Thursday, February 26, 2015

NOVA Mentor 4 S




NOVA Mentor 4 S

Upon NOVA statement that the Mentor 4 is a step forward in performance compared to the Mentor 3, here’s the M4 in S size flown from 94 to 98 all up.

Launching is straight forward for the B category.

Once in the air the Mentor 4 feels more alive than the ‘3” and less than the ‘2’ version.
The brake response is direct and precise and puts the Mentor 4 in the middle of the M2, and M3 version in terms of responsive character .

It is not like the M2 which was short and super direct, but also not like the M3 which lacked a bit of linear response.
NOVA nailed it with a direct and nicer handling and more performance oriented than the M 3.

Climbing in weak thermals ( 0.5m/s) at 94 all up on the M4 is average… I cannot say that it has the best climb in the B category, but it could be very close to the M3.

In punchier thermals and facing the valley breeze, the Mentor 4 shows it’s potential to wipe out the M2, and M3 off the bench ! The M4 cuts through and climb going forward like a high end performance glider !

This cutting and going through the airmass is the strongest point of the M4 when loaded near the top weight ! Climbing in strong thermals facing the valley breeze is enhanced on board the M4 and could be very competitive with the class above.

The trim speed of the M4 is higher than the one on the M3 similarly loaded.

In turbulent conditions the M4 needs more active piloting than an M3 , and could be slightly less than the M2 or same in terms of pilot control .

Now comes the interesting performance part….

To give you an exact answer about the Mentor 4 glide performance, I did several long glides with some recent B ,C and last an ‘out of the box’ 7.0 ar , 2014 ,very well known ,3 line, D glider !, in calm and in moving conditions.

Of course the climb rate and the floating ability of a 7.0 AR D glider is un-matchable…but it was a very interesting information for me to know how the Mentor 4 glides among today’s B,C and D gliders. And the surprise came…

I can easily confirm now, that the glide angle of the Mentor 4 S loaded at 98 is very ….very…competitive especially facing the valley breeze and surprisingly superb at second bar !, and that would be a big surprise for many after the test movies will be released …

Conclusion:
NOVA has built a super ‘performance’ B glider. The climb in weak is average to good for the category but the Mentor 4 will take you on dream glides at trim…”or should i say” especially at full speed !!
Like it’s predecessors, the hard part is trying to beat this glider in glide !


UPDATE :  6/9/2015 
 Hi,
First i do have to apologize for my test of the Mentor 4 S test concerning the climb rate.I think it's slightly better than i said and expected...
Even for an everyday flyer surprises can happen...But they are hopefully updated if felt otherwise...

Flying the Mentor 4 S at 95 all up does in fact need some 'different' approach and reaction from the pilot to get it in a good climb inside weak thermals unlike all the B gliders i have tested in the past years...
Explanation: When entering a weak thermal it's better to let the Mentor 4 without any brakes at all, then when the pilot must turn inside the little lift, weight shift (Distance between hang points ±47 cm for the S ) and apply ONLY a very slight pressure on the inside brake ( may be 5 cm of travel and less than 1 kg of brake pressure) with no pulling in the outside brakes. (Let the glider float and surf the air ... )
When it's turbulent, block it and release...
Other B gliders can be slowed inside a small very "narrow" and weak thermal, but the M4 doesn't like at all to be slowed for an efficient climb ,(even in the narrow and weak ! ) as it won't be able to embrace this 0.5 m/s weak thermal.
In this method i could get the Mentor 4 S to experience better climb even in weak thermals !
I learned that the Mentor 4 S liked to be left alone to surf the air-mass even in weak lifts... So no braking is required to surf up-ward Smile
After all those years I'm still learning, feeling the gliders and discovering new possibilities everyday !
Sorry for any mishaps...
Cheers,
Ziad.