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Friday, May 26, 2017

Mac Para Elan 2, size 24 and 26

Mac Para Elan 2 size 26 (85-102)

The Elan 2 is Mac Para new 2017 C glider. The leading edge has a shark nose, lower lines are sheathed, and the upper galleries are unsheathed. Again it seems that with the Eden 6 , Mac Para glider construction is being enhanced and quite neat. The leading edge looks very taught and its shape looks very clean.  

Launching the Elan 2 is easy for a C pilot. When pulling the A’s there’s no hanging back and no surging forward. 

I flew the Elan 2 26 at 99 all up with an X-rated 6 harness. The brake travel can be described as moderate to precise in the first part. 15 to 20 cm can steer the glider easily. Inducing turns inside thermals shows a fair agility for the Elan 2 ,and could be similar to the Elan 1 26 i test flew 2,5 years ago. 
I also flew the Elan 2 24 at 89 all up with a Forza harness. The 24 can be steered with only 10 cm having a moderate pressure. The handling and the way to turn the 24 is really nice. Much better than the 26 with quicker brake authority as usually seen on smaller gliders. At +15 cm and beyond, of brake travel, the Elan 2 has a slightly harder brake travel and its only used to control pitch movements.  

This new construction showed me a super strong leading edge. The feeling underneath is quite tamed. The leading edge felt like a solid structure above my head. I tried many times to pull the A’s on the 26, in order to induce frontals, and it was indeed a difficult task ! They need a super hard pull to get the leading edge into a collapse. 
In very weak conditions, with thermals less than 0.3 m/s this tamed feeling, erases the feel of hooking those tiny lifts. Exactly like the Delta 3 ML feeling. 
In stronger thermals, the Elan 2 26 hooks nicely, a neutral pitch in smooth thermals and a slight pitch back in turbulent ones. In overall thermal flying, the Elan 2 26 seems an easy and tamed C glider. A pilot on the Elan 1, won’t need any upgrade in pilot level, if he goes to the Elan 2 26. I also think that a good pilot on an Eden 6 ,will fly the Elan 2 26 easily. That’s the first strong point of the Elan 2 26.
The Elan 2 24 is more dynamic. I think i can place it in the middle of the C category ,not for its comfort which is still superb! but for its dynamic handling and energy retention. 

The way to steer the 24 can be described as precise, nimble and agile. I also felt something strange…Yet i was on top weight of the 24, i felt weak thermals better than being 98 on the 26. The leading edge breathes slightly better and floats well.  
Yet again on the 24 at 88 all up, i felt that sometimes in tricky conditions, i had some difficulty in sliding through the airmass with a pitch back at times that slows the ability to surf upward. 

Both gliders have some vibration through the risers in turbulent conditions. Felt more on the 24. 
I still think that the Elan 2 26 and 24 are indeed very comfortable gliders, probably slightly more piloting needed than the Elan 1, with lots of performance for the middle C category with only 6.2 aspect ratio.

Now the second strong point of the Elan 2 26 and 24 is the trim and top speed ! 
Flying the Elan 2 26 next to a Cayenne 5  XS which is already known for its fast trim, (similarly loaded ) showed me an impressive +2 km/h trim speed for the Elan 2 26 over the C5 ! !
Many glide attempts in calm air, showed me that the trim speed is faster + 2 km/h and the top speed is also faster by + 2 to 3 km/h similarly loaded ! 
The Elan 2 is trimmed fast !  That’s why in those small weak thermals -0.3 m/s a pilot needs lots of concentration to feel and hook them. 

The glide angle ‘in calm air’ could be ‘super’ close to the best C gliders available today.  It’s in turbulent conditions and facing a valley breeze, that sometimes i felt that the leading edge is reluctant to surf efficiently the airmass in order to move forward. Nevertheless, it remains among the top 5, (C rated) gliders in glide efficiency. I’ll update my C comparison soon for little more details .  

Induced asymmetric on the 26 are easy to maintain with a direct flight and reopen quickly. Big ears are stable at trim speed. With lots of bar, they slightly shake. They do not reopen by themselves. A dab on the brakes needed to reopen them quickly.
Induced asymmetric on the 24 are slightly more dynamic but easy to maintain a straight direction. Big ears are stable, both at trim and accelerated. They do not open by themselves and need pilot input.
The speed bar has a moderate pressure and the leading edge is still solid at bar. 
The glide angle at full bar is also very competitive to place the Elan 2 26 and 24 among the 3 top gliders of the moderate aspect ratio 2017, C category. 
pushing the bar is usable with a very solid leading edge at least at 85 % of the travel.  

*The pluses : + Comfort on the 24 and 26 , + speed on the 24 and 26 , + handling on the 24.

