The key to life is not accumulation. It's contribution. Hands that serve help more than the lips that pray.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Triple Seven Queen 2 SM

Triple Seven Queen 2 SM 

Finally the long awaited Queen replacement arrived. Triple Seven offers the Queen 2 with an aspect ratio of 6.3 combined with very reduced line diameter and a very pointed shark nose. The cell openings are rather small. The attachement points on the A’s seems further back, and the certification is into the C box.

Launching the Queen 2 in size SM in nil wind need a steady input as it inflates moderately overhead. The rise is moderate and fairly ok for a C certified glider. 

I flew the Queen 2 from 96 to 99 ,to find out that the best weight is around 98-99 on the SM in moderate conditions.  The brake travel is short, linear and precise. The pressure on the brakes are moderate to ‘slightly’ hard. The glider feels connected to the pilots commands, if the load at top weight is respected. The Queen 2 SM is slightly sensible to load.  I mean it’s better to fly it from 97 minimum to 99..100, and you will notice immediately the difference with 2 kilos added. 

Thermal radius: 
The Queen 2 SM loaded can be turned very narrow turns inside the thermals. It’s like you are flying a low aspect ratio glider. In well built thermals, it’s feels like a spinning ’top’ sometimes !  This narrow thermal ability is efficient to get the most out of any thermal !
There are no banking from the glider if the brakes are applied moderately and swiftly, but a flat quick, and efficient turning radius.

 Climbing ability: 
In turbulent and punchy cores, the Queen 2 climbs really fast! The brake authority are slightly reduced in turbulent cores, but still present and very good for a 6.3 AR, C glider.  It ressembles the best ones in the C class in climbing ability even loaded at top.  This is definitely a very fast climbing machine in well built thermals. For sure, any C glider will climb also, but not as fast. 
In weak conditions, the Queen 2 SM at 99 is efficient in catching small weak thermals. Actually the Queen 2 SM size feels big, and a weight of 99 all up is doesn’t seem to be really over loaded.  In weak conditions at max load, i found it quite efficient in climb.  

Speed ,trim, and top:  
The trim speed is faster than the Delta 3 SM by approximatively one km, and also faster by 1 km at top speed if both are fully loaded.  Also, the Queen 2 SM at 99 all up has 0.5km/h  less trim speed of a Cayenne 5 S (85-105) flown at max weight, and it’s faster at top by approximatively 2 km/h than the cayenne 5 S size.  (Both fully loaded) 

I found that the Queen 2 in SM size has its best glide angle at trim speed, and it’s among the best C’s of the moment !  
Doing lots of glides in calm and turbulent air with some headwind glides, i found out that the Sigma 10 and the Delta 3 has that very slight edge at bar, especially at 4km/h over trim speed ! 
The Delta 3 SM has slightly lesser top speed than the Queen 2 SM but if the Queen 2 SM matches the Delta 3 SM top speed, the glide at that top speed is almost identical !   

The fast trim speed and the immediate climb rate while going forward, could give an edge to the Queen 2 in ridge gliding.  

Easiness of flight:  
For a 6.3 aspect ratio glider with those top performance, i found out the the Queen 2 is easier to handle in rough air, than the Cayenne 5 XS i have kept for reference. The feeling under the Queen 2 can be described as : solid, comfortable, homogenous, tough structure, absorbs the turbulence. It resembles the Delta 3 feel but with a little spice. It fits exactly between the Cayenne 5 XS and the Delta 3 in pilot demand. 
Saying that i also feel that the Queen 2 has quite some hidden energy in it. It feels very dynamic in wing overs that could be quickly very high. And also, in some strong thermals, the glider quiet character wakes up slightly to a sharper glider that bites the thermals going forward slightly which is quite common for any high end C glider. There are no pitch back whatsoever ! which is nice :-)  

Big ears have moderate stability, they usually flap, shake a bit sometimes, but reopen quickly. 

Today’s paragliding designs and progress seems really demanding. Manufacturers are working super hard for getting the bar slightly higher ! 
I felt that in XC mode, the new top 3, C’s can be very close.  
The Queen 2 loaded at top, is relatively a moderate C glider, that could be flown quite efficiently in XC competitions and will satisfy almost any performance and speed seeker in the C class especially for its high (overall package) of climb, glide and top speed. 

Friday, December 15, 2017

ADVANCE Iota 2 - 25

ADVANCE Iota 2 25

Here it is..The new Iota from Advance that replaces the first version.
What are the visual differences?
A very reduced line diameter with carefully mixture of unsheathed thin lines, and thin normal ones. The C’s are equipped with handles for control at high speed.

Launching the Iota 2 is straightforward with an immediate take off even loaded at top. Easy for a high B pilot.

Feeling in the air compared to the Iota 1:
The Iota 2 feels very different from the Iota 1, where the first version had a feeling of flying a playful B glider, the second version is again agile, but felt more like an oriented XC machine.
Explanation: The feedback is a balanced, calm, roll movement that used to be found on higher rated glider, but…a smooth one exactly to fit the B category. Again, i meant a roll response very comfortable for a B pilot, with the feeling that delivers nice coordinated communications for the keen pilot who was used to fly higher rated gliders. I really appreciate that feature because if i closed my eyes, even in rough air, i could sense that i am flying a high rated glider in smooth air ! So the roll feel is smooth but educational! I hope i made myself understood…which is sometimes a difficult task to describe feelings under a glider.

