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

Friday, April 26, 2019

NOVA Mentor 6 XS

NOVA Mentor 6  XS

And here is the new Mentor 6 in XS size flown at 88 all up.

The launching is simple, easy and very forgiving due mainly to the light materials used on this glider. It’s not completely a light glider, but NOVA used some light cloth on some parts on it.

Immediately after taking off and touching the brakes, I looked high up to see if it’s really a NOVA Mentor?  Yes, it was…I was completely shocked to see that big switch from the older series! Finally, something new concerning the handling and agility to talk about!  :-)

The brake pressure is toward the light side and moderates after 15 cm. The authority on the brakes and precision made me smile from ear to ear! ( It’s the first NOVA wing after the Mentor 2 that has a relatively short, precise, linear, and direct brake response worthy of delivering pure pleasure for the handling seeker! Finally, a Mentor that has a very nice, super quick and short turning radius.
I could really core the tiniest thermal available with infinite precision. I liked very much the authority on the brakes of that glider.

In weak thermals, the Mentor 6 even loaded is a revelation! After some hours comparing and comparing it to different top B gliders in the climb, I could definitely say that this latest Mentor 6 XS could be very difficult to over climb! I think that this one will stay on top of the stack period.
The Mentor 6 nose pulls you smoothly inside the core, and searches for the best lift! It is difficult to miss a thermal with that glider. 

The Mentor 6 XS communicates well the airmass and needs a high B pilot to master it in turbulent and strong air. Nothing more than a high B.
I’ll update my B comparison to place it accurately among others, but I need more time and also the S size (80-100) will eventually arrive in a couple weeks.  
The tips, however, flap in turbulent air without any consequences.  They do flap, because probably they are happy flying,  like the ears of a  puppy when you come home:-).

The midsection is very solid and I sensed that even at 90 all up the M6 XS will be even better inside the turbulent airmass. 

The trim speed is good, and I could say fast for the category.  Slightly faster than Swift 5 and Cumeo SM similarly loaded. The top speed is around 15 km/h over trim and very usable. 
The C risers control is hard to pull after test flying the light pull on the Mantra7 but could stop some moderate surges while keeping your foot on bar. 

The glide at trim and even at the full bar is also similar to the best high B’s with very good top-end speed for the high B category.  (See B comparison chart) 
For an efficient glide into the wind, the Mentor 6 needs to be loaded at the top for better results. It’s quite efficient for the B class.  It does in fact surf forward without any useless pitch. 
To sum it up, IMHO, this is by far the ‘best’ Mentor ever produced.  

Ears and big ears are very stable and very efficient. With the bar, I could get -4…5..m/s! 

Inducing some asymmetries and holing the A’s will result in a 90 degrees turn max, counter steering and staying straight is easy. 

Conclusion: Superb agility, impressive climb rate, top gliding power, good top speed for a B!  
Highly recommended for the high B pilots who thought that the older Mentor series were a bit boring to fly. 
Lovely, piece of a flying machine. The Mentor 6 is pleasurable to fly XC machine by excellence!  

I flew the M6 size M at 96 all up, and it seems that this size is very mellow and comfortable to fly. The handling and the way to turn it is slightly less than the XS which is logical. The clomb rate and glide are straight on top of that category, or even matching some C gliders...

A really powerful mix of high comfort and top-end performance!  A mellow to fly high B.

This is only my opinion. Make your own !

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Ozone Mantra M7 MS

Ozone Mantra 7 SM  75-95

After more than 5 years over the efficient M6, Ozone has finally released the Mantra 7 with an aspect ratio of 6.5 flat.

I flew this glider from 92 to 95 all up. I found that its best to fly it at top weight 94,95 in overall conditions. it is super efficient at that load even in weak thermals.
And it needs to be loaded when conditions are strong in order to have better authority under it.

Launching the M7 is very easy without any delays and with a strong breeze, a dab on the brakes is needed to stop the surge. The take off is immediate.

I flew in different air from turbulent and punchy thermals to soft and tricky ones. 