*The  average plus: Handling on the 26 (probably needs more weight to reach 102) 

*What i would wished for:  More leading edge efficiency in cutting through the airmass. 

Conclusion:  The Elan 2 26 could be one of the most easy to fly C glider. Easier and more tamed than the Delta 3 ML.  It’s better to fly it at the top weight in order to diminish as best as possible the pitch back in entry. The climb rate in weak is ok which is close to the Delta 3 ML i have tested earlier. The trim speed is very good for ridge flying, and the top speed for fast transitions.
The size 26 could be a nice C glider for B pilots going into that category for the first time.


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Ozone Delta 3 ML and MS

Ozone Delta 3 ML

Ozone has finally released their Delta 3 certifying it as a C glider without collapse line. The glider stays as the older version with 6 aspect ratio, with all unsheathed lines .

Launching the ML at 100 all up, showed a very easy inflation without any hang back or surge.

I’ll try to show in the following test the difference between the Delta 2 ML and the new Delta 3 ML with some reference C gliders. In June I’ll receive the MS and will hopefully comment on it.

In the air, the Delta 3 ML feels more comfortable to fly than the D2 ML . The structure feels very taught and compact overhead. The handling and the way to turn the glider is also improved on the Delta 3 ML but there a little bit of less feedback through the risers. The brake travel could be described as a bit medium to hard in pressure and moderate to short in reaction.
The pilot has a nice authority on the brakes with fair precision and good agility. The pressure is slightly heavier and slightly less linear if i want to compare it to the Rush 4 for example.

The Delta 3 ML was tested for four consecutive days, in turbulent choppy conditions and sometimes ‘spaghetti’ style conditions. I flew also next to the Delta 3 ML with a Cayenne 5 XS (80-95) and a Trango X-Race MS (80-100) in order to place and see the Delta 3 potential in terms of comfort, efficiency, and overall performance.

In turbulent conditions, the Delta 3 ML showed me a high degree of comfort in turbulent air. I think this glider is built to give maximum comfort for the C category pilots. I can place it easily near the Sigma 8,9 and the Elan 1 in terms of comfort feel. In strong thermals the Delta 3 needs control as a moderate C glider.
The sharp surges and movements that were in the Delta 2 are now gone, and replaced with a ‘smooth’ glider that pulls into thermals in a soft way even in strong ones. Usually some reference C gliders has some pitch movements before entering rough thermals. The profile used on the Delta 3 is one of the most efficient one for its ability to ‘slide’ into the airmass quite efficiently. And that’s the strongest point on the Delta 3.

Climb rate in very weak ‘smooth’ thermals was the Delta 2 strong point. i still remember the leading edge biting through those tiny lifts especially on the MS size.
The Delta 3 leading edge is tamer on those super weak thermals (+0.2 m/s) With little information through to feel that surge. I can say that an LM6 or a Delta 2 similarly loaded could be slightly floatier in those tiny thermals.
The Delta 3 will hover a bit in the same position waiting for that (+0.4 m/s) to hook in and climb rapidly.

Now, in difficult and turbulent conditions climbs on the Delta 3 are clearly seen as the D3 goes upward on every bubble ! The ability to cut through rough air and climb efficiently is as i described above clearly showed on the Delta 3. The leading edge doesn’t pitch back at all, and it doesn’t have a neutral pitch either.
It has a very slight smooth pull into thermals, even in rough ones with an excellent comfort underneath and a very efficient climb.

Glide in calm air and in moving air :
Doing some glides ‘in calm air’ with the Delta 3 ML loaded at 105 next to a Mentor 5 S, Cayenne XS, Trango X-race gave me the following result.
The Delta 3 ML has a very slight edge or the same glide angle at trim as the Cayenne 5 XS. (I don’t have a Cayenne M available).
The Cayenne 5 XS loaded at 94 at 800 ASL, is now at full speed. Next to it the Delta 3 ML at 105 has a better glide angle probably (±0.3 ) in L/D at the same speed.
The Delta 3 ML has more 4 cm pull to reach its top speed which showed me afterward a 16 km/h over trim. The pressure is similar to the Delta 2 and the top speed is fully usable. In turbulent air its easy to control the glider by the C risers. It’s not a Zeno in that matter, and the leading edge at full bar isn’t also as solid as the Zeno one. Back off 3 cm of travel, and surf turbulent air in a super cool mode !

Glide in moving conditions, showed me many times the Delta 3 ML ability to surfs the air efficiently and move upward. I’m totally convinced that the Delta 3 will be a strong tool to race on ridges going on long XC days. For example gliding next with a Mentor 5 showed a similar glide angle on the same line staying super close. But when the conditions are moving with lifts, the Delta 3 began to surf upward even though i was very close behind on the same line. Of course , the M5 is a B, but i’m just trying to show when those differences occurs.