The brakes has a moderate length, but stil very precise in turns. The pressure is also moderate, and long flights are not tiring at all. Overall i can confirm that the Iota 2 has a very good, XC, handling feel.

Climb rate:
I flew the Iota 2 25 with the best B’s of the moment, and i saw that glider ability to climb in super weak cores like very few B glider ! It is indeed a super floater and a very good climber! It’s a complete change over the Iota 1 which was a bit difficult to climb in weak like i mentioned before. In strong air the pitch ability is nearly absent and the Iota 2 …just climb… without any weak point whatsoever.

Coping with turbulence:
Flying the Mentor 5 and the Iota 2 25, i can’t comment if one is more comfortable than the other..they are both very comfortable to fly and similar in that aspect. The Iota 2 25 seems also easier in turbulence than a Chili 4 XS for example.

Glide and speed:
Lots of pilots will read that section as if it is the most important one…But for me it’s the overall package that matters… Now really the bar is high, with amazing gliders in the B category.You probably have rated my B comparison concerning glide. The Iota 2 is no different to be with the leaders in that matter. I think above that by just a little, you will reach Sigma 10 glide performance !
The Iota 2 25, has a high trim speed, higher than a Mentor 5, Chili 4, Cumeo, if all are similarly loaded. The glide at trim speed for the Iota 2 25 seems right on top like i mentioned with the Mentor 5, Cumeo, Chili 4.

The strong point of the Iota 2 25 is the way it enters the thermals in gliding mode, and i’m just talking at trim for the moment. The Iota 2 surfs the air upward and floats forward for an efficient gliding into a moving airmass. It feels solid and just floats upward. I really liked that characteristic for a high B !
At full speed the Iota 2 25 has some 10 km/h over trim to block the pulleys. The M5, and the Cumeo could have 2 km/h faster. The glide at top speed is close to the high end mentioned gliders, but what i discovered flying the Iota 2 25 that differs is the super stability at top speed ! I mean it’s really stable, and i couldn’t know the difference in behavior between flying at trim and at top speed because it felt the same, but with a wind that increases…The C handles are a nice way to control the glider in high speed, but since the iota 2 25 is so stable at speed, i don’t see that it will be used much  ;-)  Of course in strong conditions, they will.. :-)

Ears are stable and reopen quite normally.
Induced asymmetries are soft and going keeping course is easy and also counter steering. Frontals are a bit deep, horse shoeing a bit, slightly dynamic than the M5 ones, but they open very fast, and it seems they fulfill the B certification requirements.

The Iota 2 25 was mainly created for XC use with a good and educated roll feedback for any good B pilot. The overall comfort is high. The trim speed will enable efficient ridge crossings in turbulent air as well as the use of the speed bar which is light to moderate, with a more sold structure, and totally usable.
Overall gliding performance and especially climb rate are strongly implemented into this XC machine.
Video soon...

PS: I’ll update my B comparison in the next days, for more details.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Skywalk Cumeo XS

Skywalk Cumeo XS 
After the beautiful Chili 4 XS, here’s the light version called Cumeo. 
After test flying many wings I’m now more and more convinced that even with the same glider technical details, gliders with lighter materials, will have different feel with sometimes enhanced performance or sometimes much less ! 
I’m no engineer to debate on that, but i’m positively sure and the reality of things is well shown. 
In the following review, the Cumeo will show its true identity. 
Launching the Cumeo is as easy as a school wing… 
In the air: 
I flew the Cumeo from 90 to 95. In strong conditions, 93, 95 would be superb. At 90 all up if flies beautifully in moderate conditions. 
Compared to a Chili 4 XS, with similar load the brake pressure is lighter on the Cumeo with slightly longer travel. Nevertheless, the agility is very present. I could place the Cumeo inside the thermal very precisely. The Cumeo feels more tamed and very subtle to fly than the Chili 4 XS with same load ! The Cumeo XS also gave me a high degree of flying pleasure that i could describe as (a walk in the park eating my best ice-cream ;-) ) 
Climb rate:   
Flying the Cumeo at 95, I could strongly confirm that it’s still a floater! In very weak conditions, the Cumeo even loaded does real catch those tiny lifts. At 90, it’s a thermal beast!  Even in wider conditions, the Cumeo still pushes forward entering those cores with ease and a smoothness feel. 
Glide angle: 
I flew the Cumeo XS next to the Mentor 5 S, Chili 4 XS, Iota 2 25, to conclude after many glide comparisons “and it took me a while”… That the Cumeo is definitely among the best ones in that matter especially if I want to consider top end speed glide ! 
In fact IMHO, it sits right on ‘top’ next to the glide contenders if going in a speed chase. Doing some glides in turbulent air, the Cumeo seems also very efficient, and probably slightly more than a Chili 4 XS  (slight margin) May be because it doesn’t have the pitch behavior of it’s ‘regular cloth’ sister. 
The Cumeo has a slightly increased top speed above the Chili 4 XS if both are fully loaded. 
Big ears are very stable. Much better than the Chili 4 XS. They reopen quickly. 
Landing in narrow zones is one of the Cumeo strong points. It can be slowed quite well. 
Yep…It’s a positive test…The Cumeo XS deserved it very well…It is very obvious that if a glider is relatively easy for a high B, loaded with top end performance characteristics, light to carry, handles like a dream, soft in reactions, a highly balanced B glider, and can get you efficiently on any XC would not be highly recommended. It is ! 
In today’s market, there are very nice high B gliders from different manufacturers. The top 3-4 holds a very close and sometimes insignificant difference in overall performance. But what differs is the feeling, satisfaction, and the sensations you get when you are flying a special one. I’m sure, the Cumeo will be among those ! 
Now it seems that I wrote too much…i know…Sometimes i get carried away  :-) So please forget what I just wrote ! But I will be very intrigued if you, the interested pilots, looking for a high B ‘light’ glider, would test fly the Cumeo XS from 90 to 95, and comment back… 
That would be quite interesting :-) 

