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Thursday, June 2, 2016

GIN Sprint 3 M

GIN Sprint 3  M

Test flying wings is the most difficult thing to do…Not only by flying them…But by typing the letters…

GIN, for all of us flying pilots, is one of the top leaders in paragliding industry. With the state of the art Boomerang 10, what should we expect when he releases a 2016 B+ glider? knowing that there are lots of very good new B+ gliders…
Please answer…
 a normal B+ with average performance and handling ? 
or a contender for the top places in speed, efficiency and glide?
Lets see…
After the amazing Carrera + , GIN has introduced the Sprint 3 to the market with a moderate aspect ratio but targeted as a B+ which logically has to compete with what the current B+ gliders of today has to offer.
Here’s what i found flying the Sprint 3 M from 98, 101, till 103 all up .
Launching the Sprint 3 is an easy task, especially with the light cloth. It climbs steadily and solid.
Flying he Sprint 3 M at 101 feels fine in moderate conditions. I sensed that 103 and above could be its best aspect for XC flying in strong conditions.
At 101 the Sprint 3 M has a moderate to slightly more pressure after 40 cm of brake travel. 
The glider can be steered with 25 cm after the 10 cm slack. I cannot say that the Sprint 3 M is a super agile glider, that you can swiftly adjust in turbulent conditions, but “fair enough” with an efficient turning radius in weak stuff ! 
It is “slightly” less agile than, the normal Atlas S, Mentor4 S, Iota 26, Apollo M, Kibo S…i was testing at the same time.
Not to say it’s not agile…It has a moderate agility to be precise.
 The Carrera plus S and M has a slightly more dynamic turn with a narrow radius and a slightly lighter brake feel toward the end.
In average thermals, the Sprint 3 M has an average to good climb rate that could place it “close enough” to the good ones…
The Sprint 3 M can be steered with precision and little input with average agility in moderate thermals. In strong cores, applying little more brake input, do get the Sprint 3 in a good turn with a good climbing ability if loaded beyond 100 to get that compact feel !
The comfort is high under the Sprint 3 M, which is very good for the category ! Slightly more comfortable than the M4 and Iota . It is for sure much easier to fly than Carrera plus, and not really more difficult to handle over the Atlas…which could be a very good step for a pilot looking to upgrade.

Gliding with my reference glider the Mentor 4 S showed a very good glide angle at trim for the Sprint 3 which place it better than Rush 4, Summit XC3, Apollo… placing it close enough… to the Eden 6, but not as good as the Mentor 4, Iota one which still is a reference in glide and efficiency.
What surprised me is the limited speed travel (very short) . The Sprint 3 M at 101 has only a 7-8 km/h speed over trim ! Taken at 700m ASL.
Big ears are easy and stable .They reopen fast. Induced asymmetric collapses are a non event, and quite easy to counter steer. Induced frontal collapses reopen quickly after less than 2 sec. 

The Carrera plus has already marked the paragliding world of today .Of course it was targeted for the C pilot but it’s incredible climbing efficiency and gliding power at trim and especially at 45 km/h did out-perform or at least match top current C’s but also with a B rating… That’s an “achievement of usable performance”

What about the Sprint 3 M ? Many will like the comfortable feel, and the glide. It is logical and certain that a good pilot can achieve great XC flights on the Sprint 3 M…No doubt about that !
Sometimes being the benchmark really hurts …If the Mentor 5 of tomorrow or the Chili 4 that will come won’t offer more efficiency or at least more fun or ease to fly…than their predecessors then they will be totally unacceptable.
In this case the Sprint 3 is much better than the Sprint evo by a very large margin…not to compare…
But i would have dreamed for a super B+ especially coming from GIN that i’m certain, that just a little more time on it, would have been largely beneficial… 

What i was hoping for the Sprint 3 M was:
-At least a top gliding machine, but i’ll say ok. It’s good enough !  
-A more fun handling, with nimble brake response…remember the Sprint evo ! A delight  !!! 
-Little bit more top speed ! Above 50 km/h please…
-A more efficient ‘feel’ for the B+ 

This test is my personal opinion. Please try, test and fly the Sprint 3 , because it remains close to the 5 leaders in the B + gliders in comfort, efficiency, and climb.  
GIN is working on a new machine in a different category as far as i know…Lets hope it would out-dream us by the accessibility/performance/efficiency ratio …And i hope that the R&D will take their full time as, IMHO, the Carrera + still holds the “title” for comfort/efficiency/performance/rating !

SKY Apollo

Sky Appolo.
It's becoming obvious to the eye, that SKY Paragliders quality of construction   is beyond any doubt, one of the best in the paragliding industry !
Their new B+ is the Appolo with a 3 line configuration and a shark nose profile. 
Launching the relatively light Apollo  ( around 4.5 kg) is quite easy and simple. Any B+ pilot surely knows how to keep and control a glider overhead.
At 92 all up on the M size 75-95, I found the best balance for XC use.
The trim speed is quite fast as the M4 if similarly loaded.
The brakes pressure is medium to light with very linear and swift response. If you flew the Atis 4, you will experience the same fun handling as SKY delivers to their pilots.
The Apollo is an agile glider that draws a smile on a keen pilots face !
Delivering pure flying pleasure for sensible souls :-)
Flying the Apollo in rough thermals need some active piloting as the roll movements are present exactly like the Atis 4 ones or slightly more pronounced. 
I could close my eyes and will know a SKY glider just by the handling and glider feedback. 
The climb rate however is a bigger step over the Atis 4 and also comparing it to the best B+ ones in 2016...The Apollo climbs indeed very well ! At a good weight load the nose cuts though and climb efficiently !
The pitch movements are relatively dampened on the Apollo.
Gliding at trim showed me also a very nice glider angle!  Honestly I was surprised to see the Apollo glide performance, as it glided near the best B+ reference gliders ! 
I won't say it's the best but just close enough to make its pilot super content and happy.
The speed over trim is around 13 km/h taken at 1000ASL .
Ears are easy to induce they are stable, usable, and easy to reopen.
Induced collapses, holding the A riser won't make the Apollo turn more than 30 degrees and an opposite turn to the kept collapse is very easy to make.
Wing overs are a delight and joy to produce.
Overall it's a very well balanced glider with very late stall behaviour letting the pilot use the low speed characteristics, landing on a dime.
I liked the glider turning behavior and my only wish for this B+ was a slightly less roll movement in turbulent conditions to let the pilot in question, slightly more comfort time. In the positive side the Apollo EN  test flights are incredibly successful with A's  all over, and by its thermal feedback, it will surely train you to the next level. 
With it's impeccable construction, beautiful handling pleasure, great performance potential, it would be wise to consider a test flight in order to feel this experience...Afterward its a matter of taste :-)