ability to float in lift lines like the higher rated ones.


The accelerator is relatively light and the increase in speed over trim is immediate and fast with some ± 15 km at my loadings. It is very usable and the leading edge deforms a bit at max speed but pulling a bit the A’s still felt pressurized.

Big ears are stable, very efficient and even better if coupled with the speed system. They reopen by themselves.

The stall point for the M7 S at my loadings is still very forgiving, with a stable parachute descent, before the full stall.

For which pilot is the M7 targeted: The M7 S is a high-end B glider that an educated intermediate pilot will feel at home, without being dull and empty of character. It needs the right amount of control.

Conclusion: SWING has introduced to the market a small flat area glider with plenty of performance. It needs an educated pilot to fly it happily. Pilots flying in those windy places would welcome the M7, or pilots who wants to go fast in a cross country flight .I can describe that glider like a small energetic race car.


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

UP Kantega XC 2 S 70-90

UP Kantega XC2 S (70-90)

My favorite glider in 2012 was the Trango XC2 .I really liked that glider ability to fly efficiently. I was waiting for Franta’s new creation the Kantega XC2. And since I can be min at 90 all up I preferred to get the S size for a test flight.

Launching is easy …even if there’s a little wind it can inflate without touching the brakes…

In the air at max load on the S size, I could sense a low trim speed that was confirmed afterward by flying next to gliders in the same cat.

That slow trim will enable the glider to lock on thermals at low speeds and climb vertically. In head wind thermals and climbs, it needs more time to enter that air mass. The day before I was test flying a Peak 3 in turbulent air, and I was active all the time under it. The next day when test flying the Kantega XC2 , I was feeling a completely relaxed and forgetting totally about the glider, especially that my friend reported same turbulences and discomfort on his Delta 2 as yesterday. On board the Kantega XC2, it was like sitting in a hammock on the beach in the Bahamas islands. All I was missing is the music…

The brake authority is very nice under the Xc2 allowing me to core every thermal even if it’s rough or disorganized. The turns are well coordinated and the wing can turn really narrow.

The overall glide in different conditions showed a competitive glide in the mid B category. I would have preferred a faster trim speed with more biting ability into the thermals like its bigger sister the Trango XC2.

But may be the extra comfort under the Kantega was the main focus of the designer.

The accelerator is smooth and usable all the way with 15 km gain over trim speed.

Big ears are stable if they aren’t pulled too much, but the sink rate is around 3 m/s with bar.

The stall point of the S size at my loading is a little below the hips and must be carefully reached when top landing.

Conclusion: I was a bit surprised about the 38 km/h trim speed on the loaded S size. But the overall nice package that the Kantega Xc2 offers that will give immense flying pleasure for many pilots.