Sunday, June 21, 2015

GIN Atlas X-Alps S

GIN Atlas X-Alps S

After test flying the regular Atlas S , here’s the X-Alps version is S size also.
Regular lines all over are installed on the X-Alps and the overall construction looks very solid and neat.
It seems this X-Alps version can be flown and treated like an ordinary sail . I didn’t feel that it’s a delicate glider like the extreme light ones. But 4.4 kg for the S is i think a very good compromise.

Launching the X-Alps cannot be easier…Very simple, like a school glider.

In thermals the X-Alps version even loaded at 93 all up isn’t a super agile glider. Pulling the brakes the X-Alps reacts smoothly and turns very efficiently. It has a moderate agility and long brake travel with moderate pressure.

We had here for the last 6 months one X-Alps M size ,that was flown by my friend and each time we flew together i sensed this exceptional float-ability even though he was flying the M size near the top weight (@103) .
On one good XC day, my friend Mony flew one of the longest and very difficult XC flight on his X-Alps M from Harissa site ! For sure he is a good pilot, but the X-Alps was smoothly delivering with efficiency.

Test flying the S size gave me exactly what Mony described on his M size.
An efficient climbing glider, with smooth and super comfortable ride and a very good glide angle.
Stress free flying is guaranteed !

I flew the S size in some turbulent and strong air and i can confirm that it behaves quite gently delivering free performance with “hands in the pocket style” and after landing the pilot still have enough reserve in energy.

Big ears are really efficient in descent rate and super stable ! even with full bar. The full speed is around 50 km/h and the speed bar has a comfortable and moderate pressure.

Among many low B’s, the X-Alps is a comfortable complete B glider that delivers 80 % of the pilot's requirements, with a soft and calm attitude.
Pilots who wants efficient overall performance but favors mainly the comfort, test flying an Atlas X-Alps is a must !

Friday, June 19, 2015

Skywalk Arriba 3 S

Skywalk Arriba 3 S
From my past beautiful experience flying the Tequila 4 S ,here is the light version with same specs ,the Arriba 3.
Unsheathed lines on the upper cascade that are linked directly to the glider and regular lines on the rest.
Launching is very easy with the light cloth.
The Arriba 3 has a new turning feature ! It turns even before the pilots pulls the brake ;-) !
I’m joking …of course, but it’s an agile wing and may be slightly more agile and dynamic than the Tequila 4.

In thermals the Arriba 3 is not a dampened glider. It feels like it’s always smiling and enjoying the flight !
The brake response is short ,direct, and dynamically agile for the low B category !

The climb rate in weak conditions at 90 all up on the S size is very good ! it floats nicely in the air with the feeling of a solid, compact, agile little devil :-)
For a low aspect ratio performance glider that’s unique !

With it’s high trim speed for that category, the glide is surprisingly very good in calm air ! At least at trim speed that could be similar to the Chili 3 !
If only the Chili 3 had that linear and sharp handling…. Arhhhhhh !

Testing flying the Arriba 3, gave me a great deal of pleasure !
Every centimeter of travel, resulted in a linear response as if the pilot was an extension of the glider !

Big ears are stable ,but when applying bar ,they become pretty unstable .

Conclusion: A light, super nice, pleasurable to fly glider with plenty of performance that will draw a guaranteed  smile on your face, for the slightly experienced B pilots. It’s like driving a Porsche Boxter !

Test flying gliders isn’t always a good experience. But flying the Arriba 3 is one to remember :-)

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Swing Nexus S

Swing Nexus S    74-98
My last Swing tested glider was a Mistral 7 S and it was a very agile and fast wing with good performance for the B category.
The Nexus is Swing’s new C glider with a moderate aspect ratio glider of 6.1
The construction and details are excellent on this glider , and it is quite a step higher in quality manufacturing than the Mistral 7 if i remember correctly.

Unsheathed lines on the top cascades with some lower covered lines were chosen on the Nexus.

Launching is smooth and easy for the C category.

