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Tuesday, August 27, 2019

NOVA Mentor 6 XS light

I already test flew the normal version of the Mentor 6 in XS size earlier. There are some differences in the light version.
The brake pressure on the M6 XS Light is ‘lighter’ in power compared to the normal version. The handling and the way to turn the M6 Light is smoother and very agile. 
With little action on the brakes, and crisp, linear brake authority, I could turn the M6 light in a dime!
I was super satisfied test flying the Light version, and I think I’ll keep that one especially for my personal pleasure! 
The overall movements in turbulent air are also smoother and more comfortable than the normal version. The overall performance in climb and glide seems identical and match the best ones in the high B category.  
The trim and top speed match the normal version which is excellent for the category. Surprisingly the flapping ears disappeared from the normal version! I flew the M6 light is some turbulent air, and never got any wing tip collapses! 

As I always mention, that today’s high B gliders are super close in overall performance, and either one will get you super far XC flights. 
To define a newcomer I must slightly point to the little differences I felt, either in comfort or handling.
My best high B gliders are already mentioned in the high B comparison table, which I will amend very soon, and will deduct the old ones… New version :-)   
For example, I choose to differ, the Swift 5, Rush 5, Maestro, the Eden 7 and some more…for their overall comfort and performance. 
So what’s the difference with the M6 Light?

The difference :
Slightly more speed in entering cores than the Swift S, with even very good climb rate! The feel is like biting and searching forward for the M6 Light. In turbulence, the shorter brake travel than the Swift will keep the pilot more in control.
Slightly more efficiency in cutting through ‘strong’ valley breeze than the Eden7 24, (A B glider will struggle in those conditions, but some will creep forward slowly, moving forward without being ‘stuck’!
Like the excellent Maestro! 
The Eden 7 24 with 6 AR feels slightly more dampened in turbulent air, like the Rush5 SM for example. 
More pleasant and balanced authority on the brakes than both, as the pleasurable and swift handling, is clearly above the Rush 5, and the Eden7. The Swift 5 is agile but with longer brake inputs than the M6 Light.

Except for the Maestro 19, flown at 84 all up, which is even more agile (acro feel) but also more demanding as it rolls more in turbulence. 
Slightly more float ability than the Maestro 19. (Probably an insignificant amount more, but still they all climb very well !) 

Nevertheless, all those mentioned gliders are superb with very close or sometimes similar overall performance! 
Still with the excellent Chili4, and Cumeo, the smooth Iota 2, the sharp handling and efficient Maestro…etc…I could pick up any of those high B’s and do the same flights. 
The ears are stable, efficient and reopen quickly. The top speed is +15 km/h over trim. The glide at top speed is usable and excellent! 

The Mentor 6 XS light offers a comfortable ride while being very agile, pleasurable to fly with nice coordinated handling, and a very efficient wing for long and difficult XC conditions.  

Friday, August 2, 2019

UP Kangri size M 75-100

The Kangri is UP’s high-end B with an aspect ratio of 6.3. A mix of light materials is used. 32g and 27g Porcher Skytex. UP says it’s light but also durable. The M size weighs around 4.0 kg. 

The lines used are a mix of Aramid- and Dynema-lines. They are exactly like the ones used on the Trango X-race. 

I flew the glider at 95 all up with an X-rated 6 harness. Launching the Kangri is straightforward without any delays.  The test is written after some series of flights in mixed conditions from light to some turbulent ones, and one flight with the company of a Swift 5 size SM 75-95, and another one with a Bonanza 2 EN-C size  (75-95). Those reference gliders in the B and C category were flown by very good pilots and gave me a complete idea about the performance ability of the UP Kangri M. 

At first, I can describe the handling as fairly agile for a 6.3 AR B glider. The brakes travel is medium to short with a linear and precise response. It’s not a Trango X-race handling, which remains ‘the’ one and favorite C glider regarding handling. But the Kangri reminded me a little bit of that handling with a more forgiving feel. Not as sharp as the Trango, and well placed in the B category in that matter.  I could describe the agility as a bit close to the Bonanza or the Artik 5.  The feel under it is slightly better understood than on a Delta 3 SM for example. But still, the Kangri is more tamed than any of those C’s described above.  Nevertheless, I could feel the aspect ratio, and I cannot put it in terms of feel next to a Mentor 6, or a Swift 5 for example. Those B’s are very tamed to compare. The Kangri feels like in between of those 2 categories, and that’s the best way I can describe it in terms of accessibility. The Sigma 10 and the Artik 5 are more demanding to fly. So I think I have placed it well for you to know  :-)

In terms of climbing ability, the pilot on the Swift 5 flew it at 90 all up ad he was climbing I think better than any CCC glider!  :-)  But in glide against the wind, he was penalized and a bit slow. The Swift 5 must be flown exactly at top weight or even 2 kilos more. (Just to be clear).  In terms of glide angle, the Kangri showed me a super nice gliding power that places it among the top 3 B’s in that matter.  But I needed to get a solid confirmation and flew it against a Bonanza 2 (EN-C) in some tricky and turbulent glides against the wind. After many attempts, the Kangri nearly matched the Bonanza 2 glide, but the C glider still had the edge. 

In weak climbs against the Bonanza 2, the Kangri did very well and climbed next to it. Probably the B2 has a slight edge in float ability and climbing in very weak thermals.  

The trim speed is similar to the B2 and the Kangri has around 13 km/h over trim taken at 800 ASL.  The glide at the top speed is also similar to the top B’s. 

Ears are stable, efficient, and reopen quickly.

Conclusion: The Kangri is an interesting glider for XC with a very efficient package. Its definitely not a detuned C. The feel under it is never boring for those B pilots that need that extra C feel, but also less demanding in turbulent air than many C’s including 6 AR ones. 
Good handling and authority on the brakes, good speed, nice overall package.  Any pilot wishing to step to the C level in feel with plenty of performance, but needs a B rating, the Kangri is the way to go.  

This is only my opinion. Make your own !