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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.