Flying the Nexus S at 94 all up , gave me an immediate feel of a solid, compact and homogenous glider. In fact in turbulent conditions there are many B ’s that require more active pilot control.
The turning ability at my load is ok. I cannot say that the Nexus is an agile glider but still fine enabling good and flat turns.

The brake pressure is average and comfortable for long flights with good steering precision and average lengths .

The Nexus pitch and roll movements are very dampened enabling a very comfortable ride for the pilot underneath.

The trim speed however at my load of 94 is high for the category and is similar to the trim speed of the new UP Trango XC 3. However the gliding performance of the 7:0 aspect ratio TXC3 is only comparable with the class above as well as its piloting level of course.
The climb rate of the Nexus in weak and strong conditions are within the normal C category as well as it’s glide angle.

The Nexus reminded me well of the Sigma 9, I have tested earlier, as the Nexus is very similar in comfort and also on its overall performance but with lesser agility in turns.

The speed bar enabled me to gain around 12 km/h at 800 ASL over trim.

Big ears are stable and reopen smoothly .

Conclusion: The Swing Nexus is a very accessible C glider and it’s a good logical evolution after after two seasons on a regular B.
Mistral 7 pilots won’t have any problem upgrading with the benefit of surprisingly a more comfortable glider ! and better gliding performance.
The comfort and confidence inspiring feel are present from the moment of take off.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

UP Trango XC 3

UP Trango XC 3 SM 

UP has released their Trango XC2 replacement . The Trango XC3 has an aspect ratio of 7,0 and UP decided to put it in the C certification box.
Looking at the glider showed semi circular, small and narrow opening with a shark nose profile. The XC3 is a three liner concept with a complete set of unsheathed lines.
The cloth used on the Trango XC 3 is lighter than the one used on the Trango XC2 and the construction is very well made .

Launching in 5 km/h wind, the XC 3 inflates rapidly and stays above the pilots head. In +25 km/h wind ,the pilot must control the glider to keep it from overshooting. 

Once in the air ,the Trango XC 3 has a beautiful elongated shape. Flying the Trango XC 3 in smooth and homogenous thermals with moderate turbulence showed a short, very linear and direct brake response .The agility in turns is good for a 7:0 aspect ratio glider as the wing carve the air efficiently.

However flying the Trango XC3 in some turbulent and strong conditions even properly loaded ,needs a good experienced pilot . The Trango XC 3 in those conditions needs constant active control as the glider has lots of energy and the turning radius inside the thermals needs more weight shift and more pulling on the brakes to carve !  It is a step further than the Trango XC2 in pilot control . 

The difference between the Trango XC2 and the Trango XC3 : More pitch forward to enter the thermals for the T XC3 enabling a bigger step in climb rate over the XC 2 but with less brake authority in strong turbulent cores. More body work is needed on the Trango XC 3 to carve those shaky, turbulent cores…
I think it plays well in the IP 6 playground for a very efficient and similar climb rate !  The difference between those two is a harder brake response for the Trango XC3 with slightly similar glider control, and a taught feel for the IP6 in the same turbulent conditions.

Flying next to a Mantra 6 SM (both loaded at top) showed a ~ 2 km/h more trim speed for the Trango XC 3 for nearly the same glide angle. It’s a bullet at trim ! 
In the same turbulent air, the M6 felt more calm, and relaxing to fly, but my friend on the M6 was impressed by the climb rate of the TXC 3 ! 
Stepping on the speed bar until pulleys overlapping gave me around 55 km/h at 1000 ASL on the Trango XC 3 at 97 all up with still a taught leading edge.

Ears are stable and reopen immediately on input .

Conclusion:  For sure the Trango XC 3 is a performance glider intended for the very experienced XC seekers. It will do greatly on long XC’s especially into wind glides and climbs! 
The Trango XC 3 cannot be understood or inserted in the C category as it will out-perform many…It is the class above !
If someone is interested ‘ONLY’ in looking at the label, here’s a funny one !  
The C certification for the Trango XC 3 is like an angelic smile of a very beautiful, 5 star hotel receptionist. All the benefits are there , but that won’t smoothen up the bill… ;-)