The Trango X-race is much more demanding fly, and also has slightly more overall glide and climb performance. The advantage the Delta 3 has is the ability to turn quickly into strong small bubbles that the Trango X-race would need slightly more time to settle in before going on a turn. Surges are converted quicker into climb on the D3.

I just wished that the delta 3 had that subtle and linear handling found on the Trango -X-race, but the Delta 3 just turn on command.
The difference between the Delta 2 M and the Delta 2 MS in handling was noticeable. So i’m waiting for the Delta 3 MS size to see what it will feel like.

Ears are stable ,but don’t open by themselves.They need a good pilot input to re-open them.

Induced asymmetric collapses are a child play ! Holding the A riser i could easily fly to the other side just by pulling 5 cm of brakes or even turning my head …When the glider is half closed, the sink doesn’t increase much…

In keeping the aspect ratio of 6.0, It was clear enough that Ozone wanted to offer a comfortable, easy to use, efficient XC glider. The new profile used on the Delta 3 works well in turbulent conditions.
The overall gliding performance is slightly increased over the Alpina 2 but more when using the bar. The quality of efficient flying is well improved, letting the pilot concentrate on the scenery, task, and their XC routes.

UPDATE for the Delta 3 MS

Ozone Delta 3 (size MS)

The Delta 2 MS was one of few gliders that I really appreciated it’s feel able brake authority, and the precision and maneuverability. I could feel every movement in the air and it was indeed a superb glider.
Now I have the Delta 3 in MS size that I flew in different conditions among some rough ones in our Cedars range.

In weak conditions, I flew the Delta 3 Ms at 90 all up, and I could sense quite nicely some weak thermals, and was able to hook them up without missing much. The feel under the Delta 3 “in weak conditions” is more tamed than the Delta 2 one. I needed much more effort to feel those tiny bits of lift as the Delta 2 MS gave me more sensitivity in order to hook them up.

I felt that the Delta 2 MS and the Cayenne 5 XS still have that slight floatability in very weak conditions. (Less than 0.2 m/s)

In strong conditions the Delta 3 MS needs more active piloting than the Delta 2 MS. It’s a bit more dynamic and needs more pilot control but feels more as a solid block.
For example the Delta 3 MS needs less active piloting than a Trango X-race, and more pilot control than a Sigma 10, and could be close to a Cayenne 5 to control but the 6 aspect ratio Delta 3 feels more compact with a solid homogenous structure and the pilot can control it easier.

I felt that after 2 hours in strong air, my hands felt the pressure on the brakes that were slightly on the hard side at 94 all up.

My only wish was to keep the feel on the brakes that were on the Delta 2… as I always look for a glider that becomes one with the pilot. For every pulled centimeter, the glider reacts letting the “human with feathers” underneath ☺ evolve to a true bird of the air!
The Delta 3 is close…but I’m picky as you already know…and for my personal feel could be slightly better.

The Delta 3 turns very well on a dime! It’s a maneuverable glider, and every strong core can be tight cored to the max.

I felt that the strongest point of the Delta 3 MS is on difficult and windy glides, where I could feel that this structure is moving forward cutting through the air mass.
Flying the Delta 3 MS feels very efficient for XC.
I think the new generation C’s like the Sigma 10 and the Delta 3 has this further “step ahead” potential for a moderate aspect ratio C. They surely have the edge when it comes to gliding in turbulent air.

Pushing the bar on the Delta 3 is indeed very interesting. The glide at speed is superb and the speed is very usable in turbulent air, at least +10 km/h over trim!
At full bar I could see + 17 km/h at 94 all up. Altitude 2500 m ASL.
I’m sure that this machine can really collect some serious XC achievements.

Will update my C comparison shortly.


Friday, May 5, 2017

B comparison

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. 
TheChili 4 XS weight range is (75-95) but the best result is around 93-94. 
Of course it flyable at 90 but you won't be efficient to enter the airmass! As you will if you fly a Zeno at 90 ! 
The Mentor 5 S 80-100 is best flown at 95 for all conditions. If you fly the M 5 S at 100, it will be ok for performance, but the handling will change with a spongy feel, and will loose more the linear feel...Strange..but feelable.
The Mentor 5 XS has a different feel than the S. If flown at 85 ,it's great! At 90 it will bounce more and in small thermals it will have this jumping effect like a well pressurized tyre over a dirt road.
Now the light materials have also a different feel...And that's another story that i'm still learning those effects...Some will be damper some will be more alive...Lets wait and see...

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"   :-)