Ps: I always mention that other sizes could be similar and sometimes could be different. Please respect the loads under any glider. A glider flown at mid weight or less will (surely) have other feeling and results. 
IMHO, I think that loading a glider beyond 75 % of its weight range will make you a pilot rather than a passenger. 
Happy flights :-)

Sunday, December 3, 2017

BGD Lynx M

I tested the BGD Cure 2 years ago, and as i recall, it gave me a very nice feeling of handling and performance. I tested the BGD Cure, 2 years ago, and as i recall, it gave me a very nice feeling of handling and performance. It had a nice glide, close enough to the best C's of the moment. May be the trim speed and top speed were a bit low.
I received some emails about test flying the light version of the Cure ! But unfortunately BGD didn't want to sell me the Lynx or any other glider… ! They seem deeply affected by earlier criticism ! ;-) Again, no soup for me :-)
That Lynx in M size was sent by the effort of a ‘great’ friend, who bought it 3 weeks earlier ! And was so kind to bring it over for a test !
Here’s the test of the light version of the Cure named ‘Lynx’. Actually it seems that BGD worked a bit differently on the Lynx, changing the lines for thinner and more racy ones, and possibly some fine tuning.
Launching the Lynx is totally easy ! i mean, there’s no 6.7 aspect ratio glider launches that easy ! In nil wind, or moderate wind conditions, the Lynx doesn’t need any special technique.
I flew the Lynx M (75-95) from 90 to 94 all up.  In the air, first turn and i’m already enchanted by that beautiful turning behavior ! The Lynx has a moderate to short reaction on the brakes, with very smooth pressure, and linear response ! The authority on the brakes are perfect on that glider ! There’s no hard point in the brake travel and response ! Before the second flight, i readjusted the brakes with less 2 cm, keeping a gap of 10 cm between the pulleys and the brake handles at trim speed. Now it’s more than perfect on my X-rated 6.
Compared to the Cure, the Lynx felt easier and smoother to fly. There’s no awkward pitch back or forward, just the necessary movements upon entering thermals. The roll is also quite dampened and well balanced. If i’m going to compare the Lynx to the Cayenne 5 which was my ‘reference’ for a C for the last 2 years, and with the new Sigma 10, and Delta 3 MS, i can begin to say that the Lynx with its aspect ratio, is as easy to fly as the Sigma 10 ! I was really impressed ! The handling and the way to turn the glider feel very intuitive and could be described as an extension to the pilots arms and feels way more connective and subtle than the D3 handling. It ressembles the C5 precise handling, but with a lighter response and ‘slightly’ longer travel.
The Cayenne 5 XS needs more active piloting, in turbulent stuff and the feel under it is sharper in reactions compared to the Lynx! That’s totally insane, and you probably think i drank a bottle of wine before writing the review ! :-)  Nooo, I didn’t…yet…Not even a soup  ;-) 
You have to fly the Lynx to feel and experience what i just wrote.
Now every pilot who reads my tests knows how much i appreciate a good handling glider. The Lynx is one of them. It’s a wonderful toy to play around !  The Trango X-race, the Cayenne 5 XS, The Sigma10, and now the Lynx has joined this group of excellence when it comes to handling, with a new Lynx ingredient ’smoothness’ .
Glide performance:
I made a few long glides with three different gliders. The Delta 3 MS, the cayenne 5 XS, the Sigma 10 25. It seems that the Lynx similarly loaded to a Cayenne 5 XS (94) showed a slight faster trim for the Lynx, and 3 km/h faster at top speed compared to the C5. The TAS (true air speed) read 40 km/h at trim and 55 km/h at full bar. Taken at 1700 m ASL . As for the glide angle at trim speed, and after a 7 km glide in moving conditions, all gliders arrived more or less at the same height…Knowing that the air was moving, i couldn’t comment if any glider had a visual advantage at trim speed !  If i want to be super precise, i would make a comment about the Delta 3 and Sigma 10 being slightly efficient on bar on head wind glides over the C5 and Lynx. On the Lynx, i was more than happy to see that it was quite competitive that day with the company of the top C gliders of the moment. I don’t think i needed more, flying the Lynx !  Applying bar, the glide ratio is similar to the C5 at +7 km/h over trim for both.
In some turbulent air, the Lynx gave me a quite comfortable ride, as the structure seems quite homogenous and filters any un-healthy movements! On the same air, more pilot energy is needed on the C5 XS. Flying the Lynx at 90-92 all up seems the optimum weight for the M size. At that weight, the Lynx still had that beautiful authority on the brakes with very good maneuverability.
Climb rate: I flew the Lynx in really weak conditions. Its definitely a floater! and very efficient in weak stuff. At 90 all up, it sniffs the thermals and won’t loose any climb. In stronger thermal conditions the Lynx climbs really well keeping that smooth homogenous feel. Even in punchy thermals, the Lynx can be steered very precisely, and the structure feels very coherent.
Big ears are stable, and efficient. 360’s are easy to get out without any disorder from the glider. Induced asymmetries are easy to maintain and to counter-steer. Landing in very narrow LZ is achieved by the linear brakes and glider efficiency.
Conclusion:  I enjoyed every moment flying the Lynx, and I really wish i could fly it again and again ! A must to test fly at its optimum weight ! I really don't know why BGD was so afraid to sell me that glider...It's a fairly nice glider ;-) ...
The overall package of performance and comfort puts the Lynx among the most interesting middle C’s on the market today. But above all, it’s the nice and subtle feel you get flying the Lynx that keeps those flying memories in a flying site or after a good XC, recalled happily after landing.
C comparison updated.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

ADVANCE Omega X-Alps 2 size 23

ADVANCE Omega X-Alps 2 size 23 

After the excellent Sigma 10, which is as i said a complete C glider with 6.1 aspect ratio, here’s the Omega X-alps 2 in size 23 test flight.