The brake travel on the M7 is slightly longer than the M6 for the same load, but the authority on the brakes and the turning ability are much better on the M7 with better thermal coring. 
 The feel under the M7 is more tamed than the M6 in all aspects. There are no yaw movements at all. The roll is present but really tame for a D. The pitch movements are stable, pretty moderate for a D and the overall feel under it looks like  Delta 3 or an Alpina 3 with steroids.  It’s for sure more demanding to fly than the D3 or A3, as sometimes it surges forward in strong air which requires a slightly higher level for control, but nothing alarming for a regular D pilot. 
It is less demanding than the M6 as the Mantra 7 is a much more compact and homogenous wing. The overall feel and comfortable behavior are present and reminded me of all the Ozone latest generation gliders. (Rush5,Swift5,Delta 3…etc…) The Mantra 7 has the same genes with a higher step of workload over their C class with a D rating. 

Saying that I could sense that sometimes in turbulent and strong air the energy inside the mantra 7 needs a good D pilot to tame it, as the authority on the brakes will be slightly diminished and needs a bit longer application to settle it and keep the loaded M7 overhead. 

The pressure on the brakes is moderate and quite similar to the Delta 3 ones.  The Mantra 7 is an agile D glider, with an efficient brake authority. If I want to place it exactly, I could say that a little bit tighter turns could be made on the Delta 3. But I was completely satisfied with its turning ability. 

The climb rate in weak conditions is very good on the Mantra 7 even loaded. 
The overall feel of a dampened wing in weak stuff always worries me, as I need to sense the little updrafts. On the M7 those movements in weak thermals are similar to the Delta 3 feel, but the M7 floats really well!  Next, to a Cayenne 5 M which has an excellent climb, I could be very competitive on the M7 and the efficient climb was clear and rewarding. 

In strong air and big thermals, is the Mantra 7 playground. In headwind conditions, and in strong valley breeze, the Mantra 7 excels as it showed me a much better efficiency than the M6. 
The Mantra 7 surfs the air forward like a true competition “D” glider.  Racing over ridges with the Mantra 7 will be very rewarding!   
The speed system is easy to push with moderate pressure but unfortunately, the top speed is only ’around’ +13 km/h over trim.  Gliding next to my friend on a Cayenne 5 M loaded at the top size at top speed, showed me the same top speed as my Mantra 7 SM at 95 all up.  
The glide of the Mantra 7 SM at top speed is much better than the M6 glide angle,  and it has ‘nearly’ the same glide as a Zeno S size if they stayed at the Mantra 7 top speed. 
The Zeno S size at 88 was at the half bar, while I was on the full bar on the Mantra 7 with a very, very close glide angle with a better float ability in lift lines for the Zeno.  The small differences will only appear in competitions over long transitions.  
 For sure the top speed on the Mantra 7 is fully usable in turbulence while using the rear risers pitch control.
The pitch control on the Mantra 7 is a nice device to keep the glide angle leveled when gliding at speed in turbulent air. The Steering on the Mantra 7 is not as efficient as on the 2 liners Zeno, but it’s the most efficient on any C, or D glider I have already tested…I had some long glides at full speed and the efficient C steering was keeping my foot on the pedals. A super beautiful and efficient device! 
On my X-rated 6, the riser control is quite easy to reach. I have heard that they were too high, but not in my case and I think it depends on the harness hanging points. I found them quite reachable as you will see later in the movie.
The Mantra 7 can be slowed down to top land on a tiny spot! Very nice in that matter! 
The wing overs can be done quickly very high. The energy inside the Mantra 7 is impressive! 
Small ears are little stable but sometimes they need to open. Pulling slightly more outside A riser will lead to unstable ears. The B3 are now a bit high to reach :-). I could get max 20 cm down with hard pressure, but no results to get some decent B ears. 

For a D glider, Mantra 7 is easy to fly, comfortable, and delivers top gliding and climbing performance. 
Probably the top speed should be slightly faster by 3-4 km/h, and I was hoping for stable and efficient big ears. 
Hopefully on the L M 7!  
The combination of accessibility/performance has not yet been reached on a D glider before.


