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

Monday, July 8, 2019

GIN Leopard S

GIN Leopard size XS  75-88

The Gin Leopard is the 2019 new 2 liner from GIN with 7.12 aspect ratio.
I have the XS size (70-88) and I flew it at 88 all up.
Launching the Leopard in nil wind needs a steady pull to reach overhead. In a strong wind, it launches perfectly. 

In the air, I immediately felt at home under the Leopard. The pitch movements are very dampened and the leading edge tends to get slightly back upon entering the lift on this XS size. It has a very neutral pitch behavior apart form this very little or may I say “slight delay” to pull you inside the core.  Some pilots will find this feature amazing but some would prefer a slight pitch forward. It depends on pilots taste.
For instance, the Zeno S (70-90) size at max weight also tends to have a neutral pitch with a very slight pull forward sometimes, when the thermals are a bit sudden and strong. The Leopard felt more tamed in pitch feel.
In roll, I also felt that the Leopard is a comfortable glider to fly despite the Aspect ratio! The roll also feels more dampened and could be similar to the Zeno S.
In strong air it needs a good D pilot.

There are no yaw movements, and the Leopard feels like a whole very solid structure flying above your head.
The brake authority on this Leopard S size is truly nice! It has a short brake response with very good authority that enabled me to core practically a wide range of different thermals, especially very small ones. For an aspect ratio of 7, the Leopard can be considered as a very direct and agile glider. For sure the overall handling and brake authority is a step over the Zeno S and I really was very pleased to fly the Leopard in thermals. I can describe the handling as linear, direct, precise.


The climbing ability of the Leopard is nice for the category. But I felt that this exceeds of comfort in pitch sometimes get you a slightly delayed entering into those mellow 1 m/s thermals. I must insist that the overall climb is very good! and even in a strong and sudden lift, the Leopard S will pop up very quickly. It’s just in those small thermals that you feel that you need that extra forward pull from the leading edge…
Comparing it with a Zeno S, I felt that the Zeno could have a slight edge in float ability in those very weak thermals.

Doing some glides with an M7 S, just to get an idea, showed me that the Leopard has a very slight edge at trim, but especially better in headwind glides and of course at the bar. If we match the top speed of the M7, the Leopard has a very slight edge.
I found a 20 km/h over trim took at 900 ASL with overlapping pulleys.  There’s a medium pressure while pushing the bar. A slightly more than the Zeno, but quite ok. 


The B controls are slightly harder than the Zeno ones. I was able to keep the glider easily overhead while at bar in moderate air. In fact, it felt that at bar the Leopard gives a more taught and comfortable feel.
Ears with outer A’s are small but stable. Funnily, if you pull them quickly and release, they will be stuck in nicely, exactly like on the M7!  They can get you around -2 m/s with bar…The ears with outer B’s are is also doable and efficient with -2 m/s coupled with half bar.
The leading edge is very solid. There’s a lot of pressure!

Conclusion for the XS size 75-88 :
The S size might react differently as smaller glider are sometimes trimmed a bit different.
It’s amazing how technology is getting us more accessible high aspect ratio gliders.
The good authority on the brakes enables the pilots to control better the Leopard, and it could be considered a comfortable 2 liner for the intended category of pilots. 
Good overall performance, a bit close to Zeno, nice top speed, very homogenous and taught feel.