Harness: X-rated 6 (my usual harness)  Total weight of 95 on the OXA 2 size 23 (80-97) 

Launching is easy for an aspect ratio of 7. Homogenous and steady rise, in 15 km/h with no overshooting if the pilot slightly control it by the brakes.

The days conditions were a bit shaky, and i must say that the X-Alps 2 is a relatively easy to control glider. Could be slightly more demanding to fly than an LM6 size SM loaded at 94 and less demanding than the Skywalk X-Alps 3 size XS at 96 all up.  
The Omega X-alps 2 slows a bit before entering the thermals even hands up. It only pitches back slightly on strong thermals.  But even when it slows down before entering, it slips through the thermal quite slowly. In the same air the Skywalk X-alps 3 surges forward with faster reactions. 

The handling and the way to steer the Omega X-alps 2 could be described as fairly agile. The OXA2 responds to pilots commands quite nicely, and it’s the feature that can give it’s pilot the authority in strong air staying in the core and being more controllable. 

In weak lift under 0.5 m/s ,both the Skywalk and the OXA 2 have similar climb. Between the three gliders, the LM6 seems floatier in very weak lifts. 
It doesn’t mean that the OXA 2 and X-alps 3 doesn’t climb…like many could misinterpret, and it’s not a question of better pilot also like some will comment later…It’s just that at the same weight loads, and same pilot skills, the LM6 hover slightly more in those very weak lifts, giving a slight floaty edge to reconnect to a slightly steadier thermal. 
It’s just the same case with the Delta 3 and Sigma10 in weak lift at the same loadings and pilot skills. The S10 will have that super slight ‘floatable edge’ hovering a bit for a better window to a slightly stronger thermal. But that’s too precise to hang on to…

The OXA2, climb very well in steady +1 m/s and over…thermals, and in fact the OXA 2 and the X-alps 3 will have the edge over the LM6 in quick climbs and surges. 

Gliding at trim speed, the OXA 2 has a slight faster trim than the LM6 but with a slight better glide angle especially gliding through a head wind. At bar, they seems similar. 
The C handles are a nice option to control the glider in turbulent air, and they are quite efficient in some moderate cases. 

Friday, October 20, 2017

SWING Arcus RS size S

Swing Arcus RS size S (75-95)

The Arcus is Swing 2017/2018 EN-B model with RAST system.
I was excited when I heard about that new technology and wanted to fly a glider with RAST, just to see how it feels. Here it is.
I flew the Arcus RS size S at 92 all up. First day, conditions were really good !  With 1500 m gain above take off I could go anywhere, and stay as long as I wanted test flying the Arcus. And that’s what I did. In fact, I flew on the Arcus nice triangles that were previously done on higher rayed wings. Of course the conditions were exceptional, but I must say that I was feeling at first amused underneath the Arcus, because it was nicely and smoothly delivering !  If i knew that before, i would have brought the cheese and wine ;-) 

Take off in 10 km/h wind is really easy…I mean I could inflate the glider without touching the brakes. The Arcus inflates smoothly and it’s very controllable without any surges whatsoever.

Take off is immediate. After some thermal flying I was impressed by the amount of comfort the Arcus delivers ! I mean it’s really comfortable ! No pitch behavior, no useless movements, just the necessary super polite feedback coming from above. The glider feels very homogenous, and compact. 
Now my favorite part (handling) was already fulfilled from the first turn with a large smile on my face  ! The Arcus brake pressure is moderate, Not too short, not too long, with no pressure points. It has a linear response with agile characteristics that enables the pilot to put the Arcus exactly and precisely into the thermal. This authority should be welcomed in higher rated B gliders… I was super happy in the air placing it inside any core. 

Gliding the Arcus feels like on rails through bumps. The glide efficiency is really nice and could be placed easily with the best (mid) B gliders in the category.  I think the climb rate is also very efficient for a low to mid B glider. 

I don’t know if RAST gave this nice homogenous feel, and also that quick brake response and of course that easiness in flight…But there’s surely something new that was felt over here in overall stability.

I tried to make large asymmetric collapses, but the Arcus RS behaved like an A glider…No change in course, no issue in collapsing…Its like there’s no collapse.  Big ears are doable and very stable, efficient with and without bar. They reopen smoothly and evenly by themselves. 

I can put the Arcus in ease of use like the Epsilon 8 for example, and possibly easier…

The speed system has around 10 km/h over trim. Wing overs builds really well, and could be quite impressive !

Conclusion: Flying different gliders every day in the B,C, D category, I was happy test flying the Arcus RS. The overall handling, and the ability to steer the glider with very good precision into the core is really nice. 
The overall comfort under the Arcus is high. In fact, I think, if this glider is flown in strong days, it will deliver a big comfort rate for the pilot. 