Mantra 7 MS versus LM6 MS 
In this paragraph, please find my personal opinion about the differences between those two gliders. It is very difficult sometimes to describe the feeling under a certain glider. After receiving many emails, asking if the M7 is really so easy to fly, I had to respond by this:

I flew the LM6 in S and MS size for a good time. 
Flying the Mantra 7 MS at 94 all up showed me a mild character and nice handling and authority on the brakes. Not as sharp and linear as a Trango X-race, or even not as informative in weak thermals like the Delta 2 size MS at 92, but quite acceptable and rewarding as I already mentioned in my earlier test. 
The difference flying the LM6 MS and S was a complete control in turbulent air for the pilot flying the 7 aspect ratio LM6.  As if the brakes of the LM6 gets more stiff in turbulence and they will still respond quite sharply under those conditions.
I was always able to “catch” the LM6 from going further away from me in a very good authority and stiffness on the brakes.
 Flying the M7 in those turbulent conditions, showed me that the energy on the M7 which was mild in moderate air woke up and felt that the leading edge holds more power than the trailing edge, meaning that the authority on the brakes will slightly diminish more on the M7 than on the LM6.  

In the same turbulent and shaky air, the M7 kept me slightly busier with longer brake actions to keep it overhead. But, I have to mention also that I was able to core many turbulent thermal much better than the LM6 in a tighter radius.  The LM6 was experiencing difficulty to turn tight in those bad conditions. 
Of course, the M7 remains a comfortable glider to fly for a D, but shouldn’t be mistaken for a C glider IMHO.  
The climb rate in weak conditions and float-ability seems very slightly on the 7 AR, LM6 side. But as soon as the thermal straighten the M7 shoots upward very quickly! 
In headwind conditions and racing upwind, the M7 has a clear advantage over the LM6.  That's the strong point of the M7. It did, in fact, showed me a good advantage each time we did a glide in windy and tricky conditions versus the LM6.  The glide at speed is also even better for the M7 that after a few kilometers the difference is clearly visual.

IMHO, the M7 with its 6.5 aspect ratio out glide the LM6 in all aspects. The handling and the way to turn it inside a thermal is also well improved over the LM6. The glide into the wind is a step further. 
The overall “feel” in moderate air resembles the lower classes. The “feel” and handling ability in strong turbulent air is seems well targeted for the D category.   

Again, feedback for the M7 size MS after releasing the loop on the B's.

The Mantra 7 seems slightly faster at trim and also at the top speed. I could see now, a difference of 16, to 17 km/h at around 800 ASL!
In turbulent conditions, it seems more alive, wanting to jump forward, and needed slightly more pilot control to keep it overhead.
I sensed a very good behavior when surfing the airmass in a headwind or when low facing the valley breeze. It seems to cut through efficiently like a "super" D glider.


 This is only my opinion. Make your own !

Friday, April 12, 2019

FLOW Freedom M

FLOW Freedom

The Freedom is Flow new B glider. The cloth used on this glider is relatively light. It has small semi-circular openings and all the lines are unsheathed. There are lots of lines on this Freedom and some are a bit thick. This configuration seems to last forever without going out of trim. 
The Freedom M size like to be loaded right on top. I flew the size M at 100 all up, and it felt quite big but ok for that weight. The launching is easy.
The brake pressure is on the light side. They are a bit long and I could describe the Freedom handling and agility to be on the moderate side. It turns well into the core and has a nice climbing behavior. 

The pitch is nearly absent on that machine. The roll is also dampened. Overall it's quite easy to fly. The trim speed is slightly less than a Mentor 6 for example. 
After some glide comparisons, the Freedom could be placed in the middle part of this (low-mid-high) B category.
Big ears are stable and efficient. 
It has a low stall speed for landing on small spots. 

In general, the Freedom could be considered as a mid-B, in the overall assessment. 

This is only my opinion. Make your own !