Tuesday, March 24, 2015

SKYMAN Cross Alps S

SKYMAN CrossAlps S

Super-light gliders…Here i come…
The CrossAlps for SKYMAN is a very light glider with a very neat construction and full of small but very important details…
I think this glider was made with ‘LOVE’ because it bears everything a hike and fly expert pilot is longing for, weather he is committed to crossing big distances supported by the thermal breeze and cool fresh air or just a peaceful minded ‘bivouac’ aficionados !  :-)

The Attachment points goes directly to the canopy, the unsheathed lines and thin dyneema risers are very well built.
The leading edge bears some small stainless steel crampons to tuck them into the snow keeping the leading edge from slipping or getting down your feet if some back wind occurs in some remote and difficult takeoffs.

I’m not the right expert to talk about that hike and fly XC machine, but anyone can appreciate a red Ferrari :-)

The take off is super easy with no wind or even with light back wind.
 Flew the S size at 89 all up. The Cross alps with it’s 6.4 ar is not a dampened glider nor an alive one. It sits in the middle of the Delta 2 SM and the Triton 2 S in terms of roll and overall movements.
The brake authority in mild conditions are very good .I could place that machine precisely where i wanted, like a surgeon doing a delicate operation.
Every centimeter result in glider adjustment ! The brakes has a relatively moderate to slightly hard pressure on the loaded S size.
12-14 cm are just needed to steer that glider.
In turbulent and strong thermals, the Cross Alps energy is more present and the authority on the brakes could block swiftly all the glider sharp movements to keep it over head.

The authority of the brakes in those conditions is slightly reduced, just waiting for the wing to settle a bit, and then coring the thermal evenly.

The strongest point of the Cross Alps is the climb in the weakest conditions !
This glider even overloaded can in fact soar and soar the sky without loosing a thermal. It is a super tool for low saves !

Doing some glide comparison with the Cross alps, puts it in the middle C in terms of glide performance.
I know that the purpose was to made a super light and compact XC glider, but the glide was just for information and the Cross Alps has lots of other benefits to look at.

In strong conditions the Cross Alps need active piloting, but it seems a solid and coherent glider if the right amount is pulled on the brakes.

The other good point is the efficient ears. Doing some big ears with the bar, i saw -5.5 m/s !!
The opening needs some time and with a dab on the brakes it opens smoothly .

For sure, the Cross alps is a very interesting, super-light XC glider to test fly ! 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015


BGD Base M
The Base is the new 2015 B glider from the two time world champion and owner of BGD ,Bruce Goldsmith. The Base has lots of innovations ! From the Cord Cut Billow to the mini-ribs on the leading edge, and an aggressive big white nose ! “A new name for that famous leading edge” ;-)
Bruce often comments about the perfect angle reached with his leading edge design.
Taking off is very easy and smooth on the Base.
In the air , the Base gave me an immediate feel of a compact, comfortable , easy to manage glider for the B category. It feels more coherent and more stable than some low B’s i have tested earlier. It is definitely NOT a fully dampened boring glider . All the movements are still present but reduced to a minimum, allowing the pilot to feel every bit of lift in a slow motion way.
The brake travel is medium to short and is relatively “slightly” heavier than the recent B’s i had in my tests.
The authority on the brakes are very good .It enable the pilot to put the Base exactly where he wants, and also in a moderate slow motion way. It is not the most agile B glider, but i was fully satisfied of it’s agility ! Pulling on the brakes will immediately enable the glider to turn right where it is ordered to go.
Trim speed at 90 all up on the M size is close to 39 km/h and it’s a average to good speed for the category !
The full lengths on the speed bar enhances the speed by approximately 13 km/h over trim, and it’s relatively easy to pull with a moderate pressure like the M4 or the Iota i was testing earlier.
Applying the bar, the Base became even more solid and coherent.

Inside the B category, i found out that the Base has a very efficient sink rate in weak thermals enabling low saves !
I think the ability to slow it down and to squeeze that turn radius coupled with a very good sink rate is putting the Base among the top efficient ones.
With stronger thermals, coring with the Base by lowering the inside brake is fun to do, but the brakes get a bit heavy on the lower end.
Bruce’s philosophy was to put regular lines on the Base,instead of competition lines, for many B pilots wishing for a recreational B glider .
I did some glides with the Base versus the new B’s.
The glide in calm air or racing in strong air at trim and full bar is within the B category. The glide performance puts the Base in the middle of the B category, and it offers a lot more in climb, comfort and agility.

Ears are easy to pull, they are stable with a sink rate around -3m/s. They slowly open with a small dab on the brakes. Conclusion:
At first, just by looking at those colors will surely get you in a better mood ;-)  ! especially the River color !
The Base is a well sorted glider made for big air.
If you fly from +30 hours /year to +200 h, and your wish is a very good climbing glider that has all the latest technologies, a glider that can take you safely and comfortably in the air, a smooth and balanced amount of feedback with nice brake authority, then the Base is an interesting option to look at .