PS: Please consider that other sizes and different load could lead to a different feel. Please fly your gliders at +70 % of their weight ranges if possible.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Coupe Icare interviews

Triple Seven interview

Dustoftheuniverse: What was the most challenging part in finishing the Queen 2?
Aljaz & Urban: For sure we spent a lot of time on it with some prototypes, not a lot because we analyse each proto a lot which helps us and its good, especially at the end when we stuck with the certification on one maneuver which was a stable spiral.And we learned quite a lot of things about this, and the behavior of the mechanics of flight, and we saw that there was a big influence coming from the harness also, but it was a hard summer :-) But now we are happy with the resultant for sure the performance and the potential of the wing, and i think it will bring the C category a bit higher.

DOTU: Did you manage to keep the same biting and feel through the air?
A&U: All our projects are finished when we are happy.It’s not important if its summer or winter, or even the year after, so we don’t focus on time rather than the result we are aiming for. As for the Queen , we are very satisfied with the last proto.

DOTU: When the Queen 2 will be released?
A&U: The SM size passed the tests on the top (99 kg) and the bottom weight, and we are waiting for load test, and we are also preparing production, and we are working now on the other sizes.

DOTU: Is the top speed limited by the certification?
A&U: We were only focusing on the spiral, and the top speed were nice and ok.

DOTU: What would be the optimum weight of the Queen 2?
A&U: 75 % is superb for the MS , and surely it depends on the other sizes and models. But as a basic knowledge its 75%. 

DOTU: Does 777 have other new releases for 2018?
A&U: The first glider is the Queen 2, which is coming at first and in 2018 the light version of the Knight which is called K-Light which is also certified and finished, but launching it in 2018, and also some other little projects. And for sure the Queen 2 light which would be released immediately after finishing the normal Queen 2 sizes and actually will be named (Q-Light) 
Rook 2 and King stays in production, and we are working on a single skin, and very promising, and this wing flies really nice ! 

DOTU: Any comments on Q-light construction ? lines, cloth..?
A&U: Lighter construction, and reinforcement inside the glider, risers, soft links.

DOTU: Any last word regarding the Queen 2 ?
A&U : As we said, we think that the Queen 2 will bring one step forward in real air performance regarding the C class, and getting near the D class of today’s 3 liner wings. Also with the speed.
We compared the glide with the King, and we think it’s a step further…especially in climb with a very competitive glide…  

PHI Interview (Hannes Papesh) 

DOTU: Dear Hannes, Do you consider PHI gliders a performance oriented company?
Hannes Papesh: Since many years, since the beginning i was always ‘performance oriented’ in my young designs, i think performances had always a big importance and i was always trying to build very reduced designs, i mean getting out anything that isn’t necessary.Very clear and straight forward designs to reach the goals.And we are also classical maneuver testers with our team, who are hard classical test pilots. And they were doing great attention to the hard maneuver testing, and may be that’s the reason maybe i never had safety problems with my designs.  
Our handling may be slightly bad in the first days but the gliders were very well performing, but we learned, and with the Synphonia we also tried in different line lengths and reducing line lengths. We have now an elegant, agile glider and feels elegant in flight.

DOTU: What are the lines used on the Synphonia?
HP: There are quite conservative. So we have all the top and middle lines are uncovered 8000, and on the bottom there are 2 lines per side, with PPSL lines like the Rookie, Syntaxx…Ion 1 and 2.

DTOU: What about the structure inside the glide?
HP: At first it’s quite light, so the 22 has 4,5 kg and it’s using the 32 grammes cloth from Porcher all over which is quite expensive but this is one aspect of safety, so we didn’t want to reach the safety level of trimming it slow or doing some compromise, in performance and handling. We did a great work on the internal structure and we reduced the usage of the sticks (red nylon fibers)
and we were very lucky with the choice of the factory which is aerodynamics in Srilanka, because they have very nice kind sewing, as they can do very smooth seams, and the finish is really good.
And this is obviously one of the keys for performance gain.

DOTU: Will you make B + gliders soon?
HP: You know that my specialty is the high B gliders. With the Synphonia, i made a high performance A glider, now i’ll surely focus on this special class that i like. I have been unbeaten for 10 years, on the high B gliders, but i had no chance to compete for 5 years as i have been working with Advance, and i couldn’t do what i wanted to do, the Iota was not my wing, but now i have the chance to do what i wanted to built. But this time i’ll take my time to do a very special ’special’ B+ wing !  But i cannot promise when it will be available…may be in spring, may be next year, in Autumn.
When we are sure that the Synphonia will be a wave…

DOTU: What about high aspect ratio for a B+ ? Are you for that?
HP: We have to be careful with the B class…Finally we have to tell was a mistake to limit the open class competition with a serial class guide…looking back we have etc say it was a mistake because we didn’t think it was possible to certify competition wing in the D class the whole D class destabilized then the C class destabilized, and it’s now slowly happening that the B class is destabilising because it got too wide…We have really safe and class matching wings and we have gliders that were a C gliders before, and now inside the B, so i think we have to be careful and not pushing too much, it was also an argument how to know it’s a low level or a high level, and sometimes you find a low level glider that is not a low level glider…the difference is huge. So with our B we have to be careful. We already have the first prototypes, and it’s too early to tell. We will make attention to the handling especially and we will take our time developing it.

DOTU: Are u considering 5 sizes? 
HP: Yes sure…Our Synphonia has 5 sizes now.

DOTU: What about the optimal weight for PHI gliders?
HP: The PHI gliders can be flown at mid and low sometimes on the range. It depends on the wind, turbulence, but i have illustrated the weight ranges in the website in colors, so the deep green is the optimal weight for overall usage.

Remarks: I asked Hannes about the complex inner construction of the Phantom with it’s 99 cells, as when testing i felt it has that same feedback feel from the inner structure to the pilot like the Sigma 10 i have tested lately and commented that elasticity and coherence in turbulent thermals. Hannes answered that their inner structure is the same ! Advance and Nova are using his software which both gliders have this trumpet fingers designs. They are very light and the importance to use the materials where it is the most efficient. (Lots of technical details… :-)   ) Nova named it ‘needle eye’ construction. 
Well i think that this software is surely producing fine gliders…And for sure the R&D teams, and pilots behind that software are exploring it very professionally. 

Friday, August 25, 2017

SKYWALK X-Alps 3 size S

Skywalk X-Alps 3 size S (80-95) 

My last flight on a Skywalk D glider was on the Poison X-alps size S (70-90). 
The New Xalps 3 is the wing that have won the 2017 X-alps with Christian Maurer, and third place with Paul Guschlbauer. 
This new version was especially made for the X-alps with very light cloth and Dyneema risers. It’s the Hike and fly Skywalk latest competition wing. 
Taking off in light wind is easy on this 7 aspect ratio glider.  
I have the LM 6 in size MS (80-95) in order to compare the differences in behaviours and feeling under those gliders. 
With same loadings, (92 all up), the Xalps is +2 km/h faster at trim speed. At full bar it’s also 3 km/h faster.  
In turbulent and strong conditions, the Xalps 3 needs active piloting much like the Poison X-alps in size XS i had earlier. 
I found out that the Poison Xalps XS handling was slightly sharper, and i was more connected to the glider by the brakes. This may be because of the smaller size.  

In light thermals (-0.2m/s) i found out that the LM6 has slightly more float ability , and can stay longer in those tiny lifts. 
In stronger thermals, and difficult conditions, the Xalps 3 is much more efficient. Adding a wind factor, the Xalps 3 moves forward efficiently. It has slightly more efficient performance than the Poison Xalps. 

Now things were getting more serious when i activated half bar on the Xalps 3. It is fast and efficient wing for racing ! The LM6 is also a very nice glider, but racing near the Xalps 3 is a difficult task for the LM6. The Alps 3 keeps going forward in a fast glide efficiency. 

I turbulent air, the overall comfort under the LM6 is quite high compared to the Xalps 3. In the same turbulent air, i needed more energy to control the Xalps 3. 

In turbulent air, pushing the bar on the Xalps 3 is lighter than the LM6, but need more active piloting also. The C risers are very efficient, and can control the pitch movements quite fast. In fact at first bar the Xalps stiffens in pitch surging…but some slight roll movements are present depending on the conditions… 

Ears with outer A’s have moderate stability. On bar they flap a bit. Ears with outer B’s is doable, stable. 

A light competition race eficient wing for sure. Needs active piloting. The Dyneema risers are very small and the attachment points to the carabiners are 0.5 cm in width surely for weight reduction ! The brake handles are also very thin (0.4 cm) and better use with glove for comfortable hours in the air. This riser configuration is extreme, for the ultimate hike and fly competition pilot.  
Racing in windy and strong conditions is the Xalps 3 strong point. 
X-alps athletes has already flown that glider multiple hours and i hope they can comment much better on it's overall behavior. 
This is just a small idea for pilots who don't have the chance to test fly one. 

Monday, August 7, 2017

Air Design Rise 3 S

Air-design Rise 3 

I flew both the Rise 1 and 2. Here’s the Rise 3 from Air design. A high -end B with 5.95 AR and lots of design technologies from a Lightweight construction, to the Stabilo Winglets which are an interesting funny looking new feature, a Shark-Nose 
and  Vortex Holes on the extremities , Mini-Ribs, Race unsheathed lines but it looks not that skinny, and tough enough, Thin performance Risers with a C-Control System ! 
Everything is there to show that AD are aiming for performance at first…Lets see…

Launching the Rise 3 is very easy without any hang back or surge. The light material has its benefits in the launch characteristic.

I flew the glider from 85 to 92 all up, to discover that flying it near the top weight is really efficient.(90-92) on the S size. 

At 90 all up, the Rise 3 S has a short, precise brake travel and could be described as fairly agile. 
The pressure on the brakes are moderate for the 10-15 cm of brake travel that actually are needed to steer the glider in all thermals. After 15 cm the pressure are slightly on the heavy side.

While flying through mild turbulent air, there’s some wobbles and small yaw movements coming from the glider. I flew in the same air the Chili 4 XS size at 94 all up, to conclude finally that the Chili 4 XS move as a block compared to the Rise 3 S. After some flying hours, alternating the two gliders, the overall comfort is similar with a slight ‘shock absorbent’ feel to the rise 3 S that Air design i famous for. The chilli 4 XS has slightly more sharper reaction to strong thermal punches.

After some hours, i got used to those tiny wobbles that doesn’t amplify their energy when conditions got stronger. They are just here.
The overall piloting level is above the Rise 2 and is similar to the Chili 4 XS or the Mentor 5 XS.

Flying next to my reference B glider, the Chili 4 XS, i found out that the Rise 3 have an impressive climb rate ! After many attempts on the Rise 3 S (72-92) @ 90 with the Chili 4 XS (75-95) @ 93, i was convinced that this Rise S size climb has a slight edge ! I was really surprised about that, knowing that the Chili 4 XS is one of the most efficient climber on the B category. 

At 90 all up, the Rise 3 S doesn’t have some annoying pitch behaviors, but rather an efficient nose to surf those thermals and climb, like any good high-B glider.

I noticed that every thermal is quickly converted into climb very efficiently. And the brake authority helps a lot by putting the Rise 3 S inside narrow cores, without any reluctant behavior of the leading edge to dig in.  Sometimes i need to insist slightly to turn it inside the thermals, as it flattens out sometimes. It shows also the ability for a flat efficient turning behavior. 

I must say that the Rise 3 S is a nice floater in the high B category ! Racing facing the Valley breeze is as efficient as on the Chili 4 XS !

At those weight load above, my friend and i made a few glide comparisons on an exceptional August day with high cloud bases! 

Trim speed is similar and the glide at trim seems also identical ! 
At 5 km/h over trim, both glider are also inseparable in glide ! 

Pushing the full bar on the Rise 3 S at 90 all up, gave me a +14 km/h taken at 1300 ASL ! which is around 2-3 km/h over the Chili 4 XS. 

Big ears are stable without using the speed bar, they slightly shake using the speed bar.


The overall piloting level is not far from the mid aspect ratio B gliders, despite it’s 5.95 AR and i could say it’s an accessible high end B glider with a fairly good handling.
I think the lines used on the Rise 3 S, will not move that easy…They all are unsheathed, and slightly thicker than the contenders .   
The Rise 3 in size S has those small wobbling movements, but they are very easy to get used to, and could be an advantage for the pilots who don’t like the ‘block feel’ above their heads. 
Finally i can say that the Rise 3 has joined the circle of the top contenders in the high B category for it’s overall efficiency in climb and glide, and it’s certain that any pilot flying the Rise 3 won’t miss any performance whatsoever racing against the new 2017 Mentors and Chili’s ! 

It seems that Air design has worked very hard on the Rise 3! And it surely paid off !

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

C Comparison "Notice update"

Important notice:
This comparison has been made with lots of accuracy and details, but please consider that other sizes, other weight load for the same tested glider can have a different impact on the result below. Some small sizes usually have a different feel, and different data. Also the bigger sizes will give you different feel in (brake tension, brake response, brake length,) not to mention the performance gain in 95 % of the cases.  
For instance an important factor in 2017/18 creations, is that manufacturers are working on the internal structures ,that may have a better cohesion and efficiency in turbulent air, BUT with the exact weight load ! Those gliders will have a large weight window to be flown, BUT they are mostly efficient in a smaller one ;-)  ... Example : The Zeno SM goes from 80-100. The most accurate result will be to fly it from 96 till 98. 
The Sigma 10 size 23 weight range (80-100) but the best result is around 96-97. 
Of course it flyable at 90 but you will get pushed by strong thermals ! As you will if you fly a Zeno at 90 ! 
The Cayenne 5 XS is best flown at 92-93 for all conditions. If flown at 89, the internal structure will be unstable in strong air. 
Some probably think that ± 2-3 kg won't matter...But i say it surely does ! :-)
S size 2 kg will matter, M size 3kg, L size 4-5 kg...
(PS:  Many pilots cares for performance...But IMHO, my best gliders are the ones that gives me that magical handling feel like an extension to my arms ... in better words  "Wings"   :-)    

Friday, July 21, 2017

Gradient Aspen 6 size 24

Gradient Aspen 6 24 
The Aspen 6 is the 2017-18 C glider from Gradient. I have flown all the Aspens, and after the 5th version which has a slight yaw movement but very good glide ratio especially on top speed, here’s the Aspen 6 test in size 24. (70-90) 

The take off for a 6.4 aspect ratio C glider at 90 all up, is moderate to easy. In the air, the Aspen 6 feels like you are flying a higher rated glider. At 90 all up it feels quite good.Not really overweight…I mean it’s exactly the weight it supposed to be .88 till 90…and could be nice at 92 also. 

In turbulent air the Aspen 6 needs good active piloting for a C glider. It needs slightly more pilot control than a Cayenne 5. 
The brake travel is moderate and on the light side. Much lighter than the Delta 3 and Sigma 10 i had for testing. The ability to turn the Aspen 6 is not as fast as turning the S10, Delta 3 or the Cayenne 5. The Aspen 6 needs a little input and more finesse to get a similar turn. But it could be described as ‘fairly agile’ 

The climb rate compared to a Delta 3 MS is very good ! I think after some flying side by side and swapping gliders, (Delta 3 MS at 94 and Aspen 6 24 at 90) The Aspen 6 showed a ‘slight’ better climb ! 
especially in weak conditions, where i could sense a float ability for the Aspen 6.Even in strong air, the climb rate of the Aspen 6 was very nice ! 

Getting both gliders for some gliding lines showed me after a while that the Aspen 6 24 is really keeping up…very close ! even at 5-7 km/h over trim. 

Underneath the Aspen 6 the feeling is like you have a fine tuned 7 aspect ratio glider in a 6.4 aspect ratio glider…Well that’s the feeling… In turbulent air, there’s no annoying pitch movements. But some efficient ones. The Aspen 6 likes to dance a bit in turbulent air 

 … But much more comfortable than a Poison 3 XS for example. Similar to an LM6 S in feel, but with longer and lighter brakes …I’m trying to place it in order to give you an idea. 
Big ears are stable and reopen on pilot action. 

Conclusion: The Aspen legendary swift handling is unfortunately not available anymore as it was on the Aspen 1-2-3 ...That's the plain fact. But it seems Gradient is aiming for performance efficiency as main target with fair handling. 
Indeed, the Aspen 6 like the Aspen 5, showed me a very efficient C glider in that category. It requires active piloting over the easy Sigma 10 or even the Delta 3. But a good pilot could…have a slight edge for efficiency. I didn’t tried the Aspen 6- 26 (i think it must be loaded at top +105 ) and could feel differently …Hope many pilots out-there will test fly it and report back. 



Saturday, June 17, 2017

ADVANCE Sigma 10 (Authenticity at it's best )

ADVANCE Sigma 10  25  (Authenticity at it’s best) 

Here’s the new Sigma…How times go fast…I still remember my flights on the Sigma 4, 19 years ago !!!! high above ‘Cheval blanc’ in Saint Andre…Conditions were rough!  was a bit lost… heavy turbulence…Great memories  ;-) 
But that glider turned on a dime ! It was a dhv 2-3 at the time, and was pretty dynamic in frontals, but what a dream handling it had!
Back to the future now, with the Sigma 10 in size 25 ready to take off finally. As usual, the construction, the sewings, the finishing details of the Sigma 10 is similar to a Ferrari. Don’t expect less.

Launching the 6.1 aspect ratio Sigma 10 is smooth, easy, and without surprises. The take off is immediate.

First turn and my eyebrows are already lifted! The brake travel is very responsive, accurate, precise, direct, and linear. Much better progressive feel over the S9. I flew the Sigma 10 in different conditions, from the sea spots to the higher Cedars range, and i never felt anytime that it was reluctant to turn in any kind of thermic conditions. The Sigma 10 responded to my commands whenever i wanted regardless of what conditions is around. A super obedient glider and a pleasurable one to fly.  It can be placed exactly where the pilots wants.
This excellent brake authority is coupled with a very well structured glider. Whatever it is…optimized Sliced Diagonals, 3D Diamond Shaping, C-Wires…I really don’t know, but i’m very sure that the internal structure of this Sigma 10 is super solid, super coherent, and very efficient in turbulent air. I didn’t noticed any wrinkles on that surface…It seems flawless…Or i could be getting old and needs glasses  ;-)   

i flew the Sigma 10 ,25 from 93 to 97 and it was the optimum weight for any kind of conditions. This coherent solid feel was always present like a guardian. 

I also flew next to my reference glider in the C category, the Cayenne 5 XS at 92 all up. Doing many glides in active air together showed at first a similar glide at trim speed with a very slight edge in trim speed for the S10. The difference was more visual at 40 % of the Sigma 10, red marker. At that speed, with the Cayenne 5 XS matching it also, the Sigma 10 showed me a better glide by a small margin in calm air. In active turbulent air this margin was bigger. For me it was a first. Not one C glider before yet out-glided the cayenne 5. 
Full speed on the Cayenne 5 with the Sigma 10 matching that speed, they showed same glide again. Now the Sigma 10 similarly loaded has +3km/h more top speed. Pushing that speed in front of the Cayenne 5 for a while and releasing it. When the Cayenne 5 reached the Sigma 10, they were again at the same level. 
The best glide for the Sigma 10, size 25  is around 40 % over trim ! 

Climb rate in weak condition less than 0.5 m/s were slightly on the Cayenne 5 which seems slightly a bit floatier. As the thermal are more punchy and powerful, the Sigma 10 shoots quickly upward!  It’s a 6.1 AR, but it does really go up very fast reaching the top of gaggles.    

I noticed that each time the conditions were more turbulent, the Sigma 10, showed more it’s potential by cutting through and moving forward like no Sigma has done before. That’s why, i can confirm swiftly that this Sigma 10 is the best Sigma ever made when it comes to true performance!

Wait…That’s not all ..  :-)   
The Sigma 10 delivers a high comfort in active air ! This swift handling, the solid structure, will let the C pilot control it swiftly and accurately in active air. I can say any Good B pilot could easily upgrade on the Sigma 10 after two seasons on his glider. At it’s optimum weight load, this profile doesn’t pitch back in turbulence, neither forward. It just goes trough turbulence and move forward, letting it’s pilot comfortably relaxed. It’s an efficient glider in headwind or valley breeze, especially for 6.1 AR C glider. I’ll update my C comparison soon, but be prepared to see the Sigma 10 among the most comfortable ones.

There’s one more :-)
The Sigma 10 has one of the most efficient C controls a glider can have. It doesn’t react as a 2 liner, but really close :-) .  
I mean this glider is much more stable than higher rated ones, therefore, when on bar, this efficient C control, will help a lot by reducing any surge movement in active air. So stepping on the pedal is very easy and accessible.

Big ears with outer A’s move slightly but i can say they are stable enough and reopen by a small dab on the brakes or sometimes calmly by themselves. Big ears pulling the B3 and the stabile line works well also, but it’s better for this method to push the bar before pulling them. They reopen swiftly!

Conclusion: Advance has done a marvelous job on this Sigma 10!  They didn’t stretch the aspect ratio, keeping it simple and authentic as it should be. They worked hard on the inner structure and other details and they succeeded to deliver accessible ‘TOP’ performance in the C category. 1- 90% Comfortable, 2- 95% agile, 3- 90% efficient and usable top performance, plus fast enough for a C !  

Happiness emerges from the most simple things in life. The Sigma 10 approaches that philosophy with excellence. 

Fly safe,